Not for a few years have I felt quite this ashamed of my own government. As you know, 50 U.S. citizens have chartered a boat called The Audacity of Hope, to be part of the Gaza flotilla. The name of the boat was an attempt to tie the effort to the most optimistic, progressive aspects of Barack Obama’s political career. The ship is attempting to depart from a Greek port with the Greek government exerting extraordinarily intrusive measures to hinder its sailing, no doubt under pressure from the Obama administration and Israel.
Here is how Joseph Dana, who’s planning to join the U.S. boat described his understanding of the situation:
According to flotilla organizers…Israel has been meeting with Greek officials in a bid to persuade them to block Gaza-bound ships leaving from their ports. Israel, organizers say, could use economic incentives at a delicate time of EU-imposed austerity to put pressure on Athens. In recent years Greece and Israel have expanded trade ties, have carried out joint air force exercises and have begun discussions on a joint pipeline project that would exploit vast new Israeli natural gas fields in the eastern Mediterranean.
“Israel has pulled out the stops in trying to get the flotilla to stop before it begins by threatening the Greek economy,“ said Ann Wright, a retired State Department official and former Army colonel who is the main organizer of the US boat to Gaza. Sitting in the lobby of the noisy Athens hotel, she added, “Greece is caught in the middle. There is tremendous public support for the flotilla, but the government is getting pounded by the Israelis.” Not naming her sources, Wright, visibly exhausted from a year of organizing for the flotilla, contended that “Israel is going to try to sink the Greek economy if they allow the flotilla to sail from Greek ports.”
This general strategy has already worked successfully in persuading Ukraine to collaborate in the kidnapping of Dirar Abu Sissi on its soil, along with transferring him to Israel where he languishes in jail. As I noted, an Israeli source confirms that Israel offered trade bait to Ukraine to seal the deal for Abusisi’s extraordinary rendition. I’m wondering whether a similar sort of bargaining went into getting Turkey to renounce its support for the IHH participation in the flotilla.
Hillary Clinton’s State Department has issued a shameful warning for U.S. citizens not to participate in the Gaza flotilla. Here is what it announced:
U.S. citizens are advised against traveling to Gaza by any means, including via sea, noting that previous attempts to enter Gaza by sea “have been stopped by Israeli naval vessels and resulted in the injury, death, arrest, and deportation of U.S. citizens.”
There was only one death of a dual nationality Turkish-U.S. citizen aboard the Mavi Marmara. After his death, the U.S. embassy in Turkey did absolutely nothing on behalf of his family. So for the State Department to warn other Americans they might suffer the same fate is beyond chutzpah (to quote Alan Dershowitz). What did our government do to protect Furkan before he died or to console his family or seek compensation from Israel? Nothing.
What are they doing to protect the lives of those Americans planning to sail now? Are they warning the Israelis to behave themselves, not to harm U.S. citizens? Of course not. Can you imagine a situation anywhere else in the world in which an ally of a nation is preparing to arrest and possibly engage in violence against citizens of that nation, and the latter tells those individuals that if they are harmed it will be their own fault??
Israel reminds me of the monster from those science fiction B-flicks of the 1950s, about whom one characters says: “He’s killed once, he’ll kill again.” Which usually is about the time all the potential victims organize to root out the killer in their midst. Instead of doing the same and calling Israel to heel for its previous acts of murder and violence, the world tells the potential victims, “if he kills you it’ll be your own fault.” For shame.
I’m also disgusted with the implied position of the Obama administration that the Gaza siege is an acceptable or even legal enterprise. Under what rubric is our government making such an argument? Even the UN secretary general warned peace activists to stay off the flotilla because aid should only be delivered via Israeli authorized means. Since when? Since when is this siege worthy of respecting? Since when does the world’s leading institution representing human rights acceding to Israel’s punishing siege against 1.5 million civilians? Since when don’t citizens of the world have the right to challenge patently immoral acts like this one?
Perhaps we can suggest to Ban Ki Moon that he move his headquarters to a Gaza refugee camp for one month just to see what that would be like. I wonder then whether he’d be singing the same tune? Would he then say to anti-siege activists that they should be good little boys and girls and leave it all to those nice fellows in the IDF to take care of the situation?
I’m disgusted with the Obama administration and their international shills. They’re beneath contempt.
Just Foreign Policy, whose director, Robert Naiman will also be aboard the Hope, has secured the signatures of six (count ’em) Congressmembers to a letter asking the U.S. government to work with Israel to ensure the safety of its own citizens. Only six members of the U.S. Congress believe the safety of 50 Americans is worth making a public stink about.