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HomeNewsPoliticsAnti-Israel protests borrow playbook from social justice movements: experts

Anti-Israel protests borrow playbook from social justice movements: experts

The anti-Israel movement roiling major American cities and college campuses following the outbreak of Israel’s war with Hamas bears a striking resemblance to other movements favored by social justice activists, experts suggest.

Since the Oct. 7 attacks on Israel by Hamas terrorists, an outpouring of protests across the world have not condemned the terror group but rather the Jewish state, which continues to reflect on the loss of more than 1,200 Israelis who died in the massacre last month.

The most extreme displays from Hamas-sympathizing supporters seem to be coming from American college campuses. Particularly concerning demonstrations were witnessed at once-prestigious institutions such as Harvard and New York University, among others.

Aside from college campuses, the anti-Israel movement also found its way to the headquarters of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) in Washington, D.C., where supposed pro-Palestinian demonstrators grew violent and clashed with police. Other protests have taken place outside the State Department, where demonstrators held handcrafted signs with anti-Israel slogans like “Israel = Cancer of the Middle East.”

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Those protests, and similar ones in recent American history, according to observers who’ve watched the issue unfold and offered their perspectives to Fox News Digital, are part of a much larger problem meant to “destabilize this country.”

Brooke Goldstein, a human rights attorney who serves as the executive director of The Lawfare Project, said she believes it’s time for law enforcement officials to open an investigation to find out how the protests are organized, as well as whether the protests are connected to foreign governments or terrorist organizations.

“We need to call these protesters what they are. They are not pro-Palestinian. There is no Palestinian democracy movement. There’s no Palestinian peace movement. They are pro-Hamas,” she said. “We need to take a long hard look at how a significant segment of our population has become radicalized. Law enforcement and lawmakers have, for too long, turned a blind eye to the operations of foreign governments within our borders, especially Qatar. They have ignored the relationship between designated terrorist groups and student groups on campus.”

“These protesters are not progressive, and they are not nonviolent. Their purpose is to destabilize this country and there’s an urgent need for law-enforcement to open an investigation into how they are being organized and whether or not they are tied to foreign governments or foreign terrorist groups,” she added

Other reasoning behind several of those protests, which have been complex and unpredictable in many instances, boils down to the teachings and activism of “left-wing academics” who have long supported certain racial divides and expect others to do the same, according to Christopher F. Rufo, a senior fellow at the Manhattan Institute and a contributing editor of City Journal.

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“The left-wing academics who have been cheering on violent ‘decolonization’ against Jews have been pushing the same hideous rhetoric against ‘whiteness’ for years. Same ideology. Same hatred. Same bloodlust,” Rufo said.

Rufo noted that several on the “academic left treat the Hamas fighter as a noble savage who symbolizes revolt against the West and through whom the academic can experience the thrill of violence.

“The fighter is seen as the physical embodiment of the jargon: ‘decolonization,’ ‘resistance,’ ‘power,’” he added. “Time to connect the dots and fight it together.”

Similarly, Lisa Daftari, editor-in-chief of The Foreign Desk, said she believes the rise in antisemitism across the country represents the “cross-sectionality” of social justice movements and other groups that place a particular focus on support for left-wing ideas.

“A significant contributor to the rise of antisemitism, especially among those under 25 and on college campuses, is the cross-sectionality of social justice movements and organizations that are telling young people, ‘If you care about various human rights such as gay rights, trans rights, race issues, then you need to demonize Israel,” she said. “It is now on the social justice ‘checklist’ to condemn Israel.

“Similarly, we are seeing Israel portrayed as a country of White, privileged people, the offspring of Europeans who immigrated there. This is absolutely false,” Daftari added. “Israel is made up of a diverse patchwork of people from all over the world, including those who have been there long before the official founding of the State in 1948. There are Black, brown and White people in Israel coming from Africa, the Middle East, South America and all over.”

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Following the protests outside the DNC headquarters, Rep. Brad Sherman, D-Calif, said during a recent appearance on “The Faulkner Focus” that many anti-Israel protesters are being “duped” into supporting Hamas terrorism.

“The Hamas object was to attack and kill as many Israelis as they could… on Oct. 7, retreat, regroup and then do it again,” Sherman said at the time. “And that’s not me speaking, that’s top Hamas leadership. I think some of the demonstrators support that plan. Others are duped into the idea that somehow a truce that allows Hamas to regroup and repeat will bring peace, and obviously that isn’t the case.”

Last month, Pastor Dumisani Washington, a Black activist and the founder of the Institute for Black Solidarity with Israel (IBSI), called out Black Lives Matter chapters he believed were expressing support for Hamas’ terrorism against Israeli civilians for embodying an “evil beyond description,” in an interview with Fox News Digital.

“The price that’s paid for organizations like Black Lives Matter to feign concern about Baltimore, Oakland, Ferguson… to feign concern only to use those people and even the deaths there to then demonize Israel some 6,000 miles away, is an evil beyond description,” Washington said. “People are being destroyed for the sake of antisemitism and anti-Zionism.… How are we defending the people of Gaza by celebrating this type of blood and gore?”

Rather than express sympathy for the more than 1,200 Israelis murdered by Hamas terrorists, at least two Black Lives Matter groups declared their support for Palestinians. At least 27 American citizens have been killed, an unknown number are in Hamas captivity and others remain unaccounted for. Some 230 children, women and men are believed to have been taken hostage by Hamas, although the number could be greater.

BLM Grassroots published a statement to its Instagram page last month that said, “Black Lives Matter Grassroots stands in solidarity with our Palestinian family who are currently resisting [75] years of settler colonialism and apartheid.”

A mural of George Floyd, a Black man who died after he was handcuffed and pinned down by a White police officer in Minneapolis, was painted in Gaza City following his death in 2020. Originally, the mural only featured Floyd’s face, but the words “Black Lives Matter” were added later to show support for the movement in the United States.

During a 2021 interview with Vice, Yahya Sinwar, the leader of Hamas in the Gaza Strip, used the “racist murder of George Floyd” to make a far-fetched comparison about Israel.

“I want to take this opportunity to remember the racist murder of George Floyd. George Floyd was killed as a result of racist ideology held by some people,” Sinwar said. “The same type of racism that killed George Floyd is being used by Israel against the Palestinians in Jerusalem, the Sheikh Jarrah neighborhood and in the West Bank.”

Fox News’ Joseph A. Wulfsohn and Hannah Grossman contributed to this report.

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