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Al-Awda: Profile
By Stand4Facts.org


Overview

Al-Awda, the Palestine Right to Return Coalition, presents its views in the language of human rights and international law. A coalition of pro-Palestinian groups, its mission is to promote and ensure the Palestinians’ “right of return” to their former homes and villages in Israel and, in effect, to end Israel’s identity as a Jewish state. Anti-war and global human rights activists have rallied to its cause and prominent pro-Palestinian academics embrace it.

Al-Awda justifies its radical agenda by delegitimizing Israel’s founding and its national purpose, by distorting the history of the conflict and by vilifying Israel. Its top priority is not peace through compromise. Instead, Al-Awda is adamantly opposed to compromise or to a two-state solution that does not include an absolute right of return. Its slogan is “No Return="No" Peace.” Its logo is a key superimposed on a map of all of present-day Israel. Its website at one time featured a call to arms from Hamas spiritual leader, Sheikh Ahmed Yassin. Al-Awda’s stand is so uncompromising and hostile to Israel that it created a schism in September 2003 in a coalition of activists opposed to the Iraq War. Consider some of the group’s positions:

  • “The inalienable rights of refugees and displaced people cannot be left to “negotiations” between Israel and the Palestinian Authority. International law considers agreements between a military occupier and the occupied to be null and void if they deprive civilians of recognized human rights including the rights to repatriation and restitution.” (Al-Awda Fact Sheet)[1]

  • “Al-Awda 2003 Convention opposes the US sponsored Road Map which aims at suppressing the human and national rights of the Palestinian people.” (Al-Awda Convention Resolutions July 2003)[2]

  • Al-Awda supports the Intifada. “The Convention expresses support for the struggle of the Palestinian people, currently spearheaded by the Intifada, to achieve national resistance goals….” (Al-Awda Convention Resolutions July 2003)[3]

  • Al-Awda considers terrorists “political prisoners” and “demands” their “immediate release.” (Al-Awda Convention Resolutions July 2003)[4]

  • “Israel is a Jewish democracy, and this oxymoron should not be confused with real democracy.” (FAQs on Refugees, Al-Awda website)[5]

  • “The Palestinian refugee problem arose….from a systematic policy of ethnic cleansing (by Israel)….” (FAQs on Refugees, Al-Awda website)[6]

  • “Al-Awda 2003 Convention demands the immediate termination of the use of the term “Israel/Palestine” and any of its combinations.”[7]

  • Israel is engaged in “massive state terrorism.” (Al-Awda Fact Sheet)[8]



[1] www.al-awda.org/factsheet/ Site visited 10/21/03

[2] www.njsolidarity.org/articles/awdares.html Site visited 11/2/03

[3] www.njsolidarity.org/articles/awdares.html Site visited 11/2/03

[4] www.njsolidarity.org/articles/awdares.html Site visited 11/2/03

[5] www.al-awda.org/faqsonrefugees/ Site visited 11/2/03

[6] www.al-awda.org/faqsonrefugees/ Site visited 11/2/03

[7] www.njsolidarity.org/articles/awdares.html Site visited 11/2/03

[8] www.al-awda.org/factsheet/ Site visited 10/21/03


Organization Background

Al-Awda, (Arabic for the Palestine Right to Return Coalition (PRRC)) is an international coalition of pro-Palestinian activists and organizations. Its primary demand is that the Palestinian refugees and their descendents be granted their “inalienable right” to return to their “homes and villages” in Israel. Using this main point as a springboard, Al-Awda vilifies and delegitimizes Israel, condones terrorism against Israelis and in effect calls for the destruction of the Jewish state.

The organization, founded in April 2000, today has a core membership of 5000 individuals and 40 local action committees in the U.S. and 20 in other countries including Canada and England. It is extremely active and boasts that in one year, its members organized “over 1000 demonstrations, vigils, teach-ins, exhibits and other functions…”[1] Al-Awda is most well-known for the rallies it coordinated in September 2000, April 2001, and September 2002 in cities worldwide, including the US, UK, Spain, Canada, Japan, Australia, Palestine, Jordan and Lebanon.[2] Its radical views were clearly displayed in t-shirts: “Intifada! Palestine will be free from the River to the Sea”[3] and in chants at the rallies: “Down, down with Israel,” “Our Al-Aksa is not your Temple.”[4]

Al-Awda’s extremist positions should marginalize it even among leftists, but a broad range of pro-Palestinian and anti-war groups have joined in coalitions with it for various demonstrations and events, including ANSWER, Amnesty International, Jews Against the Occupation, the Association of State Green Parties and others.[5] Al-Awda’s extremist position did cause one schism when United for Peace and Justice (UPFJ) formed a coalition to protest against the Iraq War in the fall of 2003. Al-Awda had demanded the group endorse the right of return. UJFP reported that this was a minority position and that the issue threatened to splinter the coalition.[6]

Al-Awda’s usual speakers range from vehement pro-Palestinian academics such as Edward Said (until his death this fall) and anti-Zionist Israeli political scientist Ilan Pappe to those who are or are identified with known terrorists, such as George Habash, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine and Sami Al-Arian whom the INS identified as a front-man for Islamic Jihad and Hamas.[7]

Al-Awda Speakers

George Habash, Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine
Sami Al-Arian, Palestinian Islamic Jihad
Edward Said, Columbia University Professor
Ilan Pappe, Political Science Department, University of Haifa
Chuck Turner, Boston City Council
Rima Anabtawi, Al-Awda Massachusetts
Amer Jubran, New England Committee to Defend Palestine of InternationalANSWER
Lyn Meza, Vice President IUE-CWA Local 201
Samia Halaby, Al-Awda NY/NJ
Mahtowin Munroe, co-chair United American Indians of New England (UAINE)
Marcus Jean, Haitian member of USWA Local 8751, fighting post 9/11 "terrorism" frame-up by employer & courts
Reverend David Carl Olson, Community Church
Cemile Cakir, Turkish journalist, former political prisoner
Rama Kased, Al-Awda NY/NJ
Scott Cooper, Jewish anti-war activist
Vieques Support Campaign NY
Ed Childs, Chief Steward Local 26 & the Harvard Living Wage Campaign
Stevan Kirschbaum, Labor's ANSWER

Affiliate “Partner” Organizations[8]

Academics For Justice http://AcademicsForJustice.org
Boycott Israeli Goods Campaign http://boycottisraeligoods.org
Citizens for Fair Legislation http://www.cflweb.org
Palestine Children Relief Fund http://www.thepcrf.com
Palestine Remembered http://www.palestineremembered.com
Middle East Crisis Committee (CT) http://TheStruggle.org

Accusations and Defamations

“Intifada” is the Palestinian name for the violent uprising witnessed in the last three years. The River and the Sea referred to in this advertisement are the Jordan River and the Mediterranean Sea. The slogan, “Intifada! Palestine will be free from the river to the sea,” means that violence will be pursued until all of what is now Israel will become Palestine.

Al-Awda’s logo is of a key inside the silhouette of all of present-day Israel. It is clear that Al-Awda is interested in settling Palestinians throughout the whole of Israel, not in establishing peace between Israel and a separate Palestinian State.

If “return” of Palestinian refugees and their descendents to modern day Israel is tantamount to Israel’s destruction, then this slogan effectively means there will be no peace with Israel until it is destroyed.

  • "Down, down with Israel" -Chant at Al-Awda’s April 7 2001 Rally in New York[1]

  • "Palestine is Arab Land," -Chant at Al-Awda’s April 7 2001 Rally in New York[2]

  • "Our Al-Aksa is not your Temple," -Chant at Al-Awda’s April 7 2002 Rally in New York[3] This chant is particularly cruel because it states that there was no historic Jewish Temple on the Temple Mount. The existence of the Jewish Temple on Mount Moriah is a historically and archaeologically documented fact. It is the basis for the sanctity of Jerusalem in the Jewish and Christian traditions. It is also central to the Jewish claim of being indigenous to the Middle East

  • Israel is "the most racist and oppressive regime in the world." An organizer’s speech at Al-Awda’s April 7 2001 Rally in New York[4]

  • "Sharon and Bush, you must know, back to Haifa we will go." Chant at Al-Awda’s April 7 2001 Rally in New York. [5]

  • The Israeli consular staff are "disgusting Zionist agents." Samia Halabi, Speaker at Al-Awda’s April 7 2001 Rally in New York. [6]

  • Palestinian suffering in the region is "a huge Holocaust of massive proportions. We have been resisting since the 1920s.” Samia Halabi, Speaker at Al-Awda’s April 7 2001 Rally in New York. [7]

  • “[D]emonstrators cheered while George Habash, who is on the U.S. State Department's list of terrorists, addressed them via speakerphone. Habash and his group, the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, blew up buses of schoolchildren, hijacked three airliners carrying Americans in the 1970s, and blew up aircraft, according to the U.S. State Department Report on Terrorism.” Debbie Schlussel Report on March 9 2001 Al-Awda Rally in New York[8]

  • “Al Awda speakers included Sami Al-Arian, whom the INS identifies as a front-man for Islamic Jihad and Hamas terrorist organizations - both of which target and murder Americans.” Debbie Schlussel Report on March 9 2001 Al-Awda Rally in New York[9]

  • Speaker “Alamoudi was videotaped outside the White House, last year, voicing support for terrorist groups Hamas and Hezbollah. In January, he participated in a Beirut conference alongside leaders of those groups and that of Islamic Jihad and Osama bin Laden's terrorist network, all of whom have murdered and continue to target Americans.” Debbie Schlussel Report on March 9 2001 Al-Awda Rally in New York[10]

  • “The American Muslim Council (Almoudi’s group) has issued such statements as "O Jews, the Army of Muhammad is coming for you" and "A Jew has no morals" and praised the June 1, Tel Aviv disco bombing death of 21 teen-age girls.” Debbie Schlussel Report on March 9 2001 Al-Awda Rally in New York[11]

[1] Melissa Radner. “Palestinian Supporters March in New York.” Jerusalem Post 9 April 2001.

http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/04/09/News/News.24298.html

[2] Melissa Radner. “Palestinian Supporters March in New York.” Jerusalem Post 9 April 2001.

http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/04/09/News/News.24298.html

[3] Melissa Radner. “Palestinian Supporters March in New York.” Jerusalem Post 9 April 2001.

http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/04/09/News/News.24298.html

[4] Melissa Radner. “Palestinian Supporters March in New York.” Jerusalem Post 9 April 2001.

http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/04/09/News/News.24298.html

[5] Melissa Radner. “Palestinian Supporters March in New York.” Jerusalem Post 9 April 2001.

http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/04/09/News/News.24298.html

[6] Melissa Radner. “Palestinian Supporters March in New York.” Jerusalem Post 9 April 2001.

http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/04/09/News/News.24298.html

[7] Melissa Radner. “Palestinian Supporters March in New York.” Jerusalem Post 9 April 2001.

http://www.jpost.com/Editions/2001/04/09/News/News.24298.html

[8] Debbie Schlussel. “Oprah, Don’t be a Terrorists’ Tool, Girlfriend.” World Net Daily 6, July 2001.http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=23525

[9] Debbie Schlussel. “Oprah, Don’t be a Terrorists’ Tool, Girlfriend.” World Net Daily 6, July 2001.http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=23525

[10] Debbie Schlussel. “Oprah, Don’t be a Terrorists’ Tool, Girlfriend.” World Net Daily 6, July 2001.http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=23525

[11] Debbie Schlussel. “Oprah, Don’t be a Terrorists’ Tool, Girlfriend.” World Net Daily 6, July 2001.http://www.worldnetdaily.com/news/article.asp?ARTICLE_ID=23525




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