Sun, Aug 14, 2011 | The Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center
International Jerusalem Day: anti-Israeli anti-West Incitement
Jerusalem Day, marked on August 26 this year, is an annual Iranian-sponsored event in support of the Palestinian cause. The Iranian regime expects extensive participation in events in Iran, the Arab-Muslim world and the West (including the United States and Britain). The events are traditionally exploited for anti-Israeli anti-West incitement.
On or around August 26 the Iranians mark International Jerusalem Day. They began in 1979 following a decision taken by the Ayatollah Khomeini and the Iranian regime on the third Friday of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. The objective of Jerusalem Day is to express the support of Iran and the Arab-Muslim world for the Palestinian cause and the “liberation of Jerusalem,” to defame Israel and call for its destruction, and to defy the United States and the West in general (“the arrogant super powers”).
This year’s Jerusalem Day events occur on the backdrop of the popular protests in the Middle East against the Arab regimes, the events of Nakba Day and Naqsa Day, the campaign to delegitimize Israel and potential powder keg of the Palestinian arena in preparation for UN move in September. The Iranian regime may exploit all of the above in Jerusalem Day for propaganda and practical leverage against Israel. In our assessment, among other things the Iranians may encourage protests along Israel’s borders, exploiting the current instability in Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The Iranians may also encourage demonstrators to cross the borders into Israeli territory (similar to the invasion of Majd al-Shams on Naqsa Day, which set a precedent) to make Jerusalem Day events provocative and violent, drawing wanted media attention to Iran and the messages it wants to send.
Jerusalem Day events are held in various locations every year:
1) Iran: Events are held in Tehran and other cities throughout the country. There are demonstrations, rallies and speeches given by Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and other senior Iranian figures. In previous years the events were exploited to call for the destruction of the State of Israel, for anti-Semitic propaganda (by identifying the Jewish people with Israel and “world Zionism”) and anti-American and anti-West propaganda, rejection of the Israeli-Palestinian negotiations, attacks on the moderate Arab camp, support for Hezbollah and praise for the so-called “resistance” (i.e., terrorism). In past years those themes were expressed by Iran’s supporters in various locations around the globe where Jerusalem Day events took place, and they can be expected to be used this year as well (with themes suitable for each individual country).
2) The Arab-Muslim world: In past years events were held in the Arab-Muslim world in countries with large Shi’ite populations and entities friendly to Iran. The traditional center outside Iran is Lebanon, where events are led by Hezbollah (Hassan Nasrallah is the keynote speaker). In 2010 Jerusalem Day events were held in the Gaza Strip (led by Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad), Syria, (led by local Palestinians), Turkey, India, Pakistan and Azerbaijan. We do not currently have concrete information about proposed events this year with the exception of Turkey, where an event is planned for Istanbul on August 26, and Pakistan, where marches are planned for Lahore, Karachi, Peshawar and Hyderabad on August 26.
3) Western and other countries: Last year Jerusalem Day events were held in the United States (in various locations, including Washington, DC), Britain, Germany, France, Belgium, Norway, New Zealand, South Africa, India and Venezuela. They included strong anti-Israeli incitement, calls for boycotting Israel and expressions of solidarity with Hezbollah. This year as well Jerusalem Day events are planned around the world, including in Britain (where the main event will be held in London on August 21) and the United States (on August 26. One of them, in our assessment the most important, is planned for New York City). On August 26 events will also be held in Canada (Toronto), Noway (Oslo) and Nigeria (Zaria).
While the campaign is clearly sponsored by Iran, senior figures in the Iranian regime represent it as an international Islamic event and attempt to attract the participation of Muslim communities in Western countries, using terminology acceptable and familiar to Western ears. For example, in Britain and the United States, use is made the terminology of the struggle for human rights, and individuals and organizations dealing with those rights have been enlisted to promote and participate in Jerusalem Day events. That is done despite the fact that the Jerusalem Day events are exploited by the Iranian regime for anti-West incitement, and despite the fact that the regime repressed the protest movement against it and supports the Syrian regime, which brutally oppresses its opponents.
For example, Jerusalem Day events in Britain are organized by an Islamic human rights organization (the IHRC) headed by a human rights activist of Iranian origin. In our assessment, based on the list of participating organizations, in Britain the Iranians have succeeded in enlisting large numbers of those who represent the local Muslim populations. In the United States, Jerusalem Day is represented as an event expressing solidarity with all “the oppressed human beings of the world,” especially with the Palestinians, “oppressed” by the “racist Zionist regime.”
Two appendices follow:
1) Appendix I: Preparations for the “International Day of Quds,” i.e., Jerusalem Day in Britain (Initial Findings)
2) Appendix II: Jerusalem Day events planned for the United States (Initial Findings)
Preparations for the “International Day of Al-Quds,” i.e., Jerusalem Day in Britain
Jerusalem Day events are planned for Sunday, August 21, five days before the formal opening. A march will be held in London at 14:00 hours (2 p.m.), from Portland Place (West End, London), near BBC radio headquarters, to Trafalgar Square.
This year the Jerusalem Day events are again being organized by an anti-Israeli Islamic organization called the Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC). The IHRC offers support to volunteers wanting to participate in the organizing the demonstration and distributing flysheets. It is a well-established organization with decades of experience in fighting for the rights of Muslims and against European Islamophobia. The organization expressed extreme objection to the French law banning face coverings (niqab) for women, claiming France was taking a step towards fascism. However, it also often deals with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict and promotes an anti-Israeli political agenda in Britain (boycotting and defaming Israel, rejecting the two-state solution and organizing Jerusalem Day marches).
The IHRC is headed by Massoud Shadjareh, born in Tehran in 1951, a veteran human rights activist who began his activities at the University of California at Berkeley in 1971. He focuses on fighting Islamophobia, about which he has written reports and lectured around the globe. Other activists in the organization leadership are apparently also of Iranian origin.
We do not possess concrete information about Iranian activity in Britain. It can be assumed that there is behind-the-scenes Iranian involvement in Jerusalem Day events and elsewhere). In our assessment, that is because the Iranian regime prefers not to involve itself directly in organizing the events, but rather to use the services of local proxies which represent themselves as human rights organizations working for “justice” and for the Palestinians under the “Israeli occupation.” It is also reasonable to assume that Iran uses the same modus operandi in other Western countries.
In preparation for Jerusalem Day the IHRC’s website posted a list of 18 British groups and organizations expected to participate in the London Jerusalem Day march. An examination of the names shows the following (for details see the table below):
1) Prominent on the list are radical Islamic organizations, some of them affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood (although they do not publicly admit their affiliation). Some of them are active participants in the campaign to delegitimize Israel (boycotting Israel (BDS), participation in flotillas and convoys to the Gaza Strip, disseminating anti-Israeli propaganda, attempting to bring Israelis to trial, etc.). Conspicuous among them are the Palestinian Return Centre (PRC), affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas; the Muslim Association of Britain (MAB), an organization representing the Muslim Brotherhood; and the Muslim Council of Britain (MCB), the main Islamist umbrella organization in Britain.
2) While the organizations and their members are radical-Islamic, some of them also have extreme left-wing elements who participate in the campaign to delegitimize Israel. On the other hand, in our assessment, they do not seem to be extensively represented by non-Islamic human rights organizations and social activists, the traditional participants in anti-Israeli activities organized by the delegitimization campaign (possibly unwilling to be associated with an event which could be traced back to Iran).
3) Two UK Lebanese organizations are the Friends of Lebanon and the Lebanese Community in the UK. Another organization is composed of Shi’ite Iranian immigrants and calls itself the Islamic Centre of England, which describes itself as an educational and cultural center serving the community of Iranians living outside Iran. In our assessment, the participation of the above organizations in Jerusalem Day is a possible indication that they are influenced by Iran.
4) Two ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist Jewish organizations are also participating in Jerusalem Day: the British branch of the Neturei Karta and an organization so-called “Jews against Zionism.” Last year, several Neturei Karta members participated in Jerusalem Day events in Iran (a ploy often used by Iran to “prove” the “even Jews” oppose Israel).
The Organizations Participating in Jerusalem Day
1. Islamic Human Rights Commission (IHRC)
The IHRC is an Islamic organization established in 1997, headed by Massoud Shadjareh, a veteran human rights activist of Iranian origin who holds extreme anti-Israeli views. Other organization members are apparently also of Iranian origin. A prominent female member, Arzu Merali, is an “Islamic feminist” and responsible for research. The organization’s activities include researching and writing studies, presenting reports to various countries and international organizations, writing articles, monitoring the media, mapping war crimes and issuing studies on hatred and discrimination, etc. The IHRC, which organizes Jerusalem Day is also active in smearing Israel, and IHRC participates in the British campaign to delegitimize and boycott Israel.
2. Aloha Palestine
Aloha Palestine is an enterprise which sends individuals and cargo to and from the Gaza Strip as part of the campaign to support the de-facto Hamas administration. One of its founders is Ken O’Keefe, who holds dual American-British citizenship, served in the Marines and is married to a Palestinian woman. In 2002 he founded an organization called Truth, Justice and Peace. For the past several years he has lived in Britain. He participated in the May 2010 flotilla aboard the Mavi Marmara.
3. Friends of Al-Aqsa
Friends of Al-Aqsa is an anti-Israeli pro-Hamas organization established in Britain in 1997 with the stated objective of protecting Al-Aqsa and Palestinian rights. Its main branch is located in Leicester, which has a large Muslim population; it also has a London branch. It maintains contact with pro-Hamas organizations such as Interpal, participates in the flotilla project and is involved in various campaigns to boycott Israel (such as the boycott of Israeli dates, the boycott of Israeli academic institutions, the boycott of Israeli culture and the boycott of Israeli consumer goods). The organization is headed by its founder, Ismail Adham Patel, a Muslim of Pakistani origin who lives in Leicester. Ismail Patel participated in the Mavi Marmara flotilla and entered the Gaza Strip as part of the Miles of Smiles convoy, where he met with Ismail Haniya, head of the de-facto Hamas administration.
4. Friends of Lebanon (FOL)
The FOL was established in Britain in 2006 with the stated objectives of supporting the reconstruction of Lebanon and providing information and understanding about the country and its needs. It furnishes news about Lebanon and organizes various events. In our assessment, its joining Jerusalem Day is a possible indication that it is under Iranian and/or Hezbollah influence.
5. Innovative Minds
Innovative Minds calls for the boycott of Israel and its products. Currently, during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, in addition to its other campaigns it is active in the campaign to boycott Israeli dates.
6. The Islamic Centre of England
The Islamic Centre of England is a Shi’ite religious-cultural center in London. It was established in 1996 by the Ayatollah Mohsen Araki. It opened in 1998. It describes itself as an educational, cultural, spiritual center for the Iranian community living outside Iran. It has participated in Jerusalem Day events every year since its founding.
7. The Islamic Forum of Europe
The Islamic Forum of Europe is an Islamist organization based in London with branches throughout Britain and Europe. It was established in 1970 to unite Muslims living in Europe. It organizes social activities, builds schools and youth clubs, initiates projects for women, etc. In Britain it has constructed mosques, schools and community centers.
8. Islamic Students Association
In our assessment this is the Muslim Students Association (MSA), which also operates in Britain. It may be a branch of the American MSA, a student organization affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood.
9. Jews Against Zionism
Jews Against Zionism is a group of ultra-Orthodox anti-Zionist Jews operating in Britain.
10. The Lebanese Community in the UK
The Lebanese Community in the UK represents Lebanese in Britain. It organizes educational, cultural and social events, and describes itself as representing Lebanese regardless of religion or political affiliation. In our assessment, its participation in Jerusalem Day events is a possible indication that it is under Iranian and/or Hezbollah influence.
11. London BDS
London BDS is an anti-Israeli network whose objective is to boycott Israel (as part of the BDS campaign). It maintains close contacts with similar organizations and networks seeking to delegitimize Israel both in Britain and abroad.
12. Muslim Association of Britain (MAB)
The MAB is an Islamist organization in Britain representing the Muslim Brotherhood. It collaborates with the British left, especially through the younger generation of Muslim Brotherhood members. Jewish organizations in Britain offered the British Parliament information indicating the MAB’s contribution to contemporary Islamic anti-Semitism.
13. Muslim Council of Britain (MCB)
The MCB is the main Islamist umbrella network in Britain, founded it 1997. It represents several hundred Islamic organizations, mosques, institutions and charitable institutions for Muslim society in Britain.
14. The British Neturei Karta
The British branch of Neturei Karta is a small ultra-Orthodox anti-Israeli, anti-Zionist Jewish organization.
15. Palestine Legal Aid Fund
The Palestine Legal Aid Fund is an anti-Israeli organization aiding Palestinians bringing suits in international courts, inspired by the model of the apartheid model of South Africa. The fund has as members activists and leftist radicals who collaborate with Palestinian organizations.
16. Palestinian Return Centre (PRC)
The PRC is a Palestinian center for anti-Israeli propaganda established in London in 1996. It is affiliated with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, and some of its senior figure are Hamas activists who found asylum in Britain. It was founded to oppose the Oslo Accords, absolutely deny the right of the State of Israel to exist and to promote the concept of the so-called “right of return” of the Palestinian refugees and their descendents to the places they left in 1948 to oppose both Israel and the peace process. The PRC conducts intensive anti-Israeli propaganda activities in Britain, Europe and other countries around the globe, and is an important factor in the network of organizations participating in the international campaign to delegitimize Israel. In December 2010 the PRC was outlawed in Israel.
17. Scottish Palestinian Solidarity Campaign
The Scottish Campaign, which works to boycott and isolate Israel, is led by radical leftist anti-Israeli activists. It is headed by Mick Napier, who came to Israel as part of the “fly-in” (July 8, 2011) and was deported. The organization began operating in the fall of 2000 in response to the second intifada (i.e., the Palestinian terrorist campaign). It has branches throughout Scotland and in the universities.
18. Stop the War Coalition
The Stop the War Coalition is an anti-American British group led by radical leftists, and was established on September 21, 2001. It collaborates with elements within the Muslim Brotherhood. Its objective is to bring to an end the war against terrorism declared by the United States and its Western allies following the 9/11 attacks. The Coalition has a steering committee which organizes international conference.s It has held demonstrations in Britain and conducts various activities around the globe.
19. The United Kingdom Islamic Mission (UKIM)
UKIM is an Islamic organization ideologically affiliated with the radical Islamic school of Abu al-Aala al-Mawdudi, an Islamic preacher of Indian-Pakistani origin who was active during the 20th century. The organization was established in 1962 and has branches and centers throughout Britain. Its main branch is in London. UKIM describes itself as an ideological organization whose objective is to change both the individual’s and the community’s way of life in accordance with the dictates of Muhammad. To achieve that objective the organization conducts a broad variety of activities within the Muslim community: it constructs mosques and Islamic centers, runs religious schools and issues books and other publications.
Jerusalem Day events planned for the United States
Jerusalem Day events in the United States will be held in various cities on Friday, August 26. They are organized by a group calling itself the “Al-Quds Committee,” which also reports on events expected in other countries. The most important event is planned for Times Square, to be held in the afternoon and early evening. The Jerusalem Day slogan is “solidarity with the oppressed of the world,” particularly with the “innocent citizens of Palestine” who are “victimized by the racist Zionist regime” which “usurped the holy land.” The website of the Al-Quds Committee appeals to the American administration to stop its support of the so-called “Zionist regime” and to institute a comprehensive and immediate boycott of all organizations engaging in commercial relations with it [BDS].
Various anti-Israeli groups are apparently also involved in Jerusalem Day activities. Some of them are Arab-Islamic, some belong to the radical left, and some are Jewish. For example, the events in Detroit are organized by the Michigan Emergency Committee Against War and Injustice, Students for Islamic Awareness, the Ann Arbor Coalition Against War, the Arab-American Student Union (WSU), Jewish Witnesses for Peace and Friends and the Organization for a Free Society. The keynote speaker is supposed to be a Neturei Karta rabbi.
We do not have concrete information about the nature of the Al-Quds Committee, the group organizing the events. In our assessment, it is the fictitious name of a proxy used by the Iranians to keep their name off the radar, especially in the West. An examination of the group’s website shows extensive use of human rights organizations’ catchphrases and a strict avoidance of Islamic terminology and anti-American anti-Western incitement. Emphasis is placed on solidarity with oppressed people around the world, especially the Palestinians.
Anti-American incitement during Jerusalem Day events in 2010
 Its full name is “The International Day of Al-Quds;” in this study it will be referred to as Jerusalem Day.
 For further information see the September 24, 2010 article (ITIC) “Quds Day Events Used to Support the Palestinian Cause and Hostility Towards Israel and the West”.
 For details see the sindhstudy.com website.
 Zaria is a major city in Kaduna State in Northern Nigeria, as well as being a local government area.
 The Iranian regime recently exploited the riots in Britain for incitement against the British government. For example, the commander of the Basij, Sardar [two-star general] Muhammad Reza Naqdi attacked “the despotic British royalty” for “the crimes and violence” it employed against the so-called “oppressed of Britain.” He suggested sending a number of Basij battalions to London, Liverpool and Birmingham to serve as a “peacekeeping force” which would create a buffer zone between “the forces of oppression of the royal regime” and the British people. The force would oversee the implementation of “human rights,” and deter violence (Fars, August 11, 2011). The Basij is the popular militia of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards exploited in the past to oppress its opponents.
 (ihrc.org.uk).The organizers apparently prefer holding the march on the Christian Sunday to waiting for the Muslim Friday.
 See “France niqab ban another step towards state fascism, says IHRC” (ihrc.org, April 11, 2011).
 Inminds.com website.
 Thesun.co.uk website.
 For an in-depth study of the Palestinian Return Centre, see the March 8, 2011 article (ITIC) “Palestinian Return Centre: anti-Israeli Propaganda Center Affiliated with Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood”.
 Neturei Karta is a small ultra-Orthodox group which opposes Zionism and calls for the dismantling of the State of Israel, in the belief that Jews are forbidden to have their own state until the coming of the Messiah.
 Based on the list appearing in the IHRC website and in the order given on the list.
 Arzu Merali strongly protested the French niqab law claiming it supported the enslavement of Muslim women.
 The anti-Israeli Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions campaign.