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August 6, 2014

More Extreme Rhetoric at National Anti-Israel Protest in DC

Approximately 10,000 people took part in a demonstration against Israel in Washington, D.C. on August 2. The demonstration, billed as the “National March on the White House,” was organized by ANSWER and featured several speakers, along with anti-Semitic signs and chants similar to those that we have seen at other recent anti-Israel demonstrations.

Cornel West, Professor of Afro-American Studies and Religion at Harvard University, claimed that Israel is guilty of “not just occupation, not just humiliation, but more and more every day: annihilation.” He alleged that “Benjamin Netanyahu is a war criminal not because he’s Jewish, but because he has chosen to promote occupation and annihilation.” West did not speak favorably of President Barack Obama either who he claimed “is a war criminal, not because he’s black or half African and white, but because his drones have killed 233 innocent children and because he facilitates the killing of innocent Palestinians in Gaza.”

Nihad Awad, the Executive Director and Founder of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), also spoke to the crowd, insisting that Israel is a “terrorist state” and that AIPAC controls the U.S. Congress. He told the audience “Do not accept Israeli talking points. AIPAC should have its hand off the United States Congress. They have corrupted our foreign policy; they have corrupted our political leaders.”

anti-israel-protest-holocaust

 

Many of the anti-Israel demonstrators shouted insults such as “Baby killers” at a small group of pro-Israel demonstrators. At one point, when a pro-Israel supporter showed up and tried to enter the blocked-off pro-Israel area, one man shouted “We’ve got a Nazi here!” and “more pigs, more pigs!”

Tensions eventually became so high that the pro-Israel demonstrators had to be escorted away by law enforcement, presumably for their own safety. After the pro-Israel supporters were escorted out, the rally participants marched around the White House and through the streets of Washington, D.C.

An Israeli flag was also burned by participants at the rally.

anti-israel-protest-flag

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May 12, 2014

Pro-“Resistance” Conference In Beirut Draws American Activists

A recent conference held in Beirut to discuss issues related to Palestinian political prisoners featured the participation of members of several Palestinian terrorist groups, as well as the attendance of at least three American activists.Arab-International Forum of the Solidarity Organizations Supporting Freedom Prisoners in the Prisons of the Zionist Occupation

Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, a founder of the International Action Center (IAC), reportedly brought an American delegation to the conference, billed in the Arab media as “The Arab-International Forum of the Solidarity Organizations Supporting Freedom Prisoners in the Prisons of the Zionist Occupation.” The American activists were joined by representatives of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, as well as ambassadors from several countries, including Syria, Venezuela, Iran, Yemen, Morocco, and Sudan.

The conference took place at the Commodore Hotel in Beirut on April 30. Maher al-Taher, the Political Secretary of the PFLP, spoke at the opening ceremony of the conference and delivered greetings from the PFLP’s General Secretary Ahmad Sa’adat who is currently serving a 30 year sentence in an Israeli prison for his role in leading the PFLP. In his remarks, Al-Taher said, “Sa’adat’s message is to end the negotiations entirely; they have failed and this has been proven repeatedly. We must develop a new strategy on the basis of Palestinian resistance.”

Charlotte Kates, a longtime activist with Al-Awda and a coordinator for the North American Network for the Steadfast Support of Prisoners, also spoke at the conference. According to a news article about the conference in The Ambassador, a daily Lebanese Arabic-language newspaper, she said: “We remain in support of the cause, which the prisoners have been killed and fought for…and topping it is the Right of Return and the liberation of their country from the occupation…We are in solidarity with the prisoners and in solidarity with the Palestinian cause, and we declare and stand by the side of the Palestinian and Arab resistance.”

According to a news article about the conference from Al Watan Voice, a daily Palestinian Arabic-language newspaper, other notable attendees of the conference were Issa Qaraqe, the Palestinian Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs and Fadwa Barghouti, the wife of imprisoned Fatah leader Marwarn Barghouti. During her address, Barghouti reportedly said, “We are here to revive the issue of the prisoners and to expose the crimes of the Israeli occupation in international forums.”

This is not the first time a conference held in Beirut featuring Palestinian terrorist groups has attracted Westerners. In January 2009 and 2010, similar conferences were held in Beirut, which Clark and other American activists attended as well.

News reports indicate that this year’s conference concluded with a series of proposed action steps, including an affirmation by participants “that the Resistance option in all its forms is the shortest way to liberate the prisoners from Israeli jails.” A second action step from the conference reportedly called for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaigns against “all foreign companies and states that provide logistic, security, or administrative support” to Israel on issues related to detention of prisoners in Israeli jails.

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August 21, 2012

“Free Palestine! End ZioNazi Apartheid!”: A Snapshot of Al Quds Day 2012

Al Quds Day is commemorated annually with mass rallies and speeches on the last Friday of Ramadan. It has traditionally been marked by hostile rhetoric towards the state of Israel, including blatant anti-Semitism.

Al Quds Day Protest in LA

This year, for example, Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described Israel as an “insult to all of humankind” and called for Israel’s destruction. Secretary-General of Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah similarly threatened that Hezbollah has the power to “transform the lives of millions of Zionists in Israel to a real hell.”

While the largest Al Quds Day events generally take place in the Middle East, protests are also held in cities across the United States. The protests, which took place last Friday in a dozen U.S. cities, were rife with extreme language, including signs that compared Israel’s treatment of the Palestinians to the Holocaust.

In New York, L.A. and Houston, large banners reading “Stop Palestinian Genocide” were on display, as well as other signs that read, “Israel is a Cancer,” “Down with Zionism,” Holocaust in Palestine” and “Gaza=Auschwitz.” A woman in New York held a sign that said, “Free Palestine! End ZioNazi Apartheid! No $$ to ‘Israel!’ Boycott ‘Israel’.”

Speakers at several rallies also used fanatical rhetoric to denounce Israel. Rabbi Dovid Feldman of Neturei Karta called for the “dismantlement of the entire State of Israel” during an address at the Los Angeles protest. Another Neturei Karta speaker, this one at the New York rally held in Times Square, led the audience in chants of “Judaism, Yes, Zionism, No, the State of Israel must go” and “From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be free.” In a media interview, an organizer of the Houston protest pledged to continue to “commemorate” Al Quds Day, saying, “This demand for justice will take place every year until Palestine will be free from Zionist hands!”

NYC Al Quds Day Flyer

A second speaker at the event in New York, ANSWER activist Sara Flounders, expressed implicit support for Hezbollah when she addressed the crowd, saying “We stand with the resistance in Lebanon today.” Flounders, who also declared solidarity with the regimes in Iran and Syria, has previously participated in conferences in Beirut attended by representatives of Hamas and Hezbollah. At one such conference in January 2009, Flounders said, “We need to militantly support Hamas…We need to make it clear that we support the right to resist, the right to fire rockets.”

Many of the protests also featured imagery and messaging designed to further fan the flames of the conflict and paint Israel as a violent oppressor. At the rally in Los Angeles, for example, several children held signs that read, “Israel is killing children like me.”

The Iranian-owned television station Press TV reported on the Al Quds Day protest that took place in Washington, D.C. and interviewed one of the speakers at the event. The speaker, Imam Abdul Alim Musa (an anti-Semitic extremist who founded the Sabiqun movement) called for Israel’s defeat and described Gaza as the “biggest open-air prison.”

Al Quds Day, which refers to the Arabic term for Jerusalem, was initiated in 1979 in Iran by Ayatollah Khomeini.

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