the true aim was actually spelled out by Adam Shapiro, co-founder of the International Solidarity Movement and a board member of the Free Gaza Movement (which is behind the flotilla), at a meeting last November at Rutgers university in New Jersey to raise money to fund an American flotilla boat.
This is what Shapiro said:What we’ve been doing over the last ten years with the International Solidarity Movement, Free Gaza, and all the other outgrowth organisations and movements and groups is to …work with Palestinian society to ramp up the resistance. This is all part of a Palestinian movement for Palestine…This is truly an international movement … It’s only Palestine, this cause that has been going on for over 60 years, that generates this kind of activism, this kind of resistance…Free Gaza is but one tactic of a larger strategy, to transform this conflict from one between Israel and the Palestinians, or Israel and the Arab world…to one between the rest of the world and Israel… [applause]It’s not just the conflict, it’s not just the siege, it’s not just the home demolitions, it’s not just the wall on the West Bank, it’s not just the effort to continue to dispossess Palestinians of their land…it’s also the attempt to define a place where 20 per cent of the population is Palestinian, to define the land underneath their feet as Jewish, to further dispossess them and subject these people to permanent second third or fourth class citizenship…Free Gaza is a tactic…all of it is part of a strategy now to transform the conflict and internationalise it and really undermine Israel where it gets its most support…Our ground is the whole world. And that’s where our resistance has to be. The whole world… We already have a third intifada. It’s going on right now. It’s going on all over the world. [my emphasis]
So from the horse’s mouth we learn that the prime aim of the flotilla is not to provide humanitarian supplies to Gaza. It is not even to protest Israel’s ‘siege’ of Gaza. It is instead a tactic in a campaign to undermine Israel itself on account of its 60-plus year existence as a Jewish state. In other words, the flotilla is part of a strategy designed to destroy Israel altogether.
For a moment I thought it was a Purim spiel. The Guardian devoted an entire story last weekend to the claim that I was being investigated by both the Press Complaints Commission and the police. The Bedfordshire police.
My crime apparently lay in what I had written on my Spectator blog about the massacre of Udi and Ruth Fogel and their three children, 11-year-old Yoav, four-year-old Elad and three-month-old Hadas, who had their throats cut at home in the Samarian neighbourhood of Itamar while most of them were asleep.
I had written about the moral depravity of the Arabs who almost certainly committed this atrocity – and also the savagery of the Palestinian Authority whose institutions incite hatred of Jews and the murder of Israelis, and which honours such murderers by naming streets and squares after them.
The complaint was that I had thus accused every single Arab in the world of being savage and depraved. This was totally absurd. As was obvious from the context, I was referring specifically to those Arabs behind the atrocity and those who incite and glorify such deeds.
The complainants also airbrushed out of the picture the unstoppable torrent of deranged, Nazi-style vilification of Jews which pours out of the Arab and Muslim world and which fuels the genocidal hysteria behind such attacks.
All of this, plus the fact that the Arab world has been murdering Jews in the land of Israel for more than nine decades in order to drive them out, means that to refer to ‘Arab moral depravity’ is more than justified.
To tar this as a racist slur against every single Arab is as absurd as to claim that referring to the moral depravity of the Germans or Japanese in the 1940s is a racist slur against every single German or Japanese individual.
And what on earth had this got to do with the Bedfordshire police? You may well ask. A clue was surely provided by the Muslim activist, Inayat Bunglawala, one of the PCC complainants, who raged that I had defamed the entire Arab people.
Bunglawala lives in Luton, Bedfordshire. Might it be, therefore, that Bunglawala had gone to his local plods to complain? I don’t know why otherwise the Bedfordshire police would be asked to avenge this alleged insult to the entire Arab nation.
But, at the time of writing, I have not heard that either the police or the PCC is in fact investigating these complaints. It would appear that the Guardian simply took what Bunglawala told them and published it as fact.
Moreover, for Bunglawala to accuse me of racism is a sick joke. For he has serious form as a Jew-hater. In his younger days he described the TV executives Michael Green, Michael Grade and Alan Yentob as all belonging to ‘the tribe of Judah’ whose close friendship gave the lie to a ‘free media’.
He also claimed that the ‘Zionist movement’ was ‘at the core of international banking and commerce’. Ed Husain, in his book, The Islamist, describes how Bunglawala used to take him to weekly meetings of Muslim extremists where Jew-bashing was ‘part of the curriculum’.
Hate-crime legislation, which has turned the police into a thin blue inquisition against dissent, provides such people with the means to smear their chosen targets, and encourages them to try to silence views with which they disagree.
This is given rocket-fuel by the current frenzy of demonisation, dehumanisation and delegitimisation against Israel.
And the leader of this baying media mob is the Guardian, whose reporting of the Itamar massacre claimed that the Fogel family were ‘hard-line settlers’ a comment that insinuates that they were responsible for their own slaughter.
Such malevolent indifference to Israeli victimisation is matched by the paper’s excitement at the chance to smear the person who protests at the moral depravity of both the culture that produces such acts and those westerners who endorse it.
My impression that I had wandered on to the set of a surrealist Bunuel film deepened with an attack from a quite different direction.
According to the anti-Islam site, Jihadwatch, I was in hot water because I had referred to the Fogel family murderers as depraved Arabs, whereas I should have referred to them instead as depraved Muslims.
And the reason I had not done that was — wait for it — that I suffered from ‘lingering’ political correctness.
Don’t tell the Guardian: it might get in the way of the hate.
Someone I met recently posed what I thought was an interesting question.
Like me, he had read and admired the moving interview in last Sunday’s Observer with the Israeli novelist David Grossman, whose son Uri was killed when his IDF tank was hit by a rocket in the final hours of the aborted war with Hizbollah in 2006.
Grossman, whose new novel apparently owes much to that terrible experience, talked simply and poignantly about its effect on him. One does not have to agree with his politics to be touched by his refusal to give in to despair and even to find ways to grow from such a tragedy.
My acquaintance, however, asked why it was that the most articulate voices tended to be found on the left. Why was there no equivalent to the soaring voice of David Grossman on the right?
One possible reason is that the left and the intelligentsia are more or less synonymous: or as the left so offensively puts it, that the ‘right’ — ie everyone who is not the left — is stupid.
On that basis, the left seems to have a monopoly of eloquence simply because of its dominance of the chattering classes.
But there may be another reason. I think it boils down to a matter of perception; and perception, as so often, is influenced by ideology.
What, after all, does eloquence do? It moves us. It provokes an emotional identification and sympathy with the speaker or author.
Today’s left privileges emotion over reason, in direct contrast to the non- or anti-left which champions objectivity over subjectivity. And emotion and eloquence go together.
Prose that gives expression to personal grief or yearning for peace is thus almost inevitably bound to soar far more eloquently than stolid attempts to present objective factual evidence and arguments for law and morality against their antithesis.
Yet there are those, not on the left, whose rhetoric nevertheless does soar. It can also be very emotional. But because it rests upon reason and truth, it is regarded by those who subscribe to a subjective approach to the world not as eloquence but extremism.
This is graphically illustrated in The Prime Ministers, the surprisingly un-putdownable book by Yehuda Avner, former Israeli ambassador to the UK and English speechwriter to four Israeli premiers — Levi Eshkol, Golda Meir, Yitzhak Rabin and Menachem Begin.
In a wonderfully vivid book replete with riveting and entertaining insider descriptions of politics and diplomacy in Jerusalem, Washington and London, the most affectionate and admiring portrait Avner paints is of Begin.
What leaps from these pages is the intelligence, erudition and astonishing eloquence of the man who was widely reviled and thus dismissed as a fanatical terrorist.
In response to world leaders who only wanted to know when he would start dismantling the settlements, he treated them to dazzling lectures on history and religion to prove that the conflict was about far more existential and deadly issues.
In the atavistic, reason-defying bear-pit of the Knesset, meanwhile, Begin’s eloquence was hurled at him as an insult — proof to his opponents of his utter unworldliness and uselessness.
Yet this was the man who made peace with the Egyptian Prime Minister Sadat, whose widow wrote with unbearable poignancy to Begin — after the death of his beloved wife Aliza — as the dear friend of her murdered husband and fellow-visionary of an end to the terrible conflict between Arab and Jew.
No, eloquence is not monopolised by the left — and neither, most definitely, is peace.