Right-Wing Media Claims Palestine Solidarity Activists in US ‘Influenced’ by Foreign Agents
On November 4, 300,000 people took to the streets in Washington DC to protest US funding of Israel and to call for a ceasefire (Photo: Sofia Perez)
As pro-Palestine demonstrations grow in size and stakes in cities across the United States, the mainstream media machine is working overtime to claim that demonstrators are being manipulated by wealthy donors abroad. Stemming from a Free Press article written on November 14, right-wing outlets have alleged that the People’s Forum, a socialist community space in New York, is bankrolling the Palestine solidarity movement, claiming that the organization has ties to the Chinese Communist Party.
On November 4, more than 300,000 people took to the streets in Washington DC to protest US funding of Israel and to call for a ceasefire. A week later, a much smaller number, between 5,000 and 20,000 descended upon Washington to “march for Israel,” although mainstream outlets such as the New York Post claimed to see a crowd of 300,000 as well.
The huge disparity in turnout for both DC events and the massive movement for Palestine cannot be due to “organic rage,” claims the mainstream media. In a November 15 segment, FOX News anchors express disbelief at the sheer scale of support for Palestine across the US, and try desperately to pin the success of the movement on outside forces.
Socialists once again accused of foreign influence
FOX News is referencing the article written in The Free Press, a media company founded by notorious Zionist Bari Weiss, which claims that two of the People’s Forum’s donors, Jodie Evans and Neville Roy Singham, are “Chinese propagandists.” The article implies, much like a long New York Times so-called investigation from August, that because Evans and Singham fund projects that do not parrot State Department talking points on China, they are being somehow influenced by the Chinese Communist Party.
This Times investigation provided the cover necessary for the Indian government to continue its attacks on left-wing media outlet Newsclick, which was accused in the Times article of “[sprinkling] its coverage with Chinese government talking points.” On October 3, Indian authorities raided the homes and offices of over 100 journalists, contractors, and former employees associated with the progressive news outlets Newsclick and Peoples Dispatch, as well as Tricontinental Research Services. Newsclick editor-in-chief Prabir Purkayastha and administrator Amit Chakraborty continue to languish in prison on draconian anti-terrorism charges. Prior to the raid, an Indian official had directly cited the New York Times article.
“The Chinese Communist Party uses tools like Confucius Institutes on college campuses, TikTok’s addictive algorithm, and organizations like those that Mr. Singham funds to divide and weaken America,” US Representative Mike Gallagher, the chairman of the House Select Committee on the Chinese Communist Party, told The Free Press. Gallagher is rapidly anti-China, even for a US congress member, not only openly admitting that there is a “New Cold War” against China, but that the United States must win it.
Palestine solidarity movement accused of “dividing America”
FOX News anchors used these baseless accusations of Chinese funding and influence to attack the popular, dynamic, and youthful Palestine solidarity movement in the United States. As Israel continues it’s genocide in the Gaza Strip, its policies of raiding and bombing hospitals, schools, and mosques are becoming unpopular worldwide. But it is not the genocide that makes Zionism unpopular, claim the anchors, it’s Chinese foreign influence.
“You look at this, and you think, these kids are being used as pawns,” said FOX Business anchor Jackie DeAngelis about recent protests, which have been majority youth.
“It’s so obvious that there’s an element of just wanting to create chaos, taking over streets, dividing America. It’s very consistent I think with what the Chinese Communist Party would like to see in America, a divided America. A ruined America,” added FOX Business anchor Brian Brenberg.
Brenberg claimed that a high school demonstration he witnessed for Palestine “was being controlled by somebody else, who was very much not a high school audience.”
“It sounds like it might be this group behind it,” he said, referring to the People’s Forum specifically.
Protestors as “outside agitators”
There is a long history of mass protest movements receiving these sorts of allegations. Claims that popular discontent is influenced by nefarious outside agents is a way to delegitimize those movements. Socialists in the 20th century were driven out of the public sphere due to accusations that they were “Russian agents” in the McCarthy era. Just a few years ago, the George Floyd uprisings were plagued by accusations of “outside agitators” coming to cities and stirring up riots, rather than what demonstrators were expressing, that millions of people hit the streets because they were tired of police brutality.
In a clip from a May 2020 demonstration Minneapolis, BreakThrough News anchor Eugene Puryear asks a protester, “What do you say to the governor who’s saying, it’s people coming from outside [that are driving the protests?]” The woman, a mother of three sons, responds, “No. It’s tired people.”
“We’ve been quiet for too long,” she said. “I mean this from my heart. Tear it down!”
Organizations plan mass day of action
The People’s Forum issued a response to the right-wing media accusations. “We affirm our right to gather, rally, and protest to defend Palestine. This is as much a moral right as it is a legal one. Efforts to smear and defame supporters of Palestinian liberation will enter the ledgers of history as shameful,” read their statement.
Alongside Palestinian groups, the People’s Forum is continuing to lead and organize protests. “History has shown us that those who stand on the sidelines and remain silent in the face of injustice are often judged harshly,” stated the organization.
On November 17, the People’s Forum alongside the Palestinian Youth Movement, the ANSWER Coalition, and several other organizations are calling for another international shut down of “business as usual” to protest Israel’s genocide. There is a planned mass rally on the steps of the New York Public Library, planned closings by small business owners, student walkouts, and mass actions around the world.
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