On July 1, one hundred anti-Israel activists met in Boston to protest against the world’s only Jewish state. They were part of an international day of demonstrations, known as Al Quds Day. What is this? Who are the protestors? And should Massachusetts Jews be worried?
Every year, on the last day of the Islamic month of Ramadan, in cities throughout the globe, political and religious extremists sally forth to observe Al Quds Day. Initiated by the Iranian regime after the revolution in 1979, Al Quds Day is now a prominent annual event for supporters of Syria’s Assad, Lebanon’s Hezbollah and the Mullahs in Tehran.
Across the Arab and Western world, the flags and standards of those groups dedicated to killing Jews in Israel, as well as opponents of Bashar Al-Assad’s regime in Syria, flutter in the hands of thousands of Shi’ite Muslims – and, in the West, their far-Left supporters.
In Europe, Hezbollah and Hamas flags are openly paraded. Thousands of demonstrators chant for the eradication of Israel and the establishment of an Islamic state “from the river to the sea.”
Here in Boston, however, Al Quds Day is a smaller affair. This is partly down to the small number of Shi’ite Muslims in Massachusetts, as well as the considerable number of American Shi’ites who oppose the Iranian regime and its annual agitprop – many families having fled Iran after the revolution.
Boston’s 2016 Al Quds Day was held in Copley Square. About a hundred Islamist and far-Left activists held up placards advocating the eradication of Israel, waved flags bearing the flag of the murderous Syrian regime, and chanted support for Palestinian “resistance.”
Boston’s Al Quds Day was organized by the Muslim Congress, an American Shi’ite Islamist group openly aligned with Tehran. Speakers at other Muslim Congress events have included Imam Abdul Alim Musa, who distributed flyers at Muslim Congress events claiming the U.S. government is “Zionist occupied” and that the FBI is the “Gestapo.”
Another regular Muslim Congress speaker, Imam Mohammad al-Asi, has claimed that protests in Iran against the regime were organized to benefit the “political Jews”, the “Zionists” and the U.S. government. In 1998, Al-Asi called for the eradication of Jews.
Five years ago, in many cities across the U.S. and Europe, Al Quds Day enjoyed the support of Sunni Muslims as well – mostly Muslim Brotherhood groups able to mobilize large numbers of supporters. But the Shia-backed Assad regime’s slaughter of hundreds of thousands of Sunni Muslims and Palestinians in Syria has produced sectarian differences in the Western Muslim diaspora that reflect divisions in the Arab world. Groups aligned with Hamas, prominently listed on advertisements for the Al Quds Day in 2011, were conspicuously absent in 2012.
Shi’ite Islamists in the U.S., then, have sought to boost their numbers with Marxist and “anti-war” activists. At the 2016 Al Quds Day in Boston, far-Left supports included activsts from the International Action Center, a Marxist group condemned by the ADL for its support of Islamist terror groups and violent resistance to “U.S. imperialism.”
They were accompanied by several activists from the Massachusetts branch of Peace Action. The national branch of Peace Action was involved, during the 1980s, with Hassan Hosseini – a prominent Iranian Islamist academic whose curriculum vitae states that he previously worked for over a decade in Washington D.C. to “protect the interests” of the Iranian regime. One prominent Massachusetts Peace Action official, Jeff Klein, is an unapologetic supporter of the Assad regime.
Although Boston’s Al Quds Day is small in size compared with the protests in London or Berlin, it is just as worrying. Massachusetts Jews should not just dismiss chants of “resistance is justified”, or posters proclaiming the destruction of the Jewish state “from the river to the sea”, as the hysteria of a powerless few. In London, Paris, and other European cities beset with violent anti-Semitism, Al Quds Day protests were once also tiny affairs.