Standing down the hate-filled jury

July 16th, 2010


As we see today in the wholesale perversion of law in the service of Israel’s destruction in Western countries, law is but a tool. And it can be a force for injustice.

In Britain today, hating Israel has become a valid criminal defense. Last week five people charged with destroying property valued at some $225,000 at the EDO MBM arms factory in Brighton during a January 2009 break-in were found not guilty of all charges. They were found innocent although all five admitted to having committed the crime.

As the Guardian reported, the defendants boasted in on-line forums at the time of the incident, their crime was premeditated. It took place during the IDF’s campaign against Hamas in Gaza. Their declared aim was to “smash up” the factory. And they achieved their goal.

The jury found the five innocent because it accepted as a valid defense their claim that they vandalized the plant because they wanted to prevent Israel from carrying out war crimes in Gaza. EDO MBM does business with the IDF, therefore, the defendants claimed and the jury agreed, it deserved to be attacked.

In finding as they did, the jurors were acting in accordance with the guidance they received from the presiding judge. As the Guardian reported, Judge George Bathurst- Norman instructed the jury, “You may well think that hell on earth would not be an understatement of what the Gazans suffered in that time.”

What this verdict shows is that in British courts, hatred of Israel has become a license to break the law. This turn of events is the logical flipside of Parliament’s abject refusal to amend Britain’s outrageous universal jurisdiction law. British lawmakers, government officials and jurists all basically agree that the law, which allows magistrates to issue arrest warrants against foreigners based on allegations filed by British subjects, is a legal travesty. It subverts the capacity of the British government to conduct foreign policy by placing all foreigners at the mercy of political activists.

Both Spain and Belgium amended their universal jurisdiction laws for this reason.

But in Britain no amendment is in the offing because the demand for the amendment is linked to Israel. Since Israel-hating activists began hijacking magistrates courts to force the issuance of arrest warrants against Israeli military personnel and politicians five years ago, Israel has repeatedly asked that the law be changed. And because Israel wants it changed, it will remain in force.

In fact, not only will it remain in force, its use against Israelis expands by the day. Today anyone who served in the IDF has to think twice about traveling to Britain lest doing so place him or her in jeopardy of being arrested on trumped-up charges.

What both the Brighton court’s verdict and the abuse of the universal jurisdiction law show is that today in England, Israelis cannot assume that the laws will protect them. And by the same token, haters of Israel can assume that they will be immune from punishment for violent attacks against Israel-related targets.

THE PERVERSION of the legal system in England isn’t unique. Take the situation in Malmo, Sweden, for instance. In an almost one-to-one parallel of the arguments that won the day in the Brighton courtroom, in January Malmo Mayor Ilmar Reepalu used the occasion of Holocaust Remembrance Day to bash Israel and Israel supporters and equate them with Nazi Germany.

Over the past few years, Malmo’s Jewish community has been fleeing the city due to the massive increase in anti-Jewish violence conducted by an alliance of Muslims and leftists. Reepalu denied there is anti-Jewish violence in his city and then went on to blame the city’s Jewish residents for the violence launched against them. As he put it to the Skanska Dagbladet newspaper, if the city’s Jews don’t wish to be attacked, all they have to do is denounce Israel. But, he said, “instead the community chose to hold a pro-Israel demonstration,” adding darkly that its action, “may convey the wrong message to others.”

So like the EDO MBM plant, Malmo’s Jews deserve to be attacked.

Then there is the situation in Australia. In the weeks that followed the Mossad’s alleged assassination of Hamas terror-master Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai in January, Australia’s generally relaxed Foreign Ministry sprang into action. No, it didn’t attack Dubai for allowing wanted terrorists to roam free and enjoy the famed hospitality at one of its luxury hotels. Australia’s Foreign Ministry angrily expelled an Israeli diplomat amid unproven accusations that the Mossad officers allegedly involved in the counterterror operation used forged Australian passports to enter Dubai.

Notably, the fire-in-the-belly attitude that marked Australia’s assault on Israeli embassy personnel had no parallel in an Australian federal court last week as Judge Neil McKerracher adjudicated an extradition request from Hungary.

Hungary requested the extradition of retired Nazi Charles Zentai, who is wanted there for his role in the 1944 murder of Peter Balasz. Balasz was 18 when he was killed.

Zentai and his fellow Nazis killed him because he was Jewish and threw his body into the Danube River.

There is no statute of limitations for Zentai’s crime. Yet, McKerracher didn’t care about the law. Instead he followed his heart. And his heart told him that extraditing the 88-yearold war criminal who has evaded justice for 66 years would be “oppressive and incompatible with humanitarian considerations.” And so he denied Hungary’s request.

To sum up the situation Down Under, an Israeli diplomat got expelled because Israel allegedly used Australian passports to kill a senior member of an organization dedicated to the eradication of Jewry. And an Australian judge ruled that a Nazi war criminal who actively participated in the genocide of Jewry can live out the rest of his life in peace in the bosom of his family.

THIS BRINGS us back to Britain for a moment. Britain was the first country to expel Israeli diplomats over the Mabhouh incident.

The Foreign Office received the rousing support of the British media for its action. The Guardian, for instance, characterized the alleged use of British passports in the Mabhouh operation as the action of an “arrogant nation that has overreached itself.”

Notably, while Israel allegedly used forged British passports to target a terrorist, last week it emerged that Russia used British passports to spy on the US. Reports of the Russian spy ring that was arrested last week in the US indicate that members of the ring used forged British passports. Amazingly (or actually, predictably) neither the Foreign Office nor the British media have taken or called for action to be taken against Russian embassy personnel for abusing British travel documents.

As to the international campaign against Israel following the Mabhouh assassination, this week Poland is set to rule on Germany’s extradition request for Uri Brodsky. Polish officials acting on a German warrant arrested him at a Polish airport last month for his alleged role in forging a German passport for one of the alleged Mossad operatives involved in the Mabhouh operation. Germany is adamant that Poland send Brodsky to Germany to stand trial for his alleged role in assisting in the targeted killing of a wanted terror mastermind.

Germany’s feverish insistence that Brodsky stand trial is of a piece with its newfound appetite for waging political warfare against Israel.

Last week the Bundestag unanimously passed a resolution calling for an international investigation of the IDF’s takeover of the Turkish- Hamas ship Mavi Marmara on May 31.

The resolution also demanded that Israel immediately end its lawful maritime blockade of the Gaza coast and slammed it for violating the principle of proportionality.

Like the court in Brighton, the Bundestag’s action asserts that Israel is guilty by nature and that as a consequence, unlike every other country, it cannot be judged by an impartial body. Rather, as the British judge made clear in his libelous instructions to the Brighton jury, guilty Israel must be judged by a hanging jury that draws its conclusions in advance.

ONE QUESTION that necessarily arises amid any discussion of this legalistic-political assault and the worldwide perversion of law in the service of Israel’s enemies is where is our government in all of this? Where are our leaders? Where is the Foreign Ministry? Where is the Justice Ministry? Last week Britain’s Methodist Church voted to boycott all products emanating from Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and from Jewish neighborhoods in east Jerusalem.

It probably goes without saying that the Methodist Church has levied no similar boycott against any other country. Indeed, as Robin Shepherd wrote in “The banality of Methodist evil” in Monday’s Jerusalem Post, not only did the Methodist Church never consider boycotting say Sudan or Iran or Saudi Arabia for their human rights abuses, the only countries the Methodists considered attacking other than Israel were Britain and the US for having relations with Israel.

As Shepherd relates, among other factors guiding the church’s decision was its members’ assertion during the boycott deliberations that Jews worship a racist God.

Shepherd recommends that Israel fight fire with fire. In his words, “If the Methodist Church is to launch a boycott of Israel, let Israel respond in kind: Ban their officials from entering; deport their missionaries; block their church-funds; close down their offices; and tax their churches. If it’s war, it’s war.”

These recommendations are eminently reasonable.

And indeed, the government has no cause for not adopting them.

For generations Jews have clung to the belief that law is intrinsically good and if we follow the law, the law will protect us. But this has never been more than a fool’s belief.

As we see today in the wholesale perversion of law in the service of Israel’s destruction in countries around the Western world, law is but a tool. Depending on who wields it, it can be a force for injustice just as easily as it can be a tool for pursuing justice.

Israel’s response to date to all of these legal assaults against its detractors has been muted and defensive. But as the energized boycott movement and the Brighton court’s obscene ruling and similar actions throughout the world show, Israel must itself take up the law as a cudgel to beat its foes.

Where are our government lawyers? Why aren’t they issuing international arrest warrants against every agent of Hamas and Hizbullah? Where are our diplomats? Why aren’t they expelling British, Swedish, Australian and German diplomats involved in subverting our sovereignty in Jerusalem and other criminal activities? Where are our political leaders? It is not enough to decry the international campaign to delegitimize Israel in speeches before foreign audiences and in newspaper interviews. A war is being waged against us and it is well past time for us to fight back and fight to win.

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Copyright by The Jerusalem Post

An irrational, obscene hatred

July 16th, 2010


Israel is a cartoon villain, beyond sympathy, beyond even redemption. What is shocking – and frightening – is that the narrative the world accepts is always that of Israel as the evildoer.

‘Shut up. Go back to Auschwitz.” That was the response from the “peace flotilla” when Israel broadcast a radio message warning the Turkish flotilla that it was about to enter an area under naval blockade. In another response, someone on board the “humanitarian aid convoy” replied: “We’re helping the Arabs go against the US. Don’t forget 9/11, guys.” After these exchanges, IDF commandos landed on the ships. On the Mavi Marmara they were attacked by pro-Palestinian activists wielding iron bars.

Turkish papers have now published photographs of soldiers bleeding badly as they are assaulted by thugs.

Eventually the commandos shot back in self-defense and nine activists were killed. It was a disaster for Israel and a triumph for those who hate Israel, Jews and the West. Bulent Yildirim, head of the Turkish Islamist organization IHH, which organized the flotilla, exulted in a speech to an audience he called “people of paradise.” “Last night, everything in the world has changed, and everything is progressing toward Islam,” he said.

THAT IS the reality today. Consider these words from Sheikh Hussein bin Mahmud, a pseudonymous but apparently popular commentator in the global jihadist community: “Everyone who has had contact with the Jews and lived alongside them, in the East and in the West, has spurned them, loathed them and detested them, to the point where Hitler said, ‘I could kill all the Jews in the world, but I left a few alive so that the entire world will know why I killed the Jews.’”

Such raw hatred of Jews, let alone Israel, is commonplace in the Middle East, even without an excuse such as last week’s deadly incident. The “peace flotilla” was no such thing. It had some peaceful people aboard, but its organizer, IHH, is a part of the Muslim Brotherhood, an openly terrorist organization pledged to the destruction of Israel and the triumph of Shari’a law everywhere. Scores of the “peace passengers” were Islamic militants pledged to kill Jews and secure martyrdom for themselves. Hence the confrontation with the Israeli commandos and the tragedy of the deaths on board.

That was not enough for Sheikh Hussein. He declared that the Turks should “kill every Jew in Turkey.” Moreover, “Gaza does not want ‘freedom ships’ bearing blonde women with Muslim, Christian, Jewish and atheist men; it wants a naval fleet and a land army bearing black Islamic banners… Gaza will not agree to a cease-fire with the Jews. On the contrary, it is thirsty to drink the blood of the sons of apes and pigs, and it is hungry and longs to devour the body parts of these cowards.”

Western critics of Israel often say that they are not anti-Semitic, merely anti-Zionist. No such distinction occurs to commentators such as Sheikh Hussein – Jews, Israelis, they are all “the sons of apes and pigs.”

It is not surprising that such racist loathing creates a siege mentality in Israel. Worse is the fact that Israelis know it’s not just “the black Islamic banners” with which they have to contend, but also the irrational hatred of much of the rest of the world

The realities of Gaza, Israel and the West Bank – where, with Israel’s assistance, the Palestinian economy is booming – are deemed irrelevant to the conventional narrative. Israel is a cartoon villain, beyond sympathy, beyond even redemption. What is deeply shocking – and frightening – is that the narrative the world accepts is always that of Israel the evildoer.

It was true with the so-called Jenin massacre allegedly committed by the Israelis in 2002. There was no such massacre. It was a lie that was widely and uncritically propagated by the UN, Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch and the BBC. It is true today. The hatred that Israel arouses is absurd, even obscene. One senior military source was quoted last week as saying it did not matter what his country did; however carefully it responded to such events as the “peace flotilla,” it would always be condemned in the UN, on the BBC and almost everywhere else.

The bien pensants of the Western world are never prepared to give Israel the benefit of any doubt. The UN has become more of a lynch mob than a constructive debating chamber. Israel’s right to defend itself is ignored. So is the fact that Iran has threatened to obliterate it, and that the Hamas rulers of Gaza are Iranian agents also pledged to its destruction.

LAST WEEK, the UN, as always, jumped instantly to the conclusions most damaging to Israel. The UN Human Rights Council, of which Iran is a member, instantly denounced Israel for its “attacks on the flotilla of ships carrying humanitarian assistance.”

Similarly, the Israeli ambassador to the EU was harangued and abused in the European Parliament’s Foreign Affairs Committee. No one was interested in his explanation, and when he showed images of IDF soldiers being beaten with iron bars on the Mavi Marmara, MEPs asserted the film was faked propaganda. The only person to defend Israel at all was Charles Tannock, the Conservative MEP. (Unlike the Israeli ambassador, the Iranian ambassador was treated with courtesy.)

Israel is an imperfect society (like any other), but it has extraordinary social, scientific and scholastic achievements. Despite living under endless threats, it is far closer to the liberal ideal of a free society than any other in the Middle East. But it gets scant credit.

Europe prides itself on its tolerance of gay rights, free speech and feminism. These are all integral to Israeli society also, but Israel gets scant credit for that. Radical Muslims, on the other hand, stone women, hang homosexuals and kill to deny free speech. Do Europeans protest that? Not many, not often.

Israel is held to a far higher standard than any other nation. Few people seem to care much about North Korean atrocities, at home and abroad, let alone its terrifying nuclear defiance of the world. No one marches or calls emergency meetings of the UN and the EU to protest the vicious Muslim brutality against other Muslims that takes place every day throughout the Islamic world – and beyond. No one demonstrates on behalf of Christians murdered in the Middle East, their churches burned. Such horrors are waved away. Only Israel merits such constant abuse.

The Muslim world and the Western Left are in an unholy alliance; they do not want to improve the Jewish state, they want to remove it. Israel has come to expect double standards from Europe and assault from the UN.

Much more serious is the loss of support from the Obama administration.

In his attempts to reach out to the Islamic world, Barack Obama has abandoned the US tradition of whole-hearted support for one of its principal allies.

He has showed himself far more tolerant of (or unconcerned by) abuses of power in the Muslim world than by mistakes of Israel.

Most recently, Obama backed a Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty conference statement that singled out Israel in calling for a nuclear-free Middle East. No other president has ever done that, and Israelis are understandably concerned. What Obama does not seem to understand is that his lack of support for Israel not only saps Israel, it emboldens its enemies.

The Middle East and the world are now a much more dangerous place as “the sons [and daughters] of apes and pigs” are delegitimized once again. On their way back to Auschwitz, if their enemies succeed.

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Copyright by William Shawcross, a British writer and journalist. In 2003 he wrote Allies – Why the West had to remove Saddam. Now working on a book about the implications of the trial of Khalid Sheikh Mohammed to be published by Public Affairs Press, NYC.

Why aid the enemy?

July 5th, 2010

By Prof. Efraim Inbar

Israel has every right to close its border to a belligerent neighbor intent on eradicating it.

Bowing to misguided international pressure, particularly from the West, the government lifted nearly three years of restrictions on civilian goods allowed into the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip. The restrictions had been imposed in reaction to the repeated launching of missiles into the Negev. This decision hardly makes any strategic sense because it helps Hamas, an ally of revolutionary Islamist Iran. Both are anti-Western forces focused on destroying the Jewish state.

The easing of the blockade reflects the success of a Hamas propaganda campaign to depict the situation in Gaza as a humanitarian disaster.

While Gaza is not prospering, the standard of living there is generally higher than in Egypt – a little-noticed fact. The ability of this Goebbels-type propaganda to entrench a tremendous lie in the consciousness of the international community testifies to the continued vulnerability of naive Westerners to sophisticated psychological warfare, and to the complicity of much of the Western press in this enterprise.

The step taken by the government also significantly helps Hamas strengthen its grip on Gazans, as it controls the distribution of any goods entering its territory. Moreover, even if Hamas allows for a general improvement in the daily lives of all Gazans, this reduces the incentive for regime change, which should be part of the Western goal. Strengthening this radical theological regime in the eastern Mediterranean defies Western rational thinking.

The entrenchment of Hamas rule in Gaza amplifies the schism in Palestinian society and strengthens Hamas’s influence in the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority. It is also a slap in the face of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, who demanded the blockade’s continuation. Hamas’s achievement here further undermines whatever ability – albeit a very limited one – the Palestinian national movement had to move toward compromise with the Jewish state.

THE INTERNATIONAL pressure that led to the decision also indicates a gross misunderstanding of Israel’s predicament and its legitimate right of self-defense. Israel totally disengaged from Gaza in 2005, hoping that the Gazans would focus their energy on state-building and achieving prosperity.

Gazans could have decided to try to become a Hong Kong or a Singapore.

Yet Hamas turned Gaza into a political entity engaged in waging war on the Jewish state by launching thousands of missiles with the specific intention of harming civilians.

Ironically, Hamas demands that Israel allow a supply of goods into the Strip.

It is legally and morally outrageous to claim Israel is responsible for the Gazans, who are no longer under occupation and who have supported the rule of Hamas in great numbers.

After the 2005 withdrawal, Israel’s responsibilities – stemming from previously being an occupying power – ended.

Since Gaza is an enemy country, it does not deserve any special treatment from Israel beyond its legitimate steps taken in pursuit of selfdefense.

Israel, like any other sovereign state, has every right to close its border with a belligerent neighbor.

Moreover, it has no obligation to provide water, electricity, fuel or access to food and/or medical supplies to its enemies. Why on earth should it aid those that want to eradicate it? The bewildering and hypocritical international response to Israel’s attempts to prevent war material from reaching Gaza, as manifested in the criticism surrounding the Gaza flotilla incident, should be of great concern to Jerusalem. Again, we see the successful application of propaganda whose objective is to deny Israel its legitimate right of selfdefense.

This campaign is part of a larger plan designed to neutralize the superior capacity of the West, and Israel in particular.

Instead of easing the blockade, the government should have announced its intention to exercise its sovereign right to close the border with Gaza and halt the transfer of any goods to its enemy within several months.

Israel must make clear to the world that it refuses to accept responsibility for the welfare of Gazan residents, particularly since they are employing violence against the Jewish state.

The period leading up to the actual border closure should be used to establish alternative routes of supply via Egypt, which also borders Gaza.

Egypt is unlikely to welcome such a development because it prefers to keep the Gaza hot potato in Israel’s lap. However, the Egyptians are much more adept at dealing with the Gazans, whom they ruled in the past.

The Palestinians in Gaza and elsewhere are not only Israel’s problem, but constitute a regional headache.

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The writer is professor of political studies at Bar-Ilan University and director of the Begin-Sadat (BESA) Center for Strategic Studies. This article first appeared on Copyright by the author.

Treading through the baloney

July 5th, 2010

By Prof. Barry Rubin

There is so much silliness and misinformation published about the Middle East nowadays that the debris is obscuring reality. Four examples demonstrate this: First, Thomas L. Friedman’s latest gimmick is “The real Palestinian revolution.”

A real Palestinian revolution would take place when Fatah, the PA and Palestinian public opinion really changed toward accepting a two-state solution.

Instead, the “real revolution” of Friedman and PA leader Mahmoud Abbas is merely a matter of image, as in the following paragraph: “It is a revolution based on building Palestinian capacity and institutions not just resisting Israeli occupation, on the theory that if the Palestinians can build a real economy, a professional security force and an effective, transparent government bureaucracy, it will eventually become impossible for Israel to deny the Palestinians a state in the West Bank and Arab neighborhoods of east Jerusalem.”

It would be a good thing, of course, if the PA did succeed in accomplishing these goals. Yet a number of cogent questions can be raised about Friedman’s model.

Let’s suppose the PA failed to do these things. Nothing much actually seems to be changing and even if it did the PA’s modest progress to date might well collapse in a new round of extremism and violence.

So what if the PA failed? Would conventional wisdom in Washington switch to saying that Israel had no real alternative for peace and thus US policy should back Israel or would the PA merely find some new gimmick? Even if it succeeded in creating a marvelous stable, prosperous, democratic (does that mean elections that Hamas might win?) entity, would that mean it was ready to make a real and lasting peace with Israel? Not necessarily. Because the issue is not whether there is more money or less corruption but whether there is a Palestinian readiness to end the conflict, teach their people to give up their dream of getting all of Israel, provide security guarantees and be willing to resettle refugees in the state of Palestine.

Why should Israel give up territory and security to the PA merely because it prosecutes corrupt leaders (don’t hold your breath) and is more prosperous? What it needs to know is that the conflict won’t continue, that there won’t be cross-border raids, that Hamas won’t take over and that Palestine won’t invite in Syrian or Iranian military forces, to cite some examples.

But Friedman’s formula reveals the PA’s strategy: Forget about making peace with Israel, just get international support for declaring independence on its own terms.

Second, The New York Times and The Los Angeles Times seem to have a policy of running as many op-eds as possible by apologists for terrorism and advocates of engaging terrorist groups. Here’s another one from the NYT, trotting out all the misrepresentative arguments by people who never say a word about the specificity of groups like Hamas and Hizbullah, their goals, ideology and personnel: “Why we talk to terrorists” published on June 29 is the kind of article that claims that since the South African group, the African National Congress (ANC), became moderate, why not Hamas or Hizbullah? While it is true that the ANC had a military wing and engaged in some terrorism, that violence was very limited. The ANC was always led by a philosophy of peace and conciliation not—as in the case of its Middle Eastern counterparts—totalitarian dictatorship and genocide. There is no sign that the revolutionary Islamist Hamas is or wishes to become more moderate and there are good reasons why that is so.

BY COINCIDENCE, I revisited the terrorism museum in Israel recently. There were some new features, including the cigarette lighter made in China and sold in the West Bank that shows the World Trade Center on fire when clicked. There is massive documentation on the involvement of Hamas and Hizbullah in terrorism, anti- Semitism, anti-Americanism and would-be genocide. One can see videos of kids in the Hamas schools carrying out military exercises.

Watch their videos and then ask whether Hamas is intending to produce a generation of moderates.

Revolutionary Islamism and terrorism, hatred for the US and the desire to wipe out Israel (and Jews generally) are not some minor side issues for these groups but are absolutely central to their existence.

It is amazing to think of these naïve people who think they are going to talk revolutionary Islamists into being moderates, or buy them off with money (there’s that idea of prosperity solving all problems again) or concessions.

Third, members of the official US delegation to Syria made fools of themselves by twittering about the good time they were having. Syria is a repressive dictatorship.

While these American ninnies were having nice cups of coffee, a few minutes away prisoners were being tortured because they had criticized the regime.

When a US official from the delegation says: “We made it clear that we want assurances that technologies sold to Syria won’t be… used in ways to harm Syrian citizens,” does he have any idea how ridiculous this sounds? Indeed, the more American delegations show up, the more peaceful dissidents get arrested.

FINALLY, HAMAS officials are now claiming that the Obama administration is secretly contacting their regime. What is probably happening is that the US government thought itself very clever to send some well-connected but not official figures to hang out with Hamas and explore getting along with a group that happens to be backed by Iran, revolutionary Islamist, anti-Semitic, intent on genocide, repressive toward women and intolerant toward Christians, among other things.

Of course, they should understand that all this does is convince Hamas that the Obama administration is ready to make a deal so there is no reason for it to change policy. All some Hamas leaders have to do is mumble a few words into the easily deceived Americans’ ears and the fools will rush off to shout how these people are moderates in an op-ed piece.

And of course the US government makes itself subject to blackmail from Hamas, which only has to reveal whatever conversations have taken place, with some creative additions and distortions. Thus, the title of the article about this issue, “Hamas says asked by US to keep silent on talks,” illustrates that point.

Let’s be clear here. If you deal with Hamas, Hizbullah and Syria, you are dealing with thugs and murderers. Sometimes you do have to deal with thugs and murderers, but never forget that reality. And one thing you have to remember is that such people aren’t going to make deals with you, keep their promises, become moderate or respect your interests no matter how much you bribe or bow to them.

At the terrorism museum there’s a Hizbullah poster that shows people giving money to Islamist charities, that money being turned into bullets and those bullets being fired at Israel. That’s also an accurate picture of the diplomatic “charity” being given to the enemies not only of the West but also of the Middle Eastern peoples they murder and oppress.

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Prof. Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs Center and editor of Middle East Review of International Affairs and Turkish Studies. He blogs at

Published in The Jerusalem Post 04.07.10 Copyright by the author.

Reply to father of a Gaza flotilla participant

June 30th, 2010

By radio journalist Freda Keet, who responded to a letter by the father of one of the Gaza flotilla participants, published in the Jerusalem Post

To read the letter by Lt Col Lort-Philips go:

The Editor,
Jerusalem Post

Dear Sir,

In his letter to the Jerusalem Post, with its spirited defence of his daughter Alexandra, a member of the recent so-called “aid flotilla” to Gaza, Lt Col Lort-Philips, describes her as a woman of “maturity, “compassion”, and resolve”.

May I, with all due respect, through your column and with the kind help of the Lt Col, address to her the following few questions.

1) Has she ever organized, helped or encouraged any form of aid-convoy/flotilla to, for example, the Eastern Congo, where the agony of its people is beyond words. Where the rape of women is constant and brutal, and tens of thousands of women are left mentally and physically torn apart? Children live in terror and any aid is either sporadic or non-existent? True it is a dangerous place to go to, but surely for a young woman and her co-workers of such deep “compassion” and “resolve” this should not be a problem.

2) The same for Darfur where the violence and deprivation have been going on now for years with the full knowledge of the world and its compassionate “aid warriors” When the men are asked why they don’t go out of the relative safety of the camps themselves to collect the firewood instead of sending the women ( a ludicrous idea in view of the general attitude to “men’s work” and the place of women in African society ), the men reply: “If we go out we are killed, if the women go out they are only raped”!

3) On the border between Somalia and Kenya is one of the largest refugee camps in the world, well over 300 thousand people, desperate refugees who have fled the savagery of Somalia, living in total isolation squalor and deprivation. There is little or no aid for them, and they are the abandoned, the “Le Miserables” of the world, with no hope and just a few brave aid workers trying fruitlessly and helplessly to offer support.

Could any of the Gaza/ Flotilla aid-workers even find these countries on the map??

And then contrast this with the problems of Gaza. Yes, life is difficult and yes they live under siege and with a repressive Hamas regime, and yes there are shortages and frustrations. But the population of Gaza receives, per capita, more international aid than any other group on earth. They inspire more love devotion and compassion, (that word again!) than any other community. The eyes of the whole world focus protectively upon them, and Gaza has become the darling of the Western world and its favourite cause and passionate rallying cry.

Israel sends through to Gaza regular aid convoys of food and medicine. The UN is a constant presence, as is the Palestinian aid organisation UNWRA and a multiplicity of other international support groups are also present providing aid and help. And still, around the world the protest marches are organised for the “starving” in Gaza. And aid flotillas line up to come to the rescue.

May I finally ask the following questions, addressed to all these “keepers of the world’s conscience”

1) Do you actually have some kind of point system to grade suffering and worthiness for aid convoys/flotillas? If so what is it based upon?

2) Does Africa appear on this list in any place at all, even at the very bottom? Because just as your heart seems to go out to the Gazans so does mine, painfully and passionately go out to the abandoned of Africa!

3) Is Palestinian/Gazan blood considered more valuable, Palestinian “suffering” more worthy than that of ordinary black women and children of Africa?

4) Could it be that there is a reluctance to go to these forsaken places, because it would all be done well off the world stage, without a world audience, well away from the brilliant spotlight of the media , no teams of TV reporters flocking to the scene, no heroic images in newspaper interviews, no moments of fame and glory ? No chance for defiance, no opportunity to galvanise the “troops”?

And perhaps it is just as well that they don’t go to Africa!. They might encounter conditions that would make them really really “cross”, instead of just plain “cross” which we are told was their reaction to the “flotilla” episode. “Cross”, mind you, in a world gone mad with violence!!!

5) And this question really puzzles me. What is it about the Palestinians/Gazans that has so captivated your devotion and self righteous indignation Alexandra? Could it have something to do with the fact that their “enemy” is the Jews? Such a convenient and well tested scapegoat!

Of course if any of the “flotilla fraternity” have in fact been to African countries offering their compassion and aid, then my apologies and I personally would dearly love to hear about their experiences. And they owe it to the rest of the world to show us that their compassion is genuinely and whole-heartedly for the whole of suffering humanity and not just for Gaza, their own “pet project” with its dubious justifications and questionable motivation.

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The Danger of a Nuclear, Genocidal and Rights-Violating Iran

June 28th, 2010

By Irwin Cotler
Canadian Jewish News

On June 22, 2010, in commemoration of the anniversary of the fraudulent June 12, 2009 elections, United Against Nuclear Iran joined the “Responsibility to Prevent” Coalition, and signed the international petition entitled The Danger of a Nuclear, Genocidal and Rights-Violating Iran: The Responsibility to Prevent Petition.

The petition is endorsed by international law scholars, human rights defenders, experts in genocide, and a distinguished group of Iranian scholars, and the objective of the coalition and the petition is to hold Ahmadinejad’s Iran to account for its brutal and illegal actions.

Timeline of Human Rights Abuses in Iran – One Year After the June 12, 2009 Elections

Iran’s June 12, 2009 elections, which gave incumbent Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a landslide victory amid allegations of fraud, were met with the most widespread displays of public discontent seen in Iran since the 1979 Revolution. The protest movement has been violently repressed by the Iranian regime, which has become an enthusiastic violator of its citizen’s human rights. Press censorship and legal injustice have never been worse in the 31-year history of the Islamic Republic, and the one-year anniversary of the disputed elections offers a welcome opportunity to reflect on the regime’s recent pattern of abuses.

Election Aftermath – By The Numbers

o 72+ Protestors Killed (AFP, “Iran opposition says 72 killed in vote protests”)
o 4,000+ Protestors Detained (Human Rights Watch, “The Islamic Republic at 31”)
o 100+ Journalists Detained (Human Rights Watch, “The Islamic Republic at 31”)
o 23 Newspapers Closed (Reporters Without Borders “Using skillfully devised strategy, regime’s repressive policies succeed”)
o 346 Executions in the Past Year (Amnesty International, “Human Rights in Iran”)
o 133 Juveniles on Death Row (Amnesty International, “Human Rights in Iran)
o 9 Protestors Facing Execution (Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, “Political Executions Indication of Government’s Insecurity”)
o 500+ Political Prisoners (Human Rights Watch, “The Islamic Republic at 31)
o 11+ Months in Which The American Hikers Have Been Held Captive (Source: Bloomberg/Business Week, “U.S. Detainees Reunited With Their Mothers in Tehran”)

Notable Rankings

o 2nd in the world in number of annual executions (Amnesty International, “The Death Penalty in 2009”)
o 1 jailer of journalists worldwide (Committee to Protect Journalists, “Iran remains world’s worst jailer of journalists”)
o Designated “Not Free” by Freedom House (“Map of Freedom in the World”)
o Ranked 172 out of 175 countries for press freedom (Reporters Without Borders, “Iran”)
o Tier 3 of 3 (worst rating) on State Department’s human trafficking report (“Trafficking in Persons Report, 2009”)
o Ranked 168 of 179 countries for economic freedom (Heritage Foundation, “2010 Index of Economic Freedom”)
o One of 13 countries cited as a “Country of Particular Concern” by the U.S. Commission on Religious Freedom (“Countries of Particular Concern”)

June 14, 2009

• In an effort to crack down on protestors following the June 12 elections, government forces raid dormitories of universities across Iran.
• 100 students are arrested and at least one is killed.
• At least 34 demonstrators are killed by government forces over the following month.

Source: The Guardian

“Unrest in Iran spreads to provinces as students clash with security forces.” 06/16/2009

Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

“Death Toll Apparently Far Exceeds Government Claims,” 07/15/2009

July 31, 2009

• Three American hikers are detained and charged with espionage after accidentally crossing into Iran from Iraq. The Iranian government attempts to leverage the hikers in an exchange for Iranian arms dealers held in the United States, recalling memories of the Iranian Hostage Crisis during the presidency of Jimmy Carter.
• In May 2010, the hikers’ parents are allowed to travel to Iran to meet their children for the first time.

Source: Bloomberg/Business Week

“U.S. Detainees Reunited With Their Mothers in Tehran,” 05/20/2010

August 2009

• The Iranian government brings protestors, journalists, and other supporters of the opposition to court in what are widely ridiculed as show-trials using forced confessions.
• Nearly 100 protestors are tried.

Source: CNN

“Iran resumes mass trial of reformists,” 08/25/2009

August 10-26, 2009

• Reformist leader Mehdi Karroubi writes a public letter to former President Ayatollah Rafsanjani, alleging that detained protestors were subjected to widespread torture and sexual abuse. A parliamentary committee is set up to investigate these charges, and officially rules that the charges were baseless.
• An anonymous member of the committee later leaks that proof was found of rape with batons and bottles.

Source: Amnesty International

“Iran – Election Contested,
Repression Compounded,” 12/2009

October 2009

• Iranian security forces confiscate the passports of three prominent journalists: Badrolsadat Mofidi, Farzaneh Roostai, and Zahra Ebrahimi.
• Iran has detained more than 100 journalists and bloggers in the aftermath of the election protests.

Source: Human Rights Watch

“Iran – Events of 2009,” 2010

December 2009

• Iran sentences 20-year-old student protestor Mohammad Amin Valian to death for “enmity against God.” He is denied legal counsel, family visitation, and the right to appeal his case.
• There are currently eight other election protestors awaiting execution. Iran executes more people than any country in the world except China.

Source: Human Rights Watch

“Remembering Iran’s Rights Abuses,”

December 21, 2009**

• The funeral of the reformist Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri becomes a catalyst for massive new protests.
• Government forces attack opposition leader Mir Hossein Mousavi’s motorcade as he attempts to leave the funeral.

Source: The New York Times

Cleric’s Funeral Becomes Protest of Iran Leaders,” 12/21/2009

December 27, 2009**

• Government security forces crackdown on protests occurring on the Ashura religious holiday.
• Eight are killed and 300 arrested. Among the dead is Seyed Ali Mousavi, the nephew of opposition candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi. The Iranian government confiscates his corpse.

Source: The Times

“Hardliners seize Mousavi corpse as Iran regime hits back,” 12/29/2009

11 February, 2010

• Government forces issue a crackdown on protests marking the 31st anniversary of the foundation of the Islamic Republic.
• Opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi is attacked en route to the protests.
• Ahmadinejad uses the opportunity to announce that Iran is now a nuclear state.

Source: MSNBC

“Iran marks revolution with protest crackdown,” 02/11/2010

9 May, 2010

• Five political prisoners are executed in Iran’s infamous Evin Prison. One of those executed, teacher and social worker Farzad Kamangar, is found guilty of “enmity against God” (moharabeh) during a seven minute-long trial. Moharabeh has become a catch-all charge to justify the execution of political prisoners.
• On the same day, Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari is sentenced in absentia to 13 years in prison, after being jailed for four months on espionage charges.

Source: International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran

“Political Executions Indication of Government’s Insecurity,” 05/09/2010.
Source: Newsweek

“Justice, Iranian Style,” 05/10/2010

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Copyright by the author.

June 24th, 2010

Those troublesome Jews

June 15th, 2010

By Charles Krauthammer

The world is outraged at Israel’s blockade of Gaza. Turkey denounces its illegality, inhumanity, barbarity, etc. The usual U.N. suspects, Third World and European, join in. The Obama administration dithers.

But as Leslie Gelb, former president of the Council on Foreign Relations, writes, the blockade is not just perfectly rational, it is perfectly legal. Gaza under Hamas is a self-declared enemy of Israel — a declaration backed up by more than 4,000 rockets fired at Israeli civilian territory. Yet having pledged itself to unceasing belligerency, Hamas claims victimhood when Israel imposes a blockade to prevent Hamas from arming itself with still more rockets.

In World War II, with full international legality, the United States blockaded Germany and Japan. And during the October 1962 missile crisis, we blockaded (“quarantined”) Cuba. Arms-bearing Russian ships headed to Cuba turned back because the Soviets knew that the U.S. Navy would either board them or sink them. Yet Israel is accused of international criminality for doing precisely what John Kennedy did: impose a naval blockade to prevent a hostile state from acquiring lethal weaponry.

Oh, but weren’t the Gaza-bound ships on a mission of humanitarian relief? No. Otherwise they would have accepted Israel’s offer to bring their supplies to an Israeli port, be inspected for military materiel and have the rest trucked by Israel into Gaza — as every week 10,000 tons of food, medicine and other humanitarian supplies are sent by Israel to Gaza.

Why was the offer refused? Because, as organizer Greta Berlin admitted, the flotilla was not about humanitarian relief but about breaking the blockade, i.e., ending Israel’s inspection regime, which would mean unlimited shipping into Gaza and thus the unlimited arming of Hamas.

Israel has already twice intercepted ships laden with Iranian arms destined for Hezbollah and Gaza. What country would allow that? But even more important, why did Israel even have to resort to blockade? Because, blockade is Israel’s fallback as the world systematically de-legitimizes its traditional ways of defending itself — forward and active defense.

As a small, densely populated country surrounded by hostile states, Israel had, for its first half-century, adopted forward defense — fighting wars on enemy territory (such as the Sinai and Golan Heights) rather than its own.

Where possible (Sinai, for example) Israel has traded territory for peace. But where peace offers were refused, Israel retained the territory as a protective buffer zone. Thus Israel retained a small strip of southern Lebanon to protect the villages of northern Israel. And it took many losses in Gaza, rather than expose Israeli border towns to Palestinian terror attacks. It is for the same reason America wages a grinding war in Afghanistan: You fight them there, so you don’t have to fight them here.

But under overwhelming outside pressure, Israel gave it up. The Israelis were told the occupations were not just illegal but at the root of the anti-Israel insurgencies — and therefore withdrawal, by removing the cause, would bring peace.

(!) Land for peace: Remember? Well, during the past decade, Israel gave the land — evacuating South Lebanon in 2000 and Gaza in 2005. What did it get? An intensification of belligerency, heavy militarization of the enemy side, multiple kidnappings, cross-border attacks and, from Gaza, years of unrelenting rocket attack.

(2) Active defense: Israel then had to switch to active defense — military action to disrupt, dismantle and defeat (to borrow President Obama’s description of our campaign against the Taliban and al-Qaeda) the newly armed terrorist mini-states established in southern Lebanon and Gaza after Israel withdrew.

The result? The Lebanon war of 2006 and Gaza operation of 2008-09. They were met with yet another avalanche of opprobrium and calumny by the same international community that had demanded the land-for-peace Israeli withdrawals in the first place. Worse, the U.N. Goldstone report, which essentially criminalized Israel’s defensive operation in Gaza while whitewashing the casus belli — the preceding and unprovoked Hamas rocket war — effectively de-legitimized any active Israeli defense against its self-declared terror enemies.

(3) Passive defense: Without forward or active defense, Israel is left with but the most passive and benign of all defenses — a blockade to simply prevent enemy rearmament. Ye as we speak, this too is headed for international de-legitimation. Even the United States is now moving toward having it abolished.

But, if none of these is permissible, what’s left?

Ah, but that’s the point. It’s the point understood by the blockade-busting flotilla of useful idiots and terror sympathizers, by the Turkish front organization that funded it, by the automatic anti-Israel Third World chorus at the United Nations, and by the supine Europeans who’ve had quite enough of the Jewish problem.

What’s left? Nothing. The whole point of this relentless international campaign is to deprive Israel of any legitimate form of self-defense. Why, just last week, the Obama administration joined the jackals, and reversed four decades of U.S. practice, by signing onto a consensus document that singles out Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons — thus de-legitimizing Israel’s very last line of defense: deterrence.

The world is tired of these troublesome Jews, 6 million — that number again — hard by the Mediterranean, refusing every invitation to national suicide. For which they are relentlessly demonized, ghettoized and constrained from defending themselves, even as the more committed anti-Zionists — Iranian in particular — openly prepare a more final solution.

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Charles Krauthammer is the long time columnist for the Washington Times. He is regarded as one of the world’s best commentators. His weekly views are syndicated worldwide.

Israel was right to storm a ship bound for Gaza

June 15th, 2010

By Leslie H. Gelb

Israel had every right under international law to stop and board ships bound for the Gaza war zone late Sunday. Only knee-jerk left-wingers and the usual legion of poseurs around the world would dispute this. And it is pretty clear that this “humanitarian” flotilla headed for Gaza aimed to provoke a confrontation with Israel. Various representatives of the Free Gaza Movement, one of the main organizers of this deadly extravaganza, have let it slip throughout Monday that their intention was every bit as much “to break” Israel’s blockade of Gaza as to deliver the relief goods.

The Israeli commandos who stormed the ship, where fighting erupted, badly mishandled the situation. But theirs was a mistake in pursuit of a legal goal, not a war crime. And as for calls for international investigations, they represent the usual hypocritical nonsense that will go nowhere. Except for those who routinely fool themselves about the judiciousness and effectiveness of action by the United Nations or the European Union, everyone understands their “investigations” will amount to nothing. Only the United States might do something useful—if the White House would only seize quickly the practical solution staring it in the face.

Israel has every right to protect itself under international law, including by blockades in international waters.

Regarding international law, blockades are quite legal. The United States and Britain were at war with Germany and Japan and blockaded them. I can’t remember international lawyers saying those blockades were illegal—even though they took place on the high seas in international waters. There would be a general violation only if the hostile actions against the ships took place in waters under the jurisdiction of another sovereign state. Thus, for example, if the Israelis stopped the ships in Egyptian waters, that would have been a violation.

On a more tactical level, violations could occur if the force used to block and board were “disproportionate” to the circumstances. Those friendly to Gaza aboard the ship claim disproportionality, but this is not supported by the video available. In any event, and as a practical matter, no one is going to be able to prove exactly what happened on that ship Sunday night. Nonetheless, the overriding facts remain that Gazan leaders proclaim their goal is to destroy Israel, have tried for years to do so by missile attacks and terrorism, and that Israel has every right to protect itself under international law, including by blockades in international waters.

As for what the planners of this “humanitarian” flotilla had in mind, just listen to what the leaders of this enterprise have been saying. Greta Berlin, a leader of the pro-Palestinian Free Gaza Movement, told The New York Times that the Israeli claim that the people aboard the ship intended violence was preposterous. She argued that it was inconceivable that the civilian passengers on board would have been “waiting up to fire on the Israeli military, with all its might.” By that keen logic, no Palestinian ever would have fired upon a militarily superior Israeli. We seem to know otherwise.

Or listen to Huwaida Arraf, one of the Free Gaza Movement leaders. She said on Sunday before the incident that the boats would steam forward to Gaza “until they either disable our boats or jump on board.” How on earth did she expect that strategy would not lead to violence?

On what remains of the old Lehrer News Hour, Adam Shapiro, another Free Gaza guy, said Monday night that the flotilla aimed to break the blockade as well as deliver aid. Well, of course, no one asked him how he thought the blockade would be broken without violence. It couldn’t—unless the flotilla escaped detection. And with six ships in the flotilla, that was highly unlikely.

So, the Free guys and gals achieved their real purpose—to provoke the Israelis, hope they did stupid things (which they did by boarding the ship with commandos who weren’t prepared to do this job), and stirred international outrage.

Ah, the international outrage. Turks, French, all leaders large and small condemned Israel and called for international commissions. Ban Ki-Moon, the United Nations Secretary-General, said he was “shocked” by the attack. He condemned the violence, and added: “It is vital that there is a full investigation to determine exactly how this bloodshed took place. I believe Israel must urgently provide a full explanation.”

Well, where was all that international outrage and demand for explanations and retribution when the North Koreans sunk a South Korean ship? Where was it when the Gazans attacked Israel? Where, when Afghan men flogged their women for not wearing veils? Where, when Saudi Arabia funds terrorists around the world? This international outrage is highly selective, isn’t it? The one consolation is that the international community, such as it has become, doesn’t get anything of value done.

Which puts matters in the American lap, as usual. There is a reasonable solution to this terrible dilemma: The Gazan people are in need of food and medicine, and Israel must protect itself against Gazan terrorists. President Obama should propose this simple arrangement: First, those wishing to bring humanitarian aid to Gaza agree to land aircraft, dock ships, and use land checkpoints all reasonably designated by Israel for inspection of contents. Second, Israel agrees to inspect cargoes within two to three days, and allow all humanitarian goods to proceed to Gaza immediately.

The United States surely has the power to accomplish this. It would prevent much needless killing and haggling—and phony posturing around the world. And if one or both sides rejected the deal, then that one, or the both of them, are on their own.

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Leslie H. Gelb, a former New York Times columnist and senior government official, is author of Power Rules: How Common Sense Can Rescue American Foreign Policy (HarperCollins 2009), a book that shows how to think about and use power in the 21st century. He is president emeritus of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Israel’s Naval Blockade of Gaza Is Legal, Necessary

June 15th, 2010

By Dore Gold

The continuing demand that Israel should agree to an investigation — with international involvement — of its interception of a Turkish-led flotilla to Gaza last week presupposes that Israel did something fundamentally wrong. At the United Nations, the Security Council issued a presidential statement which lent its political weight to calls for a full investigation into the Israeli military operation. The member states initiating these efforts in the UN system are simply trying to use the international bureaucracy in New York and Geneva to deny Israel its right of self-defense.

In Geneva, the UN Human Rights Council — which gave birth to the infamous Goldstone Report that blamed Israel, and not Hamas, for the destruction caused by their 2008 war — already decided that Israel violated international law by interdicting the Turkish flotilla and then called for another investigation to prove its point.

There is always room to conduct an internal probe by the Israeli Defense Force. This happens in Israel even after a successful military operation let alone in the case when the results are controversial. In fact, the IDF has already begun an inquiry into this incident. But Israel’s critics are raising other questions. Why is Israel blockading the Gaza Strip? What right does it have to board a ship in international waters? Why interfere with the humanitarian needs of Gaza’s Palestinian population? French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said he was “profoundly shocked” by Israel’s move against “the peace flotilla for Gaza.”

Worldwide Hypocrisy

In dealing with the question of Israel’s right to halt the flotilla, there is an extraordinary amount of international hypocrisy going around generated by those who ignore the past practices of other states at war as well as the true humanitarian situation in Gaza.

Naval blockades are a legitimate instrument that states employ for self-defense. They were used in the 19th-century by the British Navy, which blocked French ports in the Napoleonic Wars, and employed again in the 20th century during both world wars. The U.S. set up a blockade of Cuba in 1962 to prevent the Soviets from delivering missiles to Fidel Castro — though the White House called it a quarantine. The British also employed a blockade during the Falklands War.

UN Embargo

More recently, the UN itself instituted a blockade of Iraq after Saddam Hussein invaded Kuwait in 1990, adopting Security Council Resolution 665, which called on all UN member states “to halt all inward and outward maritime shipping in order to inspect and verify cargos.” The UN wanted to prevent the importing of weapons into Iraq and the export of Iraqi oil. During the Bosnian war, there was an arms embargo on Yugoslavia, and as a result NATO established a naval blockade between 1992 and 1996 of its Adriatic coastline. During those years, NATO ships boarded and inspected 6,000 ships and diverted 1,500 other vessels. Ships were halted and inspected before entering the territorial waters of Yugoslavia.

Naval blockades have continued since then. Sierra Leone was blockaded by West African countries. Saudi Arabia declared that it was placing a naval blockade on the Red Sea Coast of Yemen in November 2009, in order to block Iranian re-supply of the Shiite rebellion in the northern part of Yemen. In the previous month, Yemen announced it had seized an Iranian ship named the Mahan-1 loaded with anti-tank weapons for the Yemeni Shiites.

Catching Violators

In general, the boarding of ships by soldiers to make sure that they are not carrying a cargo that violates an international embargo has been a common practice of many states. In December 2002, the U.S. learned that a North Korean ship in the Indian Ocean, some 600 miles from Yemen, was carrying Scud missiles and perhaps chemical weapons. Without permission from North Korea, Spanish commandos boarded the ship in international waters and found the missiles, but eventually let it go.

Normally the boarding of a ship at sea, outside of a blockade, requires the permission of the country whose flag it flies. Yet there is a growing debate about whether that norm should continue if there are suspicions that it might be carrying weapons of mass destruction to terrorist groups.

Two Narratives

International reactions are often shaped by initial impressions. Undoubtedly, even Israel’s friends bought into the Hamas narrative: the Gaza Strip is starving, Israel’s cruel blockade must be removed, the Turks just wanted to give humanitarian aid, Israel opened fire on humanitarian workers. Israel must replace the Hamas narrative with its own account: In fact, Gaza has plenty of food. Indeed, the Washington Post reported on June 3 that the stores of Gaza City are stocked “wall-to-wall” with food. The people of Gaza need a better future, which the Hamas regime will never provide them, but they are not cut off from the world by Israel.

The Israeli blockade is legal and necessary and its removal would lead to a flood of heavy Iranian weaponry, including long- range missile systems, coming to Hamas. A significant contingent on one ship of the Turkish flotilla was part of the notorious Turkish Insani Yardim Vakfi, which the French counter-terrorism magistrate Jean-Louis Brougiere determined was involved in the failed “millennium plot” to bomb the Los Angeles airport in late 1999. Israeli commandos acted in self-defense after this group attacked them.

This shift in international perceptions about Israel’s operation against the Gaza flotilla won’t happen overnight. For Israel it requires hard work and nerves of steel, and most importantly a fundamental understanding that in looking at the incident as a whole, Israel acted the way any other country, in exercising its right of self-defense, would have acted.

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Dore Gold, president of the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs, was Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations from 1997 to 1999. Copyright by the writer.

Flotilla sickness and the ‘progressive’ mind

June 15th, 2010

By Melanie Phillips
Daily Mail and Jewish Chronical

The flotilla episode provided the trigger for a frenzied demonstration of the world’s collective loss of mind over Israel. Israel did what it was entitled to do and what any other country at war would do: intercept boats that might be carrying weapons for an aggressor regime. Since six out of the seven intercepted boats then proceeded peacefully to Ashdod where their cargo was checked, this was demonstrably not an Israeli ‘attack’.

Conversely, as everyone could see from the video evidence, on the main boat the attack took place against the Israelis — who then killed nine of their jihadi assailants solely to protect themselves from being lynched, kidnapped and murdered. Yet, for this, Israel has been hysterically denounced across the world for an act of aggression and even piracy — an onslaught, in effect, upon Israel’s right to defend itself, without which no country can exist.

The claim that Gaza is starving is the opposite of the truth: its markets are stacked with produce, and every week Israel allows in thousands of tons of aid across the border.

As its organiser admitted, the flotilla was not about humanitarian aid at all but was designed to break the sea blockade — and thus open up a weapons channel for Hamas. This manipulative and mendacious exercise was but the latest attempt to weaken Israel ready for the slaughter through an ever tightening noose of lies, demonisation and delegitimisation.

We have endured the fabricated claims of Israeli massacres in Jenin, the 2006 Lebanon war and Cast Lead; the charge that Israel is an ‘apartheid’ state, that it has committed genocide, ethnic cleansing and is starving the people of Gaza; that it is the aggressor in the Middle East.

How is it possible that so many believe all these lies? How can so many Jews believe them? As I have described in my new book, The World Turned Upside Down (please forgive the commercial) the witch-hunt against Israel is the pivotal example of the West’s repudiation of reason itself, leading to a widespread inversion of truth and lies, justice and injustice, right and wrong.

The ‘progressive’ left-wing intelligentsia now subscribes to a world-view that, over a wide range of issues, subordinates truth to ideology. This manifests itself in utopian creeds that hold that the world would attain a state of perfection if only it wasn’t for capitalism/America/ industrialisation/men/the nation state/those damned Jews.

Since these creeds are axiomatically the embodiment of virtue, all who dissent must be treated as moral outcasts and their views stifled.

From this Manichean mindset, which decrees that all who are not the left are a) the right, and b) intrinsically evil, it follows that anyone who challenges the lies generated by ideological dogma is by definition right-wing and evil. As a result of this knee-jerk name-calling, people dismiss such inconvenient truths even when they stare them in the face.

This terrifying mindset is the left’s default position. That is why this madness towards Israel is not confined to gentiles. Indeed, even Jews who consider themselves to have the interests of Israel at heart sometimes tragically end up believing the lies and supporting positions that would destroy it.

Which partly explains why some communal leaders busily suck up to the enemies of Israel in the faith or political worlds, even telling them on occasion that ‘in private I agree with you’.

So we find ourselves in this nightmare situation. The Great Flotilla Derangement has created the impression that, as Iran moves towards completing its genocide bomb, the rest of the world senses an endgame and is moving in on Israel for the kill.

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Misinformation about Gaza
and the flotilla debacle

June 9th, 2010

By Maurice Ostroff
June 7, 2010

Whether or not one considers the Gaza blockade justified, moral or wise, intellectual honesty demands that we base our conclusions on credible information. Unfortunately the majority of reports about the Gaza blockade are glaringly misleading.

Politicians, journalists and other pundits cannot reach rational conclusions, about Gaza while they continue to ignore the following indisputable FACTS.

1. The blockade of Gaza is a joint Egyptian-Israeli operation, supported by the Quartet.

The strident calls on Israel only, to lift the blockade create the false impression that only Israel has been blockading Gaza, whereas intellectual honesty requires that any reference to the blockade should describe it as the Egyptian-Israeli blockade.

The pundits need to be reminded that until now, the blockade has been supported by the Quartet as spelled out in a June 3 article in the Guardian “End the Gaza blockade? If only it were that simple”, as follows:

“Those who call on Israel to lift all restrictions on access to Gaza have not grasped the changed political reality… The policy of the Quartet and Israel since 2007 has been to isolate Hamas and strengthen the West Bank Palestinian Authority under Mahmoud Abbas and Palestinian prime minister Salam Fayyad. This is why most western diplomats refuse to have contact with Hamas officials, without Hamas first moderating its position by recognizing Israel, renouncing violence, and adhering to previous peace agreements.. Western policymakers must address the rights of the people of Gaza, but must also take account of the imperative not to strengthen those who reject the peace process, or their backers in Tehran and Damascus.”

Egypt’s recent partial opening of the Rafah crossing reminds us that the blockade of Gaza has been conducted equally by Egypt It has been actively destroying underground tunnels and last December it began constructing an underground steel wall. The world seems to have forgotten that British MP George Galloway was deported from Egypt when he arrived with activists who were prevented from taking 200 aid trucks into Gaza.

2. The blockade and boarding the ships are perfectly legal

Journalists and politicians who glibly talk of the blockade as illegal are displaying ignorance. Israel’s boarding of the ships is in full compliance with the Helsinki Principles on the Law of Maritime Neutrality.

According to clause 5.2.10…a blockade, i.e. the interdiction of all or certain maritime traffic coming from or going to a port or coast of a belligerent, is a legitimate method of naval warfare.. Neutral vessels believed on reasonable and probable grounds to be breaching a blockade may be stopped and captured. If they, after prior warning, clearly resist capture, they may be attacked”.

Clause 5.1.2 provides that “…merchant ships flying the flag of a neutral State may be attacked if they are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search, capture or diversion”.

Gaza is controlled by a belligerent Hamas that has been declared a terrorist organization by the USA, Canada and the EU. The official, openly declared policy of Hamas is to destroy Israel completely and to replace it with an Islamic state. Hamas refuses all efforts at negotiating a peaceful solution and Iran continues to supply Hamas with rockets and other weapons. Hence a state of belligerence exists, as contemplated in the above rules, and the blockade is designed legally to prevent arms and support material from being supplied to Hamas.

3 Background to the blockade.

The blockade was initiated by Egypt and Israel in 2007 with the full support of the US and the Quartet when Hamas seized control from the Palestinian government in the bloody Battle of Gaza described by PA leader Hanan Ashrawi as “a situation of mutiny and armed insurrection challenging the institution of the PA”. (

We need to be reminded that before the Palestinian uprising, economic cooperation between the Palestinians and Israel was growing. Palestinian trucks moved freely on Israel’s roads facilitating the export of thousands of tons of agricultural products from Gaza to Jordan and beyond. Palestinian businessmen traveled freely and conducted their affairs in Israel and up to 100,000 Palestinians worked in Israel.

Unfortunately very little is known, even by experts on Palestine, about the many cooperative efforts established by Israel that were forced to close as a result of the intifadas. Before Hamas took control of Gaza, Israel and the Palestinian Authority cooperated in creating employment opportunities along the “seam-line”. A successful industrial zone was created at Erez which employed about 5,000 workers in some 200 businesses half of which were Palestinian-owned, producing everything from plastics to car parts. This was part of a larger Gaza Industrial Estate (GIE), slated to provide up to 50,000 jobs. Additional areas were planned for the Kerem Shalom area near Rafah in Gaza.

But the GIE zone became the target of deadly Palestinian attacks leading to its closure. Even the golden opportunity for a new prosperous Gaza created by Israel’s disengagement from the strip was rejected. The Gazans wantonly destroyed thousands of greenhouses and other projects left behind by the Jewish settlers that could have provided income for over 4,500 families.

4. “This mission is not about delivering humanitarian supplies, it’s about breaking Israel’s siege”

According to AFP, the above statement was made by Greta Berlin, an organizer of the flotilla on May 27, 2010.

Unfortunately, while many of the participants in the flotilla were genuinely motivated by humanitarian considerations, others were not so benign; they evidently planned a violent confrontation designed to break Israel’s alliance with Turkey. While five ships in the first convoy were peacefully diverted to Ashdod the sixth had 600 activists on board, sponsored by the “charitable” organization, Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), an organization that was described by the Danish Institute for International Studies as having maintained links with al-Qaida and a number of global jihad networks during the 1990s

On June 1 2010, the Jerusalem Post reported that in 1997 when the Turkish government launched a raid on the organization’s offices, they found weapons, explosives, and instructions for bomb-making.

Under the telling headline ‘Israel Has Fallen into the Radicals’ Trap’, Spiegel Online of June 1, commented:

“…It is telling that the fighting only broke out on one boat in the flotilla: the Mavi Marmara, the only passenger ship, which was commanded by the radical Islamic Insani Yardim Yakfi (IHH). It is a group that has, since the 1990s, been accused by the American and French secret services of maintaining ties to jihadist organizations under the guise of humanitarian aid. In recent years, they successfully collected donations for the terrorist Hamas organization, which they then smuggled into the Gaza Strip. It appears that there were radical Islamist elements aboard the IHH ship … who didn’t want to limit their actions to peaceful resistance.”

If the intention of the flotilla had been entirely humanitarian, the organizers would willingly have accepted the offers by Israel and Egypt to transport all humanitarian supplies to Gaza after offloading either at Ashdod or El Arish.

Opportunities rejected

Unfortunately very little is known, even by experts on Palestine, about the many cooperative efforts established by Israel that were forced to close as a result of the intifadas.

Before Hamas took control of Gaza, Israel and the Palestinian Authority cooperated in creating employment opportunities along the “seam-line”. A successful industrial zone was created at Erez which employed about 5,000 workers in some 200 businesses half of which were Palestinian-owned, producing everything from plastics to car parts. This was part of a larger Gaza Industrial Estate (GIE), slated to provide up to 50,000 jobs. Additional areas were planned for the Kerem Shalom area near Rafah in Gaza.

But the GIE zone became the target of deadly Palestinian attacks leading to its closure. Even the golden opportunity for a new prosperous Gaza created by Israel’s disengagement from the strip was rejected. The Gazans wantonly destroyed thousands of greenhouses and other projects left behind by the Jewish settlers that could have provided income for over 4,500 families.

{} {} {} The writer is a business consultant whose op-eds have seen the light in several publications, notably in The Jerusalem Post.