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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.”

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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.

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July 1, 2014

CAIR’s Nihad Awad Blames “Israeli Lobby” For Florida Terror Trial

Nihad Awad, the Executive Director of the Council on American Islamic Relations (CAIR) blamed “the Israeli lobby” for the suffering of Sami Al-Arian, a former University of South Florida professor who pleaded guilty in 2006 to conspiring to aid the Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ).nihad-awad-cair-israel-lobby-sami-al-arian

On June 27, Awad tweeted, “Happy News: The government of the United States of America dropped all charges against Dr. Sami Al-Arian after 11 years of suffering because of the Israeli lobby. Congratulations to him and to the lawyers team.”

A criminal contempt indictment against Al-Arian, who was previously sentenced to 57-months in prison for his role in conspiring to aid PIJ, was dropped Friday. Al-Arian, who has been facing these additional charges for the last 11 years, will now likely be deported as a result of the original charges.

Awad has previously made statements blaming Israel supporters for the suffering of Muslims in the U.S.  In an interview with Al Jazeera in August 2012, Awad claimed that Muslims and Islam in America face ideological and political attacks primarily from groups that support Israel.

In another interview with Egyptian daily Al Masry Al Youm, in September 2010, Awad stated, “There is no doubt that the pro-Israel organizations have worked extensively over the years in promoting a culture of hostility towards Islam, supporting anti-Islam activists, holding receptions for them, assisting and funding them.”

Awad’s views not only feed on the conspiratorial narrative of undue Israeli influence over the American judicial system, but also ignore the active role played by several pro-Israel groups, including ADL, in fighting against hate that targets American Muslims.

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February 10, 2012

Anti-Israel Hostility Pervades Penn BDS Conference

The Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) conference held at the University of Pennsylvania last weekend featured speakers representing a wide range of strategies used to delegitimize Israel. As expected, many of the speakers promoted mistruths and biased narratives of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and offered strategies on how to advance BDS initiatives and to further delegitimize Israel.


Several of the anti-Israel activists who headlined the Penn BDS conference are scheduled to next month’s One-State “Solution” Conference at Harvard, including Ali Abunimah, Dalit Baum and Sarah Schulman.
Below is a sampling of statements made at the Penn conference:
  • Omar Barghouti, co-founder of the Palestinian Campaign for the Academic and Cultural Boycott of Israel, claimed that Israel is governed by an “extremist ideology” and that it is a “racist oppressor” and an “apartheid state.” Barghouti also made reference to the disproportionate role “Israel’s lobby groups” play in the U.S., adding that “it is crucial to reveal how Israel is right at the center of the 1% agenda,” referring to the Occupy Wall Street movement. 
  • Ali Abunimah, the founder and executive director of “Electronic Intifada,” an anti-Israel Web site,  reportedly said, “Nakba denial is the equivalent of Holocaust denial.”
  • Professor Amy Kaplan, professor in the English department at the University of Pennsylvania, offered suggestions in a Q&A session on how BDS could be integrated into the classroom. According to an audio recording of her response, Kaplan said, “you take a thematic course and you bring in themes from this issue [BDS], and literature is really a great way to teach students about what’s going on.”

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