Well, if you thought the flotilla (or should that be ‘floptilla’?) was an unnecessary provocation, meet the ‘flytilla’.
This coming Friday, July 8th, hundreds of foreign activists are apparently planning a pre-coordinated touch down on commercial flights at Ben Gurion airport as part of a ‘Return from Exile’ or ‘Flight of Return’.
Some will be high-profile Western sympathisers and some will be citizens of countries from which there is no need for a visa to come to Israel and who have Palestinian origins. They will supposedly be exercising their ‘right of return’ to Israel; in other words expressing their support for the dismantling of the Jewish state.
Once again, some familiar faces are behind this latest stunt. It was dreamed up by a co-founder of the ‘Free Gaza’ movement – one of the partners also behind the flotillas – Paul Larudee. Larudee – who also has a long history of involvement with the ISM and was deported from Israel in 2006 – now heads the California-based ‘Free Palestine’ movement which, despite his Hamas connections, is both UN accredited and a registered US ‘not for profit’ organisation with 501(c)(3) status.
This is a letter dating from 2007 on official Hamas notepaper inviting Larudee and the ‘Free Gaza’ movement to help breach the blockade on Gaza.
The year after that letter was sent, Larudee did indeed reach Gaza – and received an honorary Palestinian passport straight from the hands of Ismail Haniyeh for his pains. Here he is (second from the left), together with a few other familiar faces.
The other major partner behind this ‘flytilla’ is Al Awda – the ‘Palestine Right to Return Coalition’ – which campaigns for the replacement of Israel with a Palestinian majority state and promotes BDS. ‘Electronic Intifada’ co-founder and writer Ali Abunimah is also involved with Al Awda , which has clear Hamas links and helped George Galloway raise over one million dollars for his Hamas-enabling ‘Viva Palestina’ convoys.
Other partners in the organisation of the project include the ISM and, according to an interview given by Paul Larudee to Hizbollah’s ‘Al Manar’ TV, the London-based ‘Palestinian Return Centre’, which is banned in Israel because of its Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood links. The ‘flytilla’ is also being promoted by the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign which was recently the focus of attention due to its attempts to introduce BDS into Scottish local councils.
So, here we go again: yet another pointless, publicity-seeking, money-wasting stunt designed to try to embarrass Israel is being initiated by Hamas-supporting activists and executed by Western ‘useful idiots’ in an attempt to advance the ‘no negotiations, no two-state solution’ agenda of Hamas.
Of course, if it is anything like the second flotilla, this escapade too could yet prove to be more media-orientated hype than anything else, but it could also potentially cause unnecessary delays at Ben Gurion airport on Friday. Not that any of these ‘activists’ would of course care in the least about deliberately causing inconvenience to other travellers rushing home for the weekend or legitimate tourists just trying to enjoy a well-earned holiday, because, as we already know, it’s all about them and their own personal smug self-gratification.
- Great comment by Guardian reader in reply to Greenslade blog post about limits on journalists covering flotilla (cifwatch.com)
- Mya Guarnieri laments possible demise of flotilla stunt; Quotes activist who blames “Zionist tentacles” (cifwatch.com)
- All Dutch reporters have now quit the flotilla. Additional terrorist affiliations of flotilla organizers revealed) (cifwatch.com)
- ‘Freedom Flotilla 2′ – Update 4 – ‘Brothers’ in Arms (cifwatch.com)
- Plagues of the Flotilla (cifwatch.com)
- The tangled web they weave – the eminence noir behind the “Freedom Flotilla 2″ (cifwatch.com)
- ‘Freedom Flotilla 2′ – Update 5 – Dutch journalists jump ship. (cifwatch.com)