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Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Premiership QPR Chairman Tony Fernandes on Israel and the Palestinians "Zionist Ethnic Cleansing" - Endorsing the "Global March to Jerusalem"


Over almost the past half-century, Queens Park Rangers (QPR) have had a number of Chairman - from the late, great Jim Gregory, and including among others: David Bulstrode, Richard Thompson, Chris Wright, Bill Power, Gianni Paladini and Flavio Briatore. Like any other club (perhaps more than most!) - and especially in recent years - QPR fans have seen their club experience various off-the-field controversies.

The current Chairman is Tony Fernandes, who took over the club in August (too late!) from Flavio Briatore and Bernie Ecclestone. While the club is seemingly headed (temporarily!) back to the Championship, as a Chairman, Fernandes remains extremely popular with QPR fans - including this fan. Fernandes may have made some mistakes in his time at QPR, but overall he has very much both "talked the talk" and "walked the walk." While QPR fans are obviously unhappy with their seeming situation, that unhappiness is not directed towards the Chairman (or the rest of his board, which includes Lakshmi Mittal's son-in-law, Amit Bhatia, who serves as Vice Chairman of QPR, and is also exceedingly popular among QPR Fans).

Among the various other hats Fernandes wears is founder and CEO of Air Asia; and running an F1 Racing Team, Caterham.

And then we come to Middle East.

As previously noted on this blog, March 17, QPR Chairman Tony Fernandes (although his QPR "affiliation" is not mentioned) serves on the "World Advisory Board" of the so-called "Global March to Jerusalem" which is scheduled to conclude, March 30. Fernandes has signed onto a joint statement (see below)"QPR Chairman Tony Fernandes and Israel: "Global March to Jerusalem" Advisory Board Member "

As March 30 approaches, Tony Fernandes ("Tan Sri Anthony Francis Fernandes Malaysian entrepreneur; founder and CEO, Air Asia") remains one of the signatories to the statement (which has added a few names.) Anyone familiar with the views of the people signing on to this statement - not to mention the various organizations and countries (such as Iran) endorsing this March - will recognize this for what it is. And one might note that there is zero mention of any recognition or Israel or of the Jewish historical ties to Jerusalem.

Besides the Global March’s “No Israel” logo, the use of certain phrases in official March statements makes clear its view of Israel: “Zionist Enemy"..."the racist Zionist state of Israel” “Israeli apartheid,” “crime against humanity,” “ethnic cleansing,” and “the occupation of Palestine in 1948” are just some of the terms employed.

The Global March’s organizing statement declares that “[t]he March will demand freedom for Jerusalem and its people and to put an end to the Apartheid, ethnic cleansing and Judaisation policies affecting the people, land and sanctity of Jerusalem. The march will confirm that the policies and practices of the racist Zionist state of Israel against Jerusalem and its people are a crime not only against Palestinians but against all humanity.”

The Global March's Advisory Board issued a joint statement, declaring “[We] are alarmed and deeply troubled by the continuing repression of Palestinians in Jerusalem and by the deliberate and systematic attempts to expel and reduce the Christian and Muslim Palestinian population of the city as part of the policy called “Judaisation,” which is being applied to every part of historic Palestine.… "

“The people of the world have therefore taken it upon themselves to prevent this abomination, by mobilizing themselves in every part of the world and representing all religious, humanitarian, and cultural backgrounds in a global march to Jerusalem (GMJ) aimed at guarding the City of Peace from becoming a wasteland of intolerance..."

“We support the right of the Palestinian People to self-determination, to liberate their lands and to live on them in freedom and dignity like all other people on earth..."

“We support the non-negotiable & inalienable rights of the Palestinian People, including their families, to return to their homes and lands from which they were uprooted.”

To state the obvious, Tony Fernandes can adopt and support any cause he wants; and to advocate any position he choses. And this may in fact be a cause and a perspective held by many (or most) around the world; in England; and even among QPR supporters. Certainly in Malaysia, it is undoubtably an extremely popular position.

However at least for this one QPR fan, it is deeply, deeply disturbing that the Chairman of QPR should support such a position and endorse such a statement - which employs such terms and glaringly incorporates absolutely no recognition of Israel, regardless of its boundaries; and no mention that there is any Jewish historical ties to Jerusalem or to Israel.

The Complete Advisory Board Statement and Updated List of Signatories


For Immediate release:
Global March to Jerusalem gathers support
Distinguished Advisory Board includes Nobel Laureates, issues declaration

On March 30th this year, people from around the world will join Palestinians throughout the Middle East and in the Diaspora in a ground-­‐breaking initiative: the Global March to Jerusalem, a day of peaceful, nonviolent demonstrations In Palestine and surrounding countries.

Every year on March 30th Palestinians around the world remember Land Day, which commemorates a general strike and marches in 1976 against Israeli land appropriation, a pivotal event in bringing about Palestinian national unity. This year Palestinians will call attention to the dangers facing Jerusalem as a city that embodies the cultural heritage of the three monotheistic religions: Islam, Christianity, and Judaism.

In a strategy to Judaise the holy city, the Israeli government has long denied most Palestinians – whether Muslim or Christian – access to Jerusalem, even to visit holy sites. Through methods of ethnic cleansing, Israel has been forcing Jerusalem’s remaining Palestinian inhabitants out, thus endangering the multi-­‐religious, multi-­‐ethnic character of the city that is the intended capital of Palestine.

Now a distinguished Advisory Board of political, religious, and cultural leaders as well as leading scholars from around the world is lending its weight in support of the Global March to Jerusalem. In a strongly worded declaration, the Advisory Board members state that Israeli government efforts to change the Arabic and cultural identity of the city are a crime against humanity. They urge that all of humanity actively support this peaceful Palestinian civil resistance movement.

The Palestinian coalition organizing the Global March to Jerusalem is perhaps unprecedented in its breadth and brings together virtually all political and religious perspectives among the Palestinian people. Supporters in five continents are joining them in a multi-­‐cultural, multi-­‐religious, multi-­‐lingual effort on March 30th that includes sending delegations to join the March itself and preparing local solidarity actions as well as demonstrations at Israeli Embassies in key cities. Land caravans from India, Indonesia, and Malaysia, are already making their way towards Jerusalem, and delegations from dozens of countries are expected.

On March 30th, the Palestinians and their international supporters will attempt to get as close to Jerusalem as they can: whether at the borders of Lebanon and Jordan, at checkpoints in the West Bank, or at the Erez crossing in Gaza. There will also be a demonstration in Jerusalem itself. Many of the Advisors will personally participate in the March: for example, Irish Nobel Laureate Mairead Maguire will join the protests in Lebanon.

Among the Advisory Board members who signed the declaration are Archbishop Desmond Tutu, South African Nobel Peace Laureate; Swami Agnivesh, former Member of the Indian Parliament; George Galloway, former Member of the British Parliament; Dr. Cornel West, philosopher, writer and civil rights activist; Dr. Mustafa Barghouti, Secretary General of the Palestinian National Initiative; Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb, author and activist in the Jewish Renewal Movement; Ronnie Kasrils, South African national liberation leader and former cabinet minister; Dr. Norman Paech, former Member of the German Parliament; Marwah Daud Ibrahim, Indonesian feminist, writer and Member of Parliament; Dr. Jeremiah Wright, Pastor Emeritus at the Trinity United Church of Christ; Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammed, former Prime Minister of Malaysia; Sheikh Raed Salah, founder of the Islamic Movement for ’48 Palestinians; Ahmad Obeidat, Former Jordanian Prime Minister; Bouguerra Soltani, Algerian Government Minister; Neta Golan, Co-­‐Founder of the International Solidarity Movement; and H.E. Atallah Hanna, Archbishop of Sebastia, Patriarchate of Jerusalem.

During a time of upheaval throughout the Middle East, the nonviolent demonstrations on Palestinian Land Day this year could well mark a turning point in the Palestinian struggle for liberation and self-­‐determination. The declaration in support of the Global March to Jerusalem by this distinguished Advisory Board underscores the key role the international community can and must play in supporting the struggle for more just and democratic societies throughout the Middle East, and in Palestine. Indeed such strong support demonstrates to the world that "the people of the world demand freedom for Jerusalem" and all of Palestine.

For media enquiries please contact Zaher Birawi: +44 7850 896 057 /

Full declaration of support and a selected list of signatories

We, the Advisory Board of the Global March to Jerusalem, are alarmed and deeply troubled by the continuing repression of Palestinians in Jerusalem and by the deliberate and systematic attempts to expel and reduce the Christian and Muslim Palestinian population of the city as part of the policy called “Judaisation,” which is being applied to every part of historic Palestine.

This policy is inconsistent with all relevant United Nations resolutions on Jerusalem and contrary to the most basic principles of international law. Its purpose is plainly to ethnically cleanse Jerusalem of its non-­‐Jewish population and transform a once proud symbol of international tolerance and religious and cultural diversity into an exclusionary and racist enclave.
Jerusalem is our common universal heritage. It is the centre of spirituality and ideological significance for all of the monotheistic religions, and a beacon of emancipation and hope for the downtrodden. This historic city is venerated across the world for enhancing the spiritual heritage of all humanity; it has been a symbol of unity and equality, with a message of love, mercy and compassion.

However the entire world is now witnessing a threat to the sovereignty, sanctity and inviolability of Jerusalem. The plan is not only to destroy the Muslim and Christian presence, but also to change and dismantle the social structure of Jerusalem, obliterating its indigenous Arab identity and changing the character of the city.

The people of the world have therefore taken it upon themselves to prevent this abomination, by mobilizing themselves in every part of the world and representing all religious, humanitarian, and cultural backgrounds in a global march to Jerusalem (GMJ) aimed at guarding the City of Peace from becoming a wasteland of intolerance. We therefore lend our names to support the convergence of people from all countries and continents of the world to Jerusalem, and to the nearest points to which they are able to approach, both inside Palestine and at the Palestinian borders with Jordan, Egypt, Syria and Lebanon, as well as in their own countries, in a peaceful march towards Jerusalem.

We therefore support this effort, and encourage all of humanity to support it, by making the pledge set forth below, that all participants in the Global March to Jerusalem have agreed to accept.

We assert the importance of Jerusalem politically, culturally and religiously to the Palestinian people and humanity as a whole. We call for the protection of the Holy Places and all archeological sites and consider all the efforts done to change its Arabic and cultural identity as a crime against humanity. We call on all international institutions to do their duties towards the city.
The defense of Jerusalem and its liberation are a duty of all free people around the world and we call on all institutions, organizations, and individuals to participate in this duty.

We condemn the Zionist campaign of ethnic cleansing in Jerusalem and the rest of Palestine including all ongoing policies intended to change the demographic and geographic situation in the city and aimed at its Judaisation. We also condemn the continuation of the Zionist occupation forces in building the apartheid wall that aims to expropriate more Palestinian lands and convert the occupied areas into shrinking cantons isolated from each other.

We support the right of the Palestinian People to self-­‐determination, to liberate their lands and to live on them in freedom and dignity like all other people on earth.

We support the non-­‐negotiable & inalienable rights of the Palestinian People, including their families, to return to their homes and lands from which they were uprooted.

We reject all racist laws that distinguish between people based on ethnicity or religion and call for their cancellation and criminalization.

The Global March to Jerusalem does not represent any one faction or political party, but we call for participation of all social forces, political factions, and ideologies.

The Global March to Jerusalem is a global peaceful movement, which does not use violence to achieve its goals.

The Advisory Board of the Global March to Jerusalem (partial listing of names)

Shaikh Dr. Abdul Ghani al-­‐Tamimi,
Poet and preacher; chairman of the Palestine Scholars Abroad

Abdul Ghaffar Aziz
Coordinator of Pakistani NGOs in Solidarity with Palestine

Abdullatif Arabiyyat
Former Speaker of the Jordanian Parliament

Swami Agnivesh
Founder, Bonded Labour Liberation Front and World Council of Arya Samaj; former Member of the Indian parliament; former Chairperson of the UN Voluntary Trust Fund on Contemporary Forms of Slavery

Ahmad Obeidat
Former Jordanian Prime Minister & Head of the National Front for Reform

Dr. Ahmed Mohammed Attia Bahar
Vice President, Palestinian Legislative Council

Tan Sri Anthony Francis Fernandes
Malaysian entrepreneur; founder and CEO, Air Asia

Dr. Anton Shuhaiber
Gaza Christian Association

Arnold Hottinger
Swiss journalist and publicist; former Middle East correspondent for the Neue Z├╝rcher Zeitung

H.E. Atallah Hanna
Archbishop of Sebastia, Patriarchate of Jerusalem

Bouguerra Soltani
Algerian Government Minister, party leader for the Movement of the Society for Peace

Cindy Sheehan
Anti-­‐war activist; mother of US soldier killed in Iraq; author

Dr. Cornel West
Professor of African American studies. Princeton University; philosopher, writer and civil rights activist

Datuk Yasmin Yusoff
Malaysian actress and television host

David Hartsough
Director, Peaceworkers, San Francisco

Archbishop Desmond Tutu
Nobel Peace Laureate

HE Dr. Dzukelly Ahmad
Member of the Malaysian parliament

Evelyn Hecht-­‐Galinski
Jewish German author, activist and publicist

Dr. Francis Boyle
Professor of International Law, University of Illinois

Dr. Franco Cavalli
Oncologist and former leader of the Swiss Social Democrat Party parliamentary group

George Galloway
Former Member of British Parliament and Founder of Viva Palestina

Dr. Ghada Karmi
Writer and Co-­‐Director, Centre for Palestine Studies, University of Exeter

Gretta Duisenberg
Founder and Chair, “Stop the Occupation” (Netherlands); Free Gaza Movement Board Member

Hafizullah Niazi
Prominent leader of Pakistan Tehreek Insaf (Imran Khan party)

Dr. Hammam Said
Head of the Jordanian Consultative Council of the Muslim Brothers

Hilarion Capucci
Archbishop of Caesarea, Greek Melkite Church

Ibrahim Nasrallah
Jordanian-­‐Palestinian Poet & Novelist

Dr. Jeremiah Wright
Pastor Emeritus, Trinity United Church of Christ, Chicago, Illinois, USA

Prof. Judith Butler
Writer and philosopher, University of California, Berkeley

Laith Shubeilat
Former Jordanian Parliamentarian

Lalita Ramdas
Chair, Greenpeace International

Lauren Booth
Broadcaster, journalist and activist

Admiral Laxminarayan Ramdas
Magsaysay Peace Award Recipient and anti-­‐nuclear advocate

Dr. Leo Gabriel
Austrian socio-­‐anthropologist, journalist and documentary filmmaker; member, World Social Forum International Council

Fr. Louis Vitale
Order of Franciscan Monks; Pace e Bene; nonviolent resistor

Rabbi Lynn Gottlieb
Jewish Renewal Movement

Tun Dr. Mahathir Mohammed
Former Prime Minister of Malaysia

Mairead McGuire
Nobel Peace Laureate

Marzuki Alie
Speaker, Indonesian House of Representatives

Marwah Daud Ibrahim
Indonesian feminist, writer and Member of Parliament

Medha Patkar
Leader, National Alliance of People’s Movements; Recipient, Right Livelihood Award, Goldman Environment Prize & Amnesty International Human Rights Defenders Award

Michel Warschawski
Anti-­‐Zionist activist and journalist; co-­‐founder, Alternative Information Center

Dr. Mustafa Barghouti
Secretary General, Palestinian National Initiative; President, Union of Palestinian Medical Relief Committees

Neta Golan
Co-­‐Founder, International Solidarity Movement

Dr. Norman Paech
Former Member of the German Parliament; professor of law, emeritus, University of Hamburg

Sheikh Raed Salah
President of the Islamic movement within the 1949 Ceasefire Line

Raja Zafar ul Haq
Pakistani senator; Chairman, Pakistan Muslim Leaque; General Secretary, World Muslim League

Justice Rajinder Sachar
Former Chief Justice, Delhi High Court; Member, UN Sub-­‐Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities; Senior Advisor & Counsel, People’s Union for Civil Liberties

Ronnie Kasrils
South African national liberation leader and former cabinet minister

Seema Mustafa
Syndicated columnist & former political editor, Asian Age Prof. Siddique Hassan
Director, Vision 2016; Assistant Amir of the Jamat-­‐e-­‐Islami, Hind

Subhi Ghosheh
Chairman, Jordanian Beitul-­‐Maqdes Forum

Syeda Hameed
Columnist, The Indian Express; Member, Indian National Planning Commission

Dr. Tanveer Ahmad Zubairi
President, International Organization of Doctors

Tikva Honig-­‐Parnass
Author and anti-­‐Zionist activist

HE Tony Pua Kiam Wee
Member of the Malaysian parliament

Tujan Faysal
First elected woman Jordanian Parliamentarian

Uri Davis
Author and civil rights activist

Admiral Vishnu Bhagwat
Former Chief of the Naval Staff of India

Mrs. Wardina Safiyyah
Malaysian actress and television host

Dr. Yacoub Zaiadeen
Former Jerusalem Representative to the Jordanian parliament

Sheikh Yousuf Jumaa
Former Palestinian Minister of Awqaf and Religious Affairs; former preacher of Al-­‐Aqsa Mosque

Dr. Zakaria Agha M.D.
Member, Palestine Liberation Organization Executive Committee; former chair, Gaza Strip Medical Association

Dr. Zeenat Shaukat Ali
Author; Vice Chairman and Founder Trustee of SAGE Foundation; Professor of Islamic Studies, St. Xavier’s College, Mumbai

- Global March to Jerusalem

Statement from Advisory Board Members

About the Global March to Jerusalem

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