The ad, which was largely ripped off from a pseudonymous Israeli neocon blog (whose author proclaims to be a “friend” of ECI’s executive-director-in-title-only Noah Pollak), portrayed anti-Semitic sentiments in videos of two people — one of them an admitted petty thief and apparent camera-hungry provocateur — and a photograph of a sign-holder. And other websites posted a woman expressing anti-Semitic sentiments on a Reason video apparently at L.A.’s protest. That’s four people out of hundreds of thousands worldwide that have participated in 99 Percent protests. The “few Jew-baiters,” wrote Michelle Goldberg, “are marginal, particularly compared to the large numbers of Jewish activists taking part.” She wrote that ECI’s accusation was “dishonest and deceptive.” It’s worse: If it weren’t such a serious subject — Marc Tracy calls the accusation “highly irresponsible” — labeling the whole movement as “anti-Semitic” would be laughable. Dan Sieradski of Occupy Judaism, which is seeking to rally Jewish supporters to the 99 Percent movement, dismissed the “couple of jerks and idiots” and noted that a thousand people turned out for high holiday services organized for the Occupy Wall Street protesters.
Despite the seriousness of the charge — and the consequences of deploying it frivolously — it’s difficult not to snicker at the continuing far-right attacks on the 99 Percent Movement as anti-Semitic. Commentary launched a factually-challenged attack on New York’s Occupy Wall Street protest movement. And Andrew Breitbart’s Big Government site said that staunch Israel supporter Rep. Steve israel (D-NY) supported an “anti-Israel/anti-Semitic” cause.
But the most ridiculous attack, by far, came from the far-right Pajamas Media website. A writer going by the name “Zombie” — whose put up some of the most raucously funny attacks on the 99 Percent Movement (“Commies and Kooks,” etc.) — had a doozy of a post on Monday.
Organizers at Denver’s 99 Percent Movement rally had taped a hashtag symbol — the pound sign which is now used in Twitter to tag a word — on their shirts. The mark was supposed to make the organizers easy to identify in a crowd, but Zombie saw a much more nefarious force at play: National Socialism!
Take a look at the pictures:
Don’t these people see an echo of the swastika in their new power symbol? Don’t they realize that the early Nazi Party was (among other things, obviously) also overtly anti-capitalist?… Don’t they know that the early Nazis tried to garner sympathy with street rallies and marches?
When informed in the comment section of the post that the symbol was merely a Twitter symbol — and not a “bizarre neo-swastika” — Zombie continued to insist the 99 Movement has Nazi tendencies:
As a commenter notes, the symbol may have derived originally from the Twitter “hashtag,” but that in no way diminishes its creepiness. It may “just” be a rotated hashtag, but that doesn’t lessen its significance as a power symbol. The swastika, after all, was “just” a Buddhist good luck marking before the Nazis adopted it and started using it to indicate something else.
Jeffrey Goldberg, the mainstream media’s self-appointed final arbiter of who is and isn’t a Nazi and what is and isn’t anti-Semitic, has proclaimed that “Occupy Wall Street Is not anti-Semitic.” The mainstream media should take heed of his judgment and let the meme die, leaving it to the far-right symbologists and conspiracy theorists.
The Republican National Committee has now jumped on the bandwagon, writing, “OWS Anti-Semitism: Where’s the Outrage?”