Australia/Israel & Jewish Affairs Council

"Flotilla to Syria" a reality, but not what you think

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Sometimes, a news item comes along that seems far too convenient to actually be true. For a Middle East commentator, it's very rare to have clear-cut proof of something that you have been saying all-along. Today, however, is one of those occasions.

As noted in this post, the organisers of the (now mostly defunct) flotilla have worrying links to Hamas in Gaza. While there is undoubtedly suffering in Gaza, much of this can be attributed to its Hamas regime, which maintains control through torturing and murdering dissenters and censoring the press, while forcing Gazans to live in a perpetual state of war by refusing to negotiate with Israel or even recognise Israel's existence and renounce violence. It was, therefore, a no-brainer to point-out the hypocrisy of a group trying to make a political statement against Israel while cavorting with a far less savoury regime and ignoring much greater suffering elsewhere.

As a result many commentators - from Australian comedian Sandy Gutman to yours truly - have called for the flotilla activists to prove their self-proclaimed "humanitarian" intentions by going to Syria. This is a rational argument, given the current climate. For one thing, Syria is one of Hamas' biggest supporters - the Hamas political bureau is currently housed in Damascus. Also, while the situation in Gaza is only improving, the Assad regime in Syria has been becoming ever more brutal in its attacks on its own citizens. That said, no one was expecting them to actually take up this offer, however it seems that a group of would-be flotilla participants are genuinely going to Syria, but for all the wrong reasons.

Some 400 Lebanese women arrived in Syria Sunday to show solidarity with the protesters - the pro-government protesters, that is. They [sic] women did not come to to side with the activists calling for reform and democracy, but rather to support Bashar Assad's regime.

The women, who intended to set sail from Lebanon to the Gaza Strip aboard the Miriam ship in June 2010 but were eventually barred from doing so, chose a more easily accessible destination this time - Damascus. They travelled overland to stand with Assad against "the schemes being plotted against him." [Emphasis added]

This one move dispels any lingering doubts that the flotilla organisers support terrorists and hate Israel more than they care about Palestinians. The women are from a Lebanese organisation with close ties to Hezbollah, another of Assad's strong allies and - like Hamas - a proscribed terrorist organisation in Australia. They are bizarrely trying to prove that there is some kind of international conspiracy to isolate Syria and that the condemnation of Assad is because of this, not little things like the torture and murder of teenage protestors.

"We came to Syria to tell the truth, because it is the land of truth and resistance," Al-Hajj said. "We came to stop the attempts to isolate Syria, and to remove the barriers of fear inseminated by those worried about the people and the regime's strength."

The final nail in the coffin of the flotilla's "humanitarian" pretences, however, came this morning in an AP report on the one ship from the original flotilla that did manage to sail towards Gaza. The report quoted one participant saying, in her own words, that,

"We are making a political statement, we are not carrying any aid."

In other words, the flotilla is a self-proclaimed "political statement" whose organisers openly support Assad, one of the most murderous dictators in the world, as well as Hamas, a racist, Islamic extremist group that refuses to cease launching terror attacks on Israeli civilians. They have proven, beyond a shadow of a doubt, that they are not humanitarians, they are not supporting the rights of Palestinians and, worst of all, they are committed to inflaming tensions and killing all hope for a peace agreement.

It's sad how easily many in the West were duped into supporting their mission.

(via Jonathon Narvey)

Daniel Meyerowitz-Katz

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