On June 6, Responsible for Equality And Liberty (REAL) held a rally in support of universal human rights and challenging HAMAS, ANSWER, and MAS nearby the Israel embassy in Washington DC. REAL was holding this rally as a counterprotest to a rally primarily led by ANSWER, which included MAS and other groups, that sought public sympathy for the actions by HAMAS group resulting in bloodshed in Gaza, claiming Israel’s actions were only on “the pretext of combating terrorism.” Jeffrey Imm led the REAL rally, and Brian Becker led the ANSWER rally.
Access to International Drive and International Place streets (where the embassies are located) was blocked by the police and the U.S. Secret Service, which resulted in all of the protesting groups being located on nearby Van Ness Drive NW. The rally led by ANSWER and MAS drew 50 to 100 participants, lining Van Ness Drive. The REAL rally counterprotest addressed these organizations and their ideological support.
With their greater number of attendees, ANSWER members initially tried to bully and intimidate the REAL rally. REAL supporters were violently attacked, which required the intervention of police for protection. Prior to both rallies beginning, ANSWER members tried to grab REAL’s sign in support of Universal Human Rights and push them off a public street corner; this included an ANSWER leader pushing one of the REAL rally attendees. After our rally was started, at the request of the U.S. Secret Service, REAL moved about 20 feet away from the ANSWER rally to prevent violent activity by that rally’s attendees.
REAL Challenges HAMAS’ War on Humanity
Responsible for Equality And Liberty (REAL)’s Jeffrey Imm spoke out against the extremist HAMAS terrorist organization as the root source of continuing violence in Gaza. Imm challenged those who would glorify HAMAS to recognize that HAMAS’ refusal to respect the human rights and dignity of others is a key source of the violence in Gaza today. Imm pointed to the long history of HAMAS’ suicide bombings, HAMAS’ use of human shields in Gaza, and of HAMAS as a terrorist organization.
In addition to HAMAS’ history of oppression of Muslims through its terrorism and its use of human shields, Imm also pointed out HAMAS’ history of denying other Muslims’ human rights, including HAMAS’ efforts to ban public prayer in Gaza, and HAMAS’ history of violence against other Muslims, including HAMAS’ killing of Palestinian Authority police. According to Imm, the ideology of extremism promoted by HAMAS not only endangers non-Muslims, it also continues to endanger and take the lives of other Muslims. Imm stated that such a policy of extremism also treats women as second-class human beings, as was seen in the recent killings of Muslim women by extremists in Gaza in what they call “honor killings.”
Imm also spoke out on the irony on this 65th anniversary of D-Day (June 6, 1944), when American troops went to fight Adolf Hitler, that groups should be trying to gain public sympathy for violence that is the result of a HAMAS organization whose charter (Article 32) embraces the same anti-semitic screed “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion” that Adolf Hitler promoted, and the same HAMAS organization whose leaders have stated that Holocaust was either “false” or “exaggerated.” Imm stated that as we remember those who fought and died to fight for liberty, we also must have the courage to defend the liberty and human rights that they fought for – a liberty that would be denied by extremism.
REAL Challenges ANSWER’s Support for Communist Totalitarianism
REAL’s Imm stated that it was also ironic that the ANSWER organization was leading the protest to garner sympathy for the efforts of HAMAS in Gaza, given that ANSWER’s leaders have a history of supporting Communist totalitarianism. Imm pointed out that ANSWER currently lists the Marxist organization “Party for Socialism and Liberation” as part of its Steering Committee on its home page web site. Moreover, Imm pointed out that ANSWER leaders have a history of supporting Communist totalitarian China and North Korea. While ANSWER leaders spoke, Imm pointed out ANSWER leaders’ long history of supporting Communism, Imm offered ANSWER protesters a copy of ANSWER leaders’ writings from the Communist Worker’s World.
Given ANSWER’s tolerance of Communist organizations and leaders directing ANSWER, Imm stated that ANSWER really wasn’t against “war.” Imm pointed out that ANSWER was perfectly willing to ignore the Communist Chinese government’s war on Chinese people with 1,000 concentration camps holding 6.8 million Chinese, and that ANSWER was perfectly willing to ignore the Communist North Korea war on Korean people with an estimated 2-3 million starved to death and many in North Korea’s own concentration camps. Given ANSWER’s acceptance of this Communist war on human rights, Imm challenged ANSWER’s legitimacy as any type of “anti-war” organization.
REAL Challenges MAS’ Worldview Based on the Muslim Brotherhood’s Extremism
REAL’s Imm also discussed the Muslim American Society (MAS) Freedom Foundation’s letter to the Washington Post stating their “worldview” was based on the views of the Muslim Brotherhood. Imm pointed out that Muslim Brotherhood had an extremist worldview that called for an Islamic caliphate (“Khilafa”) — the same type of repressive caliphate that Barack Obama stated in August 2007 was the goal of America’s enemies. Imm stated that this goal of the Muslim Brotherhood was embodied in their motto “Jihad is our way.” Imm stated that the Muslim American Society’s support for such Muslim Brotherhood extremism was against universal human rights. Imm pointed out that as Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. once recognized the challenge of “white supremacism,” so today we must recognize the challenge of other rationales of extremism as part of our commitment to universal human rights.
Moreover, Imm stated that while MAS supports extremist Sharia, those of us who support universal human rights support human freedom, equality, and liberty for all human beings.
REAL Challenges Extremism’s Rejection of Universal Human Rights
Imm stated that the United States was a signatory to the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and he pointed out how all Americans accept such universal, inalienable human rights for all people as part of our Declaration of Independence – as truths that we hold self-evident. Imm stated that while most of humanity supported universal human rights, those in support of totalitarianism and supremacism do not.
Imm explained how the extremist rejection of such universal human rights has led to oppression and violence, not only in Gaza, but around the world.
Imm stated that extremist Sharia was being used to justify an extremist “war on women” involving degrading punishments, mutilations, treating women as less than human beings, and extremist “honor killings” of women around the world . Moreover, Imm pointed out the use of extremist violence against Gay human beings as well, with recent and horrific reports of torture, physical mutilation, and murder of gay men in Iraq by extremist gangs.
Imm stated that REAL’s support for universal human rights rejects such extremist atrocities and demands universal human rights for all human beings. Imm concluded that such universal human rights must include freedom from such extremist killings, mutilation, and oppression.