Thursday, June 17, 2010

Pro-Palestinian Flotilla Activists Gather in NYC, Jewish Group Urges State Dept. to Probe Links to Terrorism

Tensions in the Middle East over the recent Gaza flotilla incident could surface in New York City on Thursday evening, when a pro-Palestinian group hosts flotilla activists at a public meeting Jewish activists have tried to thwart.

An organization called Al-Awda (The Palestine Right to Return Coalition) is holding a meeting in a Brooklyn church featuring a leading official in IHH, the controversial Turkish organization behind the attempt to break Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Pro-Palestinian, left-wing and anti-war organizations are co-sponsoring the event.

“We recommend that your administration consider whether the IHH should be put on the list of foreign terrorist organizations, after an examination by the intelligence community, the State Department, and the Treasury Department,” Sens. Harry Reid (D-Nev.) and Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) wrote in a letter to President Obama, citing concerns about connections to Hamas.

Founded in the early 1990s with the declared aim of providing humanitarian aid to Muslims affected by the war in Bosnia, IHH denies claims that it has jihadist links. The Israeli government in 2008 announced it was banning 36 Union of Good member organizations, including IHH, because of their support for Hamas.

IHH officials announced this week that they would send another flotilla of ships to Gaza next month.