Yesterday, commuters on New York’s Metro North Railway got a special Passover gift – an ad campaign by the American Muslims for Palestine urging folks to “End Apartheid Now! Stop US Aid to Israel.” Additionally, there’s a quote by Bishop Desmond Tutu where he states “I’ve been very deeply distressed in my visit to the Holy Land; It reminded me so much of what happened to us Black people in South Africa.” Powerful stuff – difficult to digest even if your tummy wasn’t already full of Matza. In a 2002 speech Tutu also stated “People are scared in this country [the US], to say wrong is wrong because the Jewish lobby is powerful â€“ very powerful. Well, so what?” So what indeed. Later, in 2005, Tutu edited his speech, replacing “Jewish” with “Israel.” It’s cool. Everyone makes mistakes – even Nobel Peace Prize winners.
But who are the American Muslims for Palestine? According to their Web site “The American Muslims for Palestine is a national grassroots organization whose mission is to educate the American public about issues pertaining to Palestine and its rich cultural and historical heritage.” Sounds pretty harmless right? Well let’s see…
AMP however has come under criticism in recent years for a spate of ‘radical’ behaviour. In 2004, its chairman, Hatem Bazian, praised the â€œuprising in Iraqâ€ (which was against U.S. soldiers) and the â€œintifada in Palestineâ€ and said an American intifada is needed to â€œchange fundamentally the political dynamics here.â€ He boasted, â€œTheyâ€™re gonna say some Palestinian [is] being too radical â€“ well, you havenâ€™t seen radicalism yet.â€ … In 2012, Bazian described the U.S. as a racist country that tries to get â€œdarker people [to] fight our war.â€ … AMP board member Osama Abu Irshaid describes the firing of rockets into Israel by Hamas as a form of â€œlegitimate resistance.â€ … Another board member is Salah Sarsour. His brother was arrested by Israel in 1998 and informed his interrogators that Salah was financing Hamas through the Islamic Association for Palestine and the Holy Land Foundation.
In any case, making statements like these during Passover seems a bit insensitive. I mean, of course AMP is not saying that Jews use the blood of gentile babies to make Matzohs for Passover but that little kid facing a presumably Israeli rifle in the poster looks kind of scared. AMP did issue a press release stating that the ad campaign was designed to coincide with President Obama’s visit to Israel, a visit that ended last week… but just in case anyone felt that something more sinister was afoot, they trotted out their approving Jews; Felice Gillman of Wespac Foundation and Michael Letwin of Jews for the Palestinian Right of Return who stated “The campaign against U.S. aid for Israel targets neither Jews nor Passover, but rather Israeli apartheid and injustice. And the best way to honor Passover, which celebrates Jewish liberation from ancient oppression, is to champion Palestinian human rights today.â€ Oh, ok. I feel much better. Thank you Mr. Letwin who represents pretty much nobody in the Jewish world for that clarification about the mostly blood red poster and the scared little kid on Passover.
Adam Horowitz over at MondoWeiss gleefully notes that you can expect to see this advert for 4 weeks in New York before it moves to other cities around the US. Oh yay.
Again. To be clear. I’m not saying this poster represents a blood libel. I am saying that the main color is blood red (Hexadecimal code #b71f2e not the actual red of the Palestinian flag which is #ff0000) and that it does depict a Jew traumatizing a non-Jewish child on Passover. It is at the very least, grossly insensitive. Ok? Ok!