Where were you when........?

By Geoffrey Paul
September 13, 2011

As almost a lifetime critic of Israel's lack of public relations skills, I have watched even more aghast than usual as Turkey's Erdogan has made the running against Israel with his portrayal of her attack on the Turkish “humanitarian relief flotilla” to Gaza as something not short of an international crime. I will concede absolutely that, confronted with opposition. the Israeli commandos went into overdrive and did not stop to decide whether they should suffer casualties before responding to their attackers. But then this was no innocent `”humanitarian” sortie by well-intentioned Turks – and I do not rely on Israeli propaganda sources for my information. What's wrong with the Washington Post and why has Israel not drawn on what it had to say in an editorial in June last year? You don't know what I am talking about? Well, here's the editorial and if you did not know about the information it contains, phone your local Israel Embassy and ask why (all the words that follow are from the Washington Post editorial):

Western governments have been right to be concerned about Israel’s poor judgment and botched execution in the raid against the Free Gaza flotilla. But they ought to be at least as worried about the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which since Monday has shown a sympathy toward Islamic militants and a penchant for grotesque demagoguery toward Israel that ought to be unacceptable for a member of NATO.

On the opposite page today, Turkey’s ambassador to the United States makes the argument that Israel had no cause to clash with the “European lawmakers, journalists, business leaders and an 86-year-old Holocaust survivor” who were aboard the flotilla. But there was no fighting with those people, or with five of the six boats in the fleet. All of the violence occurred aboard the Turkish ferry Mavi Marmara, and all of those who were killed were members or volunteers for the Islamic “charity” that owned the ship, the Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH).

The relationship between Mr. Erdogan’s government and the IHH ought to be one focus of any international investigation into the incident. The foundation is a member of the “Union of Good,” a coalition that was formed to provide material support to Hamas and that was named as a terrorist entity by the United States in 2008. In discussions before the flotilla departed, Turkish officials turned down offers from both Israel and Egypt to deliver the “humanitarian” supplies on the boats to Gaza and insisted Ankara could not control what it described as a nongovernmental organization.

Yet the IHH has certainly done its best to promote Mr. Erdogan. “All the peoples of the Islamic world would want a leader like Recep Tayyip Erdogan,” IHH chief Bulent Yildirim proclaimed at a Hamas rally in Gaza last year. And Mr. Erdogan seems to share that notion: In the days since an incident that the IHH admits it provoked, the Turkish prime minister has done his best to compete with Iran’s Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Hezbollah’s Hasan Nasrallah in attacking the Jewish state.

“The heart of humanity has taken one of her heaviest wounds in history,” Mr. Erdogan claimed this week. He has had next to nothing to say about the slaughter of Iranians protesting last year’s fraudulent elections, but he called Israel’s actions “state terrorism” and a “bloody massacre” and described Israel itself as an “adolescent, rootless state.” His foreign minister, Ahmet Davutoglu, said in Washington on Tuesday that “this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey” -- an obscene comparison to events in which more than 2,900 genuinely innocent people were killed.

Mr. Erdogan’s crude attempt to exploit the incident comes only a couple of weeks after he joined Brazil’s president in linking arms with Mr. Ahmadinejad, whom he is assisting in an effort to block new U.N. sanctions. What’s remarkable about his turn toward extremism is that it comes after more than a year of assiduous courting by the Obama administration, which, among other things, has overlooked his antidemocratic behavior at home, helped him combat the Kurdish PKK and catered to Turkish sensitivities about the Armenian genocide. Israel is suffering the consequences of its misjudgments and disregard of U.S. interests. Will Mr. Erdogan’s behavior be without cost?

End Washington Post comment.....and mine



Thu, 11/10/2011 - 10:58

Rate this:

0 points

Well, Israel has scored a PR victory, probably for the first time in its history (!) by getting Greece to stop the flotilla, and hopefully subsequent flotillas. Israel was simply caught on the wrong foot by the first flotilla, it won't happen again. And when Turkey turns against Israel then Greece suddenly "sees the light" and starts being friendly, when in the past Papandreou père et fils were unanimously hostile. Could it be that Greece is the first of the impoverished countries to look to Israel as a possible saviour, in that it is not suffering an economic downturn?


Wed, 08/14/2013 - 14:39

Rate this:

0 points

(i don't like posting on page 2)

Advis3r: Now here's the thing Mr Joe Millis actively supports apartheid that is he supports the creation of a State of Palestine in which no Jews will be allowed to enter much less live - compare and contrast that with the status of Arab citizens of the State of Israel. So he is in favour of the creation of something very much like Saudi Arabia and that he would like us to believe is progress.

joemillis1959: Every country has immigration laws. Does Israel allow non Jews to immigrate? Palestinians returning home to jaffo or safed, for instance?

(joe, you know perfectly well that israel allows plenty of non Jews to immigrate … many of them fleeing persecution in arab countries

do try not to say things at random! )

yes, (almost) every country has immigration limits, quotas, etc, for ethnic (or religious) minorities

so (almost) every country's immigration policies are racist by their nature, but everyone agrees that we don't call them racist if they're reasonable

(and we can argue about whether any particular country's limits or quotas are racist)

but very few countries have a law saying "we will have zero blacks, or zero asians, or zero jews" (though some arab countries get close )

zero isn't a reasonable quota, comparable with other countries, and therefore not racist …

a zero policy is obviously and unashamedly racist

israel's palestinian population (with full citizenship) is over 20% (and increasing) … far larger than that of most countries' ethnic (or religious) minorities

palestine's policy is to have zero jews (and already supports this with a law imposing capital punishment on any palestinian citizen who sells land to a jew)

blacks asians and jews are human beings, and should not be banned from particular areas (subject to normal and reasonable limits)

it is extraordinary that jews such as bromley reform deputy joe millis do not regard it as racist to say "there must be no jews on the west bank"

joemillis1959: And what about those reception committees?

what "reception committees" are you referring to?


You must be logged in to post a comment.