Iranian-sponsored Jerusalem Day events were poorly attended this year and received little media coverage.

Issued on: 02/09/2012 Type: Article

The traditional burning of Israeli and American flags on World Jerusalem Day in Tehran (Pictures from the Mehr News Agency, Iran).
The traditional burning of Israeli and American flags on World Jerusalem Day in Tehran (Pictures from the Mehr News Agency, Iran).

Overview

1. The annual Iranian-sponsored World Jerusalem Day events were held, as expected, in Iran, the Arab-Muslim world and other countries. As usual, Iran was the focus of the events and they were attended by the leadership of the regime. Notable events were also held in Lebanon under Hezbollah aegis. In the West, there were demonstrations in London, Berlin and several cities in the United States, and in other countries.

2. The events can generally be described as follows:

1) A relatively small number of participants in Iran – The organizers in Iran invested in a great deal of propaganda and advertising to encourage the general populace to participate in the events, and claimed that "millions" of people were in attendance. However, foreign correspondents reported that there were fewer participants this year than last and far fewer than in the first years after the Islamic Revolution.

2) Poor attendance in other countries – Attendance was markedly poor in the Gaza Strip, where Hamas did not lead the events. In Judea and Samaria as well the events did not make an impression, while in the West, including focal points like London and Berlin, few people attended (even though in London large sums of money were invested in hanging banners on buses). There was also little media coverage, and events around the world were mostly reported by the Iranian media.

3) The Iranian-Shiite character of the events was marked – The original intention of holding Jerusalem Day was to show Muslim unity, Shi'ite and Sunni, for the Palestinian cause. In reality, most of the participating organizations and activists were either Shi'ite or affiliated with Iran (in Western countries they were joined by anti-Israeli activists participating in the campaign to delegitimize Israel). Some of the themes of the events were Shi'ite in nature and those on Iran's political agenda, such as support for the Alawite regime in Syria, for the Shi'ites in Bahrain and the Shi'ite Houthis in Yemen.

3. The Iranian leadership and Hezbollah repeatedly stressed two issues:

1) The call to destroy the State of Israel, variously described as "an artificial entity," "a malignant tumor," and "a threat to humanity." The campaign was accompanied by anti-Semitic hate propaganda describing the "Zionists," that is the Jews, as controlling the United States and in fact the entire world (in the spirit of The Protocols of the Elders of Zion mythology).

2) Warning Israel not to attack Iran: The Iranian leaders stressed the necessity of continuing the so-called "resistance" (i.e., terrorism) to destroy Israel while warning it not to attack Iran's nuclear installations ("If Israel miscalculates and attacks Iranian nuclear installations Iran's strong response will destroy the Zionist entity."). Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah added that Hezbollah can also attack the Israeli home front with precision missiles which "will turn the lives of hundreds of Zionists into a living hell."

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