Congregation Ner Tamid of South Bay
June 4, 2010 / 22 Sivan 5770
So many of us have been following the news this week, reading and watching confusing reports about events that occurred off the shores of the Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip, as Israel's Navy interdicted an infiltrating "Flotilla," aiming and intending to break Israel's military blockade of Gaza. I write to you this morning (1) to share background resources and information regarding the reasons for both Israel's blockade of Gaza and its interdiction of the ships attempting to infiltrate this past week, (2) to share facts and their sources that clearly and unequivocally negate wide-spread fiction regarding how and why infiltrators were killed and Israeli commandos seriously injured in the course of the interdiction, (3) to encourage everyone in our community to advocate passionately on Israel's behalf in light of the degree to which Israel has been maligned this week and has had its reputation slandered in the media worldwide and, thereby, in the court of public opinion, and (4) to suggest some meaningful ways in which we can conduct our advocacy most effectively.
To begin, however, I want to encourage anyone and everyone who considers himself/herself a supporter of Israel to please attend and participate in a community-wide demonstration of solidarity with Israel this Sunday. The One With Israel Rally will be held at 2:00pm outside the Israeli Consulate at 6380 Wilshire Blvd., Los Angeles, CA 90048. It is important that each of us be counted among Israel's visible and proud supporters at this vitally important juncture, as Israel rightly perceives itself to be more isolated and vulnerable than ever. Sunday's One With Israel Rally is sponsored jointly by the Israeli Consulate, the Jewish Federation, the Israel Leadership Council, StandWithUs, AIPAC, the Israel/Christian Nexus, numerous synagogues including our own, and a host of other local, regional, and national Jewish organizations. Numbers are critical - please make every effort to attend and be counted among Israel's supporters!
What follows below is a review of facts, sources, and resources related to each of the issues raised at the outset of this email. Please take the time to review these facts and resources carefully, to become better informed, to become active on Israel’s behalf, and to pass this email along to your friends within our community and beyond.
Together, we can make a significant difference on Israel’s behalf. Israel needs us now.
With every blessing for a Shabbat Shalom – for all of us and all of Israel,
Rabbi Isaac Jeret
I - WHY IS ISRAEL MAINTAINING A MILITARY BLOCKADE OF GAZA?
1. Aided and trained by Iran, Hamas, recognized by our own country and most of the free-world as a terrorist-organization, has transformed the Gaza Strip into a launching pad for terror attacks, kidnappings, and indiscriminate rocket, mortar, and missile raids against Israeli civilian targets, still holding as hostage kidnapped Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit (four years this month!) and firing thousands of bombs and missiles at Israeli civilians since its violent takeover of the Gaza Strip in 2005 (four missiles were fired into Israel yesterday):
- DANIEL GORDIS ON THE BLOCKADE AND THE OPERATION: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/06/03/opinion/03gordis.html
- GILAD SHALIT IN CAPTIVITY (Hamas has not allowed anyone to visit Shalit, including the Red Cross, violating the Geneva Convention and a host of other international legal requirements): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rUR5HIHkYUs
- AN INFORMATIVE INTERVIEW OF A JEWISH MOTHER OF FOUR CHILDREN IN THE SOUTHERN ISRAELI CITY OF SEDEROT: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0c-Rk1bGYKs&feature=related
- ISRAEL MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS (May 25, 2010): Behind the Headlines: The Israeli humanitarian lifeline to Gaza
2. The only way to ensure that Hamas, a sworn enemy threatening Israel’s civilians and pledged to Israel’s destruction, will not further terrorize Israeli civilians (and even Palestinians who disagree with them) is to deny them the weaponry to carry out their attacks. A military blockade of the Gaza Strip is thus a necessity for Israel’s most basic security.
3. As Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, asserted yesterday, the larger picture of this entire event indicates that Iran wants very much to be able to deliver freely to the Gaza Strip military hardware and technology that requires an open port. Manipulating public-opinion to open the port on Iran’s behalf would constitute a rather typical Iranian maneuver. However, alongside an Iranian port on Israel’s southern border, Iran seeks to bog Israel down under diplomatic scrutiny so that it cannot challenge the Iranians’ pursuit of a military nuclear capability, diplomatically or otherwise. Imagine a world, then, in which Iran had both a military nuclear capability and an open port on Israel’s southern border, held by Hamas-terrorists who seek Israel’s destruction. Quite clearly, then, as an existential matter, Israel must enforce this embargo.
II - WHY DOESN’T ISRAEL ALLOW HUMANITARIAN AID INTO GAZA? WHY WOULD ISRAEL INTERDICT A “FREEDOM FLOTILLA”?
1. In actuality, not only does Israel allow great quantities of humanitarian-aid into Gaza, but Israel transports between 10,000 - 15,000 tons of such aid and supplies into Gaza weekly, paying for most of it:
- 15,000 TONS OF AID FROM ISRAEL TO GAZA DAILY: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/HumanitarianAid/Palestinians/MFA_Spokesman_Gaza_flotilla_24-May-2010.htm
- ISRAELI MEDICAL AND HUMANITARIAN AID TO GAZA: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LK8h7gM8EQo&feature=PlayList&p=DC43001A3FBF67DA&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=32
- ISRAELI CONVOY OF FOOD AND MEDICINE TO GAZA – WHILE HAMAS TARGETS ISRAELI CIVILIANS: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lv8SNdkFBsI&feature=related
- HAMAS DENIES FLOTILLA-AID INTO GAZA: http://www.jpost.com/MiddleEast/Article.aspx?id=177320
- HAMAS FIRES AT ISRAEL AS ISRAEL DELIVERS AID: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Terrorism-+Obstacle+to+Peace/Hamas+war+against+Israel/Gaza-+Israeli+aid+and+Hamas+attacks+8-Apr-2008.htm
2. Previous convoys purportedly carrying humanitarian aid for the benefit of Palestinian civilians in Gaza have been proven to have ferried ingredients and equipment intended for Hamas' use in manufacturing bombs and other weapons to kill and maim Israeli civilians and Hamas has used humanitarian cover (in Mosques and hospitals!) to conceal and deploy large caches of weaponry:
- ATTEMPT TO SMUGGLE TWO TONS OF EXPLOSIVES INTO GAZA – IN SUGAR SACKS: http://www.ynet.co.il/english/articles/0,7340,L-3494131,00.html
- WEAPONS DISCOVERED IN GAZA MOSQUE IN JANUARY, 2009: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2Zd55Zhj5gQ&feature=PlayList&p=CED2C9FBC1BA7B79&playnext_from=PL&playnext=1&index=31
3. Widespread propaganda about a humanitarian crisis in Gaza caused in any way by the Israeli military blockade or otherwise are contradicted not only by the massive humanitarian effort on Israel’s part described and documented above, but also by brave reporters, such as Tom Gross, willing to publish stories about Gaza that conform neither to the politically-correct view of the conflict (demonizing Israel) nor to the storyline spoon-fed to reporters by Hamas with the expectation that reporters and news-agencies will report what they are allowed to see in order to maintain access at all for their next story: http://www.tomgrossmedia.com/mideastdispatches/archives/001114.html
4. The organizing group of the infiltrating “Freedom-Flotilla” was anything but the leadership of a “Freedom Flotilla” of “peace-loving activists.” Headed by the Turkish-based and Saudi-funded, IHH (Turkish acronym), a so-called “Human-Rights group” with known (direct) ties to terrorist-groups, including Al-Qaida and Hamas, the infiltrating vessels were purchased with private Turkish funds, solicited personally by Turkish Premier, Erdogan. Moreover, it is now coming to light that over 50 of the “activists” on the Mavi Marmara, the ship upon which Israel’s rescue mission of its stranded and virtually unarmed commandos became necessary (see below) were either mercenaries or terrorists, trained specifically in hand-to-hand combat, armed with knives, bats, chains, pipes, stun-grenades, and fire-bombs – most of whom boarded the ship in Turkey en-route to Gaza without passports and with the full knowledge of Turkish authorities. It appears, both from soldiers’ accounts and based upon remnant shell casings and other evidence found on the ship that these terrorists on-board had heavier weaponry with them as well, including firearms:
- DOSSIER ON THE IHH: http://www.discoverthenetworks.org/groupProfile.asp?grpid=7544
- DELVING DEEPER INTO THE IHH: http://www.weeklystandard.com/blogs/terror-finance-flotilla
- TERRORISTS CLOAKED AS HUMANITARIANS: http://dailycaller.com/2010/06/03/jihad-in-humanitarian-clothing/#ixzz0ptROpWE4
5. Israel informed the Flotilla-organizers in advance that it would not allow their ships to reach Gaza and asked them to dock in Ashdod (in southern Israel, roughly 15-20 miles north of the Gaza Strip), promising to truck all aid on the ships immediately to Gaza upon inspection. The organizers flatly declined the offer.
6. Israel requested that the Flotilla organizers take with them some provisions and aid for Gilad Shalit, Israel’s soldier kidnapped and held hostage by Hamas. The request was flatly denied.
III – IS ISRAEL’S MILITARY BLOCKADE OF THE GAZA STRIP LEGAL?
1. A MILITARY BLOCKADE IS LEGAL: “The belligerent right of blockade is intended to prevent vessels and aircraft, regardless of their cargo, from crossing an established and publicized cordon separating the enemy from international waters and/or airspace.” The Commander’s Handbook on the Law Of Naval Operations, Section 7.7.1. (U.S. Department of Defense, July 1, 2007)
2. A MILITARY BLOCKADE CAN BE ENFORCED IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS: “Attempted breach of blockade occurs from the time a vessel or aircraft leaves a port or airfield with the intention of evading the blockade, and for vessels exiting the blockaded area, continues until the voyage is completed.” The Commander’s Handbook on the Law Of Naval Operations, Section 7.7.4. (U.S. Department of Defense, July 1, 2007)
3. A BLOCKADE IS LEGAL EVEN IF TRANSPORTING HUMANITARIAN AID: “Neutral vessels and aircraft engaged in the carriage of qualifying relief supplies for the civilian population and the sick and wounded should be authorized to pass through the blockade cordon, subject to the right of the blockading force to prescribe the technical arrangements, including search, under which passage is permitted.” The Commander’s Handbook on the Law Of Naval Operations, Section 7.7.3. (U.S. Department of Defense, July 1, 2007)
4. IS IT LEGAL TO BOARD SHIPS AND CAPTURE THOSE ABOARD WHILE ENFORCING A BLOCKADE? “Neutral merchant vessels and civil aircraft are liable to capture by belligerent warships and military aircraft if engaged in any of the following activities: Resisting visit and search; Carrying contraband; Breaching or attempting to breach blockade; Violating regulations established by a belligerent within the immediate area of naval operations. Neutral vessels or aircraft attempting to resist proper capture lay themselves open to forcible measures by belligerent warships and military aircraft and assume all risk of resulting damage.” The Commander’s Handbook on the Law Of Naval Operations, Section 7.7.10. (U.S. Department of Defense, July 1, 2007)
5. THE HELSINKI PRINCIPLES ON THE LAW OF MARITIME NEUTRALITY: http://www.achgut.com/dadgdx/index.php/dadgd/print/0016515
6. ISRAEL MINISTRY OF FOREIGN AFFAIRS: http://www.mfa.gov.il/MFA/Government/Law/Legal+Issues+and+Rulings/Gaza_flotilla_maritime_blockade_Gaza-Legal_background_31-May-2010.htm
IV – DID ISRAEL USE EXCESSIVE FORCE, OR EVEN COMMIT A MASSACRE, AGAINST THE INFILTRATING FLOTILLA?
1. Israeli Navy-Commandos, trained extensively to deal with civilian infiltrators in a most non-confrontational and non-violent manner, successfully commandeered the first five of the six infiltrating ships without incident, boarding them while armed with paint guns to stain and thereby identify anyone offering (unlawful – see above) resistance. The sixth ship, the Mavi Marmara, flying a Turkish flag, seemed, prior to boarding, to present a situation similar in circumstance to the first five ships. As the first five ships, no-one appeared to be on deck and many infiltrators appeared to have been asleep. However, as Navy-troops began to drop from a helicopter by rope, one by one, onto the top-deck of the ship, crowds of violent infiltrators, armed with chains, metal-rods, long and sharp knives, wooden bats, fire-bombs, and stun-grenades emerged swiftly, in a coordinated manner, to confront them. It is now understood that they were an organized militia, pre-arranged in formation below deck, awaiting the virtually unarmed troops (the Israeli troops were armed with paint-guns and concealed handguns while, as mentioned above, it has now come to light that the infiltrators were trained mercenaries and terrorists, armed with considerably heavier and accessible weaponry than Israel’s troops were). As each soldier landed on deck, he was surrounded and violently beaten and stabbed by groups of 15-25 “activists.” One soldier was thrown overboard onto the lower deck, causing a severe fracture of his skull. Two soldiers were shot. The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) now confirms that several commandos were dragged below deck, representing an attempt to kidnap them, hold them hostage demanding safe passage to Gaza, and then likely transferring them to Hamas control. As I compose this email, two young Israeli defenders remain in critical condition due to the violence perpetrated against them by the organized and armed mob aboard the ship.
2. As a consequence of Israel’s (perhaps, naïve) restraint, allowing its commandos to board with minimal firepower and one-by-one, in the hope of ensuring minimal confrontation with the infiltrators, Israel’s Navy was then forced to conduct a Rescue Operation to respond to the violence seriously endangering the lives of its troops already on-board. What began as an attempt to board the ship most peacefully, ended in a rescue mission against a Flotilla mob that had organized in advance to maim, kill, and even kidnap Israeli commandos whom they had ambushed successfully.
3. No, Israel did not use excessive force. To the contrary, few if any Armed Forces in the world would have allowed their troops to engage in any mission, with any measure of risk, sporting as little firepower as that with which these commandos were provided. This was done to minimize the risk to the infiltrators aboard the ship. And, even in the course of the rescue raid, one might consider the significant restraint employed by Israel’s young but principled commandos who, by virtue of their extraordinary restraint, killed only nine trained, armed, and actively resisting, mercenaries/terrorists, despite the fact that they comprised an angry mob of over 100 that threatened them with mortal danger and continued to beat their wounded fellow soldiers. Given the circumstances, the minimal number of casualties among the armed infiltrators is truly remarkable, and those who jumped to swift and harsh judgment of the Israeli boys who boarded the ship might reconsider their assessments at a later date. Unfortunately, the damage done to Israel’s reputation as a peace-loving and life-affirming nation will already have impacted significantly upon Israel, unless each of us does our part to help.
4. Here are some resources to consult that support the points made in the three paragraphs above:
KNIVES, BATONS AND ATTEMPTED LYNCHINGS - DONT YOU JUST LOVE PEACE ACTIVISTS? http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/douglasmurray/100041868/knives-batons-and-attempted-lynchings-dont-you-just-love-peace-activists/
BOATLOADS OF BLOODY-MINDED PACIFISTS: http://www.dailytelegraph.com.au/news/opinion/boatloads-of-bloody-minded-pacifists/story-e6frezz0-1225874166305
Close-Up Footage of Mavi Marmara Passengers Attacking IDF Soldiers
Video taken by IDF naval boat shows the passengers of the Mavi Marmara, one of the ships in the 'Free Gaza' Flotilla, violently attacking IDF soldiers who were trying to board the ship after having sent repeated requests for the boat to change course.
Flotilla Passengers Fire Live Ammunition at IDF Soldiers: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mFGuwUGaI9o
Gaza flotilla participants created war atmosphere before confronting Israel
Participants chanted Islamic battle cry invoking killing of Jews and called for Martyrdom
Article by Itamar Marcus and Nan Jacques Zilberdik, May 31, 2010
The Israel Navy warns flotilla that the Gaza region is closed to maritime traffic, and invites the ships to enter Ashdod port to transfer humanitarian aid.
MFA Spokesman on Gaza Flotilla - 24 May 2010
True Human Rights Activists don't hug Vicious HR Violators May 27, 2010
Beating the Hell Out of Israeli Naval Commandos BBC Footage posted by user LetsFreeGaza, May 31, 201
IDF Spokesperson 2nd video taken from helicopter
Israeli Navy Commander Vice Admiral Eliezer Marom Briefs Forces Set to Intercept Gaza Flotilla
Peace Activists or Violent Agitators: How the Media Narrative on Flotilla Incident is Shaping Up
IDF forces met with pre-planned violence when attempting to board flotilla
Previously, Israel Navy warned the flotilla that the Gaza region is closed to maritime traffic.
First Hand Report from the Flotilla: A Brutal Ambush at Sea
YNet News reporter Ron Ben-Yishai tells his first-hand account of the skirmish on board one of the boats in the flotilla. The Navy commandos descended on to the boat where they were met by 20 armed demonstrators who immediately began to assault them.
V – WHY IS ISRAEL TAKING SUCH A BEATING IN THE INTERNATIONAL MEDIA AND IN THE UNITED NATIONS IF THE FACTS ARE ON ITS SIDE? WHY IS TURKEY, ISRAEL’S ALLY SINCE 1949, TURNING SO STRONGLY AGAINST ISRAEL? IS THE UNITED STATES SUPPORTING ISRAEL IN THE U.N. AND OTHERWISE IN THE CURRENT CRISIS?
Please consult the following important resources:
FREEDOM FLOTILLA FLOTSAM (Mowbray): http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2010/jun/1/freedom-flotilla-flotsam/
THE TURKISH TEMPTATION (WSJ Editorial): http://online.wsj.com/article/SB10001424052748703363704574503460584848456.html
THOSE TROUBLESOME JEWS (Krauthammer): http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/03/AR2010060304287.html?hpid=opinionsbox1
LOSE / LOSE FOR TURKEY / ISRAEL (Cagaptay): http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=177376
MCCAIN BLAMES OBAMA FOR INCREASE IN HOSTILITY TOWARD ISRAEL: http://thehill.com/blogs/blog-briefing-room/news/100961-mccain-obama-helped-create-environment-for-flotilla-controversy
VI – HOW CAN ACTIVATE ON ISRAEL’S BEHALF MOST EFFECTIVELY?
1. Email your representative in Washington. Respectfully request that s/he make a statement from the House/Senate floor and/or to the press supporting Israel’s right to self-defense, denouncing Hamas as a terrorist group, and supporting Israel’s right and obligation to interdict infiltrating ships for the clear and obvious sake of Israel’s security. Click here to go to AIPAC’s activist-page to use AIPAC’s web-resource to send your email: http://www.aipac.org/694.asp#36246
2. Send a Letter To The Editor in support of Israel. Log-on to The Israel Project’s website to use their online-tool to assist you: http://www.theisraelproject.org/c.hsJPK0PIJpH/b.3639297/k.216F/Write_a_letter_to_your_local_newspaper/siteapps/advocacy/ActionItem.aspx?tr=y&auid=6436569
3. Call my assistant, Pat Richman at (310) 377-6986, and register for the May 2011 AIPAC Policy Conference in Washington, D.C. Discounted rates are available through my synagogue until the end of July. Alternatively, log-on to AIPAC’s website and register directly: www.aipac.org
4. Show your support for Israel’s soldiers and bolster their morale. They are fighting the good fight, trying perhaps too hard to appease a world ready to condemn their efforts at every turn. They are as much our children as are our own. Please consider making a contribution to the Friends of Israel Defense Forces (FIDF) by calling (310) 305-4063 or on the on-line: www.fidf.org
5. Show your support for StandWithUs, an important grass-roots organization working hard to get the word out on Israel’s behalf: www.standwithus.org
6. If you are on Twitter or Facebook, consider posting one of the following posts (linked to articles and videos), prepared by StandWithUs. Just cut-&-paste them and you’re ready to go:
FACT: Israel transfers 15K TONS supply of human aid EVERY WEEK 2 GAZA http://tinyurl.com/2dxhrhc #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza
FACT: terrorists use AID DELIVERIES 2 smuggle ingredients 4 BOMBS in SUGAR SACKShttp://tinyurl.com/2dxhrhc #freedomflotilla #flotilla RT
QUOTE: “They are going to have to FORCEFULLY STOP US” (organizers) http://tinyurl.com/2dxhrhc #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza
FACT: flotilla REFUSED 2 supply aid 4 captive in isolation, GILAD SHALIT http://tinyurl.com/2dxhrhc #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza
FACT: 5 boats boarded, protestors complied/ safely let 2 shore http://tinyurl.com/2dxhrhc#freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza RT
FACT: funding from Islamist organization IHH/ links 2 FUNDAMENTALIST JIHADI groups http://tinyurl.com/2dxhrhc #freedomflotilla #flotilla
FACT: protestors carried out PRE-PLANNED VIOLENCE: threw soldier off top deck http://tinyurl.com/2dxhrhc #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza
FLOTILLA: TURKEY has BLOOD on its hands, NOT Israel http://tinyurl.com/255ksq2#freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza
FACT: HAMAS responsible 4 suffering of Palestinians/Israelis: RACIST CHARTER http://tinyurl.com/2e8xlbw #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza
EVIDENCE: Weapons found on-board ship, proving PRE-MEDITATED VIOLENCE http://tinyurl.com/2worvzz #freedomflotilla #flotilla
EVIDENCE: Knives used 2 attack IDF sailors (prepared B4 IDF boarding ship) http://tinyurl.com/28y4wre #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza
EVIDENCE: footage of weapons found on ship (prepared B4 IDF boarding ship) http://tinyurl.com/275utno #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza
TESTIMONY: soldier describes violent mob aboard ship (w/ English sub.) http://tinyurl.com/3xg83xq #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza
EVIDENCE: footage of activists ATTACKING soldiers- UN-PROVOKED VIOLENCE http://tinyurl.com/3yqws7n #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza
EVIDENCE: activists ATTACKING Israeli boarding UN-PROVOKED VIOLENCE http://tinyurl.com/3yxp62j #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza
EVIDENCE: B4 departure: Activists chant INTIFADA songs, praise MARTYRDOM http://tinyurl.com/2bkseol #freedomflotilla #flotilla #gaza
7. Attend the One With Israel Rally, referenced above, on Sunday at 2pm, across from the Israeli Consulate (see above)
Whatever you choose to do, please do something listed above. Get involved. Together, we can make a difference – Israel needs us now.