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Pushing Back the Lovefest with Ahmadinejad

By Staff Writer

On Thursday, Sept 25, at 6pm in New York City at the Grand Hyatt Hotel, The American Friends Service Committee, Mennonite Central Committee, Quaker UN Office, Religions for Peace, and the World Council of Churches-UN Liaison Office broke bread with Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at an Iftar (dinner to break the day’s Ramadan fast). Other organizations, political leaders and media were invited. Go to our website to read the Text of the Invitation.

These religious leaders betrayed their brethren across all religions, parties, and countries by recognizing the tyrannical regime of Ahmadinejad and the Iranian mullahs of this terrorist state.

At the same time, Women United, the Jewish Action Alliance, Center for Security Policy, the Catholic League, the The Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission of the Baptist Convention, the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, Log Cabin Republicans, and over 60 other organizations of all faiths and political affiliations  held an interfaith rally to counter this betrayal of principles, protest Ahmadinejad's continued presence in New York after an appalling United Nations speech. The speakers (see list below) addressed Iran’s nuclear weapons program and outrageous threats against the USA and America’s ally, Israel. To see the full list of participating organizations and leaders on our website, updated daily.

Over the prior weekend, national religious, human rights and public interest groups, opposed to Iran’s stated plans for the destruction of Israel and America, proliferating nuclear weapons program, and brutal human rights violations, had stepped up their efforts and began a 72 hour marathon of emails and phone calls to urge members to attend the rally.  The protest rally, which reportedly could be heard by the diners inside and was referred to by Ahmadinejad in his remarks, also attacked the owners of the Grand Hyatt.  Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, one rally speaker, renamed the Grand Hyatt Hotel, the "Grand Hate Hotel" to the cheers of the demonstrators, who lined the street with protest posters, and filled the entire block in front of the hotel and beyond.

“We called upon all human rights activists and religious organizations and leaders of all backgrounds, faiths, and political affiliation who find the threats to innocent peoples an affront to morality and western civilization to join us,” said rally organizer Beth Gilinsky of Women United, a human rights organization whose mission is to challenge the oppression of women and others in countries such as Iran, “and we were uplifted by the show of solidarity among such a diverse group of leaders, who addressed the Iran regime’s threats, nuclear ambitions and oppression."

For background on the dinner, one source is:

For a list of endorsing organizations, which is added to daily, to sign on your organization, or for more information, go to

Speakers 9/25 included (partial list): Dr. William Donohue, Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights; Frank Gaffney, Center for Security Policy; Christine Brim, Center for Security Policy; Curtis Sliwa, Guardian Angels; Dr. Richard Land, Ethics and Religious Liberty Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention; Edward Cox, Representative of Governor Sarah Palin; Beth Gilinsky, Jewish Action Alliance & Women United; Dr. Phyllis Chesler, author; Father Keith Roderick, Christian Solidarity International; Amir Abbas Ffakhravar, Council for a Democratic Iran; State Senator Ruben Diaz, New York Hispanic Clergy   Organization; Father Rob Schenck, National Council of Clergy and Faith in Action; Rabbi Zev Friedman, Rambam Mesivta High School; Michael Hines, International Christian Embassy in Jerusalem; Rabbi David Algaze; Joseph Hakim, International Christian Union; Aryeh Eldad, Member of Israeli Knesset; New York City Councilman David Weprin; New York State Assemblyman Rory Lancman; Gregory Wright, Log Cabin Republicans of New York; Linda Vessy, Open Doors USA; Rabbi Joseph Potasnik, New York Board of Rabbis; Anne Bayefsky, Eye on the UN; Simon Deng, former Sudanse slave, Sudan Freedom Walk; Fira Stukelman, Council of Jewish Emegre Community Organizations; Andrea Lafferty, Traditional Values Coalition; Banafshe Zand-Bonazzi, Alliance of Iranian Women; Rabbi Avi Weiss, Amcha.

Contact: Beth Gilinsky (212) 726-1124, Women United: Code Red

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