By Torpedoing the Gaza Flotilla, Israel Sank Its Own Ship
(AntiWar.com) -- by Medea Benjamin --
Instead of high-fiving each other for their success in thwarting the Gaza Freedom Flotilla, Israeli officials should be throwing overboard the propaganda hacks who catapulted the flotilla into headline news for weeks and left Israel smelling like rotten fish.
Last year, when the Israeli military killed nine aboard the Turkish ship, the incident made waves around the world. But in previous years, the same international coalition had sent boats to Gaza five times, successfully reaching their destination with a symbolic shipment of humanitarian aid. No blood, no military interception, no story. That’s why the advice of many of Israel’s best buddies, including the lobby group AIPAC, was to just ignore the flotilla.
But no, the Israeli government refused to listen and instead announced with great bravado that it was prepared to stop the flotilla with lethal force — including snipers and attack dogs. Smelling blood, the media frenzy began. Before even leaving home, passengers were besieged with press calls inquiring why we were willing to risk our lives and giving us a chance to talk about the plight of the people of Gaza. Worse yet from the Israeli government’s perspective, the mainstream media began bombarding us with requests to come along. With space for only 10 media representatives on our boat, we ended up choosing reps from CNN, CBS, Al Jazeera, AP, The Nation and Democracy Now! Other boats in the flotilla also started scrambling to accommodate more press. Thanks to Israel, we were guaranteed that no matter what happened, the whole world would be watching.
The Israeli government’s next blunder was a doozy. It sent a letter to foreign journalists warning them that if they participated in the flotilla, they would be denied entry into Israel for 10 years and their equipment would be impounded. The outcry from journalists and media organizations worldwide was immediate. Israel’s Foreign Press Association said the threat “sends a chilling message to the international media and raises serious questions about Israel’s commitment to freedom of the press.” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was forced to rescind the decision, blaming it on his underlings.
But the blunders continued. A YouTube video of a “gay rights activist” who claimed he was not allowed to join the flotilla because he was gay and who linked the flotilla to Hamas was exposed as a hoax disseminated by employees of the Israeli Government Press Office and the Israeli Foreign Ministry.
Senior Israeli defense officials told journalists that flotilla activists were intending to dump bags of sulfur on Israeli soldiers to paralyze them and/or light them on fire “like a torch.” We countered by holding an open house on the boat, inviting the media to inspect every nook and cranny and meet with nurses, lawyers, musicians, writers, grandmothers, and other “terrorists” on board. The Israeli government looked so silly that even cabinet ministers criticized Netanyahu’s “media spin” and “public-relations hysteria.”
Then there was the sabotage of the Irish and Swedish boats, the frivolous lawsuits and legal complaints by the Israel Law Center (Shurat HaDin), the strong-arming of the Greek government to issue a ban on all boats traveling to Gaza, and undoubtedly more dirty tricks that will be exposed in the future.
Through it all, the Israelis helped us to turn a potential nonstory into a media blitz that has not ended...MORE...LINK
I guess when Jews don't have to disguise what they are doing as a minority on the make, or rely on underhanded networks to stack the deck, they turn out to be no smarter than any other group. Through stupidity they make war!
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