As “Occupy Wall Street” protests continue to gain steam and attract media attention, several videos of protesters spewing anti-Semitic language are sparking new concerns about the protesters and their messages.
Yeshiva World News, an Orthodox Jewish news outlet, explained in an editorial Thursday that “many Jews” are feeling a bit uncomfortable with the growing protests because of hateful video footage claiming the U.S. economy is organized for the benefit of Jews.
“The reasons for these ‘uncomfortable feelings’ don’t need to be elaborated on this page,” the editorial reads. “Suffice to say that Jews have been blamed for the world’s troubles for thousands of years, and many are nervous that this finger-pointing will soon start — or , maybe it already has.”
National Review Online and The Blaze have published online video footage this week showing Occupy Wall Street protesters saying and shouting anti-Jewish slurs.
“Go back to Israel,” shouted one protester at an elderly Jewish man.
In another video a man repeats stereotypes about Jews supposedly controlling the mass media, money, and “other areas of production.”
Adbusters, the anti-consumerist, Canada-based magazine which reportedly sparked the protest movement, has been accused of anti-Semitism in the past, most recently for comparing the situation of the Palestinians in Gaza to the plight of the Jews held in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. This resulted in Jewish groups publicly boycotting the magazine.
On his way to a meeting this week, Zionist Organization of America president Morton Klein walked past a protester carrying a “Hitler’s Bankers” sign but decided not to dignify him with a confrontation.
“During bad times it not uncommon that Jews are scapegoated, and these are bad times. There is no question these are bad times,” Klein told The Daily Caller.
Radio host Mark Levin added that he has been horrified to hear Democratic politicians voice support for the protesters without fully understanding their demands — especially in the wake of ugly rhetoric.
“I am appalled that Democrat politician after Democrat politician, including the president and vice president, are embracing these protests, even claiming to understand their supposed concerns and motivations, when so many of these people are using, among other things, anti-Semitic slurs of the oldest kind,” Levin told TheDC. “It is appalling and I hope the public takes note.”
According to Lubavitch News Service, some of the activists have identified anti-Semitic rhetoric among their ranks and are working do dispel it. Daniel Sieradski is one protester who has taken it upon himself to fight against the “small, fringe element that has ‘chosen to co-opt the protests as an opportunity’ to spread hatred and anti-Semitic rhetoric, among participants,” the news service reports.
Indeed, while there have been demonstrations of anti-Jewish sentiment, The Jewish Daily Forward reported Friday that with Jews celebrating Yom Kippur this evening, some Jewish activists will be holding a Yom Kippur service at a plaza across the street from Zuccotti Park, which has been the center of much of the protest, to further expand the protest movement’s already growing footprint.