Monday, March 12, 2007


International Answer is organizing another anti-war protest.

Oh boy.

What is fascinating about International Answer is how they have hijacked the peace movement to rope more people into their world and propagandize for a number of causes which have no link to the Iraq war.

It is no secret that International Answer opposes the government, and advocates policies which are contrary to current policy. In doing so they are exercising fundamental rights which cannot be assailed.

What is utterly deserving of condemnation, however, is their choice of causes to promote.

In addition to their opportunistic hijacking of the anti-war movement, International Answer strongly supports Hamas and Hezbollah, and fulsomely praises both Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez.
They demand that the United States cease aid to Israel, and they oppose any intervention in Darfur.
They are adamant that North Korea and Iran be allowed to pursue the development of nuclear weaponry, and they insist that the US withdraw from Afghanistan.

Their opposition to the Iraq War serves as a splendid vehicle for propaganda and dissimulation on all these fronts.

In supporting Hamas and Hezbollah they deliberately misportray both organizations as the popular and democratic voice of Arabs, and defend terrorism against Israeli civilian targets as legitimate (though violence against fellow Arabs is ignored).

In praising Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez they paint both as great political leaders fighting for their people, overlooking the actual brutalizing of many of those people.

In opposing aid to Israel they do not mention US aid to Jordan, Egypt, the UN Refugee Agency (which has as it's primary mission maintaining the Palestinians in several countries in permanent camps), the exorbitant cost of other UN activities and US programmes all over the world, in countries whose friendship with the US is doubtful or non-existent, and whose leaders and diplomats venomously slam the United States and Americans.
And yet they oppose any interference in Darfur - precisely where involvement by the US and the international community would bring an end to immense suffering, and where US aid would truly work miracles.

In supporting North Korea and Iran they aid regimes which have no regard for human rights and proven records of savagery against their own people - regimes which have also funded terrorism against US citizens.

In demanding that the US withdraw from Afghanistan, they would return Afghanis to the untender mercies of the fundamentalists who executed journalists and artists, burned down libraries, destroyed antiquities, killed educators and doctors, banned music, and damned Afghan women to lives of illiteracy, exploitation, and slavery.

Their misguided and dangerous advocacy in these causes is not a fluke, but fundamental to their organization. Most of International Answer's founders came from the Workers World Party, which since its start back in the Eisenhower years has vociferously defended such causes as the Soviet repression of Hungary, the Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution, and the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan. Not surprisingly, they also whitewashed the Tian An Men massacre. But most damning in recent years was their longstanding adulation of Serbian tyrant Slobodan Milosevic.

How ironic that such people should dominate the peace movement, most of the members of which would be appalled at the ideology of their leaders. One would have hoped that socially conscious people would exercise greater discretion in their associations.


  1. At a "Peace" rally in San Francisco in October, Richard Becker, the head of International ANSWER announced "We are not for peace. We are for the victory of the resistence".
    It was rather disheartening for those of us who were there because we actually believe in peace.
    Opposition for the war is growing in America. Attendence at these mass rallies is decreasing. Perhaps the American public has gotten wise to the agenda of these "wolves in sheeps clothing"

  2. how do they justify their opposition to aid in Darfur?

  3. Thanks for asking, Steg.

    The following is a summary of an ANSWER sponsored talk on Darfur.
    One of the issues regarding the genocide in Darfur is the Progressive lefts' denial that it is even occuring. International ANSWER has paraded Ismail Kamal around the country, in an effort to promote this latest form of Holocaust denial

    The massive scope of the very real human rights atrocities that are happening in Darfur are perceived of having the ability to take resources away from the core issues of the left. Kamal appears to be attempting to neutralize this.

    On June 13, I went to the S. F. Woman's Building 3543 18th St to hear a talk entitled "Palestine, Sudan and the Myth of a 'Humanitarian' U.S. Foreign Policy".
    The scheduled speakers were Jess Ghannam and Isma'il Kamal, a Sudanese student from UC Davis and co-founder of the Sudanese American Society. Richard Becker of ANSWER also showed a brief film of the 1998 bombing of an alleged chemical plant in the Sudan as part of the presentation.

    Jess Ghannam repeated his usual rhetoric about the center of the neo-colonialist project being Palestine, not Iraq.

    Isma'il dismissed the popular narrative on the Sudan, claiming its a lot of media, not a lot of sociology. He claimed there wasn't a great deal of analysis going on- and there was a tremendous "hyping" of the situation (400,000 dead? 2 million in exile? This is hype?) He gave the historical background of the situation, beginning with the joint British /Egyptian colonial rule . He continually stressed that race and ethnicity were defined much looser in Africa than in America- and that it was a mistake to try and frame the situation in terms of race. He stressed there was no physical difference between the Arab and the African people of the region.

    Interestingly enough, Isma'il claims that only the United States is using the term "genocide" to describe the situation in Darfur, clearly with the intent of stirring up emotions. He said "Genocide is Sudans' "weapons of mass destruction"- its an excuse for intervention. He quoted a UN document that refrained from using the term "genocide"- it considered the situation a tribal war with widespread atrocities. I wondered- would a genocide by any other name leave as many dead?. He stated there were local, national, regional, and international factors that needed to be considered. As we've come to expect from any A.N.S.W.E.R. sponsored event, Israel came into the discussion here. Isma'il claims that in the 1950's and 60's, Israel tried to destabilize Egypt through the Sudan, and still provides weapons and intelligence to the southern rebels.

    A large part of Isma'il's talk dealt with the motivation of US activism in the Sudan. He stated that the main groups involved were the Christian Right (Sunrise Sudan), Pro-Israel Organizations (including the ADL, AIPAC, Hillel House), liberals, because it was an easy feel -good issue to target, and student groups. He said no Muslim groups were represented at the Washington DC rally, and that only 3 or 4 Sudanese in the US really understood the situation. ( a rather arrogant assumption)He discussed the campus divestment from Sudan campaign- he read off the names of students leading the campaign, pausing and slowly relishing and repeating the Jewish sounding names. He implied that the divestment campaign was simply a way to divert attention from Israel's divestment campaign on campus. Many of the audience members nodded their heads in agreement.

    The discussion, interestingly enough, hardly mentioned the scope of the suffering in Darfur or on practical ways to ameliorate the situation. The talk was devoid of the usual humanitarian concern you'd expect over a crisis of this magnitude.
    My question was "10,000 dead a month. 200,000 to 400,000 dead total. 2 million in exile. Politics aside, what can we do to relieve the suffering on the ground now?" Isma'il winced as I recited the figures. Clearly the scope of the atrocities in Darfur was not to be discussed in this forum. He replied "Those numbers may be exaggerated." I replied "What is your best estimate?" His answer: "I don't know".
    So, from my perspective, it was exactly what I thought it would be. School's out, young people are looking to volunteer their time and energy into "good causes". No, No, A.N.S.W.E.R. claims. "Not Darfur. After all, Darfur is just a Zionist smokescreen to cover up their atrocities in the MiddleEast."

  4. ANSWER has hijacked the anti-Irag-war movement to try to popularize their other political opinions, especially vicious hatred of Israel. I have attended ANSWER events, out of curiousity. They are a nightmare of disinformation.

  5. i was at the rally this past sunday. it seems to me that most of the marchers were great, pro-peace, anti-violence, suburbanies and families and city folks and old and young, a very wide variety. very few pro palestinian signs and no anti israel signs.
    the rally, the speakers, were totally different. very soon there were no speeches about iraq, just about "palestine", and not even pro-palestinians, just anti-israel.

    but it actually made me feel good. the people of the bay area are cool, not anti-israel, not trying to destroy us. the organizers of ANSWER sure are, but no one was really listening to them, they came off as quite impotent. i loved when they tried to start a chant about israel and no one joined in.