A Union of Good website is reporting that Lauren Booth, an activist/journalist and half-sister of Cherie Blair, visited the UK city of Bradford last weekend to speak at a Gaza fundraiser organized by INTERPAL. According to the report:
Journalist Lauren Booth visited Bradford last weekend to speak at a fund-raiser for medical aid for Gaza. The programme was organised by the Bradford office of Interpal, a British charity working to provide humanitarian aid and development support for Palestinians. Interpal works in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, as well as refugee camps in Jordan and Lebanon. The fund-raiser at which Ms. Booth spoke about her path to Islam, which started during her visit to Gaza in 2008 on one of the Free Gaza boats, was held at Panshee restaurant, off Leeds Road. A packed venue ensured that £32,000 was pledged on the night to help buy much-needed medical equipment and supplies for the besieged Gaza Strip. The Panshee event was part of a month-long series of fund-raising, including street collections at The Bazaar and The Range. Further afield, Interpal’s Bradford team also held collections in Dewsbury and Middlesbrough with another due to be held in Leeds next weekend. Bradford-based fund-raiser Ibrahim Dar called the event a “fantastic success” and added, “We’d like to thank the people of Bradford for their incredible support for our work with Palestinians in desperate need.” Students at the University of Bradford helped to boost the funds with their own efforts. The University’s Islamic Society and United 4 Palestine Society had stalls, workshops and talks by Interpal representatives from the 28th February to 11th March and raised £800. Other speakers at the Panshee dinner included Interpal chairman Ibrahim Hewitt, the charity’s Manchester branch manager Majdi Aqil and rap artist and community activist Muslim Bilal from London. Cash pledges were boosted by an auction conducted by Ibrahim Dar, supported ably by his colleague from Birmingham, Shihab Almahdawi.
A recent report from the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs reveals that Ms. Booth may have part of the original plan for the first Gaza flotilla which resulted in a violent altercation with Israel forces last June:
At the 2008 Right of Return conference in Damascus, Hamas leader Mashaal raised the concept of sending a fleet of boats to Gaza in order to break the Israeli blockade, while Western activist Lauren Booth was reported to have brought a plan to open a ship line between Cyprus and Gaza that would “not only break the siege but also embarrass Israel on the side of democracy and human rights.”
According to a NEFA Foundation report, INTERPAL is perhaps the most important of the charities comprising the Union of Good, a coalition of charities headed by Global Muslim Brotherhood leader Youssef Qaradawi which helps to raise funds for Hamas. The Union of Good was banned by Israel in 2002 and was recently designated a terrorist entity by the United State. INTERPAL itself had been designated by the US in 2003. Previous posts have discussed the UK Chairty Commisison’s order that INTERPAL sever its ties with the Union of Good, likely only a formality given that Essam Mustafa, the former head of the Union of Good is still the Managing Trustee of Interpal. It should also be noted that Palestinian Return Centre (PRC) director Ghassan Four is also a Trustee of INTERPAL. The PRC is part of the UK Muslim Brotherhood/Hamas support network and figured prominently in the recent Gaza flotilla crisis.