‘Airflotilla 2′ & “normal, average Europeans”

Earlier in the week the organisers of the ‘Airflotilla 2′ (‘Welcome to Palestine’) campaign held a press conference in Bethlehem. Among the speakers the organisers chose to address journalists was the mayor of Bethlehem, Victor Batarseh who urged Israel to allow the flytilla activists in.

“These people are coming to talk about peace, they are not coming to wage war against Israel,” he said. “They are coming to visit the Palestinian people who are under occupation and to talk to them and to help them because these people are isolated.”

 “We are asking our neighbors the Israeli government to make it easy for these people to enter the Palestinian National Authority, so that we can have this message of peace starting from this holy city of Bethlehem.”

He called on Europe and the United States to support the protest. People who speak out about Israel’s policies are called “anti-Semitic,” he said, but urged the US and Europe not to fear this label.

Whilst he can certainly talk the talk, Mayor Batarseh’s ‘message of peace’ should be seen in light of the fact that he recently took part in the ‘Christ at the Checkpoint conference held in his town, during which he told the audience that the Palestinians were being crucified by Israeli security measures, Bethlehem was a giant prison and that Jesus Christ, embodied by the Palestinian people, was imprisoned in the city by the security barrier.

Batarseh is known to be allied to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) – a terrorist organization proscribed by Canada, the EU and the US. In January this year Batarseh attended a memorial service for PFLP founder George Habash held in Beit Sahour.  Terror attacks perpetrated by the PFLP include:

  • On July 22, 1968, the PFLP hijacked its first plane, an El Al flight from Rome to Tel Aviv.
  • In September 1970, the PFLP hijacked three passenger planes and took them to airfields in Jordan, where the PLO was then based; after the planes were emptied, the hijackers blew them up. In response, King Hussein of Jordan decided that Palestinian radicals had gone too far and drove the PLO out of his kingdom.
  • In 1972, PFLP and Japanese Red Army gunmen murdered two dozen passengers at Israel’s international airport in Lod.
  • In 1976, breaking a PLO agreement to end terrorism outside Israeli-held territory, PFLP members joined with West German radical leftists from the Baader-Meinhof Gang to hijack an Air France flight bound for Tel Aviv and landed the plane in Entebbe, Uganda. In a now-famous raid, Israeli commandos freed the hostages. [Despite the overall success of the raid, three hostages were killed in the firefight and one was killed by Ugandan Army officers in a nearby hospital.]

Also speaking at the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ press conference was project organizer Mazin Qumsiyeh who said of the campaign’s participants:

“These are not hooligans. The people who are coming are normal, average Europeans who want to learn and visit people under occupation,”

Hooliganism is defined as ‘rowdy, violent or destructive behaviour’ or alternatively; ‘willful, wanton and malicious destruction of the property of others’. Some might say that the attempts of Mazin Qumsiyeh and his Palestine Justice Network to eliminate the Israeli state amount to little less.

Certainly, Mazin Qumsiyeh and Mustafa Barghouti –  an endorser of the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ – do not qualify as being best placed to define hooliganism in light of their equally suspect definition of the recent March 30th ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ events  (which they also co-organised) as ‘non-violent resistance’ and Barghouti’s active participation in the Qalandiya riots.

Neither, of course, is Qumsiyeh’s definition of the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ participants as “normal, average Europeans” at all accurate. Average Europeans do not – unlike the members of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign or London BDS  (both of which are involved in ‘Welcome to Palestine’)  – align themselves with the oppressive human-rights abusing, terror financing and supporting  Iranian regime by promoting and participating in ‘Al Quds Day marches.

Normal Europeans do not march under the flags of terrorist organisations such as Hizbollah and Hamas who indiscriminately murder civilians. Average Europeans do not disrupt cultural events and call for boycotts of a democratic country as a means of bringing about its dismantling. And ordinary Europeans certainly do not try to deliberately get themselves deported from other countries by knowingly engineering provocations.

As for Qumsiyeh’s claim that the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ participants wanting to “learn” about the conflict – that of course is highly dubious. Seasoned activists such as these are precisely what they are because of the fact that they have no desire to have their well-entrenched opinions challenged by facts and knowledge.

But let’s say they did. A viewing of this video made by Mustafa Barghouti shows exactly what participants in the ‘Air Flotilla 2′ will be ‘learning’ on their trip – should they actually arrive.

In every generation: UK Global March to Jerusalem marchers seek Palestine Jew-free ‘from river to the sea’

The following essay was written by Sharon Klaff , a founding member of pro-Israel activist group Campaign4Truth. (A shortened version of this appeared in The JC)

The Global March on Jerusalem demonstration took place last Friday evening opposite the Israeli Embassy in London. About 15-20 Israelsupporters turned up, the usual stalwarts who put themselves on the line to face a barrage of abuse from the bully boys of the PSC.  It is hardly something Jewish organisations across the world would not have in their diaries, so it was a surprise to hear that the Zionist Federation had an urgent engagement in Hungary – and goodness knows what happened to all the other pundits who put themselves about.

So there we were, without a megaphone and a few of our Christian friends who had at least brought some flags, placards and banners. One little girl on her way home from school asked her mother to stop by to share with us her hurt at the vile bigotry shooting over from across the barriers, as though they were on the front line launching rockets into Sderot or Be’ersheva. She was sobbing as she bore witness to this hatred, whilst the child of a PSC supporter  was thrust onto their podium, chanting venomous slogans over a huge megaphone, the woman beside her, presumably her mother, looking very pleased at this act of child abuse.

They arrived in their hundreds with their usual attire, wearing their tourist scarves from Jerusalem, hoisting flags showing all of Israel asPalestine – Arab Palestine, a land free of Jews according to the new Hamas-Fatah alliance  leader Mahmoud Abbas. Tribal chants “from the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” cut through any pretence of peaceful desires. They vaunted their latest slogan accusing Israel of making Jerusalem Jewish, using the Nazi term Judaising, as though the Jews have no connection to the City of David, as though their mosque is not built atop the Jewish Temple, as though they were the historical heirs to Jerusalem (a notion they only cottoned on to after the Arab uprising in 1987), as though their Western supporters never did RE at school learning about Jerusalem as the capital city of the Jews.

This annual assault takes place each year around Pesach, time of year when we recount at the Seder table how the Jewish nation crossed the desert out of slavery to freedom; when we read how in each generation our enemies will return in an attempt to destroy us; when we learn to ask questions. For two thousand years we prayed as strangers in foreign lands to meet “Next Year in Jerusalem”, our capital city denied us by our enemies.  In her song “Jerusalem of Gold”  (1967) Naomi Shemer celebrates every Jewish person’s yearning for Jerusalem and its return to the Jewish people as its capital city. Now they demand it as their own, stealing our history for themselves.

The enemy of this generation had amassed across the barrier, hurling abuse, calling for our demise, using the heil Hitler salute, conversely accusing us of being Nazis, an insult they know digs deep into the consciousness of all Jews.  In each generation those who will our demise operate in a different way, use different weapons, arrive in a different guise; yet they are the same. We need to continue to ask questions, to listen and to bear witness so that never again means exactly that – NEVER AGAIN.

As it was Shabbat we decided to light Shabbat candles and say some prayers. It was a poignant moment, the symbol of light over dark, eternal love over hatred – two women with two small candles; light and hope for a future standing proud against the anger and hatred.

CiF Watch Special Report: Latest Assault on Israel’s legitimacy, ‘Air Flotilla 2′, April 15th, 2012

A guest post by Hadar Sela (this report may also be viewed on scribd by clicking here)

Hot on the heels of the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ will come yet another event designed to continue the assault on Israel’s legitimacy – the April 15th ‘Air Flotilla 2′ (also known as ‘Welcome to Palestine’) or flytilla‘ as last year’s  (Hamas approved) similar event was dubbed.

Once again, the aim is to have large numbers of international “activists flying in to Ben Gurion airport on one day – in the words of the organisers – as part of the “challenge to Israel’s illegal siege of Palestine”.

“There is no way into Palestine other than through Israeli control points. Israel has turned Palestine into a giant prison, but prisoners have a right to receive visitors.

Welcome to Palestine 2012 will again challenge Israel’s policy of isolating the West Bank while the settler paramilitaries and army commit brutal crimes against a virtually defenceless Palestinian civilian population.”

The similarity of the methodology and rhetoric of this project to that of the Global March to Jerusalem is no coincidence; several of the organisers and endorsers are mutual to both campaigns.  In fact, Mazin Qumsiyeh recently put out calls for volunteers for both projects on his blog, claiming that over 1,500 Europeans have already purchased tickets for April 15th whilst the overall target number appears to be 2,500.

Endorsers of the Air Flotilla include occasional Guardian contributor and ‘Right to Enter activist Sam Bahour, Tony Benn (controversial president of the ‘Stop the War Coalition’ which was involved in the GMJ) , Noam Chomsky (a GMJ endorser), Nazareth-based former Guardian journalist  Jonathan Cook, ‘Free Gaza’ and ISM activist Hedy Epstein and PA Ambassador Manuel Hassassian (whose mission promoted the Global March to Jerusalem).

Also on board are Ronnie Kasrils (a GMJ endorser), Nurit Peled, John Pilger, Jean Ziegler, Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb ( a GMJ endorser), Susan Abulhawa (a GMJ endorser), Ali Abunimah (whose ‘electronic Intifada’ is promoting the Air Flotilla), Mustafa Barghouti (a GMJ organizer), Abdelfattah Abu Srour of the Al Rowwad Culltural Centre (which supported the 2011 flytilla and the GMJ) and Desmond Tutu (also a GMJ endorser).

Mustafa Barghouti’s ‘Palestinian National Initiative was also an endorser of the Global March to Jerusalem, as was The Siraj Centre (where Mazin Qumsiyeh is a member of the board) and the Palestine Justice Network which is currently involved in the organization of the Air Flotilla. The Palestine Justice Network solicits donations through the International Solidarity Campaign-linked ‘Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People’, of which Qumsiyeh is head.

In April 2011 the Palestine Justice Network launched its ‘One State Initiative’ and as can be seen from the endorsements, many of the names also appear on the list of those supporting or organising the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign, as well as on the list of signatories of the Stuttgart Declaration.

In short, as was the case with the organisers of the Global March to Jerusalem, the Air Flotilla initiators are united by their rejection of the internationally-accepted route of negotiations aimed at leading to a two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict. Their aim is an imposed ‘one-state solution’ which would result in the end of self-determination for the Jewish people.

A list of foreign organisations endorsing the Air Flotilla – predominantly from the United Kingdom – can be seen here. Among the individual endorsers is Maha Rahwanji of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign executive committee. The PSC was of course heavily involved in the organization of the Global March to Jerusalem. Something of Rahwanji‘s mindset can be understood from her Twitter timeline.

Unsurprisingly, the Iranian regime-linked ‘Islamic Human Rights Commission’ based in the UK is also promoting the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ project, as is Iran’s ‘Press TV’ – according to which “[t]his year, the Welcome to Palestine movement aims to overwhelm Israeli officials by its sheer number of members”.

Purveyor of anti-Semitic cartoons Carlos Latuff presented a gift to the campaign:

The ‘Welcome to Palestine’ campaign has no qualms about using the false – and highly charged – canard of ‘apartheid’ on its official website in order to curry support.

“Plans are underway to challenge Israeli apartheid during 2012 by having a large number of international activists land in Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion airport.”

The campaign’s supporting Twitter account – described as an ‘awareness campaign’ – goes even further, propagating lies and descending into anti-Semitic Nazi analogies.

The end-game of the ‘Welcome to Palestine’ Air Flotilla is, however, revealed in this Tweet:

One of the people operating the ‘Airflotilla2′ Twitter account and its online campaign in general is Gaza Strip-born Ayman Qwaider who is currently resident in Spain.

Before leaving Gaza to study abroad, Qwaider worked for the ‘European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’ – a Hamas/Muslim Brotherhood project which is headed by UK-based Hamas operative  Mohammed Sawalha. Sawalha was instrumental in the organization of both the 2010 and 2011 flotillas and was also one of the organisers of the Global March to Jerusalem.

Ayman Qwaider has written for the Palestine Telegraph which is operated by Sameh Habeebwho is also spokesman for the Muslim Brotherhood’s ‘European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’ and connected to the Hamas-linked Palestinian Return Centre based in London which is proscribed by Israel.  Last year Qwaider was active in the flotilla campaign on behalf of the ‘Spanish Boat to Gaza’, including giving a talk at a Spanish university.

Part of the online support campaign for the ‘Airflotilla2′ initiative includes an e-mail campaign aimed at members of Parliament.

“Palestinians resist.  The British Government, however, joins with Israel to isolate the Palestinians while they are being dispossessed.  The UK Government, for example, refused to support the recent successful Palestinian bid to join UNESCO in the teeth of bitter US and Israeli opposition. The UK Government has also signalled it will oppose the Palestinian bid for full membership of the UN.

When our governments endorse illegal Israeli occupation, concerned citizens need to take action.”

The main difference between the Airflotilla2 and the Global March to Jerusalem is that the former is designed to appeal primarily – though not exclusively - to European audiences, as reflected in its campaigning and publicity which includes websites and advertising in various European  languages.

FRANCE : contact@bienvenuepalestine.com
UK : uk@bienvenuepalestine.com
SPAIN : pazahora1@gmail.com
ITALY : benvenutinpalestina2012@gmail.com
BELGIUM : bienvenuepalestine.wallonie.be@gmail.com / et pour Bruxelles (Brussels) : welcomepalestinebelgium@yahoo.com
GREECE : greece@welcometopalestine.info
USA: palestine2012us@gmail.com
PALESTINE : jneno@ejepal.org (school project) and info@palestinejn.org

In the Netherlands, Electronic Intifada’s Adri Nieuwhof appears to be utilising her connections within the ‘human rights’/international aid community in order to publicize the project.

Several of the ‘Airflotilla2′ organisers took part in last year’s failed flytilla including Myriam de Ly and David Dupire from Belgium and Mick Napier of the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.

Events were held in Paris , Brussels and other European cities earlier this year to promote the campaign.

The final speaker in the video – Jaques Neno of the EJE (Les Enfants, le Jeu et l’Education) is also one of the project’s organisers, along with George N Rishmawi – co-founder of International Solidarity Movement (ISM), head of the International Middle East Media Center (IMEMC), coordinator of the Siraj Centre and a former board member of the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between Peoples. As stated above, Airflotilla2 and GMJ organizer Mazin Qumsiyeh is connected to both the latter organisations.

Neno tells potential participants that they should expect three possible scenarios. The first is that they will get arrested.  In that case, according, to him “you have won because when Israel puts you in prison it shows how it becomes more and more fascist”.

The second scenario involves the activists being prevented from boarding their flights at the point of departure, as happened in many cases in 2011, but which Neno appears to consider unlikely this year. The third scenario is that they will reach their destination.

Obviously, provocation and bad public relations for Israel are yet again the real name of the game and several factors suggest that this latest publicity stunt aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy should not be taken lightly.

One of these factors is the date which, although originally planned to coincide with the anniversary of the death of ISM activist Vittorio Arrigoni, is also the day after the end of the Pessach holiday when Ben Gurion airport will be particularly busy with a large volume of travelers. For example, the UK airline Jet2 has added an additional flight to its usual schedule on that day which is probably aimed at returning Pessach visitors to Manchester, but is likely to be used by ‘Airflotilla2′ activists from Scotland and the north of England.

Another factor is the unverified claim by ‘Welcome to Palestine’ organisers (Palestine Justice Network) that following the 2011 flytilla during which the majority of activists were not permitted to board their flights, “[a]s a result of legal challenges, many European airlines not only fully refunded the tickets, but also agreed not to repeat the incident.”  In the event that airlines will refuse to transport the activists, demonstrations are already being planned.

The International Solidarity Movement in France is already very indignant regarding a statement put out recently by the French Foreign Ministry advising its citizens not to take part in the ‘Airflotilla2′.

The British government has similarly advised against participation in the project, but such recommendations are unlikely to make much of an impression on these activists, as can be seen by the reaction of the French organisers.

“We have no illusions about our leaders and the fact they eat in the hand of the Israeli occupation. We know how they behaved in July, and more generally how they refuse to apply international law and the principle of reciprocity, then they leave to enter France all Israelis who wish, including criminals war. They do not even defend French diplomats when they are humiliated, beaten or injured by the police or the IDF.”

“The method of intimidation will not work. Participants in the mission “Welcome to Palestine” have the right, justice and morality on their side. And they are aware of the seriousness of the situation for the Palestinians, every day more persecuted and dispossessed. They are not ashamed to go visit them. And to do head high, without lying, without going into the game of the occupant, which would wipe out Palestine and the Palestinians.

Gentlemen of the Quai d’Orsay, gentlemen of the government, history will record that you do not have much dignity.”

On the publicity front, the involvement of Ali Abunimah in this campaign means that we are likely to see a far more intense level of activity, particularly on social networks, than was the case with the Global March to Jerusalem which Abunimah and others shunned.

UPDATE, April 11th:

The full ‘Welcome to Palestine’ programme of events can be seen here. The stated aims of the project – building a school and a museum and refurbishing a kindergarten – appear to be confined to one day of activity, with the rest of the week’s visit dedicated to trips to various destinations and a seminar on the subject of “How to End the Occupation?”.

The organisation hoping to build a museum on the history of Palestinian refugees is the Al Rowwad Centre which was also involved in the organisation of the 2011 flytilla, is party to the BDS movement and was an endorser of the Global March to Jerusalem. Pictured below is one of its vehicles, bearing a logo which clearly rejects a negotiated two-state solution.

Guardian’s Phoebe Greenwood runs interference for Global March to Jerusalem organizers and rioters

The Guardian’s Middle East Live blog today includes coverage of the Global March to Jerusalem provocations by the paper’s correspondent, Phoebe Greenwood, who’s filling in for Harriet Sherwood.

Here’s her dispatch from this morning at Qalandiya.

Palestinian boys have started arriving at the blockades. Jabai, 19, has come from Nablus to join the protest. “Today is different than any other Friday demonstration,” he says. “Many more people are coming”.

And what of organisers’ hopes that the demonstrations will be peaceful? “No, we want to throw stones and break things”, says Jabai, highlighting the difference between Palestinian activists and the frustrated youth who come to demonstrate anger.

Anyone who’s been following our blog’s reports about GMJ would have to understand how absurd it is to claim that the organizers (made up of Islamist terrorist groups and their supporters) are hoping for a series of peaceful protests.  

While I can cite a plethora of examples, here are recent comments by Feroze Mithiborwala, a member of both the GMJ International Executive Committee and its International Central Committee, regarding Israel’s preparations to prevent GMJ provocations.

Israel has gone crazy, and they are acting no different than Nazi’s. Our response to them is a response of bravery. We are ready for martyrdom for our Palestinian brothers.” 

As the GMJ leader prepared his cadre of fellow “activists” for martyrdom, GMJ participant and member of the SE Asia caravan Mansour Kiaei from Iran – who, as has previously been pointed out, describes himself on his Twitter account as a ‘human rights activist’ – Tweeted the following:

Meanwhile in Qalandiya, where Palestinians have been rioting (including hurling stones and exlosives at an IDF post) Greenwood reports:

Israeli soldiers firing volley of teargas canisters into air over advancing protesters led by Frank Romano waving a huge Palestinian flag. At least 23 people have now been taken away with injuries in what are turning into pretty serious clashes at Qalandiya.

Greenwood’s “peaceful” GMJ members and organizers, and Israelis firing tear gas at Palestinian protesters who are merely waving a flag: classic Guardian political fiction masquerading as serious journalism. 

CiF gives platform to Sarah Colborne to promote terrorist-organized ‘Global March to Jerusalem’

Global March to Jerusalem, scheduled for this Friday, March 30, is an anti-Israel publicity stunt that aims to have a million people marching on Israel’s borders from surrounding countries – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt – with the aim of reaching Jerusalem. Concurrently, demonstrations are planned against Israel’s diplomatic missions in major cities throughout the world.

The organizers of GMJ are made up of members of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, far-left extremist groups and are backed by the Iranian government. Senior organizers include:

  • Zaher Birawi, a prominent Hamas activist in the UK and senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood linked Palestinian Return Center.
  • Abdul Maqri, head of the Algerian delegation aboard the Mavi Marmara who in 2010 said “all our blood is Palestine” and declared that “Israel will be annihilated soon”.

Advisory board members include George Galloway, Mahathir Mohammed and Sheikh Raed Salah.

Official statements of the organizers of GMJ attempt to portray the movement as a peaceful protest aimed at highlighting the so-called “Judaization of Jerusalem”.

In 2011, GMJ general coordinator, Ribhi  Halloum stated “[t]he protest aims to move the right of return possessed by Palestinian refugees from theory to practice”.

In practice, the right of return is subterfuge for the destruction of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Coupled with that, employment of the term “Judaization of Jerusalem” is hateful rhetoric designed to negate thousands of years of Jewish history and incite the Muslim world.

Combined with the terror groups behind GMJ and the rallying cry of “saving Al Aqsa (Jerusalem) from the Jews”, it seems likely that sufficient numbers the organizers will seek violent confrontation with Israeli forces with the aim of sparking another Intifada.

The Guardian, undeterred by such quotidian concerns as the possibly deadly results of such a terrorist provocation on Israel’s borders, provided a platform to Palestinian Solidarity Campaign’s Sarah Colborne, “Jerusalem is at the heart of the Palestinian struggle“, CiF, March 27.

Sarah Colborne is both a member of the GMJ International Executive Committee, its International Central Committee, and is also the GMJ national co-ordinator for the UK.

Colborne’s Lie #1, in CiF essay

“Jerusalem is a city that embodies the cultural heritage of three religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism. Yet Palestinians – both Christian and Muslim – are being driven out of Jerusalem….Just one example of this ethnic cleansing”

Since 1967, when Israel united Jerusalem, (based on the Israel Central bureau of Statistics) there were:

Jews: 195,700

Muslims: 54,963

Christians: 12,646

Then, by 2009:

Jews: 479,756

Muslims: 278,568

Christians: 15,476

So, far from being driven out of Jerusalem, the Muslim population of the city has increased roughly 5 fold, while the Jewish population has increased roughly by a factor of 2.8.  So, the Muslim population has grown dramatically faster than the Jewish population.

Obviously, there is nothing resembling ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem.

Colborne’s Lie #2

“Jerusalem, the traditional centre of Palestinian social, religious and economic life , is increasingly being isolated and restricted by Israeli policies.”

Such a moral inversion, suggesting that religious life in Jerusalem for Palestinians is increasingly restricted, represents the nadir of anti-Zionist propaganda.  Jerusalem, since 1967 – in stark contrast to Jordanian control of the city from 1949 to 1967, when Jews were forbidden from visiting Judaism’s most holy sites – has never been more free for citizens of all faiths to worship.

Muslim rights on the Temple Mount, the site of the Dome of the Rock and the Al-Aksa Mosque, have not been infringed, and the holy places are actually under the supervision of  the Muslim Waqf. Although it is Judaism’s holiest site, Israel has left the Temple Mount itself under the control of Muslim religious authorities.

Colborne Lie #3

“The Global March to Jerusalem is bringing together an impressive coalition of Palestinian voices and organisations, with supporters from dozens of countries around the world travelling to Jerusalem, and to the border countries, to participate in the peaceful actions.”

“The struggle for Palestinian rights is at the core of the global movement for social and economic justice.”

As our research has demonstrated (which can be seen at our site, Exposing the truth about the Global March to Jerusalem), this coalition is led by  members of proscribed Islamist terror organizations with backing from the Iranian regime. 

Here are the real goals of GMJ, contrary to Colborne’s supremely dishonest polemic at ‘Comment is Free’.

  • Destroying the “Zionist edifice”: Some idea of the mindset of the event’s organizers can be gleaned from statements made in the following e-mail exchange between two of them regarding a previous identical project. 

“Imagine a situation where we have more than a million people streaming in from four borders & Israel fails to stop the human tide…next time we will have 5 million who will be marching…This is exactly the nightmare situation for Israel…Thus will undermine the Israeli state, like no other strategy & then it will all begin to unravel & the Zionist edifice which is unraveling as we speak, will soon fall. 

  • Using GMJ as a catalyst to begin a 3rd Intifada: Feroze Mithiborwala is a member of both the GMJ International Executive Committee and its International Central Committee was even more explicit regarding the movement’s aims, writing:

“..the Arab Revolution presents new possibilities & the epic 94-year-old struggle of the Palestinian people, a proud & ancient nation, which has inspired the world for generations, will finally see a new awakening & with it, a new hope, a new Intifada, the Third Intifada!!”

  • Rejection of a two-state solution, seeking the elimination of Israel from the “river to the sea. GMJ promotional material refers to the 1948 occupation and supports the so-called “right of return” of Palestinian refugees, both euphemisms for the destruction of the State of Israel.
  • Legitimizing Antisemitic ideology in the name of human rights: Organizers of GMJ have engaged in vile antisemitic discourse, such as Ahmed Abo Halabiya, a GMJ organizer and Hamas member, who gave a sermon which included“Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them.”

Here’s an image on the official GMJ Facebook Page, portraying Jews as rats (a popular Nazi antisemitic motif) undermining the al-Aqsa Mosque:

Jews portrayed as rats, infiltrating the Al Aqsa Mosque

Finally, equally as absurd as characterizing the GMJ as an endeavor consistent with peace, liberalism and human rights is the suggestion that Colborne embodies anything resembling such progressive values.

Her organization, PSC, has demonstrated, at best, a tepid approach to Holocaust denial and racism among its members.  And, Colborne has shared a platform with the homophobic and racist leader of the Northern Islamic Movement Raed Salah, and leapt to his defence when he was apprehended by the British authorities.

Colborne and Salah also sailed together on the ‘Mavi Marmara’ in 2010 as part of the ‘Freedom flotilla’, during which Islamist incitement to violence was documented in , in which Salah can be seen in the first row, wearing a white skull-cap.

The Guardian’s decision to provide a platform to the organizer of a violent provocation – an organized act of incitement – led by terrorists with the explicit aim of destroying Israel represents a further erosion of the media group’s increasingly absurd veneer of liberalism.

The Islamists, terrorists, and their apologists who have planned and are behind the March to Jerusalem can only be described politically (based on their broader ideological orientation) as representing the antisemitic extreme right.

As such, Guardian Left politics is increasingly defined by this tendency to allow nearly anyone willing to mouth platitudes about “Palestinian rights” moral impunity for their reactionary, malign, racist agendas.

Zionist Trolling Alert: How to annoy organizers of ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ in 1 easy step

As many of you already know, CiF Watch has set up a site called ‘Exposing the truth about the Global March to Jerusalem, which reveals the extremist and terrorist connections of organizers of the ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ provocation scheduled for March 30.

Oh, and our site just happens to look a lot like the official GMJ site. (I can’t imagine how that happened! ;-)

Here’s a short factsheet summarizing our findings on GMJ.  

Well, I just noticed that the official GMJ-North America Facebook page is an open group – meaning Zionist trolls like myself are currently able to post links to our website, or engage in any other ‘Zionist propaganda’ they no doubt would not be happy to see.

As the stellar site, The Propagandist, says: Confusion to our enemies!

So, if you go to their FB page, you’ll see my comment, linking to CiF Watch’s GMJ site, and I ask that you consider “Liking” or commenting on it.  Similarly, fee free to comment on your own, and just engage in some good ‘ol fashioned philo-Semitic high-jinx!

Here’s my post at their site to help get you in the mood for such mischief.  But, please act fast, as I would imagine they’ll eventually catch on and make it a closed group.

(Finally, please consider “Liking” our GMJ Facebook page, and following us on our GMJ Twitter account)

Global March to Jerusalem organizer fails Aaron Klein’s $50,000 challenge

On his WABC Radio show, Aaron Klein offered $50,000 to Frank Romano, an organizer of the upcoming Global March to Jerusalem, if the activist could name one city in the Middle East outside of Israel that has more freedom than Jerusalem. 

Part 1:

Part 2:

Fact Sheet: Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ), March 30, 2012

What is the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ)?

GMJ, scheduled for March 30, 2012, is an anti-Israel publicity stunt that aims to have a million people marching on Israel’s borders from all the surrounding countries – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt – with the aim of reaching Jerusalem. Concurrently, demonstrations are planned in the Palestinian-administrated territories and against Israel’s diplomatic missions in major cities throughout the world.

Who is organizing GMJ?

The organizers of GMJ are made up of members of Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood, far-left extremist groups and are backed by the Iranian government. Senior organizers include:

  • Ahmed Abo Halabiya, a Hamas MP who in 2000 gave a sermon saying “Have no mercy on the Jews, no matter where they are, in any country. Fight them, wherever you are. Wherever you meet them, kill them.”
  • Zaher Birawi, a prominent Hamas activist in the UK and senior member of the Muslim Brotherhood linked Palestinian Return Center.
  • Abdul Maqri, head of the Algerian delegation aboard the Mavi Marmara who in 2010 said “all our blood is Palestine” and declared that “Israel will be annihilated soon”.

Advisory board members include George Galloway, Rev. Jeremiah Wright, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Mairead McGuire, Mahathir Mohammed and Sheikh Raed Salah.

What are the objectives of GMJ?

Official statements of the organizers of GMJ attempt to portray the movement as a peaceful protest aimed at highlighting the so-called “Judaization of Jerusalem”.

In 2011, GMJ general coordinator, Ribhi  Halloum stated “[t]he protest aims to move the right of return possessed by Palestinian refugees from theory to practice”.

In practice, the right of return is a rejection of the two state solution and subterfuge for the destruction of Israel as the nation-state of the Jewish people. Coupled with that, employment of the term “Judaization of Jerusalem” is hateful rhetoric designed to negate thousands of years of Jewish history and incite the Muslim world.

Haven’t there been attempts to breach Israel’s borders beforehand?

Yes. During 2011 there were two separate attempts to march on Israel’s borders mainly from Syria, one on May 15 and another on June 5, both of which turned violent resulting in dozens of deaths and hundreds injured.

Like every other sovereign nation, Israel has the right to control who enters its borders and to protect its borders from being breached.

Should we be concerned about GMJ?

Absolutely. With a bloody uprising in Syria, a Muslim Brotherhood dominated Egypt, the looming Iranian nuclear threat, a failed peace process and recent renewed violence from Hamas-controlled Gaza, the situation is highly volatile. Combined with the extreme terror groups behind GMJ and the rallying cry of “saving Al Aqsa (Jerusalem) from the Jews”, it is our assessment that with sufficient numbers the organizers will seek violent confrontation with Israeli forces with the aim of sparking a Third Intifada

How do I find more about GMJ?

We have established a special website at www.gm2j.co which contains detailed information about GMJ, profiles of the organizers, lists of endorsing organizations and a regularly updated blog.

Please also follow us on Twitter at @gm2jlm.

For further information, please contact me at adamlevick@cifwatch.com.

About CiF Watch (www.cifwatch.com)

Exposing the truth about the Global March to Jerusalem is a special project of CiF Watch. CiF Watch is a media monitor dedicated to exposing and combating antisemitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy at the Guardian and its ‘Comment is Free’ blog.

(Special thanks to Hadar Sela, who continues to conduct the bulk of the research for this project)

Join the ‘Global March for…Syria’!

While extremists, terrorists and their supporters continue their plans for a massive provocation on the Jewish state’s borders (Global March to Jerusalem‘, March 30 (in hopes of undermining “the Zionist edifice“), those genuinely concerned with freedom in the Middle East are organizing a genuinely progressive movement.

There is a ‘Global March for Syria’ movement being organized to protest the Assad regime’s brutality, which has resulted in over 8,000 murdered, scores tortured and tens of thousands displaced.

As the official ‘Global March for Syria’ FB page notes:

It has been one year since the Syrian revolution began. One year of violence against peaceful protesters and innocent civilians. One year of blood shed. And one year of a brave stance against great evil, but the Syrian people have vowed to never stop until the fall of the regime, until they gain freedom and dignity. On March 17, 2012 let’s stand with Syria against oppression and take a moment to remember the thousands of lives sacrificed since March 15, 2011. 

Syrians are in the midst of writing history. On March 15,16, & 17 become a part of history and support the fight for freedom!

Update on CiF Watch’s new site: ‘Exposing the truth about the Global March to Jerusalem’

The launch of our new site ‘Exposing the truth about the Global March to Jerusalem‘ (revealing, among other dynamics, the extremists and terror supporters behind the planned March 30 event) has been quite successful by any measure.

We’ve also received a good deal of feedback, and follow-up inquiries, from journalists, bloggers and others wishing to learn more about the planned provocation on Israel’s borders.

Here’s just a sample of the coverage.

Here’s my essay about GMJ published in The Jewish Press.

Here’s Hadar Sela’s essay published in The Propagandist.

Blogger Daled Amos posted our original press release about our new site.

Harry’s Place cross posted our original post announcing the new site.

Pro-Israel Bay Bloggers posted about our site’s launch.

Further, we ask that you please consider following our GMJ Twitter account, “Liking” our Facebook group, and adding our site to your RSS feed.

Finally, please feel free to contact us at  contactus@cifwatch.com if you have any further inquiries about the March 30 event.

CiF Watch launches site: ‘Exposing the truth about ‘Global March to Jerusalem’

CiF Watch has just launched Exposing the truth about the Global March to Jerusalem‘ website.

As was the case in previous years, a series of high-profile publicity stunts aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy are planned for the coming months.

The first major event is scheduled to take place on March 30th, 2012 and is named ‘The Global March to Jerusalem‘ (GMJ).

'Global March to Jerusalem' website

The concept behind the movement is to have a million people marching on Israel’s borders from all the surrounding countries – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt – with the aim of reaching Jerusalem. Concurrently, demonstrations are planned in the Palestinian-administrated territories and against Israel’s diplomatic missions in major cities throughout the world.

Recognising the need for detailed advance information about the individuals and organisations behind this project, CiF Watch created website to serve as resource for bloggers, journalists, policy-makers, members of the law enforcement community and the general public who seek to learn more.

CiF Watch site

Extensive research into the march’s organizers demonstrates that the Global March to Jerusalem is a result of collaboration between members of the extremist Left, Hamas, the Muslim Brotherhood and other Islamist groups, and has the backing of the Iranian government.

Whatever your field of interest, we hope that you will find the information gathered at our new site is useful. The website is, of course, a work in progress and will be updated as new information comes to light and events unfold.

Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh announcing Global March to Jerusalem

See Hadar Sela’s reports (here, here and here) for more background on the other extremists and terror supporters organizing the upcoming (March 30th) Global March to Jerusalem.

‘Global March to Jerusalem’ Update: Quarrels within anti-Zionist ‘Sunni-Shia/Red-Green’ Alliance?

A guest post by Hadar Sela

Since the publication of the two-part report on the Global March on Jerusalem scheduled for March 30th, further information and several new developments have come to light thanks to the work of some wonderful people.

 Aaron took a look at the subject of the registration and hosting of the various GMJ websites and found that they share an IP address with the website of the AhlulBayt Islamic Mission – the Islamic Republic of Iran aligned Shia missionary organisation in the United Kingdom. The server hosting both the AhlulBayt site and the GMJ sites is registered to a Leicester resident named Shabbir Hassanally. Read all the details here.

Mr Hassanally appears to be quite a fan of Hizbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah. In fact he puts considerable effort into making English language sub-titles for Nasrallah’s frequent speeches which he then posts on his own blog – apparently unconcerned by the fact that Hizbollah’s military wing is proscribed by his own government and that the glorification of terrorism is a criminal offence in the UK.  

Hassanally has also acted as roving reporter in Lebanon for the Palestine Telegraph – founded and edited by Sameh Habib (aka Sameh Akram Subhi Habeeb) who is also spokesman for the flotilla-organising ‘European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’ which was set up by the Muslim Brotherhood’s European arm – the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) – in 2007. The Palestine Telegraph proved to be too extreme even for its former patron Jenny Tonge and it and its editor have been involved in multiple scandals.

Here is Shabbir Hassanally celebrating the 32nd anniversary of the Iranian regime last year. Note his apparent subscription to the messianic Mahdi concept and his description of Israel as “the cancer occupying our beloved Palestine“.

If UK readers are now pondering the efficacy of their government’s ‘Prevent‘ counter-terrorism policy upon which so much of their taxes have been spent, they will certainly not be reassured by the fact that Hassanally has also been given a platform at the Muslim Shia Welfare Foundation in Leicester, which is – of course – a registered charity.

A variety of interested parties are making intense efforts to bring Jerusalem to the top of the publicity agenda ahead of the planned march next month, including a conference in Qatar earlier this week (for some reason apparently attended by UN representative Robert Serry), an incendiary press release  by the Muslim Brotherhood’s spiritual mentor Yusuf al Qaradawi and publicity on the websites of Hamas and ‘Unified Umma’.

However, it would appear that all is not rosy in the world of joint Sunni-Shia/Red-Green alliance project management.

From the Facebook account of ‘Viva Palestina Australia  (h/t to F.) we learn that initial enthusiasm for the GMJ project has been somewhat dampened due to apparent differences of opinion with co-ordinator Zaher al Birawi.

Feb 19

 Feb 21

Feb 21/22

Feb 22

 Feb 21

 

 Feb 21

Feb 22

 

Meanwhile, over at ISM California, Paul Larudee is chastising his fellow activists for not getting behind the GMJ in sufficient numbers.

Well well; it seems as though some people even within the ‘pro-Palestinian’ movements are waking up to the extremist nature of the GMJ venture and its leaders and organisers and the fact that such publicity stunts do nothing to help the Palestinian people.

About time.  

 

‘Global March to Jerusalem’ endorsed by Guardian approved ‘saxophonist’ Gilad Atzmon

As Hadar Sela noted in her recent reports on the upcoming ‘Global March to Jerusalem’, scheduled for March 30, 2012:

The organisers are a conglomerate of people representing the ‘red-green alliance’ the world over. Radical Leftists, Muslim Brotherhood-connected Islamists, [antisemites] and representatives of and sympathisers with the Iranian regime have once more come together with the aim of engineering an event which will…advance their long-term assault on the legitimacy of the Jewish state.

So, it wasn’t surprising when I read, at Anti-Defamation Leagues’s site devoted towards exposing extremists, that an antisemite as prolific as Gilad Atzmon will be speaking in Oakland, California, on February 25, at a “benefit for the Global March to Jerusalem – North America.”

Here’s the flyer promoting the event.

As we’ve noted repeatedly, Atzmon’s musings on the threat to humanity posed by Jews is literally indistinguishable from what you’d find at websites of white supremacists, and so his common cause with Islamists and other extremists inspired by dreams of the Jewish state’s demise represents quite an intuitive ideological synergy.

Finally, note the blurb from the Guardian on the flyer, which refers to this 2009 interview of the “London saxophonist” by the paper’s literary critic, John Lewis, which included this photo of the urbane, sophisticated artist.

Lewis’ glowing profile included this passage:

It may come as a surprise to some that Atzmon is a saxophonist at all. His career as a musician has long been drowned out by the clatter of his extra-curricular activities: the furious attacks on Israel (he writes and edits for the website Palestine Think Tank); the philosophical texts on Jewish identity that get discussed by the likes of Noam Chomsky; the two comic novels that have been translated into 24 languages.

Just to be clear, Atzmon’s extreme antisemitic musings predated Lewis’ 2009 praise of Atzmon by many years.  Here’s a quote from Atzmon’s website, posted in 2003.

American Jewry makes any debate on whether the ‘Protocols of the elder of Zion’ are an authentic document or rather a forgery irrelevant. American Jews (in fact Zionists) do control the world.. So far they are doing pretty well for themselves at least.

The problem with Atzmon, wrote Lewis, later in his piece, is “that trenchant politics often sit uneasily alongside music, particularly when that music is instrumental.”

Yes, that’s truly the problem with Gilad Atzmon: His incisive politics on Jews’ evil sits “uneasily” with his sublime artistic expression.

CiF Watch Special Report: Extremists & terror supporters organizing ‘Global March to Jerusalem’

A guest post by Hadar Sela, an Anglo-Israeli freelance writer

Introduction:

As spring approaches, so the annual season for publicity stunts aimed at undermining Israel’s legitimacy begins once more. This year several high-profile events are planned and, building on the success of last year’s thwarting of the Freedom Flotilla 2′ by means of pre-emptive dissemination of information, this report (and those which will follow) aims to provide essential background about the aims and allegiances of the organisers  which will be useful to those engaged in combatting the assault on Israel’s legitimacy, particularly in the media and social networks.  

‘Global March to Jerusalem':

The first large-scale event planned this year is a ‘Global March to Jerusalem’ scheduled for March 30th 2012 – Land Day. The concept behind it is to have a million people marching on Israel’s borders from all the surrounding countries – Lebanon, Syria, Jordan and Egypt. The aims, according to the project’s official website, are as follows:

“The march will demand freedom for Jerusalem and its people and to put an end to the Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and Judaisation policies affecting the people, land and sanctity of Jerusalem.”

“The march will confirm that the policies and practices of the racist Zionist state of Israel against Jerusalem and its people are a crime not only against Palestinians but against all humanity.”

“The march will unite the efforts of Palestinians, Arabs, Muslims, Christians, Jews, and all citizens of conscience in the world to put an end to Israel’s disregard for international law through the continuing occupation of Jerusalem and the rest of Palestinian land.

We aim to make this march a turning point in the nature of the confrontation, with the occupation having to face millions of protesters and demonstrators demanding Freedom for Palestine and its capitol (sic) Jerusalem.”

Obviously Israel, like any other sovereign country, cannot permit mass infiltration of its borders, especially by people who identify with terrorist organisations and enemy nations dedicated to its destruction. The results are therefore likely to be grave and perhaps similar to the consequences of attempted infiltrations of Israel’s northern borders in June 2011. The march’s organisers are undoubtedly very much aware of those facts.

They will also be aware that the current turmoil and uncertainty throughout the Middle East means that the ability of the Egyptian, Syrian, Jordanian or Lebanese governments to intervene in order to prevent such a dangerous scenario is now considerably reduced. Some idea of the mindset of the event’s organisers can be gleaned from statements made in the following e-mail exchange between two of them regarding a previous identical project. (All errors in the original text)

As I have written out in the report, the liberation of Jerusalem, of Palestine are at the core of all that we have done & will do. The point is that how do we build a movement that compells the governments of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon & Syria to let us in (which is easy) & then let us march across the borders into Palestine, challenging the Israeli army (which is difficult). Thus the idea is to keep the idea simple – We are going to pray at the Wailing Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre & the Masjid-i-Aqsa & the Qubattus Sakhra. We will not apply for visas or permissions from the Israeli’s obviously not, for reasons known to us all. But imagine a situation where we have more than a million people streaming in from four borders & israel fails to stop the human tide. Once we have broken this mental barrier, then its all over. next time we will have 5 million who will be marching in & it will ony grow from there. This is exactly the nightmare situation for Israel. How do you handle a million ordinary non-violent people who want to go back Home? – how do you handle a million non-violent people who just wish to pray in their Masjid in Jerusalem, which is under our Occupation? Thius will undermine the Israeli state, like no other strategy & then it will all begin to unravel & the Zionist edifice which is unraveeling as we speak, will soon fall. It’s a matter of time now, as we well know.

Revealingly, the following statement appears in the FAQ section of the website of the American chapter of the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ-NA):

Q: Why is there a separate GMJ-NA organization? 

A: Because of the laws governing citizens of the U.S. and Canada, legal advisers in these countries have determined that it is better for them to operate separately and not to participate in the decision-making of the international movement, but rather as an autonomous coalition. This is because some of the groups in the international coalition are subject to legal reprisals in these countries, and there is some risk that any joint decision-making might place citizens of those countries in legal jeopardy. The risk may be small, but this is an extra measure of safety for those concerned.

In other words, the leaders of GMJ-NA are very much aware of the march’s links to proscribed terrorist groups, and yet its endorsers include a rather predictable list of organisations and US and other nationals, including a UN employee and a former British MP.

Ann Wright, former United States Army colonel

Clayborne Carson, Professor & Director, Martin Luther King Jr. Research and Education Institute, Stanford University

David Hartsough, Co-founder of Nonviolent Peaceforce

Edward Peck, Retired US Ambassador and career US Diplomat

George Galloway, British Member of Parliament   

Dr. Ghada Karmi, Co-Director, Centre for Palestine Studies, University of Exeter

Dr. Hatem Bazian, Senior Lecturer in Near Eastern and Ethnic Studies, University of California, Berkeley

Izzet Sahin, International Affairs Secretary, IHH

Joe Meadors, Veteran and Survivor of the 1967 Israeli Attack on the USS Liberty

Lauren Booth, English broadcaster, journalist and pro-Palestinian activist

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, American rabbi in the Jewish Renewal movement

Mairead Maguire, , Nobel Peace Laureate

Marcy Winograd, Los Angeles teacher, peace activist and former candidate for the U.S. House of Representatives

Medea Benjiman, Anti-war organizer and activist

Mustafa Barghouti, Palestinian democracy activist and former presidential candidate

Richard Falk, Professor of International Law Emeritus, Princeton University

Roger Leisner, Radio Free Maine

Ronnie Kasrils, South African ANC leader and cabinet minister

Samuel F. Hart, U.S. Ambassador, ret.

Susan Abulhawa, Palestinian-American author and Founder of Playgrounds for Palestine

Tariq Ali, British Pakistani military historian, novelist, journalist, filmmaker, public intellectual, political campaigner, activist, and commentator

GMJ International Advisory Committee:

Some of the GMJ endorsers also sit on its ‘International Advisory Committee’.

INTERNATIONAL ADVISORY COMMITTEE FOR THE GMJ
Maan Bashour (Lebanon), Dr. Ribhi Halloum (Jordan), Prof Paul Larudee (USA), George Galloway (UK), Khaled Soufiyani (Morocco), M K Sawalha (UK), Saud Abu Mahfouz (Jordan), Prof. Mohsen Saleh (Lebanon), Mazin Qumsiyeh (Palestine), Dr. Ghada Karmi (UK), Sheikhul Islam (Iran), Huseiyn Oruc (Turkey), Huwaida Arraf (Palestine-USA), Abdul Ghaffar Aziz (Pakistan), Sandeep Pandey (India),

Maan Bashour is the General Co-ordinator for the Muslim Brotherhood centre in Beirut, head of the preparatory committee for the ‘right of return forum’ and General Coordinator of the National Initiative Committee to Break the Blockade of Gaza (NICBBG). 

Maan Bashour

Dr Ribhi Halloum joined the PLO in 1966 and was its regional underground organizer in the UAE until 1971. He was a member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council and the PNC until resigning in 1993 over opposition to the Oslo Accords. He heads the Jordanian preparatory committee for the march and according to an interview he gave in December 2011 prior to the recent  GMJ conference in that country, “[t]he protest aims to move the right of return possessed by Palestinian refugees from theory to practice”

Paul Larudee is one of the founders of the ‘Free Gaza’ and ‘Free Palestine’ movements as well as the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) with which he was active during the second Intifada. He took part in the 2008 and 2010 flotillas, was deported from Israel in 2006 for trying to enter the country under a false identity and allegedly volunteered as a ‘human shield’ for Hizballah during the second Lebanon war. He was also one of the organisers of last year’s ‘flytilla’. Here he is meeting Ismail Haniyeh in Gaza in 2008 (from whom he also received an award the following year) – second from the left on the front row. 

George Galloway is of course a well-known figure on the anti-Israel activism scene, his activities ranging from ‘Viva Palestina’ in its various incarnations, to working with the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and Stop the War Coalition and being employed by the Iranian regime’s  Press TV. Galloway believes that “Hizbollah is not and has never been a terrorist organization” and that Israel is responsible for the assassination of Rafik Hariri. Here he is handing over cash to the Hamas Economy Minister at the culmination of one of his ‘Viva Palestina’ convoys. 

Galloway also promoted the Global March to Jerusalem on Press TV prior to the latter being closed down by the UK authorities.

Khaled Soufiyani is a former chair of the Arab National Congress and co-ordinator of the Moroccan organization the ‘National Action Group (sometimes ‘Task Force’) for Solidarity with Palestine and Iraq’. In 2010 he called on a Moroccan Jewish advisor to the king to leave the country as a result of the former’s suggestion that the Holocaust should be part of the curriculum in Moroccan universities. He is strongly opposed to any normalization of relations between Israel and Morocco, and in particular to the establishment of the Amazigh-Israel Friendship Association, and has made several attempts to use ‘lawfare’ against Israelis visiting the country. 

Khaled Soufiyani

Mohammed Kassem Sawalha is also a well-known figure on the British anti-Israel circuit and a former Hamas commander who, since his arrival in the UK in the 1990s, has been instrumental in the founding of a series of organisations linked to the Muslim Brotherhood including the Muslim Association of Britain and the British Muslim Initiative. Sawalha is involved in the organization of the various flotillas and convoys to Gaza through a variety of roles in organisations and charities linked to the Muslim Brotherhood and in collaboration with the Turkish IHH. Here he is at an IHH press conference last year (front row, far right):

Saud Abu Mahfouz is a member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s political party in Jordan, the Islamic Action Front. He was a participant in the 2010 flotilla, along with several other Muslim Brotherhood members from Jordan, the former leader of which is on record as having stated:

“We in the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan see Palestine as part of the Islamic and Arab land that must not be relinquished – on the contrary, defending it is a national and jurisprudential obligation… We see Hamas movement in Palestine as standing at the head of the project of the Arab and Islamic liberation for which the Muslim Brotherhood calls… The Muslim Brotherhood supports Hamas and every Arab resistance movement in the region that works for liberation.” (memri.org report 4265)

Mohsen Saleh is a professor at the Lebanese University in Beirut who takes a consistently pro-Iranian line, opposes the Special Tribunal for Lebanon (accusing it of being a US-engineered attempt to destabilize Lebanon and weaken the ‘resistance’ against Israel) and defends Bashar Assad’s actions against the uprising in Syria.  

Mazin Qumsiyeh is a well-known Palestinian political activist. He heads the ISM-linked ‘Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement between People’ (which was involved in the organization of the 2011 ‘flytilla’), is a co-ordinator for the ‘Popular Committee Against the Wall and Settlements’ in Beit Sahour and was a co-founder of Al Awda (the Palestinian Right to Return Coalition) in the US. Qumseiyeh spoke at the 2010 Stuttgart conference which produced the Stuttgart Declaration – a call for opposition to a negotiated two-state solution to the Arab-Israeli conflict.

Ghada Karmi of Exeter University in the UK is also a signatory of the Stuttgart Declaration. A member of the Council for Arab-British Understanding (CAABU) and a patron of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign, Karmi has called for “the end of a Jewish state in our region”.

Sheikhul Islam is an ambiguous title in that it can be given to any high-ranking Shiite religious leader, but obviously the man concerned holds some prominence within the Iranian regime. The listing may possibly refer to Hossein Sheikh-ul-Islam; Senior Advisor to the Parliament Speaker for International Affairs of Iran.  

Huseyin Oruc is a member of the board of trustees of the ‘Union of Good’ linked Turkish organization Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), its deputy chairman and heads its public relations department. He was a participant in the 2010 Mavi Marmara flotilla and was involved in the planning of the failed 2011 flotilla.

Huseyin Oruc

Huweida Arraf is of course the American-born co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) who also chairs the ‘Free Gaza’ movement which is behind the organization of the flotillas. She has taken part in several flotillas herself, including that of 2010.

Arraf is perhaps best remembered for her provision of support to Yasser Arafat in Ramallah during Operation Defensive Shield in 2002 when the Israeli army sought to put an end to the campaign of suicide bombings in Israel orchestrated by Arafat and the Palestinian Authority, and for her part in the ISM’s collaboration with the terrorists who took over the Church of the Nativity in Bethlehem the same year.  One of the more recent publicity stunts in which Arraf took part was the so-called Freedom Ride in November 2011 when she, together with Mazin Qumsiyeh and four others, attempted to enter Jerusalem without permits.

Abdul Ghaffar Aziz is a member of – and spokesman for – Jamaat e Islami – the Pakistani Islamist movement which has ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and was founded by Abul Ala Maududi.

Sandeep Pandey heads the National Alliance (sometimes ‘Association’) of People’s Movements in India. He was one of the organisers of the Asia to Gaza Caravan, in which he took part and reported on extensively. The convoy included a variety of Islamist and human rights organisations and received considerable en-route support from Iran, including an official reception with Ahmedinijad.  Pandey is currently involved in promotion and organisation of the Asian chapter of the GMJ, describing it as an attempt to “counter the Judaisation of Jerusalem”.

GMJ International Executive Committee:

The ‘International Executive Committee’ for the Global March on Jerusalem also includes both familiar and lesser-known figures.

INTERNATIONAL EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE FOR THE GMJ
Feroze Mithiborwala (India), Nabil Hallak (Lebanon), Bashir Zmaili (Jordan), Izzet Sahin (Turkey), Zaher Birawi, Kevin Ovenden (UK), Ali Mallah (Canada), George Rishmawi (Palestine), Salim Ghafouri (Iran), Shaheen Kattiparambil (India), Ramy Zurayk (Lebanon), Mustapa Mansour (Malaysia), Roohulla Rezvi (Iran), Gauhar Iqbal (India), Irman Abdurahman (Indonesia)

Feroze Mithiborwala was a co-organiser of the 2010 Asia to Gaza Convoy and is a member of Awami Bharat – an Indian political group which describes itself as being involved in an “international struggle against imperialism, Zionism, and Brahmanism”. He is also a member of the Muslim Intellectual Forum of India and the South Asian Solidarity Initiative and is the ‘Free Gaza’ national coordinator in India. Unsurprisingly for someone who relies upon ‘Israel Shamir‘ for information, Mithiborwala seems to be rather fond of conspiracy theories: the Moscow subway terror attacks were, according to him, deliberately timed to deflect attention from the BDS movement and Osama Bin Laden died in 2001. He is also of the opinion that:

..the Arab Revolution presents new possibilities & the epic 94-year-old struggle of the Palestinian people, a proud & ancient nation, which has inspired the world for generations, will finally see a new awakening & with it, a new hope, a new Intifada, the Third Intifada!!

It is only the resistance on the ground, within Palestine, across the Palestine diaspora, across the Arab nations & then across the entire world, will we finally witness the rebirth of a nation.

Feroze Mithiborwala presenting Khalid Masha'al with a gift in Damascus whilst en route with the Asian convoy in 2010


Mithiborwala meeting Mahmoud al Zahar in Gaza, 2010


Mithiborwala and other GMJ organisers at a conference of the Asian People’s Solidarity for Palestine in Karachi, 2-3 February 2012. Representatives from Palestinian organisations were also present.  

Nabil Hallak is an Irish-Lebanese citizen who took part in the 2010 flotilla and acted or acts as co-ordinator for the National Committee to Break the Siege on Gaza. Here he is being welcomed upon his return to Lebanon after his deportation from Israel in the wake of the flotilla. 

Nabil Hallak (top left, being carried)

Izzet Sahin is an employee of the IHH. He was deported from Israel in May 2010 after having been found working for that organization which has been banned in Israel since 2008 due to its ties to the Union of Good which channels funding to Hamas.

Izzet Sahin

Zaher Birawi is a well-known Hamas operative resident in the UK. He is connected to the Palestinian Return Centre which is banned by Israel, ‘Viva Palestina’, the Palestinian Forum of Britain and the ‘Union of Good’-linked charity ‘Education Aid for Palestinians’. Birawi’s connections will be further expanded upon in part two of this report.  Here he is (far left) in Gaza along with Kevin Ovenden and Mohammed Sawalha receiving an award from Ahmad Bahar of Hamas.

Kevin Ovenden (pictured above, second from the left) was Parliamentary aide to the former British MP George Galloway. He is a former trustee of Galloway’s ‘Viva Palestina’ and very active in the organization and leadership of its various projects. He was aboard the Mavi Marmara in 2010 and has received repeated recognition for his services to Hamas. Here he is in Syria, addressing a welcoming party for one of the Viva Palestina convoys whilst standing under the flags of the Syrian Socialist Nationalist Party.

Ali Mallah is Vice-President of the Canadian Arab Federation which supports the removal of Hamas and Hizballah from the list of proscribed terrorist organisations and an academic boycott of Israel. He is also a leader of the Canadian Union of Public Employees and a member of the ‘Gaza Freedom March Liaison Committee’.

George Rishmawi could be either of two well-known Palestinian activists – cousins – both of whom have connections to the ISM and – like Mazin Qumseiyeh above – the Palestinian Centre for Rapprochement (PCR).

Salim Ghafouri from Iran acted as spokesman for the Asia to Gaza convoy. According to him, the “war with the Zionists” is not only an “Islamic-Zionist war,” but the showdown between the “truth,” represented by “the freedom-loving people of the world,” and the “lie,” represented by Israel and its supporters. Ghafouri also appears to be involved in advancing Iranian interests in Kashmir and has represented the ‘Iranian House of Latin America’ on visits to Cuba, Venezuela and Nicaragua.

Shaheen Kattiparambil was another Indian participant in the Asia to Gaza Convoy, and together with Pandey and Mithiborwala, issued this statement on behalf of of the Indian chapter of GMJ following its meeting on January 23rd 2012. All three, along with the Student Islamic Organisation of India of which Kattiparambil is a member, are endorsers of the statement by the ‘India Lifeline to Gaza’ according to which:

The Palestinian people must have the freedom to exercise their right to self-determination including their right to establish on all the territories that Israel has occupied, an independent sovereign state with Jerusalem as its capital. The structure of Zionist apartheid, based on ethno-religious discrimination that Israel has established, must be dismantled and it must grant equal rights to all its citizens, including the “Right of Return” to the Palestinians refugees.

Rami Zurayk is a Lebanese agronomist at the American University of Beirut who has taken part in ‘Israeli Apartheid Week’ and is currently promoting this year’s events on Twitter, where his profile picture is of terrorist Leila Khaled, and on his blog.

Roohulla Rezvi from Iran is cited by Feroze Mithiborwala as having been instrumental (along with Salim Ghafouri) in securing Iranian support for the 2010 Asia to Gaza convoy.

Gauhar Iqbal is a functionary of the ‘Human Welfare Trust’ which is included in the social service wing of the Indian Jamat al Islami. He also took part in the Asai to Gaza Convoy and is pictured here first from the left.

Irman Abdurahman is also a graduate of the Asia to Gaza Convoy and is a member of the board of executives of the Indonesian Society for Palestine Freedom (aka the Voice of Palestine) which states on its website that “[n]ative inhabitants of historical Palestine are people that are expelled and dispossessed from their lands and houses by force. Since 100 years to date the ultra-nationalist Zionist movement with support of some colonial powers has been doing this brutal ethnic cleansing of Palestinians.” The Indonesian chapter of GMJ has a Facebook group featuring a book by Gilad Atzmon, a speech by Khamenei at the ‘Islamic Awakening and Youth’ conference and this graphic:

Part two of this report will focus on the European chapter of the Global March to Jerusalem.