ANSWER Coalition (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism), a partner of the World Worker’s Party, organized and held several large “anti-war” rallies Saturday in a handful of major cities, including New York City and Washington, D.C., and dozens of smaller rallies in at least 70 locations across the United States.
But what began, ostensibly, as a march to prevent further action against Iran quickly — and predictably — evolved into a group tirade against one of ANSWER’s perennial bogeymen, the state of Israel.
Around 250 people marched on Times Square in New York City and a similar-sized group appeared on the lawn across the street from the White House (and in front of the Trump International hotel), carrying signs that read, “US out of Iraq,” and “No War in Iran” and chanted slogans like, “No justice, no peace. U.S. out of the Middle East,” and “Donald J. how many kids have you killed today?”, a re-hashed anti-Vietnam war chant.
Oh look! The sleeping anti-war movement has decided to exist again right before an election! How convenient after silence through an entire administration of drone enthusiasts. pic.twitter.com/ojp57W11HR
— Brandon Darby (@brandondarby) January 4, 2020
In Los Angeles, the gathered group accused President Donald Trump of unspecified “war crimes.”
An activist at the anti-war protest in Los Angeles asks the crowd if they think the Soleimani strike Trump authorized was a war crime. The crowd cheers.
He then asks if Trump should be impeached, removed from office, and jailed for the strike. The crowd cheers again. pic.twitter.com/iK7hmipZ34
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) January 4, 2020
One protester even carried a memorial to slain Iranian general Qasem Soleimani.
A L.A. anti-war protester memorializing Qasem Soleimani. pic.twitter.com/S1nNhdmLrC
— Julio Rosas (@Julio_Rosas11) January 4, 2020
The amassed group in Washington, D.C., was treated to a eulogy for Soleimani, whom one speaker described as a “hero” to the region because he opposed “US imperial aggression.”
An honor to stand w the people of DC as they resist US war on Iran from within the belly of the beast!
I spoke to the crowd about my recent trip to Syria & why Maj. General Soleimani was considered a hero in the region: he led the Resistance Axis against US imperial aggression pic.twitter.com/EQYz39Nn3H
— Anya Parampil (@anyaparampil) January 4, 2020
In Chicago, socialists and Communists joined up with the protests to express their disdain for the United States’ “capitalist, racist, and imperialist” system.
When you attend an anti-war protest, calling out a capitalist, racist, & imperialist system that sends our working class sons, daughters, & they to die in war
— Anthony Clark for Congress (@anthonyvclark20) January 4, 2020
In New York, protesters called to “Defeat US Imperialism and Defend Iran.”
— Tom (@tkendrick21) January 4, 2020
And called Soleimani “fighters for the oppressed” who were “murdered by Trump.”
— Reuters (@Reuters) January 4, 2020
ANSWER, the group that organized the protests (with some help from Code Pink), however, is an “intersectional” group that bills itself as an anti-war collective, and the marches experienced a fair amount of “mission creep,” with subgroups protesting against poverty, for workers’ rights, and, of course, against the Israeli “occupation” of Palestinian territories.
It wasn’t long before the New York City rally, particularly, devolved into an anti-Semitic tirade, with at least one speaker railing against the “racist monstrous state that sits on the land of Palestine that is known as Israel … free free Palestine end all aid to Israel.”
Anti-war rally turns antisemitic
“..racist monstrous state that sits on the land of Palestine that is known as Israel…free free Palestine end all aid to Israel”pic.twitter.com/bVpK7wgZPD
— Eytan Sosnovich (@EytanSosnovich) January 4, 2020
ANSWER Coalition was founded in the days after the September 11, 2001 terror attacks to oppose the Bush Administration’s decision to attack targets in Afghanistan in order to wipe out the roots of international terrorism. The group’s initial marches billed themselves as opposed to “the Bush administration’s reactionary foreign and domestic policy and the IMF and World Bank,” but the group later organized itself as an “anti-racist, anti-war, peace and justice group.”
However, ANSWER is regarded by the Anti-Defamation League as one of the nation’s top-ten anti-Israel organizations and it regularly organizes anti-Israel protests featuring anti-Semitic rhetoric. ANSWER, ADL reports has “sponsored and organized numerous anti-Israel events, rallies and demonstrations” involving “anti-Zionist and anti-Semitic rhetoric, expressions of support for terror, and offensive Holocaust imagery likening Jews and Israelis to Nazis.”
The group, ADL continues, in its comprehensive report on ANSWER, has “repeatedly expressed support for terrorist groups determined to dismantle the state of Israel, including Hamas and Hezbollah, as well as ‘resistance’ groups fighting U.S. forces abroad.”
Saturday’s rallies were, of course, no exception.