A guest post by AKUS
I’ve given the AL Quds Day demonstrators a couple of day now to get their videos up on YouTube and their puff-pieces planted in the media. Frankly, it looks like Al Quds day was a washout, as widely ignored a piece of PR as one could imagine.
As CiF Watch noted, in Guardian ignores Al Quds Day in London, even the UK’s greatest supporter of Hezbollah, Hamas and Iran, the Guardian, could not bring itself to report the damp squib that was the London demonstration. The London demonstration has typically been the Western epicenter of anti-Israeli activity, that, with the mass rally in Tehran, is supposed to show wall-to-wall approval of the Ayatollah Khomeini’s PR effort rather than the pathetic show in the tiny square outside the US embassy. Palestinian fatigue has set in, especially in light of what is happening in Syria.
I’ve spent some time scanning the internet, and it is apparent that the anti-Israeli supporters could claim success insofar as they managed to hold demonstrations in many Western cities across the world – London, Washington, Toronto, Berlin, etc. (I attach little importance to demonstrations in places like Malaysia, however, since it is almost a given that they can turn out a crowd to chant anti-Israeli slogans whenever they wish). However, the tiny size of the demonstrations was another Palestinian Nakba.
I have found little reportage in the main stream media. Almost all the reporting available is from Press TV. Their video clips are unlikely to be seen by most Western audiences who may not even have access to the channel. Perhaps worst of all, I was able to watch Al Jazeera rather gleefully reporting that the demonstration in Karachi was used by the locals to attack the Pakistani government, with almost no mention of Israel at all.
Despite the geographical dispersion, the Western demonstrations comprised a few hundred people at most, mainly Moslems, and it is not at all clear, as Ha’aretz reported, that many Palestinians took part (except in Gaza). For example, in Du Pont Circle in Washington, the Press TV video shows that much of the oration and chanting appears to have been done by representatives of Farakhan’s Nation of Islam and similar Black Islamic groups.
In addition, in line with Ahmadinajad’s speech calling for the removal of Israel (and the US) from the Middle East, the theme seemed t be less about occupation (after all, it may have dawned on some that Gaza is not occupied) and more about the wholesale destruction of Israel. This at least lays out clearly what the whole Al Quds day effort has always really been about. The low participation may be due to those who have a problem with things on the West Bank drawing the line at the calls for the wholesale extermination of the entire Israeli population in order to “free Palestine”.
Here are a few gleanings:
London: (Ha’aretz): Iran’s specter looms large over London’s annual ‘Quds Day’ march
The Palestinians were conspicuously missing from the annual pro-Palestinian march in the British capital. Hezbollah and Iran, however, were everywhere. Five hundred people (by [columnist Anshel Pfeffer’s] count, the organizers claimed five thousand) gathered in central London this Friday afternoon for the annual Al-Quds day demonstration, calling literally for the destruction of Israel.
… Besides the Hezbollah flags and banners, there was no mention of Palestinian organizations such as Hamas or Fatah, or involvement of other English pro-Palestinian groups such as the Palestine Solidarity Committee. … It seems that this is the annual opportunity for Iran’s supporters to assert themselves and that is why Hezbollah, Tehran’s long-arm, is the only organization with flags on the march.
Washington DC: Press TV video from Washington:
The demonstration was held in Du Pont Circle, a frequent hang-out for young Washingtonians in the hope they would be curious about the activity and give the impression of greater numbers. The emphasis was on Gaza. Much of the usual rubbish was spouted – there are no medicines, the “world’s greatest prison camp”, “they are basically being massacred there”, “the world said nothing about [Cast Lead]”, Gaza= Auschwitz etc.
At a guess, there were less than one hundred demonstrators to be seen in this video.
No numbers available, but the JDL represented Jews and Israel. A few scuffles, no arrests. Emphasis was on destruction of Israel:
“When shall I see that day, when we, the Muslims, march on Palestine and liberate Palestine for all the people in the world … and under Islamic law, they will live as equals,” yelled Bangash. “The Zionists … claim that Muslims hate Jews … I challenge any Zionist … to come and prove to us that any Jewish people have been oppressed anywhere in the Muslim world.”
Calgary: IsraellyCool picked up a PressTV report of a demonstration where one demonstrator proposed that the Canadian PM be executed for his support of Israel.
About 600 people marched through Berlin’s western inner city at the annual Al Quds Day to protest for a free Palestine and against Zionism. They sympathized with Hezbollah with chants and flags. Riot police separated them from pro-Israeli activists.
About 250 people held rallies against the annual Al Quds Day march in Berlin’s western inner city. With Israeli flags and pro Israeli chants they disturbed the Al Quds march at different times.
They chanted slogans such as “free Syria from Assad” and “Free Gaza from Hamas”
THIS afternoon, pro-Palestinian activists will gather in Sydney’s Hyde Park to call for the destruction of the Jewish state.
On their Facebook page, the Al-Quds Day Sydney Rally’s organisers are explicit about the Iran-backed movement’s objectives: “Those who do not participate in the Day of Quds (Jerusalem) are in agreement with Israel and oppose Islam.”
One of the speakers, Hussein al-Dirani, has said that the rally will be a peaceful expression of support for all oppressed people. But the rally is likely to be another component of a sustained attack on Israel that is becoming increasingly familiar in Australian cities.
IsraellyCool picked up the PressTV Report on Al Quds Day In Sydney, Australia
“Notice how the reporter quotes organizes as saying the protest was a “peaceful demonstration against the Israeli occupation of Palestine with no ill intent towards any Jewish people.” Try reconcile that with the Hizbullah flag at 0:35.
It is clear why the organizers were careful to make this claim. And why it is complete bollocks.
THE NSW and federal governments have laid down the law to pro-Palestinian activists planning an anti-Israel protest today, warning that any racial vilification could lead to criminal prosecution.”
A 16-year-old boy has been killed in clashes with riot police in Bahrain. (It is not clear if this was connected to Al Quds day).
Also on Friday, dozens of protesters in the village on Sitra, south of the capital, participated in global al-Quds day protests in solidarity with the Palestinian people, with police firing tear gas to disperse demonstrators.
And in Karachi, although thousands demonstrated against the USA and Israel, two were killed in a bombing attack: Al Quds rally participants attacked: Two killed in Karachi blast. Another blast killed 53 Al Quds marchers in Quetta.
All in all, I think we could safely estimate that in Western countries it is unlikely that more than 10,000 demonstrated. Even more depressing for the organizers, of the 1.5 billion Muslims, it looks like to would be hard to claim that 100,000 demonstrated for the destruction of Israel, and some of those demonstrations apparently turned Muslim against Muslim.
This was an utterly embarrassing turnout for Tehran and the various Western pro-Palestinian, pro-Iran, Hamas and Hezbollah crowd. Perhaps their supporters are seeing enough destruction in places like Syria, Lebanon, and Libya to make them rethink their desire for violent action against Israel.
- Richard Millett’s ‘Al Quds Day’ Report: Hezbollah marches through London again (cifwatch.com)
- Guardian ignores Al Quds Day in London. (cifwatch.com)
- Islamic Human Rights Commission & Al Quds Day: Tip of the UK’s Iranian support network iceberg (cifwatch.com)