SABOTAGE FAILS, FREE SPEECH WINS
Despite last minute outside attempt to kill it,‘No More Wars for Israel’ Conference
By Mark Glenn
IRVINE, Calif. It was not the fact that this reporter was under surveillance at the Spokane InternationalAirport by a man/woman team when heading toward California nor that one of the scheduled speakers, a Roman Catholic
priest, was detained for close to 30 minutes as a “risk to aviation safety” by Michael Chertoff’s Department of Homeland Security that indicated that trouble was brewing for the upcoming “No More wars for Israel” conference in Southern California.
Rather, it was what took place in the days and weeks immediately preceding the event that portended problems for all those involved with what was to be an expression of the rights to freedom of speech, religion and association.
As far back as four weeks before the scheduled meeting, the hotel contacted one of the conference organizers and told him that persons claiming to be from the Irvine Police Department were calling all hotels in the area, asking if an event entitled ‘No More Wars for Israel” was scheduled, warning hotel proprietors away from having any involvement in it.
The organizers of the conference, foreseeing this as a likelihood, had booked the event in the name of “Liberty Forum” rather than anything indicating that it was to be a gathering of individuals opposed to the comings and goings of Israel. For months after the conference was announced, details as to the exact location were kept deliberately vague so that the forces opposed to freedom of speech and association would not be given a leg up in shutting it down preemptively.
In the meantime, this reporter was receiving daily emails from Zionist agitators, threatening that it was “only a matter of time” before the location of the event would be learned and pressure brought to bear in shutting it down. Besides this, several speakers whose names had been publicized as being scheduled to appear, as well as Islamic organizations in Southern California, began receiving emails warning them to stay away from the event, characterized by these agitators as a “neo-Nazi” gathering. As soon as the conference was made publicly known, the ADL posted details of it on its website.
Less than 48 hours before the conference was to begin, one of the organizers received a message from the events coordinator at the hotel with a bombshell: the demand of $20,000 within 24 hours or the event would be banned. The contract had no mention of any down payment. An attorney in the area was quickly contacted and given all relevant information. The lawyer informed the organizers that indeed there was no legal case for the hotel to impose such a fee. In the meantime, the hotel began asking questions about what the event was really about and whether or not this reporter (whose name was well known as the host) was involved in it. The attorney then called the coordinator and attempted to smooth out the difficulty, but despite the fact that about $8,000 had been quickly raised, it was insufficient for the demands of the hotel and the event was canceled.
In the meantime, people were pouring into Southern California, expecting to attend the much-publicized event. Since the event had been canceled, the rooms that had been booked had to be paid for up front instead of at the end of the event as previously arranged. This resulted in attendees and speakers being forced to pay for rooms they had already paid for, a minor problem compared to the fact that there was no location to hold the conference.
This reporter woke early on October 13 and began going up and down the street to every hotel in the area to inquire about the availability of conference rooms. In almost every case, there were rooms available suitable for the needs of the event, but when this reporter was forced to give his name, the hotels suddenly became “too busy” to take on any new business. These locales had obviously been visited by someone from the other side.
Another attempt was made to negotiate something with the original hotel where everyone was booked and staying, but the manager would hear nothing of it. Not even a stack of $100 bills a half-inch think was enough to induce her in allowing the use of just one smaller room for the event. With a blank stare that betrayed no emotion, the answer was the same to every question posed to her: “The event is canceled. . . . The event is canceled. . . . The event is canceled. . . .”
By mid-morning, things were looking bleak. People were pouring in not just from around the country, but from around the world, including Canada and Australia. With the limited funds the organizers had, rooms had to be bought and people were forced to bunk two to a room. It was at that moment that Dr. Hesham Tillawi of Current Issues TV, a seasoned political activist and one of the scheduled speakers, stepped up to the plate and saved the event from a melt-down. In a closed meeting with this reporter and some of the other organizers, his plan was simple-:
• Put 10 people on phones calling all over the city in search of a locale—a park, a library, a church basement, anything that could house people; and
• Revive the sagging morale of those who were dealing with the bitter disappointment of a conference that by this time was 16 hours past due by holding a protest outside the hotel.
Media was contacted, signs were made and then everyone there was briefed on their part of the plan. By 2 p.m. everyone had assembled outside the hotel, and with signs and placards began the victory cry in unison “NOMOREWARS FOR ISRAEL! NOMOREWARS FOR ISRAEL! NO MORE WARS FOR ISRAEL!”
The group of about 60 made its way down to the street corner where (simultaneous to the protest) two live radio programs were taking place via cell phone, Dr. Tillawi’s normally scheduled Current Issues radio program featured on the Republic Broadcasting Network and one on Mike Rivero’s What Really Happened.
Unmindful of what may happen if police were called for holding a protest without a permit, the group continued making as much noise as possible and with surprising results—honks from passing cars and “thumbs-up” signals from opened car windows showing support for what they were doing. Dr. Tillawi and this reporter spent the bulk of the radio program interviewing the various people there at the protest, both scheduled speakers and attendees. The mood was electric.
Protesters returned to the hotel to hear that a locale had been found for at least one night of the conference. Although it was close to 4 p.m., which meant a shortened speaking schedule, all boarded cars, shuttles and cabs and made their way over to a Greek Orthodox Church. The session began with a prayer from Fr. Christopher Hunter, one of the scheduled speakers.
Michael Piper opened the proceedings by welcoming everyone. There were about 100 present, close to one-third of the expected turnout had all gone as planned.
Speakers ranged from this reporter to Eileen Fleming, pro-Palestinian activist, Wendy Campbell of MarWen media, Chuck Carleson of “We Hold These Truths,” Muslim scholar and publisher of New Trends magazine Dr. Kaukab Siddique. Instead of the fancy Italian dinner that was supposed to served at the Saturday night banquet, take-out pizzas were ordered. No one complained.
Following the meal, the keynote speech was given by Hesham Tillawi, who arguing like some highpriced/high-profile lawyer said the current wars in the Middle East were engineered by and for Israel and not for the ancillary reasons bantered about in discourse these days such as “for freedom” or “for oil.”
One of the more memorable events was a speech by Phil Tourney, survivor of the attack on the USS Liberty who, after receiving a standing ovation, recounted his experiences on the day that Israel attacked the lightly armed American recon ship, followed by a question and answer session.
By the end of the evening, everyone was thoroughly exhausted. The ups and downs of the weekend’s events had a strong emotional effect on all, and everyone headed back to the hotel. The next day, there was a small gathering at another locale that featured some of the remaining speakers, including the inimitable Dr. Fredrick Toben and rising anti-Zionist Internet writer Patrick Grimm.
One of the themes of the event the Jewish lobby and its stifling of free speech when it comes to the discussion of Israel was proven correct before the conference even took place. The fact that all had to be done in secrecy as if it were in a communist country and then that in the end the hotel canceled was proof positive that there can be no freedom of speech in any country where the Zionist agenda rules.
But there is a growing number of people, in America and throughout the world, who are standing up and allowing themselves to be counted among those who refuse go quietly into the night, who refuse to be silenced and who (in the finest traditions of America) are now beginning to say with one voice—“NOMORE WARS FOR ISRAEL!”
Fluent in several languages, Mark Glenn is a prolific writer whose provocative essays have been published worldwide. His book, No Beauty in the Beast, can be ordered from TBR BOOK CLUB (call toll free 1-877-773-9077 to charge to Visa or MC) for $28 ppd.
(Issue #44, October 29, 2007)