Photo Credit: Wikimedia / Engelo
Free Gaza Movement co-founder and spokesperson

Eight years after Israeli commandos were attacked by a mob of terror activists on a flotilla vessel they had intended simply to redirect to Ashdod port, away from its intended destination of Gaza, the lies about the attack that night have been revealed.

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The deadly clash took place on May 31, 2010 the Turkish-owned Mavi Marmara, one of six vessels that were stopped the Israel Navy from sailing through the state’s defensive maritime blockade of Gaza.

Clash on the Mavi Marmara, ,May 31 2010

The testimony of the commandos whose lives were imperiled that night has finally been vindicated by the very same spokesperson who denied their accounts.

Greta Berlin, co-founder and spokesperson for the “Free Gaza Movement” told the New York Times – and subsequently other media from her safe perch in Cyprus that Israeli forces who boarded the vessel to redirect it to Ashdod port “opened fire on sleeping civilians at four in the morning.”

But according to an exclusive report by researcher and investigative journalist David Collier, Greta Berlin knew even while she was making the claim – and certainly in the days that followed – just what a lie that was.

Berlin is a member of a viciously anti-Semitic, white supremacist Facebook group called ‘Palestine Live’ that has included such luminaries as Labour Party chairman Jeremy Corbyn – until, at least, shortly after he began his reign as leader of the party – as well as Paul Eisen, Gilad Atzmon and others.

Collier, who has spent long months researching the group and gathered literally years’ worth of transcripts, reported this week that in 2014, within the safety of the members-only Facebook group, Berlin had engaged in a heated debate over the merits of ex-U.S. Marine Ken O’Keefe, one of the flotilla “activists” who had been aboard the Mavi Marmara on the night of the clash with Israeli commandos near Gaza.

“He was responsible for some of the deaths on board the Mavi Marmara,” Berlin said of O’Keefe. “Had he not disarmed an Israeli terrorist soldier, they would not have started to fire. That’s enough. Most of you have no idea what you’re talking about.”

Further on, she pointed out that O’Keefe — also a member of the same Facebook group — was anything but a hero: “You think it was smart that he took the gun away from these crazies on board the MM [Mavi Marmara]? Then ran around the deck saying he had the gun? Then hid it so that the Israelis could say they found a gun on board? Right.”

In a separate thread, she said that O’Keefe’s actions “put others on the Mavi Marmara at risk,” and again made reference to his “crazy ideas to attack crazed and armed soldiers.”

In fact, Berlin went even further, calling O’Keep “a provacateur [sic] of the highest order and one wonders just why. Since he took the gun away and ran around holding it up, why didn’t the crazy Israeli terrorists shoot him? Why did they ONLY shoot people with cameras in their hands.”

The deadly incident resulted in 10 Turkish deaths, and the severing of diplomatic ties between Turkey and Israel in addition to a permanent icing of the friendship between the two once-solid allies. It took almost a decade to restore diplomatic ties and even with that effort, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan continues to excoriate Israel to this very day.

Video that was filmed by IDF naval boat showed the passengers of the Mavi Marmara violently attacking the IDF soldiers who were trying to board the ship – after having sent repeated requests for the boat to change course.

Large groups of terror activists surrounded the commandos and beat them with metal poles and chairs. Several surrounded and threw one soldier over the side of the ship.

Some “activists” grabbed pistols from the IDF soldiers and opened fire. As a result of the attacks, seven IDF soldiers were injured, and 10 Turkish activist fighters died.

The ‘Free Gaza’ Flotilla, which from the outset had publicly insisted on its non-violent intentions, proved that night to be anything but.

The violent attack on the IDF soldiers was later proven to have been premeditated, with the terror activists armed with knives, metal rods, firebombs and other items prepared and ready to use against the commandos who boarded to redirect the vessel to port.

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.