The organization behind this weekend’s protests against the upcoming AIPAC (American Israel Public Affairs Committee) conference has reported ties to terror groups.
The group Al-Awda will be protesting the convention on March 24 to “rally in support of Palestine,” per their GoFundMe page. Al-Awda is an organization that advocates for “the right of return” for Palestinian refugees and their descendants to inhabit Israel.
According to the Jerusalem Post, Al-Awda is one of the founders of the Global Palestinian Right of Return Coalition, which is part of the Palestinian BDS National Committee; the Palestinian BDS National Committee reportedly provides support for terror groups like Hamas and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP).
Additionally, “Al-Awda has regularly hosted convicted terrorists at its events and members of terrorist groups at its events,” according to the Post.
“Then-PFLP secretary-general George Habash addressed an Al-Awda rally in New York in 2001 via video link, as did convicted Islamic Jihad terrorists Sami al-Arian and Mazen al-Najjar, who spent three years in a US prison due to his ties to Islamic Jihad,” the Post reports. “In 2015, Al-Awda and Students for Justice in Palestine held a solidarity event for five members of the Holy Land Foundation, who were arrested by the US government in 2001 for funneling $12 million to Hamas.”
Similarly, the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) noted in a blog post that “ in 2007, the Al-Awda listserv disseminated at least five communiques from the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, including one from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, and one joint statement with Hamas.”
Abbas Hamideh, the executive director of Al-Awda who appeared in a photo with Rep. Rashida Tlaib (D-Mich.) in January, has repeatedly praised Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on social media.
Additionally, Al-Awda’s Twitter account has re-tweeted a May 2016 tweet from Hamideh juxtaposing Adolf Hitler and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and writing on Facebook when former Israeli President Shimon Peres died, “We will make sure to honor him with a public toilet in a Free Palestine! To hell with the war criminal!”
Alex Van Ness, a research analyst for the Clarion Project, told the Journal in a phone interview that at a 2016 Al-Awda protest against AIPAC, he had Hamideh leading chants of “from the river to sea, Palestine will be free” as well as an Arabic chant that translates to “from water to water, Palestine is Arab” in Arabic. Hamideh also said that “real Jews” were attending the protest.
At the same protest, Van Ness also witnessed someone holding a sign that read “Jews Control [the] U.S. Senate.”
Before I stopped over at the AIPAC policy conference I spent a little time at the anti-Israel rally. You know, they…
“He was never shunned or pushed away,” Van Ness said.
Van Ness told the Journal that, at these Al-Awda protests, they typically feature speakers in front of the White House for hour to an hour and a half and then they march to where the AIPAC conference and protest in front of it.
The GoFundMe page for Al-Awda’s 2019 protest against AIPAC shows they have raised $5,000, short of the stated $10,000 goal.