[Continuing in the series where I purge my old unposted material form the drafts folder. This one comes from January 2011]
“We need to always remember that we aren’t North America or Western Europe, we live in the Middle East, in a place where there is no mercy for the weak and there aren’t second chances for those who don’t defend themselves. You were fighting for your lives – I saw it, and I heard it from your commanders.” – Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barak, 2 June 2010, Haartz.com
This time last week we had near universal denunciation of Israel for the “massacre” on the Mavi Marmara. I noted a few days later that the real story was not that extremists had tried to break the Gaza blockade, or that they tried to murder Israeli soldiers, or that they ended up dead. All of that was grimly inevitable. The real story is Turkey’s Neo-Ottomanism and Prime Minister Erdogan and his AK party’s ties to Islamists and terrorism.
Today I see that the Washington Post agrees. In an op-ed yesterday (5th June) titled “Turkey’s Erdogan bears responsibility in flotilla fiasco” the newspaper has joined the growing ranks of media outlets that have reversed their position on the Gaza Flotilla incident and now are pointing an accusing finger at Turkey.
WESTERN GOVERNMENTS have been right to be concerned about Israel’s poor judgment and botched execution in the raid against the Free Gaza flotilla. But they ought to be at least as worried about the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which since Monday has shown a sympathy toward Islamic militants and a penchant for grotesque demagoguery toward Israel that ought to be unacceptable for a member of NATO.
On the opposite page today, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States makes the argument that Israel had no cause to clash with the “European lawmakers, journalists, business leaders and an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor” who were aboard the flotilla. But there was no fighting with those people, or with five of the six boats in the fleet. All of the violence occurred aboard the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, and all of those who were killed were members or volunteers for the Islamic “charity” that owned the ship, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH).
The relationship between Mr. Erdogan’s government and the IHH ought to be one focus of any international investigation into the incident. The foundation is a member of the “Union of Good,” a coalition that was formed to provide material support to Hamas and that was named as a terrorist entity by the United States in 2008. In discussions before the flotilla departed, Turkish officials turned down offers from both Israel and Egypt to deliver the “humanitarian” supplies on the boats to Gaza and insisted Ankara could not control what it described as a nongovernmental organization.
Yet the IHH has certainly done its best to promote Mr. Erdogan. “All the peoples of the Islamic world would want a leader like Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” IHH chief Bulent Yildirim proclaimed at a Hamas rally in Gaza last year. And Mr. Erdogan seems to share that notion: In the days since an incident that the IHH admits it provoked, the Turkish prime minister has done his best to compete with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah’s Hasan Nasrallah in attacking the Jewish state.
“The heart of humanity has taken one of her heaviest wounds in history,” Mr. Erdogan claimed this week. He has had next to nothing to say about the slaughter of Iranians protesting last year’s fraudulent elections, but he called Israel’s actions “state terrorism” and a “bloody massacre” and described Israel itself as an “adolescent, rootless state.” His foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said in Washington on Tuesday that “this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey” — an obscene comparison to events in which more than 2,900 genuinely innocent people were killed.
Mr. Erdogan’s crude attempt to exploit the incident comes only a couple of weeks after he joined Brazil’s president in linking arms with Mr. Ahmadinejad, whom he is assisting in an effort to block new U.N. sanctions. What’s remarkable about his turn toward extremism is that it comes after more than a year of assiduous courting by the Obama administration, which, among other things, has overlooked his antidemocratic behavior at home, helped him combat the Kurdish PKK and catered to Turkish sensitivities about the Armenian genocide. Israel is suffering the consequences of its misjudgments and disregard of U.S. interests. Will Mr. Erdogan’s behavior be without cost?
The article touches on the hypocrisy in the Muslim world. The blockade of Gaza is a joint Egyptian/Israeli venture. There is no mention of this anywhere.
Yesterday on the BBC’s Dateline they had house loon Abdel Bari Atwan ranting at left-wing Israeli journalist XX.When the moderator XX sked him about the Egyptian blockade he launched into spittle spreading rant about how Israel was forcing the Egyptians to do it.
He can shout this on British News Channels, whilst on the 20 May 2010, on his own website, he wrote:
“We are well aware that the Palestinian National Authority [PNA] in Ramallah colludes with the current blockade of the Gaza Strip, and participates directly in Arab and US efforts to incriminate Hamas’ right to govern and dismiss it as null and void. So much so that the PNA’s envoy to the United Nations in New York approved an Israeli bill submitted to the UN Security Council which categorized Hamas as illegal.” From “Hamas’ inexcusable demolition of Gaza homes” .
Thus is the man who calls the killing of 9 violent Turkish Islamist activists a massacre, yet would dance in trafalgar square if Israel were nuked.
Israeli sponsored Aid Flotilla to Kurdistan
Imagine an aid flotilla from Israel headed for Bat’umi in Georgia to resupply Kurdish rebels. A Turkish naval blockade is in force. They board the Israeli ships and lightly armed Turkish marines are attacked by an Israeli mob. The Turkish troops open fire to save their colleagues. What do you think the world and Turkish reaction would be? Mobs on the streets of Istanbul burning Israeli flags, the BBC insisting Israel is supporting terrorism, a UN resolution denouncing Israel.
Complexities of Turkish politics and the 2011 election
From the comments of the Biased BBC site’s article on “Activist Revisionism“:
1) For the past few years Erdogan has been fighting a very public battle of wills against the Turkish military. This is why he is (Like Stalin did) pruning the upper echelons of the military with rumours of a coup. This is why when he visited Greece the other month, the military sent Turkish planes into Greek Airspace while he was trying to talk peace and this is why he has (like all Islamic nations) started a set too with Israel so as to galvanise the public but more to the point the military into supporting his Islamic party.
2) He is now facing a much stronger political opponent in the form of Kemal Kilicdaroglu who became leader of the CHP party the other week. His predecessor was seen as keeping Erdogan in power due to his vetoing of necessary reforms needed to move the party forward. However the AKP (ruling party) which aired the video of him having an affair and thus forcing him to resign ,(which the bBC reported on, but not on Kilicdaroglu replacing him) may have scored something of an own goal when opinion polls days after Kilicdaroglu took office showed the CHP leading in the Polls.
3) Lastly who is the ruler of Turkey? According to the bBC you would think it is Recep Tayyip Erdogan, but he is only the Prime Minister, the leader of Turkey is actually Abdullah Gul. While a member of the AKP party he is less bombastic than Erdogan and actually has a decent head on his shoulders. Now this is where it gets complicated. You see the President of Turkey used to be elected by the party. However when Abdullah Gull stated that he would fight to remain as President a little turf war came into play between him and Erdogan (think Brown and Blair) Erdogan using his much bigger public supporter base had the law changed in which the public picked the next President and there lies one of the reasons why Erdogan has been publically attacking Israel for the past few years.
Other recent slanders
Israel planned to supply Apartheid South Africa with nukes. Not.
Reuters remove bloody weapons
Israel got “Serbed”
From Gray Falcon:
It should be obvious by now that the “Gaza flotilla” was a trap. Israel walked right into it. Fortunately for the Israelis, they too were filming the whole thing, and knew how to use blogs and YouTube, so they may have even come out ahead in the propaganda skirmish that followed. But there is no doubt in my mind whatsoever that the whole flotilla operation was designed from the start to be a propaganda stunt. The “activists” (is that what they are called these days?) aboard those ships were armed and ready. They wanted to be stopped and boarded, so they could scream to high heaven about being abused by the Israeli “pirates” on the high seas. It almost worked, too.
…the entire strategy employed by Hamas seems to be a reprise of Sarajevo. So the Israeli presence on its borders becomes a “siege”, the legitimate blockade of a hostile polity becomes “strangling”, and Israeli raids in response to missiles fired from Gaza become “terror.” Israel is dubbed an occupying power even though it unilaterally retreated from Gaza in 2005, leaving it as a de facto independent city-state. And Israeli inspections in international waters, though legal, become “piracy.”
Hamas routinely fires missiles from Gaza at Israeli civilians across the border. They see nothing wrong with this – remember, to Hamas, Israel has no right to exist, and needs to be obliterated. But if Israel retaliates, whether by assassinating Hamas leaders or sending tanks into Gaza to destroy missile launchers, or by enforcing a perfectly legal blockade to deny Hamas weapons and ammunition, while allowing food and other civilian supplies in – ah, that’s nothing short of “genocide,” then!
Israel has a powerful conventional army, navy, air force, and most likely even nuclear weapons (though not officially acknowledged). It has defeated Arab armies on numerous occasions in open warfare, and has successfully fought terrorism and insurgency through special operations. So those who wish it destroyed came up with a way of turning that strength into a weakness: cast themselves as innocent, unarmed, helpless victims and howl as loud as possible about being abused by that very Israel whose strength no one can dispute.
There are two recent examples of this approach being enormously successful. In Bosnia, the government of Alija Izetbegovic (revered in the Muslim world as an ideologue of jihad and Islamic revolution, but still believed in the West to have been a multicultural democrat) provoked an armed confrontation with the Serb and Croat populations, then raised hell in the media about being a victim of “aggression” and “genocide.” European and American public were steadily bombarded with the most outlandish claims of atrocities, courtesy of legions of “advocacy journalists” stationed in Sarajevo, who somehow never saw thousands of armed Muslim troops in the city, or their artillery, but only “helpless civilians.” Likewise, they never saw any of the Serb civilians killed by Muslim fire on the other side of the line; oh no, every Serb in Bosnia was a drunken, bearded savage with a machine gun in one hand, a bottle of brandy in the other, and a bloody knife in his teeth.
This distortion of reality went so far as to actually exaggerate the military strength of the Serbs, in an effort to make them seem even more formidable (and their enemies that much more innocent/unarmed/endangered). In this kind of 4th-generation warfare, weakness was an asset, and strength became a liability.
Not only was the Muslim (and Croat) version of the war propagated as gospel truth in the West, the Serbs were prevented from saying anything in their own defense through the second-worst regime of UN sanctions in history (the worst being what was imposed on Iraq). By the time the sanctions were officially lifted, the Serbs had been so thoroughly demonized, few dared question the official story when NATO attacked Serbia itself and occupied one of its provinces in 1999. Once again, the world was told of the Evil Genocidal Serb Aggressors wantonly killing and abusing innocent “Kosovarian” civilians, which was obviously so egregious that it required NATO to violate its own charter and that of the UN to launch a “humanitarian” intervention.
Here was identity politics brought to its logical extreme: a situation in which the designated victim could literally get away with murder (Izetbegovic, the KLA) yet be seen as innocent and virtuous, while the designated culprit (the Serbs) could be slandered with impunity, and anything they did would be perceived as purely evil. It isn’t just about delegitimizing one’s means of defense, but delegitimizing one’s right to exist at all.
The problem with trying to explain this to people is that this sort of demonization has so far been practiced only against the Serbs. Even Iraqis, who have suffered horrifically, were not singled out as a nation (rather, the hatred was focused on the persona of Saddam Hussein, and the odium largely dissipated after his execution). Only a few careful observers have seen it as a general trend, applied beyond the Balkans. As a result, no one in the world really believes they could one day get “Serbed” (for lack of a better term) themselves.
But as we see from the flotilla incident, some folks have taken the lessons of Bosnia and Kosovo to heart, even if no one else has. Not surprisingly, the organizer of the propaganda stunt is a Turkish “NGO” first formed to provide aid to the Bosnian Muslims. Among the “activists” detained on the ships were a Syrian with Bosnian citizenship and the “President of Muslim Forum of Kosova” (sic). There are Balkan connections all over – all but guaranteeing that the mainstream press in the West won’t say a word about any of them. Because, as we know, the Balkans is a sacred cow and the pure, innocent victimhood of “Bosnians” and “Kosovars” must and shall not be brought into question. Ever.
Why, even the Israelis won’t say anything about it, so as not to hurt their own cause. Can’t allow oneself to be associated with those Evil Serbs, right? That’s how thorough the demonization has been. But if it can happen to the Serbs, it can happen to anyone. The real question is, who is next?