Global March to Jerusalem: damage control begins

Ha’aretz reported the following on March 28th:

“Haaretz has learned that major disagreements have developed between leading, mostly Palestinian, protest organizers in the West Bank and neighboring Arab countries, and other activists identified with Iran, Syria and Hezbollah.

It has also been learned that the protest organizers, who are billing the event as the Global March to Jerusalem, are attempting to refine their protest message and avoid a physical confrontation with Israeli forces.”

…….

“On Tuesday, the organizers of international protest marches scheduled for Friday expressed concern that the demonstrations could get out of control due to the involvement of outside activists, some from as far away as East Asia.

The rift between the initial organizers and the outsiders developed after a delegation of pro-Palestinian activists from East Asia and some Arab countries promoting the Global March to Jerusalem arrived in Iran and met with a senior Iranian adviser to the country’s spiritual leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran promised support for the protest, which was not widely welcomed by the initial group of mostly Palestinian organizers of the protest, who wanted to maintain their independence.

Particular concern is being expressed that the outsiders will take over protest marches and seek confrontations on Israel’s borders, particularly the Lebanese and Syrian frontiers, and that the outsiders will convey messages contrary to the original organizers’ wishes.”

These claims are of course disingenuous. On January 17th & 18th 2012, Mustafa Barghouti and other Palestinian representatives attended the Global March to Jerusalem Central Committee meeting held in Beirut. The committee’s final communique clearly stated that:

“The conference was attended by members of the Central Committee and representatives from national and international committees for the march, representing a large number of Arab countries and various continents of the Globe.”

The International Central Committee and the International Executive Committee and National Committees which were ratified at that meeting already included members from Iran and with connections to Syria and Hizballah as well as several representatives from “as far away as East Asia”. George Galloway – a former Iranian regime Press TV employee with links to both Hizballah and the Syrian regime – spoke at the meeting and the event was covered by PressTV, to which at least one committee member gave an interview.

Pre-meeting publicity stated the intention to organize convoys – including from Asia.

“The conference will also discuss the national events and actions that will be launched in all countries starting from mid January, 2012 and until the date of the march towards Jerusalem or the nearest possible point to it, from inside Palestine and the neighbouring Arab countries, as well as the convoys from Asia, Africa and Europe that will converge on the march date.”

Barghouti himself produced a video at the meeting calling for world-wide participation in the march.

However, now apparently some Palestinian GMJ organisers would like to persuade us that they were unaware of the march’s extremist connections. For their benefit, here is the Beirut meeting report which they seemingly neglected to read.

GLOBAL MARCH TO JERUSALEM (G M J) / Beirut Meeting Report
VENUE: DAL AL NADWA, HAMRA, BEIRUT, LEBANON.

As part of our ongoing effort to build an international mass popular movement centred on Jerusalem, we convened our first collective gathering of leading representatives from across 15 nations & 4 continents.

The agenda was to build a people’s movement across the world, wherein the issue of Jerusalem comes to the centre stage of International politics. The Israeli occupation of Palestine, lies at the centre of the geo-political crisis of our times & at the heart of that conflict, lies the core issue of Jerusalem.

The International delegates included:
1) Mustapa Mansour (Malaysia)
2) Feroze Mithiborwala, Gauhar Iqbal & Shaheen Kattiparambil (India)
3) Sabir Ejaz Karbalai & Maulana Qazi Ahmed Nourani Siddiqui (Pakistan)
4) Salim Ghafouri & Roohulla Rezvi (Iran)
5) Yalkin Gok & Omer Kesmen (Turkey)
6) Dr. Ribhi Halloum & Saud Mahfuz (Jordan)
7) Maan Bashour, Isaam Namaan, Nabil Hallak, Dr. Ali Fayyad, Prof Mohsen Saleh, Ali Barakeh, Visam Hassan, Dr. Nasir Haider, Munir Shafique, Rihab Mokahal (& other names that brother Nabil needs to complete & add from the lists) – (Lebanon)
8) Palestinians were present from Jordan, Lebanon, UK & other countries of the diaspora.
9) Dr. Magdy Hossein (Egypt)
10) Khalid Soufiani & MansourI Abdelah (Morocco)
11) Algeria:
12) Zaher Birawi (UK)
13) Paul Larudee (USA)

We also discussed the process with Ronald Kesliris (South Africa), George Galloway, Ghada Karmi, Kevin Ovenden, Rob Hoveman(Britain), Rami Zurayk, DR. Haidar Dekmark, Dr. Yehya Ghaddar, Hisham Yacoub, Dr. Abdul Malaksukkarie (Lebanon), Dr Abbie Bakan(Canada), Fra Hughes (Ireland) amongst others, who we met at the “Palestine Summer University” or then at smaller meetings in Beirut at our hotel.

Continued here, including the expression of clear intentions to have an Asian convoy visit Iran.

 “For example, the Asian convoy starting from India, would have to embark by the 1st of March & wind its way across Pakistan, Iran, Turkey, Syria & into Jordan & plan to arrive atleast 3 days prior to our stated date.”

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New Zealand ‘journalist’ Julie Webb-Pullman lies about Hamas terrorist for Global March to Jerusalem cause

New Zealand’s ‘Scoop Independent News’ has published an article on the subject of the Global March to Jerusalem by Julie Webb-Pullman – a self-described freelance writer who has been working for Scoop since 2003.  

Abdul Aziz Umar, second from right

The article includes a video interview – made by Webb-Pullman and uploaded by Scoop to YouTube – with Abdul Aziz Umar, whom she describes as follows:

“After the meeting, I spoke with Dr Abdul Aziz Umar, one of the prisoners released in last year’s exchange. Dr Aziz Umar holds a PhD in English Literature, and was a Professor at An-Najah University in the West Bank. On his release from prison, he was exiled to Gaza.”

Webb-Pullman’s video opens with the title:

 

 

The claim by Webb-Pullman that Umar’s blindness is a result of Israeli inaction – and implied cruelty – is a lie.

In a 2008 appeal to the Israeli Supreme Court, Umar himself stated that he was blinded in both eyes as a result of an illness when he was about 20 years old – i.e. around 1980.

Webb-Pullman makes no attempt whatsoever during the interview to challenge Umar’s own lies regarding the “division” of Jerusalem, the “racist separation wall”, “attacks on holy places” or “damaging archaeology”.

Neither does Webb-Pullman apparently see fit to inform her readers that the reason for Umar’s detention by Israel was his involvement with a Hamas terror cell which carried out a suicide bombing in a Jerusalem café in 2003 in which seven people were murdered. She is equally silent on the fact that Umar recently toured South Africa in order to promote the Global March to Jerusalem among Muslim Brotherhood supporters there.

The disgracefully low standards of journalism displayed by Webb-Pullman and Scoop Independent News can, however, be better understood when one appreciates the fact that Julie Webb-Pullman is in fact not a journalist at all, but a seasoned political activist.

Webb-Pullman is a member of ‘Kia Ora’ – an activist group described by GMJ endorser and International Advisory Committee member George Galloway in an e-mail to the Syrian dictator Bashar al Assad’s media advisor as a “the Viva Palestina sister organization in New Zealand“.

Webb-Pullman was a member of the Kia Ora delegation to a ‘Viva Palestina’ convoy to Gaza in October 2010. Her fellow travelers included Global March to Jerusalem spokesman Zaher Birawi (whom she also recently interviewed for Scoop) and GMJ organizer Kevin Ovenden of ‘Viva Palestina’, as well as Welsh activist Pippa Bartolotti.

In fact, Webb-Pullman wrote an article for Scoop at the time, enthusiastically describing her meeting with Hamas leaders in Gaza and offering her autographed scarf for auction. Scoop therefore cannot claim not to be aware of Webb-Pullman’s political bias – which is made all the more ironic by the fact that in 2005 she filed a complaint with the New Zealand Press Council regarding alleged problems of “accuracy, fairness and balance and confusion of facts and opinion” by a journalist. 

George Galloway (centre) congratulates the Kia Ora Gaza team for their “significant contribution to the success of the international aid convoy to Gaza”. From left: Roger Fowler, Julie Webb-Pullman, Pat O’Dea, Hone Fowler, Mousa Taher and Chris van Ryn

Left to Right - Rahmah Zarrincalaki, Julie Webb-Pullman, Mahmoud Zahar, Samah, Pippa Bartolotti, Summaya Zahar

Julie Webb-Pullman (to the right with white hat) in conversation with Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud al Zahar.

Obviously, the general public in New Zealand cannot rely on the reports put out by Hamas sympathiser Julie Webb-Pullman and her enablers at Scoop Independent News for information regarding the Global March to Jerusalem or indeed any other event in the Middle East.