Judy Mandelbaum

Judy Mandelbaum
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JUNE 8, 2010 4:30PM

Israeli students draft plans for "Kurdish freedom flotilla"

Rate: 15 Flag

O Jerusalem! Perhaps it’s something in the water, but it looks as if Israeli society, so often accused by its critics of moral myopia and cultural narcissism, is suddenly turning righteous and discovering a soft spot for downtrodden peoples of Muslim background. Does this mean the Messiah is at the gates?

Just one week following Israel’s bloody raid on the “Free Gaza Flotilla,” which ended in the deaths of nine Turkish activists, Israel’s National Student Union announced that it was forming its own “freedom flotilla” that it would fill with humanitarian items and steer in the opposite direction. Boaz Toporovsky, the organisation’s chairman, told the press yesterday that “we thought of an idea of sailing to Turkey or to the northern part of Cyprus, or to southern Turkey, where there is a concentration of Kurds.” The mission already has a captain: Israeli navy veteran and businessman Arik Ofir. The group is looking for an appropriate ship and plans to sail for Turkey as soon as it has found one and organized a crew.

Boaz Toporovsky
Israeli student leader Boaz Toporovsky:
G-d's gift to the Muslim peoples?
(Source: Facebook)

Toporovsky is planning his Kurdish flotilla as a direct response to the global public’s negative response to the Free Gaza fiasco. “The whole world saw the flotilla and thought Israel is a terrible state, which comes to shoot people who call themselves peace activists,” he said. “It’s absurd that they always put the Israeli occupation in the headlines and don’t talk about extreme Islamic terror. There’s a lot of hypocrisy in the world. Turkey, which leads the campaign against Israel and makes all sorts of threats, is the same Turkey that carried out a holocaust and murdered an entire nation of Armenians, and oppresses a minority larger than the Palestinians – the Kurds – who deserve a state, who have demanded a state for longer than the State of Israel has existed.”

Toporovsky sees no barriers to his mission. “For the flotilla to work, we need three elements: Money, logistics and balls,” he said. “We’re bringing the balls and some of the logistics, but we need lots of money.”

What sounds like a diabolically clever public relations coup starts sounding too clever by half when you listen to people in the region. As one reader remarked to the Israeli news source Ynet, “Israeli ignorance is hilarious. Kurds are the most extreme Islamists in Turkey. ... Kurdish mosques are full of Hamas and Hizballa posters. I really want to watch Israelis meeting the Kurds, that will be a scene to watch.” An exaggeration, no doubt, but there is no doubt the operation will hit one or the other snag. For one thing, no one seems to have informed poor Toporovsky that Kurdistan – unlike Gazais not only free of naval blockades but does not even possess a seaport.

Kurdistan
While I genuinely believe that helping the oppressed Kurds is a
fine idea, the Student Union may have trouble navigating its
"Freedom Ship" over the mountains

The Student Union is also planning another “peace fleet” that could be ready to go in two weeks. This time, a vast fleet of small ships would head into the Mediterranean to intercept the next Free Gaza mission. “Our wish is to talk with the members of the [Gaza] flotilla, to see if they want to talk to us, and to ask them why the problems of Israel, in Gaza and Palestine, are disturbing them,” Toporovsky told Haaretz yesterday. “We would ask why they are not talking about the Kurdish minority or the Armenians that were murdered or many other problems? We want to expose the truth, this hypocrisy and the absurdity.” 400 Israeli yacht owners have already expressed interest in taking part.

It seems the waters of the eastern Mediterranean will be awash in self-righteous flotillas this summer. Generous Israelis are shipping humanitarian aid to oppressed Muslim and Christian communities - everywhere except to Gaza. According to the Jerusalem Post, yet another ship - packed to the gunwales with humanitarian supplies - is about to head from Israel to Cyprus. On board will be Pinchas Har-Zahav of the progressive Meretz Party and his son Haim. Mr. Haim Har-Zahav told the newspaper yesterday that the goal of the voyage was to “remind the world that Turkey is not innocent. If Uruguay or Iceland were the ones criticizing us so harshly, it might be a different story,” he said. “But we’re talking about a country that only seven years after [the Six Day War and the beginning of Israeli control of the Gaza Strip and the West Bank] began occupying Cyprus,” he said. “We’re talking about a country that has systematically killed the Kurds and refuses to acknowledge their role in the Armenian Genocide. And so no, we will not accept this. The hypocrisy has to stop here.

“We feel that it’s important for us to show and remind the world that Turkey is not a righteous country, but a near-rogue state, and that we, the Israeli people, are not suckers.”

So now the truth is out: Israel hearts Muslims. But if I were a Gazan, I wouldn’t break out the arak and mezza quite yet.

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What blockade are they breaking?
“We feel that it’s important for us to show and remind the world that Turkey is not a righteous country, but a near-rogue state, and that we, the Israeli people, are not suckers.”


Why do I keep envisioning Israel as a bully that just got caught beating the hell out of a smaller kid and who points at somebody else and yell, "No, no, no HE's worse that I am! He' did the same thing!"

P.S. I actually hope they do get some humanitarian aid to the Kurds. It would be an example that they could then follow on how to treat the Palestinians in Gaza.
Amy,
I hope they send a thousand aid ships to Kurdistan. But I always learned that charity starts at home.
How about that photo of Boaz? This would be funny if it wasn't so un-funny.
"Turkey, which leads the campaign against Israel and makes all sorts of threats, is the same Turkey that carried out a holocaust and murdered an entire nation of Armenians, and oppresses a minority larger than the Palestinians"

Sounds like a case of "But Mom, they're mean too!" I guess that makes boarding civilian vessels in international waters and murdering civilians in the head OK.
"shooting civilians in the head" that should read. Doh!
With so much in common, Israelis and Turks really should get along better. But the Mediterranean yacht summit looks promising. They could swap tips on occupations and keeping ethnic minorities in their place.
*Snerk* I wonder if Boaz knows what an earing in the left ear used to mean! :-D
Somehow I am reminded of the conservative student bake sales a few years ago when they would have different prices for different ethnic groups. Emergency rooms near those colleges must have filled up with clever students breaking their own arms patting themselves on the back.
Good analogy, Anthony.

And the same thing in both cases: very funny, haha... Now go take your snark & wit to the faces of people affected by institutionalized racism or state-enforced poverty and imprisonment and see what they think about.

--

I'll also repeat my question in a more clear fashion:

What enforced blockade are the "peace fleet" breaking? What moral / ethic grounds so they espouse for breaking this hypothetical blockade?

Toporovsky is Rove.
Mary,
Yes, Likud and the PKK make very strange bedfellows.

Liberal Progressive,
Toporovsky clearly has a great political future ahead of him.
@Progressive Liberal
I obviously am not going to insult people who have been, or are, suffering especially about that suffering. Understand that I am not suggesting that either exercise, the Kurdish freedom flotilla or the conservative bake sales were legitimate in any sense of the word. In both cases the over-privileged are trying to teach the underprivileged a lesson and that simply amounts to bullying. If you want my answer to your question in my opinion this Kurdish freedom flotilla is a feeble attempt at tit-for-tat because there is no ‘Kurdish” blockade
Egad...
Charity should never be used for purposes of exposing others' poor morals and past. The US has set a bad example with our own "aid" packages which require the donees to buy American goods which are so much higher so they do not get much bang for the buck.
Excellent reporting as usual. R.
Maybe the joke is on the Israelis.

And yet ... http://www.armenianweekly.com/2010/06/07/hitler-turkey/

So Turkish protests against the flotilla raid can call for inspiration from the "legendary leader" Adolf Hitler and congratulate the Nazis for a job"well done." Swell.

In the meantime, a boat pointedly christened (islammed?) the "Rachel Corrie", steams toward Gaza with the renewed blessing of Turkey's deeply humanitarian leadership. That leadership then turns around and, even as the world fixates on the progress of the "Rachel Corrie" and ruminates on the fate of her namesake, crushes a fourteen-year-old Kurdish kid with a tank. (But then again, no blockade no foul, right?)

But, yeah, you're all clearly right -- the joke is obviously on the Israelis on this one.
Yep, Turkish abuses against the Kurds and of course the mention of Adolf Hitler make the murder of civilians by the IDF and the crushing of Rachel Corrie by a bulldozer which was demolishing Palestinian homes OK with me. Thanks for that Dave, and I'll reiterate what that position amounts to: "They're meaner than we are!"
To the Kurdish Freedom Flotilla: Feet, get walking!
@nanatehay
I think your translation is a bit off. It's not "They'er meaner than we are" more like "Israel is not the aggressor state you are looking for". All done with appropriate hand waving and apologizes to Obi Wan Kenobi.
That's one of my favorite scenes from Star Wars Anthony. Jedi mind tricks would give a decided edge to whoever in the Mideast could master them first. We need to send Yoda in.
Something which needs to be mentioned, though, is that the U.N. has been on the ground in Gaza giving aid, that 2010 has seen on average 310 truckloads of food into Gaza every week and that the flotilla Rachel Corrie was offered the chance to dock, have its shipment checked and trucked into Gaza. They refused.

http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0608/Never-mind-the-Freedom-Flotilla.-Is-Israel-s-Gaza-blockade-legal/%28page%29/2

The Hamas PM said this, "If the ships reach Gaza, it's a victory for Gaza. If they are intercepted and terrorized by the Zionists, it will be a victory for Gaza, too, and they will move again in new ships to break the siege of Gaza."
http://www.jpost.com/Home/Article.aspx?id=176812

The Gaza flotilla was never about giving aid but rather getting shipments into Gaza which would not be checked. Pity that isn't mentioned. It's a pretty big part of the story.

I hope this new flotilla points out some of the hilariousness of Turks sending "aid" into Gaza which Gaza has not asked for while they commit atrocities against other Muslims. If any of this is acknowledged, it would be worth while.
"Pity that isn't mentioned. It's a pretty big part of the story."


Yeah, I guess you're right... I'm just still a little hung up on those

9 PEOPLE THEY FUCKING MURDERED IN INTERNATIONAL WATERS!!!!!!!!!
Oh, BTW, is that "Hamas PM" you mention in your comments the same one that the Israeli Defense Minister threatened to target and kill even before he assumed the job??? Oh, yeah, some things sure as hell DO need to be acknowledged all right.
nanatehay and Anthony: you both, unsurprisingly, miss my point entirely. We're all very busy smirking with self-satisfaction at those dopey Israelis and their misguided attempt to enlist those Islamo-commie Kurds to their cause. But so delighted are we with this strange bedfellows comedy, we neglect to glance down and take a good look at the head on the neighboring pillow.

I hold no brief for the blockade or for the stupid decisions taken to enforce it. But I'm frankly disgusted by the zeal with which the supposedly enlightened defenders of Palestinian rights would abandon any pretense of principle to embrace a vile, unapologetically repressive regime for no better reason than its eagerness to poke the Israelis in the eye.
Sarcasm (not on your part Judy, but theirs) is salt in the Gazan's wounds.
Keep up the good work!
(And maybe the Kurds will actually get some good P.R. out of it also.)
I hope that Aid does get to the Kurds.

Approximately 3,000 Kurdish villages have been wiped out since the 1990's by the Turkey Government. 45,000 kurds were killed during this illegal resettlement. More two million kurds have since become refugees since the 1990's. Yet does anybody here remember any of that in the papers?

Here's how bad the Kurds have it in Turkey:
When it comes to PKK leader Abdullah Ocalan is kept on a one man island without any access to the modern world. You can get six months in prison for speaking the Kurdish language in public, even saying kurds or Kurdistan can get you a year in jail. Pro-Kurd newspapers are routinely prosecuted under overly broad laws; the "Ozgur Gundem," has been prosecuted more than 550 times.

Here's the problem with the whole mess, damn near every country in the Middle East is doing something like this to a minority in their country but Israel is the only one that is constantly being singled out. Why?
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Cruise Ships
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When I saw what the israeli butchers did to those people AND HAVE BEEN DOING FOR YEARS, I was reminded of the butchery by the filth that is the Chicago PD in 1968 and that has not changed either.
So...many people here ask about the roots of the blockade,
So simple to explain - Israel withdrew from Gaza 5 years ago. Since then a daily rain of rockets is dropping on the Israeli population on the Israeli side of the border.
These folks are not shooting from the open spaces but from the dense negihborhoods, schools & hospitals. So you can't really use a counter artilerry (Oh, sorry, if you are not a western democrat I guess you can...).
If you want to portect your citizens be proactive & stop these weapons.
The fact is that the Israeli navy suggested to inspect the freight in the Israeli port of Ashdod & send it in trucks to Gaza.
Guess who refused? Guess why? I think that I know. If you do that there is no drama in the media...Just poor people who get their support...
"The fact is that the Israeli navy suggested to inspect the freight in the Israeli port of Ashdod & send it in trucks to Gaza."


OMFG! Now, illegally attacking and boarding ships in INTERNATIONAL WATERS and MURDERING 9 PEOPLE, is just considered a "suggestion"????
Since humor seems to be banned here, I will inject some ANYWAY!!

Will they send food to feed the children in Turkey?
Will it be small Kurd cottage cheese?

Sticking my pun up all of your too tight asses.
So...your point is that it's OK for Israel to abuse the Palestinians because Turkey abuses the Kurds, and they also abused the Armenians....Got it!
Ah, then the Israelis can slaves the Palestinians instead of killing them of starvation because the French, the British, the Spaniard, The Portuguese, and the Americans, slave the Africans!

I wonder how the French and the Anglo Canadians manage to live in the same country, they have problems, but they are not killing each other like the Israelis and the Palestinians...Ah, I know: Canada sees all its citizen as equals!

Why don't Israelis and Palestinians have one State that gives equal right to all its citizens? They can call it: The State of Jerusalem, for example. That's a good name, they both like it. Under that State they can keep their identity by calling themselves: Hebrew Jerusalemians, and Arab Jerusaleamians...or what ever.
My point is that either they find a way to leave in peace of they both are going to parish because humanity is getting tire of their B.S.
By the way, I thought this guy Toporovsky was John Leguizamo

I can't tell the difference between a Jewish guy and an Arab guy. You could see a man in NYC who looks like he just came from the Middle East, but he is a Dominican, or Puerto Rican.
My point: All this identity B.S. that they nourish so much to the point of extinction is just that: B.S.
It would seem that SafeBetAmy thinks that only Palestinians get "murdered". I guess the Israelis who are killed by rockets launched from Gaza are merely the casualties of war?

Of course, the Palestinians could have docked, as they had been asked and allowed their shipment to get trucked into Gaza after it had been searched in port. This is hardly new. Gaza gets 310 truckloads of aid every week. The U.N. is on the ground in Gaza. Perhaps SafeBetAmy needs a few more IQ points to determine why a terrorist organization which launches rockets into Israel is so hell-bent on having shipments which cannot be searched come into Gaza?

It's a stumper, ain't it?
For those who actually want a clue, this gives a better idea about those involved in the flotilla and about life during rocket attacks:
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/anav-silverman/red-flags-of-provocation_b_606137.html
Great piece, Judy.

@RenaissanceLady
Yes, and using your logic the lunchcounter protesters in the Old South could easily have eaten their fill of fried chicken and watermelon in their own part of town and left good white folk in peace. Haven't you ever heard of civil disobedience?
"It would seem that SafeBetAmy thinks that only Palestinians get "murdered". I guess the Israelis who are killed by rockets launched from Gaza are merely the casualties of war?

Of course, the Palestinians could have docked, as they had been asked and allowed their shipment to get trucked into Gaza after it had been searched in port. This is hardly new. Gaza gets 310 truckloads of aid every week. The U.N. is on the ground in Gaza. Perhaps SafeBetAmy needs a few more IQ points to determine why a terrorist organization which launches rockets into Israel is so hell-bent on having shipments which cannot be searched come into Gaza?

It's a stumper, ain't it?"



Boy you hit every one of the Israeli Dept. of Propaganda's talking points didn't you!

Now let's just correct a couple of the incorrect statements / omissions.

* Before the blockage, Gaza required 700 truckloads of aid to survive (barely). Israel has now cut that back by more than half. (and, no. None of these are building materials that they need to rebuild their shelled housing & hospitals) This isn't my opinion, this is documented facts from the UN, USAID, Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

* There is VERY little difference between shooting rockets at innocent people and shooting artillery shells & tanks at innocent people. The only difference is the volume & accuracy of their munitions and that the Israelis believe they have the right to fire theirs, but the Palestinians don't. (I believe that they are BOTH wrong, BTW)

* Now the one you keep refusing to acknowledge: Israel attacked the aid ships in INTERNATIONAL WATERS and MURDERED 9 people. They then confiscated any and all films and recordings of the incident.

I might not be the brightest crayon in the box, but even with my missing IQ points, I can not see this as anything other than pure disregard of human rights, human life and international law.
It is much more challanging to debate with a good partner who challanges the reality. I would challange the word "murder" here relating to the 9 causalties. The Israeli soldiers approached this operation with a paintball equipment in order to minimize the potential of casualties. Do you think that every army would do that? If the original aim was to "murder" innocent people why these specific 9 were the victims? Why there were no casualties or wounded in the other 7 ships? The documented answer is a public knowledge. The "peace activists" used iron rods, daggers & knives. What kind of a usage one can find for these things? Do you really so naive to believe that the extrimists on the ship came in peace? I suggest to collect some background on these people & the organization that sent them in Google, you will find some interesting staff (ask the previous Turkish government...). I think that Israel shall claim for the right of self defense & hence the engagement in an international water. I do agree that the lawyers of both sides (if needed) will have a lot of work to do on this case, the right for a self defnse won't be easy to prove here. I think that the best part that Israel can be proud of is the fact that an Arab Israeli Parilament Member was on that ship, She was not arrasted nor deported but took the time to speak in front of the house few days after the case.
This is the real message here about Human rights.
Imagine the opposit - what can happen to a Palestinian politician in Gaza who dares to speak positively about Israel or Israeli's.
@ borovich, is not the same if one politician in Gaza defends the Israelis, and one politician in Israel defends Palestinians because Palestinians in Gaza are the one controlled by the Israelis' army. It would be the same only if both, Palestinians and Israelis had the same military power.
Besides, that woman who spoke at the Israel's Parliament is a Palestinian Politician. So she is defending her people. That's Ok. There are Israelis who denounce the abuses the Palestinians are suffering, though. There are good people who can see beyond their races, and they see only human beings every where. I don't think you are one of those. You could change your views later.

I have a solution for the Israel Palestine problem. Check out my post: The State of Jerusalem

http://open.salon.com/blog/platano/2010/06/09/the_state_of_jerusalem_1
Alan, I love you but I'm sorry. This is NOT civil disobedience. A group of people who make up 50% of all suicide bombings in Israel, launched more than 3,000 rockets into Israel and is only wanting "aid" into Israel which is not being searched does not have "civil disobedience" on its mind. This is Hamas. The group which started the flotilla has already been shown by French Intelligence to have ties to Al Qaeda, as my earlier link had shown. There is only ONE reason why Hamas does not want their shipments to be searched by Israelis or anyone else. The funny thing is, according to the U.N., they are also the ones preventing aid which has reached Gaza and who has broken into U.N. offices which receive and distribute aid:
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=34903

Alan, Amy, any chorus at condemnation at this? Actually, why is this not front page news?

That must be some pretty sweet Kool-aid. See, to me, it seems as though Hamas doesn't give a rat's tail about actually giving aid to the Palestinians. I don't think they care about the Palestinians at all as they ousted other Palestinian leaders from Gaza back in 2007. What they have done a great job of is turning public opinion against Israel and hamstringing any real way of Israel defending itself while pretending that they only want to give "aid" to Palestinians. This is hardly the first time Hamas has raided the U.N. offices which distribute aid.
http://www.un.org/apps/news/story.asp?NewsID=29802&Cr=gaza&Cr1=unrwa

But of course, it's all Israel's fault. Cue to chorus about how 9 people were "murdered" - after having terrorist ties - after refusing to allow their shipments to be searched - after refusing to allow the U.N. to distribute aid.... ad naseum. Thank heavens it's Israel. If The U.S. or any European country had encountered ships with terrorist ties breaking blockades, they would have simply sunk the ships.
Another piercing work.

The haplessness of us Jews, at times. This is inane, this Kurdish flotilla idea, and why didn't they see it?
I totally forgot to mention this in my new post, and also the mind-boggling hypocrisy of the sudden interest among the Israeil public in the Armenian holocaust - an event Israel has through the years been a leading agent of hushing up, in part to maintain good ties with Turkey and in part to maintain the exclusivity of our own holocaust. Good stuff. A flotilla to Kurdistan! (Carried out by ships on loan from the Swiss navy, no doubt... - [btw, Switzerland does actually have a navy of sorts, for maintaining order on the rivers and lakes]).
"You can get six months in prison for speaking the Kurdish language in public, even saying kurds or Kurdistan can get you a year in jail."

Actually this is less and less true, as the Turks have been easing up on this. Last year a public religious service was conducted in Kurdish with the blessing of the authorities. The Kurds in Turkey obviously have issues, but to compare those to the plight of the Gazans is ridiculous.
Ricky responds to this: "You can get six months in prison for speaking the Kurdish language in public, even saying kurds or Kurdistan can get you a year in jail."

with this: "Actually this is less and less true, as the Turks have been easing up on this."

We could probably split the difference on this. Their new-found outrage about Gaza and their wholesome, utterly disinterested humanitarian impulses notwithstanding, the Turks are not at all above putting their Israeli-made weapons to good use wiping as many of these pesky Kurds as possible.

Today's WaPo: "Turkey: May air raid killed 100 Kurdish rebels"

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2010/06/18/AR2010061801417.html?wprss=rss_world/wires

"ANKARA, Turkey -- Turkey's military said Friday it killed as many as 120 Kurdish rebels in an air raid on rebel hideouts in northern Iraq last month and a daylong incursion by elite commandos into Iraq this week."

Anyone wanna take bets on whether 120 is an accurate count, or on what the ratio of "rebels" to bystanders in the real death count might have been?

Ricky also wants us to know how much better the Kurds have it than the Gazans, so this is a little inconvenient: "The conflict has killed as many as 40,000 people and allegations of Turkish brutality and restrictions of Kurdish rights have stained the country's human rights record and hampered its bid to join the European Union."

But, you know, you and the Turks, you all keep holding on to that moral high ground you're all occupying together.