International Action Center & ANSWER: An ADL Backgrounder
Chronology of Events
Posted: January 5, 2009
June 2011: ANSWER organized a six-city speaking tour called “Eyewitness Libya” in response to the international military assault against Libyan dictator Muammar Qaddafi. Common themes throughout the tour stops included opposition to Western intervention in Libya and elsewhere in North Africa and the Middle East, and steadfast support for the Qaddafi regime—despite its ongoing brutal and systemic violence against Libyan civilians.
Speaking at the event in Los Angeles, IAC founder Ramsey Clark referred to the NATO attack against Libya as “the last of a long line of assaults on Arab and Muslim peoples” and referred to Western intervention as “this tyranny of violence.” During her remarks in New York, former U.S. Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, who headlined the tour, called President Obama a “war criminal” and likened NATO restrictions on Libyan civilians to Israeli restrictions on Gazans, calling the policies symbolic of the “Israelization” of NATO. Other tour speakers included Akbar Muhammad, the Nation of Islam’s (NOI) international representative and emissary to Africa; Brian Becker, National Coordinator of the ANSWER Coalition; and local representatives from ANSWER and other antiwar groups. In advance of the tour, organizers indicated that the tour aimed to reveal “the truth” about the U.S. relationship with Libya, which they claimed has been “concealed by the western corporate media.”
ANSWER is also partnering with the NOI and several other antiwar groups to organize a demonstration against international military action against Libya in August. The protest, which was announced at a press conference in New York in July, is being billed as the “Millions March in Harlem” event—a direct reference to the NOI’s 1995 Million Man March in Washington, DC.
January 15-17, 2010: Clark attended a "resistance" conference in Beirut that featured speeches by representatives of Hezbollah, Hamas and other Middle Eastern terrorist groups. The conference, which was attended by delegates of more than 30 countries, including Iran, Syria and Venezuela, focused on ways to shore up terrorist groups that advocate for Israel's destruction.
March 21, 2009: Several individuals waved Hezbollah flags at an ANSWER-organized anti-war rally held annually in Washington, D.C. to commemorate the anniversary of the Iraq invasion. Some of the signs held at the rally featured anti-Israel messages such as, "Condemn Israeli Baby Killers," "Stop the Palestinian Genocide" and "Stop Israel's slaughter in Gaza." An unidentified speaker mentioned a recent pro-Israel remark made by President Obama and accused him of "serving his masters."
January 16-18, 2009: At least two members of IAC, its founder Ramsey Clark and co-director Sara Flounders, joined representatives of Hezbollah and other terrorist organizations at a conference in Beirut to discuss strategies for supporting Hamas and opposing Israel's and American interests in the Middle East.
Clark spoke during an introductory session and voiced opposition to "the crimes of the Zionist occupation against the Lebanese and the Palestinians." Flounders called for supporting terror, saying, "We need to militantly support Hamas…We need to make it clear that we support the right to resist, the right to fire rockets…" She also saluted the resistance in Iraq and Afghanistan, as well as "the heroic forces in Lebanon, led by Hezbollah." She talked about finding a way to disrupt "the imperialist and Zionist war machines" and described the situation in Gaza as one example in the "wider war against oppressed people of the world."
December 2008 – January 2009: ANSWER helped organize rallies and demonstrations in New York, Washington, D.C., Orlando, San Francisco, Chicago, Los Angeles and elsewhere to protest Israel's military operations in Gaza. Signs condemning Jews, expressing support for Hamas and comparing the war to the Holocaust were widespread. Many of these rallies took place during two ANSWER-organized national days of action, one on December 30, 2008, shortly after the war began and one on January 10, titled "Let Gaza Live."
May 2008: ANSWER co-sponsored several anti-Israel events that were held to commemorate the 60th anniversary of the "Nakba," a term meaning 'catastrophe' used by many Palestinians and Arabs to describe the founding of the state of Israel. A large rally, co-organized with American Muslims for Palestine (AMP) and Muslim American Society (MAS), was held on May 16 in Washington, D.C. and featured a speech by ANSWER National Director Brian Becker, who accused Israel of committing acts of terrorism and of being a "colonial project."
August 12, 2006: ANSWER held rallies in Washington D.C., San Francisco, San Diego, Los Angeles and Seattle to protest Israel's military operations in Lebanon and U.S. Middle East policy. The largest rally, which took place opposite the White House in Washington, D.C., attracted about 10,000 supporters. Protesters at the rallies advocated support for Hezbollah and other Middle East terrorist groups. They waved Hezbollah flags and posters of Hezbollah's Secretary General Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah and chanted in Arabic "Long live Hezbollah, Long live Hamas" and "Nasrallah, Nasrallah; the martyr is the beloved of Allah; the Zionists are the enemy of Allah."
Carl Messineo of IAC addressed the crowd and 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." Other 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.
August 5, 2006: IAC held rallies to oppose the Lebanon war in New York and Los Angeles. 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 terrorism and called for the annihilation of Israel. In New York one speaker led the crowd in chants in Arabic: "Nasrallah dear: bomb Tel Aviv … bomb Kiryat Shmona" (on the day of the protest, Israeli towns were under missile attacks from Hezbollah). 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 shoot down the media and their corporations [we need to] shoot down Israel." The crowd at the New York event chanted "Long live Hezbollah! Long live Hamas!" and 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 anti-war protestors marched in New York City, San Francisco, Los Angeles and in other cities around the U.S. to protest the "occupation of Iraq." Anti-Israel sentiment was also expressed and ANSWER organizers distributed signs calling for an end to American aid to Israel.
In San Francisco, several placards promoting anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and support for Palestinian violence were displayed, including: "We attacked Iraq for Israel… Free my country," and "Smash the Jewish State." Activists also chanted, "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," and "Long live Palestine, long live the intifada."
May 6, 2005: Members of IAC, the Islamic Thinkers Society (ITS), Neturei Karta and New Jersey Solidarity protested outside the Israeli mission to the United Nations in New York City in commemoration of the "Nakba." Members of ITS held placards equating Nazis and Israelis and signs emblazoned with the symbol of Hamas. Protesters chanted that "Palestine is Islamic Land" and other anti-Jewish slogans in Arabic.
April 18, 2004: ANSWER and IAC leaders in New York joined Al-Awda and New Jersey Solidarity to protest the killing of Hamas leader Abdel Aziz Rantisi. Protesters marched to the Israeli consulate from Hunter College, where Al-Awda had been holding its annual convention. Abbas Hamideh, a coordinator for Al-Awda, told the crowd that Rantisi "was a leader who defended and fought for Palestinian rights." Signs read, "What's next Sharon. Ovens!!," "Globalize the Intifada" and "All of Israel is 'Occupied Territory.'" Another 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. 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 anti-war demonstrations in New York and San Francisco to commemorate the anniversary of the U.S. invasion in Iraq. Anti-war groups led by United for Peace and Justice (UFPJ), the other major organizer of the protest, initially intended to focus solely on the situation in Iraq, but were pressured by an ANSWER-organized coalition of anti-Israel groups to include an anti-Israel agenda. 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 with 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 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" and handed out "deception dollars," large replicas of paper currency covered with links to anti-Israel and anti-Semitic Web sites.
December 2003: ANSWER representatives met with Hamas leader Osama Hamdan at the Second International Cairo Conference in Egypt. Hamdan, who heads Hamas in Lebanon and supports suicide bombings against Israel, 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. IAC founder Ramsey Clark, IAC co-director Sara Flounders and Elias Rashmawi of ANSWER, were among the conference organizers.
March 15, 2003: ANSWER held several rallies across the country to protest the war in Iraq. At the San Francisco rally there were messages that likened President Bush to Hitler and proclaimed "No Blood for Oil or Israel." In Washington, D.C., speakers argued that the anti-war and pro-Palestinian movements should unite and focused on criticizing Israel rather than the Iraq war.
December 18-19, 2002: ANSWER participated in the first International Cairo Conference, which produced a document titled, "Cairo Declaration: Against U.S. Hegemony and War on Iraq and in Solidarity with Palestine." The document defined Palestinian terrorist attacks as legitimate acts of liberation and stated 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." The declaration also called for boycotting U.S. and Israeli goods in support of Iraq and Palestine.
April 20, 2002: ANSWER organized a "National March for Palestine Against War and Racism" in Washington, D.C. The massive rally including thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators. The rally served as a vehicle for anti-Semitism and support for terrorist organizations such as Hezbollah, whose flag flew from the speakers' podium.