Saturday, August 09, 2014

Pro- and Anti-ISIS demonstrations in Chicago today

I was just talking to some friends at dinner, and I predicted that sometime soon our local "peace" movement in Ithaca would hold a rally against the "US war against Iraq" to protest the humanitarian aid the US is now giving to the Yezidis and the military aid we're giving to the Kurds to prevent ISIS from conquering Irbil. I haven't yet heard of anything here, but I just saw a notice of just such an idiotic rally in Chicago, from an article on an Anglican website decrying the persecution of Christians in Iraq by ISIS.

Newland F. Smith comments:


I wonder if there was also a rally earlier in the week on behalf of the Christians and Yezidis who are being persecuted by ISIS? According to the website of the 8th Day Center (a Catholic center), they sponsor a peace vigil every Tuesday morning. I didn't find any mention of a vigil specifically on behalf of the religious minorities of Iraq. 

The Anti-War Committee - Chicago has protested against Boeing many times. Recently, they demonstrated against Boeing sponsoring the Air and Water Show in Chicago because of Israel's use of F-15s and 16s, and Apache helicopters (made by Boeing), which they claim makes Boeing complicit in the Israeli "genocide" in Gaza. They also participated in the big pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel demonstration in Chicago on July 9, which I wrote about earlier.

In May, they protested against the Ukrainian government, under the slogans, "No New Cold War with Russia, No U.S. Support for Fascist Atrocities in Ukraine." They appear to have entirely bought into the Russian government's propaganda that the Ukrainian government is run by fascists and that the Russian-supported separatists in eastern Ukraine are entirely benign. 

In March they held a panel on BDS and an international women's day dinner honoring Rasmieh Yousef Odeh, a Palestinian woman who entered the United States under false pretenses after spending ten years in an Israeli prison (1969-1979) after being convicted of terrorist activity. She was a member of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, a Palestinian terrorist group, and according to Haaretz, "was convicted of an attack that killed two people at a Jerusalem market in 1969." She was sentenced to life in prison in 1970, but was released ten years later in a prisoner exchange with the PFLP (for more details, see a second Haaretz article). She was arrested in October, 2013, on immigration fraud, for failing to mention her conviction on her immigration application. (Incidentally, Students for Justice in Palestine at Cornell condemned her arrest and called for her immediate release). 

The niece of one of the men who was killed in the attack has written an affecting article on the effect of Odeh's act on her grandmother, and asks when those who support her will stop defending her. 
On Friday, Feb. 21, 1969, my dad's brother, Edward Joffe, and his best friend, Leon Kanner, went to the supermarket Supersol at the intersection of Agron and Hamelech George in Jerusalem to make some purchases for a botany department excursion. 
As they approached the meat counter, an explosive device, a biscuit can filled with five kilograms of dynamite, which had been placed there by Rasmieh Yousef Odeh and Ayesha Oudeh, was suddenly detonated, and Eddie and Leon were both instantly killed. 
And so again I ask the supporters of Rasmieh Yousef Odeh: At what point will you stop defending her?
So, honoring a convicted terrorist murderer! Way to Go, Anti-War Committee - Chicago! This dinner was sponsored by a series of other groups, including the American Friends Service Committee. I had thought the Quakers didn't believe in taking up arms, but I guess they make an exception in Odeh's case.

Reading further on the blog for the Anti-War Committee, I found several posts on why the US should not intervene in Syria in order to protect Syrians from the chemical warfare attacks of the Syrian government.

So I guess we cannot expect the so-called "Anti-War Committee - Chicago" and its fellow-travelers (this term was chosen with care) to call for or participate in a demonstration protesting ISIS and its persecution of Christians, Yezidis, Shi'ites, and Sunnis who oppose their theocratic rule. Instead, what we get is a demonstration in Chicago sponsored by a supposed anti-war group and a Catholic center that is actually opposing any effective action to stop ISIS. Objectively, therefore the Anti-War Committee and the 8th Day Center are on the side of ISIS in its persecution of Christians, Yezidis, and others. I am sure they would deny this charge wholeheartedly, but that is what their actions amount to.



The story doesn't end here, however. Before the pathetic pro-war demonstration by the "Anti-War Committee" today, there was another demonstration in Chicago, this one sponsored by the Assyrian American National Federation (Assyrians are Christians), advocating American intervention in Iraq against ISIS. The demonstration had been planned for some time and coincided with the first American airstrikes today against ISIS.
Thousands of Chicago-area Assyrians gathered in the downtown square to demand more military aid and call for U.S. leadership in the international community’s creation of a safe haven in the Nineveh plains for thousands of displaced Christians and minorities. 
“We don’t just want airstrikes. We need a plan for the future,” Margaret Khamoo, president of the Chicago Chapter of the Assyrian Aid Society of America, yelled into a megaphone.

The demonstrators marched around Daley Plaza first in silence and then while chanting, holding wooden crosses, Assyrian and American flags and signs that condemned ISIS along with Western nations. 
“In the end, we will remember not the words of our enemies but the silence of our Western friends,” read one sign. 
“I really feel the suffering,” said Lena Ishkhan, 52, a participant who lives in Glenview but whose parents are from Iraq. “It really reached us to the core. It’s too much. Enough is enough.”

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