2015 UK Palestine Conference Features BDS Leader Mustafa Barghouti; Middle East Eye Editor Also Speaking


A UK event known as the Palestine Conference has announced its 2015 conference scheduled for March 7 and organized by the Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS). According to the announcement:

The aim of this years conference is to shed light and discussion on the events leading up to the establishment of a Zionist Israeli state – with a particular focus on the creation of Zionism and its role in the creation of the state of Israel, the role of Britain in the loss of Palestine and creation of Israel and Palestine under the Ottoman Rule.

The conference will also focus on the current state of Palestine, looking at the current state of Al Quds, its excavation and the daily life of Palestinians in the West Bank. It will also be discussing the illegality of Palestine from a purely legal perspective and Palestine in light of the current regional state.

A panel on the works of the BDS movement and how we can move forward will conclude the conference.

The conference promises to give you a new perspective on campaigning. From keynote speeches delivered by renowned international speakers to panel discussions which will allow you to interact and nurture an understanding of the current situation in Palestine. You will also have the unique opportunity to undergo various workshops which will be delivered by professionals who have been in the campaigning field for decades and further nurture you campaigning skills. Browse the site, choose the workshops best suited for you and book your ticket before its too late.

The conference announcement identifies the following speakers:

  • Mustafa Barghouti (see below)
  • Ilan Pappé (Israeli historian and socialist activist highly critical of Israel)
  • Ben White (Freelance journalist who writes for the virulently anti-Israel ‘Electronic Intifada’)
  • David Hearst (former Guardian journalist and Editor of the Middle East Eye, tied to the UK Muslim Brotherhood)
  • Shamiul Joarder (Head of Public Affairs at Friends of Al-Aqsa (FOA), pro-Hamas British organization which advocates Israel’s elimination)

Although past conferences have featured a variety of speakers tied to the Global Muslim Brotherhood and Hamas, the presence of Mustafa Barghouti at this year’s conference is interesting but not the first time that Dr. Barghouti has participated in events alongside the Global Muslim Brotherhood.

  • In 2010, he was a participant at a conference sponsored by the Palestine Return Centre (PRC) entitled “The Ongoing Nakba (Catastrophe).” The PRC, part of the Hamas support infrastructure in the UK, is one of this year’s conference sponsors along with Friends of Al-Aqsa and the Palestinian Forum in Britain, both also part of the Hamas infrastructure and tied to UK Muslim Brotherhood
  • In 2009, the GMBDW reported that Dr.Barghouti was being hosted by the US-based Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) for a series of panel discussions.
  • In 2008, the GMBDW reported that Dr. Barghouti was a speaker at a pro-Palestinian rally co-organized by UK Muslim Brotherhood groups on the 60th anniversary of the founding of Israel.

Mustafa Barghouti is a Palestinian physician, activist, and politician who serves as General Secretary of the Palestine National Initiative (PNI), also known as al Mubadara. He has been a member of the Palestinian Legislative Council since 2006 and is also a member of the Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) Central Council. In 2007, Barghouti was Minister of Information in the Palestinian unity government. Although Dr. Barghouti is generally regarded as a non-violent activist, he was one of the founders of the Grassroots International Protection for the Palestinian People (GIPP) which was created in late 2001. GIPP appears to function as a propaganda arm of the Palestinian movement by soliciting the visits of large numbers of European volunteers and working closely with the International Solidarity Movement to engage in a variety of political activities in the West Bank and Gaza. Serious violence has occurred as a result of these activities. Dr. Barghouti is also a former member and leader in the Palestinian People’s Party (PPP), a left-wing PLO faction that was originally founded as the Palestinian Communist Part. It later broke with its Leninist past and re-created itself as the PPP and affiliated itself with the PLO. Although the PPP has publicly condemned terrorism, they are also a signatory to a 2001 statement by the Palestinian National and Islamic Forces praising the “blessed Intifada” that was signed by Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP and a number of other terrorist organizations. Dr. Barghouti was still a member of the PPP at the time this statement was written. According to a 2014 Mideast news portal report:

Barghouti continues to play an active role in mediating between Fatah and Hamas and was involved in securing the release of Hamas activists detained by Palestinian Authority security forces after the reconciliation deal. “Both Fatah and Hamas have to comprehend and internalize completely the concept of pluralism. That one-party rule doesn’t work … There should be pluralism, accountability and serving public interests, not only factional interests,” he said.Barghouti, who also runs his own movement, the Palestinian National Initiative, said it was time for Fatah and Hamas to put their differences aside and focus on the bigger picture: the Israeli occupation. “It’s better to be unified and end occupation than to keep fighting.”
An Israeli think-tank has described Mustafa Barghouti as “one of the most important figures involved in creating Palestinian ‘civil society’ organizations and in spreading boycotts and the ‘nonviolent resistance’ approach in the past few years.” Dr. Barghouti’s participation is likely related to the panel on BDS, the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions Movement  which is a global campaign attempting to increase economic and political pressure on Israel. 
The presence of Middle East Eye editor David Hearst is also interesting and just yesterday we reported on his scheduled participation at an Islam and Democracy conference featuring and array of Global Muslim Brotherhood leaders and sponsored by the Cordoba Foundation, headed by UK Muslim Brotherhood leader Anas Altikriti.
The Federation of Student Islamic Societies (FOSIS) is an umbrella grouping of most major university Islamic societies in the U.K. A 2008 report outlined its ties to the Muslim Brotherhood and concluded that ISCC’s (campus Islamic societies) and FOSIS members are more likely to hold intolerant views.

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