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August 6, 2014 5

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 19, 2013 1

Christopher Wade Briggs, Would-be Gunman, Posts Picture Of Self In Front Of White House

Secret Ser­vice agents in Wash­ing­ton, D.C., arrested an armed man in Lafayette Park across from the White House on July 16.  The man, Christo­pher Wade Briggs of San Anto­nio, Texas, report­edly took a loaded hand­gun out of a back­pack.  Briggs also had two addi­tional mag­a­zines of ammu­ni­tion, over 170 more rounds of ammo, and two hunt­ing knives.christopher-briggs

Accord­ing to court doc­u­ments, Brigg told offi­cers “I was only going to fire a cou­ple of shots if no one con­fronted me.”   Offi­cers charged him with car­ry­ing a pis­tol with­out a license, two counts of pos­ses­sion of pro­hib­ited weapons, and other related charges.

Briggs is a com­puter pro­gram­mer who grav­i­tated to right-wing causes and devel­oped an antag­o­nism towards Barack Obama, as expressed in a num­ber of on-line post­ings.  These include a post on one Web site made ear­lier in 2013, in which he claimed to believe, “with all my heart, God has a plan for all the elected or appointed lead­ers, even Obama and Hitler.” 

Briggs oper­ated a Twit­ter feed and, briefly, a small Web site, both dubbed Your Free­dom News.  The Web site gen­er­ally fea­tured arti­cles from a far right-wing posi­tion.  One arti­cle on the Web site (pre­sum­ably by Briggs) claimed that every day the author woke up to see “some gov­ern­ment official…subverting the Con­sti­tu­tion of These United States” and asserted that the POTUS (Pres­i­dent of the United States) “is pur­posely try­ing to destroy this coun­try.”  In another arti­cle posted by Briggs but writ­ten by a rel­a­tive named Wal­ter Briggs with the title “Let the Cais­sons Roll!”, Wal­ter Briggs asserted that Obama wanted to make it a crim­i­nal offense in the United States to be a Christian.

On July 14, Briggs posted a pho­to­graph to his Face­book pro­file of him­self stand­ing next to a life-size replica of Barack Obama (such as one might find at a wax museum), with a fist raised as if to strike the Pres­i­dent.  When his mother expressed sur­prise at the pho­to­graph, Briggs responded, “Can I not take a vaca­tion?”  On Tues­day, July 16, the day Briggs would be arrested, he posted another pho­to­graph of him­self, this time stand­ing with a back­pack in front of the White House.  A Face­book friend asked Brigg if he were allowed there after “that last felony con­vic­tion,” but Briggs did not reply.

At some time before 5:00pm, Briggs made a last post to his Face­book pro­file, addressed to the “news media,” call­ing on them to leave his friends and fam­ily alone.  In an appar­ent ref­er­ence to what was to come, Briggs stated that “[I] do this nei­ther as a left winger or a right winger” and that he just could not live with him­self any more.  He urged peo­ple to “come together as a nation and solve the issues” and “do what is best for this country.”

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