An email just sent to the Jewish Journal office announces a demonstration set to occur outside the Israeli consulate on Friday, June 4 from 4-7 p.m. in support of the Free Gaza Movement. The email also says that the founders of the movement, Greta Berlin and Mary Thompson Hughes, are originally from Los Angeles and though they weren’t on the flotilla boats, they monitored the progress of the flotilla as it set sail for Gaza up until its confrontation with Israeli forces.
From the email:
“As Israeli warships approached the Gaza Freedom Flotilla 70 miles off Gaza in international waters, two Los Angeles women who had helped organize the mission worked through the night with a flotilla support team in Cyprus.
“Greta Berlin, 69 and Mary Thompson Hughes, 76, two of the five co-founders of the Free Gaza Movement, remained glued to their chairs monitoring the Israeli assault and fielding calls from international media.”
According to this New York Times article (http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/02/world/middleeast/02activists.html?emc=eta1), the Free Gaza Movement contributed funds to the Gaza-bound flotilla and partnered with IHH, the organization whose name keeps coming up in every article about who was on the boats setting sail for Gaza.
The New York Times also article said that IHH is a charity organization that helped out with relief efforts in Haiti. If you google “İnsani Yardım Vakfı,” the Turkish name of IHH, the official website for the organization comes up and after applying the google translating mechanism, you can easily navigate around the site. Type in “haiti” into the search field and articles come up about IHH surgeons being dispatched to Haiti and treating 150 Haitian earthquake victims each day. Or, if you don’t feel like doing that, you can read this text copied and pasted from the site:
“The IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation has sent a second group of aid workers to Haiti… The physicians are treating 150 people daily… Mehmet Rıdvan Üstünel, a physician in the IHH group… said he was treating 100 patients on average in a day and the number was rising every day.”
Another website, http://axisoflogic.com/artman/publish/Article_60176.shtml—one that appears to have no affiliation with IHH – confirms IHH’s humanitarian aid in Haiti. According to the site:
“An Islamic organization, IHH was formed in 1994 in response to the war in Bosnia. It provides shelter, clothing, food and various other necessities to individuals in conflict or natural disaster zones. IHH is presently involved in humanitarian aid projects in over 120 countries, including Ethiopia, Haiti, Bosnia-Herzegovina and Palestine.”
The same site also says that in 2008, Ehud Barak “outlawed IHH…for allegedly supporting Union of the Good, an umbrella organization which provides money and other aid to groups purportedly affiliated to Hamas.”
What does it mean that Barak outlawed IHH? And for that matter, what is Union of the Good?
This website, http://www.terrorism-info.org.il/malam_multimedia/html/final/eng/sib/2_05/funds.htm, though slightly hard to follow and listing an old February 2005 date on the top of the page, has some info on Union of the Good. More to come in future posts.