Israel rally seeks to "spin" brutal occupation say Muslims
A Washington-based Islamic advocacy group said today this afternoon's rally in support of Israel on Capitol Hill is a desperate attempt to put positive spin on that state's brutal occupation of another people and to distract attention from recent atrocities committed by Israeli forces in the Occupied Territories.
A statement by Nihad Awad, executive director of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), read in part: (Awad and other CAIR representatives are available for interviews on this issue.)
"Those who offer blind support for Israel's brutal policies do a disservice to our nation's interests worldwide and violate the values of freedom and justice that all Americans hold dear. No amount of public relations 'spin' will convince ordinary Americans that complicity in Israel's denial of Palestinian rights is anything but a strategic liability that serves to isolate the United States and harm the ongoing war on terrorism. In fact, a
recent survey indicated that 60 percent of Americans believe the United States should cut off or reduce aid to Israel if it refuses to heed President Bush's call for withdrawal of Israeli troops from Palestinian territories. (Time/CNN Poll, 4/12/2002)
"Rally organizers claim they are standing up for 'democratic values,' yet would deny Palestinians the right to choose their leaders. They call for an end to incitement and hate-filled rhetoric, while at the same time
demonizing an entire culture and faith in a vain attempt to avoid discussion of the real source of the conflict, the occupation. They ask others to condemn attacks on civilians, but ignore or even deny atrocities
committed by Israeli forces in places like Jenin and Nablus.
"Just today, the United Nations Commission on Human Rights condemned Israel for 'mass killings' of Palestinians. There is no moral equivalence between the war on terrorism and Israel's unjust and ultimately self-defeating war on Palestinian Muslims and Christians."
Awad reiterated Muslim condemnation of terrorism and support for President Bush's demand that Israel withdraw from the cities it has invaded, end settlement activity and cease its "daily humiliation" of Palestinian Muslims and Christians. He also said that spontaneous rallies in support of Palestinian rights drew hundreds of thousands worldwide.