Friday, July 8, 2011

The Flytilla Farce And The International Campaign For Repressive Dictatorship and Against Israel

ISRAEL, Tel Aviv Airport


July 8, 2011 - 2:15 pm - by Barry Rubin

After the failure of the Gaza flotilla, Western leftists and their Arab, often Islamist, allies took up a new way to harass Israel, dubbed the “flytilla.” Hundreds of protestors were to fly into Israel’s sole international airport and demonstrate along with radical Israeli supporters.
Why is Israel facing such constant and increasing harassment? Not only is Israel a democratic country but over the last two decades it has made many concessions: making an attempted peace deal with the PLO; withdrawing from territory in Lebanon, the West Bank, and all of the Gaza Strip; admitting tens of thousands of Palestinians into the area and turning over political control to the Palestinian Authority; paying money and providing guns to the PA’s security agencies; and seeking a comprehensive peace that included a Palestinian state with its capital in east Jerusalem (notably in 2000).
Yet Israel is the only country in the Middle East against whom Westerners participate in antagonistic activities. There has not been a single demonstration by indigenous Europeans or North Americans against repression in Syria or Sudan; supporting the oppositions in Iran, Lebanon, and Turkey; defending the rights of Middle Eastern women or gays against Islamist oppression.
The flotilla was disguised as a humanitarian venture to help Gazans, though not against the Hamas dictatorship. Conditions in the Gaza Strip (illustrated by pictures of stores full of goods), the easing of sanctions by Israel, and the opening of the border by Egypt all showed this is a lie. Detailed research showed the links of the organizers to the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, and in some cases to terrorist activities.
But the flytilla has abandoned such pretexts altogether. What is now openly advocated is the unconditional creation of a Palestinian state free to continue the conflict with Israel to wipe it off the map as well as the extinction of Israel. These activities are the product of Hamas, PA, and Muslim Brotherhood propaganda campaigns against Israel by people who—including Western far leftists—are hostile to all Western interests and, in the case of the leftists, to democracy in their own countries.
The flytilla is also a material failure, though the organizers hope it will be a propaganda success that did achieve a waste of Israeli resources (600 extra policemen spent their day at the airport.) It also spent, albeit to the benefit of airlines, hundreds of thousands of dollars that could have been used to help poor people anywhere in the world.
All of the flying protestors were stopped from arriving inside Israel. Most never got off the ground, screened out by Israeli security people at the departure airports—incidentally a good example of how profiling can stop terrorists. Only 36, as of this writing, made it into Israeli airspace. The planes on which they arrived were sent to a separate terminal and they were arrested.
While it was predicted that hundreds of Israeli supporters would greet them, only six far left Israelis showed up, with Palestinian flags and a “Welcome to Palestine” sign. They, too, were arrested, saving them from regular Israeli passengers and those there to meet arriving loved ones who chanted, “Go to Syria!”
Of course, a great deal of publicity was generated, as reporters and photographers greatly outnumbered demonstrators and news of this event was flashed around the world.
What should happen is that the mass media might resist such manipulation by the systematic anti-Israel propaganda campaign and through simple research expose its radical and anti-real peace links. Millions of people throughout the Western democratic world should understand what’s going on and how these forces are also against them.
And, who knows, perhaps there will one day be a teach-in or demonstration on one Western campus or some effort by liberal activists and mainstream intellectuals regarding the massacres of people in Syria, the threat of revolutionary Islamists, and Israel’s right to defend itself and live in peace.


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