Israel's Action in Gaza Spurs Anti-Israel Rallies
December 30 "National Day of Action" Demonstrations
Posted: January 22, 2009
A "National Day of Action" in over 30 locations around the country took place on December 30. Many of the demonstrations, which were held in front of Israeli embassies and consulates, U.S. Federal buildings and elsewhere, were marked by offensive Holocaust imagery likening Jews and Israelis to Nazis, anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic rhetoric, as well as expressions in support of terror.
The demonstrations were organized by a coalition of far left, Muslim and Arab organizations that often unite in protest against Israel, including Al-Awda, The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, and the Muslim American Society (MAS). The groups touted the events as a response to Israel's "Massacre of Palestinians."
- Los Angeles, CA: Demonstrations took place at the federal building and Israeli Consulate. Approximately 500 demonstrators gathered at the Israeli Consulate waving Palestinian flags and holding signs, including ones that read, "Every Israeli committing the genocide in Gaza is a 'Hitler';" "Israel: Stop Bombing Children;" "The real terrorists: U.S.-Israeli War Machine;" and "Zionist U R Thugs." One sign depicted an image of the Israeli flag with the Star of David replaced by a swastika and above the flag, the words, "Upgrade to Holocaust Version 2.0." During the protest, demonstrators chanted, "From Beirut to Jenin, stop the Zionist war machine;" "Israel, Israel, What do you say? How many kids did you kill today?;" and "Free, Free Palestine... Long live the Intifada." The protest was sponsored by the ANSWER Coalition, Al-Awda and several local Muslim organizations. Police arrested one pro-Palestinian demonstrator for head-butting a police officer and later released him. A smaller rally, sponsored by LA Jews for Peace, took place at the federal building in downtown Los Angeles. About 100 protesters held signs accusing Israel of apartheid, war crimes and of perpetuating a "Holocaust" in Gaza.
- Fort Lauderdale, FL:About 200 demonstrators gathered outside the federal building, holding signs accusing Israel of war crimes and demanding that the U.S. stop supporting Israel. One sign read: "Real Jews do not support genocide." At times, protesters marched down streets exchanging insults with pro-Israel demonstrators. Some of the younger demonstrators taunted the pro-Israel supporters, screaming "cowards, murderers" and chanting "Nuke Israel!" One young woman shouted "Go back to the oven, you need a big oven! That's what you need!" A pro-Israel demonstrator shouted to the unruly crowd, "You're so violent," to which a pro-Palestinian demonstrator responded, "You're violent! We'll get you!" Protesters also chanted in Arabic the anti-Jewish slogan: "Khaibar, Khaibar ya Yahud, jaysh Muhammad sawfa ya'ud!" The slogan evokes the Koran's account of a battle between the prophet Muhammad and the Jews of the town of Khaibar, which resulted in the subjugation of the Jews of Arabia. The protest was sponsored by South Florida Palestine Solidarity Network, Al-Awda, ANSWER, and MAS.
- Tampa, FL: Hundreds of demonstrators gathered, carrying signs that compared Israel to Nazi Germany and calling for the dissolution of Israel. One sign declared, "Zionism is Cancer; Radiate it," and other signs featured the word "Nazi" written over an Israeli flag with a swastika. Demonstrators also carried a portrait of convicted Palestinian Islamic Jihad leader Sami al-Arian. The rally was organized by Jehad Saleh, a sophomore at the University of South Florida, and was supported by ANSWER.
- Atlanta, GA: A few hundred protesters gathered at a busy intersection during rush hour. Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and chanted numerous slogans, including "They Kill, They Lie but Palestine will Never Die;" "With our soul and our blood we will redeem you, Palestine;" "Occupation is a Crime, Israel out of Palestine;" and "Bush, Olmert You Can't Hide, We charge You with Genocide." Many of the protesters held signs condemning Israel, including signs that read "Stop Killing Kids;" "Gaza: Crime Against Humanity" and "No more Blood for Israel."
- San Diego, CA: Approximately 200 demonstrators gathered at the federal building with signs that read: "Stop the Israeli Third Reich;" "Israel is a Terrorist State:" "Israeli Zionism = Nazism;" "Stop the Israeli Holocaust on Gaza;" "Israel is the old South Africa" and "Stop the Massacre in Gaza." The rally was co-sponsored by Al-Awda, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC), MAS, ANSWER, the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) and others.
- San Francisco, CA: Hundreds of demonstrators protested in front of the Israeli Consulate and then marched down several streets in the financial district before stopping to rally at the UN Plaza. Demonstrators waved Palestinian flags and signs that included, "Don't Like Holocust? [sic] Then Why Repeat the Holocust? Free Palestine;" "America Stop Funding Israeli Atrocities;" "Support Palestinian Resistance Against Israeli Ethnic Cleansing;" and "Stop the Holocaust in Palestine." One demonstrator held a sign with the map of Israel and the words "Plunder, Murder" scrawled on top; another, a sign of an Israeli flag with a swastika replacing the Star of David. Representatives from ANSWER, South Bay Mobilization, and CAIR were in attendance, as well as organizers of the Free Gaza Movement.
- Washington DC : Over 1000 demonstrators gathered outside the State Department and then marched toward the White House to continue the rally. Protesters chanted "From the River to the Sea, Palestine will be Free!;" Stop the Holocaust in Gaza Now!;" "With our soul and our blood we will redeem you, Palestine;" and "Stop the Killing, Stop the War: Israel is a Terrorist State!"
- Dearborn, MI:About 1000 demonstrators lined up along Warren Avenue holding signs that read, "Zionism is the Cancer of the World;" "Another Holocaust;" "Israel is a Terrorist Nation;" "Is Ethnic Cleansing a Judaic Value?;" and "Down with the Terrorist State of Zionist Israel." A large group in the crowd chanted on megaphones in Arabic: "To Jerusalem we will return with millions of martyrs," a famous line from a speech that Yasser Arafat gave during the second intifada. Other chants included: "You Zionist be patient, wait, people of Gaza will dig your grave," "With our soul and our blood we will redeem you, Palestine," "There is no god but God, and the martyr is God's dearest" and "Gazan, Gazan, dear, bomb, bomb Tel Aviv." The protest was organized by the Congress of Arab American Organizations and was attended by several other groups, including Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP).
- Boston, MA: Approximately 100 demonstrators gathered at the Israeli Consulate holding signs that read, "Resistance is Justified;" "Stop the Palestinian Holocaust;" "Liberate Gaza and all of Palestine from Genocidal Rule and Jewish Colonial Rule;" and "Long Live the Intifada." One of the event organizers argued, "We feel that it is the right of the Palestinian people to resist the occupation, to resist the criminal actions of the Israeli state and the U.S. military. And the intifada is just that, it is a justifiable resistance." The event was sponsored by the New England Committee to Defend Palestine, the International Action Center (IAC) and others.
- New York, NY: Hundreds of protesters gathered outside the Israeli Consulate in Midtown Manhattan. Some of the signs at the demonstration read "Israel is the Terrorist State" with painted swastikas; "Long Live Resistance in Gaza" and "Stop U.S. Funding of Israeli Murder Machine." One anti-Semitic sign read, "Free Palestine Free America Free the World. Stop Jewish Terror, Power. Stop Jewish Supremacy and Hate." Various representatives from Adalah-NY, Al-Awda, Neturei Karta and ANSWER spoke at the rally. One speaker defended Hamas in her speech ("when we say Palestine is gonna fight, we defend the resistance, we defend Hamas!") while others called Zionists "terrorists, murders, animals;" referred to Israel as a "racist state" and accused the "Zionist propaganda lobby" of suppressing the media. The demonstrators and speakers also taunted the pro-Israel rally taking place across the street, warning: "Zionists in the corner, there'll be no peace until there's justice!" The crowd chanted numerous slogans, including "Red black green white: Palestine is gonna FIGHT!;" "With our soul and our blood we will redeem you, Palestine" (in Arabic); "Die, Die Israel" and "When Palestine is under attack, What do we do…Stand up FIGHT BACK!"
- Dallas, TX: About 1000 protesters attended a rally in downtown Dallas. Protesters held signs that read "Stop the Holocaust in Gaza;" "Israel is the Real Terrorist;" "Palestine forever. Israel Never Ever;" and "Down with Zionism." One young boy held a sign equating an image of the Star of David with a swastika. The rally, organized by the Muslim Legal Fund of America and the Dallas chapter of CAIR, also featured chants of "With our soul and our blood we will redeem you, Palestine."
- Philadelphia, PA: Several hundred demonstrators protested in front of the Israeli Consulate in downtown Philadelphia, chanting "Stop the Massacre Now." After demonstrating in front of the consulate, protesters marched down several streets before arriving at City Hall. Signs held at the rally included, "Stop the Palecaust;" "Zionism is Terrorism;" "Ethnic Cleansing is Never Justified. Not Then Not Now. Support the Palestinians Right to Return;" "Stop Israel's Massacre of Gaza;" and a sign that had the Star of David juxtaposed with a swastika and the words "What's the Difference" handwritten below.