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The GW Hatchet

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Legislators, Jewish leaders speak at Farragut Square Park rally against Ahmadinejad

This post was written by Hatchet Reporter Dylan King.

More than 100 students, community members and activists gathered in Farragut Square Park Thursday to protest Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s address to the United Nations. The rally featured speeches from legislators, religious leaders and prominent Jewish figures.

The protests, which also took place in New York City near the U.N. headquarters, were organized by the Jewish Community Relations Council, an advocacy and lobbying group based in Maryland, and the Jewish Federation of Greater Washington. The rally was timed to coincide with an address by Ahmadinejad, who has been criticized for his comments about the Holocaust and said Israel should be “wiped off the map,”  to the UN General Assembly.

Protestors chanted “Stop Iran now,” and waved signs and Israeli flags as a wide spectrum of speakers took the stage. Featured guests included former Iranian political prisoner Amir Abbas Fakhravar, Rep. Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., and Sen. Ben Cardin, D-Md.

Neil Zuckerman, a Rabbi for the Har Shalom congregation of Potomac, Md. stressed that while Iran is a threat to the security of Israel, the Iranian nuclear weapons program is a threat to every country in the Middle East.

Many of the speakers, including Engel said they would not compromise their outlooks on the issue of a nuclear-armed Iran.

“The U.N. disgraces itself by passing condemnations against Israel while Iran spits in the face of international opinion” Engel said. “[A nuclear Iran] will be stopped one way or another.”

The rally was co-sponsored by a wide range of organizations, including the Council of Churches of Greater Washington, the Korean American Association of the Metropolitan Area, the Interfaith Conference of Metropolitan Washington and several Jewish groups, according to flyers circulated at the event.

Senior Ariel Scheer, co-president of the GW Student Alliance for Israel, traveled to the rally with a group of GW Hillel members and said she attended the protest to raise awareness to the issue.

“As a zionist and a Jewish leader on campus, as well as a student in the nation’s capital, I feel like I have a responsibility to make my voice heard,” she said.

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