While participants may claim they are advocating for Palestinian rights, most of the speeches and chants are rooted in rage against the Jewish state and the fact of its existence. Rejecting a two-state solution, or calling for a Palestinian state "from the river to the sea," are thinly-veiled expressions of wanting to see an existing country disappear.
In the video above, the Investigative Project on Terrorism delves into one recent protest which shows that raw hatred and exposes the false narratives about Israel and its 9.6 million people that have been embraced to justify the rage.
At a May 15 protest, Taher Herzallah shared a childhood memory.
"You know, we grew up with my mom raising her hands in prayer, asking for God's wrath upon Israel for its crimes," said Herzallah, associate director of outreach and community organizing for the anti-Israel group American Muslims for Palestine (AMP). "But let me tell you something. We will bring God's wrath upon Israel. This generation is gonna make that happen."
Herzallah's audience cheered. They were part of a nationwide series of protests marking what Palestinians call the Nakba, or the catastrophe, of Israel's creation.
The rally at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C. was sponsored by AMP, the Palestinian Youth Movement (PYM) and local chapters of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP).
There, people chanted for Israel's annihilation and glorified terrorists as "martyrs."
"Okay, so today is Nakba day which commemorates the thief (sic) of our land in 1948 and to this day they still haven't given us 1948," an unidentified woman said. "So we're going to say we don't want no two states, we want 48."
The reference calls for a return to borders before Israel existed, an expressed rejection of any peaceful settlement that leaves Israel standing. Protesters repeatedly made that point with standard chants like "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free," and "There is only one solution, intifada revolution."
The protest was held days after Palestinian journalist Shireen Abu-Akleh was shot and killed in the West Bank city Jenin while covering clashes between gunmen and Israeli troops. It remains unclear which side fired the bullet that killed her. Israel acknowledges it may have come from one of its soldiers, but the Palestinian Authority has refused to let Israel examine the bullet to make a ballistic determination.
But protest speakers didn't care.
"Israel killed Shireen. That is a fact. That is a fact. And we are here today to honor her memory," one woman said.
Herzallah went a step further, insisting without any evidence that it was deliberate.
"She was murdered in cold blood in Jenin, on purpose in broad daylight because Israel doesn't care that the world sees what it's doing because it knows that it will never be held accountable," he said. "Everybody knows what Israel did to Shireen, but what are we gonna do about it? We will resist our oppressor until we die. We stand here today widely, bravely in support of our Palestinian in people, in support of our brave resistance, and to commemorate, honor our martyrs."
No one mentioned why Israeli troops were in Jenin in the first place. Jenin remains a terrorist hotbed, and most of the terrorists responsible for 19 Israeli deaths in a series of recent deadly attacks came from there. Other attacks planned in Jenin have been thwarted.
Herzallah and the Nakba protesters who met in front of the Lincoln Memorial celebrated the fact that Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad and Fatah still operate freely in Jenin.
"This means that Israel has failed," Herzallah said. "Israel has failed to destroy Palestinian resistance. Israel as a project has failed," he said, drawing more cheers.
Nearly six decades earlier, another protest for freedom and justice took place mere yards away from the Nakba gathering. The 1963 March on Washington is credited with leading to the passage of the Civil Rights Act a year later.
But in his infamous speech arguing against gradual change and advocating for "the fierce urgency of now," Rev. Martin Luther King also cautioned supporters: "In the process of gaining our rightful place, we must not be guilty of wrongful deeds. Let us not seek to satisfy our thirst for freedom by drinking from the cup of bitterness and hatred."
Sadly, the cup of bitterness and hatred, along with glorifying terrorism as "resistance," are all AMP and its allies offer.
Steven Emerson is executive director of the Investigative Project on Terrorism, the author of eight books on national security and terrorism, the producer of two documentaries, and the author of hundreds of articles in national and international publications.
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