Palestine in Oakland

on 35 Comments
Woman in a wheelchair tries to escape the tear gas the Oakland Police Department launched upon the protesters. (Photo: Occupy Together)

Last night police in Oakland, California cracked down on protesters in the Occupy Oakland movement in a possibly ominous sign of things to come. Mother Jones reports that law enforcement used rubber bullets, tear gas, and flash-bang grenades to attack the protesters. The tactical similarities to Israel’s treatment of nonviolent Palestinian protesters were obvious to many, but they go deeper than that. Max Blumenthal writes the Oakland police used many of the same weapons:

The police repression on display in Oakland reminded me of tactics I witnessed the Israeli army employ against Palestinian popular struggle demonstrations in occupied West Bank villages like Nabi Saleh, Ni’lin and Bilin. So I was not surprised when I learned that the same company that supplies the Israeli army with teargas rounds and other weapons of mass suppression is selling its dangerous wares to the Oakland police. The company is Defense Technology, a Casper, Wyoming based arms firm that claims to “specialize in less lethal technology” and other “crowd management products.” Defense Tech sells everything from rubber-coated teargas rounds that bounce in order to maximize gas dispersal to 40 millimeter “direct impact” sponge rounds to “specialty impact” 12 gauge rubber bullets.

Poet Amirah Mizrahi made a similar connection in a piece she wrote for the Occupy Writers series:

oakland, 25 october 2011

I. second person present

when you are there
nothing else
is real.

tear gas makes you calm
a warm comfortable room
is disorienting

the shaking you feel
is each cell rising up
to protest with you
each person marching
is a cell
in the blood stream
of resistance flowing

is a vein

II. first person past

i was wadi salib 1959
i was musrara 1971
i was palestine in oakland
like never before i was
all the places
in all the radical histories
i know and don’t know

i heard a trumpet in a marching band
play a tune i recognized
bella ciao, bella ciao, bella ciao ciao ciao
clapping hands marching feet i gave
away shirts as scarves
to shield faces

today i was a time
place comma date
that some day some one will be
when she is again marching
in the streets and
knowing history
holding it

III. future perfect

there is a moment of realization
that a new world
is on the horizon we
work hard for her
slowly, painfully we

that there is still work
to be done tomorrow we
go home, wash
tear gas out
of our hair
clean our wounds
each other’s wounds

we remind each other:
love yourself
& build
for tomorrow.

How far will these connections resonate with the broader Occupy Together movement? Blumenthal ends:

Some Occupy Wall Street activists have argued that Palestine must remain segregated from the movement’s agenda. It is a distraction from the essential economic issues that drive the protests, they say, and turns the majority of Americans off. But the issue is becoming increasingly difficult to avoid now that the protesters are confronted with the very same weapons Israel uses to crush unarmed Palestinian resistance.

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35 Responses

  1. American
    October 26, 2011, 7:46 am

    Next poster.

    We’re all Palestines now.

    • James
      October 26, 2011, 12:43 pm

      next stop – suspect terrorists, all of us…

    • Philip Munger
      October 26, 2011, 12:45 pm

      We’re all Palestines now

      — not until they start killing us.

      Oakland was bad. Max is right. But let’s not make the police actions and the use of far too much force into more than what they are. I flew over both Watts and Newark when they were burning in 1965 and 1967.

    • DICKERSON3870
      October 26, 2011, 4:17 pm

      RE: “We’re all Palestines now.” ~ American

      PETITION – NPR: Reinstate “World of Opera” and its host, Lisa Simeone
      National Public Radio has ceased distribution of the classical music show “World of Opera” because its host, Lisa Simeone, helped organize the the ‘Occupy DC Protest’.
      TO SIGN –

      ALSO SEE: NPR’s Slow Slide to the Right, by Richard Schiffman,, 10/25/11

      (excerpts) The timing could not have been worse for the latest in a series of controversies to hit the nation’s scandal-prone public radio network. But the fact that it was pledge week didn’t prevent NPR from caving in to conservative pressure and canceling their distribution of “The World of Opera,” last Friday after it was revealed that host, Lisa Simeone, had taken part in Occupy DC, a spinoff of Occupy Wall Street movement, a protest against corporate greed which is spreading to cities nationwide. Simeone, an independent producer, was also sacked from the public radio documentary series “Sound Print” for her political activities.
      In justifying their actions, NPR spokeswoman Dana Davis Rehm stated that it is a conflict of interest for a journalist associated with NPR to take a role in a political protest movement, ignoring the fact that Ms. Simeone is a freelancer and not an NPR employee, and a music host, not a journalist…
      …For hundreds of listeners who flooded NPRs own blog and switchboard with messages of outrage over the weekend, however, it was no laughing matter. Many saw the incident as merely the latest chapter in the network’s slow drift to the right in an effort to appease republican critics in congress, which funds the Corporation For Public Broadcasting, a major source of NPR’s operating budget…


    • Hostage
      October 26, 2011, 5:19 pm

      We’re all Palestines now.

      I refuse to believe that the Californians or the federal government can float a loan for that much tear gas – even if the Israelis are willing to include free shipping;-)

    • Potsherd2
      October 26, 2011, 7:10 pm

      Iraq War veteran in critical condition after being struck by Israeliform projectile.

  2. MRW
    October 26, 2011, 8:28 am

    Of course the Oakland Police are using the same weapons that Max saw in Israel: the Israeli security companies (extra-judicial and foreign; therefore international) have infiltrated local law enforcement.

    Jeff Halper spilled the beans on this a year ago.

    EDIT: Thanks, Max.

    • James
      October 26, 2011, 12:42 pm

      ditto – thanks max.. this is one more spin off for those who love everything about israel… it seems israels number 1 export to the rest of the world is the arms industry.. i read yesterday an article written in spiegel on drones.. the leaders in this race are – usa, britian and israel…,1518,792590,00.html

      • MRW
        October 26, 2011, 9:22 pm

        Aren’t you in Canada, James? Your prisons and border controls have, via private treaty without any public discussion, have become thoroughly infected by foreign Israeli security firms using their I/P techniques. I perceive the difference now when I go to Canada. What used to be a pleasant border experience is now completely un-Canadian. And ugly.

  3. Chaos4700
    October 26, 2011, 8:52 am

    So remind me how nothing about these protests in the US are analogous to the protests on the West Bank? Right.

    If there were serious doubts about that, there aren’t anymore. Now it isn’t merely politically synergistic for American protesters to consult Palestinian protesters, it’s become an urgent necessity.

    After all, several police departments in the US are training with Israeli agencies, post 9/11. Remember?

    The corruption deepens.

  4. Les
    October 26, 2011, 10:00 am

    Couldn’t agree more. A comment yesterday on another site: This is what US taxpayers pay Israel to do to the Palestinians who have the audacity to protest their ethnic cleansing and occupation with the US providing any and all the ammunition necessary to exterminate the Palestinians. Welcome to the real world.

  5. Kathleen
    October 26, 2011, 10:05 am

    The Diane Rehm show focusing on the OWS protest this morning. Send in your questions, comments etc. Email, call, facebook, twitter

    [email protected]
    Be polite with the screener. Stay on topic. Be clear and polite if you get on. Let them know you may be a first time caller they really like first time callers

    A new Washington Post-Pew Research Center poll has revealed that more people support the Occupy Wall Street movement than the Tea Party. The spark for the movement came from “Adbusters” – an anti-consumerism magazine based in Vancouver. It proposed an “occupation” of Wall Street on September 17, 2011. The idea caught fire. Since the first protest, “occupy” movements have sprung up in across the country from Seattle to El Paso,Texas. The movement has been accused of being a “mob” and a front for special interests. But progressive politicians are increasingly trying to harness the movement’s support. Join us to discuss the appeal of the movement and its impact on American politics.

    Jim Tankersley reporter, National Journal

    Ken Vogel chief investigative reporter, POLITICO

    Jonathan Smucker volunteer, Occupy Wall Street

    Michele Pendergast volunteer, Occupy San Francisco

    Joshua volunteer, Occupy Chicago

    Corryn Freeman volunteer, Occupy DC/K Street

    • MRW
      October 26, 2011, 9:59 pm

      Thanks for the number, Kathleen. Preserved for when I’m on the road and get riled up. ;-)

  6. seafoid
    October 26, 2011, 11:34 am

    wow. Even MSN is onto OWS

    don’t forget

    In 1976 the top 1 percent of households in the United States accounted for 9 percent of income generated in the country; by 2007 this share had risen to 24 percent. According to Raghuram Rajan (former chief economist for the IMF), for “every dollar of real income growth that was generated [in the United States] between 1976 and 2007, 58 cents went to the top 1 percent of households.” In 2007 a single hedge fund manager, John Paulson, “earned” $3.7 billion, around 74,000 times the median household income in the country. Between 1989 and 2007, the share of total wealth held by the top 5 percent of wealth-holders in the United States rose from 59 percent to 62 percent, far outweighing the wealth of the bottom 95 percent of the population

    The sound of tectonic plates shifting is bad news for Israel overall and AIPAC is scared

    But that didn’t prevent the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) from offering Jewish organizations and individuals to join them in signing the “National Pledge for Unity on Israel,” aimed, as it stated, “to rally bipartisan support for Israel while preventing the Jewish State from becoming a wedge issue in the upcoming campaign season.”

  7. Mndwss
    October 26, 2011, 1:13 pm

    I love the OWS-movement, and i hope this movement will change US domestic and foreign policy, but i believe the empire will continue it’s foreign policy as long as it can.

    I heard someone (i do not remember who) many years ago explain how differently the American and British people think about the wealthy:

    An English-man looking at the big mansion on the top of the hill would think that: One day i am going to beat the shit out of the owner of that house. An American would think: One day i am going own that house.

    Things are changing. Are Americans becoming more British?

    Americans are waking up from the dream (“A rising tide, lifts all boats” – Reagan) just to find that most Americans have no boat (Company) and are left standing on the ocean floor with their heads just above water. And they no longer believe that the rich people with boats will help the drowning people.

    I think this movement is great, but how can it become something more, like Solidarność (Polish trade union) for all the people of this planet?

    The Brits held on to their empire for as long as they could, and is still very proud of their crimes.

    Will the Americans be better?

    So far demonstrations in the powerful countries US and Israel have been about local issues: Cottage cheese and the right to have a cottage/house to eat the cheese in.

    Where is the solidarity?

    • dumvitaestspesest
      October 26, 2011, 2:27 pm

      I’m glad, you ‘ve mentioned Polish Solidarity Movement (Solidarnosc).
      It was a GREAT movement Although, at that time I was a pretty young teenager ,I still remember those days, ( I’m from the beautiful city where everything started) full of anticipation, fear of unknown, but also joy and hope.
      Unfortunately, the movement got infiltrated by many confidants, traitors, 5th collumn. Many will be probably surprised, but in Poland, currently, Lech Walesa , ( the leader of 1980 Solidarity movement, Nobel Peace prize receiver ) has almost NO respect. Majority of the average people treat him as a traitor , full of himself ignorant, bufoon.
      Long story why.
      I was a little surprised when I watched the movie on the you tube:
      ( recommended, I believe ,by @seafoid) titled ;”Pacifying Resistance”.
      The movie mentions that Ghandi in India is treated as traitor, collaborator etc.
      I was smiling to myself because that’s exactly how Polish people feel about Lech Walesa. Btw , people from India admire Bhagat Singh, as a major hero of the times of fighting with British occupation. I did not know that. I’ve never even heard his name before.
      Nevertheless , the Solidarity movement in 1980 was a GREAT movement of average people.
      I will attach a few links to documents of those times, August /1980.

      And here, how they pacified this movement in 12/13/1981 by declaring Martial lLaw, arresting the main leaders etc.

      Here is an above mentioned movie: “Pacifying Resistance”. Very good one.

      • Keith
        October 26, 2011, 3:41 pm

        DUMVI- Lech Walesa was a de facto asset of the US at the time, receiving critical support from the AFL-CIO, which, in turn, receives US government funding for its foreign policy institutes which have a long and sordid history of connivance with the US State Department in opposing militant 3rd World unions and supporting militant unions who oppose a regime the US wants to destabilize. They were active in Venezuela in the attempt on Chavez, for example. The actions of the AFL-CIO outside the US have been extremely harmful to US workers and to the international labor movement.

      • dumvitaestspesest
        October 26, 2011, 5:43 pm

        There is a pretty famous book, written by father Martin Malachi
        ( former Jesuit, died a few years ago), “Keys of this Blood”.
        I’ve read some reviews of this book, did not have the chance to read the book yet. He writes ,very interestingly, about the “conspiracy” to bring down a communism “peacefully”, some of the people involved in this “” scheme” were ,according to him, Gorbachev and John Paul II.
        Why would they like to do it??
        That’s a good question.

  8. LanceThruster
    October 26, 2011, 2:09 pm

    Can we call this the 99% Spring and expand the BDS action to the Wall Street and banking robber barons?

    The solidarity with the Palestinians is in currently getting screwed over and ignored as well but could quickly escalate without much effort to wrongful imprisonment, targeting with violence, an unconcern for the level of harm from the violence the victims would be subjected to, and a unified front of propaganda to demonize the victims further.

    We certainly live in interesting times.

  9. dumvitaestspesest
    October 26, 2011, 3:03 pm

    Here is very touching song performed by a great band from Hungary named Karpatia.
    Title: “My friend, where are You??”
    Hungarians have also a long history of resistence against communism ,( the most bloody one in 1956).
    Strong, independent spirits will fight with all their strength to resist oppression.

    And THIS video always brings tears in my eyes.
    What an incredible act of courage.!!!!!!!!!!!

    • seafoid
      October 26, 2011, 5:49 pm

      Hungary really got shafted by the Great Powers after WW2.
      Austria ended up in the West and Hungary was chained to the Soviet Union. What a nightmare.

  10. kursato
    October 26, 2011, 3:30 pm

    Arrested: 1 Ex-Goldman Director, 2,511 Protesters

    This arrest and the conviction of Rajaratnam stand out amid the paucity of criminal charges against senior executives linked to the main substance of the banking crash, the millions of bad mortgages underwritten by banks, repackaged and sold off to investors. One point of comparison here is the protesters’ count of arrests at Occupy Wall Street demonstrations around the country. That now stands at 2,511.

  11. radii
    October 26, 2011, 4:52 pm

    and nearly all the cops in all the cities busting heads on behalf of the banksters are UNION – once again conservative Americans (most cops are conservative) act against their self-interest (just as for 30 years Republicans between the coasts have voted on ‘God, guns and gays’ and supported candidates who closed down their factories, shipped their jobs overseas and basically destroyed them) … these cops need to wake up the reality that THEIR housing values were hit by the banksters that the protesters shout about … that their pensions were hit by the fraud that these protesters shout about … wake up and quit being dumb, cops

  12. Shingo
    October 26, 2011, 5:39 pm

    This must be what they mean when they talk about those values the US shares with Israel.

  13. ToivoS
    October 26, 2011, 7:41 pm

    SF Chronicle is reporting that one of the protesters is in critical condition.

    Authorities have not released information on injuries from the clash. However, officials at Highland Hospital in Oakland said today that one protester, Scott Olsen of Daly City, a member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, was in critical condition

    Scott Olsen is an ex-marine who served two tours in Iraq. It sounds like he has a subdural haematoma.

    • Henry Norr
      October 26, 2011, 7:55 pm

      Scott Olsen has a fractured skull and swelling fo the brain, according to his roommate – more info and pix here.

      Oakland’s Tristan Anderson (who’s also from Oakland).

      One thing I can say from personal experience: the gas the OPD used last night wasn’t half as bad as what the IDF uses.

    • MRW
      October 26, 2011, 10:01 pm

      ToivoS and Henry,


  14. Henry Norr
    October 26, 2011, 8:45 pm

    BTW, here’s a response to Max’s article from Dalit Baum of and Global Exchange’s Economic Activism for Palestine project, who knows a lot about such things: “Defense Technologies supply the Israeli police with some of these weapons, but not the army mostly. The weapons used in Biliin and Niilin were almost all CSI-made.”

    FWIW I got hit in the leg last night by chunk of a projectile – I think it was the firing mechanism of a flash-bang grenade – with a label saying Defense Technology Corp., Casper, WY. I gave it to the National Lawyers Guild.

    Headed back to Oakland for tonight’s “reconvergence.” Wish me luck…

  15. thetumta
    October 26, 2011, 9:55 pm

    No Oakland is not Palestine, not even close. I didn’t see anyone throwing rocks at the police, not one rock. For the serious among you, examine New Orleans during Katrina. On certain unfounded news, the police completely panicked and left town, About 1300 of them. This is just getting started, be patient.

  16. Kathleen
    October 27, 2011, 11:50 am

    To think that the young Iraqi soldier did two tours has been allegedly seriously injured by Oakland police. This is insane, outrageous and criminal. Let’s hope they get to the bottom of this.

    I have been spending a fair amount of time in the Dayton Ohio Veterans Administration with my WWII father. This has been the case for the last four years Have talked with lots of Vets about their service. The other day I talked with two Iraqi war vets. One with two missing limbs the other with three missing limbs (we were in the section of the VA where Vets were being fit with specialized wheelchairs). They both had metal and plastic limbs. I tiptoed around the deeper issues. Only dig deeper when I have gotten to know Vets or if they open those doors which has happenned.
    After talking with these two Vets about their care, the weather etc. I went around the corner into the restroom and wept in one of the stalls for what seemed to long for their enormous losses. Clearly they will go through the rest of their days with these losses. Cheney, Bush, Wolfowitz etc should be driving these Vets, cleaning their bed pans etc for the rest of their lives.

  17. Kathleen
    October 27, 2011, 12:02 pm

    ok folks go check out the video up at Occupy Wall streets website of the Iraqi war Vet Scott Olson after being hit lying on the ground bleeding as people go into help. The video clip shows another Oakland police officer backing up and throwing another tear gas cannister into the crowd trying to help the injured Iraqi war Vet. Horrifying

    SORRY UNABLE TO LINK. This may do it
    Posted Oct. 26, 2011, 8:53 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

    The resistance continues at Liberty Square and worldwide!
    NewsLiveStreamForumChatUser MapNYCGAAboutDonate We are all Scott Olsen: Occupy Oakland #OWS
    Posted Oct. 26, 2011, 8:53 p.m. EST by OccupyWallSt

    Late last night, Scott Olsen, a former Marine, two-time Iraq war veteran, and member of Iraq Veterans Against the War, sustained a skull fracture after being shot in the head with a police projectile while peacefully participating in an Occupy Oakland march. He remains unconscious in critical condition at Oakland’s Highland Hospital.

    Olsen was hit at close range. After demonstrators rush to Olsen’s aid, an Oakland cop waits a few beats before lobbing a second tear-gas canister at the crowd. They are attending to Olsen when the canister explodes, sending smoke everywhere.

    Press release from Iraq Veterans Against the War.

    Our hearts and prayers go out to Scott and his family.


    Call Mayor Quan’s office and demand that she investigate this incident and allow peaceful protests to continue: (510) 238-3141

    • Henry Norr
      October 27, 2011, 4:01 pm

      Iraq Veterans Against the War, the group Scott Olsen is active in, has set up a support fund for him. If you’re so inclined, you can make a secure donation at this page or mail a check or money order to:

      P.O. Box 3565
      New York, NY 10008-3565
      Attn: Scott Olsen Support Fund

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