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Wednesday, June 13, 2007

D.C. Anti-Israel rally flops - or does it?

http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/06/dc-anti-israel-rally-flops-or-does-it.html

According to the Forward, the Rally Against Occupation Drew Sparse Crowd in D.C.
Actually, it was not a rally against the occupation. It was a rally against the existence of Israel, since the organizing groups all support a one state "solution" and, as indicated by hate speech at the rally, and based on independent evidence, the groups are probably anti-Semitic as well as anti-Zionist.
 
Though the Forward is satisfied, the appearance of 2,000 people at an anti-Semitic rally is not a cause for complacency.
 
Surely, it should have been possible to overwhelm this gathering with pro-Israel supporters, and surely the Forward could have done a better job of shedding light on the real nature of the organizers, rather than casting them as innocent protestors against the occupation.
 
Ami Isseroff


 

Organizers of this past weekend's "The World Says No to Israeli Occupation" rally in Washington pulled out all the stops.

They secured the backing of the nation's largest grass-roots anti-war coalition, United for Peace & Justice, which has brought hundreds of thousands into the streets to protest the Iraq War. They reserved prime real estate on the National Mall, with the Capitol as a backdrop. They purchased ads on the Washington Metro system and on cable television. They had a promotional rap song ("June 10, come out and represent/June 10, the day to protest/June 10, got to end this occupation/June 10, Palestinian liberation"). Comedy legend Roseanne Barr recorded a message urging participation.

There was one area, however, in which the rally was lacking: Not many people showed up.

The rally's sponsors, UFPJ and the U.S. Campaign to End the Israeli Occupation, placed the number of attendees at "more than 5,000." The U.S. Campaign labeled the rally a "huge success." But pro-Israel activists and bloggers who observed the rally said there were far fewer in attendance, some placing the number at about 1,000. Right-wing blogs ridiculed the gathering, posting photos that suggested a sparse crowd. The Jerusalem Post put the number of attendees at "upwards of 2,000." Mainstream news outlets largely ignored the rally.

"I think they have to be very disappointed," Roz Rothstein, national director of the pro-Israel group StandWithUs, said of the organizers of the pro-Palestinian demonstration. StandWithUs organized a small counter-protest.

The U.S. Campaign stated that its rally was called "to protest the 40th anniversary of Israel's illegal military occupation of the Palestinian West Bank, Gaza Strip, and East Jerusalem, and Syrian Golan Heights." The group had been planning the event since late last year, according to the U.S. Campaign's office manager, Omar Masri, a rally organizer.

"We expected a large number. We didn't know exactly how much. We were excited to know that 5,000 were there, of course," Masri said. "We were hoping for a bit more, but we didn't have an official estimate."

Masri stood by the 5,000 figure while acknowledging that it was a "rough estimate." He said that the number of attendees was less significant than the fact that "this was the first time in our history that two of the largest coalitions come together demanding an end of Israeli occupation of Palestine."

Speakers at the rally variously denounced American aid to Israel, railed against the "Zionist lobby that took this country to war in Iraq," and accused Israel of practicing "apartheid" and of violating Palestinians' human rights. Another speaker warned of "a plan to create a new American-Israeli century where those who dare to speak out will be squashed."

Wed. Jun 13, 2007


Copyright - Original materials copyright (c) by the authors. Originally posted at http://zionism-israel.com/israel_news/2007/06/dc-anti-israel-rally-flops-or-does-it.html. Please do link to these articles, quote from them and forward them by email to friends with this notice. Other uses require written permission of the author.

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