Saturday, June 12, 2010

Humanitarian Aid Ship? Nope, Jihad Ship: No Aid for Gazans on the Mavi Marmara

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By Barry Rubin

How many truckloads of humanitarian aid on the seven flotilla ships? Thirty-four plus 2000 tons of cement. How many truckloads did Israel deliver to Gaza that same week? Answer: 484.

Would the materials carried on some of the ships help the people of Gaza? Sure. There were wheelchairs, mobility scooters for the disabled, crutches, hospital beds, medicine, and clothing, and hospital equipment.

But if the intention was simply to deliver these items they could have been unloaded in Egypt and everything (including the militants on board carrying lots of money) could have gone into Gaza. Or they could have been unloaded in Israel, inspected, and anything not connected with terrorism could have gone into Gaza.

But the goal, of course, was to destroy the blockade, help Hamas poliically, and make Israel look bad.

As for the Mavi Marmara, this ship was controlled by the Jihadist IHH group and its goal was poliical, not humnitarian. And now we know: it carried no cargo of aid whatsoever. Why should a ship carrying no humanitarian aid at all break through the blockade? Answer: To break the blockade by triggering a violent confrontation.

Meanwhile, Germany's Channel One news conducted the kind of good investigating reporting that should be seen in the English-speaking world. The program, "Questionable Peace Mission," asked why German leftists were in the same boat—literally--as Turkish Islamists and right-wing extremists. Here is the program in the original German and with English and French subtitles.

The three German leftist activists interviewed claimed all participants were from humanitarian organizations and talked about all the fun they'd had. They had no interest in knowing that they were being used.

The show then contrasts this with material about the extremism of the IHH, which organized the trip. Those about to depart on the ship—who shortly thereafter would be attacking the arriving Israeli soldiers—chanted, “Oh, you Jews.…the army of the prophet Muhamad will return–just like in Kaibar [where Jewish men were massacred and women and children forcibly converted and sold into slavery]....Intifada until victory!”

For the militants, this was a revolutionary act, a raid, not a humanitarian mission. Of course, the vast majority of those on the ships were just trying to do a good deed, but they were not the ones who determined that the outcome would be a violent confrontation.

Mete Cubukcu, editor-in-chief of NTV, one of Turkey’s largest television networks, explains how the IHH, which organized and led the flotilla, is linked to radical groups and Jihad fighters, including those who murdered a beloved Armenian journalist.

Then there’s the interview with IHH and flotilla leader Yildrim on board the Mavi Marmara (3:40). He says they know Israel will stop the ship and that when this happens, there will be huge demonstrations throughout the world.

The show then interviews Michael Kiefer, a left-wing expert on Islam from Erfurt University. He says that the Turks on board were not peace activists as this term is understood in the West, but people advocating violence and revolutionary activity.

What's most ironic is that many of the Turks on the ship were from the IHH and an extremist nationalist group, the BBP. Three years ago, the left-wing party to which the three German participants belonged applied to the German government to label these groups as “racist” with a “propensity for violence and totalitarian structures based on the f├╝hrer principle” equivalent to a German neo-Nazi movement.

When asked by a German television reporter: “You seem not to have bothered from the outset about who would travel with you,” Annette Groth, the left-wing member of parliament who was on the ship angrily ended the conversation. She and her colleagues didn't want to know how they'd served as human shields for violent groups acting in support of a terrorist, racist group, Hamas.

Those in the media who continue to cover up or ignore these facts should be asked why, to paraphrase the German reporter's question to Groth, "You seem not to be bothered by the nature of the extremists, terrorists, and antisemitic groups for whom you're making propaganda.
Barry Rubin is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and editor of the Middle East Review of International Affairs (MERIA) Journal. His latest books are The Israel-Arab Reader (seventh edition), The Long War for Freedom: The Arab Struggle for Democracy in the Middle East (Wiley), and The Truth About Syria (PalgraveMacmillan). His new edited books include Lebanon: Liberation, Conflict and Crisis; Guide to Islamist Movements; Conflict and Insurgency in the Middle East; The West and the Middle East (four volumes); and The Muslim Brotherhood. To read and subscribe to MERIA, GLORIA articles, or to order books. To see or subscribe to his blog, Rubin Reports.

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