Monday, May 31, 2010

Navy commandos:‘They came for war’

05/31/2010 20:14

Soldiers describe takeover of protest ship 'Mavi Marmara.'

“They came for war,” was how one Israeli Navy commando described the activists aboard the Mavi Marmara Turkish passenger boat where clashes erupted early Monday morning and ended with at least nine activists dead and dozens others, including eight IDF soldiers, injured. Operation Sea Breeze”, as it was called by the IDF, actually began several hours earlier at about 11 pm Sunday night as the Navy made its initial contact with the Mavi Marmara and the other five ships which were part of an international aid flotilla on its way to try and break the Israel-imposed sea blockade on Gaza.

After several hours of radio communications and warnings that the Mavi Marmara would be boarded if the captain did not change his ship’s course, at 4 am Monday, OC Navy Vice-Admiral Eliezer “Cheney” Marom, who had set up a command post on the INS Victory, gave the order to Flotilla 13 to board the ship.

The three Israeli Air Force Blackhawk Helicopters hovering nearby made their approach above the Mavi Marmara’s upper deck. Sitting on board, the naval commandos could just make out the few dozen activists gathered below. Carrying non-lethal weapons as well as pistols, the last thing the soldiers thought they would walk into was a well-planed lynch.

“As the 15 of us slid down the ropes, 30 of them were waiting for us on the deck,” one of the commandos later told reporters. “They charged us and threw a few of the soldiers off the deck to the floor below. We did not expect to find ourselves in such a situation.”

The assessment within the Navy was that the activists would resist the Israeli takeover of their ship but along the lines of the demonstrations the IDF faces weekly in the West Bank where Palestinians protest against the security barrier. Rocks and punches would be thrown as well as an occasional knife but not the extent of violence they met.

As the rope fell from the helicopter onto the Mavi Marmara’s deck, some of the Turkish activists grabbed it, tied it to an antenna likely hoping that it would bring down the helicopter. The Navy commandos decided to still go ahead with the operation and began sliding down onto the ship.

Armed with rifles that could shoot paintballs – which can hurt but not kill – the soldiers landed on the ship and immediately came under attack by dozens of activists armed with knives, bats and metal pipes. Activists grabbed soldiers and tried to hold them hostage, stripping them of their helmets and equipment.

One of the soldiers tried to protect a commando who was being lynched by a group of activists. They were instructed by the flotilla commander to refrain from using their sidearm unless their lives were at risk.

Soldiers feared for their lives, asked permission to open fire

The force threw several stun grenades but the violent attacks continued. Two soldiers were injured and some of the activists succeeded in stealing one of the soldier’s guns. Shots were fired and one of the soldiers fell to the ground unconscious. Fearing for their lives, the soldiers asked and received permission to open fire, first taking aim at the activists’ feet.

In one corner of the ship, the commandos saw a gun flash. They returned fire and started chasing the shooter but could not find him.

As the clashes intensified, additional commandos boarded the ship as well as members of the Border Police’s Yasam unit who are experts in riot control and crowd dispersion. After less than an hour, the ship was in Israeli hands. The price though was steep – eight soldiers were injured, several of them seriously and at least nine activists were killed.

By the evening, the naval commandos were back at their base in northern Israel and had begun their debriefing.

The videos taken by the IDF were passed around throughout the defense establishment and made their way to other special forces, including the Israel Police’s elite counter-terror unit Yamam, which had fought to participate in the mission but had been left on the sidelines due to legal complications involving police operations out at sea.

“The soldiers acted with the utmost nobility,” said one police source close to the Yamam. “They engaged in hand-to-hand combat, sustained injuries, but only opened fire after one of them was lying on the ground unconscious and two others had been shot. This was an unbelievable demonstration of restraint.

Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion

George Friedman

On Sunday, Israeli naval forces intercepted the ships of a Turkish nongovernmental organization (NGO) delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Israel had demanded that the vessels not go directly to Gaza but instead dock in Israeli ports, where the supplies would be offloaded and delivered to Gaza. The Turkish NGO refused, insisting on going directly to Gaza. Gunfire ensued when Israeli naval personnel boarded one of the vessels, and a significant number of the passengers and crew on the ship were killed or wounded.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon charged that the mission was simply an attempt to provoke the Israelis. That was certainly the case. The mission was designed to demonstrate that the Israelis were unreasonable and brutal. The hope was that Israel would be provoked to extreme action, further alienating Israel from the global community and possibly driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The operation’s planners also hoped this would trigger a political crisis in Israel.

A logical Israeli response would have been avoiding falling into the provocation trap and suffering the political repercussions the Turkish NGO was trying to trigger. Instead, the Israelis decided to make a show of force. The Israelis appear to have reasoned that backing down would demonstrate weakness and encourage further flotillas to Gaza, unraveling the Israeli position vis-à-vis Hamas. In this thinking, a violent interception was a superior strategy to accommodation regardless of political consequences. Thus, the Israelis accepted the bait and were provoked.
The ‘Exodus’ Scenario

In the 1950s, an author named Leon Uris published a book called “Exodus.” Later made into a major motion picture, Exodus told the story of a Zionist provocation against the British. In the wake of World War II, the British — who controlled Palestine, as it was then known — maintained limits on Jewish immigration there. Would-be immigrants captured trying to run the blockade were detained in camps in Cyprus. In the book and movie, Zionists planned a propaganda exercise involving a breakout of Jews — mostly children — from the camp, who would then board a ship renamed the Exodus. When the Royal Navy intercepted the ship, the passengers would mount a hunger strike. The goal was to portray the British as brutes finishing the work of the Nazis. The image of children potentially dying of hunger would force the British to permit the ship to go to Palestine, to reconsider British policy on immigration, and ultimately to decide to abandon Palestine and turn the matter over to the United Nations.

There was in fact a ship called Exodus, but the affair did not play out precisely as portrayed by Uris, who used an amalgam of incidents to display the propaganda war waged by the Jews. Those carrying out this war had two goals. The first was to create sympathy in Britain and throughout the world for Jews who, just a couple of years after German concentration camps, were now being held in British camps. Second, they sought to portray their struggle as being against the British. The British were portrayed as continuing Nazi policies toward the Jews in order to maintain their empire. The Jews were portrayed as anti-imperialists, fighting the British much as the Americans had.

It was a brilliant strategy. By focusing on Jewish victimhood and on the British, the Zionists defined the battle as being against the British, with the Arabs playing the role of people trying to create the second phase of the Holocaust. The British were portrayed as pro-Arab for economic and imperial reasons, indifferent at best to the survivors of the Holocaust. Rather than restraining the Arabs, the British were arming them. The goal was not to vilify the Arabs but to villify the British, and to position the Jews with other nationalist groups whether in India or Egypt rising against the British.

The precise truth or falsehood of this portrayal didn’t particularly matter. For most of the world, the Palestine issue was poorly understood and not a matter of immediate concern. The Zionists intended to shape the perceptions of a global public with limited interest in or understanding of the issues, filling in the blanks with their own narrative. And they succeeded.

The success was rooted in a political reality. Where knowledge is limited, and the desire to learn the complex reality doesn’t exist, public opinion can be shaped by whoever generates the most powerful symbols. And on a matter of only tangential interest, governments tend to follow their publics’ wishes, however they originate. There is little to be gained for governments in resisting public opinion and much to be gained by giving in. By shaping the battlefield of public perception, it is thus possible to get governments to change positions.

In this way, the Zionists’ ability to shape global public perceptions of what was happening in Palestine — to demonize the British and turn the question of Palestine into a Jewish-British issue — shaped the political decisions of a range of governments. It was not the truth or falsehood of the narrative that mattered. What mattered was the ability to identify the victim and victimizer such that global opinion caused both London and governments not directly involved in the issue to adopt political stances advantageous to the Zionists. It is in this context that we need to view the Turkish flotilla.
The Turkish Flotilla to Gaza

The Palestinians have long argued that they are the victims of Israel, an invention of British and American imperialism. Since 1967, they have focused not so much on the existence of the state of Israel (at least in messages geared toward the West) as on the oppression of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Since the split between Hamas and Fatah and the Gaza War, the focus has been on the plight of the citizens of Gaza, who have been portrayed as the dispossessed victims of Israeli violence.

The bid to shape global perceptions by portraying the Palestinians as victims of Israel was the first prong of a longtime two-part campaign. The second part of this campaign involved armed resistance against the Israelis. The way this resistance was carried out, from airplane hijackings to stone-throwing children to suicide bombers, interfered with the first part of the campaign, however. The Israelis could point to suicide bombings or the use of children against soldiers as symbols of Palestinian inhumanity. This in turn was used to justify conditions in Gaza. While the Palestinians had made significant inroads in placing Israel on the defensive in global public opinion, they thus consistently gave the Israelis the opportunity to turn the tables. And this is where the flotilla comes in.

The Turkish flotilla aimed to replicate the Exodus story or, more precisely, to define the global image of Israel in the same way the Zionists defined the image that they wanted to project. As with the Zionist portrayal of the situation in 1947, the Gaza situation is far more complicated than as portrayed by the Palestinians. The moral question is also far more ambiguous. But as in 1947, when the Zionist portrayal was not intended to be a scholarly analysis of the situation but a political weapon designed to define perceptions, the Turkish flotilla was not designed to carry out a moral inquest.

Instead, the flotilla was designed to achieve two ends. The first is to divide Israel and Western governments by shifting public opinion against Israel. The second is to create a political crisis inside Israel between those who feel that Israel’s increasing isolation over the Gaza issue is dangerous versus those who think any weakening of resolve is dangerous.
The Geopolitical Fallout for Israel

It is vital that the Israelis succeed in portraying the flotilla as an extremist plot. Whether extremist or not, the plot has generated an image of Israel quite damaging to Israeli political interests. Israel is increasingly isolated internationally, with heavy pressure on its relationship with Europe and the United States.

In all of these countries, politicians are extremely sensitive to public opinion. It is difficult to imagine circumstances under which public opinion will see Israel as the victim. The general response in the Western public is likely to be that the Israelis probably should have allowed the ships to go to Gaza and offload rather than to precipitate bloodshed. Israel’s enemies will fan these flames by arguing that the Israelis prefer bloodshed to reasonable accommodation. And as Western public opinion shifts against Israel, Western political leaders will track with this shift.

The incident also wrecks Israeli relations with Turkey, historically an Israeli ally in the Muslim world with longstanding military cooperation with Israel. The Turkish government undoubtedly has wanted to move away from this relationship, but it faced resistance within the Turkish military and among secularists. The new Israeli action makes a break with Israel easy, and indeed almost necessary for Ankara.

With roughly the population of Houston, Texas, Israel is just not large enough to withstand extended isolation, meaning this event has profound geopolitical implications.

Public opinion matters where issues are not of fundamental interest to a nation. Israel is not a fundamental interest to other nations. The ability to generate public antipathy to Israel can therefore reshape Israeli relations with countries critical to Israel. For example, a redefinition of U.S.-Israeli relations will have much less effect on the United States than on Israel. The Obama administration, already irritated by the Israelis, might now see a shift in U.S. public opinion that will open the way to a new U.S.-Israeli relationship disadvantageous to Israel.

The Israelis will argue that this is all unfair, as they were provoked. Like the British, they seem to think that the issue is whose logic is correct. But the issue actually is, whose logic will be heard? As with a tank battle or an airstrike, this sort of warfare has nothing to do with fairness. It has to do with controlling public perception and using that public perception to shape foreign policy around the world. In this case, the issue will be whether the deaths were necessary. The Israeli argument of provocation will have limited traction.

Internationally, there is little doubt that the incident will generate a firestorm. Certainly, Turkey will break cooperation with Israel. Opinion in Europe will likely harden. And public opinion in the United States — by far the most important in the equation — might shift to a “plague-on-both-your-houses” position.

While the international reaction is predictable, the interesting question is whether this evolution will cause a political crisis in Israel. Those in Israel who feel that international isolation is preferable to accommodation with the Palestinians are in control now. Many in the opposition see Israel’s isolation as a strategic threat. Economically and militarily, they argue, Israel cannot survive in isolation. The current regime will respond that there will be no isolation. The flotilla aimed to generate what the government has said would not happen.

The tougher Israel is, the more the flotilla’s narrative takes hold. As the Zionists knew in 1947 and the Palestinians are learning, controlling public opinion requires subtlety, a selective narrative and cynicism. As they also knew, losing the battle can be catastrophic. It cost Britain the Mandate and allowed Israel to survive. Israel’s enemies are now turning the tables. This maneuver was far more effective than suicide bombings or the Intifada in challenging Israel’s public perception and therefore its geopolitical position (though if the Palestinians return to some of their more distasteful tactics like suicide bombing, the Turkish strategy of portraying Israel as the instigator of violence will be undermined).

Israel is now in uncharted waters. It does not know how to respond. It is not clear that the Palestinians know how to take full advantage of the situation, either. But even so, this places the battle on a new field, far more fluid and uncontrollable than what went before. The next steps will involve calls for sanctions against Israel. The Israeli threats against Iran will be seen in a different context, and Israeli portrayal of Iran will hold less sway over the world.

And this will cause a political crisis in Israel. If this government survives, then Israel is locked into a course that gives it freedom of action but international isolation. If the government falls, then Israel enters a period of domestic uncertainty. In either case, the flotilla achieved its strategic mission. It got Israel to take violent action against it. In doing so, Israel ran into its own fist.

The Liberal Betrayal of Israel

Daniel Greenfield

Over the last two weeks, a liberal scholar and pundit named Peter Beinart got a lot of attention by arguing that liberals could no longer be pro-Israel because the country and its people had moved too far to the right. The reality however is just the opposite. In every way, from national defense to the role of religion in public life, Israel has actually watered down its principles and liberalized. But it could not and cannot keep up with the pace at which liberals have slid far to the left.The key factor in falling liberal support for Israel is not inside the country, but outside it. As liberals have become more radicalized, what used to be the left is now simply liberal. And the delegitimization of Israel is part of a larger package of radical beliefs which extends across the spectrum into every area of domestic and foreign policy. For example the anti-Communist liberal who was not at all hard to find in 1967 when Israel fought the Six Day War, is nearly extinct today. And liberals who support the War on Terror are an endangered species. And if they can't even support America's national defense, it's not surprising that they don't support Israel's own national defense.

Beinart like other left-wing Jewish critics insist that Israel needs to go further to accommodate their support. But how much further is there to go? Israel has worked for 17 years to cut a deal with the Muslim terrorist gangs who employ a constructed identity as Palestinians to leverage international support for their killing sprees. It has withdrawn from large amounts of territory, provided weapons to their militias and even lobbied on their behalf. Will the left suddenly begin supporting Israel, if after offering East Jerusalem to them, Fatah and Hamas still refuse to make peace? We know better than that. No offer Israel could make would suffice to demonstrate its goodwill and the intransigence of the terrorist gangs.

Beinart himself suggests that only when the Palestinian terrorists are happy, and Israel is transformed into an oasis of social justice, (and presumably all conservative parties are banned and the Russian immigrants who voted in Lieberman are deported back to Russia) will his compatriots possibly get on board with supporting Israel again. Which really means that their support for Israel is conditional on the Palestinian terrorists accepting Israel. That is not the way that people who actually ever have any intention of supporting Israel talk or think. It is the way that people who trying to strengthen the terrorists' hand argue. And of course that is the real aim of the left.

The radicalization of liberalism also meant the growing legitimation of terrorism (particularly of those groups backed by the USSR and its left allies) and the delegitimization of those governments resisting them. The left routinely couches its political attacks on those governments in the language of human rights-- but human rights has nothing to do with it. The left hypocritically assails Columbia's Uribe on human rights, while giving Castro, Chavez and the rest of the Marxist gang a pass. Just as it assailed the condition of workers in the US, while giving Lenin and Stalin a pass on an agricultural and industrial system built on the murder of millions. Similarly the left jumps on every Israeli soldier who stops a suspicious Muslim at a checkpoint, while ignoring not only Fatah and Hamas' murder of Israeli civilians, but even their murders of their own citizens.

None of this matters because the left doesn't believe in human rights. It doesn't care about human rights. It never has. Not when Stalin was paving roads with slave labor, nor when Saddam's minions were entertaining themselves in rape rooms. Anyone who seriously thinks that the left is actually outraged about Abu Ghraib because they care about the dignity of man, rather than because they are congenital liars and hypocrites who exploit any misstep by their enemies for propaganda purposes, has not been paying attention. The majority of regimes that the left wing has supported were non-democratic and routinely violate basic human rights. The left not only doesn't give a damn, it defends every one of their crimes.

So let's put to rest the farce that there is anything Israel could do that would win over its left wing critics. The same people who control the dialogue in the press and the melding of minds at universities. To them it is not about justice or doing the right thing or human rights. Those are just words that they use as weapons. Paying attention to those words and trying to demonstrate your innocence only makes you weak and vulnerable. And then they redouble their efforts to cut you to pieces with them. That is what happened to America. It is what is happening to Israel. It is what happens to anyone who stands in the way of their red handed allies.

Of course the left does have a special animus for Israel. And that animus came to the surface when liberalism gave way to the radical left. Because while liberals have been Zionist, the left has been notoriously anti-Zionist. The split goes back to 19th/20th century Europe, where left wing organizations competed with Zionist groups for Jewish support. Both had very different visions of the future. The left wanted to see Jews join in working to create Communism and Socialism in their home countries, before assimilating into them. The Zionists wanted a separate Jewish state. When the left won in Russia, they made Zionism into a crime and the entire Hebrew language was banned as "counterrevolutionary". Possession of a Hebrew dictionary could mean being sent to the Gulags.

The USSR organized and armed entire Arab armies to attack and destroy Israel. And like Nazi Germany had done before it, the Commissars fed Anti-semitic propaganda to their allies in Europe. To their credit, some resisted. Even many French Communists who had seen what the Nazis did to the Jews were disgusted at being given cartoons and messages strongly suggestive of Nazi Germany with orders to incorporate them into their own newspapers. But that resistance is mostly history now. Left wing politicians in Europe think nothing of claiming that Jewish cabals control the government, refusing to publish the papers of Jewish Israeli colleagues and supporting genocidal Islamic groups and countries that vow to wipe out the Jews. That their behavior is an ominous echo of the Hitler era means less than nothing to them. Just as it meant less than nothing to the Nazis.

The left's opposition to Israel has nothing to do with human rights, but with its insistent belief that Jewish separatism is illegitimate and diverts recruits from their effort to build modern socialist states. Beinart indirectly makes the same case, insisting that support for Israel's survival must be subsidiary to the country's compliance with the left's political values. Because of course the same people who agitated against any overthrow of Saddam, when it comes to Israel make their support conditional on passing an impossible test, in which Israel either commits suicide to win their support, or survives and loses their support. I will only love you if you kill yourself .

The left is determined not to allow any redefinition of Israel as legitimate. Its hijacking of liberalism means that once again it feels driven to win Jewish recruits by destroying any independent national and religious identity that they may have. By forcing liberal Jews to choose between their political allegiances and Israel, they are setting up a difficult choice for them. Having the Obama Administration attack Israel was only one of the many forms of strain introduced to create that breaking point. Even while pundits like Joe Klein and Andrew Sullivan relapse into rants against Israel that the editors of Der Sturmer would have run on the front page.

This was what the left wanted all along. Consider the following "forecast" of a perfect socialist future from H.G. Wells

And yet between 1940 and 2059, in little more than a century, this antiquated obdurate culture disappeared. It and its Zionist state, its kosher food, the Law and all the rest of its paraphernalia, were completely merged in the human community. The Jews were not suppressed; there was no extermination... but under the Tyranny there was never any specific persecution at all; yet they were educated out of their oddity and racial egotism in little more than three generations. Their attention was distracted from Moses and the Promise to Abraham and the delusion that God made his creation for them alone, and they were taught the truth about their race. The world is as full as ever it was of men and women of Semitic origin, but they belong no more to “Israel”.

To understand Beinart and why the left really hates Israel, read that paragraph very carefully. This is why left wing anti-zionism is anti-semitism. It isn't that they want to wipe out six million people of semitic ancestry. They just want Israel and Jews gone. They would rather do it bloodlessly, with no "extermination" or "specific persecution", but if the Jews don't cooperate, they still intend to fulfill their goals.

People who think this way are not going to be reassured that Israel is a good little country. To them Israel is unacceptable. It is unacceptable because they reject the idea of a separate Jewish national identity. And that robs them of manpower and ties in with all sorts of religious ideas they would like to get rid of, among both Jews and Christians.

And so they delegitimize Israel as a country that has no right to exist. That has no right to defend itself. That has no right to survive. That always does everything wrong. That is an oppressor, that steals organs and is the neighborhood bully. An unjustifiable monster disrupting the entire world. If it sounds familiar, it should. The Nazis used those same arguments to justify a progression of persecution that eventually culminated in genocide. The left is using them today. And it may lie to itself about what its ends and means are, it may even believe in its claptrap about human rights, but blood always tells the truth in the end.

George Bernard Shaw, that corrupt old socialist scribbler, said it simply enough: "Those Jews who still want to be the chosen race... can go to Palestine and stew in their own juice. The rest had better stop being Jews and start being human beings." The Beinarts still unconsciously echo Shaw like a dog howling for its deceased master. And the message remains the same, that a real world Jewish state is incompatible with being a liberal Jew. Liberal Jews can support the rights of any and every people to a state (assuming that the left approves of them) including that of the entirely mythical Palestinian people-- just not the Jews.

Liberals betrayed Israel by allowing themselves to be taken over by the left. Not against their will, but all too often they allowed their own political radicalization to occur without considering the long term implications. The further they went to the left, the more they turned on their own country, and other countries the left considered its enemy, such as Israel. And the left is busy indoctrinating their children against the homelands.

The left does not hate Israel because of Ariel Sharon, but because of Moses and Abraham and King David. It wants Jews to forget that they are not merely cogs in a socialist state-- to forget that are the descendants of kings and warriors. The sons and daughters of the people who faced down Assyrian chariots and Roman legions, the children of a great civilization in a sea of barbarism that changed the world.

They want us to forget, because a people that does not know its own power is already enslaved. In the last century, we remembered that we were the descendants of kings and warriors. Of queens and prophetesses. Sailors and scholars. That we had a better destiny than to escape prejudice by subsuming ourselves into the left's great dream of a universal socialist state. We remembered and we started to become those things again. The left fears this exodus from their power, as that ancient Pharaoh feared the loss of his Hebrew slaves. They want us to forget. To sink down again. To accept their brand of liberalism that denies our rights in the name of their ideology. Their lies are chains around our feet. Those who choose to be slaves will wear them proudly as iron badges of honor. Those who choose to break them will be forever free.

Gaza flotilla participants created war atmosphere before confronting Israel

Participants chanted Islamic battle cry invoking killing of Jews and called for Martyrdom

by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik

On the day before the Gaza flotilla confronted the Israeli navy, Al-Jazeera TV documented the pre-battle atmosphere created by men on board the flotilla, chanting a well known Islamic battle cry invoking the killing and defeat of Jews in battle:

"[Remember] Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!" Khaibar is the name of the last Jewish village defeated by Muhammad's army in 628. Many Jews were killed in that battle, which marked the end of Jewish presence in Arabia. There are Muslims who see that as a precursor for future wars against Jews. At gatherings and rallies of extremists, this chant is often heard as a threat to Jews to expect to be defeated and killed again by Muslims.

Al-Jazeera also interviewed a woman who said that the flotilla participants' goal was "one of two happy endings: either Martyrdom or reaching Gaza."

Click here to view Islamic battle cry on Gaza flotilla.

The following is the transcript from Al-Jazeera TV:
Reporter: "Despite the Israeli threats and several unexpected delays, the arrival of the ships at the meeting point before sailing to the Gaza Strip inflamed the emotions and the enthusiasm of the participants."
Visuals from Gaza flotilla ship of young Muslims shouting Islamic battle chant invoking the killing and defeat of Jews in battle:
"[Remember] Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!"
[Khaibar is the name of last Jewish village defeated by Muhammad's army and it marked the end of Jewish presence in Arabia in 628.]
Reporter: "While singing songs reminiscent of the Palestinian Intifada (Palestinian terror war against Israel, 2000 - 2005), participants expressed their longing to reach Gaza."
A participant: "Right now we face one of two happy endings: either Martyrdom or reaching Gaza." [Based on Islamic call before battle: "Either victory or Martyrdom".]
[Al-Jazeera TV, May 29, 2010]

Hamas's Al-Aqsa TV chose to glorify flotilla participants who shouted the Islamic battle cry by broadcasting an interview with a university lecturer who referred to them as "those with faith and will."

Dr. Abd Al-Fatah Shayyeq Naaman, lecturer in Shari'ah law at a university in Sanaa:
"Yesterday I followed the news agencies and they conveyed Zionist threats to stop the convoy and prevent it from entering Gaza; on the other side, those with faith and will once again call out upon hearing the reports of the threats: '[Remember] Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews! The army of Muhammad will return!'"
Hamas TV Host: "Strong motivation."
Shayyeq Naaman: "One woman standing on the ship said that now we are awaiting one of two happy endings: either Martyrdom or the beaches of Gaza."
[Al-Aqsa TV (Hamas), May 30, 2010]

Al-Jazeera also reports that before the confrontation, flotilla participants announced that they would use "resistance" against Israel. Mukawama (resistance) is the Arabic term used by Palestinians to refer to all violence against Israel, including suicide terror.

"The flotilla includes hundreds of Arab and foreign solidarity activists from more than 40 countries ... They have announced their determination to use resistance to any attempt at piracy by the Israeli occupation."
[Al-Jazeera website, May 29, 2010]

A war for world’s future

Mordechai Kedar
Published: 05.31.10, 11:53 / Israel Opinion

It is clear to anyone with eyes in their head that the battle taking place off the Gaza shore is in fact a clash between an Islamist coalition which Turkey attempts to head – and which includes Iran, Hamas, and Hezbollah on one hand – and forces with a liberal Western orientation, represented by Israel, on the other hand. his fight isn’t about Gaza. The battle is about the future of the Middle East: Will it be a future where the existing political order is maintained, or will radical Islamic forces rise and replace the current order, as already happened in Lebanon and in Turkey.

The sail to Gaza is merely one event in this struggle of titans. If Israel wanted to stop the flotilla, it could have done it more elegantly – for example, by sabotaging the ships underwater.
Another possibility was to block their path while declaring that only Gilad Shalit’s release will allow the vessels to continue. This way, Israel would have shifted this hot potato to Hamas.

Yet even such success would not have prompted a victory in respect to the big question: Who is the master of this region? It appears that Israel chose to tell the Islamisizing Turkey, which is ruled by a group that is ideologically identical to Hamas – no more. The forces of the Ottoman Empire, who aspire to again rule the Middle East as they did almost 500 years ago, will be stopped at Gaza’s shores.

The time has come to tell those who live near and far that this battle is not just about the Middle East; rather, it is a fight for the face of this world. At this time, Israel is located at a frontal outpost, where it fights the war of the enlightened, liberal, pluralist, open, and democratic world – in the huge struggle against the Islamic forces that threaten to take over the world and subjugate it to their green flag.

The participation of Sheikh Raed Salah, the head of the northern Islamic Movement in Israel, in this sail serves as proof that the battle is not territorial, national, or humanitarian – rather, it is a cultural-religious one. The IDF operation was meant to be the bell that may wake up the world from its stupor, so it sees the Islamic cloud that is about to cover the sun of global liberal democracy.

Dr. Mordechai Keder, the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, Bar-Ilan University


First Hand Account of Israeli Naval Operation-TIP Latest‏

Below is an article by Israeli journalist Ron Ben Yishai for the Israeli newspaper Yediot Achronot in which he provides a first hand account of the Israeli operation to take control of the Turkish-led flotilla. The Israel Project hopes you find this of interest.

Ben Yishai, Ron, "A Brutal Ambush at Sea," YnetNews, May 31, 2010,,7340,L-3896796,00.html

For Video Footage of the Gaza Flotilla
A Brutal Ambush at Sea

Ron Ben Yishai recounts bloody clash aboard Gaza-bound vessel: The lacking crowd-dispersal means, the brutal violence of ‘peace activists,’ and the attempt to bring down an IDF helicopter

Our Navy commandoes fell right into the hands of the Gaza mission members. A few minutes before the takeover attempt aboard the Marmara got underway, the operation commander was told that 20 people were waiting on the deck where a helicopter was to deploy the first team of the elite Flotilla 13 unit. The original plan was to disembark on the top deck, and from there rush to the vessel’s bridge and order the Marmara’s captain to stop. Officials estimated that passengers will show slight resistance, and possibly minor violence; for that reason, the operation’s commander decided to bring the helicopter directly above the top deck. The first rope that soldiers used in order to descend down to the ship was wrested away by activists, most of them Turks, and tied to an antenna with the hopes of bringing the chopper down. However, Flotilla 13 fighters decided to carry on.

Navy commandoes slid down to the vessel one by one, yet then the unexpected occurred: The passengers that awaited them on the deck pulled out bats, clubs, and slingshots with glass marbles, assaulting each soldier as he disembarked. The fighters were nabbed one by one and were beaten up badly, yet they attempted to fight back.

However, to their misfortune, they were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests, such as the ones held in Bilin.
The paintballs obviously made no impression on the activists, who kept on beating the troops up and even attempted to wrest away their weapons.

One soldier who came to the aid of a comrade was captured by the rioters and sustained severe blows. The commandoes were equipped with handguns but were told they should only use them in the face of life-threatening situations. When they came down from the chopper, they kept on shouting to each other “don’t shoot, don’t shoot,” even though they sustained numerous blows.

‘I saw the tip of a rifle’

The Navy commandoes were prepared to mostly encounter political activists seeking to hold a protest, rather than trained street fighters. The soldiers were told they were to verbally convince activists who offer resistance to give up, and only then use paintballs. They were permitted to use their handguns only under extreme circumstances.

The planned rush towards the vessel’s bridge became impossible, even when a second chopper was brought in with another crew of soldiers. “Throw stun grenades,” shouted Flotilla 13’s commander who monitored the operation. The Navy chief was not too far, on board a speedboat belonging to Flotilla 13, along with forces who attempted to climb into the back of the ship.

The forces hurled stun grenades, yet the rioters on the top deck, whose number swelled up to 30 by that time, kept on beating up about 30 commandoes who kept gliding their way one by one from the helicopter.
At one point, the attackers nabbed one commando, wrested away his handgun, and threw him down from the top deck to the lower deck, 30 feet below. The soldier sustained a serious head wound and lost his consciousness.

Only after this injury did Flotilla 13 troops ask for permission to use live fire.
The commander approved it: You can go ahead and fire. The soldiers pulled out their handguns and started shooting at the rioters’ legs, a move that ultimately neutralized them. Meanwhile, the rioters started to fire back at the commandoes.

“I saw the tip of a rifle sticking out of the stairwell,” one commando said. “He fired at us and we fired back.
We didn’t see if we hit him. We looked for him later but couldn’t find him.” Two soldiers sustained gunshot wounds to their knee and stomach after rioters apparently fired at them using guns wrested away from troops.

During the commotion, another commando was stabbed with a knife. In a later search aboard the Marmara, soldiers found caches of bats, clubs, knives, and slingshots used by the rioters ahead of the IDF takeover. It appeared the activists were well prepared for a fight.

Some passengers on the ship stood at the back and pounded the soldiers’ hands as they attempted to climb on board. Only after a 30-minute shootout and brutal assaults using clubs and knifes did commandoes manage to reach the bridge and take over the Marmara.

It appears that the error in planning the operation was the estimate that passengers were indeed political activists and members of humanitarian groups who seek a political provocation, but would not resort to brutal violence.
The soldiers thought they will encounter Bilin-style violence; instead, they got Bangkok. The forces that disembarked from the helicopters were few; just dozens of troops – not enough to contend with the large group awaiting them.

The second error was that commanders did not address seriously enough the fact that a group of men were expecting the soldiers on the top deck. Had they addressed this more seriously, they may have hurled tear-gas grenades and smoke grenades from the helicopter to create a screen that would have enabled them to carry out their mission, without the fighters falling right into the hands of the rioters, who severely assaulted them.

Facebook Meets the Flotilla

An old high school friend, who's taken great exception to a couple of my most recent Jerusalem Post columns, has been telling me of late on my Facebook page how out of touch with American Jewry I am. He let loose again today. Here's what he had to say:

Hey Danny....yet again a misguided Israeli political and military mission with regard to Gaza that American Jewry will be asked to stand by and support. All over the news Israel will be referred to as "the Jewish State" as worldwide condemnation will pour in. As a Jew I will be on the defensive despite the fact that I have no vote and no say in whatever the politicians in Israel decide. Again, you will no doubt ask for solidarity by Jewish folk worldwide and we will answer for Israeli decision-making. I love Israel as my religious base, but the policies do not reflect my peace loving values. I support Israel with bonds and donations and visits, but the thriving American Jewish experience is independent of it.

OK, there's a lot there, and most of it I won't respond to now. But this is one of those moments when I don't think we have the luxury of writing a column over days, printing it out and editing it, sleeping on it and editing it again. Too much is happening, and people are too hurting and too confused for something not to be said.

To be sure, there's much more that we don't know than we do. We'll learn a lot in the days and weeks to come. But we do know that this was a tragic day and an excruciatingly painful one in Israel. At the fruit market, and at the dry cleaners, I asked people working there how they were, and all I got was a sigh. And then, "Yom kasheh. A tough day. They're going to eat us alive."

They will, indeed, eat us alive. It's taken a full day for the Israeli government to say anything coherent at all, riots are breaking out in Israeli Arab towns, Israelis in Istanbul have been warned by the Foreign Ministry not to leave their hotel rooms, and the international community is raining down condemnation.

But I jump to conclusions very different than those of my high school friend, and I responded to him in language very close to this:

David - we couldn't disagree more strongly. Israel's actions were "misguided"? Let's take that first. Were there tragic outcomes? Obviously. But "misguided"? Gaza is under the malicious and cynical rule of a terror organization sworn on Israel's destruction, that is holding an Israeli soldier captive in contravention of all international treaties, and that oppresses its own population while even Palestinian witnesses there acknowledge that there is no food shortage. Given Hamas' military objectives, Israel would be crazy not to check what's going in. But Israel had already pledged to pass on any humanitarian goods after they were inspected, and told the boats the same thing. So, no, I don't think that the idea of stopping the boats was misguided.

What we know is that on five of the ships, the commandos (among them friends of our kids, by the way) boarded the boats, and there was no resistance and no fighting.

On one boat, however, the first soldiers to land on the boat were attacked with metal rods and knives. There's video of it. It's playing all over Israeli and all over the internet. In some cases, soldiers' weapons were stolen and used against them. One was stabbed, apparently in the abdomen. Another was tossed from a desk and trampled when he landed. There were a handful of commandos there, and 600 "peace activists." On Israeli news tonight, the soldiers on helicopters taking them to the hospital were interviewed. They descended the ropes, they said, planning to talk the "activists" into going to Ashdod. Their weapons were not in their hands, but strapped to their backs. "We went into war," one in his 30's said bitterly tonight, "and all we had were toys." They were beaten, trampled, shot (yes, there were bullet injuries) but only after forty minutes of combat did they resort to live five. They were going to get lynched if they didn't fight back, they said.

Was I there? No. Do I know what really happened? No. But do I trust these kids and their officers? Yes, I do.

As for "peace activists," David, how much do you know about the IHH? It's a terror support group, supported by Turkey (among others) and it was ent to provoke. If they just wanted the goods to get to Gaza, they could have agreed to transfer them to an Israeli ship, or to unload them in Ashdod, as the Navy personnel asked them to. But they didn't want that. They just wanted to break the blockade. Why? For food? Even a few Palestinian journalists with some guts are reporting that there's no humanitarian food crisis in Gaza. No, it wasn't about food. They want the blockade broken so that after that, non-humanitarian items (read weapons) could brought in. Why should Israel allow that? So that they can be better armed the next time we have to send our kids into Gaza?

As for "being on the defensive," you "will be on the defensive" only because you totally don't get it. For if you did get it, you wouldn't feel that way. There's only one country anywhere on the planet about which there's a conversation about whether it has a right to exist. Do you ever think about why that is? What, the fate of the Palestinians is worse than that of aborigines in Australia? Or people in the Congo, or Rwanda? Why all the attention on Israel? Do you really not get it? You think that New Zealand just coincidentally decided this week to make kosher slaughtering illegal? You think it's really about humanitarian commitments? Come on.

No, David, you really don't have to defend Israel. No one's asking you to. We know that it's too late to expect many Americans like you to assume we're right before you assume we're wrong. As we look out at Jews across the world, we're just assessing who gets Jewish history, and who's so thoroughly intellectually assimilated that they're actually embarrassed that that Jews don't have to continue to be victims. I'm horrified by what happened on the ship, and I'll be shocked if after all is in, we find that Israel made no mistakes. (This was pretty clearly an intelligence failure, at the very minimum, sending those soldiers into something for which they had not at all been prepared or armed.) But if that had been my kid on the ship, and he'd gone in to prevent the blockade from being broken, but had no intention of fighting, and had then been attacked, I'd want him to defend himself. No matter what. I'd want him to come home whole, because that's part of the new Jewish reality that this country is supposed to make possible.

The loss of life is tragic. So are the injuries to soldiers, including serious head wounds. But most tragic of all is that the world is so willing to be blinded to what's really going on here.

At the end of this excruciating day in Israel, at least given what I know at this moment, I'm saddened but not apologetic. I'm not surprised by most of the world's reactions. But I haven't lost sight of who provoked this, and why they did that. But you're a very smart guy. Why have you?


The Flotilla to the Gaza Strip – Update (As of 1400 hours, May 30, 2010)

Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center

May 30, 2010
Note: this was intel before the incident, background info-listen/watch how the emdia shares data)

1. As of the afternoon of May 30, five ships were located near Cyprus and had not yet set sail for the Gaza Strip. The sixth boat, Challenger II, which belongs to the Free Gaza flotilla and carries 14 members of European parliaments, was expected to join the five ships between Cyprus and Gaza (Gulf News, UAE, May 29). Technical problems delayed some of the ships, which were forced to return to their home ports (Press TV website, May 29). Claims were also raised that the Cypriote government was putting obstacles in the flotilla’s path: the ships were prevented from entering Cyprus’ territorial waters and European parliament members were not allowed to board (Al-Jazeera TV, May 29, 2010).

IHH website, May 30, 2010
The Challenger II, apparently part of the Free Gaza flotilla. Its passengers were moved to
the Mavi Marmara. It is apparently flying an American flag (IHH website, May 30, 2010).

2. Since the flotilla began its preparations to set sail from Cyprus, IHH, the dominant Turkish organization behind the campaign, has used its website to broadcast live streaming video of the events.1 The broadcasts are mostly interviews with passengers. At 13:30 hours on Sunday, May 30, IHH head Bülent Yildirim was interviewed on board the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara. He was holding a small child at the time. He said that children had been brought aboard the ships as another means of preventing Israel from attacking. In our assessment, the children will be exploited for propaganda and to deter Israeli security forces from attacking the activist passengers.

3. Yildirim said at a press conference held aboard the Mavi Marmara that the flotilla’s organizers were in no hurry to set sail and that they were waiting for “the right time,” and perhaps in the meantime “Israel will think logically.” As to a possible confrontation with Israel, he said that the youngest passenger was a one year old boy and that there were elderly people in their 80s. He also said that while their resistance would be nonviolent, they would not allow Israeli soldiers to board the ships (IHH official website, May 29, 2010). The flotilla’s organizers said they wanted the confrontation to take place during the day so that the media could document it for global distribution (Al-Jazeera TV, May 29; interview on the IHH open channel, May 30, 2010).

4. In the Gaza Strip, Hamas continues its preparations to receive the flotilla. Baha al-Gha, director of the port authority in the de facto Hamas administration, said the goods would be transferred via floats with a surface area of 100 square meters (about 120 square yards). He said the ships would come as close to the shore as possible, at a point where the sea was 8.5 meters (9.3 yards) deep, where the cargo would be unloaded to the floats. Fishing boards would then drag them from the open sea into the port (Al-Mustaqbal website, May 26, 2010).

5. Muhammad Khalaf, interior ministry representative, said that the security services had formulated a plan to secure the flotilla, and to that end an operations room had been set up. He also said that the port of Gaza would be completely closed to visitors (Al-Aqsa TV, May 29, 2010). On May 28 the security services of the Hamas administration conducted an exercise in the port in preparation for receiving the flotilla; dozens of policemen participated (Website of the Hamas administration’s information office, May 28, 2010).

Hamas security services carry out a naval exercise in preparation for receiving the flotilla
Hamas security services carry out a naval exercise in preparation for receiving the flotilla
(Hamas’ Palestine-info website, May 26, 2010).

6. The de facto Hamas administration plans to dispatch 100 boats to receive the flotilla on the high seas. On board there will be lawmen, jurists and family members of prisoners serving time in Israeli jails. They will wave the flags of the countries participating in the flotilla (Ma’an News Agency, May 29, 2010). Hamas spokesman Salah al-Bardawil said that once preparations had been completed a large demonstration would take place in Gaza port, which would officially open to receive the ships. He said that the Hamas administration had appointed a committee, among whose members were several ministers, and they would receive the visitors and the aid, which would be distributed to the residents of the Gaza Strip (Al-Yawm Al-Saba’a, May 29, 2010).

7. Hamas figures expressed hope that the flotilla would reach the Gaza Strip and warned Israel not to harm it:

A. Ismail Haniya, head of the de facto Hamas administration, gave a festive speech in honor of the port’s opening, in which he said that he hoped the ships would lift the “siege” of the Gaza Strip, and called on the Palestinians to organize a mass activity to receive the visitors (Al-Jazeera TV, May 29, 2010).

B. Sami Abu Zuhri, Hamas spokesman, said that Israel would pay a higher price by opposing the flotilla than it would if the ships entered the Gaza Strip. He also said that those in charge of the flotilla would lodge international protests if Israel tried to harm the ships (Al-Bayan Center website, May 29, 2010).

1 For further information about IHH, see the May 26, 2010 bulletin, “IHH, which plays a central role in organizing the flotilla to the Gaza Strip, is a Turkish humanitarian relief fund with a radical Islamic anti-Western orientation. Besides its legitimate philanthropic activities, it supports radical Islamic networks, including Hamas, and at least in the past, even global jihad elements”


Maj. General Paul Vallely, USA (Ret)

Memorial day is a great and wonderful way to remember our patriotic heroes who sacrificed their lives to help us breathe the air of freedom. This day is observed by families and friends visiting cemeteries and memorials to pay homage to their love and forgotten ones.

“Your silent tenets of green
We deck with fragrant flowers.
Yours has the suffering been,
The memory shall be ours.” – Henry Wadsworth Longfellow Memorial day was first celebrated on May 30, 1868. It was observed by placing flowers on the graves of Union and Confederate soldiers during the first national celebration. Gen. James Garfield made a speech at Arlington National Cemetery, after which around 5,000 participants helped to decorate the graves of the MORE THAN 20,000 Union and Confederate soldiers who were buried there.
Three years after the Civil War ended, on May 5, 1868, the head of the Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) established Decoration Day as a time for the nation to decorate the graves of the war dead with flowers. Maj. Gen. John A. Logan declared Decoration Day should be observed on May 30. The date was chosen because flowers would be in bloom all over the country.
The alternate name of “Memorial Day” was first used in 1882. It did not become more common until after World War II, and was not declared the official name by Federal Law until 1967. On June 28, 1968, the United States Congress passed the Uniform Holidays Bill, which moved three holidays from their traditional dates to a specified Monday in order to create a convenient three-day weekend. The holiday’s including Washington’s birthday, now celebrated as Presidents’ Day; Veteran’s Day and Memorial Day. The change moved Memorial Day from its traditional May 30 date to the last Monday in May. The law took affect at the federal level in 1971.
Red poppies are a tradition inspired by a poem in 1915. “In Flanders Fields”, Moina Michael replied with her own poem:

We cherish too, the Poppy red
That grows on fields where valor led,
It seems to signal to the skies
That blood of heroes never dies.

Memorial Day is a day of remembrance of those who have died serving our country. I tear at the sound of “Taps” played at ceremonies on Memorial Day: “We come, not to mourn our dead soldiers, but to praise them.” – Francis A. Walker I will tear up as well. We will be with our son, Scott, as his gravesite in Bigfork, Montana in memory of his service to our country. Have a fun, safe, and memorable Memorial Day!

God Bless America and our great United States. [EZC takes issue in that it is GOD who grants us our INALIENABLE RIGHTS AS DELINEATED IN OUR FOUNDING DOCUMENTS ... NOT MEN ... for if granted by mere men they could be taken away. Our precious VETERAN has DEFENDED these inalienable rights! There IS a distinction ...]*

It is the VETERAN, not the preacher, who has given us freedom of religion.
It is the VETERAN, not the reporter, who has given us freedom of the press.
It is the VETERAN, not the poet, who has given us freedom of speech.
It is the VETERAN, not the campus organizer, who has given us freedom to assemble.
It is the VETERAN, not the lawyer, who has given us the right to a fair trial.
It is the VETERAN, not the politician, who has given us the right to vote.

Family Security Contributing Editor Paul E. Vallely, Major General (USA/Ret.) is an author, military strategist and Chairman of Stand Up America …


The Flotilla: Turkish Move to Lead the Muslim World

Yisrael Ne'eman
Mid-East On Target

The humanitarian aid flotilla was nothing more than a Turkish attempt led by PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan to gain patronage over the Muslim Brotherhood and continue extending his Islamic influence throughout the Middle East. Israel made it clear several times over that all humanitarian aid to Gaza can be shipped through Ashdod and into Gaza under the watchful eyes of the supposed "humanitarian" activists. The reason for the blockade of Gaza is to halt arms, ammunition and other supplies which can be used for military purposes by Hamas against Israel. Instead Erdogan wanted a confrontation to prove his support for the international Muslim Brotherhood. Erdogan leads the Islamist influenced Justice and Development Party and took office as Prime Minister in March 2003 soundly defeating the secular parties who had ruled Turkey since the Kamalist (Ataturk) revolution of the 1920s establishing the modern Turkish state as a secular entity. In particular he was successful on the domestic economic front but once re-elected he concentrated on foreign affairs, in particular supporting the Hamas (Palestinian Muslim Brotherhood) in all its conflicts with Israel. He gained power as a western style Muslim, but once consolidating support his true Islamic colors and those of his Justice and Development Party have taken command. In the meantime he collected many honorary doctorates and peace awards from foreign organizations as part of his camouflage for his ultimate Islamist agenda.

The Turks are now making their first overt steps to lead the Muslim world, the lightning rod being Israel and the tactic supporting Hamas. Nothing could be more useful than a clash with Israel over "humanitarian aid" where Erdogan has nothing to lose and all to gain. Israel is the up front enemy, symbolizing those with whom he is at odds with in the Muslim world. Previous Turkish administrations had an alliance with Israel; that is no more. Erdogan has moved Turkey closer to Syria, Iran, Hezbollah, Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood in general. His true rivals in the Middle East include the secular regimes of Egypt (Pres. Hosni Mubarak), Jordan, Algeria, Tunisia, Morocco, the pro-western Lebanese PM Said Harriri and in particular the Palestinian Authority Pres. Mahmoud Abbas and his pro-western PM Salam Fayyad.

Erdogan is outwardly supporting Hamas over Fatah. Had he supported the PA and Fatah he would have shipped all the humanitarian equipment to them and had Fatah take the credit for its distribution. Instead he decided on a clash with Israel using his own Turkish Muslim Brotherhood supporters from the IHH (the so-called relief agency with reported ties to Islamic terror organizations) in an effort to undermine those in a state of peace with Israel and the Fatah led PA who presently are attempting to arrive at a two state solution with the Jewish State. Let us not forget that Hamas violently overthrew the Palestinian Authority regime in the Gaza Strip in 2007 resulting in hundreds of dead and injured.

One of the major points made by Prof. Samuel Huntington in his famous book "The Clash of Civilizations and the Remaking of the World Order" is the constant instability in the Muslim world. Much of this he attributes to the lack of an agreed upon major power leading what he calls the "Islamic resurgence". Already in the 1990s he believed Turkey, as opposed to several other choices, could be the most natural player to take up the challenge, leaving its western leanings and European overtures behind. In the last few years Erdogen is shifting away from both and towards a more "natural" Muslim orientation. Ankara is picking up the gauntlet to lead and abandon the secular Ataturk legacy. The Turks are a major economic and military power in the region with the ability to spread their influence far and wide. The Ottoman Empire held the last seat of the Islamic Caliphate and quite possibly is looking to host the centralized Islamic authority once again in a reinvigorated religious and cultural challenge worldwide. Such a focus would catapult the Turks into a world leadership position.

Using the conflict between Israel and Hamas on the local level and between the national secular Arab regimes and the Muslim Brotherhood in the wider sphere are all part of the same strategy. Western influences are weakened, Islamic loyalties are strengthened and Turkish influence spreads to encompass the Muslim world. Istanbul and Ankara become synonymous with the Islamic resurgence leaving the West and others throughout the world little choice but to engage Erdogen when dealing with any crisis involving Islam or the Muslim world. The Turkish Islamists are proving their credentials in their simple, focused, premeditated clash with Israel. One should not be surprised if a latent antisemitism becomes more manifest and spills out of Turkey, similar to what we see in Egypt, Jordan and much of the Arab world, even those with whom were are not in conflict. The more the Muslim Brotherhood solidifies its grip, the more antisemitism will take hold.

The amount of casualties and the ultimate diplomatic fallout for Israel are not yet known, but for sure in the media war Israel is the big loser. The Turks and their Hamas clients have certainly won the first round. But it must be made clear again that the Hamas – Israel conflict is only being used by Erdogan and the Turkish Muslim Brotherhood. The bottom line is worth repeating, written at the outset of this article:

"The humanitarian aid flotilla was nothing more than a Turkish attempt led by PM Recep Tayyip Erdogan to gain patronage over the Muslim Brotherhood and continue extending his Islamic influence throughout the Middle East. Israel made it clear several times over that all humanitarian aid to Gaza can be shipped through Ashdod and into Gaza under the watchful eyes of the supposed "humanitarian" activists. The reason for the blockade of Gaza is to halt arms, ammunition and other supplies which can be used for military purposes by Hamas against Israel. Instead Erdogan wanted a confrontation to prove his support for the international Muslim Brotherhood."

IDF forces met with pre-planned violence when attempting to board flotilla

MFA Newsletter

Early this morning (31 May), IDF naval forces intercepted six ships attempting to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. During the interception of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. (Communicated by the IDF Spokesperson)

Israel Navy warns flotilla that Gaza region closed to maritime traffic

Early this morning (31 May), IDF naval forces intercepted six ships attempting to break the naval blockade of the Gaza Strip. This happened after numerous warnings from Israel and the Israel Navy that were issued prior to the action. The Israel Navy requested the ships to redirect toward Ashdod where they would be able to unload their aid material which would then be transferred over land after undergoing security inspections.

During the interception of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF naval personnel with live fire and light weaponry including knives and clubs. Additionally one of the weapons used was grabbed from an IDF soldier. The demonstrators had clearly prepared their weapons in advance for this specific purpose.

As a result of this life-threatening and violent activity, naval forces employed riot dispersal means, including live fire.

According to initial reports, these events resulted in over ten deaths among the demonstrators and numerous injured; in addition, more than four naval personnel were injured, some from gunfire and some from various other weapons. Two of the soldiers are moderately wounded and the remainder sustained light injuries. All of the injured, Israelis and foreigners are currently being evacuated by helicopter to hospitals in Israel.

Reports from IDF forces on the scene are that it seems as if part of the participants onboard the ships were planning to lynch the forces.

The events are ongoing, and information will be updated as soon as possible. Israeli Naval commander, Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom is overseeing the events.

In the coming hours, the ships will be directed to the Ashdod port, while IDF naval forces will perform security checks in order to identify the people on board the ships and their equipment. The IDF Spokesman conveys that this event is currently unfolding and further details will be provided as soon as possible.

This IDF naval operation was carried out under orders from the political leadership to halt the flotilla from reaching the Gaza Strip and breaching the naval blockade.

The interception of the flotilla followed numerous warnings given to the organizers of the flotilla before leaving their ports as well as while sailing towards the Gaza Strip. In these warnings, it was made clear to the organizers that they could dock in the Ashdod sea port and unload the equipment they are carrying in order to deliver it to the Gaza Strip in an orderly manner, following the appropriate security checks. Upon expressing their unwillingness to cooperate and arrive at the port, it was decided to board the ships and lead them to Ashdod.

IDF naval personnel encountered severe violence, including use of weaponry prepared in advance in order to attack and to harm them. The forces operated in adherence with operational commands and took all necessary actions in order to avoid violence, but to no avail.

A Well-thought Plan

Ari Bussel

At Ten PM Pacific Standard Time the news started coming in. First it was two dead, then 16 later 20. Bloomberg reports “Israeli Forces Clash With Gaza-bound Ships; Reports of 10 Dead.” Al Jazeera in English: “Israel attacks Gaza aid fleet, up to 16 people reportedly killed and dozens injured after troops board ships trying to break Gaza siege.” Israeli Debka site in Hebrew, among the very first to report the news: “At least 20 dead and tens wounded in the vessels of the flotilla to Gaza during the IDF’s boarding. The IDF soldiers who were attacked by cold weapons started firing.” The IDF Spokesperson announced in a press release “IDF FORCES MET WITH PRE-PLANNED VIOLENCE WHEN ATTEMPTING TO BOARD FLOTILLA:”

“IDF naval personnel encountered severe violence, including use of weaponry prepared in advance in order to attack and to harm them. The forces operated in adherence with operational commands and took all necessary actions in order to avoid violence, but to no avail.”

The response to the breaking news was immediate, as it was pre-planned for weeks, possibly months: Turkey called the Israeli ambassador to the Foreign Ministry. The Turkish Government announces that the Israeli aggression against the flotilla will bring about horrendous results whose end is unforeseen. Hamas calls the Arabs of Judea and Samaria and the Palestinians of Gaza to go out (to protest) for a Day of Rage. In leading role is Turkey, now overseeing and coordinating the attack against Israel. Viva Palestine has done its job organizing the flotilla. From here, the powers to be take over.

All that needed was a cue, and the ball started rolling. There was nothing spontaneous, just a well-thought, well-rehearsed and well-executed plan. The next few hours will show if Israel, too, has had a plan it could immediately put to action. Let us pray this is the case.

This was not the first flotilla aiming to reach Gaza. Yet with each execution, the level of sophistication had increased, each time the level of daring had expanded. This time around, children were brought as human shields. One is only left to wonder if dead bodies were boarded onto the ships prior to departure. [Palestinians used exhumed bodies before to show the effects of Israeli atrocities in Gaza, so it will not be the first time, nor beyond their normal modus operandi to do the same.]

This is how wars break. A ruse is used, which then leads to an avalanche. The cost, whether in human life or otherwise, is meaningless to the organizers of the convoy to Gaza. Their goal was to break the naval siege at all costs, or in the alternative to cause as much harm to Israel as possible, both on the international public diplomacy front and on the domestic resistance / fifth column of Israeli Arabs. In either case they are the victors.

One would remember the Palestinian terrorists taking over the Church of Nativity. There was no respect to the holy place. It served a purpose, thus whether desecrated or defiled, they did not care. Likewise now, there is meaning to human life, the goal of humiliating and hurting Israel is worth more than the means used to achieve it.

This will not die down. The flotilla to Gaza was the match that was needed to be lit. The Middle East was getting ready for this day.

The real question is not whether or not Israel has a plan of action, now that the vessels (most or all) have been stopped and taken over. Rather, it is: Does Iran – via her cronies, Hizbollah, Hamas, Syria and Turkey – have the urge to wipe Israel off the map now, or is she still waiting. It all boils down to Iran’s will and determination. For if Iran were ready, then the war would start in the next few hours, Israel will be bombarded with rockets and missiles from all fronts.

The looming war was generally accepted for some time now. It was only a question of time. In the meantime, a game was played, primarily by Israel (“the International community needs to act against Iran”), the USA (forcing upon those who were clearly uninterested “Proximity Talks”) and Russia (supplying advanced weapon systems and overall reclaiming its spot as the bully no one dares say a word against). On the other side, Turkey, Brazil, Syria and Hizbollah continued their preparations, laughing at the meager efforts by a weak global leadership and the Nobel Peace Laureate, the head of the US-Superpower.

Despite Israel’s legitimate claims for being right, the only images that will be seen in the coming hours and days and later remembered are her brutality against children and humanitarian aid convoys; her soldiers boarding vessels of peace and starting to shoot; her top spokesmen (the Foreign Minister and his Deputy) following the lead of the Minister of Defense who said the convoy will be stopped at all costs.

Israel, the aggressor, the occupier, the country committing a bloodbath in Gaza – to use the phraseology of a leading Israeli reporter – has this time crossed all red lines. It is indeed just for Israeli Arabs to set their march onto Jerusalem and for the Palestinian People to declare their nationhood. The world, finally, will not allow it to go on, and one after another, the members of the world community will say “Yes” when asked to vote for the formation and declaration of the new Palestine.

Oh cry Israel, for whatever you do you are found guilty. Facts and figures, logic and justice no longer hold. We are in the midst of a fantasia, where a flotilla that was never needed in the first place and could only result in bloodshed (present or future – had it been allowed to reach its intended destination) ushers in the new war. When will we wake up from this nightmare?

In the series “Postcards from Israel—Postcards from America,” Ari Bussel and Norma Zager invite readers to view and experience an Israel and her politics through their eyes, an Israel visitors rarely discover.

NEWS: IDF: Soldiers were met by well-planned lynch in Gaza waters By YAAKOV KATZ

05/31/2010 09:18

Army says at least 10 activists killed, dozens injured, six Navy commandos wounded as protesters open fire in violent Israeli takeover of Gaza flotilla.

International activists aboard the flotilla of ships on their way to the Gaza Strip opened fire on IDF soldiers who boarded the ships to prevent them from breaking the Israeli-imposed sea blockade, the IDF said Monday. According to the IDF, the international activists “prepared a lynch” for the soldiers who boarded the ships at about 2 a.m. Monday morning after calling on them to stop, or follow them to the Ashdod Port several hours earlier.

According to IDF reports, at least 10 acitivists were killed during the ensuing clashes as well as six Navy commandos, some of them from gunfire and at least one in serious condition with a head wound. Foreign reports claimed that the number of dead was close to 15. Some of the wounded were evacuated to Israeli hospital by Air Force helicopters.

Upon boarding the ships, the soldiers encountered fierce resistance from the passangers who were armed with knives, bats and metal pipes. The soldiers used non-lethal measures to disperse the crowd. The activists succeeded in stealing the weapon from one of the IDF’s soldiers and reportedly opened fire, leading to an escalation in violence.

“It was like a well-planned lynch,” one IDF officer said. “These people were anything but peace activists.”

The IDF said that the ships would be taken to the Ashdod Port where, despite the violence, the cargo that are carrying will be inspected and then transferred to the Gaza Strip via land crossings. Israeli Navy commander Vice-Admiral Eliezer Marom was commanding over the operation from sea.

The Navy made initial contact with the flotilla at 11 p.m. on Sunday ordering the ships to follow them to Ashdod Port or otherwise be boarded.

The actual boarding of the ships took place at 2 a.m. Monday and was yet to be completed by 8 a.m.

Activists aboard the ships repeatedly said they would not respond with violence to the navy's interception of their flotilla prior to the boarding.

Al-Jazeera reported Turkish leaders called an emergency meeting to discuss responses to the attack at sea. The Israeli ambassador in Turkey was called in to offer explanations, according to a report.

Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh came on Al-Jazeera to condemn the “brutal attack” and called on the UN to intervene on the activists' behalf.

The ministry condemned Monday's raid on the ship carrying pro-Palestinian activists, called it unacceptable and demanded an "urgent explanation" from Israel. It says Israel violated international laws and will suffer consequences.

AP contributed to the report.

IDF Sailors attacked after warning ships to stop

IDF Surprised Flotilla at Night and Arrested Passengers

zvi Ben Gedalyahu
Follow Israel news on Twitter and Facebook.

Late Sunday night, the Israeli Navy surprised the flotilla bound for Hamas-controlled Gaza in international waters and hundreds of IDF soldiers who came by air and sea boarded the ships and announced to all passengers that they are under arrest.. One of the crew said that one “Navy warship” had contacted the six boats in the flotilla and asked them to identify themselves. They were told the Navy would board the boats if the ships's crew and passengers do not agree to head for the Ashdod port instead of the Gaza Coast, where Israel maintains sovereignty under the Oslo Accords and does not allow ships to approach without searching them for arms.

International law allows for countries to ask suspicious boats to identify themselves. The vessels' passengers did not cooperate and called the move "scare tactics" on their streamed broadcasts.

The IDF searched the boats for arms immediately after the takeover. The soldiers were forced to use tear gas after they were attacked with knives, daggers and cudgels, putting their lives in danger. Unofficial reports that ten persons have been killed and another ten wounded were admitted to Rambam Hospital in Haifa were changed by the Arab television station Al Jazeera, to two killed and four wounded. An Al Jazeera reporter on one of the boats reported hearing gunshots.

The IDF has not issued a report on casualties or wounded in the operation. However, hospitals were put on alert to accept possible wounded.

The IDF released a terse statement shortly after midnight Sunday, stating, "Israeli Navy soldiers left this evening in order to stop the flotilla's provocative trip to Gaza. During the last few days, the soldiers have been conducting drills to ensure the mission's success."

Turkey's government called an emergency meeting to discuss the IDF action. Defense Minister Barak is holding ongoing meetings with his advisors.

The flotilla activists, some of whom are identified with terrorist Muslim groups, did not expect a confrontation with the Navy until Monday morning, when the flotilla expected to near the Gaza coast.

The flotilla sailed on Sunday, more than two days later than planned and without two of the ships that did not join because of malfunctions but which were expected to set sail after repairs.

“We fully intend to go to Gaza regardless of any intimidation of threats of violence against us,” said activist Huwaida Araf from the ships. “They are going to have to forcefully stop us.”

Israel was determined not to allow the boats to reach Gaza and set a precedent that would break Israeli sovereignty over the waters in order to prevent terrorists and arms from being smuggled from the Mediterranean Sea as they are from Egypt.

The flotilla included three ships of passengers and three cargo ships with aid. The Israeli military and Foreign Ministry accused the activists of being more interested in trying to stage an anti-Israel stunt and strengthen Hamas rather than trying to help Gaza Arabs. Government spokesmen pointed out repeatedly that aid always can be shipped to Gaza through the Ashdod port, and that the alleged “humanitarian crisis” is a ruse because Israel oversees daily shipments of hundreds of tons of food, merchandise and supplies. (
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Developing Story:Gaza flotilla: 2 dead, dozens injured in navy boarding

05/31/2010 07:00

Passengers tried to wrest weapons from soldiers, Army Radio reports; Turkish leadership call emergency meeting to discuss response to attack at sea, call in Israeli ambassador. Passengers tried to grab weapons away from soldiers boarding the Gaza protest flotilla, starting the violence, Army Radio reported Tuesday morning, responding to accusations that Israeli commandos assaulted the ships guns blazing.

Activists aboard the ships repeatedly said they would not respond with violence to the navy's interception of their flotilla.

At least two activistswere killed and dozens more were wounded in clashes as hundreds of Israeli commandos boarded the ships, firing guns and employing gas, Turkish media and Al-Jazeera reported earlier Tuesday morning.

Al-Jazeera reported Turkish leaders called an emergency meeting to discuss responses to the attack at sea. The Israeli ambassador in Turkey was called in to offer explanations, according to a report.

Analysis: Why Israel's media defense will be washed away by the flotilla
Flotilla delayed by glitches again
Analysis: Israel can learn from its adversaries to harness media
Haniyeh: Gaza flotilla a triumph
Report: Abbas plans to visit Gaza

Hamas Prime Minister Haniyeh came on Al-Jazeera to condemn the “brutal attack” and called on the UN to intervene on the activists' behalf.

Apparently, IDF attempts to prevent broadcasting from the ships were unable to block the Turkish camera crew on board one of the ships.

The flotilla's change of course earlier in the night to force the confrontation with the navy to occur in daylight seemed to have succeeded. The attack began still under cover of dark, but continued in daylight.

Earlier tonight, the IDF contacted the boats by radio, clarified that the Gaza Strip is a closed military zone and offered the sailors two options: to follow the navy to Ashdod Port or be commandeered by commandos, according to flotilla organizers.

The initial contact took place about 200 km. off the Gaza Coast. Flotilla organizers said they detected three Israel Navy ships on the radar.

Passengers on the ships were instructed to don life vests as organizers warned of potential Israeli violence.

Israel Radio quoted the flotilla’s organizers as saying they did not expect the navy to meet them so far out at sea.

International activists promised to send more aid ships to the besieged Gaza Strip late Sunday night, as the Israel Navy moved to intercept a flotilla of international vessels that were attempting to break the blockade of the Strip.

Israeli Navy ships set sail earlier Sunday night for what was expected to be a dramatic showdown out at sea as they try to prevent a flotilla of international aid ships from breaking the blockade on the Gaza Strip.

Comment: Wait for all the information before jumping to conclusions-evolving story-d

American Jews and Israel

Eileen F. Toplansky

As a nightmare scenario of escalating anti-Semitism plays out, commentators struggle to cope with the indifference of so many Jews to the threat. In the June 10, 2010 New York Review of Books, Peter Beinart pens an article entitled "The Failure of the American Jewish Establishment." Peter Beinart is Senior Political Writer at The Daily Beast. He was also The New Republic's managing editor from 1995 to 2007. In the Review of Books he writes that far too many Jewish students on college campuses are "not more vigorously rebutting campus criticism of Israel." Beinart throws down the gauntlet and claims that unless leaders of groups like AIPAC and the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations do not change course, more American Jewish youths will simply turn their backs on Israel. Aye, there's the rub. Instead of discussing the Daily Alerts put out by the aforementioned Conference, which are easily available through the Internet; instead of explaining how Jewish students on college campuses are under attack by racist groups as well as radical university professors; instead of truly reaching out to the beleaguered Jewish student who is searching for ways to combat the blatant anti-Semitism, Mr. Beinart blames organized Jewish American groups as well as Israel herself.

In fact, the problem is that far too many college students are not being taught history without it being politicized. In 1995, David McCullough gave an acceptance speech for the National Book Foundation Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters. His talk, entitled "Why History," centered on the widespread crisis concerning the lack of judicious study of American history. The problem has become far more critical. Our students do not even know the basics of American history, let alone international history.

Few students understand the background of Palestine or Israel. Fewer students have any idea of the incessant jihadist calls for death to Israel, Jews, and Western democracy. Instead, they are becoming more and more conditioned to hearing attractive Muslim female students describe conditions of Palestinians while conveniently ignoring the facts that any credible historian can attest to. The fact that the U.N. continues to keep Palestinians in refugee camps, aka terrorist training camps -- the fact that Israel has, time and again, offered land to its avowed enemies only to have as its rewards rockets shot into Israeli towns -- the fact that alleged peace partners Jordan and Egypt aid and abet terrorists to bring in rockets, mortars, and guns -- why doesn't Beinart expose the shameless neglect on the part of university history departments, newspapers, and liberal media outlets that show a snippet of an event without ever exposing the cause and effect of Israel's reactions?

Groups like CAMERA, MEMRI, HonestReporting, Daniel Pipes, and JIHAD WATCH work assiduously to counter the obvious anti-Semitic chant of most of the world. And yet, how many young people are informed about these sites? How many professors cite these organizations to their young charges? In fact, in too many American universities, the situation has now become toxic for Jewish students. At Rutgers, for example, labor relations students are told that they can apply for jobs in Palestine! At the University of Berkeley, Irvine, students are subjected to guerrilla theatre as reenactments are made of IDF soldiers mowing down Palestinian people! The university presidents do not interfere, citing freedom of expression! And the lone Jewish student walks away appalled and scared. Political correctness informs lectures, and English composition texts display out-of-context essays which neglect to inform the students about the nefarious deeds of CAIR. Pictures are inserted that mislead students. Yet year after year, this is what is foisted upon students with nary a peep from department heads who often are misinformed or uninformed. It is so easy to take the Palestinian perspective because the Palestinians have been rendered the underdog. How many school administrators and political officials publicize and protest this one-sided pandering? Why doesn't Beinart take them to task?

How is it that the world yawns when Israelis are booed at sports events, when singers boycott Israel, when the U.N. appoints the basest of the base to its Human Rights unit? Where is the outcry from the power brokers? Yet Mr. Beinart expects 18-year-olds to shoulder the responsibilities of these daily battles? Middle Eastern Studies programs, once the jewel of genuine multicultural studies, have become the tools of propaganda and distortion by terrorist-leading pundits.

Israel and her defenders are aghast at the daily incitement for the annihilation of Jews. It hearkens back to the days of Nasser, who vowed to push every Jew into the Mediterranean...which hearkens back to the Pharaoh, who did, indeed, drown every Hebrew male child in the Nile. As Emma Lazarus said, "[A] study of Jewish history is all that is necessary to make a patriot of an intelligent Jew," but when history texts are poisoned by the likes of Finkelstein, Khalidi, and Edward Said, are we not asking a herculean task of students? What is the obligation that society owes to its young?

There is a smarmy tone to Beinart when he diminishes the genuine concerns of Benjamin Netanyahu, who sees clear parallels between the Palestinian bid for statehood and Nazism. Yet history speaks to the fact that Hitler had indeed met with the Mufti who had organized Muslim Bosnians to fight alongside the Nazis. When Egypt had the Gaza Strip and Jordan had the West Bank, it is odd that there was never any interest in setting up an independent Palestinian country. But be that as it may, Israel has time and again acceded to Palestinian demands -- in fact, Gaza is now judenfrei -- and still the Palestinians make a mockery of the responsibility that is supposed to come with statehood.

How should Israelis react? With the exception of a few brave Muslim voices, what have the Israelis received from their Arab neighbors but a reign of treachery and death? When Israel built the dividing fence to stop the horrific suicide/homicide bombing of its civilians, it received nothing but intense world condemnation. When Israeli athletes were being murdered at the 1972 Munich Olympics, did the other athletes organize a massive boycott and remain adamant that the games would not continue until the Israeli athletes were released? When 95% of the West Bank was offered to Arafat to build this so-called independent Palestinian country, what happened? "Jihad, and jihad, and jihad" came from the lips of the murderer Arafat. This is not wallowing in victimhood; it is the recitation of far too many anti-Jewish events.

Why are the Palestinians the only ones whose plight is pictured on television? What about the survivors of suicide bombs, whose lives have been shattered, whose hopes have been dashed? Pierre Rehov has interviewed and filmed captured failed suicide bombers who are jailed in Israeli prisons; the bombers vow that if given a chance, they would continue to blow up Jews. Some of these suicide bombers were Israelis, born and educated in the country. Is it any wonder that Israeli Jews have a justified suspicion of the Arabs living among them?

Mr. Beinart finds Israelis at fault because they may harbor suspicions that Israeli Arabs publicly mourn on Israeli Independence Day, citing it as their Nakba. How then, Mr. Beinart, does one deal with a fifth column in a country? Caroline Glick documents the perfidy among Israeli Arabs, both Muslim and Christian, as they spy for Hezbollah. One Israeli Arab was a former member of the Knesset! Routinely, Hezbollah flags are flown at Israeli Arab political events and protests. According to Glick, the Israeli government has "failed to adopt any consistent measures" concerning Israeli Arab leaders, who routinely reject the country's right to exist.

The abridged rights that Beinart speaks of do not come close to the outright prejudice, bigotry, and racism that all of Israel's neighbors have towards Jews. And these countries do not engage in verbal discussions about how to be democratic. The amazing thing is that Israel is still concerned about being democratic, that Israel still wants to retain the higher ethical ground. But with anti-Israel world opinion and destructive invective being publicized, how can an American Jewish student counter all this?

And to cite Human Rights Watch and Amnesty International as objective groups is quite an irony. Furthermore, how is it in 2005 that Palestinians themselves feared for their lives if the Palestinian Authority were to come to power? Why isn't this making the front pages among the media?

Too many pundits seem to agree with Mr. Beinart, who writes that the "drama of Jewish victimhood ... strikes most of today's young American Jews as farce." Why not ask the student who was recently beaten up by a member of the Muslim Students Association because he was a member of the Jewish fraternity Zeta Beta Tau? Why not ask the female Jewish student who was afraid of asking her professor a question about the Middle East because she had seen him at a rally where he called for the dissolution of the State of Israel? The students do not see victimization of Israel as a farce. They are the latest victims of an insidious hatred that is dominating news outlets, heads of states, and campus posters. They are frightened, not neglectful.

Beinart nonchalantly dismisses the fact that "Israel faces threats from Hezbollah and Hamas" and "is understandably worr[ied] about a nuclear Iran." But, Beinart continues, "the dilemmas that [Israel] faces ... are not the dilemmas of the Warsaw Ghetto. The year 2010 is not, as Benjamin Netanyahu has claimed, 1938." How, then, should it be viewed? Why is an existential threat to be dismissed? If Beinart feels this way, why shouldn't the young American Jew harbor these ideas? I thought history was supposed to warn us? Whose side is he trying to enlighten? In a recent interview with Jeffrey Goldberg of The Atlantic, Beinart states that his "spiritual connection to the land of Israel is, in all honesty, weaker. Perhaps that's why I don't feel the sense of potential loss at giving up Hebron ... My love of Israel isn't about the land." Well, now we have it -- Mr. Beinart nonchalantly makes no claim about the land, so therefore, what's the big deal about giving it to the enemy? And he expects Jewish students to engage in passionate defense about Ha-eretz (the land) when it isn't important to him? Whom is he fooling? He and other writers engage in some late-night musings about the "bonds of [Jewish] peoplehood" but hold themselves to a different standard when it comes to Israel's security as a country bounded by secure borders.

When nations swear to exterminate you, what exactly should you do? Beinart waters down the very real concerns that Israelis have. Time and again, they have been lied to by the Arab nations they have negotiated with. They have buried far too many of their young, and yet they are still held to a double standard. No other country in the world is under daily attack in the media, in the courts of law, at the United Nations, and now by the President of the United States. Yet Beinart is implying that Israel is not living up to its "precepts of liberty, justice and peace taught by the Hebrew prophets." Frankly, what is amazing is that the Israelis do live up to these precepts, even when surrounded by the most dastardly of enemies both from within and without its borders.

See also: Israel and America's Jews

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