Al-Awda Holds Anti-Israel Demonstration in New York
Posted: March 31, 2008
A protest against the Friends of Israeli Defense Forces (FIDF) annual fundraising dinner on March 18, 2008, in New York City was marked by calls for the elimination of Israel and accusations of Israel of carrying out a Holocaust.
The demonstration, organized by Al-Awda on March 18, 2008, was originally scheduled to protest Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak's attendance at the FIDF dinner (the event was advertised as the "the Butcher of Gaza is coming to NYC"). Barak, however, could not attend.
Some of the approximately 200 demonstrators who gathered outside the Waldorf-Astoria Hotel in Manhattan accused Israel of committing a Holocaust and dinner guests of eating Palestinian blood. Veteran defense lawyer Lynne Stewart told the audience, "The people sponsoring that dinner are causing a Holocaust" and, "Those dinners are dripping in blood."
One speaker compared Israeli's treatment of Palestinians to a shoah in her speech. "A shoah was committed against the Jewish people and less than 10 years later the Zionist army committed a shoah in the name of the Jewish people, the speaker said. "When I see ghettos being built [in Palestine]…I have a hard time not making comparisons [to the Holocaust]…There will never be peace between Palestinians and Jews until Palestine is free from the river to the sea."
Some protestors expressed support for terrorism and called for the dismantlement of the state of Israel. For example, Al-Awda member Samia Halaby called deceased Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine terrorist leader George Habash her "leader," adding that: "Our leaders are Malcolm X and George Habash…their [pro-Israel supporters] leaders are pigs like…George W. Bush…Long live our struggle." Later she said "We demand that Israel be dismantled."
Other demonstrators repeatedly chanted in Arabic, "With blood and soul, I will sacrifice myself to you, oh Palestine!" They accused Israel of terrorism and chanted "No More Israel!" Among the other anti-Israel groups represented at the demonstration were Adalah-NY and the International Action Center.
Al-Awda is a grassroots organization that opposes Israel's right to exist and has openly supported terror groups that target Israelis during demonstrations and elsewhere. Through its literature, speaking engagements, public demonstrations and other events, Al-Awda (Arabic for "the return") advocates for the establishment of a Palestinian state over all of the territory west of the Jordan River, including Israel. While its activity mainly focuses on the Palestinian right of return, which it views as non-negotiable, Al-Awda also promotes the views that Israel is an illegitimate state and that Zionism is racism.