September 27, 2005

Christopher Hitchens on the "Anti-War" Protest and its Organizers

Christopher Hitchens has an excellen column today on Slate.com regarding the groups that organized the "anti-war" protests this past weekend (International ANSWER and United for Peace and Justice):

The name of the reporter on this story was Michael Janofsky. I suppose that it is possible that he has never before come across "International ANSWER," the group run by the "Worker's World" party and fronted by Ramsey Clark, which openly supports Kim Jong-il, Fidel Castro, Slobodan Milosevic, and the "resistance" in Afghanistan and Iraq, with Clark himself finding extra time to volunteer as attorney for the génocidaires in Rwanda. Quite a "wide range of progressive political objectives" indeed, if that's the sort of thing you like. However, a dip into any database could have furnished Janofsky with well-researched and well-written articles by David Corn and Marc Cooper—to mention only two radical left journalists—who have exposed "International ANSWER" as a front for (depending on the day of the week) fascism, Stalinism, and jihadism.

The group self-lovingly calling itself "United for Peace and Justice" is by no means "narrow" in its "antiwar focus" but rather represents a very extended alliance between the Old and the New Left, some of it honorable and some of it redolent of the World Youth Congresses that used to bring credulous priests and fellow-traveling hacks together to discuss "peace" in East Berlin or Bucharest. Just to give you an example, from one who knows the sectarian makeup of the Left very well, I can tell you that the Worker's World Party—Ramsey Clark's core outfit—is the product of a split within the Trotskyist movement. These were the ones who felt that the Trotskyist majority, in 1956, was wrong to denounce the Russian invasion of Hungary. The WWP is the direct, lineal product of that depraved rump. If the "United for Peace and Justice" lot want to sink their differences with such riffraff and mount a joint demonstration, then they invite some principled political criticism on their own account. And those who just tag along … well, they just tag along.

To be against war and militarism, in the tradition of Rosa Luxemburg and Karl Liebknecht, is one thing. But to have a record of consistent support for war and militarism, from the Red Army in Eastern Europe to the Serbian ethnic cleansers and the Taliban, is quite another. It is really a disgrace that the liberal press refers to such enemies of liberalism as "antiwar" when in reality they are straight-out pro-war, but on the other side. Was there a single placard saying, "No to Jihad"? Of course not. Or a single placard saying, "Yes to Kurdish self-determination" or "We support Afghan women's struggle"? Don't make me laugh. And this in a week when Afghans went back to the polls, and when Iraqis were preparing to do so, under a hail of fire from those who blow up mosques and U.N. buildings, behead aid workers and journalists, proclaim fatwahs against the wrong kind of Muslim, and utter hysterical diatribes against Jews and Hindus.

Some of the leading figures in this "movement," such as George Galloway and Michael Moore, are obnoxious enough to come right out and say that they support the Baathist-jihadist alliance. Others prefer to declare their sympathy in more surreptitious fashion. The easy way to tell what's going on is this: Just listen until they start to criticize such gangsters even a little, and then wait a few seconds before the speaker says that, bad as these people are, they were invented or created by the United States. That bad, huh? (You might think that such an accusation—these thugs were cloned by the American empire for God's sake—would lead to instant condemnation. But if you thought that, gentle reader, you would be wrong.)

It really is an oustanding article. Read it all.

One does wonder why the mainstream media never provides any insight on who actually organized the rally. I can only conclude that it is for one of the following reasons: (a) the mainstream media is lazy or (b) the mainstream media is biased against President Bush or the Iraq War and therefore, does not want to discredit any effort to damage President Bush or the war effort.

International ANSWER's website lists ten reasons why it opposes the Iraq War including:

The U.S. spends $15 million every day to support Israel's continued occupation of the West Bank and to carry out non-stop aggression against the Palestinian people in the territories seized since 1967 and in the borders of historic Palestine.

The Anti-Defamation League notes:

The ANSWER (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) Coalition, created by the New York-based International Action Center to protest the bombing of Afghanistan, has organized many anti-war protests around the country since September 2001. The largest and most disturbing was on April 20, 2002, in Washington DC. Called the “National March for Palestine Against War and Racism,” the massive rally was attended by approximately 200,000 people, including thousands of pro-Palestinian demonstrators. The rally served as a forum for supporting violence and terror organizations, and for a proliferation of anti-Semitic expression. The ANSWER coalition moved up the date of its rally to April 20 to coincide with anti-globalization demonstrations, which were organized to protest the IMF and World Bank. ANSWER has become one of the most effective organizers for anti-war rallies, attracting thousands of demonstrators to subsequent rallies. ANSWER has played a key role in bringing Arab and Muslim groups into the anti-war and anti-racism movements, which has led to extreme invective against Israel during protests and expressions of support for Palestinian terrorists. Among the groups that have endorsed ANSWER events and participated in rallies are Al-Awda and the Islamic Association for Palestine

For all of you Democrats, who support International ANSWER or otherwise participated in its activities(such as this weekend's protest), you have been given fair warning that you will be supporting or affiliating with an anti-Israeli/anti-Semitic group. If you do continue to support International ANSWER and/or participate in its protests, then you can be fairly considered to be anti-Israel. If you fail to denounce this group and its views, then you can be failry considered to be anti-Israel.

For all of my fellow members of the tribe, consider this: do you really want to be affiliated with such an anti-Israel group? If you are a Democrat, do you really want your party leaders supporting or affiliating with such an anti-Israel group?

As a Jew, I admittedly have a vested interest in my ardent support for Israel. Why? That is easy to answer. If you believe in "Never Again" you believe in Israel. There is no middle ground. Otherwise, "Never Again" becomes nothing more than lip service.

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