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Background on leading members of Viva Palestina’s fifth convoy to Gaza


Research provided by a reliable source:

Viva Palestina, founded by former British MP George Galloway, is a British charity which has organized numerous convoys to Gaza. Many of its members openly support Hamas. The organization’s fifth convoy has spent the last few weeks traveling through Europe and Turkey, and is currently in Syria. It hopes to receive permission over the next few days to sail to the Egyptian port of El-Arish, and then to cross over into Gaza via Rafah.

Below is background information regarding several of the central figures in Viva Palestina.

  1. 1. George Galloway
  2. 2. Kevin Ovenden
  3. 3. Yvonne Ridley
  4. 4. Zaher Birawi

1) George Galloway– Former British MP, Viva Palestina founder

Hugging Haniyeh, March 2009


  • Support for Hamas

“I personally am about to break the sanctions on the elected government of Palestine… By Allah, we carried a lot of cash here…But I, now, here, on behalf of myself, my sister Yvonne Ridley…are giving three cars and 25,000 pounds in cash to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh. Here is the money. This is not charity. This is politics.”- Al-Jazeera, March 9, 2009, Gaza

  • Previous support for totalitarian regimes

Soviet Union- “if you are asking did I support the Soviet Union, yes I did. Yes, I did support the Soviet Union, and I think the disappearance of the Soviet Union is the biggest catastrophe of my life.”- The Guardian, 16/9/2002

Syria– “Syrian troops in Lebanon maintain stability and protect the country from Israel”. -Lebanon Daily Star, 7/12/2004

Ahmadinejad– “We have to accept Ahmadinejad’s re-election, not least because all our best friends in that region don’t have any elections at all.” –Dailyrecord.co.uk, 15/6/09

  • Refused entry into Canada and Egypt

Canada– On March 20, 2009 refused entry into Canada, after immigration authorities ruled that his involvement and direct financial support to the Viva Palestina movement constituted support for Hamas.

Egypt– on 8 January 2010, Galloway was deported from Egypt immediately upon entry from Gaza. He had been attempting to help take 200 aid trucks into the Gaza Strip. The previous day an Egyptian soldier had been killed during clashes at the border with Hamas loyalists. The Foreign Ministry of Egypt released a statement reading: “George Galloway is considered persona non grata and will not be allowed to enter into Egypt again”.

2) Kevin Ovenden– long-time Galloway assistant, leader of Viva Palestina 5 convoy

Shaking hands with Haniyeh (March 2009?)


  • Ovenden’s description of his March 2009 meeting with Haniyeh-

“And some of us were fortunate enough, privileged enough to meet the democratically elected prime minister of Palestine, Ismail Haniyeh ..I would have liked everybody on the convoy to meet Ismail Haniyeh and the leadership of the government in Gaza..

We met at one of the greatest heroes, greatest leaders that Palestine has ever known, met at his house, Abdul Rantissi, who himself was assassinated.” (video of speech here)

Ovenden with IHH President Bulent Yildirim


More info on Ovenden- here, and here

3) Yvonne Ridley– Journalist, captured by Taliban and later converted to Islam. Important figure in Viva Palestina, though not on the latest convoy.

Al-Quds day rally London, Sept 2008


  • Al-Quds day speech- “The battle for a free Palestine is entering a new phase, one that is much more dangerous, much more violent, much more bloody than before. .

Who remembers that – Hizbullah showed how weak the Zionist army is? Victory to the Hizbullah!…In fact if Hamas stood across the Middle East they would be swept to power. Victory to Hamas!” (video of speech available here)

  • Comparison of Israelis to Nazis-

And that is why one by one, those responsible will one day be charged with war crimes … the evidence is stacking up – Nuremberg would be quite a fitting arena to try the guilty but London, Paris, Berlin, Amsterdam or Madrid will do.

Like the Nazi and war crime hunters of the past, we must never forgive, never forget and never submit to the demands of morally bankrupt states and politicians. (http://yvonneridley.org/yvonne-ridley/articles/pirates-of-the-mediterranean.html)

4) Zaher Birawi– Spokesman for Viva Palestina 5, Chairman of Palestinian Return Centre board of trustees, and affiliated with numerous other British Muslim organizations.

Send-off of the Mavi Marmara, third from left (dark gray suit, legs crossed)


From the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center (http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/English/eng_n/html/hamas_e129.htm)

  • Zaher Khaled Hassan Birawi (aka Abu Khaled), 49, is a Hamas activist…who today resides in Britain.
  • During his intensive ongoing activity in Britain, he has been careful not to identify himself publicly with Hamas or even with the Muslim Brotherhood in order to avoid entanglements with the British authorities…However, according to reliable information…he serves as Hamas’ Judea and Samaria representative [in Europe]

Zaher Birawi is chairman of the board of directors of the Palestinian Return Center (PRC), a London-based institution which conducts intensive anti-Israel activity…In our assessment, it is one of the central institutions in Britain through which Hamas operates.

15 replies »

  1. who’s the fat guy with the dark beard in the picture? at first glance I thought it was Helmut Qualtinger doing Herr Karl – but maybe that’s just where he got the inspiration.

  2. Some people are so easily impressed. ““And some of us were fortunate enough, privileged enough to meet the democratically elected prime minister of Palestine, Ismail Haniyeh ..I would have liked everybody on the convoy to meet Ismail Haniyeh and the leadership of the government in Gaza..”

  3. Peter! You speak as if you expect these people to be more concerned about the welfare of the Palestinians than they are about the destruction of Israel!

  4. George Galloway probably works for MI6. He fits the profile to a tee.
    Otherwise, that carpetbagger would have been in jail years ago.

  5. Ridley: Nuremberg would be quite a fitting arena

    Absolute ******** bonkers.

    But exactly what proportion of the protestors on the boats shared the views of her and the others cited above, I wonder?

    Could it be that some of them actually have honest, peaceful and genuinely humanitarian intentions, Adam?

    You wouldn’t be trying to smear the whole lot and all others who oppose the blockade, would you?
    😉

  6. here’s what the IDF had the incredible audacity and callousness to remark on its report about the last flotillina, aptly named Irene, Greek for peace, while sailing from a Northern Cyprus/Turkish port – believe me for somebody with strong pro-Greek leanings already enough of a provocation to care dearly for those people. ;-(

    But back to the IDF
    The IDF regrets that it must divert the Israel Navy’s attention from its regular operational activity defending Israel and its citizens because of acts of provocation such as this.
    http://idfspokesperson.com/2010/09/28/provocation-yacht-on-its-way-to-ashdod-port-boarded-by-israel-navy-without-incident-28-sept-2010/

  7. Pretzelberg: But exactly what proportion of the protestors on the boats shared the views of her and the others cited above, I wonder?Could it be that some of them actually have honest, peaceful and genuinely humanitarian intentions, Adam?

    You wouldn’t be trying to smear the whole lot and all others who oppose the blockade, would you?
    Where did Adam imply that they didn’t?

    You wouldn’t be trying to smear Adam and the others of us who regularly contribute to this blog now would you Pretzl 🙂
    (Sorry, first name unknown or I would be all chummy too)

  8. Germolene

    Where did Adam imply that they didn’t?

    You must be joking. Anti-blockade protesters are all portrayed here as crazies bend on the destruction of Israel.
    Some of them genuinely are – but what about the others? How about addressing ther arguments?

  9. All of them are meddling in matters which are none of their business
    they are just like the idiots jumping up and down in our streets not so very long ago yelling Ho-Ho … Ho-Tchi-Minh

    if they want to meddle let them meddle in North Cyprus, go through the streets chanting Eirene and see whether the locals will dig it or even better I suggest they travel to North-Korea, Iran. What about Tschetschenia – lots of places for them to do do-gooding

    Besides the Gazans have other problems, the latest at Elder of Ziyon is that the peace nutters complain that Israel is supplying too much of what they call junk food. I guess they demand no more candies, but lots of Rucola. People are dying from hunger and they dare to call life-sustaining nourishing food “junk”

    and that while that poor incarcerated Jew in mind but otherwise fake Edith Lutz was forced to drink tap water in Israel. I can’t stop crying so much am I feeling her pain.

    If some of them want respect, let them stand up and denounce the nutters name by name, that is not happening, instead Rupert Neudeck from Grünhelme ululates about dear fraudstering Edith.

    Rupert Neudeck btw who may do something good every now and then but in the rest of the time specialises in America bashing except when there is something where he finds military help would be great, then he says the US must do it immediately. (October 30, 2008, not online anymore)

    I have no respect for these people, if there are sane honestly good ones amongst them, let them come clear. The rest ist a bunch of fraudsters and liars and hypocrites and the honest ones are covering up for them and thus colluding.

  10. Pretzelberg: I must be joking?

    Your words attribute this smearing behaviour to Adam. You accused him directly. It is easy enough to apologise if you find yourself mistaken which I believe you are:

  11. Hey Pretz,

    re: “But exactly what proportion of the protestors on the boats shared the views of her and the others cited above, I wonder?

    Could it be that some of them actually have honest, peaceful and genuinely humanitarian intentions, Adam?

    You wouldn’t be trying to smear the whole lot and all others who oppose the blockade, would you?
    ;-)”

    Look, I’m sure that there are some on the boat who genuinely are acting out of (what I think is) misguided sympathy, and may not be aware of the terrorist affiliations of many of the ship’s leaders. But, don’t you think, as adults, they have the responsibility to assess who’s behind the effort, what their motivations are, and determine whether the values of the group’s leaders are consistent with their own values? I just can’t see how a genuine “progressive” can make common cause which folks such as Ridley, Galloway, Ovenden, and Birawi.

  12. Pretzelberg

    Could it be that some of them actually have honest, peaceful and genuinely humanitarian intentions, Adam?

    No Pretzel it couldn’t be. If any of them were really concerned with starving and blockaded peoples’ wellbeing then they would try to enter North Korea for example.

    Do you have any concrete person in mind? Like this compatriot of yours? The fake Jewish lady who wanted to feed the starving Gazans with stuffed teddy bears? I’m not sure that she was familiar wth the mediterranean dietary customs…

  13. My sense is that somebody starts off buying into anti-Israeli rhetoric, yet is a person of sincere liberal convictions and lives in a democracy where information is freely available, then they would take the time to educate themselves before embarking on a blockade running operation, and they’d probably start to feel somewhat uncomfortable with with the extremism of Galloway et alia.

  14. here’s my proof to the pudding as to the honest but “misguided” in all innocence:

    Remember Henning Mankell, well he and none of the other oh so pure at heart nutters on the Marmara flotilla has come out and condemned the trained-to-kill thugs during that incident. NONE!

    If they can’t come to their senses after seeing the videos of their “brothers in peace” acting out then, then they deserve any getting flagged as thugs themselves.

    (and btw no decent person can advocate in favour of who does to Gilad Shalit what is done to Gilad Shalit, remember? no Red Cross access!)