NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Is the “Occupy Wall Street” movement anti-Semitic?
Signs indicating that have surfaced. Yet when CBS 2’s Tony Aiello surveyed the situation Tuesday he found conflicting signs of both anti-Semitism and Jewish support.
In the half-acre park occupied by the protestors you had to look close, but it’s there – the words “Israel evil,” literature calling the establishment of Israel “a profound injustice,” and an invitation to a massive pro-Palestine march planned for next year.
And then there was an “Occupy Wall Street” supporter who wouldn’t give his name, but claimed to teach at the City University of New York.
“Oh, let’s call it Israeli influence over Wall Street because they’re working on behalf of Israel!” the supporter said.
Last week it was even more blatant, as a viral YouTube video showed.
“There is a conspiracy in this country in which Jews control the media, finances,” a protester said.
The signs and words from the demonstrations have alarmed a conservative group — the “Emergency Committee for Israel,” which released a Web ad calling on politicians to condemn perceived anti-Semitism.
“What is happening at the ‘Occupy Wall Street’ protests?” one person said in the ad.
“Jews control Wall Street!” another is heard saying.
“You’re a bum, Jew,” added another.
The ad fires back, saying, “Hate is not an American value.”
But Jews who’ve joined the occupiers scoff at claims of anti-Semitism.
“My 65-year-old mother has been coming in from New Jersey to be with us here. She’s going through foreclosure and bankruptcy. She’s not a crazy anti-Semite; she grew up in a Hasidic household,” protester Dan Sieradski said.
Last week the web paper “The Daily” did a random survey of a cross-section of protesters at Zuccotti Park, and found more identified themselves as “Jewish” than as “Christian.”
Protesters said the movement reveres free speech, even speech that some might find offensive.
“I seen one guy with one big sign, walking around. Everybody was complaining about him!” protester Marvin Knight said.
On Tuesday that protestor was gone, but a ritual hut for the Jewish holiday Sukkot was there, along with young Jews who said they felt welcome.
The protesters were asked to join a series of events on Tuesday, including a march on the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office and a “peace brigade” protest at Lincoln Center.
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