Anti-Defamation League: Occupy Wall Street not doing enough to stamp out anti-Semitism

A man holds an anti-Semitic sign at Zuccotti Park on October 11.

Anti-corruption. Anti-Fed. There are a lot of “anti” messages floating around Occupy Wall Street, but one in particular has some — including the ADL — concerned: anti-Semitism.
 
The incidents are isolated, but they are there: One man has been spotted at Zuccotti Park time after time, say protesters, holding a sign that reads “Hitler’s Bankers — Wall Street,” while shouting “Jews control Wall Street.”
 
A second man is seen in another video, holding a sign that reads “Zionists Control Wall Street.”
 
At Occupy Los Angeles, a video surfaced of a woman saying, “I think the Zionist Jews who are running these big banks … need to be run out of this country.”
 
The incidents were enough to make outspoken CUNY trustee Jeffrey Wiesenfeld express his concern about the growing anti-Semitism to City Council Speaker Christine Quinn Tuesday. Quinn called the signs “repugnant.”
 
Protesters at Zuccotti Park today said they don’t support the Anti-Semitic signs. Brendan Burke, a member of the de-escalation team, which protesters say is their non-violent security force, said he encourages protesters to simply ignore people with hateful messages.
 
“This is about getting corruption out of our lives, which is financial,” said Burke. “So if someone walks around with a peace sign, that’s great. If someone walks around with an anti-Semitic sign, they’ll sow their own fate. It’s free speech so I encourage everyone when they see something like that, don’t be so instantly provoked by it.”
 
But the head of the Anti-Defamation League says Occupy Wall Street is not doing enough to publicly condemn the hate speech.
 
“Fifteen percent of American people believe Jews control Wall Street,” said Abraham Foxman, National Director of the Anti-Defamation League. “It reflects itself in some of the people in the protest.”
 
“The good people who are out there should speak out and condemn it and remove it,” he added.
 
They should come down and speak out against it,” Burke said in response to Foxman. “We have a protest to run, so come on down.”

‘This guy is not with us’

“We can’t force people to leave, everyone is welcome here,” said Nicholas Isabella, a 24-year-old protester from Queens, of the man seen carrying an anti-Semitic sign. He said protesters followed him around, holding their own signs that read “This guy is not with us,” with an arrow pointing to him. “Eventually he left on his own,” said Isabella.


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