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Sat Oct 18 2008 (Updated 10/21/08)Local Media Used to Print False Accusations Against Human Right Activists
Sat Oct 18 2008 (Updated 10/21/08)Hate Crime is Used to Harass UC Berkeley Human Right Activist
In the past few weeks, activists in the UC Berkeley area have engaged in correcting pro-Israel propaganda. The propaganda is currently in the form of AC Transit bus stop advertisements, produced by the San Francisco based public relations company. Neglecting Israeli occupation of Palestine, human rights abuses and institutionalized racism of the Jewish state, the PR propaganda does not advertise for a particular product or endorse a specific policy. It depicts Israel as a beacon of liberal democratic, anti-racist, anti-sexist and environmentally conscious values, while exploiting Palestinians, homosexuals, women, Ethiopians and Martin Luther King Jr in order to further the organizations political agenda.
One of the ads depicted Palestinian soccer player Suwan Abbas, with the description "Where in the Middle East do Jews and Arabs play together? Only in Israel." The corrections made by activists to the ads features stenciled statements, such as "Palestine will be free" and "where can one find an illegal occupation? Only in Israel." However, on the night of September 18, someone added an image of a Swastika, an equal sign and a Star of David, to an already stenciled ad that carried the massage "free Palestine". Human rights groups on and off-campus have condemned this graffiti as a hate crime, but local Zionists groups have seized the moment and used the graffiti for the political agenda of creating an atmosphere of fear, in order to silence critics of Apartheid and racism.
Members of Students for Justice in Palestine, a UC Berkeley Palestinian solidarity group, have been harassed in the weeks building up to and following the graffiti. They were followed, yelled at, and threatened. One of the forms of harassment was a large graffiti in one of the main lecture halls on campus that included Jewish nationalist slogans and the statement "SJP don't fuck with the Jews on campus ANYMORE!"
Additionally, local media outlets such as the Oakland Tribune, Berkeley Daily Planet, the Daily Cal, J Mag and others have reported on the hate speech graffiti and some have printed false accusations against SJP, despite the Berkeley City Police having no leads as to who wrote the hate speech. It appears the media outlets have contributed to a current campaign against Palestinian solidarity groups, which should be considered part of larger campaign of policing academics and student organizations that speak out against the Israeli occupation and human rights abuses of Palestinians. Read More
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