All at Sea

It would seem that Antony Lerman is all at sea, having lost his bearings once and for all. In his latest CiF offering he really scrapes the barrel by offering links from ‘Intifada voice of Palestine’ and ‘Ibn Kakfa’ as ‘proof’ of his rickety points. He employs innuendo, deliberately places parenthesis around words such as “lynching” and peppers his article with half-truths and downright lies such as the claim that “[b]y late Tuesday afternoon, Israel had still not provided a list of names or locations of the injured; there was no official number or list of the deceased” as though this were some kind of deliberate policy on Israel’s part.
In fact, many of the detained and dead were not carrying passports or any kind of identification papers and some refused to disclose their identity to the Israeli authorities, which made their identification, and therefore the compilation of any kind of list, somewhat challenging to say the least. Lerman goes on to claim that “And those arrested, detained or in hospital were still being denied unrestricted access to lawyers, relatives and consular representatives” , although I personally watched extensive TV coverage of a visibly embarrassed Turkish Ambassador visiting injured citizens of his country in an Israeli hospital on the news.
Does Lerman really need to stoop so low? The answer is obviously yes, because trying to justify the unjustifiable results in some pretty tortuous contortions. Like King Cnut commanding the tide to halt at Bosham, Lerman cuts a pretty pathetic figure in his vain battle to turn white into black and day into night.
Most of the world understands perfectly well by now precisely what occurred aboard the Mavi Marmara, and yet tragically for him, Lerman’s unbalanced anti-Israel stance has lead him even as far as engaging in the delusionary act of trying to whitewash the terrorist connections of the IHH. Even the Palestinian press is reporting that “[t]hree of the four Turkish victims of the Israeli attack wished to die as “Shahids” (Martyrs)”, and yet Lerman is still re-hashing the feeble points made in the seemingly endless tide of Guardian articles on the subject of the flotilla and vainly trying to deflect the discussion to the subject of PR by claiming that “[r]eporting by mainstream media on the Gaza flotilla attack was unbalanced and dominated by Israel’s edited version of events”. In actual fact it is he who has psychologically edited the events to such a degree in order to make them fit his somewhat eccentric world view, that his divorce from reality is frankly quite worrying.
The anti-Israel crowd’s fixation with the subject of PR indicates just how little they, including Lerman, actually understand of the Middle East in general and the I/P conflict in particular. Israel’s aim in preventing the ‘Free Gaza’ flotilla from breaking the naval blockade had nothing whatsoever to do with PR aspirations; it was about the long-term protection of Israeli citizens in the best possible manner with minimum casualties on both sides. Obviously, this is a tricky one for Antony Lerman to understand, but it is as plain as day that those aboard the Mavi Marmara did not have the same intentions as those aboard the other boats in the flotilla and no amount of Lerman spin or denial can change that. Israel is at war, and some of those aboard the flotilla were passively helping her enemies, even if through ignorance or extreme naivety, whilst others –including those who died in the process – not only knew exactly what they were doing, but actively sought out the confrontation because they were terrorist sympathisers or worse.
Lerman’s closing claims of having “deeply troubling evidence, albeit not exactly new, of the lack of a moral compass among the country’s leadership” take on an all the more grotesque hue when one begins to appreciate that he cannot distinguish between real peace activists and terror activists. Fortunately, Israel and its navy can make that distinction, as evidenced by the fact that the five other boats in Monday’s flotilla and later the ‘Rachel Corrie’ were all brought into Ashdod port peacefully and without incident.
Antony Lerman and his fellow travelers at the Guardian need to urgently open their eyes to the blindingly obvious fact that those on board the Mavi Marmara who shouted ‘Khaybar ya Yahud’ were not referring to Israelis alone. Until they fully recognize the real meanings and implications of that fact, it is their moral compass which can no longer find True North and inevitably, they will remain all at sea.

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