Guardian’s Conal Urquhart lies about “unarmed” Mavi Marmara terrorists

The Guardian’s coverage of the incident which occurred on May 31st 2010 on board the Mavi Marmara – an organized effort by the Islamist organisation known as the IHH  to break Israel’s blockade against weapons smuggling into Gaza – was characteristically obsessive and one-sided.  

It included 71 separate pieces (reports and commentary placed on their special Gaza Flotilla page) published on the first four days following the incident and represented a quintessentially Guardian frantic rush to judgement: Israel was guilty of naked aggression against peaceful pro-Palestinian activists.  

Perhaps the most surreal Guardian piece in the days after the incident was the following report, which uncritically reported the sage advice of the sensitive Syrian despot known as Bashar al-Assad meditating upon his vision for peace in the region – harmony he believed was complicated by events on the Mavi Marmara. (Assad, of course, was correct. Over 13,000 Syrian civilians murdered by the regime in Damascus can attest to this fact.) 

Moreover, the long-awaited UN Palmer Report - published in July 2011 – reached conclusions almost completely at odds with the Guardian narrative.  Here are some of the main points of the report:

  • Contrary to a mind-numbing number of accusations in the media that Israel’s blockade of Gaza was “illegal” the Palmer report concluded that the Naval blockade is fully consistent with international law and that IDF Naval forces have the right to stop Gaza-bound ships in international waters.
  • Contrary to claims that the IDF attacked peaceful activists, the reports concluded that when Israeli commandos boarded the main ship they faced “organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers” and were therefore required to use force in order to ensure their own protection.
  • The report concluded that the IHH sponsored flotilla, including the Mavi Marmara, “acted recklessly in attempting to breach the naval blockade.”

However, the Guardian’s Conal Urquhart – in the great tradition of Guardian pro-Palestinian activists – filed the following story unburdened by such quaint journalistic notions as adjusting a long-held narrative based on new information.

In fact, “Israel offers compensation to Mavi Marmara flotilla raid victims” of May 24th 2012, contains one passage completely contradicted by the Palmer Report.

According to Urquhart:

“Turkey cooled diplomatic relations with Israel after nine of its citizens were shot dead by Israeli commandos who landed on the Mavi Marmara to prevent its passage to Gaza. Protesters on the ship repelled the first wave of lightly armed commandos, but then the Israeli soldiers used lethal force against the unarmed passengers to end their resistance.”

This is blatantly untrue.

According to sections 123 and 124 of the Palmer Report:

“It is clear to the Panel that preparations were made by some of the passengers on the Mavi Marmara well in advance to violently resist any boarding attempt. The description given in the Israeli report is consistent with passenger testimonies to the Turkish investigation that describe cutting iron bars from the guard rails of the ship…”

“Furthermore, video footage shows passengers…carrying metal bars, slingshots, chains and staves. That information supports the accounts of violence given by IDF personnel to the Israeli investigation…”

“The Panel accepts, therefore, that soldiers landing from the first helicopter faced significant, organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers when they descended onto the Mavi Marmara. Material before the Panel confirms that this group was armed with iron bars, staves, chains, and slingshots, and there is some indication that they also used knives. Firearms were taken from IDF personnel and passengers disabled at least one by removing the ammunition from it. Two soldiers received gunshot wounds. There is some reason to believe that they may have been shot by passengers,”

It simply doesn’t get more clear than this.

A Guardian reporter tells his readers that passengers on that fateful day of May 31st  were unarmed, peaceful activists – despite definitive evidence that they were armed Islamist terrorists.

I’d recommend Tweeting Mr. Urquhart (@conalu) and asking him about this simply indefensible claim.

Guardian editorial on Palmer Report dismisses findings at odds with their desire to vilify Israel

When asked whether our blog’s efforts to combat antisemitism and the assault on Israel’s legitimacy is effective, and whether we are winning hearts and minds, I typically respond by first breaking the public into three (admittedly broad) categories:

1. Zionists and philosemites who we don’t need to convince of the righteousness of our cause, but may still appreciate our efforts to state the case for Israel clearly, and without apologies.

2. Those in the broad middle whose minds are open to our arguments.

3.  And those who possess a bigoted, or ideologically-inspired, hostility towards Israel – and often Jews as such – which is impervious to facts, reason, or moral persuasion.  

While our target audience are clearly those in the first two categories, the Guardian and those who take seriously the paper’s views on Israel fall squarely in the third category, are beyond reach, and simply need to be fought and exposed.

The Guardian editorial on Sunday, Sept. 4, “Israel and Turkey: sailing into choppy waters”, is a case study that the paper’s editors possess a hostility towards the Jewish state that is seemingly immutable.

Despite the Palmer Report’s findings that Israel’s blockade is consistent with international law, which characterized the IHH sponsored incursion as a reckless and dangerous provocation, and concluded that IDF Navy personnel was met by organized and violent resistance, a recent Guardian editorial on the continuing diplomatic fallout between Israel and Turkey demonstrates that the Guardian views the report – which wildly contradicts their initial coverage of the 2010 flotilla incident – as a journalistic liability whose conclusions should be ignored or undermined. 

The editorial line is clear by the second paragraph, which interprets the disagreements between Israeli and Turkish authorities over how best to repair the diplomatic damage as an example of Israeli intransigence.

The editorial argues:

“In offering regret and compensation but refusing to apologise, Binyamin Netanyahu’s government made a conscious decision: once again Israel chose a tactical victory over a strategic relationship.”

Naturally, it is simply inconceivable that the Guardian could conclude that, perhaps, by refusing Israel’s offer of an official expression of regret for the loss of life, and monetary compensation, Turkey is the obstinate party.

The editorial continues:

“Where the Mavi Marmara went, Turkey will follow by challenging the Gaza blockade in the international court of justice. And rightly so.”

So, not only has the Guardian learned nothing from the report’s findings, on the legality of Israel’s blockade – and the broader conclusions that there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza, and that  that “all humanitarian missions wishing to assist Gaza’s population should do so through established procedures” – the paper’s editors seem to be egging on Turkey to continue their belligerence against Israel, and, further, provide moral encouragement to hostile groups intent on again challenging the blockade.

Such a strategy would seem, at the very least, egregiously inconsistent with the editorial’s seeming initial concerns over the diplomatic riff between Israel and Turkey.

But, the Guardian editorial then descends even further.

“If, as Palmer found, the siege is legal in international law, the occupation is too. This must be challenged in court.”

Now, even by Guardian standards, this is simply an unintelligible passage. The basis of the legality of Israel’s blockade stems from their reasonable determination that Gaza is a hostile state and that lsrael’s blockade has a legitimate security objective: “To  prevent weapons, ammunition, military supplies and people from entering Gaza and to stop Hamas operatives sailing away from Gaza with vessels filled with explosives”

But, finally, and most troubling, what “occupation” are they referring to?

Are they really advancing the perverse logic of Israel’s most implacable foes that Gaza remains “occupied”?   

Six years after Israel withdrew every last remaining Jew from Gaza, and five years after a plurality of Palestinians voted to elect a hideously antisemitic terrorist movement dedicated to Israel’s destruction – a government which has, since elected, launched thousands of missiles into Israeli civilian communities – the Jewish state, is trying desperately, as any state would, to defend her citizens.

Yet, the Guardian is not only unmoved by the plight of the Jewish democratic state, but increasingly parrots the the vile logic of her decidedly reactionary enemies.

This is what the Guardian has become:  Enablers, if not defenders, of the most explicitly antisemitic movements in the world today – a  grotesque moral perversion of what was once a truly liberal voice.

A look back at the Guardian’s obsessive rush to judgment after Mavi Marmara. 71 stories in just over 4 days

While Israel’s Turkel Commission Report and the UN Palmer Report differ on some key determinations, they do clearly overlap on three main conclusions pertaining to the May 31 incident on board the Mavi Marmara:

  • Contrary to a mind-numbing number of accusations that Israel’s blockade of Gaza is “illegal” both reports conclude that the Naval blockade is fully consistent with international law, and that IDF Naval forces have the right to stop Gaza-bound ships in international waters.
  • Contrary to reports that the IDF attacked peaceful activists, both reports concluded that when Israeli commandos boarded the main ship they faced “organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers” and were therefore required to use force for their own protection.
  • The IHH sponsored flotilla, Mavi Marmara, “acted recklessly in attempting to breach the naval blockade.”

In the light of these established facts, I thought it would be interesting to take a look back at the Guardian’s obsessive coverage of the incident – which included 71 separate pieces (reports and commentary which were placed on their special Gaza Flotilla page) over the course of the first four days following the incident – and their frantic rush to judgement.

Continue reading

Palmer Report Conclusion: Israel’s blockade of Gaza is LEGAL & consistent with international law

The New York Times has obtained a copy of the UN Palmer Report – a 105 page document which will be released on Friday – which finds that Israel’s naval blockade of Gaza is “LEGAL“, “appropriate”, consistent with international law, and that IDF Naval forces have the right to stop Gaza-bound ships in international waters.

While the report was also critical of some of the tactics used by the IDF in defending themselves from IHH terrorists, it also stated quite unambiguously that their use of force was morally justified, and noted that when Israeli commandos boarded the main ship they faced “organized and violent resistance from a group of passengers” and were therefore required to use force for their own protection.

The report also is hard on the IHH sponsored flotilla, Mavi Marmara, asserting that it “acted recklessly in attempting to breach the naval blockade.”

While the report certainly isn’t one-sided, and indeed includes some criticism of Israel pertaining to the way the IDF Navy responded to the violence on board the Mavi Marmara, it simply can no longer be honestly claimed, by anti-Israel activists or Guardian/CiF commentators, that the blockade enforced by the Israeli Navy to prevent arms from being smuggled into Gaza is in breach of international law.

As such, we can expect the Guardian – whose coverage of the flotilla incident represented an egregiously reckless, biased journalistic rush to judgment – to either downplay or totally ignore the report’s findings. 

No word yet on whether Guardian cartoonists Martin Rowson or Steve Bell will revise their fictitious, defamatory and hideous caricatures of Israeli behavior on that fateful day.

Martin Rowson, Guardian, June 5, 2010

Steve Bell, Guardian, June 2, 2010

Steve Bell, Guardian, June 1, 2010

CiF, Henning Mankell, and the audacity of evil

Henning Mankell is a best-selling Swedish author.  He’s also a Hamas flotilla activist who accused the Israelis who were attacked by IHH activists on board the Mavi Marmara of setting out to intentionally “commit murder”, an apologist for Palestinian suicide bombers who kill innocent Israelis, thinks the attacks by al-Qaeda on 9/11 were understandable“, and has observed that there was “no evidence of anti-Jewish feeling among the Palestinians…”

Yes, really.

Mankell also believes Israel is an Apartheid state which shouldn’t exist.  That is, as he surveys the political landscape and observes the 193 nations in the world, the only country he deems unworthy of statehood “in its current form” – meaning as the world’s only Jewish state – is Israel.

For those unaware, the EU working definition of anti-Jewish bigotry sanely includes those who hold the abhorrent view, which rejects only Jewish nationalism, as anti-Semitic.

He also just penned an essay at CiF today (Norway attacks: Anders Behring Breivik will join history’s human monsters, July 25) on Norway’s terrorist attack which, in the context of asking why Anders Behring Breivik, the 32-year-old Norwegian, killed over 90 people, cites Adolf Eichmann, “the Nazi camp commander” who, along with Hitler, “thought [Jews] should be removed from the face of the earth” – and likens Breivik’s hate to what Hannah Arendt characterized as “the banality of evil.”

No, I’m not surprised that such a radical anti-Israel activist would leverage the horrific terrorist act of one lone right-wing extremist to score political points against his enemies, but the breathtaking audacity of a public figure like Mankell, who simultaneously calls, in the name of justice, for the end of the modern Jewish state, while evoking the slaughter of six million Jews to condemn the violence of a lone terrorist, represents the nadir of moral hypocrisy.

No, a morally sane writer simply can not condemn Nazis, who murdered one out of every three Jews on the face of the earth, and wish the Jewish state’s demise, and be expected to be taken seriously.

Those who seek Israel’s destruction erodes any pretense as to their moral credibility, or any claim to upholding universal moral values.  

Mankell’s call for “the fall of [Israel]…this disgraceful Apartheid system…the only thing conceivable, because it must be”, would, for a publication truly devoted to “liberal” values in the broadest sense of the word, render him politically toxic – a dangerous reactionary with no moral standing. 

The fact that the Guardian licenses his commentary speaks volumes of their continuing betrayal of genuine progressive values.

The Guardian finds fresh new talent to whitewash terror connections of flotilla movement, and demonize Israel

When Ruqaya Izzidien is not minimizing the threats posed by radical Islam, or decrying European Islamophobia, blogging for the extreme anti-Israel site Mondoweiss, or contributing to Al Jazeera, she serves as the UK correspondent for Bikyamasr, an online magazine which focuses on “Egypt and the region” – a site which has, on the sidebar of their home page , a “resistance to occupation” video which contains scenes like these:

Among her more notable contributions, in the course of covering the UK for Bikyamasr, was an op-ed about the terrorist attacks on 7/7 and British Muslim terrorism more broadly, where, despite describing herself as a “justice-seeking”, “anti-violent” “hippy”, says, employing the Ben White formula of not explicitly endorsing hateful ideologies and actions, but expressing, nonetheless, an “understanding” or “empathy” towards it:

“I can…provide a valuable insight which will begin to help us understand [terrorist attacks by UK Muslims]. It is awful to feel uncontrollably out-of-place. Add to that a feeling of injustice about British involvement in the Middle East and the implementation of an apparently racist state policy of arresting anyone who has a Muslim look about them, as if it were possible to define religion according to skin color, and we have a real recipe for creating the type of alienated person who will seek control through other mediums”

 She is also, naturally, given such an impressive resume of anti-Zionism and “contextualizing” Islamist terror, a contributor to the Guardian, and penned a piece, Gaza flotilla: ‘Solidarity more important than aid’, July 6 (on the Guardian’s ‘Global Development Page, a partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).

The piece is notable in its frank admission that the flotilla movement was never about providing Palestinians with humanitarian aid (which, we’ve noted, is not in short supply) – and represents the reason why, according to Izzidien, “Gazans are quick to dismiss the Israeli-Greek offer to offload and transport to Gaza the humanitarian aid aboard the flotilla.”

She further explains that the desires of those involved in the flotilla campaign are to seek “peace” and “justice”, yet, characteristically, never once , in a 800 word essay, mentions the word Hamas in the context of Palestinians desire for rights, and further cites an “activist” as alleging Israel’s blockade is “illegal” – despite the paucity of any such designation by any official institution, and a body of international law and historical precedents attesting to the legal legitimacy of Israel’s blockade of arms flowing to the hostile Hamas regime.

Izzidien’s exercise in polemical obfuscation is perhaps most evident when she quotes a member of the International Solidarity Movement – whose unambiguous malicious intent, regarding the flotilla movement, was revealed in a video by member Adam Shapiro –  saying the following:

“The dirty campaign against this flotilla has informed much of the world about Israeli subversion, from coercing foreign governments to act against the express wishes of their citizens to sabotaging civilian ships in international ports under the cover of darkness” [emphasis mine]

Indeed, such a narrative, imputing in Israel’s efforts to defend themselves from an increasingly well-armed terrorist group committed to its destruction – conjuring a “dirty campaign” of “subversion” and “coercion”, by the Zionist entity – could have been written by the sponsors and organizers of the latest flotilla campaign who, it was revealed, just so happen to be Hamas operatives.

I now understand Izzidien’s curious omission of the word Hamas anywhere in her diatribe.  I mean, after all, who needs the painful cognitive dissonance which would naturally arise from the understanding that no matter how much she hates the Zionist regime, the flotilla movement’s “grass roots” effort by “peaceful activists” to show solidarity with Gaza is actually an orchestrated propaganda event by a reactionary terrorist movement.  

Vilifying Israel is just so much more satisfying – and much more likely to give you a platform at the Guardian.

Next Hamas-supporting stunt by Western ‘activists': the ‘Flytilla’

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.

Apparently, Scottish participants will be joined by Belgian and other European activists, as well as others from North America, South America, Asia and Africa.

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.   

Plagues of the Flotilla

This was written by Hadar Sela, and published at Pajamas Media under the title, “Freedom Flotilla 2 Facing Many Difficulties”. 

Since its inception the organizers of the Freedom Flotilla 2 — a group of ship-borne activists seeking to break Israel’s partial sanctions on the Hamas-ruled Gaza Strip — have encountered a broad range of largely unrelated technical, legal, bureaucratic, and political difficulties.

While participants claim that they are undertaking a humanitarian mission, since the flotilla is largely organized by radical Islamists and anti-Israel activists at a time when sanctions have shrunk to the minimum designed to limit the weapons and military power of Gaza’s rulers — it seems more of a Hamas support group.

Initial announcements that a 15 to 20 vessel flotilla — including two large passenger ships — carrying 1,500 activists from 100 countries would set sail dwindled, as of the time this article is written, to 327 passengers (over 10% of whom were journalists) from 20 countries sailing on 9 small boats. Lack of funds and public interest may have played a  role in the flotilla’s reduction in size as compared to that of its initial stated aims, but undoubtedly the major factor was the sudden and unexpected pull-out of the vessel the “Mavi Marmara” (which also took part in the 2010 flotilla) in mid-June.

The IHH is a radical Islamist group based in Turkey with ties to terrorist groups. In the first flotilla, IHH activists armed with iron bars attacked Israeli soldiers and kidnapped two of them. An Israeli rescue attempt resulted in nine of the Turks being killed.

While the IHH cited technical problems as the reason for the refitted ship’s withdrawal, there is reason to believe that diplomatic pressures and internal Turkish political factors as well as difficulties in obtaining insurance for the voyage may have played a part.  Having just won the parliamentary elections, the Turkish government has no need to provoke a major new crisis with Israel and antagonize a U.S. government that seems content to tolerate its other policies.

The UN secretary general’s appeal to the governments of countries in the Mediterranean region to use their influence to discourage the flotilla and the announcement that the UN’s investigation into the previous flotilla has concluded that the naval blockade of Gaza is in keeping with international law no doubt encouraged the European Union and the many individual Western governments which issued subsequent statements dissuading their citizens from participating in the project. Such concerns were not raised prior to the previous flotilla.

Read the rest of the essay, here.

Meet Dror Feiler: Flotilla organizer and “peaceful” terrorist symathizer

Since yesterday, when the IDF announced that it has information regarding the intent of some of the flotilla passengers to cause physical harm to Israeli soldiers trying to board their boats, the flotilla organisers, their in-house journalists and their groupies around the world have been frantically giving interviews, writing articles and Tweeting themselves dizzy trying to dismiss the announcement.

One of those is Dror Feiler, who gave an interview to Ynet in his capacity as flotilla organiser. Of course Feiler is far more than just that; he is head of the Swedish branch of Free Gaza’, chair of the Swedish ‘Jews for Israeli-Palestinian Peace’ and chair of ‘European Jews for a Just Peace’ which organised a mini-flotilla of its own last year. Not only did he take part in the May 2010 flotilla, but he was also a guest of honour at the rally organised by the IHH in December 2010 to mark the ‘homecoming of the ‘Mavi Marmara’. Others present included the IHH president Bülent Yildirim, fugitive Hamas commander and member of the Muslim Brotherhood’s ECESG Muhammed Sawalha and the ECESG’s co-ordinator Mazen Kahil (sometimes spelt Kahel).

Here is Feiler making his speech at that rally, in which he compared Israeli leaders to Slobodan Milosevic.

 

 

For some reason, Feiler the ‘peace activist’ failed to do anything about the cries of ‘death to Israel’ or the giving out of buttons with the words ‘ Damn Israel’ by the organizers of the rally at which he agreed to speak.  Neither is there any record of his objecting when the IHH president Bulent Yildirim stated in his speech that his organization would struggle against “the filth that is Israel”, called for “release from the burden that Israel puts on the back of the Middle East” or criticized the leaders of the Arab countries who, he said, “if they wanted to, could wipe Zionism off the face of the earth”.

 

 

 

 

It is, therefore, painfully obvious that Feiler’s definitions of violence and terrorism are not the standard ones adopted by most ordinary people, but that was evident back in 2004 when he set up an ‘art installation’ in Stockholm glorifying the female suicide bomber who murdered 21 people at a restaurant in Haifa.

 

So obviously we need to have bucket-loads of salt at the ready when Dror Feiler assures us via the Israeli press that:

“The activists are undergoing training for passive resistance. They all signed a non-violence paper and pledged not to kick, hit, curse, throw objects or jump overboard. We know our weapon is a non-violent struggle. If we use actual weapons, we’ll lose.”

We particularly need to take note of the cunning escape clause in his next sentence:

“We won’t respond with violence if there is no violence”

That, of course, is precisely how Feiler and his fellow Hamas-sympathizers tried to explain away the violent attacks on Israeli soldiers on the previous ‘Freedom Flotilla’ jaunt they organized – by making false claims that they were attacked first.

If one needed any further evidence as to Dror Feiler’s warped concepts of truth, he provides it further on in the interview.

“Obviously I care about the Palestinians, but not just them. They house the greatest concentration camp in the world, but I’m also worried about Israeli residents – a wall is being put around them and that also is a form of prison.”

“As long as there are no equal rights for all the residents there will be war and hate and both peoples will suffer. My mother lives in a kibbutz near Tulkarem and there’s a wall in front of her. Is that a way to live?”

Feiler’s mother,, lives on Kibbutz Yad Hanna – the only communist kibbutz in Israel and one which has the reputation of being the most extreme hard Left community in the country.

Dror Feiler’s family moved to Yad Hanna from Tel Aviv in 1967 and he lived there until he left Israel just days before the Yom Kippur war. Yad Hanna is indeed very close to the anti-terrorist fence built as a result of the infiltration of hundreds of terrorists and suicide bombers into Israel during the years of the second Intifada. Whilst Feiler enjoyed Scandinavian tranquility during those years, Israeli citizens begged their government to do something to protect them from the endless waves of suicide bombers. The result was the fence which Feiler has the luxury of never having needed in order to be able to send his children to school in the mornings with peace of mind.

Just nineteen kilometers north of Yad Hanna lies another kibbutz called Metzer which was always at the more doveish end of the political spectrum. Metzer lies inside the ‘green line’ and is very close to several Arab villages with which its residents always enjoyed excellent relations, including a joint football team with one of them. When the people of Metzer discovered that the anti-terrorist fence was set to be built on land belonging to one of the nearby Arab villages, they petitioned the Israeli government with a request to give up some of their own land instead.

On November 10th 2002, Metzer resident and single mother Revital Ohiyun had just put her two sons Matan, aged 5, and Noam, aged 4, to bed when a Palestinian gunman fired two shots at her front door, entered the house and burst into the boys’ bedroom. Revital tried to shield her sons with her body. The terrorist shot all three of them dead and then proceeded to kill two other people

Noam and Matan Ohiyoun z”l

The Al Aksa Martyrs Brigade – a Fatah branch – claimed responsibility for the operation. Hamas praised the murders, calling them “a legitimate resistance operation” and described Metzer as a “settlement that was built on Arab land usurped by the Zionist enemy in 1948″.

That is the same Hamas which Dror Feiler and his fellow flotilla passengers are now aiding and enabling. It is the same Hamas which has operatives and sympathizers within the ranks of the flotilla’s organizers and posing as ‘human rights activists’ on its ships. Its self-stated aim, then and now, is to annihilate Jewish ‘usurpers’ living on so-called ‘Arab land’. If Feiler and his ‘progressive’ friends have their way and manage to breach the naval blockade, that task will become much easier with the aid of unlimited amounts of lethal weapons provided by Iran.

Dror Feiler, his Islamist colleagues and the flotilla’s sympathizers have lied repeatedly about the circumstances surrounding the violent events aboard the Mavi Marmara in the flotilla they organized a year ago. They lie about their connections to Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood, about the situation in Gaza, the legality of the naval blockade and the purpose of their mission. In fact there is very little they do not lie about, and so there is no particular reason we should believe that they have had a sudden attack of conscience and truthfulness when they tell us that they pledge non-violence this time around.

Related articles

‘Freedom Flotilla 2′ – Update 4 – ‘Brothers’ in Arms

As is known, one of the reasons for the unplanned lethal outcome of last year’s flotilla was the fact that Israel’s armed forces and intelligence had based their plans upon the premise that the 2010 flotilla would, like its predecessors, be made up of Western ‘peace activists’ who were expected, at worst, to engage in sit down strikes and maybe a bit of name-calling.

Indeed, that premise proved to be correct with regard to all the other boats in the flotilla which were stopped and towed to port without incident. Things only went horribly wrong aboard one ship – the Mavi Marmara – because of the presence on board of members of the IHH and other extremist Islamist organisations. With that lesson in mind, two recent pieces of news demand particular attention.

The first is the announcement that a Jordanian ship may take part in the flotilla. According to the official flotilla website, the chairman of the Jordanian Lifeline Committee, Wa’el al Saqa, revealed on Sunday that a “small ship” has been purchased for a sum of 560,000 Euros and registered to a company called ‘Nour’ which was specially set up for the flotilla. Around 35 Jordanians are expected to sail on board that ship, together with 35 passengers from other Arab countries. 

Wa'al al-Saqa, a passenger on the Mavi Marmara, at a press conference after his return to Jordan (Picture from bokra.net).

Mr. Wa’el Akram Assa’ad al Saqa is no stranger to the high seas. In fact he was aboard the Mavi Marmara as head of its Jordanian delegation when elements among its passengers viciously attacked the Israeli soldiers trying to prevent it from breaching the naval blockade. He was later deported back to Jordan, but the experience appears not to have deterred him from trying to reach Gaza again in October 2010 when he took part in the Jordanian contingent of George Galloway’s Viva Palestina’ convoy. That attempt failed too: al Saqa – along with Galloway himself and some 15 others – was banned by the Egyptian authorities from entering their country. That could well have something to do with the fact that Mr. al Saqa is a known Islamist activist and a long-standing member of the Muslim Brotherhood, in addition to the involvement of members of a prior convoy in violent attacks on members of the Egyptian security forces.     

The second news item worth considering is a report by Israeli intelligence which suggests that two other well-known figures may also be aboard the current flotilla. Dutch citizen Amin Abu Rashed (aka Abou Rashid, Abou Ibrahim) was also deported from Israel in June 2010 as he too took part in last year’s flotilla aboard the Sfendoni. Rashed has a rich history as a fundraiser for Hamas having been a member of the now defunct Al Aqsa Foundation in the Netherlands.

” In the U.S. government’s prosecution of the Holy Land Foundation, a Texas-based charity charged with funding HAMAS, an exhibit provided a description of the HAMAS support network in Europe. The writer of the document was Amin Abou Ibrahim of the Foundation al-Aqsa in Rotterdam. Since the de facto closure of Foundation al-Aqsa, Amin Abou Ibrahim, whose real name is Amin Rashid, moved on to the Foundation Palestinian Platform for Human Rights and Solidarity (PPMS).”

He is also a founder and prominent member of the ‘European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza’ – one of the organisations behind the whole flotilla project – which was established in 2007 by the Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe; the Muslim Brotherhood’s European arm and accordingly has received funding from the Al Aqsa Foundation. 

Amin Abu Rashed (right) and Gretta Duisenberg of ‘Free Gaza’ meeting the Dutch Ambassador in Cairo, 2009

The other possible passenger is Mohammed Ahmed Hanoun from Genoa in Italy. He is president of an organisation called the ABSPP – Associazone Benefica di Solidarieta con il Popolo Palestinese. He is also head of the API – the Association of Palestinians in Italy; in fact the two organisations are indistinguishable and both are members of the Union of GoodThe Union of Good, or ‘Itilaf al Khair’ is an umbrella organisation of charities which was proscribed by Israel in 2002 and designated as a terrorist organisation by the USA in 2008 because of the fact that it provides financial and material support for Hamas. It is headed by the notorious Muslim Brotherhood hate preacher and endorser of Palestinian suicide bombings Yusuf al Qaradawi and the Turkish organisation known as the IHH whose members were responsible for the violence aboard the Mavi Marmara is also a member.

The British charity ‘Interpal’ was ordered by the Charity Commission in 2009 to sever its ties with the Union of Good if it wished to retain its charitable status. One man who has long-standing ties to Interpal – which also organised and carried out the recent Miles of Smiles convoy to Gaza – is Mohammed Sawalha. Sawalha was recently named as one of the organisers of the current flotilla and his well-known Hamas links once more brought to public attention.  Of course long-time CiF Watch readers will doubtless remember that we reported on Sawalha’s organisational connections to the 2010 flotilla eight days before the violent events took place, including the fact that in January 2010 he had stated that “the confrontation will be directly with the Zionist enemy itself on the high seas”.  Here is Sawalha speaking at a Palestine Solidarity Campaign event in London in January of this year.

Following the violent outcome of the last flotilla in 2010 some Western activists and journalists tried to continue to claim that the IHH members involved were innocent  ‘humanitarian aid workers’ but evidence gathered from the flotilla boats themselves shows that the violent actions of the Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood-linked activists were in fact  pre-planned. Paul Larudee, a founder of one of the flotilla’s organising bodies – the Free Gaza movement – even went so far as to express his admiration for their violent actions into writing, invoking something akin to cultural relativism along the way.  

“I practice nonviolence, so that is the way I resist, but it’s not necessarily for everyone. A number of passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara, who were from thirty-two different nations, responded with their hands, feet, and whatever objects were at hand. I admire them for doing so; they knew that Israel has a reputation for disproportionate response.”

The emerging picture of the ‘Freedom Flotilla 2′ is of a repeat of last year’s scenario in which a minority of Hamas and Muslim Brotherhood-linked Islamist activists turned the flotilla organisers’ claims to being a ‘non-violent’ mission of transportation of humanitarian aid into a mockery.  This should deeply worry those flotilla passengers who really do believe in ‘passive resistance’ and those members of the press currently writing and tweeting that line of defence on behalf of the flotilla. It is perfectly clear that the remaining two main organisations behind the flotilla – the ECESG and ‘Free Gaza’ - actually condone and support violent acts against Israeli soldiers.

The IDF has what it termed in a briefing this afternoon “solid intelligence” that some passengers aboard the flotilla may be carrying sulphuric acid with the aim of causing burns and other injuries to Israeli soldiers charged with halting the boats. It is the responsibility of any other passengers who do not condone such actions to ensure that they do not take place. If they fail to stop them, they will also be complicit – not only in criminal violence, but in knowingly allowing themselves to be used as ‘non-violent’ fig leaves for sympathisers and members of a terrorist organisation and its mentors.  

Defending Israel from next delegitimization assault: Background on “Freedom Flotilla 2″

In the second half of May 2011 another flotilla is set to arrive in the eastern Mediterranean, deliberately timed to coincide with the one year anniversary of the violent events aboard the ‘Mavi Marmara’ which attempted to run Israel’s naval blockade – an incident which resulted in several Israeli injuries and the death of nine Turkish passengers who initiated the violence.

The 2010 flotilla caught Israel off-guard: despite the warning signs it was wrongly presumed that, as had been the case with previous and subsequent attempts to break the naval blockade of Gaza, the event would end peacefully. Untold damage was done to Israel’s reputation abroad and those seeking to undermine Israel’s legitimacy received vast media attention.

This document attempts to provide a ‘first-aid kit’ of information and useful links which can be used to publicise in advance the motivations and aims of the players behind the upcoming flotilla.

——————————

Background

The May 2011 flotilla is a joint venture organised by three main bodies: the ‘Free Gaza’ campaign, The European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza and the IHH – Insani Yardim Vakti or Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief. However, in order to understand what lies behind and links these three organisations, it is necessary to look further afield.

The Federation of Islamic Organisations in Europe (FIOE) is a Brussels-based umbrella body set up in 1989 with strong ties to the Muslim Brotherhood, links to Hamas and largely funded by Gulf sources. One of the FIOE’s sub-organisations is the European Council for Fatwa and Research which is headed by Yussuf al Qaradawi, a prominent spiritual leader within the Muslim Brotherhood, who is renowned for the issuing of fatwas supporting suicide bombing in Israel.

Qaradawi also heads the Union of Good – an umbrella body of charities which support and finance Hamas – which was set up in October 2000 to support Hamas activity during the second Intifada. In 2002 the Union of Good was proscribed by Israel and in 2008 it was designated a terrorist supporting organisation by the United States. Since the 2007 Hamas-Fatah split, organisations coming under the Union of Good umbrella have been at work in Palestinian Authority controlled areas to strengthen Hamas’ influence there and prevent the replacement of armed conflict with negotiations aimed at reaching a peace agreement. The Palestinian Authority and its Prime Minister Salam Fayyad have taken steps to outlaw Union of Good affiliated bodies there.

What does all this have to do with the upcoming flotilla?

IHH:

Well the Turkish organisation the IHH, which was also involved in the last flotilla and whose activists were those who initiated violence against Israeli soldiers, is a member of the Union of Good and as such was banned by Israel. In 2009 an IHH activist was deported from Israel after he tried to set up an office in Judea and Samaria and transferred money to an organisation known for making payments to the families of suicide bombers. The IHH has a permanent representative in the Gaza Strip – Mehmet (Mohammed) Kaya. The president of the IHH, Bulent Yildirim, took part in the 2010 flotilla and can be seen here speaking aboard the Mavi Marmara.

Bulent Yildirim with Hamas leader in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh.

Continue reading

Guardian approved anti-Semitic cartoonist, Carlos Latuff, graces the halls of UN Human Rights Council

At a recent session of the UN Human Rights Council a UN-accredited NGO with terrorist affiliations (IHH) distributed a publication containing the following picture:

This image (published during the flotilla incident in June) – of a demonic Israel, with the swastika substituted for the star of David on the Israeli flag, as an octopus strangling freedom-loving innocents – was created by the notorious anti-Semitic cartoonist Carlos Latuff.

Latuff is an extreme left-wing political activist who won second place in the notorious Iranian Holocaust Cartoon Competition, and is one of the more prolific anti-Israel cartoonists on the web, with a staggering amount of work dedicated to advancing explicitly anti-Semitic political imagery  – and frequently illustrates comparisons between Israel and Nazi Germany.

(Also, of note, a regular blogger at the site, Mondoweiss, posted, in early June, the very same “Octopus” cartoon shown above.)

As we noted previously, Latuff’s work has been posted on various radical left websites and blogs, as well as several terrorist affiliated websites such as ‘The Islamic Front for the Iraqi Resistance’ (JAMI) magazine.

So Latuff’s hateful depictions have been employed by quite a wide range of extremists: the anti-Zionist Jewish left, radical Islamist NGOs, and even publications of Islamist terrorist movements.

Latuff is also the same “artist” published by the Guardian during their “Palestine Papers” series to depict Mahmoud Abbas as a gun-toting sinister-looking Orthodox Jewish “settler”, to advance the view that Abbas was a traitor for allegedly showing a willingness to make concessions with Israel – a cartoon which reinforced the abhorrent pejorative depictions of Orthodox Jews used frequently in anti-Semitic caricatures throughout the Middle East.

Here’s Latuff’s Tweet of the cartoon:

The Guardian sure keeps very interesting company.

Sherwood Sweeping Turkel under the Carpet

Turkel Report Commission

There is much to speculate about concerning the timing of the Guardian and Al Jazeera’s leaking of the ‘Palestine papers’, but whatever their reasons for apparently hanging on to them for six months before deciding to publish, one of the effects of that timing was the partial eclipse of the Turkel Commission Report into the incidents aboard the Mavi Marmara – part one of which was released on January 23rd.

The long awaited report, which makes for very interesting reading indeed, was covered in an article by Harriet Sherwood on January 24th .  Already in her second and third paragraphs, and before properly addressing the report’s findings, Sherwood began casting doubts upon its veracity and legitimacy by quoting some rather partisan sources to say the least.

“Witnesses on board the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara, on which nine Turkish activists were killed, vigorously contested the Israeli accounts.”

“Recep Tayyip Erdogan, the prime minister of Turkey whose relations with Israel reached breaking point after the raid, today rejected the conclusions of the commission, saying it had “no value or credibility”.”

By paragraph four Sherwood was whitewashing the IHH which instigated the violence aboard the ship, defining it only as “a Turkish organisation that Israel accuses of having links to Hamas”. The next three paragraphs contain information from the report, but by the eighth Sherwood is back to presenting ‘alternative versions’.

“Activists on board the vessels said the Israeli military initiated the violence and used disproportionate force in the ensuing battle.”

Paragraphs nine and ten give more details of the report, but paragraphs eleven to fourteen are once more dedicated to the presentation of conflicting viewpoints.

Continue reading

What the Guardian won’t report: Turkish IHH activists from latest Viva Palestina convoy hanging out with Islamic Jihad terrorists

As noted by a colleague, this story from Ynet, unsurprisingly, hasn’t gotten much press in the international media yet.  However, the Islamic Jihad website displays photos of recent flotilla’s Turkish passengers visiting Gaza and trying on the organization’s uniform.

The Viva Palestina 5 ship carrying “peace activists,” which docked at the al-Arish port recently, brought along not only humanitarian aid to the residents of Gaza, but also enthusiastic Turks who took advantage of the opportunity to visit local Islamic Jihad members.

In pictures obtained by Ynet, the Turks are seen holding weapons and rocket launchers. While their prime minister, Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to blast Israel and demand an apology for “state terrorism,” two of the guests put on the uniform of the al-Quds Brigades, the Islamic Jihad’s military wing.

The pictures from the Turkish delegation’s visit were put on the al-Quds Brigades website as part of the coverage of their visit. The guests’ face was blurred, but shortly afterwards the photos were removed from the site, most likely for fear that the Turks would be hurt.

 

Turkish activist holds weapon alongside Jihad gunmen

 

During their visit to Gaza, the Turkish delegation members visited several Islamic Jihad posts. One of the guests was quoted as telling the group’s gunmen that they are “a source of pride for all decent people in the Arab and Muslim world.” He defined them as “the forefront of the struggle against the Zionists.”

 

Turkish guests visit Jihad post in Strip