Leaders Address Community Regarding Flotilla

By: DORIS STRUB EPSTEIN

Once again, when Israel attempts to defend itself it is portrayed as committing acts of unprovoked aggression. “Vilification against Israel is raging around the world,” said Alan Winer of UJA Federation. He acted as MC for a briefing on the Gaza flotilla fallout that UJA organized for the community, held at Adath Israel Synagogue to an overflow crowd.

Even Helen Thomas, Hearst White House long-time front row correspondent, found it the opportune moment to say, “Jews should get the hell out of Palestine and go back home to Poland, Germany, America and everywhere else.”

Ever since IDF soldiers were forced to defend themselves from an attack on the Turkish ship Mavi Marmara, which attempted to ram the Gaza blockade, in what was a pre meditated media stunt and political provocation, (Melanie Phillips, the author of Londonistan called it Islamist-leftist theatre) the world has condemned Israel. The Israelis came primarily with paintball guns intended for use in crowd control. They faced metal pipes, knives and stun grenades.

It was organized by the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights, Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, IHH, which has been linked to Islamic extremism around the world. About a hundred of the passengers were carrying money, a total of one million dollars - money the authorities say was bound for Hamas.

In what he described as an “undiplomatic” statement, Israel’s Consul General in Toronto, Amir Gissin was blunt. “It is the same hand behind the scuds aimed at Sederot, in Kandahar, in Iraq, in terrorist activities all over the world.  It is Iran.  They try to take away the world’s attention from their attempts to become a nuclear power.”

There were two wars being fought, he said: Operational and the war for Israel’s image. Operationally, although the ambush was a surprise, “Israel stopped the flotilla. There were injuries, but no casualties. The other war, for Israel’s image, has become a burden on our own national security.  We feel we are right and the world is letting us down. And there is a growing gap between what we feel and others feel. In the Western world there is one image – the Palestinian boy with a stone in his hand (facing) an Israeli tank. It’s hard to convince the world that the tank is the victim. It’s hard to convince the world that the soldiers were the victims on that boat.” He concludes, “Whenever we take a military action we must plan the consequences on the media.”

He urged the people to “get out of your comfort zone. Cross the invisible line of Bathurst St. and talk to other communities.” Get the focus off the conflict to the myriad other perspectives of Israel – ones that Canadians can readily relate to.

Lightening the emotionally charged mood, he delivered a message from Israel.  “Cheer up.  We’ve been through harder times and we prevailed.”

Colonel Richard Kemp, interviewed by Skype from London, got a standing ovation as he expressed his anger at the world’s “outrageous condemnation of Israel.  It’s a Pavlovian response.  Anything Israel does is bad.”

He said it was typical of Hamas and its supporters to exploit innocent people – referring to the people on the boat who believed they were on a humanitarian mission.

“Where is the outrage against the Ahmadi mosque bombing, the genocide in Darfur, the devastation in Zimbabwe?  Most of the international community supported the blockade. Egypt joined the blockade. Israel’s action was legal and morally justified. (Those responsible) for the deaths are the organizers who planned the ambush.” 

Responding to the charges of the breaking of international law because the boat was in international waters was Ed Morgan, Professor on international law and former President of Canadian Jewish Congress.

“International waters in this context is a red herring,” he said. “By the 100 year old Law of the Sea, you can redirect ships for inspection before they reach land or you can greet them outside the territory.”

Rebecca Cherniak and Noah Kochman from the Canadian Federation of Jewish Students announced “Students are fighting back.  They are emailing, Twittering, Facebooking and ready to go.”

But it was Bernie Farber, CEO of the Canadian Jewish Congress, who expressed best the feelings of the people present. “We will not as a community accept the fantasy that Israel is forbidden to defend itself, that the only good Jew is a subservient or a dead one, that the rules for all the world are suspended for Israel.  We must stand against demonization, delegitimization and double standards.  We will fight for Jewish honour.” 

Source: Shalom Life

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