Named after a city located just north of Jerusalem whose name translates to “Water Wells,” the Al-Bireh Palestine Society (ABPS) professes a commitment to providing medical care and charitable assistance for Muslims in Jerusalem. According to the ABPS website, it is believed that “Islamic leader Salah El-Deen (1137-1197 AD) camped in Al-Bireh before he liberated Jerusalem from the Crusaders.”
ABPS is a member organization of American Friends for Palestine, an umbrella coalition consisting of anti-Israel activists who join with other anti-war and anti-Israel groups to sponsor rallies and conferences. The Al-Bireh Palestine Society was one of 229 groups to publicly endorse the Third North American Conference of the Palestine Solidarity Movement (PSM), which is the International Solidarity Movement‘s student arm on college campuses throughout the United States and Canada.
ABPS joined with the Islamic Association for Palestine (IAP) — a front for the Hamas terror organization — and 39 other leftist groups in signing a March 2004 anti-war letter condemning both Israel and the United States. Among the additional signatories were: Al-Awda (the Palestine Right to Return Coalition); American Muslims for Jerusalem; the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; the Free Palestine Alliance-USA; the Muslim Students’ Association of the U.S. and Canada; and Students for Justice in Palestine. The letter read, in part, as follows:
“In confronting war, the people of Palestine and Iraq … stand against the imperial project shoulder-to-shoulder with communities of color and the working class in the United States, along with great many subjugated peoples around the globe … In the United States, we, Arab-Americans and Muslims have been maliciously targeted, stripped of our rights, and positioned outside the constitutional framework of this country. … We insist that the Palestinian right to return and to self-determination are the key anchors of the Palestinian struggle … [We] … stand in force under the following unifying five slogans: (1) End all colonial occupations from Iraq to Palestine to everywhere! (2) Bring the troops home NOW! (3) No to internationalizing colonial occupations! (4) Stop the attacks on civil liberties! (5) Money for jobs, education, and healthcare, not for war!”
In 2002, the ABPS website’s homepage sported pictures of terrorist fighters brandishing rifles and the logo of the Fatah terror group. Another page was devoted entirely to suicide bombers (“shuhada“), and contained a link to the homepage of Hamas. Throughout its history, the ABPS website has featured maps of Israel draped in Palestinian flags or kefiyas (Palestinian checkered head scarves largely worn by terrorist fighters). In the summer of 2004 the website displayed an essay about “Palestine,” whose borders it defined as identical to those of contemporary Israel, making it clear that in ABPS’s view, Israel does not legitimately exist.
The Al-Bireh Palestine Society’s most prominent chapter is in San Bernardino, California. In late 2003, Fadia Issam Rafeedie was the designated contact for this chapter. Rafeedie is best known for a commencement speech she gave at UC Berkeley, when she denounced then-Secretary of State Madeline Albright, who had preceded her to the microphone. During Albright’s speech, Rafeedie and likeminded members of the audience shouted “liar” and “murderer” at Albright, and chanted such slogans as, “Albright, Albright, You Can’t Hide; We Charge You with Genocide.” This slogan was a reference to the many Iraqi deaths that ABPS and Rafeedie attributed to U.S. and U.N. sanctions against Saddam Hussein‘s regime during the 1990s.