Global March to Jerusalem organisation inside Israel

Whilst much of the focus concerning the Global March to Jerusalem has been on the subject of organisation along Israel’s borders, events are scheduled to take place inside Israel and the Palestinian Authority controlled territories too.

Among the GMJ organisers are Mohammed Zeidan of the Higher Arab Monitoring Committee, Saeed Yaqeen and Jamal Juma’a of ‘Stop the Wall’ and Salah Al-Khawaja of the ‘Nil’in Popular Resistance Committee’. The Global March to Jerusalem is endorsed by Raed Salah – leader of the Hamas-linked Northern Islamic Movement – who was banned from entering the UK last year. Some 20 or so Palestinian organisations are backing the Global March to Jerusalem.

On March 26th a meeting was held in Ramallah to co-ordinate GMJ actions on Friday March 30th. Note the reference to “our people in occupied Palestine in 48”: terminology used by those who reject Israel’s existence.

“The meeting also addressed the need to organize the largest possible number of popular rallies in all Palestinian sites as a fulfillment for each drop of blood bled from a martyr or wounded and to every prisoner’s sigh lost freedom while defending our land to preserve its Arab identity. The Commission emphasized on the need for an active popular participation in the CENTRAL PEACEFUL MARCHES ” THE GLOBAL MARCH TO JERUSALEM” which begins after Friday prayers at 12:30 at Qalandia military checkpoint the North Gate of Jerusalem, the march of Bethlehem next to the apartheid wall, the march in our capital Jerusalem which will start marching from Damascus gate, as well as the march of our people in the occupied Palestine in 48 in Sakhnin and Deir Hanna, all these marches will coincide with the Global March to Jerusalem which will be launched in a number of Arab and international countries the same time.”

The website ‘Arabs 48’  suggests that demonstrations are also scheduled to take place in Kfar Kanna, ‘Arrabe and the Negev, as well as in Jaffa on Saturday. 

Leading Global March to Jerusalem organizers embrace Gilad Atzmon

As we know, the North American branch of the Global March to Jerusalem has been availing itself of the services of the well-known anti-Semitic anti-Israel campaigner Gilad Atzmon for fundraising purposes.  An album of music by Atzmon and collaborators is for sale via the GMJ-NA website and in February a benefit was held in Oakland, California, featuring Atzmon as its main attraction.

Atzmon’s obnoxious views are the subject of a statement published on March 13th by the US Palestinian Community Network entitled Granting No Quarter: A Call for the Disavowal of the Racism and Antisemitism of Gilad Atzmon which was signed by a number of well-known activists.

It would seem, however, that several of the signatories have not made the connection between the uncritical (to say the least) embracing of Atzmon by leading Global March to Jerusalem organisers and their own declared principles.

Signatory Hatem Bazian has endorsed the GMJ and his name appears on the same website as advertisements for Atzmon-related fundraising.

Signatory Hanna Kawas is chair of the Canada Palestine Organisation and co-host at ‘Voice of Palestine’. Both these organisations appear on the GMJ-NA website as endorsers.

Jamal Juma – a colleague of signatories Omar Barghouti and Rafeef Ziadeh at the Palestinian BDS National Committee (BNC) – is a member of the GMJ International Central Committee. In late January, Omar Barghouti gave the keynote speech at the AGM of the UK’s Palestine Solidarity Campaign – also a GMJ endorser with its director Sarah Colborne sitting on both the GMJ International Executive Committee and International Central Committee.

Signatory Haidar Eid is both an endorser of (along with co-signatories Ali Abunimah, Nadia Hijab and Omar Barghouti) and activist with the ‘Gaza Freedom March’ organization which is promoting the Global March to Jerusalem on its website.

Signatory Nada Elia is a member of the organizing committee of the US Campaign for the Academic & Cultural Boycott of Israel, alongside Joe Catron of the ISM (a GMJ organizer) and Al Awda (a GMJ endorser).

Signatory Adam Haniyeh is also a member of two GMJ endorsing organisations:  Al Awda and the ‘Coalition Against Israeli Apartheid’.

Signatory Mostafa Henway’s ‘Tadamon!’ promoted singer Shadia Mansour as recently as February 29th 2012. Mansour has collaborated widely with Atzmon in the past and appears with him on the fundraising album for the Global March to Jerusalem.

Signatory Abir Kobty (also Kopty) from Nazareth is a member of the board of the Coalition of Women for Peace which is an endorser of the ‘Free Gaza’ campaign – represented among the GMJ organisers by European Preparatory Committee member Mikalis Lukianos from ‘Ship to Gaza-Greece, Huweida Arraf and Feroze Mithiborwala (FGM International Co-ordinator in India).

Kobty also takes part in demonstrations organized by the ‘Popular Resistance Committees’ in places such as Nebi Saleh, Bil’in and Qalandiya.  It can therefore be assumed that she is familiar with both many of the Palestinian organisations supporting the GMJ as well as individual members of the GMJ International Central Committee such as Saeed Yaqeen of ‘Stop the Wall’ or Salah al Khawaja of the Nil’in Popular Resistance Committee.

Whilst many of the above named activists and their co-signatories hold views and express opinions not vastly removed from those of Atzmon (particularly on the subject of the dismantling of the State of Israel and the denial of self-determination to the Jewish people),  it is nevertheless curious that they are seemingly able to simultaneously condemn the “immorality” of his anti-Semitic and racist language  whilst – either personally or through the organisations with which they are connected – supporting and enabling the Global March to Jerusalem project which embraces Atzmon so warmly.