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Last month the present writer reported briefly on the Qatar Conference that took place in Doha, capital of Qatar, at the end of February, discussing one aspect of the conference as an anti-Israel and anti-Jewish hate-fest. In light of the March 30th “Global March to Jerusalem,” it is time to re-visit the Qatar Conference and examine its probable long-term impact.
The participants and agenda of the “International Conference for the Defense of occupied Jerusalem” displayed an unprecedented broad spectrum of the Arab and Muslim nations and organizations, uniting in Qatar for the sole purpose of strategizing new ways to destroy Israel. Unusual, but not surprising, was the official presence of representatives from the UN and Iran, the American and UK Muslim Brotherhood organizations, an Israeli Hamas leader, and Neturei Karta rabbis, who, despite their much ballyhooed sympathies for the Palestinian cause, were brutally beaten by Arab marchers. Unofficial attendees included EU leaders and U.S. and European academics.
One of Israel’s greatest advantages in its fight for survival against the 64-year long Arab war to destroy the Jewish state has been Arab disunity. For that reason alone, the Doha Conference deserves special notice by virtue of the event’s successfully hosting Sunni and Shi’ite, Arab and Iranian, participants for whom the old Arab proverb, “my enemy’s enemy is my friend,” took on new meaning.
The conference featured four themes: the legal status of Jerusalem and its holy places under “Israeli occupation,” the Arab identity of the city, Israeli crimes against the Muslim world by its efforts to “judaize” Jerusalem and how to combat these efforts, and appropriate measures to engage civil society in the struggle to maintain the Arab character of the city. In addition to vilification of Zionism and demonization of Israel, most of the conference focused on strategies to “rescue Jerusalem” from Israel. This new “rescue Jerusalem” theme may be the result of recent statements by some Hamas leaders and Abu-Youssef el-Qaradawi, a Muslim Brotherhood leader, in which Israel’s “tampering with el-Aqsa” becomes a new casus belli for the Muslim world.
Over the past six years, the Muslim Brotherhood has sponsored a series of such conferences to develop strategies to delegitimize and vilify Israel, many of them in Turkey and with the cooperation of the Turkish government: apparently part of the new Turkish government’s interest in becoming a new nexus for the Muslim world, a nexus whose first priority is the destruction of Israel.
According to its website, the concept of a “Global March to Jerusalem” (GM2J) has been discussed for decades; but the eventof Friday, March 30, was born a year earlier in discussions among the organizers of the Asian Caravan to Gaza, which will useTurkey as its port of departure for its as yet unrealized blockade-busting voyage to Gaza.
The Asian Caravan to Gaza has close connections with the Muslim Brotherhood, as do the Global March organizers[i]; and the Muslim Brotherhood leaders were key players in the Qatar conference. It is probably no coincidence, therefore, that a year after the Asian Caravan folks began discussing it, and only a month after the Qatar conference focused on “rescuing Jerusalem,” we witnessed close to 20,000 people massing on Israel’s borders on Friday, March 30, to rescue Jerusalem from Israel’s “judaization” of the future capitol of “Palestine.”
There was ample news coverage and analysis in the weeks leading up to the march,[ii] with speculation about how Israel would handle this massive civilian, yet hostile, breach of its borders. There was somewhat more limited coverage of the event itself in mainstream media, perhaps because it drew nowhere near the two million participants of which organizers boasted in the days leading up to the event. There was some violence and one fatality, but the Israeli security forces effectively used non-lethal riot-control techniques and hi-tech interference to dampen mob enthusiasm; and Jordanian, Lebanese and Egyptian forces prevented marchers’ access to the Israeli borders.
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