ADL Says Organizers of Antiwar Protests in Washington and San Francisco Have History of Attacking Israel and Jews
New York, NY, January 15, 2003 ... The Anti-Defamation League (ADL) expressed concern that antiwar protest rallies scheduled to take place this weekend in Washington, D.C. and San Francisco may employ inflammatory anti-Israel and anti-Jewish statements and rhetoric.
Organizers of the January 18 "National March in Washington to Demand: No War Against Iraq", the San Francisco rally, and other events scheduled for this weekend have previously embraced statements supporting Palestinian terrorism, equating Zionism with Nazism, and calling for the destruction of the Jewish state.
"Given the rhetoric at past rallies organized by this group, we are extremely concerned that the message of this weekend's antiwar protests will be tainted with hateful calls for Israel's destruction and comparisons of Israeli actions to the Nazi extermination of Jews during the Holocaust," said Abraham H. Foxman, ADL National Director. "While we have always said that there is a time and place for criticism of Israel, we remain very much concerned and alert to those pro-Palestinian forces in this country who resort to anti-Semitism, and who may use the war in Iraq as a pretext for attacking Israel and Jews."
The antiwar rallies are primarily being organized by the International ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition. Past rallies by ANSWER have included significant anti-Israel propaganda, including claims that Israel is guilty of "war crimes" against Palestinians and that Israel is a "racist state." The group was responsible for last year's largest anti-Israel rally, the "National March for Palestine Against War and Racism" in Washington on April 20, 2002, which served as a forum for supporting violence and terror organizations, and a proliferation of anti-Semitic expression.
Other supporters of the D.C. rally include the Richmond and Virginia Commonwealth University chapters of Free Palestine Now!, which justify their participation by arguing that, "Any U.S. attack on Iraq will be used as an excuse for the Israeli government led by war criminal Ariel Sharon to implement the policy of 'transfer' of the Palestinian inhabitants to the occupied territories." Free Palestine Now! plans to participate in a "feeder march" sponsored by various antiwar, anti-globalization, anti-capitalist and pro-Palestinian groups, including SUSTAIN (Stop U.S. Tax Aid to Israel Now).
BACKGROUND: International ANSWER Coalition
Since September 2001, ANSWER has organized many antiwar protests around the country. The largest and most disturbing was on April 20, 2002 in Washington, D.C. Called the "National March for Palestine Against War and Racism," the massive rally was attended by approximately 200,000 people, including thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators. The rally served as a forum for supporting violence and terror organizations, and for a proliferation of anti-Semitic expression.
ANSWER has played a key role in bringing Arab and Muslim Groups into the anti-war and anti-racism movements, which has led to extreme invective against Israel during protests. Among the groups that have endorsed ANSWER events and participated in rallies are Al-Awda and the Islamic Association for Palestine - groups that have actively engaged in anti-Israel boycott campaigns.
The rallies in Washington and San Francisco promise a repeat of what has occurred at other recent protests against U.S. policy, with the inclusion of significant anti-Israel propaganda and calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.
In addition to the larger rallies, the Student ANSWER group is planning a "Youth and Student Action Against War and Racism" on January 19, a march that will lead from the office of the Justice Department to the White House.
The Anti-Defamation League, founded in 1913, is the world's leading organization fighting anti-Semitism through programs and services that counteract hatred, prejudice and bigotry.