Reality Check: You Don’t Have to Believe Israel

Bishop Hilarion Capucci, one of the many nice people on the Mavi Marmara. He was also convicted and imprisoned in the 70's for smuggling weapons from Lebanon to the PLO

It’s been a week now since the Freedom Flotilla incident, and I’ve purposely avoided writing anything on the matter. I figured the media coverage would run for a couple of days and that would be that. Well, it’s still going hot and heavy, and it’s time to chime in.

From major media outlets, to leading politicians, and the regular Joe’s on the street … a lot of people are being taken for a ride, and the bus ain’t being driven by Israel.

My opinion is simple. This was not some humanitarian aid mission. It was a PR stunt. A manufactured conflict designed not to help the people in Gaza, but instead, to undermine the Israeli military and create a whole new batch of people against Israel.

You don’t have to take my word for it, you don’t even have to believe what Israel says. I’m going to take you through this step by step and I’m going to use the words of the Arab media and the “humanitarians” and “activists” themselves to make my case.

All I ask is that you read and think. This type of nonsense needs to stop.

Setting the Stage

Freedom Flotilla organizers and “activists” – the “civilians” – had every intention of breaking a military blockade, and they knew they were carrying supplies that were banned by Israel.

22 May 2010: “Second Ship Joins the Freedom Flotilla on Way to Gaza”

… the ship will carry 600 passengers to Gaza as part of the ‘blockade busting’ flotilla. It joins eight other boats coming from three other countries carrying 10,000 tons of supplies to the Palestinian people, supplies that have been denied to them by Israel. — Greta Berlin, Free Gaza Movement

Their strategy was to “resist any attempt” by the Israeli military to stop them or to separate the civilians from ships that would need to be searched – something which could have made the situation much safer.

25 May 2010: “We will resist Israel’s attempts to stop us”

The strategy of the Freedom Flotilla, however, is to resist any attempts by the Israeli Navy to hijack its ships or to divide cargo ships from passenger vessels. — Free Gaza Team

We will not allow our flotilla to be divided. We will stay with our cargo ships … — Flotilla passenger, Aengus O’Snodaigh, TD Sinn Féin party, Ireland

We have “civilian humanitarians” making the conscious decision to initiate a conflict with the Israeli military while also aiming to create political problems between Israel and its key ally, the United States. They even admit it.

30 May 2010: “As American as Apple Pie”

Both boats are flagged and registered in the United States, which means they are U.S. territory.

Therefore we expect the U.S. government to intervene if U.S. property is wrongly confiscated by Israeli authorities as they have threatened. — Greta Berlin, Free Gaza Movement

The Flotilla Passengers

The most intriguing thing about the Freedom Flotilla are the passengers themselves. Free Gaza claims they’re activists and “humanitarians” … good, wholesome, peaceful folk. Old men, women, and children.

The Israel Defense Force claims there were passengers onboard that are linked to Al-Qaeda, Hamas, and other terrorist groups.

I don’t want you to be put in a position where you need to believe what Israel says – those IDF folks can be crafty. Instead, let’s turn to the Arab media, the world’s biggest fans of Israel and Jews everywhere: Arab Media Reports on Flotilla Participants: Writing Wills, Preparing for Martyrdom, Determined to Reach Gaza or Die.

The group of passengers assembled by the good folks at Free Gaza is straight out of the terrorist playbook. You take your core group of thugs and surround them with women, children, and senior citizens. Then, when the shit hits the fan, you scream … THINK OF THE CHILDREN!

The Art of Deception

I’m always fascinated with how some people like to sensationalize and twist things. Consider the following quote from the good folks at Free Gaza:

31 May 2010: “Civilians Under Attack by Israel”

Under darkness of night, Israeli commandoes dropped from a helicopter onto the Turkish passenger ship, Mavi Marmara, and began to shoot the moment their feet hit the deck. They fired directly into the crowd of civilians asleep. According to the live video from the ship, two have been killed, and 31 injured. Al Jazeera has just confirmed the numbers. — Free Gaza Team

Sounds rather dramatic, doesn’t it? Too bad it’s complete bullshit. First and foremost, they want you to believe that a crowd of people were laying down fast asleep as commandoes dropped down from a helicopter above their head.

Try sleeping beneath an Apache helicopter one day and let me know how that works out for you.

More importantly though, consider the following quote from Andre Abu-Khalil. Andre is the Al Jazeera cameraman that was onboard the Mavi Marmara:

First they [the Israelis] tried to come by helicopter and tried to come down on the main deck. But the Turkish people were gathering on the rooftop and they managed to grab three of the soldiers, which led to a second helicopter to come and start shooting live bullets on the people.

People [on board] did not have any guns. All what they had were some wooden sticks which is normal.

I wasn’t on the rooftop deck. I was on the first deck floor where the Israelis tried to climb by the ropes on the deck.

There were 20 Turkish resistance guys throwing tomatoes, anything that they managed to throw, on the Israelis. — Andre Abu-Khalil, Al Jazeera cameraman

Now that paints a slightly different picture, if I do say so myself.

Free Gaza wants you to believe that the Israeli commandoes snuck onto the ship and just opened fire on people that were asleep. Meanwhile, the Al Jazeera cameraman that was on the ship claims that gun fire started after the second helicopter arrived, which happened after the Turkish “humanitarians” grabbed three of the Israeli soldiers.

It would seem though that at least part of Andre’s claim could be accurate, backed up by another Al Jazeera reporter that was onboard:

The first soldiers on the ship were not killed, they were not shot at, they were captured by the defenders of the ship.

Moments later another bigger helicopter landed more troops and this time they fired immediately at people and killed as many as they could so that they could reach the cabin and take control of the ship. — Mohamed Vall, Al Jazeera reporter

So the shooting did not start until after the second helicopter arrived, and that helicopter arrived after the first Israeli commandoes that boarded the ship were captured by the humanitarians.

Honestly think about that for a moment. Since when do “humanitarians” capture soldiers? After jumping and capturing the first Israeli commandoes, what the hell did they think could possibly happen next? I don’t know about them, but whenever I travel to the United States, pick a fight with marines and then capture some of them, well, the Pentagon sends me a fruit basket.

Make a mental note of Andre’s claim that the people onboard only had wooden sticks … that’s bullshit too, but I’ll get back to Andre in a moment. For now, let’s consider a little more twisting of the facts from the “humanitarians” at Free Gaza:

06 June 2010: “IDF Admits It Doctored the Audio Tapes”

The IDF admitted today in a press release that it doctored audio footage from its exchanges with the Gaza flotilla in order to paint the flotilla passengers as anti-Semites. — Free Gaza Team

Once again, although it does sound rather dramatic, it’s complete bullshit. This is what the IDF said in their release:

05 June 2010: “Clarification/Correction Regarding Audio Transmission …”

Yesterday evening on 4 June 2010, the IDF released an audio recording of a radio transmission between the Israeli Navy vessel and the Flotilla ships wherein unidentified flotilla passengers tell the Israeli Navy vessel to ‘shut up, go back to Auschwitz’ and ‘we’re helping Arabs go against the US, don’t forget 9/11.’ There have been questions regarding the authenticity of the recording as well as its attribution to a communication with the Mavi Marmara.

So to clarify: the audio was edited down to cut out periods of silence over the radio as well as incomprehensible comments so as to make it easier for people to listen to the exchange. We have now uploaded the entire segment of 5 minutes and 58 seconds in which the exchange took place and the comments were made. — Israel Defense Force

The IDF did not doctor audio footage … they cropped it. They took a clip that was nearly 6-minutes long and edited it down to 27-seconds to provide the quotes. The context was not altered.

What the nice folks at Free Gaza also fail to disclose in their hyped up and misleading press release is that, within the IDF press release, they (the IDF) included copies of the edited audio AND the original audio so people could hear for themselves that there was no special tweaking going on.

Canadian Activist Eyewitness Account

Kevin Neish, Canadian veteran "activist" that was aboard the Mavi Marmara.

Some people have questioned why there would be so many “civilians” on the boats from so many different countries, and it’s a simple question to answer. It’s about PR. Propaganda. Strategy. Each and every “civilian” represents a touching tale that can be told when they go back home to share their eyewitness accounts. The thing is, when you have so many people talking, certain inconvenient truth’s become rather apparent to anyone that actually pays attention. As the saying goes, three can keep a secret if two of them are dead.

On Thursday evening, the CBC posted a story and video interview with Kevin Neish, a Canadian “activist” and “witness” that was aboard the Mavi Marmara. You can read the full story yourself or watch the video clip to hear what Neish claims – something I definitely recommend – but pay very close attention to what he says. Pay attention to the facial expressions. Pay attention to his demeanor when the reporter simply asks for clarification.

Just a few of his key comments, along with their related timestamps in the video:

Kevin: I had no idea that this was having such an impact around the world. So, it’s uh, gratifying. [smile]

Reporter: Even though 9 people were killed?

Kevin: Ummm. I, I cried about that, and, uhhh, one of the Turks came over to me and gave me a huge hug and said it was a worthy cause. He felt these people were, ummm, would have been happy. I mean, I’m not saying that, but that’s what they’re telling me. They uhhh. They ummm. They’re considered martyrs.

Kevin Neish, Timestamp: 00:38

I did not see a weapon, a gun, anywhere on the Turkish Arab humanitarian aid side. I didn’t see a single, they were using, chains, ummm, links of pipe, sticks, against the, ummm, the machine guns. And I actually saw two of the Israeli’s, being carried from the upper deck down, two captured Israeli’s … — Kevin Neish, Timestamp: 03:08

They [the 2 Israeli soldiers] were flailing about, terrified … they were being disarmed, there was about 6 / 8 people around them pulling the weapons off them. I didn’t see any machine guns on them at that point but they were pulling the ammo belts, backpacks, and helmets off them and what not. — Kevin Neish, Timestamp: 04:07

What I saw with my own eyes was the initial Israeli attack, and before the attack I walked around the ship about an hour before, and what they had was nuts and bolts and pieces of pipe around the edge of the ship to throw at the Israeli zodiacs … I saw links of chain and nuts and bolts. — Kevin Neish, Timestamp: 08:20

Remember up top when Andre Abu-Khalil – the Al Jazeera cameraman on the boat – claimed that the people only had wooden sticks? I could tell you to watch this video from the security cameras aboard the Mavi Marmara which shows the “humanitarians” preparing metal rods, slingshots, broken bottles, and metal objects to attack the IDF soldiers, but the video is from the IDF Newsdesk and people don’t seem to want to believe anything Israel says. I could also show you this video or these photos and these photos … but they’re from the IDF as well.

Instead, let’s just go by what Kevin Neish – activist and witness – said. They had chains, metal pipes, sticks, nuts, and bolts to use against the soldiers. Oh, and the ammunition and everything else that they stripped from the soldiers that the “humanitarians” captured. To be fair, Kevin claims repeatedly that he didn’t see any machine guns on the commandoes that were captured, just the ammo and everything else. I guess the commandoes just lost them, or maybe they left them at home.

For anyone that chooses not to watch the video of Kevin Neish’s eyewitness account, in the interest of full disclosure I should note that towards the end of the video Neish claims that he was mistreated by the Israeli military after being arrested. He claims they wouldn’t let him go to the washroom for 15-hours, they banged on his door every 2 hours to wake them up, and his cuffs were just too tight.

That may well be true, but here’s my thought on that. After watching this video and this video of what the “humanitarians” did, I can’t help but wonder … what the hell did you expect? A cookie? Maybe some milk to wash it down?

Let’s wrap this up.

Points to Ponder

I could keep writing and writing about this incident. The sheer volume of lies and utter bullshit coming straight from the “activists” is simply ridiculous, but this note would never end if I even came close to covering it all. However, I want to leave you with a few things to ponder …

  • Israel claims that people on the ship shot at them. The “humanitarians” claim that they had no weapons while also admitting that they captured the first Israeli commandoes that made it onto the ship, took them downstairs, and stripped them of their gear and ammo. Do you think the Israeli commandoes left their machine guns at home? If not, what do you think the “humanitarians” did with them when they captured the soldiers?
  • Many of these “humanitarians” and “activists” spend the better part of their lives detailing just how horrible and evil Israel is. They’ll go to great lengths to tell how Israeli soldiers attack women, children, and poor innocent people. Then they turn around and load their women and children on a boat destined for a conflict with the Israeli military. Try to deny that they didn’t manufacture this event.
  • Since when are metal pipes and chains not weapons when used to attack someone?
  • Since when do we call hitting soldiers with metal pipes “peaceful resistance.”
  • Since when do “humanitarians” capture soldiers?
  • If you were involved in a “peaceful protest” against soldiers and you decided to capture some of them and wisk them away, do you think the other soldiers would just send you a Hallmark card asking for them back. Pretty please, with sugar on top?
  • All around the world people are debating and arguing over the “legality” of this event that took place in international waters. I am not a lawyer, so I won’t bother addressing that, but I will say this … it doesn’t matter. Yes, it was a dumb move by the IDF because it gave people a talking point that they could obsess over while ignoring everything else. However, in the grand scheme of the event … it makes no difference. It doesn’t matter whether the ships were 100, 50, or even just 5 miles offshore. The stage was set and the outcome would have been exactly the same.

Just to be crystal clear, what I’ve written here has nothing to do with defending Israel or the IDF. It’s about dealing with lies and utter bullshit. We seem to be creating this new wonderful world where it’s OK for “civilians” to attack people. Senior citizens and good wholesome moms and dads will take their young children and insert themselves into dangerous situations. They’ll put the police and soldiers in front of them with thugs and terrorists behind them. Then, if and when they get hurt, they cry foul.

To the politicians and world leaders that are condemning Israel …

You are cowards. You hear “humanitarians” and “women” and “children” and you jump at the opportunity to wag your fist at Israel. You’ll sit behind your pretty little desks passing judgment, yet when it’s women and children in Israel that are being attacked by rockets lobbed by Hamas, you do nothing. Well. Gee. You know. It’s bad. But.

You’re stomping mad when Israeli military “attacks civilians” but you twiddle your thumbs and look away when the civilians happen to be Israeli.

As for the people of the Free Gaza Movement …

Congratulations on your successful PR stunt! It’s been a huge success, but let me leave you with a parting thought.

For the next time, do yourself a favor. Don’t have so many people around. Don’t issue so many press releases. Don’t let so many different people talk. A lot of people in the world won’t notice all the lies and bullshit that gets floated because their compassionate side fixates on the touching side of things. Sadly, I am not afflicted with such a side.

You’re on my radar, and that’s never a good place to be.

Oh yeah, for the handful of folks that actually agree with and like this note … don’t hesitate to click the “Like” link below. I’m sure the hate mail will be flowing real soon.