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August 7, 2013

Extreme Anti-Israel Rhetoric Marks Al Quds Day Protests Across U.S.

In commemoration of Al Quds Day, an annual day of protest typically held on the last Fri­day of Ramadan, large anti-Israel rallies took place in cities across the U.S. on August 2.  The day is used to call for the liberation of Al Quds, which means Jerusalem in Arabic.

These rallies are notorious for their virulent rhetoric against the state of Israel, includ­ing, at times, anti-Semitic allegations about Jews and Israelis. Speakers at this year’s protests in the U.S. accused Israel of perpetrating atrocities against Palestinians comparable to the Nazi Holocaust, rejected Israel’s right to exist and expressed opposition to the renewed peace talks taking place between Israel and the Palestinians.

The following is a summary of some of the Al Quds Day rallies:

Houston, Texas

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Al Quds Day protester at Houston rally

A large rally was held downtown with signs and banners that read, “Children Are Buried Alive, Holocaust Is Revived” and “Stop Palestinian Genocide: End Zionist Apartheid.” Protesters also led chants of “U.S. money is the cause, it’s another Holocaust” and “U.S. weapons go away. Stop the killing right away.”

Washington D.C.

An activist affiliated with CODEPINK, a group that seeks to reduce U.S. support for Israel, named Tighe Barry told those gathered at an Al Quds Day rally that “there’s a Holocaust going on in Palestine.” Barry charged that there is a “Zionist impression” in the American education system and relayed that he had requested that a teacher in his child’s school “teach about all the holocausts” as part of a course on the Nazi Holocaust. When the teacher refused, Barry said he offered to teach the class himself and miss work in order to “talk about these other holocausts that are taking place like the Nakba.”

San Jose, California

The Shia Association of Bay Area (SABA) held an Al Quds Day rally on its premises featuring talks on the conditions various Shiite communities face. A member of the congregation, Zaki Hussain, gave a slideshow presentation titled, “Should Shia Muslims Support Palestine?” in which Israeli policies were likened to Nazi persecutions. Hussain told the audience that as Shia Muslims and followers of the teachings of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini they have a responsibility to defend the Palestinians even though the Palestinians are Sunni Muslims.

New York City

Approximately 200 people gathered at a rally in Times Square where several speakers lambasted the existence of the state of Israel and the renewed peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians. Bill Doares from the International Action Center described Hassan Nasrallah, the leader of the Lebanon-based, Iranian-backed terrorist organization Hezbollah, as “the leader of the resistance.” He summed up a recent speech by Nasrallah by saying, “as long as Israel exists, it’ll be the threat to the existence of Lebanon and its neighbors. So it is simple, one state in all of Palestine for all people.”

Ben Becker, a national organizer for Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), used his time at the podium to condemn the latest peace negotiations, describing them as “nothing but a farce” and claiming that “they’re attempts to get some Palestinians to negotiate away those sovereign and national rights.” Fatin Jarara, an activist with the anti-Israel group Al-Awda NY, expressly rejected Israel’s right to exist: “Palestinians in the diaspora reject unequivocally any compromise over an inch of historic Palestine. Not just Jerusalem, not just the West Bank, not just Gaza.”

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Neteuri Karta member at Times Square Quds Day rally

In addition to these inflammatory speeches, signs at the rally read, “Israel (crossed out), Much Worse Than the Nazis” (with a Swastika on it), Stop Palestinian Genocide: End Zionist Apartheid and “No New Negotiations! Palestine is NOT FOR SALE.”

The protests in the U.S. echoed what was said by international figures at demonstrations in the Middle East, including Iran’s former president, Mahmoud Ahmadinajad, and Nasrallah.

In Iran, where International Al Quds Day was established in 1979 by the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Ahmadinejad derided peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, claiming that the Israelis seek the “domination and plundering of the world and humanity” and that “today, all political leaders are Zionists.”

Nasrallah, in a rare appearance at a rally in southern Beirut, said, “Israel’s demise is a national Lebanese interest” and pledged that Hezbollah would never “abandon Palestine.”

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August 2, 2013

Iranian Regime Amps Up Anti-Zionist Rhetoric For Al Quds Day Protests

Hassan Rouhani, president-elect of Iran, while viewed by many as a “moderate” leader willing to work with the West, is a life-long regime insider. However, Rouhani’s election apparently does not signify any change in the regime’s antagonism toward Israel and the West. khamenei-facebook-al-quds

This fact has been plainly presented this week in the run up to International Al Quds (Jerusalem) Day, a day of protest against Israel first established by the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Throughout the course of the week, state leaders and officials have made a series of hostile and threatening remarks against the Jewish state, which have also been echoed in state-run newspapers and social media.

The following are some examples of anti-Israel rhetoric made by Iranian government officials and newspapers leading up to this Friday’s Al Quds Day demonstrations:

  • In an August 1 interview with the Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA), Hossein Naqavi-Hosseini, the spokesman for the Parliamentary National Security and Policy Committee, called upon all Muslim nations to “support the inalienable rights of the Palestinian nation and to fight this cancerous tumor [Israel] that’s in the Islamic world.”
  • State-run newspapers on Thursday featured Jerusalem Day articles and op-eds denouncing Israel and Israeli policies. An article published in Kayhan, the official mouthpiece of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, claimed that the Arab Spring, dubbed the Islamic Awakening by Iran’s leaders, has ended “the dream of America and the Zionists of creating ‘Greater Israel’ from the Nile to the Euphrates.”
  • A pre-Jerusalem Day post on the official Facebook page of Ayatollah Khamenei called on supporters to “defeat the enemy & force it to retreat” by participating in demonstrations. The post was accompanied by a graphic accusing Israel of committing genocide and infanticide.
  • In a July 31 interview with Fars News Agency, Ramazan Sharif, the head of the Council of Islamic Propaganda and Al Quds Intifada, said that Iran supports all “Palestinian jihadi resistance movements,” and that there will be no regional peace and security so long as the “usurping Zionist regime is present in the region.”

During last year’s Jerusalem Day protests, Iran’s Supreme Leader and several government officials openly called for the Israel’s annihilation.

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August 17, 2012

Iranian Leaders Call For Israel’s Annihilation In Anticipation Of Jerusalem Day

At a time of heightened international tensions over Iran’s nuclear program, Iranian leaders have been using the occasion of  annual Jerusalem Day demonstrations, taking place today in cities around the world, to amplify their threats against the Jewish state.

  • Speaker of parliament Ali Larijani opened Thursday’s parliamentary session declaring, “God willing, this movement of the Muslims toward the goal of ending and removing this cancerous tumor called Israel will be accomplished.”

    Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

  • Another call to annihilate Israel, made by Iran’s highest authority figure during a speech on Wednesday evening, was broadcast on state television. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the final decision maker on all of Iran’s policies, said, “The illegitimate Zionist state will definitely be eradicated from the face of the world.”
  • In an August 1 meeting with representative from Islamic countries in Tehran, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated that “Jerusalem Day is the only way to liberate Palestine.” He then added, “It has now been some 400 years that a horrendous Zionist clan has been ruling over major world affairs; [they] are behind the scenes in the major power circles, in political, media, financial, and banking organizations in the world…”

Such anti-Israel statements from top level Iranian officials usually intensify in the days before Jerusalem Day, a day of protest first started in 1979 by Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini against Israel. The day is held on the last Friday of Ramadan and is observed throughout the Muslim world.

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