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July 20, 2006 - Image 22

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 2006-07-20

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

Middle East

3

A

SPECIAL REPORT

;*

Israel Condemned

Arab rally spurs call to defeat Israel, "the oppressor."

Don Cohen
Special to the Jewish News

L

eaders of the Metro
Detroit Arab community
stood strongly behind
Hamas' and Hezbollah's attacks on
Israel, condemning the American
and Israeli governments and
calling for the Muslim and Arab
world to defeat Israel.
A July 14 press conference
and rally at the Islamic Center of
Detroit mosque attracted about
225 persons, mostly males ages
30-50, as well as young children
and teens holding signs con-
demning Israel. The event was
organized by the Palestine Office
of Michigan and the Conference
of Arab American Organizations
(CAAO), representing 43 local
Arab-American organizations.
The guest speaker was Rafeeq
Jaber, president of the Islamic
Association of Palestine (IAP),
which Steven Emerson and other
terrorism experts consider a front
group for Hamas. In December
2004, a federal court found the
IAP and other organizations liable
for $156 million in damages for
the 1996 murder of American
teenager David Boim during a
Hamas terror operation in Israel.
Charging the news media with
a pro-Israel bias, Jaber claimed:
"Israel has perfected the killing of
families, of whole families, and the
media doesn't talk about it."
Urging more coverage of Arab
suffering, he said Israel has a
secret weapon that kills Arabs by
destroying "soft tissues internally,"
but that the chemical — "depleted
uranium, we don't know" — can-
not be detected.
"They are not human!" Jaber
said of the Israelis to loud
applause. "They are terrorist! They
are terrorist! They are terrorist!
They are barbaric! They are not
human!"
Noting harsh words for
President Bush and the "deafening
silence from around the world,
especially from the Arab and
Muslim countries," Jaber conclud-

22

July 20 ® 2006

ed by calling for political action,
reminding the audience "the
highest form of jihad is to save the
world against an oppressor."

"War Criminals"
But the strongest attacks on the
Bush administration were made
in an impassioned speech by
Abed Hammoud, an assistant
prosecutor for Wayne County and
president of the CAAO. He blasted
President Bush and Secretary of
State Condoleezza Rice, calling
them war criminals blindly fol-
lowing the Israeli lead.
"It's the blind leading the blind,
[Israeli Prime Minister] Ehud
Olmert leading George W. Bush,"
Hammoud said.
"I knew Bush never cared about
life, never cared about innocent
life, never cared about lives of
U.S. soldiers," Hammoud said, his
voice rising. "The problem is not
only are they blind, and not only
criminal, and when I say criminal,
I am responsible for my words.
The president is backing and the
criminal secretary of state is back-
ing the crimes of Israel.
"I am a prosecutor and I know
the law, and the law says that
when you back someone who has
committed a crime, you are as
responsible as that person. To my
mind, this president is a criminal!"
Hammoud's remarks were
greeted with enthusiastic applause
and chants of, "Not a penny, not a
dime, Israel out of Palestine" with
some children shouting,"Allahu
Akhbar!" [God is Great!].
Neither Jaber's nor Hammoud's
provocative remarks, nor the
involvement of the Hamas-linked
IAP, were mentioned in a Detroit
News story about the event. The
Detroit Free Press attended the
program, but did not report on it.
Other speakers were scathing
in their criticism of America and
Israel. Not one of the speakers
mentioned Hamas or Hezbollah,
the rocket attacks on Israel or
Israeli deaths. The kidnapping
of Israeli soldiers was only men-
tioned to charge Israel with a dis-
proportionate response.

"Criminal State"
The publisher of the
Arab American
News and past
president of the
CAAO, Osama Siblani,
implored Muslims and
Arabs to speak out,
saying U.S. interests
were being harmed
by American support
for "a. criminal state
called Israel," and "a
bunch of terrorists led
by Ehud Olmert that
are trying to take the
United States on an
Children
adventure."
"Don't be afraid.
America needs you. Humanity
needs you. You are the only people
that can make a difference," he
said.
Hassan Newash, director of
the Palestine Office of Michigan,
charged that Israel was killing
"families en masse in Lebanon
and Palestine.
"There are barbaric assaults
on both fronts by Israeli forces
backed by the Bush administra-
tion, under the guise that Israel
has the right to self-defense,"
Newash said.
He said President Bush is
destroying the American economy
because money is "all sent over-
seas to make war on our people in
Iraq, in Lebanon and in Palestine."
Saying that Congress is not
hearing enough from those
opposing Israel, he urged contact-
ing legislators to "express your
outrage" because "there are war-
mongers in the White House and
the congressmen."
Gebrge Khoury, a local
Palestinian Christian business-
man active with the national Holy
Land Christian Ecumenical Fund,
which organizes Christians on
behalf of Palestinians, charged
that Israel "wants land without
people; it's an act of thievery."
Israel commits "acts of barba-
rism, not just the last week and
the week before, but in the last 50,
60, maybe 100 years," Khoury said.
He blamed Zionists for driving

Rafeeq Jaber, president of the Islamic Association of Palestine

RIGHT VS MIGH

FREEDOM

1 FOR PALESTINE

BOYCOTT ISRAE

held signs denouncing Israel.

Christians out of Palestine say-
ing, "not one" Christian ever left
because of Muslim oppression.
"We have never had any problems
with our Muslim brothers in
Palestine," he said to loud applause
from his overwhelmingly Muslim
audience.

Israel's End?
The final speaker, Rafael Narbaez,
called Zionism "racist" and a
repressive political ideology" that
had nothing to do with Judaism.
Introduced as an employee of
the Arab Community Center
for Economics and Social
Services (ACCESS), Narbaez said
he wanted to speak for Jews he
knows that reject Zionism. He said
Jews under Islam "lived in peace
for centuries, patiently waiting for
the messiah," but that now Jews
cannot speak openly "for fear of
oppression from their commu-
nity."
"Whether it is 6 million Jews
dying in gas chambers or 6 mil-
lion Arabs dying of starvation, it is
the same thing',' said Narbaez, say-
ing that Zionists "have the same
racist ideology that the Nazis of
Germany had."
Comparing Palestinian terror-
ists to resistance forces during
World War II, he said, "Gaza is
their Poland; Lebanon is their
France. We will continue to fight to
the last man and to the last blood."
Narbaez predicted the end

"

of Israel, saying Israel's current
actions "had turned the corner"
and "they are on their way to
defeat once and for all.
"I'm sick of talking about
`Free Palestine," he said. "We
are now talking about "Victory
in Palestine!" he said to loud
applause.
The program ended with
Hassan Newash, of the Palestine
Office telling the audience that
"Saladin lies within you, Saladin
lies within all of us," referring
to the historic Muslim military
leader and hero who reclaimed
Muslim lands from the Crusaders
and established Muslim rule over
Jerusalem in 1187.
"Now go out and do something,"
he said.
The JN shared informa-
tion about the speeches and
tenor of the event with Wendy
Wagenheim, president of the
Jewish Community Council of
Metropolitan Detroit.
"Our hope is that moderate
voices in the Arab community will
prevail — those who recognize
that the terrorist organizations,
Hezbollah and Hamas, must be
stopped," she said.
"However, knowing that Israel's
critics are waging a negative
media campaign, it is crucial that
the Jewish community respond by
contacting Congress and President
Bush, urging their continued sup-
port of Israel." E

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