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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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June 25, 2013

’93 Landmark Plot Foreshowed Domestic Terror Threat

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Omar Abdel Rahman

Yesterday marked the 20th anniversary of the arrest of eight followers of radical Egyptian cleric Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman for conspiring to carry out a campaign of terrorism against New York City landmarks and officials.

The arrests not only foreshadowed efforts to attack New York City in the years since 1993 – most horrifically on September 11, 2001 – but also how terrorists link their opposition to America with their hatred of Jews and Israel.

The major landmarks that were targeted in the 1993 plot included the United Nations Headquarters, the Lincoln Tunnel, the Holland Tunnel, the George Washington Bridge and the FBI office. Notably, the plotters also discussed attacking New York’s diamond district, an area largely populated by Jewish businessmen, which, according to one them, would be like “hitting Israel itself.”

The arrest came four months after a car bombing at Tower One of the World Trade Center in New York City killed six people and wounded more than 1,000 others. Ramzi Yousef, the mastermind behind the attack, first planned to bomb Jewish neighborhoods in Brooklyn, but settled on the World Trade Center because “the majority of people who work in the World Trade Center are Jews,” according to Abdul Rahman Yasin, a co-conspirator in the attack.

In the 20 years since the foiled landmarks plot and first World Trade Center bombing, anti-Semitic and anti-Israel ideologies remain a core feature in the propaganda distributed by terrorist organizations.

For example, every issue of Al Qaeda’s Inspire magazine, which has influenced numerous international and domestic extremists, including the Boston Marathon Bombers, has been saturated with anti-Jewish and anti-Israel narratives. The ability for Al Qaeda to disseminate such propaganda online and recruit would-be Jihadists around the world was virtually unheard on in June 1993.al-qaeda-new-york-threat

But while the communication and recruitment has significantly changed, efforts to attack New York remain unchanged, as do the anti-Jewish and anti-Israel motivations. Several post-9/11 plots and conspiracies targeting Jews have taken place around the country and in New York in particular. For example:

  • In May 2011, Ahmed Ferhani, a legal resident from Algeria, and Mohammad Mamdouh, a naturalized U.S. citizen of Moroccan decent, were arrested for plotting to attack a synagogue in New York City in order to advance their radical ideological goals. During his sentencing, Fer­hani said, “I repeat­edly discussed…my anger towards Jews based on what I believed and per­ceived to be their mis­treat­ment of Mus­lims through­out the world. I intended to cre­ate chaos and send a mes­sage of intim­i­da­tion and coer­cion to the Jew­ish pop­u­la­tion of New York City, warn­ing them to stop mis­treat­ing Muslims.” New York Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said Ferhani planned to grow out his beard in order to look “more like a Jew” and enter a synagogue more easily.
  • Zarein Ahmedzay, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Afghanistan, admitted in federal court that he and two other New Yorkers planned to detonate homemade explosives on New York City subway lines during the days following the eighth anniversary of the September 11 terror attacks. While entering his guilty plea, Ahmedzay stated that “the real enemies of this country are the ones destroying this country from within” and condemned “a special group of Zionist Jews” who want to “establish a permanent shadow government in the United States of America.”
  • A similar plot occurred in 2009, when four men, including three American Muslim converts, planned to attack synagogues in the Bronx and a military base in Newburgh, in response to perceived American actions against Muslims around the world. The men planted what they believed to be bombs in cars outside of the Riverdale Temple and the nearby Riverdale Jewish Center.  In a conversation with an undercover informant, one of the plotters, James Cromitie, stated his desire to “destroy” the Jews. “The worst brother in the whole Islamic world is better than 10 billion Yahudi (Jews),” Cromitie stated.  “With no hesitation, I will kill 10 Yahudis.”
  • In 2007, Russell Defreitas, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Guyana, and three other men were arrested for plotting to attack New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport. The men planned the attack in part because they wanted to take revenge on the U.S. for its diplomatic relationship with Israel. Defreitas later reportedly told an informant that Muslims “incur the wrath of the world while Jews get a pass,” and that he “wanted to do something to get those bastards.” Court documents have also alleged that Defreitas had suggested targeting a nearby Jewish school or a predominately Jewish neighborhood.
  • In 2004, American citizen James Elshafay and Shahawar Matin Siraj, a Pakistani who was in the U.S. illegally, plotted to bomb New York’s Herald Square subway station. In conversations secretly recorded by an undercover informant, Elshafay talked about his hatred of “Zionists” and his solidarity with the Palestinians, according to court documents. The men also watched terrorist videos at the bookstore where Siraj worked, and Siraj gave Elshafay books that claimed the Jews were conspiring to take over the world’s economy.

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October 5, 2012

Anti-Semite Mark Glenn Gave Speech at Ahmadinejad Dinner in New York

Additional information has emerged about American extremists invited by the Iranian government to a dinner honoring Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in New York City on September 25, 2012.  Ahmadinejad was in town to attend the United Nations General Assembly.

Mark Glenn’s official invitiation to the Ahmadinejad dinner

In addition to Louis Farrakhan, the Iranian government invited Mark Glenn, a virulently anti-Semitic conspiracy theorist  (who claims that Jews control banks, the stock exchange, politicians and the media) to speak at the dinner. Glenn, who makes regular appearances on Press TV, Iran’s English-language satellite network, used the dinner as an opportunity to attack Jews and Israel.

Glenn discussed his speech on the September 27 edition of his program on “The Ugly Truth,” an anti-Semitic online radio network and blog he runs. Glenn claimed that he shocked the guests at the dinner by asserting that the Prime Minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu, “is correct” in saying that “Iran’s nuclear program is going to wipe Israel off the face of the map.”  In Glenn’s vision of the future, Iran will use nuclear power for peaceful purposes and will be “the nucleus” around which all other Middle Eastern countries will revolve in “a perfectly harmonious orbit.”  Glenn asserted that a united Middle East would then be able to rid the world of Israel, and that countries outside the region would also “kick Jews out of places of power.”

Glenn let his listeners know how much the attendees at the dinner appreciated his speech, saying, “I saw people wiping their eyes.” He claimed that the speech has now opened several major doors for him, which he will reveal in the near future.  Glenn also indicated that his invitation to the dinner and his appearances on Press TV have brought him closer to Iranian government officials, including Ahmadinejad.

This is not the first time Glenn has had dealings with Ahmadinejad. In 2007, Glenn organized “No More Wars for Israel,” an event in Irvine, California that consisted of protests and lectures demonizing Jews and Israel. According to Glenn, the event featured a videotaped message from Ahmadinejad, in which he condemned Zionism as a racist movement and a danger to world peace.

Glenn let his radio listeners know that Ahmadinejad is one of his heroes. Before recounting his dinner speech on his show, Glenn ranted against the evils of Israel and claimed that Iran was, in contrast, “a highly cultured, blameless society.”

In addition, Glenn compared Netanyahu and Jewish supporters to vampires, saying that they “feed on innocent human blood.” He promoted a conspiracy theory that Israel is moving nuclear weapons into major cities and waiting for an opportune moment for its “operatives” to detonate them. Glenn later referred to Judaism as “a mental defect that leads to mental illness, spiritual barbarism” and “left unchecked, can bring the world to the brink of utter annihilation.”

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