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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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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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