ADL Condemns CAIR NJ Head for Saying Israel is ‘Choking the Palestinian People’ During ‘Day of Rage’ Protest

July 10, 2020
PARAMUS, NJ – MARCH 20: New Jersey residents wait in their cars to enter a new drive through COVID-19 testing facility at Bergen Community College on March 20, 2020 in Paramus, New Jersey. The facility reached capacity and closed at 12pm. The World Health Organization declared coronavirus (COVID-19) a global pandemic on March 11th. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

Anti-Defamation League (ADL) New York / New Jersey issued a joint statement with the Jewish Federation of Northern New Jersey (JFNNJ) on July 10 condemning the head of New Jersey’s Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) for accusing Israel of “choking” Palestinians.

The statement says that the two Jewish groups were concerned over some of the rhetoric used during a July 3 protest in Bergen, N.J., against possible Israeli annexation of portions of the West Bank. According to the ADL, CAIR New Jersey Executive Director Selaedin Maksut said during the rally, “In order to defeat this evil that is Zionism, we must realize that the foot on the necks of the Black and Brown people of this nation is the same foot and the same knee that is choking the Palestinian people. Zionism is racism, and the same powers that oppress the ones here in America are the same powers that oppress the Palestinian people.”

ADL New York/New Jersey and the JFNNJ condemned Maksut’s reported statement as “the type of language that only serves to further anti-Semitic and anti-Zionist conspiracies and distract and divide us from the critical work of combating systemic racism here in the U.S. and supporting the work of Israelis and Palestinians who yearn for peace and equality.”


CAIR New Jersey did not respond to the Journal’s request for comment.

The ADL released a report on July 10 detailing how “a large number of these events [“Day of Rage” protests] featured classic anti-Semitic tropes or hostile language demonizing Zionism, the movement for Jewish self-determination and statehood.” Some of the other examples listed in the report included chants of “Death to America, Death to Israel” in Arabic as well as chants of “Genocide in ’48, we don’t want your two states” during a July 1 rally in Brooklyn, N.Y. A Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) flag, which the State Department designates as a terrorist organization, was held during the same rally.

The report also highlighted how, at the New Jersey rally, an unidentified speaker who claimed to be affiliated with American Muslims for Palestine said, “We know that when you say no to annexation, no to occupation, we’re talking about all of historic Palestine. We’re talking about the entire West Bank, we’re talking about all the land. All the land from which our people were driven out.”

The ADL report did acknowledge that “many of the protestors limited their messaging to expressions of support for Palestinians and criticisms of Israeli policy.”

The “Day of Rage” protests occurred in cities all over the country, including Boston, Los Angeles and San Diego. Canadian high schoolers reportedly joined a July 4 protest in Mississauga, Ontario, that included chants in Arabic stating, “Jews are our dogs!” B’nai Brith Canada filed a hate crime complaint on July 8 over the alleged incident.

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