Mocking the Flytilla
It’s not often that Israel reacts well in response to those who hate her, so it was especially welcome when the Israeli government undercut an attempted publicity stunt by anti-Israel activists efficiently and, more surprising, wittily.
Israel compiled a list of 1500 European activists who were likely to board flights to Israel for scheduled anti-Israel demonstrations. It gave the list to airlines, warning that if allowed to board they would be put back on the flights on which they arrived and sent back at the airlines’ expense. Given this prospect, the airlines cancelled the reservations of most would-be participants, but 40 managed to slip through. These were detained at Ben Gurion airport and sent back with a note including the following jabs at their hypocrisy: “Dear Activists, We appreciate your choosing to make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns. We know there were many other worthy choices. You could have chosen to protest the Syrian regime’s daily savagery against its own people, which has claimed thousands of lives. You could have chosen to protest the Iranian regime’s brutal crackdown on dissent and its support of terrorism throughout the world.” The letter concludes with suggesting these human rights enthusiasts “solve the real problems of the region first and then come back and share your experiences with us. Have a nice flight.”
“We Have Gone Mad”
Unfortunately within days of this demonstration of feistiness, Israel was back in its all-too-customary mode of self-flagellation. The Israeli press repeated endlessly a brief video in which Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner pushed the magazine of his gun against the face of Andreas Ayas, a Danish anarchist from the International Solidarity Movement (ISM). Ayas was attempting to close a road, along with a coterie of fellow, get this, “cyclists”, as the media described them. The legal analyst for the Israel Broadcasting Authority went on air to say the matter was “exceedingly grave” and Eisner should be put on criminal trial. IDF Chief of Staff Benny Gantz joined the chorus of indignation as did Prime Minister Netanyahu, who declared such conduct had “no place in the IDF and the State of Israel.” Eisner, a hero of the 2006 war with Hezbollah in Lebanon, was promptly suspended from the IDF. Never mind that these same peaceful “cyclists” had (in a segment not filmed by ISM or shown by the media) beaten him with sticks, broken his finger and damaged his wrist.
Maariv’s Dror Yemini, that rare bird, a patriotic leftist, wrote a column under the above headline, lamenting “Dear readers–we have gone mad. We have simply gone mad.” He noted “Israel is apparently the only country in the world that grants freedom of action to those who openly seek to destroy it.”
Lee Kaplan went underground for eight years (posing as a volunteer) to report the inner workings of the ISM. In training sessions, he was told the ISM coordinates with Hamas, Islamic Jihad and the PFLP (Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine), who were constantly apprised of their location in Arab villages. Talk of nonviolent resistance was solely for media consumption, says Kaplan, since the ISM promotes armed revolutionary ‘resistance’ against Israel by serving as human shields for terrorists. Kaplan reports that in the two hours leading up to the edited video showing Eisner striking Ayas (who, by the way suffered no more than a cut lip), the ISM “used their bicycles, bodies, and even physical assaults to obstruct the IDF in a closed military zone and prevent anti-terror operations.”
Kaplan notes that in their training, ISM activists are told not to fear IDF soldiers because they are under orders not to hurt them or arrest them, and if ordered to disperse, should refuse. Writes Kaplan: “This elaborate tutelage has essentially turned interference with the IDF into a titillating game for college anarchists in America and Europe who are recruited for “‘summer vacations in Palestine’ to mess with IDF soldiers….Andreas Ayas wannabes are recruited every week on US and UK campuses, and Colonel Eisner was merely another pawn–and victim–in the ISM’s game plan.”
Nor are ISM’s activities limited to harassment of Israel’s security forces. Kaplan reports they are behind boycotts of Israel, allied with neo-Nazis in the U.S., with Arab fronts for terrorists, especially Hamas, in the U.S., and with Iranian interests. The ISM’s purpose “is to destroy Israel’s sovereignty as a nation ‘by any means necessary.'”
Col. Eisner deserves a medal. The shame belongs to the Israeli government, from the Prime Minister on down, which has allowed the ISM free rein out of cowardly fear of “international criticism.” The shame belongs to the Israeli media herd, which puts a patriotic officer who had come under attack, rather than the ISM, in the dock.
The Mount of Olives
The Mount of Olives is a mountain ridge in East Jerusalem that has been a Jewish cemetery for over three thousand years. Yet the Israel government is doing nothing to stop its desecration and physical attacks on those who visit it. In Frontpage, David Hornick writes that The Jerusalem Post has taken note of this scandal in a recent editorial. Last month a young bridegroom, who wanted to say a prayer at his mother’s tomb, was driven up by his friend Dror Klein. As they grew near to the tomb, 30 to 40 young Arabs crashed a bucket of white paint into the front windshield, hurled large rocks and cement blocks at the vehicle and dragged the bridegroom from the car, smashed his head with a boulder and beat him to the cry of Alahu Akhbar. Somehow Klein managed to drive the car at the attackers who momentarily fled and he and the bridegroom, who were convinced they were threatened with death, got away by the skin of their teeth. (As far as the police were concerned, they had only “light injuries.”) The editorial noted that the incident was not unusual. An Arab boy’s school is along the road leading to the cemetery and the majority of incidents originate there, with the attacked preparing ambushes well in advance.
It seems to occur to no one, including The Jerusalem Post, that school authorities should be put on notice that either they keep their students under control or, at the very next “incident,” the school will have to relocate.
The cemetery itself is attacked daily. Headstones are hammered, graves daubed with paint and tar, smeared with feces, covered in garbage and defaced with hate inscriptions. The Jerusalem Post asks angrily why a police station promised by the government has not been set up on the Mount. The real problem is that Israel allows attacks on her people and institutions to become a game (as in the case of the ISM) without serious penalty.
It used to be that they were outliers–people like Vanessa Redgrave who have attacked Israel for decades. Now they are mainstream. Giulio Meotti reports that seven time Oscar nominee Mike Leigh and two time Oscar winner Emma Thompson are among three dozen actors and directors who signed a letter calling for the boycott of Israel’s national theater, Habima, which has been included in a Shakespeare festival in England. More than 150 American Hollywood filmmakers signed a letter in support of the boycott of Ariel’s culture center in Samaria. A number of prominent actors boycotted the Toronto International Film Festival to protest a week of screening of Israeli films. Oscar winner Jean-Luc Godard has called Israel “a cancer on the map of the Middle East.”
But the award for lowest of the low goes to “The Death of Klinghoffer” by composer John Adams and librettist Alice Goodman (and the English National Opera and the Brooklyn Academy of Music, both of which staged the opera). Meotti notes that the opera romanticizes the murderers of Klinghoffer, a wheelchair-bound Jewish passenger, shot in cold blood in the forehead and chest, and then dumped into the sea. Klinghoffer’s daughters, who attended anonymously, provided this understatement: “It’s a production that appears to us to be anti-Semitic.”