Anti-Zionist ‘scammed’ by Gaza-based Palestinian activist

Campaigner has claimed that thousands of pounds he thought he had raised for Palestinian charities was stolen by a Gazan friend


A prominent anti-Israel campaigner has claimed that thousands of pounds he thought he had raised for Palestinian charities was stolen by a Gaza-based activist he regarded as his friend.

Former NHS trade union shop steward Pete Gregson, who was expelled from the GMB union after he claimed Israel “exaggerates” the Holocaust, raised money for Gaza-based Mohammed Almadhoun who he now claims syphoned off much of the cash.

Edinburgh-based Mr Gregson was thrown out of his union in 2019 after claiming Israel was “a racist endeavour” and used the Nazis’ murder of six million Jews “for political ends”.

Until recently he worked closely with Mr Almadhoun, who he described as running an educational centre for orphans and poor students.

Describing his then-friend’s work on a crowd-funding page he set up, Mr Gregson wrote: “Everybody involved with the centre is a volunteer — no-one gets paid. And all costs must be raised by Mohammed from donations; there is no funding from anywhere apart from people like you.”

The pair worked together to twin Edinburgh with Gaza City, and the Palestinian activist introduced a video created by Mr Gregson for a “Gig for Gaza” held in the Scottish capital.
After Mr Almadhoun said he had been diagnosed with a brain tumour Mr Gregson helped raise thousands of pounds for emergency surgery. He also says he then gave his own money to pay for Mr Almadhoun’s daughter to have a hernia operation.

But, the Scottish anti-Zionist activist now claims, it was a “humongous fraud”.
In an email to supporters, Mr Gregson wrote: “The medical bills for a non-existent dying son, a wife who wasn’t ill, a brain tumour that wasn’t there and a daughter who wasn’t endlessly ill has convinced me that Mohammed will tell lies with impunity if it means he can scam money.”

He added: “Again and again, I lent him money to pay the bills. Indeed, there have been so many awful situations that Mohammed has been in since April, that I often wondered how one man could suffer so much ill-fortune.”

Mr Almadhoun had also asked for money to repair damage to his educational centre but the picture he posted on a fundraising website of the allegedly damaged school in May 2019 had previously been used in international news reports about bomb damage at a school in Syria in 2012.

In October, Mr Gregson asked for yet more money. He wrote: “We’ve now raised £928 for Mohammed’s brain surgery. Removing the malignant cancer will cost $3,500 so our new total is £3,964.”

Last week, writing to his supporters, Mr Gregson claimed he realised he had been duped and claimed Mr Almadhoun had allegedly offered to repay “the thousands of pounds he owed me”.

In an email to the JC Mr Gregson wrote how he slowly realised that his friend was taking advantage of him and other donors.

He said: “You need to appreciate that Mohammed Almadhoun runs the “Take my Hand” youth club and that, until recently, we worked with around 25 young people in his club five times a week doing English classes. I have spent a great deal of time with those Take my Hand children.

It was Mohammed’s volunteering work in the community that was quite laudable.” But gradually he claims it became clear that not all the money Mr Almadhoun was asking him for was for genuine good causes.

He said he still believed “the youth work project was genuine” but that, “his medical bills were not… I realised Mohammed was spinning me a line”. He said that he had now lodged a complaint against Mr Almoudhoun with the Gaza police.

In a call with the JC Mr Almoudhoun acknowledged he had lied about having to pay medical bills and claimed, “I made a mistake”.He added: “I feel very, very bad for the things.”

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