The flotilla folk....
United in their hatred of Israel....
When news emerged that “Freedom Flotilla 2” was tied up in Greece for weeks and unable to carry out its plan to breach Israel’s blockade of Hamas-controlled Gaza, a song from Camelot came to mind. Queen Guinevere asks, “What do the simple folk do... when they are blue?” and King Arthur tries to explain.
You have to ask the same question about the Flotilla Folk. Who are they, what do they do and why do they do it? Almost 1,500 of them from around the world planned to fly to Greece, board ships and sail across the Mediterranean to the Gaza Strip in July.
The Flotilla Folk say they are just ordinary folk committed to human rights. But how do ordinary folk have time for the complicated preparations necessary for such an adventure, and for spending weeks in Greece and Gaza? Don’t they have jobs? Or do they get their summers off? And how do ordinary folk have the funds to buy ships, fly to Greece, and spend weeks in hotels waiting to launch the latest publicity stunt they have concocted to smear Israel?
How do they pay for their expensive human rights hobby? Apparently they don’t have to do much preparing. Established radical groups affiliated with Hamas take care of all the details, like the Union of Good (UoG), a coalition of European charities affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, and the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). The ISM has praised Palestinian suicide bombing as “noble,” spent the last 10 years training international volunteers to sabotage Israel’s security, and received official invitations from Hamas to come to Gaza.
These groups raise the money through their various affiliated “charities,” which sometimes generate funds through mainstream businesses. Or they raise money by misinforming well-meaning people about their purposes, as the US delegation to Gaza did by having the audacity to name its boat after President Barack Obama’s book, The Audacity of Hope.
But why would Flotilla Folk spend their vacations trying to violate Israel’s legal naval blockade of Gaza in order to visit and embrace Hamas, the terrorist organization that controls the territory? Flotilla Folk leaders like UoG and ISM support Hamas and its battle against Israel’s existence. Others, like Medea Benjamin, Col.
Ann Wright and Hedy Epstein have turned activism against Israel into full-time careers. Some Flotilla Folk are well-meaning people who simply accept, uncritically, the distorted facts used to demonize the country. Still others were once on the front lines of the battle for civil rights and against Apartheid.
BUT WHAT do such idealistic folk do when the problems they once fought have been resolved? Many, like Alice Walker, try to recapture those idealistic, heady times and camaraderie by seeing the same injustices even where they don’t exist, and ignoring them where they do exist. They gullibly accept the misinformation propagated by the UoG and ISM, and superimpose the lens of the civil rights or anti-Apartheid movements on the Arab-Israeli conflict. They are entirely unaware that the multicultural Jewish state is among the most progressive in the world and has sought peace with its Arab neighbors since it was reestablished in 1948.