NY Times likens violent ‘fly-in’ agitators to Christian pilgrims in Bethlehem

July 13, 2011
Isabel_Kershner’s_NY_Times_report_on_Friday’s flytilla into Ben Gurion Airport made it sound as if the participants were brutally stopped from attending something on the order of a snoozy academic conference at the Hyatt Regency in LA. Those ‘peace loving’ flytilla ‘activists’ clashed with Israeli troops on Sunday at a checkpoint between Bethlehem and Jerusalem. Or better still, as Christian_pilgrims landing expectantly in the Holy Land. Iran’s Press TV website published this photo. A similar but more brutal scene accompanied the NY Times article. Palestinians and international activists in Bethlehem on Sunday tried to force their way through a checkpoint separating the West Bank city from Jerusalem.

Among the protesters were activists who were onboard the so-called “flytilla” that arrived Friday at Ben Gurion International Airport.

Israeli soldiers prevented protesters from accessing the area and threatening to shoot anyone who approached the checkpoint, one of the main terminals connecting the occupied West Bank with Jerusalem.

Most were barred from boarding their flights in Europe as a result of a blacklist of suspected rabble-rousers Israel sent to airlines with a request to deny them passage, while others were arrested at Ben-Gurion and now await deportation back to Europe.
A few, however, trickled through Israeli security and promptly hooked up with violent Palestinian demonstrators who clashed Saturday with Israeli security forces at two West Bank checkpoints. According to Israeli media, one of the clashes that involved the hurling of stones at IDF troops included “fly-in” participants, thus justifying earlier warnings by Prime Minister Netanyahu and other Israeli officials that Israel would not tolerate foreign “provocateurs” and “hoodlums” bent on entering the country to engage in public disorder.
Leftists in Israel and elsewhere, however, denounced Israel’s security precautions as excessive and draconian — a view also espoused by Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner in a Saturday dispatch in the New York Times, “Israel Blocks Air Travelers to Palestinian Conference,” July 9).
Determined to depict intruding agitators as peaceful visitors, Kershner stationed herself in Bethlehem (her dateline reads “Bethlehem, West Bank”), where she awaited the arrival of these supposedly harmless air travelers for a week-long program of “fellowship.”
To underscore their supposedly peaceful bona fides, Kershner wrote in the second paragraph of her piece that, after all, “Israel has traditionally been welcoming of foreign tourists, including more than a million Christian pilgrims who visited this Palestinian city of the Nativity last year.”
Imagine her disappointment that Israel didn’t put out the welcome mat to these Gandhiesque “fly-in” pilgrims.
“There were persistent reports,” Kershner informed Times readers,” that the foreign visitors would try to create chaos and paralyze the airport, despite strenuous denials from the organizers of the campaign, who advocate nonviolence.” Kershner thus was confident enough to give these agitators and their hosts a kosher, non-violent stamp of approval.
But no sooner did her dispatch make it into the New York Times than Israeli media reported Palestinian clashes with IDF units at West Bank protests, including one demonstration where some of these allegedly non-violent guests participated in stone-hurling attacks on IDF troops.

Leftists in Israel and elsewhere, however, denounced Israel’s security precautions as excessive and draconian — a view also espoused by Jerusalem correspondent Isabel Kershner in a Saturday dispatch in the New York Times, “Israel Blocks Air Travelers to Palestinian Conference,” July 9).

what did you expect?


Israel Keeps Flytilla Activists in Horrifying Conditions

July 11, 2011

How awful. Meanwhile, in Iran:

For example, a teenager using the name “Ardeshir” described his detention in an unofficial detention center where he was repeatedly raped and watched others being taken from cells to be raped.3 A young woman using the name “Sara” reported being repeatedly raped by her interrogator after refusing to disclose the whereabouts of her brother. She reported that her interrogator raped her “from top to bottom” and “stuck up his arm deep into her body.” She was forced to falsely confess to having sexual intercourse with her brother. Her interrogator continued to summon and rape her after her release from prison. 4

Avocado Soup?

A teenager using the name “Reza” told of his arrest with 40 other boys during an opposition demonstration in a “large provincial city.” Reza was raped as the other boys watched. After he reported the rape to his interrogator, his interrogator raped him so he would learn not to tell such tales anywhere else.5 An alleged former Basij member reported that rape of detainees was a reward conferred on Iran Revolutionary Guard Corps (Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enqelab-e Eslami or Sepah) and Basij members for crushing the demonstrations. He told how he and a relative came to realize that Basij members were raping children who had been arrested. When his relative confronted the senior officer, he “calmly replied with a smile: “This is Fath Al Moin [aid to victory]. It’s a worthy deed. There’s nothing wrong with it. Why are you complaining?’” More about the attrocious situation in Israel at Propagandist Mag


Guardian airbrushes extremist links of British ‘flytilla’ participants. « CiF Watch

July 10, 2011
Pippa Bartolotti

The UK news section of the Guardian’s website included on July 10th an article about the British ‘flytilla’ participants detained at Ben Gurion airport last Friday.  In it, much is made of both the ages and ‘respectability’ of the arrested Britons, with their ages and professions  meticulously listed, apparently according to information provided by the organisers of the British ‘flytilla’ contingent, the Scottish Palestine Solidarity Campaign.
There’s a retired statistician (66), a community worker, a retired university lecturer (83), a retired nurse (77) and an Open University research fellow (61), which all sounds terribly tame and benign until one takes note that the chairman of the SPSC, 64 year-old Mick Napier, is also described solely as a “university teacher”.  Readers will no doubt remember Mr Napier’s name from the article Comment Is Free Watch published with regard to the SPSC’s recent attempts to persuade Dundee council to implement a boycott of Israeli goods. It is worth viewing that video again in order to comprehend exactly what the Hizbollah-praising Mr Napier stands for.
Another name mentioned in the Guardian article is that of former Parliamentary candidate Pippa Bartolotti – deputy leader of the Wales Green Party and a member of the Palestine Solidarity Campaign. Ms Bartolotti initially managed to evade detention at the airport in Tel Aviv and was interviewed by RT – but was also later detained.

“How can we be a threat?” protests Ms. Bartolotti, making the most of her staid appearance and fluent English.
Oh dear, Pippa – you weren’t being entirely honest with that reporter, were you? No mention of your trip to Syria last October as part of George Galloway’s ‘Viva Palestina’ convoy.  No reference to the fact that you had yourself photographed in Latakia, beaming away enthusiastically whilst sporting your ‘Viva Palestina’ badge and holding the flag of the Syrian Socialist National Party – a Nazi outfit.

The SSNP flag’s similarity to the Nazi swastika is not coincidental and there is plenty of available information about them, both old and new.

“They greet their leaders with a Hitlerian salute; sing their Arabic anthem, “Greetings to You, Syria,” to the strains of “Deutschland, Deutschland über alles”; and throng to the symbol of the red hurricane, a swastika in circular motion.”
“These are the hallmarks of the Syrian Social Nationalist Party (SSNP), the oldest terrorist organization in existence today and one of the most secret and deadly. Despite its long history of violence, Western security organs were recently taken by surprise when they learned that a well-camouflaged arm of the SSNP had succeeded in setting up a large terror network in Western Europe—complete with safe houses, weapons caches, and forged passports—and that it was the SSNP that had set off a series of deadly explosions in the heart of Paris, to gain the release of Georges Ibrahim Abdallah. The United States, too, has felt the effects of the SSNP. The explosion aboard a TWA flight nearing Athens in April of 1986, which cost the lives of four passengers—one of them an infant—has been traced to May Mansur, of Tripoli, a veteran member of the SSNP, who debarked at a previous stopover after placing a bomb under her seat.”

The Green Party, of which Pippa Bartolotti is a prominent member, repeatedly insists that it deplores all forms of racism, including antisemitism, but it is becoming increasingly difficult to take such protestations at face value, and certainly one would expect any genuine anti-racist to run a mile in the opposite direction to a Nazi party embellished with blatant Nazi imagery. The involvement of the Green Party in the PSC is equally worrying, in particular in light of the PSC’s promotion of a Hamas website, its involvement in the invitation of Hamas-linked speakers and its silencing of any criticism of the terrorist group.
Pippa Bartolotti and her ‘flytilla’ friends may be so used to flirting with fascists as part of their radical chic hobby that they are no longer able to separate anti-racist wheat from Islamist and Nazi chaff. Here in Israel, however, we – out of necessity – have our eyes wide open on these subjects, which is why we do not take lightly the appearance of hundreds of supporters of such ideologies on our doorstep. We do also not fall into the kind of ageist stereotypes – of which this article and some of last Friday’s Tweets from various ‘flytilla’ supporters are prime examples – which assume that people are unable or incompetent just because they are ‘middle aged’ or ‘retired’.
Rather than this application of cosmetic surgery to the ‘flytilla’ activists, the Guardian would better serve its readers and the British public in general by explaining exactly what kinds of ideologies they stand for: an issue which is no less crucial to contemporary Britain than it is to Israel.
And a final question must go to Pippa Bartolotti, as well as her other PSC-supporting friends in the British Green party and indeed to the Guardian too, which prides itself on its ‘Green’ section: how exactly, from an ecological point of view, do they justify their involvement in and support for the creation of the hundreds of tons of harmful carbon emissions resulting from hundreds of people making totally unnecessary plane journeys purely for the purpose of political provocation?