Global March to Jerusalem post event round-up: #GMJ #EpicFailure

Taking a post-event look at the Global March to Jerusalem, it is as important to identify what did not happen as it is to look at what did occur.

The most obvious conclusion is that the GMJ organisers failed to get the numbers of participants they declared having in advance, with only single percentage numbers of their vaunted one to two million marchers actually taking part. Despite GMJ organiser Ribhi Halloum’s feeble attempts at face-saving post-event spin, any objective observer can only conclude that the project’s organisers are clearly out of touch with majority concerns and opinion.

This was also reflected in the picture around the world with, for example, a mere 50 activists turning up for the GMJ event in Germany and 100 in Ottawa.  Even in London – a major hub of anti-Israel activism and home to a significant proportion of GMJ organisers and their various organisations – the turnout to shout at an empty Israeli embassy was not particularly impressive.

Significantly too, in Deir Hanna – the site of the main Land Day march in Israel – and other locations in the Galilee, participation in the event was low, with organisers already expressing their disappointment on Israeli radio by early Friday afternoon.

With the majority of the world’s mainstream media giving the event very low profile handling, it is also clear that the organisers failed to achieve another of their main objectives: the creation of an embarrassing PR event for Israel which would result in condemnatory headlines around the globe and create an opportunity for another Goldstone-style attack on Israel’s legitimacy.

That objective was in part thwarted by the actions taken by the authorities in the countries bordering Israel to contain the event to demonstrations and avoid the potentially fatal clashes which would have resulted had they allowed the would-be infiltrators to have their way.

In Syria the only GMJ event took place in Damascus, with the Iranian regime’s Press TV reporting that ” the Syrian government prevented them from reaching the nearest point to the Palestinian land, as a result of the accident that happened last year on Nakba Day where Israeli soldiers killed around 26 demonstrators who tried to cross the borders in the action called “Yawm al Awda”. One must also factor in to that decision the rifts which appeared early on among GMJ organisers of a pro-Iranian/Syrian regime persuasion and those loyal to the Muslim Brotherhood which is heavily represented among the Syrian opposition, as the proliferation of Hizballah flags and Assad portraits at the Damascus event reflects.  

Participation in the GMJ event in Lebanon, which was confined to the Beaufort castle, was reportedly low due to the fact that the Lebanese army declined to allow participants to approach the border. Some foreign activists expressed a clear – but typical – lack of understanding of the regional dynamics at play.

Here’s a GMJ-North America supporter, #Occupy “human rights” activist, and Mondoweiss contributor, Deppen Webber

 

Tweet 1

Tweet 2

(Note that in fact, GMJ organisers – including Webber’s patron Paul Larudee – had been cooperating with Hizbollah since the early stages of preparation.)

Tweet 3

Tweet 4

Tweet 5

Tweet 6

(Note that another – though no less unreliable – source would appear to contradict Webber’s claims.)

Tweet 7

Here’s Kunal Majumder, senior correspondent covering GMJ as a “reporter” for the Indian political weekly, Tehelka:

Tweet 1

Tweet 2

The Global March to Jerusalem has undoubtedly helped shine the light of exposure on several important points, one of which is the unquestioning collaboration between so-called peace activists and human rights advocates from Western and other countries and extremist elements such as Hamas, Islamic Jihad, Hizbollah, the Iranian regime and even the Syrian Nazi Party – SSNP – which was represented at the GMJ event in Lebanon.

In addition, it is clear that the professed GMJ slogan of non-violence is merely a tactic employed by this handful of extremists in order to gain sympathy and legitimacy for their cause among Western audiences. Just as there is nothing non-violent about intending to illegally breach a sovereign state’s borders and over-run its capital, there was nothing non-violent about Friday’s riots in Bethlehem, Gaza and Kalandiya (lead, incidentally, by a professor from the Sorbonne and with approximately 8% of the rioters being foreign activists – probably members of the ISM).

Equally clear is the end-game agenda of the organisers of the Global March to Jerusalem and its supporters. Their common denominator is the rejection of a negotiated two-state solution to the conflict, the rejection of recognition of Israel’s existence and the aspiration of achieving an imposed settlement which would bring that about. The ample rhetoric we have heard over the past few weeks on such subjects as ’64 years of occupation’ and ‘liberating Jerusalem’ is clear indication of their aims.

The Global March to Jerusalem project has clarified just how little understanding this bunch of professional and semi-professional activists have of the dynamics of the Middle East as indicated by their indignant objections to the fact that various authorities and security forces acted to prevent the escalation of their provocation into a potentially serious cross-border event.

Fortunately, it has also exposed just how out of touch its mostly foreign organisers are with the aims and priorities of people who actually live in the region and how outlandish the ideas of their relatively small – if loud – cult movement are to the majority of the people they seem to have somehow persuaded themselves that they represent. 

Global March to Jerusalem journalist/activist Kunal Majumder’s selective reporting

 Kunal Majumder, journalist for the Indian weekly political magazine, Tehelka, is embedded with the SE Asia delegation to the Global March to Jerusalem which, after having been joined by Turkish activists en route, is currently on its way from Turkey to Lebanon.

In his latest article Majumder appears to have succumbed to the phenomenon of an over-active imagination which seems to be plaguing so many GMJ participants.

“As the Asian delegates prepare to leave for Beirut from the Port of Tasucu in Turkey, the talk among the protesters is whether Israeli forces will follow the Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ) ship like it did last time during the Asian convoy to Gaza. A cargo ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists was followed as it traveled from Latakia port in Syria to Al-Areesh in Egypt on 1 January 2011. The memories of the Mavi Marmara massacre in 2010 are still fresh in the minds of the Turks.”

“Even as activists of GMJ use multiple methods to publicise the event, counter publicity stunts allegedly on behalf of Israel is at work. An anti-GMJ website called http://www.gm2J.co has been constantly following the activities of the march and making numerous allegations. It claims to be a forum to expose “the truth about the Global March to Jerusalem.” Among numerous mails and online forums targeting GMJ, the most amusing attack came from “WORLD MUSLIM ZIONIST ORGANIZATION” based in Dhaka, Bangladesh. It claims that there is an extensive history of collaboration of GMJ organizers with the jihadist Palestinian war criminals in Gaza, the Fatah gangsters in Ramallah, and the Hizbullah heretics in Beirut.” The organisers have refused to respond to such allegations.”

Of course Majumder is being somewhat disingenuous here. It is difficult to believe that he does not know of the participation of Ajit Sahi – until fairly recently his former executive editor at Tehelka – in the 2010/11 Asian convoy to Gaza and that Sahi was on board the ship he mentions above as having been followed.

Ajit Sahi (right), senior journalist from India on the caravan

It is also difficult to believe that Majumder is unaware of the fact that among Ajit Sahi’s fellow travelers on that convoy were Global March to Jerusalem organisers Feroze Mithiborwala, Mustapa Mansour, Sandeep Panday, Shaheen Kattiparambil, Gauhar Iqbal, Shaheen Mohideen, Salim Ghafouri and Roohulla Rezvi.

Equally unlikely is the possibility that Majumder is unaware that the Asia to Gaza convoy was aided in its organization by the Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas-linked IHH, or that it visited Iran, Turkey, Syria and Lebanon en-route with its participants meeting senior members of the Syrian Ba’ath party, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Khaled Masha’al , Ismail Haniyeh and Mahmoud al Zahar in person.

Gauhar Iqbal (first on the left)

Roohulla Rezvi visiting the tomb of Hafez al Assad whilst en route with the Asia to Gaza convoy

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 upon the arrival of the Asia to Gaza convoy

Majumder must also be aware that Ajit Sahi has shown considerable support for and collaboration with both Jamaat-e-Islami Hind and its youth group the Solidarity Youth Movement’. He might even be privy to the fact that even whilst Sahi was still his boss, he was already on the GMJ organiserse-mail list.

He will of course know that just a few days ago Sahi, along with Muthu Krishnan, (both of whom will be joining the GMJ in Jordan) in Hyderabad organized by Hyderabad City Students Islamic Organization and Friends of Palestine in solidarity with the Global March to Jerusalem.

“Addressing the participants of this long March, Mr. Ajit Sahi, Editor Tehelka and a renowned journalist expressed his support for the proposed march and said that the atrocities on Palestinians should be stopped by Israel. He appealed to all the countries of the world to bring Israel to the talking table. It should be imposed many restrictions. Private companies of Israel should not be allowed to transact any business in our country. They should not be allowed to invest money here. Universities and academicians of Israel should also be boycotted. Economic sanctions should be imposed against Israel. Referring to defense deals, he told that all the defense transactions should be withdrawn. All diplomatic ties should be discontinued. Famous columnist Muthu Krishnan condemned the attack on Gaza.

Israel Govt. has deprived the Palestinians of their basic amenities. Even drinking Water and electricity supply has been discontinued. He appealed to the organizers of the rally to express their solidarity to Global Peace March.”

If Kunal Majumder is really unaware of all of the above, one wonders how on earth he got his job as senior correspondent for a magazine which describes itself as ‘investigative’.

If he is better at his job than would seem from his latest articles, then his indignant cries of wolf indicate that he has embraced the role of useful idiot’ for the GMJ convoy and that  ‘unbiased journalist’ he certainly is not.

Further in the above mentioned article, Majumder complained:

The anti-GMJ activists have even started targeting independent participants, including this writer, through Twitter, Facebook and other social networking sites.”

He also Tweeted his displeasure with certain “anti-GMJ activists”.

Tweet by Majumder

Additional Tweet by Majumder:

In fact, one cannot but wonder if his former executive editor’s well established connections to the Global March to Jerusalem organisers had something to do with his getting the gig in the first place.

‘Global March to Jerusalem’ participants praise “moral” government of Iran

The South-East Asian delegation of the Global March to Jerusalem should by now have left Iran and moved on to Turkey.

However, according to the caravan’s resident roving reporter Kunal Majumder, some of its members are again having problems obtaining the necessary paperwork. This time the Turkish government appears to have denied entry visas to delegates from Afghanistan and Pakistan. Those delegates will apparently now skip the Turkish leg of the voyage and re-join the delegation in Beirut.

Majumder voices strong criticism of those countries which have exercised their right not to allow entry to certain individuals.

“How serious are Asian countries about Palestine? Most importantly, how serious are Islamic countries about Palestine? Having been on board the pro-Palestine caravan Global March to Jerusalem (GMJ) since 9 March, it amazes me how countries that publicly claim to support the Palestinian cause are doing the maximum damage to weaken the movement.”

In contrast, Majumder has nothing but praise for one country through which the caravan has passed:

“It was astounding to see the contradiction between the claims of many Asian countries— most of them Islamic—on their support for the Palestinian cause and the reality, which couldn’t have been more stark. Iran, of course, is the only country that has come out openly in support of the march. From the president of the country to the speaker of the parliament, to governors of provinces to mayors of cities—almost everywhere the caravan received widespread support. However, organisers have been clear about one thing—support has to be only moral. “We will not accept any political support as it will defeat our purpose,” says Roohulla Rizvi, one of the organisers of the Iranian leg of the event.”

Roohulla Rizvi (also Rezvi) is also a veteran of the 2010 Asia to Gaza convoy who appears to have much more than connections of mere ‘moral support’ with the Iranian regime.

Here he is in February 2012 at the ‘Conference of Youth and Islamic Awakening’ in Iran.

An insight into Majumder’s enthusiastic descriptions of Iranian hospitality can be obtained from some of the pictures of the GMJ delegation’s reception in that country which illustrate the obviously symbiotic relationship between the GMJ admirers of the Iranian regime and their patrons.

The thousands of Iranians murdered, tortured, raped and imprisoned by the current Iranian regime may of course have somewhat different views of its ‘hospitality’ and commitment to justice.