The ‘flytilla’ – a cameo appearance by bigots and extremists within the anti-Israel campaign in the UK

Yesterday we took a look at the way in which the Guardian’s report on the detention of British participants in the ‘flytilla’ airbrushed the extremist links of two of them – the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign chairman Mick Napier and deputy leader of the Welsh Green Party Pippa Bartolotti who flirted with the Nazi organisation known as the SSNP during her visit to Syria last autumn as part of the Hamas-supporting ‘Viva Palestina’ convoy.

That, however, was not the end of Pippa Bartolotti’s 2010 fascist-groupie road tour; once she arrived in Gaza, she was excited to meet some of the prominent Hamas officials there in person.  Here is how she described her meeting with Ismail Haniyeh on her blog:

“I was fortunate to meet Ismail Haniyah, the Prime Minister of Gaza, his Vice President Mahmoud al Zahar, and Minister of Public Works and HousingYousef al-Mansi.The Hamas PM sadly did not speak English, so I was unable to form a full picture of his personality and political attitudes. What I do know is that everything I have so far heard or read on the subject has been plain wrong. He came across to me as a quiet and thoughtful man who was eager to meet us. He made a special effort to come and speak with the women – who had largely been pushed aside by the men earlier in the day and had therefore been denied a full chance to speak with him. He is pictured here in a simple white robe and cap.”


Mahmoud al Zahar is, of course, a man who has no compunction about stating publicly that he thinks it’s just fine to murder Jews anywhere in the world:


“They have legitimised the murder of their own children by killing the children of Palestine,” Mahmoud Zahar said in a televised broadcast recorded at a secret location. “They have legitimised the killing of their people all over the world by killing our people.”


Pippa doesn’t appear to have much of a problem with that either:


“Mahmoud al Zahar was clearly a knowledgeable man, well educated and by the nature of his knowledge, anti Jew. It seemed to me that he no longer separated Zionism from the ordinary Jew, but living under siege as he did with warplanes and warships continually threatening his people, killing his children and destroying his homes one could hardly blame him.” [emphasis mine]

Pippa Bartolotti was, however, not the only failed Green Party parliamentary candidate to take part in the ‘flytilla’. Sixty-six year old retired academic and former member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign executive Anne Gray stood as the Green Party’s candidate in Tottenham, London in 2010 and has long been involved in local politics. She is also active in CAMPACC – the Campaign Against Criminalising Communities – and as may be expected, in signing anti-Israel letters. 

Anne Gray


Another CAMPACC activist who took part in the ‘flytilla’ is 61 year-old Open University research fellow Les Levidow from Milton Keynes. Active in BRICUP, ‘Jews against Zionism and ‘Jews for Boycotting Israeli Goods’, Levidow also gives talks and writes essays, with ‘imperialist’ support for Israel as one of his main themes. However, he appears to have a particular affinity for the Khomenist faux human rights organisation which calls itself the Islamic Human Rights Commission and has spoken both at their annual conference and at their annual Al Quds day event.  Here is part of his speech from his 2008 appearance there:

“When we say ‘end the occupation’ we should make clear the occupation IS the Israeli state itself, not simply its control of the West Bank and Gaza. Israel’s existence as a Zionist state poses a continuous threat to peace and democracy in the Middle East. Israeli colonisation has destroyed any basis for an independent Palestinian state. There are basically two possible futures – either Israel forces more and more Palestinians to leave or else Israel is de-zionised, de-colonised so that there are equal rights for all.”

Les Levidow at the 2006 IHRC conference

Another member of the English ‘flytilla’ contingent who, although professing to be a Quaker, has no qualms about employing his Jewish roots when it serves the purpose of attacking Israel, is 83 year-old retired lecturer and life member of the UCU John Lynes from St Leonards on Sea in East Sussex. Lynes is a member of the Christian CND, ‘Jews for Justice for Palestinians and ‘Architects and Planners for Justice in Palestine and as such has a prolific record in the signing of anti-Israel public letters. He is also a member of the ‘Christian Peacemaker Teams’ and gives lectures in that capacity. 

John Lynes



Another participant in the ‘flytilla’ with a record of having visited the region on Christian programmes is 77 year-old Audrey Gray, a retired nurse and social worker from West Chiltington in West Sussex, who also acts as a Methodist local preacher and gives lectures based on her experiences as a former Ecumenical Accompanier with the EAPPI project; established by the World Council of Churches and with links to Sabeel and the Alternative Information Centre.   

Audrey Gray

The other English member of the British ‘flytilla’ contingent is Val Kitchen, aged 68 from Tonbridge in Kent. Scottish participants include Mick Napier as mentioned above, Ian Stewart-Hargreaves , apparently a silversmith from Carloway on the Isle of Lewis and retired statistician Frank Thomas aged 66 from Edinburgh who seems to have connections to the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign and the Stop the War Coalition, and supports Scottish councillors in favor of boycotting Israel. 

SPSC chair and 'Welcome to Palestine' coordinator Mick Napier

The female member of the Scottish contingent is former community worker and current council employee Joy Cherkaoui from Castle Douglas in Dumfries and Galloway. She is the treasurer of the local SPSC branch, a member of Amnesty International, involved in the CND and a former candidate for the Scottish Socialist Party.

Joy Cherkaoui

Another former candidate for a far Left political party is to be found among the Welsh participants in the ‘flytilla’. Joyce Irene Giblin of Newport represented (unsuccessfully) the Socialist Labour Party in the 2011 elections to the Welsh Assembly.  She is a member of ‘Swansea Action for Palestine’ and appears to support just about every anti-Israel outfit going, including ‘Jews against the Occupation’, ‘Viva Palestina, the ECESG and the ISM. Here she is with her fellow flag-loving Newport resident. 

Also from Wales come the last two members of the British delegation to the ‘flytilla’: 46 year-old Swansea council worker Fiona Williams from Mumbles who is also involved in Swansea Action for Palestine and 56 year-old book-keeper Dee Murphy from Swansea who is a founder of the Swansea-Palestine Community Link.

Dee Murphy and Fiona Williams

Ms. Murphy seems to make quite a hobby out of getting herself arrested; she is half of what is apparently known as ‘the Tesco two’ and spent eight days in custody following a January 2009 incident in a local supermarket.

“The Tesco 2 are Dee Murphy and Greg Wilkinson who kicked off a campaign to boycott Israeli goods by going into their local Tesco store, filling a trolley with dates produced on illegal Zionist settlements on the West Bank, taking them out without paying, tipping the dates on the ground and spraying them with red dye, then waiting for the police to arrest them.”

Here is Dee Murphy explaining her actions at the time, prior to being arrested: 

Less than a month before that incident, Dee Murphy had super-glued herself to the entrance barriers at BBC Wales in Cardiff. Her fellow ‘flytilla’ member Fiona Williams told the press at the time that the reason for the action was that the BBC’s coverage of Operation Cast Lead was “pro-Israeli”.

“Hamas is referred to as a militant organisation, rather than the democratically-elected government, having been elected by a huge majority.”

“The settlements in the West Bank should be referred to as illegal, the Israeli Defence Force as the Israeli Army, and the separation barrier as the apartheid wall.”

Here is Dee Murphy once again.

“So yes, they are shooting rockets into Israel, but these are an occupied people! And we all have the right to defend ourselves.” 

The British contingent to the ‘flytilla’ represents a cameo appearance by members of almost the entire spectrum of anti-Israel campaigners in the United Kingdom. From Quakers and Methodists, through members of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign and similar bodies, Jewish anti-Zionist fringe groups, Islamist sympathisers and almost- off- the- radar extreme Left political parties, along with the increasingly bizarre Greens: they all had their representation in this publicity stunt.  

Perplexed Israelis often ask me “What is going on in Britain?” This article is the answer to that question: a glimpse into the fringe world of political activism as a fashionable lifestyle choice. That world is, of course, nourished by the kind of one-sided reporting of the Middle East seen in so much of the mainstream media; not least the Guardian.  

53 replies »

    • Oh, that nice Mr. Haniyah in his simple white garments – a bit like an angel, no?

      Unfortunately I was unable to download the scene from Mabat where Pippa is shown trying to smash open the doors at BG Airport in her frustration, and her smooth line of hypocrisy about just being a simple woman, wanting to speak to other simple people and convince them about what they should think of Israel.

      In the US she would probably have been shot by a security guard at an airport while behaving like that.

      • AKUS, some simpletons are very cunning I am told. Perhaps Pippa is of that variety. Other simple people are just that, and merely want to be left in peace by their own government (whom they can’t get rid of having elected them into power because that government has busied itself arresting and killing opposition)

        How do we know that, if left to themselves and without the malign influence of Hamas, the Palestinian people won’t begin their own protests against the dictatorship which oppresses them, and say to the excuses for humanity in the rogues gallery above – “Do us a favour, don’t help us!”

  1. The poor pacifist Quakers are burdened by a goodly number of rank hypocrites. Rubbing shoulders with Hamas and the Syrian national socialist party, disqualifies anybody, even Quakers, from being peaceful and decent.

  2. I don’t think it will surprise anyone that the ‘Respect Coalition’ , the party George Galloway was an MP for, due to its declining success in elections nationally and locally is joining the Green Party. If you look at the website of ‘Respect’ you can see how they are leaning towards environmentalism.
    In Newport Ms. Bartolotti has two little helpers, or lap-dogs if you’re feeling unkind. One is an Iraqi refugee and the other is his wife/partner. At local fetes or festivals they usually run a stall for the ‘League Against Cruel Sports.’

    • Gerald, really?? I know the Greens are as thick as the proverbial short plants but I didn’t know that they were so thick!

      • HairShirt, yes really.
        Don’t forget that ‘Respect’ was started by the Stop The War Campaign and a well known environmentalist columnist/journalist George Monbiot.
        No prizes, but can you guess which ‘newspaper’ George Monbiot writes regularly for?
        For the Greens, ‘proverbial short plants’ is apposite.

    • Does it surprise you? Hitler loved animals too, it was just Jews he hated. This creep and her two henchnazis would have fit right in in Naziland.

    • I’m a good Brit.

      In that I am rapidly nearing the “UP WITH THIS I WILL NOT PUT!” stage when it comes to the too-ready acceptance of antisemitism here as well as the promoters of it.

      • SarahLeah, There needs to be MILLIONS of good Brits to take back the UK from leftists, leftist dominated media, islamists and bnp fascists.

        WHERE ARE THEY????

        I’m confident that the US will never sink to the level of the uk.

            • You think American construction workers, suppliers, will contribute to the erection of an islamofascist 9/11 triumphalist slap in the face?

              Socialists and islamofascists depend on their enemy giving up.

              It’s ain’t going to happen here.

              Let it become a campaign issue in 2012. Let’s see what happens.

              Everyone knows that the 9/11 mosque is just WRONG.

              The Mega Mosque in London was never built. The 9/11 mosque will NEVER BE BUILT.

              • There are moves all of the time to get that murdering fiend released – the latest one I have read about had his apologists claiming that someone else did it and framed him. He would have been released by the bleeding hearts by now if the Kennedy family did not use all of their considerable influence to keep him in prison. I am only sorry that his death sentence was commuted.

                As for the Ground Zero mosque, I think that in this economy they will be able to find enough scabs who are venal enough, or desperate enough, or non-English speaking enough to man the building site. I, too, would like it to become an election issue, so that all of the politicians, including our president, would have to declare on which side they stood. I think that would be very, very interesting.

                • The 9/11 mosque must become a campaign issue to help the voters decide which candidate to vote for.

                  Seeing the builder and the imam rauf declare building the 9/11 mosque would be “healing” is enough to set people off.

                  Healing? Healing for whom? For islamofascists possibly. Not for the victims of the 9/11 sneak attacks.

                  I say building a church, temple and synagogue in Mecca is healing.

                  The 9/11 mosque is the line in the sand.

                  I don’t think that unions, construction workers are fond of scabs.

              • Wow, now you are taking it too close to lala land for my liking. US release guilty as sin people on regular basis.

    • Sitting at home reading your post.
      I’m not a Brit but my kids will likely be.
      Though my area voted Labor, the entire surrounding which were left have turned Conservative.

      If what you say was half true, things would be very different round here.

      It may be heading that way but it is far from being like what you describe.

    • “Where are the good Brits????”

      The question I ask is not where they are but what they can do. For all we know, the average Brit is sick and tired of Britain’s nannystatery and multiculturalist suicide, but what exactly can he or she do now that all means of really changing things have been made illegal? Voting won’t work—as I gather from reading, what passes for “right-wing” in Britain (as in most of Europe) is just a softer front for more of the same the left wing offers.

      For that matter, the ship of American state is itself captained by a drunken sailor heck-bent on running it aground with spending. The ones entrusted to oppose his policies keep compromising with him instead of doing their job.

      And in Israel, the events of the 2000s decade have turned the Jewish nation against land concessions almost completely, yet the media chatterati and political leaders still dare to talk of “painful concessions.”

      There’s no point in wagging a finger at another people’s predicament when you’re not spared of it yourself. I’m not saying it’s hypocritical, just saying sympathy is a more appropriate response—that, and thinking up a way of getting out of it.

  3. Goodness me . Whatever happened to Anne Gray . She looks like she just stopped a kassim missile with her face . I’ve seen similar ” boat races” on winos sleeping rough. Maybe that’s the reason for the shena punim – not

  4. I’m about to write something very sexist: is it possible that late-middle-aged women experiencing post-menopausal loss of libido turn to Jew-hatred in order to keep their mojo working? I’m befuddled. On the hand, maybe the corollary is also true for late-middle-aged men.

    • Bella, I can’t say, but there is some initial evidence that “activism” can improve quality of life and that must apply to people of a certain age as well as to the young and unformed.

      Myself, I believe that this lot are at a loose end and angry and “dead” emotionally. Making common cause with haters makes them feel alive.

  5. Presumably the individuals at the Tesco “protest” have no idea how utterly farcical they look.

    It’s almost like an episode of The Day Today.

  6. “Mahmoud al Zahar was clearly a knowledgeable man, well educated and by the nature of his knowledge, anti Jew.”

    When you are as insightful in your political outlook as the progressive, peace-loving, environmentally friendly and all-round caring Pippa, you can understand why the animal-loving vegetarians like Hitler and Himmler made no distinction between Communism and Jews in their ideological war of extermination against the Soviet Union. Being ‘anti-Jew’ is obviously the natural position of any fair-minded intellectual with experience in their chosen field of ‘finding solutions to the Jewish question’.

    If this is what Pippa Bartolotti said, she is an anti-Semite with an outlook on the world virtually indistinguishable from Nazism. And it is an indictment against the current political climate in Britain that she is not ostracised and condemned by anyone and everyone not inhabiting the murky, paranoid fringes of the extreme right. Or put on trial for inciting racial hatred for that matter.

    • Groovy Times, when a low life proven antisemite like Raed Salah is invited to address MPs as if he is a person of stature, then the current political climate in Britain has completely lost its moral compass.

      Sadly, I am reaching the stage where nothing would surprise me about the UK (and the US is rapidly descending into the same chaos) and its craven appeasement to Islamism and antisemitism.

      And that Pippa Bartolotti is allowed to spout the bilge she does is a prime example of the depths of which we have descended

    • Like a f**king Nazi. The Darre ‘Blood and Soil’ type. If she knew anything about history she would be ashamed by the similarity, but I suppose ignorance is the fertilizer of anti-Semitism.

  7. Pretzelberg
    You think that tesco protest is bizarre . Visit tesco metro beford St wc2 between 1 and 2 pm .
    There you will find one Bruce levy dressed up as an orange with green leggings . Obviously a product of vegetative reproduction , it’s difficult to imagine anyone of either sex indulging in normal sexual relations with this parody of a human being

  8. That should have read
    Between 1 and 2 pm this Saturday and every other Saturday thereafter

  9. I post this reply here because my two earlier posts did not appear immediately after pretzels inqury.


    July 12, 2011 at 5:21 am

    “”Happy Nakba” and a link to the IDFs website???
    Please do explain.”


    People use the term “The NAKBA” to remind people of
    – the failure of islamofascists to murder Jews at will as national Socialist nazi filth did up until 3 years earlier
    – the failure of five islamofascist armies to defeat the Jews of Israel
    – the failure of the sermons, the Hadith which state that even the rocks and trees will help Muslims find and murder Jews

    That FAILURE, that NAKBA, is due to armed, trained, motivated, the self-determination of Jews in the IDF.

    I hope that answers your question.

    Happy NAKBA pretzels!

    • @ Thank God I’m An Infidel

      You said “To me, an American, the UK seems to be totally populated by leftists, islamists and bnp fascists.”
      I challenged that post.
      You in turn responded with “Happy Nakba” and a link to the IDF’s website. I still have no idea what that has to do with your original post re. the UK.

  10. as crazy as these euros are, native israelis are far more worse when it comes to their leftism.

    i believe these euros are a vocal minority. most in europe don’t take them seriously.

    if they love palestine so much, they should move their. force them to live in gaza under hamas rule. since they reject israel’s very existence, while ignoring the crimes of arab states (they don’t boycott Islamic aid donations that’s for sure), we know they’re full of shit to begin with. but they should move to and be forced to live under hamas rule. it is absurd they get to whine about israel from a peaceful distance. when bombs go off they don’t have to deal with the consequences.

    i bet if palestine was on their border they wouldn’t be half as restrained as israel is.