Saturday, August 12, 2006

Countering the A.N.S.W.E.R. "Stop the US-Israeli War" Protest

Yesterday I went into Washington DC to join my fellow Free Republic and Protest Warrior friends to counter International A.N.S.W.E.R.'s "Stop the US-Israeli War" protest rally and march. It was a very interesting day as these things go, and a complete report and photographs follow.

In case you are not aware, A.N.S.W.E.R. (Act Now to Stop War and End Racism) is a front group for the Workers World Party. We know it is a front group because many of A.N.S.W.E.R.'s organizers, and many speakers at it's rallies, are WWP members. David Horowitz has a complete profile of them at his DiscoverTheNetwork site.

Among The Commies

A.N.S.W.E.R.'s plan was to hold a rally at Lafayette Park, which is right next to the White House, and then march down Pennsylvania Avenue, which is again next to the White House. They would continue down 15th Street, make a few turns and essentially circle the White House, ending up in Lafayette Park again where they would close out. Their rally at the park was scheduled to start at noon.

The plan for Free Republic was that we were going to meet in the south corner of Lafayette Park where it is separated by a fence from the White House. We would use our "HUMAN SHIELD" signs, just as we did when we "shielded" the Danish Embassy from a radical muslim group this past February.

I got their early, at about 10:15 or so, where I ran into three other "Freepers" (Free Republic) Maybe 200 leftists had already gathered in the park and were milling about. Since the people with our signs had not arrived yet, I decided to have a look about while my frields waited under a tree.

He showed me a copy of his newspaper, The Militant. One of the articles as about Iran, so I asked him his position on it. He told me that we needed to leave them alone, because all they wanted was nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. I asked him if it was ok then if we had nuclear energy here in the US, and, perhaps realizing the trap, quickly said that he wasn't judging what they were doing but that it was their decision and we should leave them alone. After a few minutes of this I thanked him and moved on.

Here are some books that another guy had laid out for sale

Here's the stage they had set up, and then some of the commies as they milled about. Among all this were some tourists, who had a what in the world did I wanter into? look on their faces.

The organizers had their signs stacked and ready to go. They even had a big "check in" station for the volunteers. They were nothing if not organized, I'll give them that.

After wandering around for a bit, I rejoined my group. However, the police had noticed us. One of our group was carrying an American flag and wearing an NRA hat. Those people don't belong here. "Sorrry, but A.N.S.W.E.R. has a permit for the entire park" they told us, "you'll have to leave." They escorded us out.

Reorganization and The 2nd Boot

I made a few phone calls to the Freepers who hadn't shown up yet and we decided on a new strategy. My group would try and meet up with the Protest Warriors, while Kristinn (the Free Republic leader and guy with our signs) and his group would try and enter Lafayette Park from the other side.

We circled south, making our way around the White House. We met up with some of the Protest Warrors and found out where they were setting up. We then went back up to Lafayette Park to see if we could find Kristinn and his group.

As it was, we got there just as they were being booted. No big deal, he said, "we had some good debate with the leftists". That there were plenty of police around while this was going on was not doubt reassuring to him, I thought.

Getting Ready for the March

We rejoined the Protest Warriors at 15th and Pennsylvania, where they had the permit for our counter-demonstration. The police officers were already there, and after "checking in" with them we set up camp. There were just over 30 of us. As is the usual practice at these events, the police set up a tape that we had to stand behind. They made sure the marchers kept on the street and we had to stay behind the tape. Which was all very fair.

Here are some of the commie signs that one of our number obtained from one of the stacks in the photos at top.

Here I am, ready for action. Behind me you can see several flags, at left the American, middle Israeli, and at right a Christian one. "These'll drive them crazy" the guy who set them up said with a grin. He was right about that.

"Hezbos", btw, is how Rush Limbaugh refers to Hezbollah.

The Tourists

While we waited, tourists and other people wandered about, looking around at us and some of the commie protesters who were just arriving and making their way to Lafayette Park. Most eyed each group and just walked on, not giving any clue as to their sympathies. But we got quite a few "thumbs up", or other indications that we're on your side. It was also obvious who got the "Hezbos" reference.

But in all this I did meet and briefly speak to a few of the tourists.

The most interesting were two young Israeli men, maybe 25 or 30 yrs old. They had thick accents but I could understand them fine. "They don't know, they are ignorant", one of them said, referring to the A.N.S.W.E.R. people. They were from Haifa, one of the northern cities under rocket attack. "How are things there?" I asked. About 20% of the people in the city had left their homes, they said. How about the war, I asked. "We will win", on of them said with a confident look and smile before they were on their way.

I also met an Australian couple, another from Italy, and even a lady from France, all of whom expressed support for our side and thanked us for what we were doing. In turn, I thanked them for their country's support in the war on terror (I thanked the French lady for their help in Afghanistan, which has been considerable).

The Marchers Arrive

At about 2:00 the marchers came down the street and walked past us. Many were decidedly unhappy with our presence, evidenly surprised that they would not have the day to themselves. Which was the whole point of our presence.

The flag with two red stripes and a cypress tree in the middle is the flag of Lebanon. The one with a black, white and green stripe and red arrow near the flagpole is that of the Palestinian Authority.

"No Justice No Peace", a fairly standard slogan and leftist marches

As I mentioned, some of them got very angry with us

Note the "Hands off Cuba" sign. Leftists are great for their mixed messages at these events

Our Chants

Because it was too loud for any one voice to be heard, we would all chant in unison something at them as they went by:

Free Lebanon from Hezbollah!


Please, Don't, Blow Us Up!

No More Hezbollah!

Shame, Shame, Shame On You!

Iran, Syria, Out of Lebanon!

I coundn't understand most of their chants as most seemed partially in Arabic or something. But I did get a few

Stop Bombing Lebanon!

Long Live Hezbollah!

ConcreteBob, the leader of the Protest Warriors, had the foresight to bring a bullhorn, which he used to great effect

As you can tell, many of the marchers were Arabic in appearance. This guy had on a shirt with the flag of Hezbollah on it

The march ended at about 2:45. I may not have the start time of 2:00 exactly right, as I forgot to check my watch when they first came by and so had to ask someone what time it all started.

The Coffins

After it was all over and we had cleaned up our area, I walked back up 15th to a metro stop. This took us past Lafayette Park again, where I could see that they had reassembled.

We walked up another block or so, where to my left I saw this


This was a favorite of the hard left. Code Pink did this once ourside Walter Reed Army Medical Center, before the arrival of Free Republic shamed them into adopting less obnoxious tactics.

Around the next corner we took a left towards the subway station. We caught the end of their procession. I estimate that they had maybe 15-20 coffins in all

They were taking them to a small park across the street where they were evidently going to carry out their own separate event. I took a photo, but as they were under trees it came out too dark to be useful. I still had my small Israeli flag with me, and the last guy in their procession spoke to me as I took these photos

"Why are you taking pictures?!" he said to me in a fairly confrontational tone. He had an accent, I'm guessing it was Arabic. Then he said something about my camera being a "blunt instrument" or something like that. I decided discretion was the better part of valor and we made our way into the subway station.
Final Thoughts

This is not the place to discuss the morality or politics of the Middle East. I've done that at my personal site, The Redhunter, many times, so please visit it if you want the full story.

I've also been present at many other protests, so while you're at The Redhunter click on Rallies and Protests under "Categories" at right, for photos and reports of many events that have occured in and around Washington DC in the past year.

However, for a quick view of the Middle East from someone who's opinions I share, David Horowitz has an excellent Guide to the Middle East at DiscoverThe

The police did an outstanding job,and my hat is off to them. All of us thanked them once the event was over. They have a good sense of humor about the whole thing. "Another day, another protest, huh?" I said to one. He just laughed.

As for the marchers, the Israelis I met where too polite when they called them ignorant. They were marching under the banner of communism, and in a cause which supports terrorists. I call that evil.


LGF has a great video of some the speakers and the march itself, taken by blogger Age of Hooper. Go this his site for additional photos.

Zombietime also has great photos of the "Stop the U.S.-Israeli War" rally they held in San Francisco on August 12 also that you won't want to miss.

I briefly met Tantor of Conservative Propaganda, but so far he has not posted anything about the event.

The Washington Times has a short story on the march. As with most media coverage, the story tells nothing of who A.N.S.W.E.R. is, and ignores the vast number of communist and socialist signs. The only signs in our counter-protest they mention are the most inflamitory ones, however.

The Washington Post did slightly better, describing A.N.S.W.E.R. as "a left-wing group that has sponsored numerous antiwar rallies that often attract socialists and anarchists." They also have a few photos and a short video. But they still ignored the communist and socialist messages so prevalent among the marchers. And the only thing they say about our counter protest is this
"There is no other God but Jesus!" shouted one of the counter-protesters. He held a megaphone in one hand, a Bible in the other.
I don't remember this at all, but don't rule it out. It's entirely possible that the person saying this was not with our group. But it wasn't typical at all of our message. Our objection to the marchers was not religious, but policical.

This Associated Press this story posted on CNN also whitewashes the A.N.S.W.E.R. crowd.

Marc of USS Neverdock catches Reuters in some pretty blatant bias.