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August 7, 2013 10

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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