By Don Klein
Let me admit as an American Jew who is not very religious – nor a Zionist – I more often than not interrelate with other Jews on international issues not only because they are co-religionists but because they are among the worst of the oppressed in history. Actually I feel that way towards all persecuted people.
I think of the mass murder of Jews in Europe regularly and my gut wrenches at the incalculable loss of humanity in those days.
Despite those facts I do not automatically side with the action of the Israeli government. I have been critical of Israel’s positions on many occasions but as a reasonable and proud American, steeped in American ideals, I find there are many occasions when Palestinians and other Arab groups act detestably. They often behave brutally with unabashed cowardice.
Having put that on the table I must say that I fully agree with the Israelis in their blockade on Hamas-Gaza. That is enemy territory from which many attacks against unarmed civilians in Israel have been launched. What choice did Israel have?
Remember back to October 18-29, 1962 when President Kennedy ordered the US Navy to intercept Cuban-bound ships. None other than Communists, disputed the American blockade of a country which never attacked the US mainland like Hamas attacks the Jews daily nor did any harm to the US. Kennedy had less provocation to blockade Cuba than Israel has today but the world cheered when America did it.
Why? They feared a nuclear conflagration between the Soviets and US and the end of modern society as we know it. The same consequences are at stake for Israel today. The Hamas-Gaza government has sworn to wipe out Israel and drive its people into the sea.
That brings us to the boarding of the Mavi Marmara, the Free Gaza Movement ship which tried to run the Israeli blockade. Nine Arab supporters died in the incident which easily could have been avoided – by the Arabs – if their claim they carried no contraband was true.
The death toll is regrettable but as in almost every case whenever Arabs or their supporters are killed when engaged in militant anti-Israel action there is a hue and cry about the intensity of Israel in defending itself. The cries of concern are diluted by the fact there never is a similar outcry when the Jews are unprovoked victims of Arab gunmen, bombings and missile attacks.
But getting back to the recent blockade incident. The whole thing was designed by Arab extremists to draw attention to the three-year-old blockade because as we all know they could have gotten all the humanitarian supplies they wanted into Gaza if they had dropped the cargo off at an Israeli port for inspection. The rebels wanted an incident so they refused to do that, then when the Israeli forces boarded one ship they were attacked by Hamas-Gaza sympathizers.
Radio transmissions released by the Israelis and reported in the New York Daily News revealed how ‘humanitarian" those Hamas-Gaza sympathizers were on board the ship involved in the incident.
"Shut up, go back to Auschwitz," one voice declares belligerently in accented English during the six minutes of radio transmissions released by the Israel Defense Force. A short time later, another voice chimes in, "We're helping Arabs going against the U.S. Don't forget 9/11, guys."
The Israelis claim the audio is a complete, unedited version of the conversation between its navy and the half-dozen aid-carrying ships headed for Hamas-Gaza.
Now ask yourself this question: why would peaceful civilians armed with only knives and sling shots attack fully armed troops if they had nothing to hide? If they were on a peaceful mission, as they claimed?
There is only one answer: Because they wanted an incident to be splashed on headlines throughout the world. They want naive outsiders to believe they are victims of brutality. Imagine back during the Cuban missile crisis when the US Navy blockaded Russian transports headed for Cuba. If they had boarded a Russian freighter and were attacked what do you think the Americans would have done? Lick their wounds and retreated or open fire to quell the attack?
I am not surprised to hear condemnation from Turkey and other Muslim countries and if fact I am not surprised to note anti-Israel rallies in Europe. Most of the rallies in Europe were orchestrated by Muslims living in those countries, as was the Washington rally.
Besides, the Europeans in my view are the most lily-livered of all peoples. I don't know how they ever managed to dominate the world for so many centuries prior to World War I, but lately they are the worst of wimps. They never intervened in Bosnia (in their backyard) until the US took the lead.
They mostly would not support the US in the Middle East and when they did, it was just token. They are craven and leave all the hard tasks up to others -- the US and Israel.
Instead of condemning Israel on this occasion why don't the western nations do something to stop Hamas missile attacks on Israel? That would end the blockade over night. I guess they think Jews are expendable, but Muslims have oil.
So given the circumstances I applaud the Israelis for taking their fate in their own hands and stopping these ships from entering Hamas-Gaza.
What the Arabs and the rest of the world does not know is that Israel has a secret weapon. As Golda Mier told the visiting then-Sen. Joseph Biden after Israel broke the Arab siege in the 1973, it is "We have nowhere else to go."
Once the Arabs get used to the idea that Israel is here to stay, the sooner there will be peace in the Middle East.