With its contemptible vote last week to support the BDS movement (boycotts, sanctions and divestment) against Israel, the Occupy Oakland movement has itself become occupied by fringe haters.
Since it began spreading last summer, the national Occupy movement had drawn justifiable attention for its outcry against economic injustice. Many Americans, including us, tended to sympathize with the movement’s aims, if not always its tactics.
Early on, those aims had to do with ameliorating the foreclosure crisis, combating homelessness and leveling the economic playing field in this country. Worthy goals all.
Yet give credit to the monomaniacal BDS crowd: They never miss an opportunity to usurp, infect and insinuate themselves into legitimate protest movements and somehow make it all about Israel. They even put up an Intifada tent in downtown Oakland.
Perhaps they believed the Occupy movement was inspired by and modeled after the so-called Arab Spring. They would be wrong. The Arab Spring erupted as a response to the tyrannical dictatorships that ruled the Arab world.
In fact the true progenitor of Occupy was the tent city protest in Israel last summer, which was a fight for economic injustice within the Middle East’s only true democracy.
One of the unfortunate side effects of the BDS vote is how it alienated Jewish activists in the Occupy movement. Jewish support of the movement has been strong ever since Occupy Oakland first erected tents — including a Jewish contingent tent, and even a sukkah — at Frank Ogawa Plaza.
Now that support has been jeopardized, thanks to those seeking to co-opt Occupy for their narrow geopolitical agenda. In our story this week on page 3a, local Jewish leaders initially supportive of Occupy have begun to openly reassess that support.
Besides the original Occupy Wall Street protestors in New York, no other allied group has garnered as much attention as Occupy Oakland, and not just because of violence that has broken out several times, including incidents of police over-reaction. It was in Oakland that the world saw the Occupy movement as a potential agent for positive change.
Yet much of that energy has been squandered, first by an anarchistic segment of Occupy Oakland, which has embraced vandalism and violence as a tactic. And now this.
As far as the broader Jewish community is concerned, the Occupy movement is on notice: Rid yourselves of the cancer of anti-Israel mania, or risk losing your Jewish support.