Monday, August 30, 2010
‘Obama will get Israel nuked’ say protesters at Glenn Beck rally
Tens of thousands rally in Washington at ‘Restoring Honor’ event organized by Fox personality; Protester: Obama wants to see Israel annihilated.
Natasha Mozgovaya and The Associated Press
Tens of thousands of predominantly white conservative activists rallied Saturday to help restore traditional American values at the site where Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. gave his famous "I Have a Dream" speech. A group of civil rights activists organized by the Rev. Al Sharpton held a counter rally at a high school, then embarked on a three-mile (five-kilometer) march to the site of a planned monument honoring King.
Glenn Beck, who organized the conservative rally, is a controversial TV and radio talk show host and he insists it's just a coincidence that his Restoring Honor rally on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial is overlapping with the 47th anniversary of King's speech.
Beck is known for his extreme views and statements. He has described President Barack Obama, as a racist.
Two months before nationwide Congressional elections, which could cost Obama's Democrats their majority in the House of Representatives and perhaps the Senate as well, Beck's rally becomes only the latest symptom of rampant political partisanship that is splitting the country and drowning out voices of moderation.
While Beck billed his event as nonpolitical, conservative activists from around the nation said their show of strength was a clear sign that they can swing elections across the country and much of the country is angry with what many voters call an out-of-touch Washington.
Conservative favorite Sarah Palin joined Beck, telling the tens of thousands who stretched from the marble steps of the Lincoln Memorial to the grass of the Washington Monument that calls to transform the country weren't enough.
"We must restore America and restore her honor," said the former Alaska governor, echoing the name of the rally, Restoring Honor.
Speaking with Haaretz, an Israeli newspaper, the participants made sure to stress how angry they were with Obama's policy regarding Israel.
"He [Obama] will get Israel nuked," said 61-year-old Victoria Nikolov from New York, who had left home at 1 a.m. in order to make it to the rally on time. "He's not doing anything to prevent [Iran from developing nuclear weapons]. I came here to protect you, even though I'm not Jewish, and to restore the constitutional republic to this country."
"I've done my research, I've read both his books" she continued. "I am confident that if he had to choose between America and Islam, he’d choose Islam. But I am afraid he might stay president, because he has the support of the press, and when the press supports a president, the people just don’t get the truth."
"We are inch away from socialism. I think African Americans could make great presidents – just other people, like Condoleezza Rice or Walter Williams," she went on to say.
Rob Arnold from Washington's Pentagon City said "You can't spend and dupe this country into oblivion and hope to get away with it."
"He [Obama] was a friend and neighbor of Louis 'suck the blood of Jews' Farrakhan. He had Jeremiah 'God damn America' Wright for his pastor. A man who is a friend of these people can't be a friend of Israel," Arnold told Haaretz.
"And he arranged peace talks in Washington?" he asked. "It's all for show. I believe that if he could, he would rather see Israel annihilated. I don't think he believes Israel belongs to the Jews. I think he sympathizes with terrorists. I believe he is an anti-Semite."
Mark DelMaestro from Phoenix, Arizona, a Vietnam war veteran, told Haaretz that "maybe he [Obama] did some good things, but the bad things he did are overwhelming."
"I don’t think he represents the fulfillment of Martin Luther King’s dream. He represents socialism, communism, oppression and all the things that stand against freedom. I am the man of 'God bless America' and he is a man of 'God Damn America.'"
"I am very worried about Iran, I am confident the moment they get the bomb they will drop it on Israel. Obama has to do everything possible to stop it, even the military option as a last resort. He must understand that unlike other places, we don’t fight for Israel, we fight with Israel, we have the same color of soul."
Two months before nationwide Congressional elections, which could cost U.S. President Barack Obama's Democrats their majority in the House of Representatives and perhaps the Senate as well, Beck's rally becomes only the latest symptom of rampant political partisanship that is splitting the country and drowning out voices of moderation.
The crowd - organizers had a permit for 300,000 - was vast, with people standing shoulder to shoulder across large expanses of the Mall. The National Park Service stopped doing crowd counts in 1997 after the agency was accused of underestimating numbers for the 1995 Million Man March.
Civil rights leaders protested the event and scheduled a 3-mile (5-kilometer) plus march from a high school to the site of a planned King memorial near the Tidal Basin and not far from Beck's gathering.