NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The Anti-Defamation League on Wednesday took Detroit Lions running back Reggie Bush to task for an Instagram post the group said equated the situation in Ferguson, Missouri to the Palestinian people.
But Bush has said he was not trying to compare the incidents at all, and was only trying to demonstrate the extent of support for those protesting against the Ferguson incident.
Earlier this week, Bush, 29, posted a photo of a man holding a sign reading, “The Palestinian people know what mean to be shot while unarmed because of your ethnicity #Ferguson #justice.”
Bush included a caption of his own with the photo, reading: “No matter who you are, what color skin you have, where you live, we are all in this together! This isn’t a Ferguson problem it’s a Global Problem! We need change NOW! What happened to humanity? #JusticeForMikeBrown”
The ADL responded that the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not about race, and that comparing it to the police shooting that killed Michael Brown, 18, in Ferguson, Missouri this past summer is not appropriate.
“Racially motivated violence is never acceptable,” ADL National Director Abraham H. Foxman, said in a news release. “The conflict between Israel and the Palestinians is not based on race, it is a political dispute based on claims to land, and by conflating the death of Michael Brown with the conflict in the Middle East, Reggie Bush demonstrates a severe lack of understanding of both issues. He should stick to football.”
The ADL said it has recently documented numerous comparisons of the Ferguson incident to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Among them an event back in September at Brooklyn College, which the campus group Students for Justice in Palestine titled, “From Fer¬gu¬son to Pales¬tine, racism, injus¬tice and human rights vio¬la¬tions are being com¬mit¬ted against peo¬ple of color.”
The ADL also pointed out an Aug. 20 protest march on the Manhattan Bridge, in which some demonstrators chanted, “From Fer-gu-son to Pales-tine, occu-pa-tion has got to go,” and a protester held a sign reading, “We are FERGUSON We are GAZA, because We are Human.”
The group said some activists are just trying to build up support for an “anti-Israel agenda” by attracting more activists, others have even claimed that Israel is to blame for the violence in Ferguson. At an Aug. 23 rally calling for justice in the police chokehold death of Eric Garner on Staten Island, someone had a poster reading, “Google It!!! Israel trains the NYPD.”
For his part, Bush drew comments both critical and congratulatory on his Instagram post.
“Excuse me, but there is no comparison to Ferguson and the Middle East,” wrote one user, martinez0703. “You do not even know what really goes on in Israel, unless you have been there. I have been there multiple times and I know what goes on there. I see who really instigates. I spoke with the locals (Israeli and Palestinian) and I have been given a different opinion. What happened to Mr. Brown was an unfortunate incident but he made poor choices, and everything has a consequence (good and bad).”
But another user, viva_palestina, wrote: “Much respect! Long live Palestine & long live the lion hearted Palestinian people!”
Bush also issued a tweet Monday showing the photo of the man holding the sign, along with three other photos showing individuals or activists referencing both Palestine and Ferguson.
But speaking to a sports talk radio station in Detroit this week, Bush said his intention was never to compare the situations.
“Of course I’m not comparing that, not at all,” Bush told Stoney, Bill and Sara of Detroit’s 97.1 The Ticket. “I saw the picture and I thought, ‘That’s a powerful picture,’ to see somebody who’s dealing with a far worse situation than what we’re going through, back in their country, a lot worse, 10 times worse than what we could ever imagine. To see someone take a picture from there and post it saying that, ‘We’re with you,’ I just thought that was so powerful.”
Protests have been held in New York and around the country, after a grand jury in St. Louis County, Missouri declined to indict white police officer Darren Wilson for the shooting that killed the African-American teen Brown last summer.
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