Organizers hope one million people will march on the border of Israel. But, there’s growing concern the event will turn violent and be used to shine negative light on the Jewish state.
Close to 100,000 people marched in the streets of Morocco earlier this week, chanting they would redeem Jerusalem with their blood.
Organizers of the Global March to Jerusalem hope that same result takes place at Israel’s borders and its embassies around the world.
“The march will demand freedom for Jerusalem and its people,” a statement on the event website reads. “And put an end to the apartheid, ethnic cleansing, and judaization policies affecting the people, land, and sanctity of Jerusalem.”
But supporters of Israel say the Jewish connection to Jerusalem dates back 3,000 years.
Some fear the March 30 marches will take a turn for the worst.
In June 2011, thousands of Syrians tried to breach Israel’s northern border. Several died during the confrontation with Israeli troops.
Some believe it’s this kind of incident that would play into the hands of the Global March organizers by making Israel look bad.
An email exchange by two organizers offered insight into what some are hoping.
“This will undermine the Israeli state like no other strategy and then it will all begin to unravel,” one email said. “The zionist edifice, which is unravelling as we speak, will soon fall.”
Middle East expert Daniel Pipes said the March represents a new strategy.
“The real war now is the war of public opinion. It’s the war of television and writing and radio and Internet,” he said.
“To embarrass Israel, to make life difficult. I mean, how are you going to stop a large number of people marching?” Pipes continued.
“So I think it’s indicative of a new way of expressing hostility and trying to deligitimate, and eventually eliminate Israel,” he said.
The participants are a virtual “who’s who” of Israel’s enemies: the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and some of the same parties involved in last year’s flotilla, which tried to break Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli intelligence sources also say Iran is directly helping organize the marches. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei has openly declared his support of the Global March to Jerusalem.
Critics also point out the irony of nations like Syria and Iran accusing Israel of human rights abuse.
Yet, just across the border, the Syrian regime has killed thousands of its own people. And Iran is threatening to execute Christian Pastor Youcef Nadarkhani because he refuses to deny his faith in God.