Useful Links, Useful Idiots

The estimable Yaacov Lozowick brought to our attention the revealing Tweets made by occasional Guardian contributor Ali Abunimah on the subject of the brutal murder of four Israeli citizens on August 31st by Hamas terrorists. Besides penning articles for the Guardian and other supposedly reputable publications, Abunimah is of course one of the co-founders of the viciously anti-Israel ‘Electronic Intifada’ website – along with Nigel Parry, Arjan El Fassed and Laurie King-Irani. Readers will doubtless be aware that the Guardian considers Electronic Intifada to be a ‘useful link’ and that it is defined as such on the CiF Israel page.

A closer perusal of the activities of Electronic Intifada’s co-founders – none of whom lives in the Middle East, by the way – does indeed reveal some interesting links and connections which it may be useful for readers to be aware of when reading Abunimah’s next article or even when presented with material and links from EI as so often happens above the line at CiF.

Dr. Laurie King-Irani lives in Canada and is an anthropologist and research associate at the University of Victoria, BC as well as coordinator of the International Campaign for Justice for the Victims of Sabra and Shatila; the organization responsible for trying to utilize laws of universal jurisdiction in the Belgian courts to prosecute Ariel Sharon

Nigel Parry hails from Scotland and is a former webmaster for Birzeit University. He now appears to be engaged in founding a website named At least he’s honest.

Dutch Palestinian Arjan El Fassed is a former employee of Oxfam International and Oxfam Novib and has recently taken up a new career in Dutch politics on behalf of the Green Left Party.  He is a founder of Al-Awda – aka the Palestinian Right of Return Coalition.

American Palestinian Ali Abunimah lives in Chicago and as well as being vice president of the Arab American Action Network, a board member for the Sabeel Ecumenical Liberation Theology Centre and active with the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (here is a paper her wrote for the organization promoting the right of return) he is also an endorser of and participant in the Gaza Freedom March (which is linked of course to the ISM)  and is also active in Al-Awda.

Obviously, there’s a lot for the interested reader to rummage around in here, but let’s take a look at Al-Awda, its activities and its supporters With branches all over the United States, as well as in Egypt, Italy, Spain, Canada and the UK, this is quite a substantial organization. As well as promoting the right of return for Palestinian refugees (i.e. the demise of the State of Israel) it supports BDS , promotes a ‘one state solution’ and organizes  anti-Israel demonstrations

“Al-Awda hosts an annual convention that regularly features extreme anti-Israel rhetoric. Its seventh convention — held in May 2009 near Anaheim, California, and well-attended by members of the Palestinian-American community in the U.S. — featured several controversial speakers, including British MP George Galloway who promoted Viva Palestina, a convoy to Gaza that had previously given money to Hamas. At Al-Awda’s 2008 convention, speakers accused Israel of plotting to ethnically cleanse and commit a Holocaust against the Palestinians and called for resistance against Israel’s alleged occupation.

Through its literature, public demonstrations and conventions, Al-Awda (Arabic for “the return”) promotes the Palestinian right of return and advocates for the establishment of a Palestinian state over all of the territory west of the Jordan River, including Israel. Speakers at events sponsored by Al-Awda regularly claim that Israel’s existence is illegitimate, Zionism is racism and that resistance against Israel “by any means necessary” is justified.”

Al-Awda’s political sympathies lean towards Hamas. Apart from helping George Galloway raise over a million dollars for his narcissistic ‘Viva Palestina’ escapades, it hosted a known Hamas supporter at its 2008 convention . Sheikh Tayseer Al Tamimi – the man who managed to disgust the Pope –  is well-known for his incitement, particularly on the subject of supposed Jewish plots to destroy the Al Aqsa mosque and his denials of Jewish history  in Jerusalem.

“Sheikh Dr. Tayseer Al-Tamimi [PA Chief Justice of Religious Court, and Chairman of Supreme Council of Islamic Law:] … in an Id al-Fitr sermon which he delivered at the Ibrahimi Mosque [in Hebron], called upon the Palestinian people, wherever they may be, to continue to head for the Al-Aqsa Mosque… to defend it and to ruin the Israeli plans of excavations beneath its foundations and establishing synagogues and settler outposts around it and preventing [Muslim] worshippers from reaching it, in order to seize control of it in preparation for its destruction and the establishment of the alleged Temple in its place.”

“Al-Tamimi stated that none of the excavations undertaken by the occupation authorities since 1967 have revealed any finding confirming that the Jews have a history [in this city], or the existence of their supposed Temple, and this is acknowledged by the Jewish archaeologists themselves. The claims by the Jewish rabbis and their extremist organizations are merely lies and deceit and false claims, with no truth to them.”

In addition, he is also renowned for his common or garden anti-Semitism.

“The Jews are destined to be persecuted, humiliated, and tortured forever, and it is a Muslim duty to see to it that they reap their due. No petty arguments must be allowed to divide us. Where Hitler failed, we must succeed.”

None of the above prevented that other occasional Guardian columnist Ghada Karmi from standing on the same platform as Al Tamimi at the 2008 Al-Awda convention, along with Ilan Pappe and MK Haneen Zouabi. At this year’s convention Ali Abunimah spoke on the subject of BDS, alongside Norman Finkelstein and others.

In 2000 Al-Awda advertised its demonstrations on the Radio Islam website, right at the bottom of the same page upon which appeared a message of good wishes from Pastor Ray Redfeairn – former leader of the white nationalist neo-Nazi movement ‘Aryan Nations’. To this day that web page stands, so presumably neither Radio Islam nor Al-Awda has a problem with that.  Just to give you a flavor of the company Al-Awda keeps.  Here’s a headline to a story which appears on the Radio Islam site, on the same page where Pastor Redfeairn sends his greetings:

The links between all the various pro-Palestinian/anti-Israel organizations are a fascinating, if time-consuming, subject to study. Particularly interesting is the fact that the same personalities appear over and over again under different headings and how many of those names find their way to the pages of Comment is Free as above the line writers. The Guardian editors may think that Electronic Intifada is a ‘useful link’, but of course it is only useful to those who see no moral obstacle in denying the Jewish people their right to self-determination and on the way to that goal do not mind sullying themselves by rubbing shoulders with supporters of terrorism, Islamist fascists, anti-Semites or neo-Nazis.

In other words, Electronic Intifada is only a ‘useful link’ for useful idiots.

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