Every year since 1976, on March 30, Israeli Arabs commemorate clashes with Israeli police over Israel’s land policy that left six dead. It is an emotional day for the Arab community, but, over the years, it has largely been a peaceful domestic affair for Israel and its Arab minority.
This year, courtesy of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its cohorts of Western useful idiots, it could turn out very different.
Participants in the Iranian-backed Global March to Jerusalem will approach Israel’s borders hoping to breach them and march on Jerusalem. They will come from Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt with the stated aim „to end the Zionist policies of apartheid, ethnic cleansing and Judaisation, which all harm the people, land and sanctity of Jerusalem.“
Many, among those endorsing or participating in this latest publicity stunt for the Palestinian cause, were protagonists in the Flotilla efforts to break the Gaza blockade or in bringing convoys to Gaza. Others have a long history of anti-Israel activism.
Among them, Iranian television Press TV stars, George Galloway (of Viva Palestina fame) and Yvonne Ridley, both from the United Kingdom; Italy’s Giulietto Chiesa – a leading sponsor of the 9/11 „truthers“ movement in Europe and his U.S. counterpart, Richard Falk; Noam Chomsky; President Obama’s former pastor, the Reverend Jeremiah Wright; and a list of who’s who among the world wide web of anti-Zionist Jews.
The long list of bona fide anti-imperialists and famous peace activists from the West will only further blur the issue as things heat up at border crossings.
Indeed, their presence offers a useful cover for the real purpose of this demonstration – a tool in the hands of Iran’s regime to undermine Israel, pose a challenge to its Arab adversaries by targeting their credentials as supporters of Palestinian grievances, claim Islamic leadership over the issue of Jerusalem and create a diversion in the region at a moment when Iran’s chief ally, Bashar al-Assad, is ruthlessly murdering his own people in a bid to ensure his own survival in power.
Claims to the contrary notwithstanding then, this is an effort to delegitimize Israel. The organisers‘ website makes it clear they do not recognize Israel’s pre-1967 borders, label Israel a racist, apartheid state and call Israel’s policies in Jerusalem „a crime against humanity“.
Besides, it is an act taken straight out of the Iranian Islamist book of anti-Israel hatred. Navab Safavi, the leader of the terrorist organization „Fedayeen-e Islam“, planned to establish an „international organization of the Islamic revolution“ whose aim was the destruction of Israel.
In 1948, he organised a march together with 70 companions to Israel’s border. Though they failed to cross it, their aim was clear – Safavi said that he „wanted to create martyrs.“
This remains Iran’s goal in its backing of the Global March to Jerusalem. In recent years, Iran has sought increasingly to hijack the Palestinian issue to prove Iran is the only champion of resistance in the region. This is an obsession that Tehran has pursued in its rhetoric since the early days of the Revolution. Marching towards Jerusalem is central to Iran’s ambition to export the Islamic Revolution.
Indeed, the Iranian regime has a „Jerusalem syndrome“.
Evidence of Iran’s involvement is in plain sight. Its leaders are up to their necks in it.
Iran’s press reported that preparations for the Asian organizations participating in the global march began one year ago. Demonstrators from India, Pakistan, Philippines, Indonesia andAzerbijan came to Teheran and met with the regime’s highest authorities before they marched to Turkey to move from there by ship to Lebanon.
According to the IRGC news agency, Fars News, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told them: „The existence of Israel, even if only on a hand-span of Palestinian land, is illegal,“ and blessed their efforts.
Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign policy adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and one of seven indicted co-conspirators in the bombing of the AMIA Jewish cultural centre in Buenos Aires in 1994, met them too. Velayati stressed, that Ayatollah Khomeini has demanded „since 1963 the revival of Islamic values and civilization and the freedom of Palestine.“
So did Ali Larijani, the current speaker of Iran’s Parliament, a former member of the IRGC, and a likely contender in next year’s presidential election in Iran. Larijani is sure that the „Zionist regime is isolated and has no power.“
Hossein Sheikholeslam, a member of Iran’s parliament and a former ambassador to Syria said: „I hope that the march will create a movement, which will topple the Zionist regime.“
It is unlikely that Friday’s marchers will „topple“ Israel. But they may win Iran a few „martyrs“ and offer the regime another chance to hijack the Palestinian issue for its own sinister purposes.
Wahied Wahdat-Hagh is a Senior Fellow at the European Foundation for Democracy and Emanuele Ottolenghi is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies