Anti-Israel activists exploit Ferguson tension as part of propaganda war.
While no one knows if there will even be an indictment of Officer Darren Wilson in the killing of Michael Brown, leaked evidence including an autopsy report raise the possibility there will be no indictment.
If that happens, the streets will be on edge, and it will not take much of a spark to set the city on fire worse than ever before.
As much tension as there is, an underreported story is the active role of “pro-Palestinian” activists who have exploited the Ferguson riots and tension this summer and fall to push their anti-Israel agenda. That anti-Israeli agenda, which involves encouraging confrontation with police in solidarity with Palestinians, is helping provide the accelerant to an already volatile situation.
It started with a propaganda campaign over the summer when Brown was shot. On Twitter and elsewhere, anti-Israel activists started tweeting messages of “support” for protesters in Ferguson, including advice on how to deal with tear gas.
It was a highly organized effort to exploit the Ferguson tension and co-opt it into the anti-Israel cause:
— End the Occupation (@US_Campaign) October 9, 2014
Tying Ferguson to Gaza is a major theme in this weekend’s national Students for Justice in Palestine conference being held at Tufts University in Massachusetts.
This type of co-opting now is a common tactic on campuses and elsewhere, including trying to compare the U.S.-Mexican border fence to the Israeli security barrier (built after several hundred Israelis died in suicide bombings in 2002-2004) in order to forge alliances against Israel. It is a highly racialized tactic, using verbiage of colonized “brown people” versus white colonizers.
It also has involved a propaganda campaign to blame Israel for the killing of Brown because a former St.Louis County police chief three years ago attended a one-week anti-terrorism program in Israel. Presumably some Ferguson officers also have attended various training sessions routinely given in the U.S. and elsewhere to police departments, but the one-week training in Israel by someone who wasn’t even on the job when Brown was shot was enough for the usual suspects to try to blame Israel for everything that happens in Ferguson.
.@RaniaKhalek The Ferguson cops did not receive training in Israel. The former STL County police chief attended a weeklong seminar in Israel
— Nurit Baytch (@NuritBaytch) August 18, 2014
It also was claimed that there was an Israeli connection because both Israeli police and Ferguson police use the same type of tear gas container, made by a company in Pennsylvania. Think about that. Just because Israel buys tear gas canisters from the same American company the Ferguson police buy from somehow makes Israel responsible.
It defies any logic, but it is spread far and wide, including by NY Times reporter Robert Mackey:
— Robert Mackey (@RobertMackey) August 18, 2014
And the Israeli far-left wing 972 Magazine.
That’s how anti-Israel propaganda works. Pick some irrelevant connection between Israel and someone who allegedly does something wrong, and then claim Israel is responsible for what the other person did.
This is not a lightly taken tactic. Several anti-Israel groups were active in the Ferguson protest weekend in October, under the “Ferguson to Israel” banner (and Twitter hashtag) including Code Pink (whose Medea Benjamin just returned from an anti-Israel conference in Tehran):
— CODEPINK (@codepink) October 11, 2014
Multiple anti-Israeli activists plastered their #Palestine2Ferguson photos all over social media and websites.
— Linda Sarsour (@lsarsour) October 11, 2014
— Kristian D Bailey (@kristianbailey) October 11, 2014
— AsianLawCaucus (@aaaj_alc) October 11, 2014
This International Solidarity movement activist, who helped organize human shield operations by activists in Gaza this summer, is among many anti-Israel activists making the comparison between Gaza and Ferguson:
— Joe Catron (@jncatron) October 11, 2014
These groups were not shy in advocating protest. Nothing wrong with that, but the Palestinian-Ferguson protest advocacy has actively encouraged confrontation, such as this Students for Justice in Palestine activist:
— Abbas Sarsour (@iFalasteen) August 14, 2014
— Abbas Sarsour (@iFalasteen) August 14, 2014
But there is one anti-Israel activist who actively is trying to provoke a confrontation between protesters and police, even taunting police in crowd situations about losing their guns and hoping they die.
(More images from US Campaign to End the Occupation Palestine2Ferguson campaign here.)
His name is Bassem Masri.
Masri presents himself as a journalist, but the mask is off.
Masri has been touting anti-Israeli conspiracy theories while organizing Ferguson protests, via Free Beacon:
Angry protesters in Ferguson, Mo., shut down CNN’s live broadcast Monday night after repeatedly heckling the reporter and cameraperson for working for an organization “run by AIPAC” and “Zionists.”
The heckling is audible in a video filmed by protester Bassem Masri, whose Twitter profile touts the Palestinian cause and reads “long live Palestine.”
“You fucking lie about Ferguson; you lie about Occupy Wall Street; you lie about Palestine. You’re all run by Zionists,” one protester said. “We’re holding y’all accountable.”
The hecklers threatened to shut down future CNN broadcasts. “They’re an AIPAC-run agency,” Masri said. “Don’t even think that we won’t.”
Much more ominously, Masri appears to be directly fomenting violence, as a local Fox affiliate reports on his presence in a crowd protesting an unrelated shooting of Vonderitt Myers Jr. in St. Louis, One man’s protests push police to the limit:
Here`s an inside look at one of the most angry protestors, who`s lighting up social media over Ferguson and the deadly police shooting on Shaw. Fox Files investigator Chris Hayes sat down with St. Louisan Bassem Masri.
A crowd chants to officers, “Whose streets? Our streets. Our streets. Our streets.”
It was October 8, the night an off duty officer shot and killed Vonderett [sic] Myers Jr. Crowds surround officers who back away.
A man holding a cell phone says, ‘What the f*** you doing here bro, get the f*** out a here with your coward ass boys.’ It was Bassem Masri who said this as he streamed video that was live at the time. Masri yelled at an officer, ‘Coward straight pig out here bitch! You gotta go. Your life is in danger homie.’
People appear to feed off of his energy. Masri told an officer, ‘What happens when we take your gun?’ That officer then protects his gun. Another officer protecting his gun was answered with screams, ‘He has his hand on his gun!’
Then citizens surrounded him and chanted, ‘Shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot, shoot.’
At one point you can hear Masri tell officers, while pointing at each one, ‘I`m praying for your death and you death and your death and your death.’
(added) This video, which reportedly shows Masri confronting a Ferguson police officer (one of the people with him threatens to rape the officer’s wife) demonstrates how the aggressive, in-your-face, unprovoked tactics risk escalation. Fortunately, this officer just took the verbal abuse and did not react:
Israel has nothing to do with whatever did or did not happen in Ferguson.
But anti-Israel activists rarely care about the truth, it’s all propaganda for the cause.
But this propaganda, and this agitation, actively is pushing for a confrontation between police and protesters in Ferguson, in which people are likely to get hurt. And the activists like Masri will be there to take the viral videos and photos.
And that’s the point. Just as Palestinian and supportive Western leftist activists encourage children to throw rocks at Israeli police so they can get the video of the police arresting a child, so too this is all about the photo- and video-ops.
And it may push Ferguson over the edge.
[Note: Some images were added after initial publication.]
[Featured Image source: @iFalastine Twitter]