American Anti-War Movement Leader Meets with radical anti-Zionists in Cairo
Posted: December 29, 2003
A leading figure in the U.S. anti-war movement, former U.S. Attorney General Ramsey Clark, joined Hamas leader Osama Hamdan and hundreds of international and Arab activists to support "acts of resistance in Iraq and Palestine" at a conference in Cairo on December 13-14, 2003.
Along with other radical anti-Zionists, Hamdan, who has openly supported suicide bombing, was invited by the event's sponsors, the International Campaign Against U.S. and Zionist Occupations, a movement co-founded by the International Action Center, Clark's American activist group.
Since the invasion of Afghanistan in September 2001, the IAC has organized scores of anti-war rallies across the U.S. through its offshoot, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), often attracting protestors by the tens of thousands. An April 2002 event in Washington, D.C., drew as many as 200,000 people
IAC co-director Sara Flounders and Elias Rashmawi of ANSWER also serve as organizers for the Cairo conference sponsors.
The event, known formally as the Second International Cairo Conference, was premised on a declaration issued at the movement's first meeting in December 2002. It said: "We, the participants, reaffirm our 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."
Picking up on this theme at this year's meeting, Hamdan, who heads Hamas in Lebanon, focused on "the effective necessity to boycott Israeli commodities and refusal of normalization with [the] Zionist entity," according to the Palestinian National Authority State Information Service.
In the past, Hamdan has backed terrorist attacks against Israel, as in October 2002, when he promised that Hamas would "conduct more suicide operations" until the "liberation of the occupied Palestinian territories."
Other speakers, according to Middle Eastern media sources, included the pro-Saddam Jordanian dissident Leith Shubeilat and Ma'moun El-Hodeibi of the Muslim Brotherhood, as well as former British MP George Galloway, recently expelled from the Labour Party, and past UN official Dennis Halliday.
Clark criticized the U.S. and British governments for using the war in Iraq to cover up their own crimes, according to Al Jazeera.
Under Clark, who also participated in the first Cairo conference in 2002 - along with members of the Muslim Brotherhood and Iraq's ambassador to the Arab League - the IAC has been transformed from a marginal collection of communist activists into a powerful, if controversial, presence on the activist left.
Some ANSWER rallies have alienated other leftists because of the group's radicalism. Its vast April 2002 protest in Washington, D.C., dubbed the "national March for Palestine Against War and Racism," was marred by speakers who supported violence and terror organizations, and by extensive anti-Semitism.