Community Briefs

Center Launches Appeal on 12Jews Missing in Iran

The Simon Wiesenthal Center is asking concerned peoplearound the world to join in a Passover appeal for 12 Jews missing in Iran, someup to 10 years.

Eleven of the men, ranging in age from 15 to 57 at the timeof their disappearances, were detained by Iranian authorities while trying tocross the border into Pakistan between 1994 and 1997. In addition, a Jewishbusinessman living in Tehran disappeared in 1997 while visiting a provincialcapital.

“The 12 Jews are believed to be alive, but their familieshave never heard from them and have been unable to get any information from thegovernment,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate dean of the Wiesenthal Center.”This is a humanitarian appeal, cutting across political lines.”

A Web site has been established that includes photos of nineof the missing men and a petition for assistance addressed to U.N. SecretaryGeneral Kofi Annan, Secretary of State Colin Powell, British Foreign SecretaryJack Straw and the Iranian U.N. representative, Dr. Mohammad Zarif.

For information and participation in the humanitariancampaign, go to — Tom Tugend,Contributing Editor


Arab Americans Stage Protest atIsraeli Consulate

About 200 Arab American activists, students, parents andchildren converged for a three-hour protest March 27 in front of the ConsulateGeneral of Israel in Los Angeles, with small children chanting Palestinianslogans and speakers praising the assassinated Hamas terrorist leader, SheikhAhmad Yassin.

“We’re here to celebrate Sheikh Yassin’s life,” said anOakland-based Muslim cleric to the Wilshire Boulevard crowd. “We’re kindajealous. He’s a martyr. Sheikh Yassin gets a level of paradise that is [only]below the prophets. We got the truth, and that’s all we need.”

Israel’s targeted assassination of Yassin on March 22 fueledthe rally’s rage. One protester held up a wheelchair in honor of thewheelchair-bound terrorist leader, while the Muslim cleric described Hamas as,”our heroes — not terrorists, they are our freedom fighters.”

Several teenage boys covered their faces with kaffiyehs,apparently mimicking the kaffiyeh-covered faces of Hamas terrorists at Yassinmemorials on the West Bank. Standing among the protesters was a staffrepresentative of the Southern California chapter of the Council of AmericanIslamic Relations; a few feet from her at the curb were five Arab-Americanchildren under age 10 chanting, “From the river to the sea, Palestine will befree!”

The chant refers to the Hamas ideology that some dayPalestinians will control all Israeli and West Bank land from the Jordan Riverto the Mediterranean Sea.

The noisy event was peaceful, except for some shoutingbetween the pro-Palestinian demonstrators and about 20 pro-Israel counterdemonstratorsacross the street, where homeless activist Ted Hayes held a U.S. flag alongsideJewish activists with Israeli flags.

The consulate protest was organized by the far-left antiwargroup Answer (Act Now to Stop War & End Racism) and its ally, the FreePalestine Alliance. There were also speakers from the Muslim StudentAssociation and two  Jewish speakers who condemned Israel for what one saidwas, “state terrorism perpetrated by the Jewish State.”

References to Israel as a Nazi-like power were evident invarious swastikas on placards and two large photos showing Israeli PrimeMinister Ariel Sharon with a Hitler mustache. A speaker from the local chapterof the American Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee denounced Israel asterrorist state.

On April 10, some UCLA student activists will launch”Palestine Awareness Week” with films and lectures. On April 23 in Whittier,activists opposed to Israeli demolition of suspected terrorist homes willprotest the bulldozer manufacturer Caterpillar. — David Finnigan, ContributingWriter