Theater of War

Mona Charen

6/2/2010 12:01:01 AM - Mona Charen

The effort to destroy the Jewish state has many fronts. One front is in Iran, where the maniacal regime that has repeatedly promised to "wipe Israel off the map" marches inexorably toward a nuclear bomb. Another is in Gaza, from which Hamas has lobbed 10,000 missiles into Israeli cities. Yet another front, the most insidious, is comprised of the propaganda arm of the Palestinian movement. And this front thrives for only one reason -- the complicity of the world press and the so-called "international community."

It was the propaganda arm that staged the "Freedom Flotilla." But there have been many previous productions: The propaganda arm was responsible for the photo-shopped images of damage to Lebanon during the 2006 war, the staged "death" of 12-year-old Muhammad Al Durrah, the "massacre" at Jenin, and the "war crimes" in Gaza. In each and every case, the "news" of Israeli atrocities was broadcast far and wide by organizations like Reuters, AP, CNN, and AFP. The United Nations has offered its imprimatur to every libel. The truth seemed always to have a case of laryngitis.

Rush Limbaugh

Today, in the wake of the confrontation between Israeli soldiers and the provocateurs aboard the Gaza flotilla, the remarkably incurious world press is providing exactly the sort of headlines on which the organizers knew they could count. "Flotilla Attack Is Israel's Kent State" screamed the Huffington Post. Agence France Presse carried a banner quoting the Turkish foreign minister to the effect that "Israel has lost all legitimacy." Every news outlet I checked docilely described the flotilla as "humanitarian."

Don't members of the press ever resent being so used?

Fact: Israel imposed a blockade of Gaza to prevent weapons from reaching the radical Islamic regime there that continues to make war on Israeli civilians. Egypt, too, has blockaded the strip, hoping to choke off weapons to Hamas, which it views as a threat.

Fact: Humanitarian relief is delivered to Gaza from Israel on a daily basis. During the first three months of this year, 94,500 tons of supplies were transferred to Gaza from Israel, including 48,000 tons of food products; 40,000 tons of wheat; 2,760 tons of rice; 1,987 tons of clothes and footwear; and 553 tons of milk powder and baby food for the strip's 1.5 million inhabitants. Representatives of international aid groups and the United Nations move freely to and from the Gaza Strip.

Fact: Upon learning of the intentions of the Gaza flotilla, the Israeli government asked the organizers to deliver their humanitarian aid first to an Israeli port where it would be inspected (for weapons) before being forwarded to Gaza. The organizers refused. "There are two possible happy endings" a Muslim activist on board explained, "either we will reach Gaza or we will achieve martyrdom."

Fact: The flotilla ignored multiple instructions from Israeli navy ships to change course and follow them to the Israeli port of Ashdod.

Fact: On board one of the ships, according to Al-Jazeera, the "humanitarian" Palestinians sang "Khaybar, Khaybar, oh Jews, the army of Muhammad will return" -- a reference to the 628 massacre of Jews in Arabia at the hands of Muhammad.

Fact: The flotilla's participants included the IHH, a "humanitarian relief fund" based in Turkey that has close ties to Hamas and to global jihadi groups in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Chechnya and elsewhere, and which has also organized relief to anti-U.S. Islamic radicals in Fallujah, Iraq. A French intelligence report suggests that IHH has provided documents to terrorists, permitting them to pose as relief workers. Among the other cheerleaders -- former British MP and Saddam Hussein pal George Galloway, all- purpose America and Israel hater Noam Chomsky, and John Ging, head of UNRWA, the U.N.'s agency for Palestinian support.

Fact: When the family of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier who was kidnapped during a cross border raid by Hamas in 2006, offered to support the flotilla if they would agree to ask Hamas to permit international agencies to visit their son, they were rebuffed.

Fact: When Israeli commandos rappelled down ropes to the deck of the Mavi Marmara, they were assaulted and beaten with metal poles and baseball bats by the Palestinians on board. (It's available on theisraelproject.org).

Some commentators sympathetic to Israel complain that the Israelis were late getting their explanation of events to the press. That's probably true, but almost irrelevant. There is a jerking of knees around the world whenever and wherever Israel is forced to defend herself. This eagerness to repeat the Palestinian version of events, to assume the very worst about Israel, and to ignore the history of blatant and outrageous lies by Israel's enemies -- amounts to joining them.