On May 16, 2011, a group demonstrating across the street from the Israeli Consulate in Miami's Bayfront Park, called for an intifada, or spontaneous uprising, against Israel. The group tried hard to come across as peaceful, but some of what they were saying, and merely using a term such as "intifada" indicated that the group had anything but peaceful intentions.
"Third Intifada" was the name given to the rally. The term refers to a sequel of two previous violent uprisings -- not spontaneous at all, but carefully orchestrated -- that were perpetrated by Palestinians against Israelis. The last one took place in the year 2000; over 1000 Israelis were murdered.
The event coincided with other calls for a Palestinian intifada that emanated directly from the Middle East, from Palestinian neighborhoods.
Although in March a Facebook page calling for a third intifada was shut down amid complaints from the Anti-Defamation League (ADL), the page was resurrected when the Miami group took the terminology and logo from it and used it for its own Facebook page. That page – "Miami's Third Intifada Rally for Palestine" – is still up today.
In Miamai, heading the rally was Muhammed Malik, the former Executive Director of the South Florida chapter of the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR).
CAIR is known for its many associations with Hamas – a group deemed a terrorist fgroup by both the US and Europe, was founded during the first intifada in 1987 – and this protest had its own Hamas imagery.
One of the other leaders of the event, Mnar Muhareb, the Past President of Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP) at Florida International University (FIU), donned a baseball cap bearing a logo resembling that of Hamas. Yet another, Farid Hamoudeh, wrapped his entire head in a keffiyeh (checkered headscarf), to resemble Palestinian militants in Gaza.
During the demonstration, protesters repeatedly chanted a slogan often used by Hamas and other Palestinian radicals calling for the destruction of Israel. It went: "From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free." A girl dressed from head to toe in a black burqa, Flavia Marlene Almonte, held a sign saying the same.
As Hamas spokesman Mahmoud al-Zahar spelled out in January 2006, on al-Manar TV, "Palestine means Palestine in its entirety – from the [Mediterranean] Sea to the [Jordan] River, from Ras al-Naqura to Rafah. We cannot give up a single inch of it. Therefore, we will not recognize the Israeli enemy's [right] to a single inch."
Muharab wore a chain around her neck with a pendant depicting a map of the entire state of Israel.
The rally goers were also trying hard to appear and sound peaceful: they held a poster containing a peace emblem and invoked the name of Martin Luther King, who, ironically, said, "You know that Zionism is nothing less than the dream and ideal of the Jewish people returning to live in their own land….When people criticize Zionism, they mean Jews- this is God's own truth."
At previous demonstrations, such as at one in January 2009, in the same area in Miami, Muhammed Malik led a protest that had featured Nazi symbols, as well as acts of violence, which led to arrests against pro-Israel supporters
This time, they were a little more careful – but not careful enough to hide their true intent, beginning with the name of the rally, itself: "Third Intofada".
Beila Rabinowitz, Director of Militant Islam Monitor, contributed to this report.