Israel’s Galey Tzahal reports that the lawfare-oriented far-right NGO, Shurat Ha-Din, has taken credit for the “citizen’s complaint” to the Greek authorities claiming the Audacity of Hope is not seaworthy. The complaint, totally bogus in nature, has frozen the plans of the U.S. boat to join the Flotilla. To me it is simply incredible that this is all it takes to get Greece to throw a wrench into the Gaza flotilla. Do they not investigate the source of the complaint to determine whether there is any validity to it?
Here’s the report, translated by Dena Shunra:
Sources in Shurat Hadin say they are behind the communication with Greek authorities, and claim that in it they indicated that the boats are seaworthy and are misleading, and that the flotilla will provide assistance to terror. They claim that several ships in Greece are being detained by the local Coast Guard, which prevents them from embarking. The organization also says that they had written a letter to 36 Americans who plan to take part in the flotilla and indicated to them that participation in the flotilla is a criminal offense under American Law.
Since when does an Israeli NGO warn American citizens about violations of U.S. law? What if a the Pacific Legal Center, a right-wing legal advocacy group, were to send a letter to 36 Israelis telling them their actions in breaching the U.S. embargo of Cuba violated Israeli law? What unbelievable chutzpah. Let these shmoes worry about their own country’s laws and not stick their noses where they not only don’t belong, but where they’re interfering with the rights of American citizens. And let them try to prosecute the American activists. If the State Department or Justice Department ever dared to do it they’d be laughed out-of-town.
I think this also raises a serious question whether Shurat Ha-Din, also known as the Israel Law Center, is acting on its own or whether it may be coordinating its efforts with official elements in the Israeli government like the MFA or intelligence figures. It is certainly in their interests to prevent the sailing of the ship so that Israel isn’t faced with the rather embarrassing prospect of engaging in an act of piracy on the high seas in order to prevent its reaching Gaza. Further, as the State Department has threatened U.S. citizens with prosecution and Shurat HaDin has taken the same position, it seems clear that the State Department is closely coordinating its attack on the Flotilla with the MFA, which in turn is using Shurat HaDin as its stalking horse since the Israeli government would not want to officially appear to be engaging in such subterfuge.
UPDATE: Ynet reports (Hebrew) that indeed the MFA is collaborating with Shurat HaDin and other groups in the efforts described above:
The difficulties being faced by various boats are the fruit of a number of organizations around the world with the coordination of the MFA.
Given the legal extortion by Shurat HaDin against those who might facilitate various services for the Flotilla, the following statement by the ministry appears an outright lie:
We’re not talking about exerting pressure or threatening, but rather simply explaining (“hasbara”) the situation, the laws of the sea and international law and military orders. The efforts of the ministry progressed greatly by exploiting the legal systems of individual countries [to frustrate the Flotilla] in order to delay [and frustrate the plans of] the activists.
And that ace diplomat, Danny Ayalon (who reminds me a bit of Jimmy Olsen, Superman’s junior sidekick) reveals his brilliant strategy for further frustrating the Flotilla:
The ministry has created a political strategy designed to delegitimize [there’s that beaut of a word coined by those lexicographers working dawn to dusk in the cubicles of the ministry] in the eyes of the international community.
Apparently he’s talking about the mendacious claims that the project is a “collaboration with Islamist extremist organizations, which constitutes an act against a friendly nation: Israel.” This sure is going to do a cracker jack job of delegitimizing the Flotilla. I can’t think of a diplomat or world leader who won’t buy the bulls(^t Ayalon’s peddling. Ayalon added somewhat ominously that for any boats that succeeded in getting through “he was confident the navy would know how to deal with them in the best possible way.”
In the Ynet report, the MFA spokesperson appears to have earned an advanced psychiatric degree that allows him to use pseudo-psychological jargon to rebut claims by Flotilla activists that Israel was pressuring Greece to stop the boats by using economic leverage that exploited the latter’s dire financial condition. “Doctor” Yigal Palmor called those entirely reasonable theories “paranoid” and the product of “infantile” thought “divorced from reality.” Funny he should mention paranoia and thought processes divorced from reality. For a second there, I was thinking maybe he’d made a mistake and was thinking of the foreign policy of his own country as enunciated by his own ministry. Paranoia and divorce from reality seems a trademark of much of Israeli government and military policy.
The Israeli media outlet claims that a total of six boats have been detained in Greek ports. Of course, the tone of the article is unrestrained pride at the successes without any shred of objectivity in the reporting. The reporters added that “sources in Jerusalem” confirmed the reports, which further reinforce the notion of a wide campaign utilizing pro-Israel forces like Shurat HaDin and others to sabotage the Flotilla.
It’s ironic that Ynet also reports the IDF is preparing to confront violence from the passengers, when far the most lethal violence offered in past sailings was from the IDF itself. What these sources are really saying is that the IDF will use violence if, and when it deems violence appropriate, NOT that it will respond to violence from the activists who’ve consistently said they will not offer any. If anything or anyone should be doubted here it isn’t those on the Flotilla, but the IDF. The Israelis kill, the activists don’t.
Returning to Shurat HaDin, it’s also possible it is a group of braggarts and liars seeking to take credit for something they had nothing to do with. Or the truth may lie somewhere in between.
Shurat HaDin also conducts guided Intellitours (you can go on the next one…aren’t you lucky!) of Israel for well-heeled pro-Israel types in which it offers them opportunities to be debriefed by Shin Bet and Mossad officials and learn how targeted assassinations and other counter terror operations are planned and implemented. Sample itineraries:
Briefing by Pinchas Buchris, former Commander of the Elite Military Intelligence Unit 8200: “Intercepting Signal Intelligence (phone calls, radio TV, telex, internet, emails)…
Briefings by Mossad officials and commanders of the Shin Bet. Briefing by officers in the IDF Intelligence and Operations branches. Inside tour of the IAF unit who carries out targeted killings. Live exhibition of penetration raids in Arab territory. Observe a trial of Hamas terrorists in an IDF military court. Inside tour of the controversial Security Fence and secret intelligence bases. Meeting Israel’s Arab agents who infiltrate the terrorist groups and provide real-time intelligence. Briefing by Israel’s war heros who saved the country.
The group has also unsuccessfully sued Arab banks claiming that they’ve supported Palestinian acts of terror. American Thinker reports that the group has attempted to sue the sponsors of Audacity of Hope on behalf of an American Jewish terror victim alleging the ship somehow is responsible for a 2002 attack on the victim. You get the idea of their fraudulent MO. They’ve also mounted a campaign warning maritime insurers like Lloyd’s of London that if it insures a flotilla boat that Shurat HaDin will sue it for sponsoring terrorism. It’s all of a piece with the lying, conniving of Gerald Steinberg and his NGO Monitor group. On the upcoming Intellitour there will, of course, be a lecture from the distinguished Prof. Steinberg.
What’s most ironic about the group is that it employs precisely the same tactics as pro-Palestinian groups which Alan Dershowitz alleges engaging in lawfare, judicial/legal attacks on Israel’s legitimacy. Perhaps we should call it Zio-lawfare.
Among the group’s donors is John Hagee ($100,000). Donations to it are tax-deductible under U.S. law when funneled through the PEF Endowment Funds, founded, I’m ashamed to say, by Louis Brandeis and Rabbi Stephen Wise.
Shurat Ha-Din reeks of collusion with Israeli intelligence though I haven’t heard of any direct confirmation of that yet.