A lot of people have asked me when I am going to write something about the flotilla incident. I suppose it’s nice that people want to know what I think about it, but I’ll be honest and say that I’ve been way too upset by it to write anything. So I’ve been posting other people’s thoughts which were all far more eloquent and important than anything I could have mustered up the will to write.

I’m still not feeling up to commenting at any real length but a few people have started asking whether my personal quietness on the issue is because I’m angry with Israel about what happened. So I feel I need to write and say clearly that I am 100 per cent with Israel on this.

Of course I am. The flotilla incident represents in microcosm so much of the narrative of what Israel has faced throughout its history.

1) A gang of murderous savages hid behind a humanitarian mission statement, while setting out on a mission not to build but to demonise and destroy. (cf. Successive Palestinian terror and ‘resistance’ groups and their backers.)

2) Israel calmly explained what the flotilla needed to do only to have its clear and fair offer flatly rejected by one of the boats. (cf. Arafat’s rejection of Barak’s offer at Camp David.)

3) The commandos arrived on the boat peacefully and with optimism but were immediately and savagely attacked. (cf. The attacks from five neighbouring armies on the state of Israel on its first day of existence.)

4) Even with this savage attack underway on the commandos they waited an astonishing length of time before finally responding. (cf. The years of thousands of rockets fired into southern Israel before it finally responded in 2008/09.)

5) In response to the incident the world immediately created and followed a demonstrably untrue narrative, all the better to demonise Israel. (cf. Where to start?)

I’m not sure why this incident has shaken me so much. I suppose it is partly because the videos of what those commandos went through were so painfully, horribly upsetting to watch. I know of the savagery that Israel has faced throughout its existence but rarely do those of us outside the country witness such savagery so starkly.

I think the other reason I’ve been so upset is that I’ve lost a part of my innocence when it comes to my view of Israel’s opponents and critics around the world. I was always loathed to  jump to extreme interpretations of what motivated people to be so strong, blindly and uniquely hostile to Israel. I liked to believe people were usually not antisemitic or even nasty. I believed they were simply misguided and ill-informed. That they were a quick lesson away from a more fair approach.

But people around the world have seen the videos of what the commandos faced on those boats and still many are refusing to accept what happened. They are still angrily, aggressively rounding on Israel in astonishing defiance of absolutely clear-cut evidence. I fear for these people and I fear these people.

My valued readers are always so generous with their encouragement and praise. People say they enjoy that I often manage to be upbeat, optimistic or witty, even when tackling difficult issues. I can’t be any of those things at the moment. I’m full of pessimism and exasperation. I don’t think I’ve ever been so unhappy.

But, most importantly, my thoughts and prayers remain with the injured commandos and their families.

70 Responses to “The flotilla: Israel's history in microcosm”

  1. Ana says:

    I feel exactly the same way you feel Chas. I feel as if I have been living in an alternate universe from most of the world for the last two days. It is very upsetting.

  2. Richard says:

    I empathise. So hard to write anything. Do i write about this or try to write about something else? The attack on the soldiers was unbelievable, yet the narrative is that Israel did something wrong by landing soldiers on the boat in order to direct it to Ashdod. I will have to write something about it though. I have to.

  3. Israelinurse says:

    There were reports on the news tonight that vast amounts of cash were found on the bodies of the so-called peace activists -one million Euros is one instance alone. This would suggest either that they were transferring money to Hamas or that they were actually paid mercenaries. The latter possibility is being investigated. Many of them were not carrying travel documents of any kind, so identification is proving difficult.

  4. La Cumparsita says:

    Exactly. That is why I dropped everything to go & support Jonathan in Whitehall last night – I just felt I had to do something.

  5. Liraz says:

    Chas, I don’t know how you find the time to write your great books and these magnificent blogs – even allowing for youthful energy – but am very glad and grateful that you do. I admire your courage – for as someone who was mercilessly cyber-terrorised by a crazed anti-Israel lefty after I’d written many times, and passionately, in support of Israel under my real name on a now virtually defunct social networking site and now uses an alias I really do believe that it takes courage to stand up and be counted on Israel’s side. So many young people, knowing only Israel’s post-1967 history, and fed on a diet of BBC half-truthes, thus regard Israel as an occupying imperialistic power, and accordingly are pro-Palestinian almost as a Pavlovian response. I am old enough to remember the 1967 war, when at first it looked like Israel would be vanquished, and how non-Jews were volunteering to fight for Israel, and sending what money they could spare, completely unsolicited, to the Israeli Embassy. Unfortunately, nowadays, too many people are ignorant of Israeli history, and as you well know, seem to think that Palestine was a sovereign country wrested away by “the Zionists”. Thanks for being not only an exception, but an effective and articulate one!

  6. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    Thanks for your comments.

    First just to say/remind that there is another pro-Israel demo in London tomorrow (Weds) details here: http://www.oyvagoy.com/2010/06/01/demonstration-to-support-israel/

    Liraz, thanks for your comments which are very generous. I have lots of energy but alas I’m a bit old to be called youthful.(Though feel free – I like!)

    Sorry to hear of your bad online experience. I’ve had some similar horrible experiences as a result of this blog as you can imagine. Sorry to hear of yours, and thanks for being so kind.

  7. Michael Cohen says:

    So very well put Chas -the abuse, lynching, stabbing and shooting of Israeli soldiers is denied even though it is plain to see on the video footage. Remind you of any other kind of denial involving Jews?

    • Colin Linder says:

      I agree entirely. But do not forget to mention the Panorama programme in which Jane Corbyn (usually hostile to Israel) examined the flotilla episode and, as a result, completely agreed with Israel’s version of events. The aim of the flotilla was not to provide aid but to beat the blockade and to gain publicity.

  8. FromIsrael says:

    Dear Chas,
    Please keep posting even if you are feeling down. You may like to check out this site of Rav Brody, http://lazerbrody.typepad.com/lazer_beams/. He explains everything through emuna (faith), the best way to understand what is happening.

    You may also want to look at this “the False Religion of MidEast Peace”: http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/04/19/the_false_religion_of_mideast_peace
    There seem to be two types of lefties when it comes to Israel: those described in the article who genuinely “believe” that all the talks and concessions will lead to “two states living side by side, bla bla bla” and the hateful manipulators. As for the latter, they are “merely” the latest in a long line of anti-semites. See a history of antisemitism “the Longest Hatred”. http://www.amazon.com/Frontline-Longest-Revealing-History-Anti-Semitism/dp/B0002BO0DU. I only saw the first part.

    Anyway, keep up the good work.

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      Thanks, I will definitely read those.

      • Jonathan Bush says:

        Chas, FromIsrael is abolutely right to point you to someone who looks at these issues through the eyes of faith. No other way could make any sense. IMO antisemitism has never been the best word. The Germans call it judenhass, or Jew hatred. Psalm 69:4 Those who hate me without reason outnumber the hairs of my head; many are my enemies without cause, those who seek to destroy me. I am forced to restore what I did not steal. People hate without even knowing why, then invent excuses to rationalise. That is why it hardly ever works to show how the BBC gets it wrong, or show video of the metal bar mob.
        Writing this blog is a good thing that you do and I very much hope that you continue. Just please don’t be too upset when the facts and common sense don’t seem to prevail. It isn’t you – it’s judenhass spilling over, because you are brave enough to put your head over the parapet.

    • Jonathan Bush says:

      @FromIsrael: Thank you so much for posting this. I was just about to respond to Chas’, “what motivated people to be so strong, blindly and uniquely hostile to Israel”, to say that these things need to be seen from a spiritual perspective. I know that there are things which divide Jew and Christian (me), but there is plenty which unites us…

  9. Dear Chas,

    I have been reading your blog for a while. I too found it hard to write for many of the same reasons, but I finally did. I still find it hard to believe the willful blindness of some. Here is what I wrote:
    http://tuufi.blogspot.com/
    Keep up the good work,
    Mikael

  10. jenny says:

    Thank-you for writing this. It sums up my feelings on the matter pretty much entirely. As I see it Israel were in a no win situation. Either give the flotilla the confrontation they so obviously wanted and be condemned as brutal or let the flotilla through with no idea what was on board and risk weopons reaching Hamas. Morally I think in putting the safety of Israeli citizens first they made the right call but the reaction to this has left me feeling very pessimistic indeed.

    On a brighter note I have redoubled my efforts to get enough money together to make my first visit to Israel and of course will carry on the buycott.

  11. Quentin says:

    Chas,

    Firstly, what do people gain from misconstruing this situation? You say, “They are still angrily, aggressively rounding on Israel in astonishing defiance of absolutely clear-cut evidence.” Why the hell would people do this? Because the rational public is entirely anti-semitic? Genuinely? That’s insane. People are rounding on Israel because they did something so completely outwith the bounds of normal state actions they’re shocked and appalled. Combine it with the use of UK passports and people see a country which refuses to act in accordance with any rules. Now, you can say this is because Israel is on a permanent war-footing, but this is no excuse – it’s beyond all accepted warfare behaviour.

    What do you gain by being so blinkered about this? Nothing. What do you lose by glorifying this behaviour? All credibility. People would have a lot more respect if commentators just accepted that this was a mistake, and a fatal one at that.

    “I suppose it is partly because the videos of what those commandos went through were so painfully, horribly upsetting to watch. I know of the savagery that Israel has faced throughout its existence but rarely do those of us outside the country witness such savagery so starkly.”

    But they all survived – 9 people on the boat were killed, an act of ultimate savagery.

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      “Firstly, what do people gain from misconstruing this situation?”

      You tell me – but it’s 100 per cent clear people are misconstruing.

      “Because the rational public is entirely anti-semitic? Genuinely? That’s insane.”

      It would be insane to say that. Which is why I didn’t say that. Drop the red herrings please.

      “People are rounding on Israel because they did something so completely outwith the bounds of normal state actions they’re shocked and appalled.”

      There is nothing abnormal about a country enforcing a blockade and ensuring the security of its citizens. The British Navy intercepts suspicious vessels in international waters almost daily.

      “Now, you can say this is because Israel is on a permanent war-footing, but this is no excuse…”

      So easy to say from the comfort of your home isn’t it?

      “People would have a lot more respect if commentators just accepted that this was a mistake, and a fatal one at that.”

      I agree that if I went along with the dishonest narrative I would gain wide respect from those who follow it. I’m not interested in respect, I’m interested in the truth and decency.

    • Jill says:

      Q:Firstly, what do people gain from misconstruing this situation? You say, “They are still angrily, aggressively rounding on Israel in astonishing defiance of absolutely clear-cut evidence.” Why the hell would people do this? ”

      A: Because they get to feel a righteous rage at an unworthy target as defined by the Paliprop set who fuel this setup with lies, fake pathos, lies and continuous canmpaigning against israel.
      they also get to deflect their fear from the real threat – murderous Islamics by thinking that if they rage against the target of the Islamists rage, they themselves will not be targeted by the same islamists who have the ear and d***and b*** of every politician in Europe.

      Don’t forget there are serious numbers of Muslims in every country in the world – this seriously affects the emotions and perceptions of people whos ee how they behave against the Jews and do not want to same fate for themselves.

      Q:Because the rational public is entirely anti-semitic?
      A: Rational people need reasons to turn opn someone – so whether they are inherently antiSemitic or not, they will grab at the faux-truth to justify their emotions (see above).

      Thsi kind of incident is deliberately fanned by hysterical proPali groups and other Jewhating groups and citizenry who are only too happy to be able to kick it publicly and uin numerous forums. I ahve been on some of these forums and see some of these rational people genuinley struggle with the issues but who like yourself ahve incomplete knowledge.

      For example, are you, Quentin,aware that the ship with the deaths contained Muslim Brotherhood members of the Turkish terrorist group IHH? Are you aware that as they left Istanbul (Turkish TV foortage) they screamed “Khaybar Kaybar, O Jews/ The army of Muhammad will return?”. Are you aware that they declared themselves as desiring martyrdom (Islamic) or to get to Gaza?
      Are you aware that they have long links with Hamas, that Hams and Hezbollah too are Members of the Muslims Brotherhood and thatr the MB is sworn to undermine America (and by extension Western Civilsation) from within?
      Now that you know it, do you feel impelled to look up a lot this stuff or do you still feel like abusing Israel? Becaseu if you look it up, you’re rational. If you still abuse Israel, it’s because you’re a bully abnd the Islamists’ bitch.

      Q: completely outwith the bounds of normal state actions
      A: it is the duty of every state to protect its citizens. israel acted lawfully according to every rule governing blockades, borading at sea etc. the only reason every Arab country is screaming about this is because it is against Sharia law for dhimmis or potential dhimmis to defend themselves

      Q:Israel is on a permanent war-footing, but this is no excuse –
      A: Great – you try coping after your family have been bombed, you see all your kids go to the army, die in a bus bombing etc. Just for being Jewish.
      And then you try showing the restraint that Israel has, and even these commandos have. I mean, they were armed with paintball guns for god’s sake, and still didnt’ shoot while they were being attacked until they realised they were being attacked by trained street fighters who were trying to lynch them.

      Useful website and videos: http://www.idfspokesperson.com

      Q:it’s beyond all accepted warfare behaviour.
      A:Crap! But at least you recognise that Israel is fighting a WAR gainst jihadi people who want them all dead.

      Q: But they all survived –
      A: yeah – with broken limbs and trauma. Great. Aren’t you the “humanitarian”. Say, got a little scimitar on you, like the Yemenite guy on this ship? yeah, there were Turkish terrorist but also Yemenites and an Indonesian. Rock on Islamic Unity of Death!

      Q:9 people on the boat were killed, an act of ultimate savagery.

      A: 9 JIHADISTS died, Turkish terrorists who went to war against Jews and yelled for martyrdom. They packed and used knives, slingshots, ambush tactics, tried to bering sdown a helicopter, used five other “peace” ships as camouflage for their warfare – similar tactics to Hamas and Hezbollah, who use human shield, you notice.
      They’re happy with their 72 raisins in Islamic heaven, why can’t you rejoice with them?

  12. beamkiss says:

    I empathise with your position entirely. I’m also a non-Jewish friend of Israel from Britain and the last few days have been brutally depressing when viewing the biased media reports on the flotilla incident. Social networking sites are filled with awful bile and lies about Israel as well.

    I too wish the injured Israeli soldiers the best of health and speedy recoveries.

  13. Rosaly says:

    I feel exactly how you do, it is totally clear to me how anti Semitic the people of the world are, and I am very afraid and so sad to see how blatantly Israel and the jews are hated. ITV news tonight made me feel so ill. It is very scary what is going on. I just can not describe the pain within and the frustration I feel at how the nations of the world have treated Israel in such a clear blatant provocation by a bunch of Jihad terrorists.

  14. Lorri says:

    We could use more writers like you here in the U.S. As my dad always says, “Keep your chin up.”

  15. Jo says:

    You are obviously a good writer and your blog article is well written and interesting. That said, I find it hard to understand how, being a clearly intelligent man, you can take such an absurd position. I also have seen the videos of which you speak and some others which you should check out (they weren’t taken by the IDF). How you can disregard compelling evidence from multiple sources indicating unequivocally that this was a violent and illegal act of aggression by Israel, is beyond me. Then I googled you and came across this piece in TotallyJewish.com (http://www.totallyjewish.com/news/special_reports/?content_id=9739) where you state the following, that you hate Islamists and confirm that you (and Julie Burchill) have, “both visited Israel and back it to the hilt”. Would that be a 100 per cent hilt? I hope the injured get well soon as well and wish my best wishes to the families of the dead, yeah, a few people died Chas. I agree Mikael, ‘willful blindness.’

    • Jill says:

      He takes this position because he IS an intelligent man.
      And bothers to think things through.

  16. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    “How you can disregard compelling evidence from multiple sources indicating unequivocally that this was a violent and illegal act of aggression by Israel, is beyond me.”

    Show me the compelling evidence and I will look at it.

  17. Jill says:

    Chas,I feel for you, I really do. It’s very saddening for anyone with a naturally optimistic disposition to see this and to face that maybe there is nothing you can do against this sort of hatred (though you didn’t put it like that of course).

    This loss of innocence you mention is a hard thing especially for a young person to face, and a lonely realisation for people who are older ie that there really are people who not only dont’ care whther you live or die but that actively want you dead and do not care what part of their humanity they have to sacrifice to achieve this, whether at first hand(jihadists) or vicariously (terror groupies, as you put it in your excellent book on hypocrisy).

    I think the loneliness of this is why so many Jews are in denial of this Jew-hatred. The natural growth of being brought up Jewish or creative or in any manner in accordance with any life-affirming culture is the desire to reach out to others.
    And if you can’t do that as a human it kills a part of you and kills a part of living for you. I have felt this and a younger person simply did not want to deal with it at a practical level ie fight this.
    The Net has made this a little easier – you can post on blogs, share information, meet people like you who are not Jewish but who share the burden of revulsion at Jew-hatred so commonly exhibited in the world and understand what it is for a non-Jew to feel this horror too.
    I have also another non-Jewish friend whose point of epiphany was a pro-Palestinian rally in Australia. He, and the posters on jihadwatch.org and many other websites are reeling and angry at the anti-Jew (why call it just antiIsrael now) hatred so clearly before them. And so many of them are determined to fight it and are fighting it.

    You might understand from all this why the thanks of Jewish people for you and your blog – of which I’m sure you’ve received much – are so heartfelt.

    Two last points:
    I attended a talk recently by the Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh. He said that of all the groups he has addressed it is only the Jewish groups who are concerned with reaching out to others. I do not exaggerate.
    Many of the groups he speaks to of course feature Jew-haters like the Students for Palestine and jihadi groups disguised as Palestinian sympathisers.

    Secondly, I am reading The Rise of the Creative Class at the moment (forgot author,sorry) and he says that the three factors showing a creative society are what he calls the 3Ts: Talent, technology and tolerance.

    The tolerance factor incorporates the high presence of gay people in an environment in which they feel welcome(openness) , and the diversity of people you would get in such an environment includes foreigners, musicians, etc. I forget why the technology was so important but it had something to do with the spirit of openness and innovation.
    At any rate, while I was reading this it occurred to me that Israel embodies these 3Ts to a T!
    Talent – huge.
    Technology – off the charts.

    Tolerance – well, if you (as a gay man) can go there and drool over the citizenry and feel welcome, along with gay Arabs etc, plus all the tolerance of different religions and er oh yes ROCKETS and jihadi Arabs in the Knesset, well, I think it meets the definition well, wouldn’t you say?

    Thank you for your piece.

  18. Liraz says:

    Just in case you have missed this http://wordfromjerusalem.com/?p=2217

    Also, Jonathan Hoffman’s speech the other day contained this salient point, which deserves to be spread far and wide:

    San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea (12 June 1994)
    “It is permissible under rule 67(a) to attack neutral vessels on the high seas when the vessels “are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture.”

  19. Jill says:

    Excuse spelling, am in a rush.

  20. Harvey says:

    Jo

    You describe ” violent and illegal acts of aggression by Israel” Leaving aside the absurdity of your comment in conflating legitimate self defence by soldiers confronted by a lynch mob with aggression.Like Quentin earlier who seems to think that the soldiers had a duty to die in order to balance the numbers.

    I would be interested to find out if at any time you felt equally compelled to express your outrage when Israelis were being blown up in cafes ,shopping malls nightclubs buses etc by homicidal maniacs during the Intifada . Did you see fit to comment or go on protest marches when Hamas were launching and continue to launch some 8000 rockets and mortars into Southern Israel . Maybe you can provide a link or two. I m not holding my breath except to avoid the stench of your hypocrisy

  21. NM says:

    A few weeks ago, North Korea sunk a ship without provocation, killing everyone on board. Nobody cared.

    Now, Israel is attacked merely for attempting, peacefully, to direct ships full of terrorists in a blockade. Unlike North Korea, Israel doesn’t simply torpedo the ships, but puts its own people at risk, as ever, and is rewarded with brutality in response.

    And the world goes mad.

    Yes, it’s antisemitism. But it isn’t that the whole world is consciously antisemitic: a few are, and are happy to plough these deep grooves of antisemitism. The rest are happy to follow in those grooves, without asking questions, without thinking, without understanding why they happening to be moving in the direction of the groove. They “just know” that it feels somehow “right” to be almost sexually-aroused with anger about this. It feels right because that groove is thousands of years old. It’s an indignation, a hatred that’s as old as writing. As old as harvest festivals. As old as brewing. Older than Britain. Older than almost every tradition and custom we know today. It has remained. And so, it shouldn’t surprise us that people feel comfortable with it. Like a manky old set of slippers. Even if they can’t remember how they got those slippers or why they feel so comfortable.

  22. MonkZy says:

    I am still trying to work out what are the motives of the media if they are presenting an anti-Zionist stance. Is this part of a conspiracy against Jews, an inverse of the conspiracy presented by the neo-Nazi (e.g Jews run the media and use this position to promote the state of Israel). Do you think Muslims are pulling the media strings now? I was surprised to see the common ground that has formed between previously neo-Nazi groups (BNP, EDL) and Israeli Conservative bloggers during the UK election. Geert Wilders and the BNP have both claimed they are supporters of Israel, but are both very right-wing parties. The EDL marches have had BNP supporters march side by side with Israel flag bearing supporters of Israel.

    My feelings are Israel is being tricked by the BNP/Neo-nazi’s and also by the flotilla. There are so many conservative right-wing blogs now supporting Israel, the Zionists will eventually appear as the Nazi’s. Most of these pro-Israel blogs criticise the opposition as ‘lefty’, ‘marxist’ or ‘multiculti’ using the same vernacular that can be found on sites such as Stromfront. Stormfront clearly hates Jews, but many of the phrases used by these facist groups are leaking into the pro-Israel conservative blogosphere, words like rag-head, and sand-nigger.

    Israel is being tricked, and the blogosphere is taking the bait.

    • Jill says:

      I know I’m labouring the point on this blog, but if you don’t read about Eurabia you won’t understand the European adoption of the Arb attitude to Israel in exchange for cheap oil and the combination of a EuroArab power bloc to challenge the USA.
      MonkZY, google “EuroArab Dialogue and the Birth of Eurabia” by Bat YeOr.

  23. Harvey says:

    Mikael

    I just visited your blog and the link to David Horowitz talk.I had to play it back several times in case I had not heard it correctly . Unless Im mistaken his interlocutor is heard advertising a Hitler Youth event as part of the Muslim Students programme .No one in the hall seemed to pick up on it. I trust she has since been expelled from the campus .

    • Jill says:

      Mikael,

      In an article about this video (POSSIBLY on frontpagemag.com) it was mentioned that DHorowitz had referred to the Muslim Student Society’s week as Hitler Youth Week, implying they were behaving with the same level of propagandist fervour (they were running Israel Apartheid Week.)
      So when the genocidal Jumanah alBahri uses the phrase she is being a touch satirical, acknowledging the phrase that DH himself used.

  24. TonyS says:

    Good stuff Chas. I think a lot of us are getting more and more used to staring open mouthed at out tv’s and radios wondering how people can be so deliberately obtuse.
    I picked this bit of Satire up off Harry’s Place earlier that might cheer you up and strike a chord or two..
    cheers
    http://www.thedailymash.co.uk/news/international/israel-just-making-it-easier-for-guardian-readers-to-look-good-201006012778/

  25. Anna Suhif says:

    MonkZy – I am more afraid of the left and its rampant anti-semitism than the right. The left aligns itself to Islamofascists and Jewhaters, under the guise of socialism and multiculturalism. The Nazis were the “national socialists”, not the “national conservatives”. The left are not friends of Israel or the Jews and perhaps it is time the Jews stop pretending that to be “left wing” and “multicultural” allows Jews to be accepted by the left. In times of turmoil groups make all sorts of strange alliances. Besides, Geert Wilders is hardly a classic “right winger”. He is in favour of womens and gay rights, it is just his opposition to Islamism for which he has been predictably tarred with the tag by the left.

  26. Quentin says:

    “You tell me – but it’s 100 per cent clear people are misconstruing.”

    So you don’t know why they’re ignoring all this ‘clear-cut’ evidence but you do know it’s because it’s nothing to do what it plainly shows? I believe it’s the natural response to the culmination of many, many acts of aggression committed by the IDF over the years (cf Gaza, Lebanon … )

    “It would be insane to say that. Which is why I didn’t say that. Drop the red herrings please”

    This was the only explanation I could see for your accusation that people are ignoring evidence.

    “There is nothing abnormal about a country enforcing a blockade and ensuring the security of its citizens. The British Navy intercepts suspicious vessels in international waters almost daily.”

    Yes – but the validity of the blockade itself is in question. And lets be clear about this, the British Navy would be mad to board a vessel carrying aid to Kent and kill 9 French activists. Which is why they wouldn’t do it. Which is the point I’m trying to make.

    “So easy to say from the comfort of your home isn’t it?”

    Well yes, nobody ever said the rules of war were put in place because they are easy to follow. But they are there because we have decided that if we are going to have wars, the very least we can do is have some sort of acceptable limitations to actions. And the fact I am saying this from outside a conflict zone is irrelevant.

    “I agree that if I went along with the dishonest narrative I would gain wide respect from those who follow it. I’m not interested in respect, I’m interested in the truth and decency.”

    Which doesn’t really tally with your claims that the savage act was not the murder of activists on the boat but the soldiers getting hit. And surviving.

    If you’re so interested in the truth and decency, why aren’t you calling for the IDF to allow the activists on board to speak? Why aren’t you quoting what they’re saying?

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      “I believe it’s the natural response to the culmination of many, many acts of aggression committed by the IDF over the years (cf Gaza, Lebanon … )”

      Let’s take Gaza, then. For many years leading up to Operation Cast Lead Israel was under attack from rockets. Literally thousands of rockets were fired into Israel from Gaza by terrorists who deliberately timed and targetted the rockets at – for instance – kids walking home from nursery school. These rockets terrified the population, destroyed property and maimed and killed people. Nonetheless Israel waited years before finally acting in self-defence. When it did act, as a British Colonel explained: “the IDF did more to safeguard the rights of civilians in a combat zone than any other Army in the history of warfare”. An act of aggression? Nonsense.

      “This was the only explanation I could see for your accusation that people are ignoring evidence.”

      As I said, I didn’t say it. You can keep trying to play this red herring if you want.

      “Which is why they wouldn’t do it. Which is the point I’m trying to make.”

      What would you have done in Israel’s shoes?

      “Which doesn’t really tally with your claims that the savage act was not the murder of activists on the boat but the soldiers getting hit.”

      Do you really believe they were activists? They set out openly chanting about killing Jews and saying they wanted ‘martyrdom’. Unlike the other five boats on the flotilla (who peacefully went to the Ashdod port so their aid could go to Gaza safely) they deliberately defied Israel’s offer to channel the goods via Ashdod. They then brutally attacked the IDF, deliberately putting themselves and their fellow passengers in danger. These were terrorists, not activists.

  27. Quentin says:

    You are mad.

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      You wrote all that above to just add this? To be clear, if you continue to personally insult me or any of my commenters I’ll just add you to the block list.

  28. Quentin says:

    No, this was in response to Jill at 10:06AM on 2nd June.

    • Jill says:

      Aha! An Ad Hominem Adherent.

      Just proves you’re not here to learn anything or find info, you’re intent on slagging off Israel. You’re a political illiterate and a bitch to boot.

      I’m done with you.

  29. Paul says:

    ‘I was always loathed to jump to extreme interpretations of what motivated people to be so strong, blindly and uniquely hostile to Israel.’

    Chas, they hate Jews it is very upsetting and nauseating but that is it I’m afraid. Oh well done though on this post absolutely brilliant and with your permission of course I’ll add it to the others on my blog.

    Don’t get down, the fight is just, it never can be easy but the truth will always win! Stiff upper lip old chap.

  30. Quentin says:

    “Let’s take Gaza, then”

    Look – if you’re genuinely suggesting Israel has been a model of restraint in Gaza you are delusional. No matter how many times you claim the rockets fired by Palestinians pose the greatest threat to mankind since the nuclear bomb, it doesn’t make it true. How many people have been killed by the rockets? How many homes have been destroyed? Well take those numbers and times it by ten – this is the numbers as they apply to the Palestinians. Many, many more dead. Many, many more homeless. This isn’t to excuse the rocket attacks, but merely to explain why claiming that the single greatest threat to life in the region is blatantly untrue. And the quote from Richard Kemp just goes to show how necessary the rules of engagement are – rules I note you dismiss above as only applicable to those not in conflict zones.

    “What would you have done in Israel’s shoes?”

    Not board a boat in the middle of the night with trained commandos? Not get in a position where the deaths of civilians were likely? If you ‘knew’ that some of those on the boat (and note, some of those) were chanting those songs, surely the IDF knew. The myth that the commandos descended form unicorns with flowers and chocolates and were deliberately ambushed by heavily armed jihadists is nonsense.

    “they deliberately defied Israel’s offer to channel the goods via Ashdod. ”

    So the response is to send in the marines?

    “They then brutally attacked the IDF, deliberately putting themselves and their fellow passengers in danger.”

    And it wasn’t the armed commandos who brought guns onto the boat and killed 9 people who put anyone in danger? This statement is like blaming the victims of domestic abuse for getting beaten up.

    “These were terrorists, not activists.”

    Everyone killed by the IDF is a ‘terrorist’. (Again, see the assault on Gaza, where by some miracle a heavily populated civilian are was bombed and only ‘terrorist’ were killed). They weren’t terrorists – they were on an aid boat. If they were terrorists hell bent on killing, how come none of them had machine guns or bombs? How come they were so thoroughly useless at their chosen profession?

    And ultimately – where is the rule of law in all this?

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      “No matter how many times you claim the rockets fired by Palestinians pose the greatest threat to mankind since the nuclear bomb, it doesn’t make it true.”

      I haven’t said that, nor anything of the sort. No matter how many times you claim I’ve said things I haven’t said – and you keep doing it – it doesn’t make it true.

      I see you’ve said what you wouldn’t do in Israel’s shoes on Monday, but not what would you do? And while we’re about it, what would you have done to stop the rockets from Gaza?

      “This statement is like blaming the victims of domestic abuse for getting beaten up.”

      Absolute rubbish and an insult to victims of domestic abuse to compare them with terrorists who chant about killing Jews. These people were open about their aims. It demeans you to pretend otherwise.

      “…see the assault on Gaza, where by some miracle a heavily populated civilian are was bombed and only ‘terrorist’ were killed.”

      Again, nobody has ever claimed that. No matter how many times you claim people have said things they haven’t said, it doesn’t make it true.

      “How come they were so thoroughly useless at their chosen profession?”

      They weren’t useless. Their aim was to draw Israel into a no-win situation that would result in an explosive confrontation turning more hatred against Israel – and they did exactly that.

  31. FromIsrael says:

    Quentin, do you really think that it is an “ultimate act of savagery” to kill people who are trying to kill you? Will you apply that rule to your own life and that of your loved ones?

    To Jo, the people who died were armed attackers. They died because of their own violence.

  32. TonyS says:

    Anna, let’s not go down that Nazi’s left or right road again, it’s a blind alley. I think it is true to say though that while anti semetism in Britain has shown itself across the political spectrum, it is the left that has done most to fight it. I know large parts of the left have gone over to the traditional right wing position of hostility to Israel and pro Arabism but many of us have not. Let’s not forget that the right have not changed their views, they are still more often than not hostile to Israel; witness the statements of William Hague, David Cameron and his new sidekick Corporal Clegg only this week.

    • MonkZy says:

      Absolutely.

      The UK followed the US into Iraq, under the leadership of the Labour party. At the time the neo-Nazi pundits were calling Labour ‘Zionist neo-cons’.

      Its all very confused the whole left-right alignment concept.

  33. DF says:

    Quentin: It becoming increasingly clear how much effort you make to empathise with Israel’s opponents and how little effort you make to empathise with Israel.

  34. Jonathan S says:

    Chas, we love you.

  35. aparatchik says:

    Chas, you’ve summed up my feelings beautifully too. I have been shocked and dismayed at the number of people I thought were decent, rational human beings who have finally revealed their true colours. Don’t be downhearted though; as long as Israel is doing what is right and moral, she will be always be united, her enemies will always be divided and so she will be protected from Above.

  36. DF says:

    I must say that Quentin is quite a character eh?

    Meanwhile, back in the real world new footage shows the terrorists attacking the IDF (including with grenades) before the soldiers even boarded the boat

    http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=177261

  37. Paolo says:

    I am angry at Israel.
    Not because of their boarding the ships or because I do not approve of its actions.
    I am angry at Israle for once again putting young men’ lives in jeopardy.
    Like in Jenin, like in many other instances, when other armies would just go heavy-handed to wipe out any opposition with heavy fire, Israel is willing to take casualties to save lives.
    The lives of the people who hate Israel so much.
    OK, it makes me proud of Israel.
    But sometimes I think: what for? In the public consciousness Israel is always bad, israeli soldiers are butchers, even when they are willing to be stabbed without taking out their guns.
    So why not act like the Russians?

    So I am sad.
    About the soldiers who got hurt.

    • aparatchik says:

      I also feel like this from time to time, but then imagine if Israel was like Russia…or any other country for that matter. Israel is different and thank G-d for that.

  38. Adam says:

    Chas, thank you so much for the blog, and the support. I feel like you – that we have entered a phase where events are now beyond any rational discussion, that they have taken on a life of their own. The knee jerk anti-Israelism of the BBC and the other media lemmings can only be motivated by anti-semitism – there is no other rational explanation. Why was this event front page news, even days after it happened, whilst massacres go on unreported in Congo and in dozens of other locations – unreported becuase the Jews aren’t involved. When I was a kid in the 80′s it seemed impossible to imagine how such an outpouring of irrational and visceral hatred could have happened in Germany in the 30′s – now I can see exactly how it happened. If I was Jewish, I would seriously consider moving to Israel – I think Europe has had it, unless it wakes up at the eleventh hour and realizes that radical Islamism is its enemy too. We are talking about a well orchestrated, irrational, visceral campaign of hatred and delegitimization when it comes to Israel – and we have to fight now, tooth and nail.

  39. Noa says:

    Hello Chas, I’m an Israeli university student – I come here and lurk sometimes, though I never made a comment before.

    Still, the last few days were a nightmare for me as an Israeli who loves her country and loves living in it… I guess I just feel thankful for your support. I can never understand what’s happening in the world these days.. when a country under so many threats cannot even enforce security around it’s boarders. It’s a pretty frightening feeling.

  40. Steven says:

    Theres a quote flying around facebook – I havent got an answer for it yet, perhaps you guys can help?
    The quote is
    With 75% of the population of Gaza relying on food aid and 60% not having access to water, I don’t want an inquiry, I want accountability for the way Gazans have been forced to live in a modern concentration camp. Our government should recognise their historic responsibility and deliver the better standards they promised when seeking election.

    Thanks

  41. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    I’m going to be frank with you Quentin (and after you have personally insulted one of my valued commenters and also repeatedly misquoted me I think you can take a bit of honesty).

    Your keeness to engage on the flotilla issue and the Middle East conflict in general clearly far exceeds your knowledge of the facts and also far exceeds your willingness to sincerely empathise with people whose lives are very different to yours.

    For the sake of clarity I don’t believe you are antisemitic or even – deep down – anti-Israel. You probably just consider yourself a ‘good guy’ who, by taking the stance you do, is backing the underdog against a brutal powerful force. If you continue reading my blog you’ll begin to learn the realities and complexities of the conflict. You might even begin to empathise with more than one side.

    In the meantime I am going to suggest you hold your fire. You’ve only been commenting a matter of hours here and so far you’ve called one person “mad” and you’ve repeatedly and offensively misquoted me. Even worse, you have patronised the very people you are trying to support by absolving them of any blame and responsibility even when their own proud boasts show how much you’ve missed the point.

    This is a friendly blog. I welcome debate and opposing views. But due to your insults, misquotations and other bizarre tactics you are not engaging in debate and I won’t have this blog dragged down to your level.

  42. La Cumparsita says:

    Attackers of the IDF soldiers found to be Al Qaeda mercenaries
    02 June 2010

    In a special meeting of the Security Cabinet it was disclosed that a group of 40 people on board the Mavi Marmara with no identification papers belong to Al Qaeda. The terrorists were equipped with bullet proof vests, night-vision goggles, and weapons.

    http://dover.idf.il/IDF/English/News/today/10/06/0201.htm

  43. La Cumparsita says:

    Hamas Refuses to Allow Flotilla Aid into Gaza Strip, 2 June 2010
    As of right now, the State of Israel has loaded 20 trucks with various types of aid found onboard the flotilla. Expired medication, clothing, blankets, some medical equipment and toys were among the aid found on the ships.

    Unfortunately, the Hamas terror organization is unwilling to accept the cargo and the trucks filled with humanitarian aid have not been allowed to enter the Gaza Strip. It appears that Hamas is in fact stopping the transfer of the humanitarian aid.

    http://idfspokesperson.com/2010/06/02/hamas-refuses-to-allow-flotilla-aid-into-gaza-strip-2-june-2010/

  44. Ilene says:

    Thank you Chas. You expressed my own sentiments far more eloquently than I could have. It defies logic that, faced with facts to the contrary, the mainstream media and ultra left continue to demonize Israel…. truth be damned. You’re the best, Chas. Todah, todah, todah.

  45. Minnie says:

    Superb post, Chas, which – with many of the comments + your responses, clarifies so much. Thank you.
    You and your friends here are not alone. Although it must feel that way. Best to you all from a Christian supporter of Israel.

  46. NM says:

    Chas, sometimes I think you’re the only non-Jewish person left in Britain who’s prepared to defend Israel as she defends herself.

    I’m not exaggerating when I think you are a righteous gentile, up there with those celebrated in Yad Vashem. Seriously.

    Thank you for being a small beacon of light in the darkness.

    • Chas Newkey-Burden says:

      Thank you so much for your very kind and generous words. I genuinely don’t think I deserve them, but I am grateful all the same.

      Thankfully there are other gentiles as well as me who are backing Israel at this time.

      Thanks again.

  47. Dan F says:

    Let me add something that will hopefully hearten you a little. I have spoken about my Liberal friends who demonise Israel frequently, especially my housemate. I have actually avoided watching the news with him in the room over the last couple of days just to for go the inevitable clash.

    However he suprised me today by saying that he was not convinced by the news interpretation and that he did not actually blame Israel for the incident, that what he saw did not coincide with what was being reported. He actually said that he felt Israel had given every opportunity for the boats to be examined in the proper manner before it’s cargo was allowed through to Gaza, and that the actions of those on the boat was inexcusable. He actually admitted that the reporting on the event was pretty biased and that the BBC in particular, by interviewing the parents of one of the British humanitarian workers was completely swaying it towards one side.

    Honestly, this was probably pretty difficult for him to say and for him to not instantly use this to flame Israel was very heartening to me. It makes me think there is some hope.

  48. [...] Over the next few weeks and months I will elaborate further on the points above as well as ‘blog for Israel’ as I can best describe it. To say the events of the Gaza Flotilla and the resulting fall-out in the International media and social networks has shocked me to the core, is an understatement. A fellow blogger with similar views to mine regarding Israel best sums up my reaction in his post found here: The Flotilla: Israel’s History in Microcosm. [...]

  49. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    Con The World – a charity single for the ‘peace activists’ and their gullible apologists http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FOGG_osOoVg&feature=player_embedded#!

    • louisb says:

      Chris

      Thanks for posting the link to the charity single. Sometimes humour is the best way to make a point. I appreciate that for some people the humour may be offensive but personally I (sadly) found it apt. Mainly because of the immense frustration I feel as a 55 year old Jew who during his lifetime has seen his Britishness challenged by the rise in anti-semitism in this country.

      Nothing is more hypocritical than the response of the media in general and UK politicians, specifically towards the incident by the IDF this week. The loss of life is, of course tragic but it should be balanced against the real intent of peace campaigners who arm themselves with iron bars and broadcast messages asking that they become martyrs via YouTube right before the confrontation (the only violent one on that day when in fact 5 other boats were boarded and directed to Ashdod perfectly peaceably).

      It is doubly hypocritical of the UK government to criticise Israel during a week when sadly there has been the loss of 3 servicemen from our armed forces. Excatly who do they think our armed forces are fighting? Exactly what is the difference between our operations against Al Queda backed insurgents in Afghanistan (and Iraq for that matter) intent on the destruction of western civilisation and IDF operations against Iranian/Syrian backed Hamas who by the way also want to destroy western civilisation.

      I am sorry to say that I feel considerably more sorrow at the loss of the lives of our servicemen than I do the loss of lives of armed hooligans whose agenda was completely at odds with the majority of the people on that aid flotilla.

      Of course I full understand why the British government can condemn Israel while battling a carbon-copy foe in Helmand. The Israelis are all Jews while the British forces are all anglo-saxons (or probably not given our multiracial society) and for Jews to confront Islamic fascism is not allowed according to the philosophy of the hand wringing, healdine grabbing, insincere, extemporising, hypocritical members of the coalition government.

      It is even worse that the UK government does not outright condemn Israel and of course the reason why they do not is the beneficial military and intelligence support they receive and share.

      I wish they’d release this song as a single… I’d start of Facebook group to get it to #1

  50. Chas Newkey-Burden says:

    A hardcore of 40 Turkish jihadis on board the Mavi Marmara was responsible for the violence that led to nine deaths and dozens of injuries on the flotilla taking aid to Gaza, the Israeli government claimed today.

    The allegation came as Turkish newspapers reported that three of the four Turks killed in the onslaught had declared their readiness to become martyrs.

    “I am going to be a martyr. I dreamed about it,” Ali Haider Banjinin, 39, from Kurdistan, told his family before leaving to join the flotilla, according to one report.

    The brother-in-law of retired engineer Ibrahim Bilgen, 61, told another paper that “martyrdom suited him very much. Allah gave him a death he desired.”

    A third Turkish casualty, Ali Akbar Yertilmis, a father of four from Ankara, had “dreamt of becoming a martyr”, a friend was quoted as saying.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/02/flotilla-raid-turkish-jihadis-troops-israel-claims

  51. Boycott says:

    Hi you seem like a nice sensible intelligent person so why do you support the Zionist regime? Don’t you know the facts?

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