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December 21, 2012

“Violent Resistance” Makes Comeback in Wake of Pillar of Defense

Throughout Operation Pillar of Defense, the recent clash between Israel and Hamas operatives in Gaza that came to an end almost a month ago, anti-Israel activists expressed support for Hamas and violent resistance against Israel. Rallies across the U.S. included chants of “intifada, intifada” and hostile messages posted on Facebook and other social media platforms also sided with Hamas and joyfully announced that the “resistance has reached Tel Aviv!”

Interestingly, this sort of extreme rhetoric has not fully ebbed since the latest operation came to a close. At an event on Wednesday called “Resistance and Revolution: Gaza, the Arab Spring, and the new Middle East,” which was held in downtown Brooklyn, several panelists acknowledged that violence is a necessary part of the “revolution” against Israel.

Lamis Deek, a founder of Al-Awda, even criticized the Muslim Brotherhood’s leadership in Egypt for seizing and confiscating an arms shipment en route to Gaza from Libya, using it as an example of Egypt’s excessive “pro-Israel” position. She also included in her remarks, which were titled “Palestine and the Right of Resistance,” praise for the language of the ceasefire agreement between Israel and Hamas precisely because the text did not include a call for the recognition of the state of Israel.

Sherry Wolf, an activist with the International Socialist Organization and the event’s sponsor, similarly claimed that outsiders “can’t dictate the type of resistance” used by Palestinians and that there should be no expectation of a “resistance ‘Dream Team.’” Wolf has previously advocated an explicitly pro-terrorist position. On November 20, a day before the ceasefire was declared, Wolf published an article on the Socialist Worker’s website titled, “Gaza’s Right to Resist Israeli Terror.” In the article, she called “Hamas’ military resistance” a “source of tremendous pride” and said that those who stand with the oppressed ought to defend the “right of Palestinians to resist the terror of the Israeli military machine.”

Wolf has been invited to speak on several college campuses in recent weeks, including at New York University and Williams College in Massachusetts. Her appearances are generally sponsored by socialist student groups and Students for Justice in Palestine.

There is also evidence of increased support for Palestinian resistance beyond the U.S. At the University of London tomorrow, an event called “Gaza: Refocusing Resistance, How the resistance in Gaza has refocused the Arab Spring” will take place. Speakers scheduled to appear at the event include Roshan Muhammed Salih, a correspondent for Iran’s government-run English language news network PressTV, and Sukant Chandan, a London-based activist who supports Hezbollah and praised the second intifada during his speech at an Al Quds Day rally in London last August.

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August 9, 2012

Anti-Semitism Ever Present on Al-Awda’s Anti-Israel Listserve

One of the oldest and best-known pro-Palestinian organizations in the U.S. maintains a listserve that regularly distributes anti-Semitic propaganda and conspiracy theories to its members.

On Tuesday, the organization, Al-Awda, distributed an article via the listserve called “Zionist Media Domination: The Jewish Suicide Bomber That You Never Heard of.” The article was written by a 9/11 conspiracy theorist who claimed that an unsuccessful terrorist attack on the House of Representatives in the early 1980s was covered up in the media because the perpetrator was an Israeli and Zionist Jews have “supreme control…over the American press.” The author, Martin Iqbal, also repeated his longstanding conspiracy theory that the Israeli Mossad “took part in the 9/11 attacks.”

This article was sent to the listserve’s subscribers twice, once by a Palestinian activist from the UK who regularly distributes anti-Semitic content and once by a Northern California-based activist named Paul Larudee. Larudee has played a significant role in the domestic anti-Israel movement, including co-founding the International Solidarity Movement and the Free Gaza Movement, which was largely responsible for the May 2011 Gaza flotilla.

Larudee has occasionally sent extreme messages to the listserve, including a message several days earlier containing what is described as “a list of a 100 Israeli Air-Force pilots under active duty” replete with photos, their ID numbers and dates of birth. The message describes the soldiers as “war criminals” who have been provided with a “contrived veil of anonymity [that] enables their crimes without them suffering any fear.” The next line reads, “Please use and spread this information as widely as possible.”

On the day of the Bulgaria terrorist attack that killed five Israeli tourists, the listserve, which is hosted by Yahoo! Groups, contained an article by well-known Holocaust denier Michael Hoffman. The article, titled “Israeli false flag/black op in Bulgarian terror attack?” articulated conspiratorial Iranian claims that Israel would carry out terrorist attacks against its own citizens abroad in an attempt to frame Iran.

Older messages also contain nasty imagery about Jews and Israel. A particularly offensive article distributed to the listserve in 2010 described Israel as a society of “racists, cannibals and Nazi-minded murders and child killers” and alleged that the then-ongoing campaign for Gilad Shalit’s release was being “publicized by the Jewish-controlled media in Europe and North America.”

E-mails in 2009, which ADL reported on at the time on our Web site, were marked by claims that Israel secretly orchestrates Palestinian suicide bombings, that Jews are guilty of engaging in organ trafficking and that it is sensible to “doubt” the veracity of the Holocaust. One message referred to FOX News and CNN as “Zionist Jew network[s]” that are controlled by “Jew Zionist masters.”

And in 2007, Al-Awda distributed communiqués from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP). Nearly all of the communiqués expressed support for terrorist activity, extolling “martyrs,” encouraging the “resistance,” and detailing violence against Israeli troops.

While each message posted to Al-Awda’s listserve includes a disclaimer stating that it represents “the views of their authors and not necessarily those” of the organization, the listserve’s settings state that all postings require approval by a group moderator in order for them to be sent to list recipients. It seems that the moderators of the Al-Awda listserve willingly approve these messages of hate and conspiracy.

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