The UK news section of the Guardian’s website included on July 10th an article about the British ‘flytilla’ participants detained at Ben Gurion airport last Friday. In it, much is made of both the ages and ‘respectability’ of the arrested Britons, with their ages and professions meticulously listed, apparently according to information provided by the organisers of the British ‘flytilla’ contingent, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
There’s a retired statistician (66), a community worker, a retired university lecturer (83), a retired nurse (77) and an Open University research fellow (61), which all sounds terribly tame and benign until one takes note that the chairman of the SPSC, 64 year-old Mick Napier, is also described solely as a “university teacher”. Readers will no doubt remember Mr Napier’s name from the article Comment Is Free Watch published with regard to the SPSC’s recent attempts to persuade Dundee council to implement a boycott of Israeli goods. It is worth viewing that video again in order to comprehend exactly what the Hizbollah-praising Mr Napier stands for.
Another name mentioned in the Guardian article is that of former Parliamentary candidate Pippa Bartolotti – deputy leader of the Wales Green Party and a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Ms Bartolotti initially managed to evade detention at the airport in Tel Aviv and was interviewed by RT – but was also later detained.
“How can we be a threat?” protests Ms. Bartolotti, making the most of her staid appearance and fluent English.
Oh dear, Pippa – you weren’t being entirely honest with that reporter, were you? No mention of your trip to Syria last October as part of George Galloway’s ‘Viva Palestina’ convoy. No reference to the fact that you had yourself photographed in Latakia, beaming away enthusiastically whilst sporting your ‘Viva Palestina’ badge and holding the flag of the Syrian Socialist National Party – a Nazi outfit.
“They greet their leaders with a Hitlerian salute; sing their Arabic anthem, “Greetings to You, Syria,” to the strains of “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles”; and throng to the symbol of the red hurricane, a swastika in circular motion.”
“These are the hallmarks of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), the oldest terrorist organization in existence today and one of the most secret and deadly. Despite its long history of violence, Western security organs were recently taken by surprise when they learned that a well-camouflaged arm of the SSNP had succeeded in setting up a large terror network in Western Europe—complete with safe houses, weapons caches, and forged passports—and that it was the SSNP that had set off a series of deadly explosions in the heart of Paris, to gain the release of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah. The United States, too, has felt the effects of the SSNP. The explosion aboard a TWA flight nearing Athens in April of 1986, which cost the lives of four passengers—one of them an infant—has been traced to May Mansur, of Tripoli, a veteran member of the SSNP, who debarked at a previous stopover after placing a bomb under her seat.”
The Green Party, of which Pippa Bartolotti is a prominent member, repeatedly insists that it deplores all forms of racism, including antisemitism, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to take such protestations at face value, and certainly one would expect any genuine anti-racist to run a mile in the opposite direction to a Nazi party embellished with blatant Nazi imagery. The involvement of the Green Party in the PSC is equally worrying, in particular in light of the PSC’s promotion of a Hamas website, its involvement in the invitation of Hamas-linked speakers and its silencing of any criticism of the terrorist group.
Pippa Bartolotti and her ‘flytilla’ friends may be so used to flirting with fascists as part of their radical chic hobby that they are no longer able to separate anti-racist wheat from Islamist and Nazi chaff. Here in Israel, however, we – out of necessity – have our eyes wide open on these subjects, which is why we do not take lightly the appearance of hundreds of supporters of such ideologies on our doorstep. We do also not fall into the kind of ageist stereotypes – of which this article and some of last Friday’s Tweets from various ‘flytilla’ supporters are prime examples – which assume that people are unable or incompetent just because they are ‘middle aged’ or ‘retired’.
Rather than this application of cosmetic surgery to the ‘flytilla’ activists, the Guardian would better serve its readers and the British public in general by explaining exactly what kinds of ideologies they stand for: an issue which is no less crucial to contemporary Britain than it is to Israel.
And a final question must go to Pippa Bartolotti, as well as her other PSC-supporting friends in the British Green party and indeed to the Guardian too, which prides itself on its ‘Green’ section: how exactly, from an ecological point of view, do they justify their involvement in and support for the creation of the hundreds of tons of harmful carbon emissions resulting from hundreds of people making totally unnecessary plane journeys purely for the purpose of political provocation?