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ADL Calls for Protest Organizers to Condemn Anti-Semitism

Good luck with that. As we’ve been told relentlessly, Occupy Wall Street is a leaderless movement (which means even the original creator and promoter of OWS doesn’t have to answer for his anti-Jewish writing, in the eyes of the movement’s supporters).

But with increasing reports of anti-Semitism at the OWS rallies, the Anti-Defamation League had to put out some sort of response. And while it’s a bit vague of the ADL to call for “organizers, participants and supporters” to condemn the bigotry at the rally, at least it acknowledges that the anti-Semitic incidents are becoming a problem:

We are seeing some individuals holding anti-Semitic signs at the “Occupy Wall Street” rallies, and some videos posted on YouTube from the rallies have shown individuals expressing classic anti-Semitic beliefs such as “Jews control the banks” and “Jews control Wall Street.”  While we believe that these expressions are not representative of the larger views of the OWS movement, it is still critical for organizers, participants and supporters of these rallies to condemn such bigoted statements clearly and forcefully.

There is no evidence that these anti-Semitic conspiracy theories are representative of the larger movement or that they are gaining traction with other participants.  However, history demonstrates time and again how economic downturns can embolden anti-Semites to spread malicious conspiracy theories and promote stereotypes about Jews and money. As a consequence, these statements must not be left unchallenged.

But if there are no leaders of the movement, who is even in the position to condemn the anti-Semitism at the rallies? The movement claims to have no official leaders, no official platform, no official aims. In an environment like that, it may not even make a difference if a few members speak out against the anti-Semites – they have no “legitimacy” as leaders in the eyes of the protesters.


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