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To Gaza, With Love By: FrontPage Magazine
FrontPageMagazine.com | Tuesday, December 30, 2008


THOSE WHO QUESTIONED THE RESOLVE OF THE ISRAELI GOVERNMENT TO FIGHT HAMAS CAN TAKE HEART from at least one sign: early this morning, the Olmert government denied an international collection of far-leftists - including former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney, radicals who support suicide bombers, multiple Al Jazeera "journalists," and a former Guantanamo Bay detainee - the opportunity to deliver supplies to the terrorist stronghold of Gaza.

Interference Denied

A group calling itself "Free Gaza" set sail from Cyprus Monday evening on boat dubbed the "SS DIGNITY," a 66-foot yacht carrying 3.5 tons of Cypriot-donated medical supplies and 16 radical activists, including recent Green Party presidential candidate McKinney. In the wee hours of this morning, Israelis diverted the boat en route to Gaza. Reuters reports that the activists claim the yacht "was rammed and shot at," though Yigal Palmor, a spokesman for Israel's Foreign Ministry, denies any shooting took place. He adds that the DIGNITY failed to respond to Israeli radio contact, provoking the confrontation. If true, this would be an exceedingly odd move, since the group recounted how, after the group identified itself by radio during a similar trip to Gaza this November, the Israelis responded, "Have a nice day."

At present, it is unclear where the DIGNITY has docked. Elize Ernshire, who was onboard the ship, told Al-Jazeera, "We are heading towards Lebanon as the boat is not in a fit state to return to Larnaca [Cyprus]"; however, Palmor said "the Israeli ship escorted the aid boat back to Cypriot territorial waters." Whatever its destination, for once a left-wing organization has failed in its plan to give aid and comfort to the terrorist enemy.

Who is Free Gaza?

Free Gaza is a coalition of groups, including notable members such as the International Solidarity Movement (ISM), Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), and the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions (ICAHD), but one assisted by an international cast of radicals, some themselves Jewish. One of Free Gaza's prime organizers, Jeff Halper, clarified the views of many when he called for the end of Israel as a Jewish state. "A Jewish state has proven politically, and in the end, morally, untenable," he insisted. Halper led FG in its virgin voyage this August, boasting, somewhat prematurely, that he "broke the [Israeli] siege." For this, Nation magazine hailed Halper this September, predicting, "his Nobel stock has likely risen dramatically if you're a betting person." (Sadly, this is probably true.) After the August trip, Halper confessed, "This trip wasn't humanitarian; it was political"; a $300,000 piece of street theater. The group donated only a few boxes of hearing aids. Nonetheless, Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh welcomed the trip's political aspect, meeting with most of the entourage and granting Halper honorary Palestinian citizenship, complete with passport. Haniyeh hoped the trip would inspire his Muslim brothers to take more substantive action. "We hope it will be the beginning of Arab moves to break the blockade," he said.

Israelis agonized over the initial decision to let FG come to port in Gaza, dreading international opinion if it intercepted the boat. Ultimately, one Israeli official described the floating protestors as "professional anarchists and pro-Hamas activists" whom they wished to deny publicity. Olmert made the decision after consultation with Ehud Barak - the men now making war policy against Gaza. The SS DIGNITY has visited Gaza six times since then, delivering "mail (that hasn't been though Israeli hands)" - and thus may contain sensitive military information or terrorist communiques - and carrying away Palestinian "students" as return cargo.

The activists' tone has hardly mellowed. After a November landing, FG accused Israel of "Chemical Warfare on Palestinian Fishermen." In a press conference in the Cypriot port of Larnaca just before it departed Monday night, the group referred to Operation Cast Lead as an Israeli "blitzkrieg." And Ernshire pledged forebodingly before the hoisting the sail, "We will do our best to send in the DIGNITY as often as we can over the next few weeks, bringing in physicians and medical supplies."

As in previous leftist missions to help the enemy, there is no question of whom Free Gaza wishes to benefit. While setting the number of dead at just over 200, Palestinian television on Sunday admitted at least 180 had been "policemen" - agents of Hamas. Moreover, Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Aboul Gheit announced Sunday that Hamas was denying wounded civilians the right to leave Gaza for medical treatment, indicating what all but the most credulous already knew: the well-being of Palestian non-terrorists is not Hamas' top priority. Who could the medical supplies be intended to help, if not Hamas footsoldiers and their confederates?

Cynthia McKinney's Jihad

It's easy to see why such a trip would interest former Congresswoman Cynthia McKinney. The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday that McKinney "sees the voyage as a humanitarian mission, said her father, former Georgia state Rep. Billy McKinney." McKinney's father may also see it as a chance for revenge. The senior McKinney forecast his daughter's 2002 Democratic primary defeat on election eve, starkly asserting, "Jews have bought everybody. Jews. J-E-W-S." Cynthia had a long history of spouting rhetoric Jewish groups regarded as tinged with anti-Semitism. She agreed with the gist of Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal's comments demonizing Israel and solicited his $10 million. She intimated President Bush had advance knowlege of the 9/11 attacks, which contributed to her defeat in 2002. She returned to her old seat triumphant in the 2004 election and has since signed on as a 9/11 Truther, as well as a major supporter of Cindy Sheehan. In 2006, she struck a Capitol Hill police officer and blamed him for racial profiling, an incident that led to her ouster again that fall. Having failed twice to be re-elected in a gerrymandered black Democratic district, she tried her hand at capturing the highest office in the free world, running as the Green Party's presidential candidate this fall and racking up 153,639 votes, which landed her in sixth place, just ahead of Alan Keyes.

Other notable members of the Unholy Alliance joined McKinney on the interrupted boat ride, including:
  • Sami al-Hajj, an Al Jazeera reporter and a former detainee at Guantanamo Bay. Nicholas Kristof lionized al-Hajj in the New York Times, innocuously dismissing Commander Jeffrey Gordon's statement, "There is a significant amount of information, both unclassified and classified, which supports continued detention of Sami al-Hajj by U.S. forces." A four-page government statement written on July 8, 2005, and now declassified, accuses al-Hajj of delivering money to the "charity" Al-Haramayn $473,000 "at least eight" visits to Azerbaijan; he was denied entry on a final attempted entry in January of 2000. This "charity" then funneled the money to Chechen jihadists. Al-Hajj's lawyer, Clive Stafford Smith, admits one or two such visits. Similarly, Smith admits his client met with Osama bin Laden's "Deputy in Sudan," al-Qaeda founder Mamdouh Mahmoud Salim, who was implicated in the 1998 U.S. embassy bombings in Kenya and Tazania and later received 32 years in prison for stabbing a Manhattan prison guard in the eye. Smith simply claims al-Hajj made the trips and met Salim on behalf of his employer and did not know why this was being done. However, Osama bin Laden closed his May 23, 2006, audio message by calling on Allah to free all Guantanamo Bay detainees - mentioning al-Hajj by name. Bin Laden is not the only monster to appreciate al-Hajj's work; Venezuelan strongman Hugo Chavez jotted him a message: the phrase "Venceremos!" - the motto of the Cuban revolution.  Al-Hajj has told the world he was tortured during his stay in Guantanamo Bay and witnessed horrific scenes of Quran desecration and physical and mental abuse. Held in Gitmo from December 2001 until this May, he spent his last year in detention on a hunger strike, during which time the authorities force-fed him, refusing to let him starve to death. Among the reasons the government cited for his release were the observations that he "consistently led prayer in the cellblocks and has been seen teaching English and the Koran to other detainees." Among the tortures al-Hajj reported at Gitmo were such indignities as the following: "We were forced to salute when the American anthem played. They humiliated the prisoners by forcing them to cover their bodies with the American and Israeli flags." He also averred these budding American Mengeles "offered me millions of dollars, American citizenship for me and my family in addition to a car and a villa with full protection. But I refused because I'm a journalist and it is not my job to spy" on al-Jazeera. So lax was his captivity that, in addition to meeting with a lawyer more than half-a-dozen times, and being interviewed by the Red Cross, he had a poem entitled “Humiliated in the Shackles” published in the 2007 book Poems from Guantanamo: The Detainees Speak. Perhaps taking a page from Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman, al-Hajj stated guards denied him his medication for rheumatism, but his captivity was probably more restful than his return to Sudan. Upon his release, he was rushed from his hospital bed to an outdoor event in Khartoum to denounce the U.S. government. According to Al-Jazeera, "the United States placed some conditions on al-Hajj's release, including one that prevents him from any political activity." One wonders if that covers this morning's aborted voyage.
  • Renee Bowyer of Australia, who justified the kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers in an article she penned for Alex Cockburn's CounterPunch website. The kidnappings were, she stressed, "an act directed specifically against a military target and it was against the military regime which has caused so much bloodshed in Gaza and so much of it here in the West Bank as well." She added, "For a few brief hours the people of Palestine were grateful." Bowyer teaches 7th graders English at The Friends School in Ramallah, though her writing evidences little comprehension of grammar and usage.
  • Caoimhe Butterly, a 6'1" Irishwoman and daughter of a UN economist "was brought up in a culture of liberation theology." She opposed sanctions against the Taliban after 9/11, hunkered down inside Yasser Arafat's besieged compound, spent a year standing between tanks and Palestinian "fighters," and worked with Zapista anarchists in Mexico. Her name appeared on a statement by the Pitstop Ploughshares group, which broke into Ireland's Shannon Airport and "disabled" a U.S. plane bound for Iraq, though she was never charged with participating in the action.
  • Darlene Wallach, a Jewish member of ISM. She once voiced her support for terrorists such as Hamas in the most offensive terms of moral equivalence: "I don't see how Israel is any different to [sic.] Nazism during World War II...There is nothing that the Palestinians do that in any regard I can condemn. I cannot condemn suicide bombings." 
  • Karl Penhaul, "a video correspondent for CNN, based out of Bogotá, Colombia" who was formerly with Reuters. In July, after Colombian soldiers staged a bloodless rescue of 15 hostages, including a former presidential candidate, held by the Marxist narcoterrorist revolutionary group FARC for more than six years. Pennhaul reported the event - as a Colombian war crime. One of the soliders wore a Red Cross insignia, he wrote; "Such a use of the Red Cross emblem could constitute a "war crime" under the Geneva Conventions and international humanitarian law and could endanger humanitarian workers in the future."
  • Othman Abu Falah of Jordan is another Al-Jazeera reporter, who hoped to "remain in Gaza to report on the ongoing military onslaught." (The DIGNITY carried no fewer than three Al-Jazeera "journalists" on this tour.)
This lineup of leftists does not differ from former FG crewmen. Past Free Gaza voyagers include:
  • Huwaida Arraf, the founder of the International Solidarity Movement.
  • Mustafa Barghouti, a former Palestinian Authority presidential candidate. In October, Barghouti told reporters, "We will not leave Gaza, we will not abandon Gaza and it is approved today that the Palestinian resistance groups are mightier than the Israeli occupation and those who support it." He has ties to such "resistance groups." His cousin, Marwan Barghouti, founded the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade.  
  • Lauren Booth, former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair's sister-in-law, visited in August, at which time she called Gaza a "concentration camp" and a "humanitarian crisis on the scale of Darfur." 
  • Clare Short, the former UK Secretary of State for International Development Clare Short sailed the Cypriot seas in November. Short once warned Israel may cause the "end of the human race" and called for a boycott of Israel as long as its "apartheid wall" stands. She affirmed, "the Palestinian people are entitled to resist occupation" and likened Iraqi murderers to American revolutionaries. She also declared, "that U.S. backing for Israeli policies of expansion...and oppression of the Palestinian people is the major cause of bitter division and violence in the world."
  • Mairead Corrigan Maguire, a Nobel Peace Prize winner who toured Gaza in October. She used her trip as an opportunity to call for the UN to expel Israel. Maguire has long been attracted to Gaza. The Peace Prize honoree participated in a stone-throwing protest against Israeli police near the Security Fence in the village of Bilin; in turn, Maguire was hit with a rubber bullet and inhaled tear gas.
  • Yvonne Ridley, the British journalist and onetime captive of the Taliban, who converted to Islam in 2003 and stood for election in the UK as a member of George Galloway's RESPECT Party. In 2006, she wrote, "Now, more than ever, we need the Muslim equivalent of Che Guevara, Fidel Castro, or Hugo Chavez." She has encouraged British Muslims not to cooperate with police.
The participation of McKinney, Ridley, and the other assorted leftists and Islamic fundamentalists in the Free Gaza sortie but maintains a continuing tradition of radicals attempting to offer material support to terrorists and their supporters.

The Unholy Alliance, Ad Infinitum

In the heyday of the "antiwar" movement, radicals like Tom Hayden made pilgrimages to North Vietnam to witness the foundation of a "rice roots democracy."  Later, U.S. Senators Chris Dodd and Robert Torricelli wrote "Dear Commandate" letters to Nicaraguan Sandinista leader Daniel Ortega, while others traveled to Cuba.

One such errant acolyte, Medea Benjamin, led the charge to solidify an alliance with Islamist terrorists and other murderers of U.S. soldiers. In December 2004, Code Pink activists delivered $600,000 in cash and supplies to "the other side" in Fallujah, a stronghold of Iraqi "insurgents."  As David Horowitz and Ben Johnson mention in their book Party of Defeat, the trip was made possible by a letter signed by California Democratic Congressman Henry Waxman.

In early 2006, Benjamin, Sheehan, and Obama campaign bundler and former Jerry Brown campaign manager Jodie Evans flew to Caracas to meet with Hugo Chavez.

Eight months later, in August 2006, Code Pink returned to Iraq with a new motley crew of left-wingers - including Cindy Sheehan, Tom Hayden, and Evans - in order "to meet directly with Iraqi parliamentarians working on a peace plan." In addition to the fact that such a trip may be illegal, violating the prohibition for private citizens to conduct their own foreign policy, the Iraqis they met with consisted primarily of leaders who supported violent jihad against American soldiers.

In November, Benjamin, Evans, and Col. Ann Wright  made another trip, this time to Tehran for more "citizen diplomacy," complete with descriptions of "how much more open Iran is than I had thought...People in Iraq were afraid to speak out against Saddam, people in Iran aren't."

Iranian "Help" is on the Way to Gaza

The Associated Press reports Iran may now be headed to Gaza - or may have been before the grounding of the SS DIGNITY. AP reports:
 
Monday, the Iranian Red Crescent sent a ship carrying 2,000 tons of food to Palestinians living in Gaza to be delivered via Egypt. An Iranian military plane also landed at Cairo International Airport carrying 24 tons of food and medicine destined for Gaza.

The head of Iran's Red Crescent, Masoud Khatami, said three more ships were waiting to be loaded with humanitarian aid, and Iranian hospitals were ready to receive injured Gazans, according to the official Iran news agency, IRNA.

Food, supplies, and well-meaning Persians may not account for all the cargo. Professor Raymond Tanter, president of the Iran Policy Committee, told The Jerusalem Post the Iranian Red Crescent "humanitarian" ship is a Trojan horse designed to smuggle Iranian intelligence agents and members of the al-Quds Force into Gaza.

With the right coordination, a ship full of leftists and pro-jihadists could work just as well.

Through its swift action this morning, the Israeli government decreased the chance that Iran, Saudi Arabia, or any other Muslim nation will attempt to "break the siege" and join forces with the only group that hates democratic Israel as much as they do: the international Left.



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