"Resistance" Conference in Beirut Draws Far Left American and International Activists
Posted: February 1, 2010
Delegates from more than 30 countries attended a conference in Beirut that featured speeches by representatives of Hezbollah and Palestinian terrorist groups Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
The conference, titled the "Arab International Forum for the Support of the Resistance" was held at the UNESCO Palace in Beirut on January 15-17, 2010. It was organized by the Arab Center for Communication and Solidarity, an international anti-Israel organization, to support "resistance to occupation." The Center has held several conferences in recent years on the Palestinian "right of return" and strategies for reclaiming the Golan, Jerusalem, and the Palestinian territories. The conference was marked by rhetoric similar to other pro-resistance conferences previously held in Beirut.
George Galloway, an anti-Zionist British parliamentarian and the leader of a pro-Hamas campaign called Viva Palestina, attended the conference, as did several American Far Left figures, including former Attorney General Ramsey Clark and Stanley Cohen, a Jewish American lawyer who has served as the defense lawyer in several high-profile terrorism cases.
The conference consisted of speeches by Hamas and Hezbollah leaders calling for increased support for "resistance" against Israel and calls for the destruction of Israel. Many of the conference speakers addressed the need to unite the Palestinian and Lebanese resistance forces, an objective that was accomplished at a meeting between top Hamas and Hezbollah officials during the conference. Its importance was underscored in a final statement issued at the end of the conference.
Among those in attendance were representatives from Iran, Syria and Venezuela. The Venezuelan delegation consisted of approximately 30 people, including members of Parliament. While not in attendance, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez sent "messages of support" through their representatives.
On the last day of the conference, organizers released a final statement reiterating principles previously highlighted during the conference program. The statement declared that resistance in all forms, but particularly "armed resistance," is legitimate and therefore there should be increased coordination between different resistance forces. The statement also established that January 18 and August 14, the dates the Gaza war and the Lebanon war respectively ended, should be days of "Celebration for the Resistance and Victory!"
Calls for the Arab world to reject negotiations with Israel, commit to boycotting Israel and acknowledge that resistance is the only viable pursuit to justice were also restated.
Several media reports estimated the number of attendees to be in the "thousands." The Web site of Hezbollah's military wing, the Islamic Resistance in Lebanon, claimed that "almost a thousand participants" attended.