ANSWER, Antiwar Rallies and Support for Terror Organizations
Posted: August 22, 2006

The ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, which has organized scores of antiwar demonstrations in the U.S. since its founding by the New York-based International Action Center (IAC) in 2001, has played a key role in inserting anti-Israel sentiment into the antiwar movement.

In addition to claims that Israel is guilty of “war crimes” against Palestinians and that Israel is a “racist state,” ANSWER events, which often attract protestors by the tens of thousands, have openly supported terror groups targeting Israelis, as well as the “resistance” fighting American forces in Iraq. This environment has led to displays of anti-Semitic sentiments, such as signs comparing Israeli leaders to Nazis or equating the Jewish Star of David with the Nazi swastika.

ANSWER, which considers Israel a capitalist outpost for Western powers, has supported anyone that counters the spread of capitalism around the world, including genocidal dictators such as Saddam Hussein and Slobodan Milosovic. ANSWER sees Hezbollah and the Palestinian terror organizations as being at the forefront of the war against capitalism and American imperialism. During a July 31, 2006 interview with FOX News ANSWER’s national coordinator, Brian Becker, said: “Do I consider Hezbollah a terrorist organization? The answer is no.”

Between June and August 2006, ANSWER and IAC stepped up their anti-Israel activity, organizing several rallies to protest the latest round of fighting in the Middle East between Israel and terrorist organizations in Gaza and Lebanon. Becker said the rallies were protesting “the new U.S.-Israeli war” that is “killing the people of Lebanon and Palestine.” Demonstrators expressed support for terrorism, specifically Hezbollah, and promoted a very harsh and unapologetic message denouncing Israel and U.S. foreign policy. They have also included a proliferation of anti-Semitic expression.

For example, during the largest of these rallies, held on August 12, 2006 in Washington D.C., a speaker declared: “from this podium I salute Hezbollah.” One of the popular chants at the event declared: “Nasrallah, Nasrallah; the martyr is the beloved of Allah; the Zionists are the enemy of Allah.” At several of the rallies speakers and crowds made direct appeals for violence. One speaker at an August 5 rally in New York led the people in chants: “Nasrallah dear: bomb Tel Aviv… bomb Kiryat Shmona.” At another rally, in front of the Israeli Consulate in New York City on July 28, a speaker referred to Hezbollah, Hamas and the Popular Resistance Committee (one of the groups behind the abduction of Corporal Gilad Shalit in Gaza) as “resistance forces fighting a racist regime.”

Chronology of ANSWER/IAC Events:

August 12, 2006: ANSWER held rallies in Washington D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and Seattle to protest Israel’s military operation in Lebanon and U.S. Middle East policy. The main rally, which attracted about 10,000 supporters, was held in DC opposite the White House.

Protestors at the rallies advocated in support of Hezbollah and other Middle Eastern terrorist groups, and expressed their support for “resistance movements” fighting against Israel and against American forces in Iraq. Speakers also denounced Israel’s existence, and many of the protesters equated Zionism with Nazism or expressed the idea that Zionism and Israel are the enemies of humanity and God. Some of the more radical chants were made in Arabic, including a call for Hezbollah to bomb Israeli cities.

Protesters at the San Francisco gathering waved Hezbollah flags and posters of Hezbollah’s Secretary General, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah. In D.C., the crowd applauded a speaker who declared “from this podium I salute Hezbollah,” and Carl Messineo of IAC stated: “Israel – a state built upon the domination by the Jewish people over historically Arab land—[is] an obstacle to the peaceful coexistence of the Muslims, Jews and Christians.”

Some of the chants at the rallies included: “Long live Hezbollah, Long live Hamas;” “Nasrallah, Nasrallah; the martyr is the beloved of Allah; the Zionists are the enemy of Allah,” which was made in Arabic; and “We support the intifada, intifada all the way.”

The major organizations that help ANSWER orchestrate the events were the Muslim American Society (MAS) and the National Council of Arab Americans (NCA). The D.C. event was also co-sponsored by the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC). The Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) endorsed the rallies. These organizations were joined by dozens of groups, mostly Muslim and far Left socialist organizations.

August 5, 2006: IAC held rallies in New York and Los Angeles, each attended by several hundred demonstrators. The rallies were held under the slogans: “No justice, no peace; U.S. out of the Middle East” and “Support the Palestinian and Lebanese peoples’ right to resist.” Speakers at the event praised Hamas and Hezbollah and called for the annihilation of Israel; some held a Hezbollah flag. In New York one speaker led the crowd in chants in Arabic: “Nasrallah dear: bomb Tel Aviv … bomb Kiryat Shmona” (the event was held at a day when Israeli towns were under attack by Hezbollah missiles). Another speaker from Al-Awda-NY said: “This will not come to an end until Israel is finished, until there is no Israel… We need to shot down the media and their corporations [we need to] shot down Israel.” The crowd at the New York event chanted “Long live Hezbollah! Long live Hamas!” and, in Arabic, “Palestine is Arab [land] from the [Jordan] river to the [Mediterranean] sea!” In Los Angeles many of the signs accused Israel and the U.S. of genocide and equated Zionism with Nazi Germany.

March 18, 2006: Several thousand antiwar protestors marched in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and in other cities around the U.S. to protest the “occupation of Iraq.” An undercurrent of criticism of Israel ran through the marches, and ANSWER organizers distributed signs calling for an end to American aid to Israel.

In San Francisco, the anti-Israel sentiment was extensive and several placards promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and support for Palestinian violence. “We attacked Iraq for Israel… Free my country,” and “Smash the Jewish State,” were among them. Activists also chanted, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free,” and “Long live Palestine, long live the intifada.”

May 6, 2005: Sponsored by IAC, the radical Islamic Thinkers Society, Neturei Karta and New Jersey Solidarity, over one hundred radical Islamists, joined by a small number of Neturei Karta and other anti-Israel activists, protested outside the Israeli mission to the United Nations in New York City in commemoration of “Al Nakba” – or the “catastrophe,” a reference to Israeli independence.

About a dozen members of the Islamic Thinkers Society held placards equating Nazi and Israeli symbols; other signs were emblazoned with the symbol of the Hamas terrorist group, and proclaimed that “Palestine is Islamic Land.” One of the slogans shouted by the crowd in Arabic was the anti-Jewish slogan: “Khaibar, Khaibar ya Yahud, jaysh Muhammad sawfa ya’ud!” evoking the Koran’s account of a battle between the Islamic prophet Muhammad and the Jews of the town of Khaibar, which resulted in the subjugation of the Jews of Arabia.

April 18, 2004: In New York City, ANSWER and IAC leaders joined Al-Awda and New Jersey Solidarity to protest the killing of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi. Protesters marched to the consulate from Hunter College, where Al-Awda had been holding its annual convention. Abbas Hamideh, a coordinator for Al-Awda, told a crowd of about 100 that Rantisi “was a leader who defended and fought for Palestinian rights.” Signs waved by the crowd included “What's next Sharon. Ovens!!,” “Globalize the Intifada” and “All of Israel is ‘occupied territory.’” An Al-Awda representative, Rama Kased, lauded the Hamas leader: “Abdel Aziz Rantisi was a son of Palestine, a refugee, and a symbol of resistance against a racist apartheid regime.”

March 23, 2004: In response to the assassination of Hamas leader Sheik Ahmed Yasin, ANSWER called for an emergency protest outside the Israeli consulate in New York City. Participants expressed their admiration for Yasin, the Intifada, Hamas, and other Palestinian terrorist groups. One speaker praised terrorist leaders Ali Mustapha (the secretary general of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), Abu Jihad (the PLO military chief killed in 1988) and Yasin, saying, “Ali Mustapha, Abu Jihad, Sheikh Yasin, we are here with you standing hand in hand.” The crowd cheered him on and later chanted, “Hey hey, Ho ho, Hamas will never go,” “Long live Jihad,” “Victory to the Intifada,” and “Sheikh Yasin Rest in Peace, Israel will never sleep."

March 20, 2004: ANSWER organized major antiwar demonstrations in New York City and San Francisco to coincide with antiwar rallies against the war in Iraq across the United States and the world. Other antiwar groups led by United for Peace and Justice, the other major protest organizer, initially intended to focus solely on the situation in Iraq, but ANSWER organized a coalition of anti-Israel groups who petitioned United for Peace and Justice to include an anti-Zionist message at there events. United for Peace and Justice eventually acceded and anti-Israel messages pervaded the demonstrations.

In New York, Al-Awda, the International Solidarity Movement and other pro-Palestinian groups waved Palestinian flags, while some chanted “Intifada Intifada, Long Live the Intifada.” The anti-Israel presence was even more dominant at the nearly 10,000-strong rally in San Francisco. Signs and messages included “No blood for Israel,” “I want you to die for Israel. Israel Sings: Onward Christian Soldiers” and a model Israeli tank with dollars dripping blood and the sign, “Paid for with US tax dollars.” Another sign read, “I Love NYC even more without the World Trade Center.”

Many conspiracy theorists attended the New York City and San Francisco protests. A group called the 9/11 Truth Alliance, which contends that the Bush administration staged the attacks, distributed signs saying "Stop the 9-11 Cover-Up" at both rallies. It also handed out "deception dollars," large replicas of paper currency covered with links to conspiracy and also anti-Israel and anti-Semitic Web sites.

December 2003: At the Second International Cairo Conference, ANSWER representatives met with Hamas leader Osama Hamdan. Hamdan, who heads Hamas in Lebanon and openly supports suicide bombing, was invited to the conference by the event’s sponsors, the International Campaign Against U.S. and Zionist Occupations, a movement co-founded by the IAC. Former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, who heads the IAC, co-director Sara Flounders, and Elias Rashmawi of ANSWER all served as organizers for the conference.

March 15th, 2003: ANSWER held several rallies across the country to protest the war in Iraq. Signs at Washington, D.C., rally stated, “Never forget the Palestinians” and “Free Palestine: Stop US AID to Israeli Terror.” In Los Angeles: “Stop the Occupation,” and in San Francisco there were messages that likened President Bush to Hitler and proclaimed “No Blood for Oil or Israel.” In Washington, D.C., many speakers argued that the antiwar movement needed to be in solidarity with the Palestinian movement, and several speakers focused on criticizing Israel rather than address a war in Iraq.

February 2003: Though well known for his public criticism of Israeli policies, Rabbi Michael Lerner of Tikkun was barred by ANSWER from speaking at a February 15th antiwar rally in San Francisco because he is a Zionist.

December 18-19, 2002: ANSWER participated it the first anti-Zionist International Cairo Conference. This event, held in Cairo, Egypt, produced a document, the “Cairo Declaration Against U.S. Hegemony and War on Iraq and In Solidarity with Palestine.” This document defines Palestinian terrorist acts as legitimate acts of liberation, and also states that all participants in the movement must reaffirm their “resolve to stand in solidarity with the people of Iraq and Palestine, recognizing that war and aggression against them is but part of a U.S. project of global domination and subjugation.” In addition, the declaration calls for boycotting U.S. and Israeli goods in support of Iraq and Palestine.

April 20, 2002: ANSWER organized the “National March for Palestine Against War and Racism” in Washington, D.C. The massive rally was attended by approximately 100,000 people, including thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators. The rally served as a vehicle for anti-Semitism and support for terror organizations such as Hezbollah, whose flag flew from the speakers’ podium

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