Who is Eyeless in Gaza?

As you all know, Memorial Day was marked by a deeply troubling incident off the Gaza coast — an incident with tremendous implications for all of us as Jews and as Americans. Six ships, ostensibly carrying humanitarian supplies, attempted to break Israel’s naval security blockade and to enter the port of Gaza. The IDF was forced to intercept those ships, despite numerous Israeli requests that they not enter.The Israel Navy requested the ships to redirect toward Ashdod, where they would be able to unload their cargo, which would then be transferred to Gaza over land after undergoing security inspections. The activists were carrying 10,000 tons of reported aid to Gaza. Israel provides 15,000 tons of aid weekly to Gaza. Aid convoys are already on the way to Gaza from Ashdod after being offloaded from the flotilla.

Five of the six ships agreed to such terms; the sixth, tragically, did not. During the interception of the ships, the demonstrators onboard attacked the IDF naval personnel with live gunfire as well as light weaponry including knives, crowbars and clubs. The demonstrators had clearly prepared weapons in advance for this specific purpose. For a video of their attack — http://www.realclearpolitics.com/video/2010/05/31/close-up_footage_of_flotilla_passengers_attacking_israeli_soldiers.html. Israeli soldiers were in danger of being lynched; some were thrown off the ship into the sea. The IDF responded, but only after a great deal of provocation. According to initial reports, these events resulted in over 10 deaths among the demonstrators and numerous injured.

The loss of life is tragic. Worse than tragic — it was entirely unnecessary and politically-motivated. The “peace organization” on the ship, IHH Humanitarian Relief Foundation (The Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief, according to Henri Barkey, an analyst for the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, is “an Islamist organisation as it has been deeply involved with Hamas for some time.” When you think Hamas, think Iran. In addition, Turkish authorities searched IHH headquarters in 1997, discovering “firearms, explosives, bomb-making instructions” as well as records of calls to an al-Qaida guest house in Milan.

One of world Jewry’s most articulate observers is my friend and colleague, Rabbi Daniel Gordis. Once again, he hits the proverbial nail on the head. Read his blog posting here. http://danielgordis.org/2010/05/31/facebook-meets-the-flotilla/

Why the image of “eyeless in Gaza?” Because that is how the judge Samson ends his own life — blinded, he pulls the pillars of the Philistine temple in Gaza down upon himself and on the Philistines. That is how Gaza became known for self-destruction. This is yet another chapter in Hamas’s ongoing war against Israel and against the West. As Israel’s Deputy Foreign Minister Daniel Ayalon said in a conference call yesterday, this is a “seam line” in the fissure between radical Islam and the West. The seam runs through Kosovo and Chechnya and Kashmir — and straight through the land of Israel and into the sea.

Yes, there will be (there already have been) tremendous PR ramifications for Israel. What else is new? But know the truth, speak the truth, teach the truth. Israel needs our voices now — yes, now more than ever.

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