No sooner had Israeli forces boarded the Gaza-bound Mavi Marmara than he mainstream media and the blogosphere lit up with the usual venomous condemnations of Israel. As usual, most of the condemnation could be found on liberal and left-wing websites and blogs while defense of Israel’s actions came almost entirely from those on the Right.
One item well worth reading was Leo Rennert’s analysis of a New York Times report posted on the Times’s website not long after the Israeli operation.
“President Obama,” Rennert wrote for the American Thinker website, “in his first comments about the deadly clash between Israeli commandos and pro-Palestinian militants aboard a Gaza-bound flotilla ship, eschewed drawing premature conclusions and instead declared that he first wanted to know ‘all the facts and circumstances’ surrounding this incident.
“The New York Times
, however, saw no such need to withhold conclusions and judgment about what supposedly happened and who’s to blame. A lengthy dispatch by Times Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner puts the monkey squarely on Israel’s back, while bending over backwards to whitewash and sanitize fanatical pro-Palestinian militants aboard the ship who actually initiated the violence, battered Israeli commandos as they tried to board the vessel, and had armed themselves with clubs, metal rods and knives, plus some guns, to welcome the Israeli unit. (‘Deadly Israeli Raid on Aid Flotilla Draws Condemnation,’ May 31, New York Times website).
“Kershner leads her article by referring to a ‘deadly raid’ by Israeli commandos, with no mention whatever as to who started the fight. The second paragraph reports that the raid killed at least ‘9 people.’ Not militants, not activists, not provocateurs, just innocent ‘people.’
“The third and 4th paragraphs refer to Netanyahu’s cancellation of his North American tour and his scheduled meeting with Obama on Tuesday – with Kershner throwing in for good measure that the U.S. president has been ‘at odds’ with the Israeli prime minister over ‘settlements in East Jerusalem.’ Israel, of course, denies that there are any Jewish ‘settlements’ anywhere in Jerusalem, only Jewish neighborhoods. But Kershner prefers an anti-Israel formulation in her rush to pile on Israel.
“The 4th paragraph also briefly mentions Obama’s statement about the need to first find out ‘all the facts.’ But this doesn’t impress or influence Kershner, who immediately at the start of her fifth paragraph falsely converts Obama’s neutral comments into a criticism of Israel. Or, as her paragraph reads: ‘The criticism offered a propaganda coup for Israel’s foes….’ What criticism, whose criticism? The precedent paragraph fails to provide any such notion of anti-Israel criticism whatsoever. But Kershner is so intent on dumping on Israel that she even distorts remarks by the President of the United States.
“It is not until the 6th and 7th paragraphs that Kershner briefly cites a statement by Netanyahu that Israeli commandos were ‘set upon by passengers and fired only in self-defense.’ Netanyahu, of course, had choicer words to refer to the militants who beat and fired upon the commandos than calling them mere ‘passengers.’
“Kershner then resumes her report in the 9th paragraph with a far more vigorous denial by an organizer of the flotilla that it harbored anything but innocent civilians.”
Another incisive piece came from the prolific Melanie Phillips, who wrote on her (London) Spectator blog that, contrary to media depictions of the flotilla activists as humanitarians coming to the aid of starving Gazans, “Gaza’s markets are full of produce, thousands of tons of supplies are traveling into Gaza every week through the Israeli-controlled border crossings, and there is no starvation or humanitarian crisis. It was always obvious that the flotilla was not the humanitarian exercise it was said to be .
“And now we can see that the real purpose of this invasion – backed by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), a radical Islamic organization outlawed by Israel in 2008 for allegedly serving as a major component in Hamas’s global fund-raising machine – was to incite a violent uprising in the Middle East and across the Islamic world .. The notion – uncritically swallowed by the lazy, ignorant and bigoted BBC and other western media – that the flotilla organizers are ‘peace activists’ is simply ludicrous.
“Research by the Danish Institute for International Studies details the part played by the IHH in Islamist terror in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Chechnya. According to the French magistrate Jean-Louis Bruguiere the IHH had played ‘[a]n important role’ in the al Qaeda Millennium bomb plot targeting Los Angeles airport. It was also involved in weapons trafficking, and played in addition a key role in galvanizing anti-Western sentiment among Turkish Muslims in the lead-up to the 2003 war in Iraq. ‘Peace activists’ these people most certainly are not.”
Jason Maoz can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org