On Thursday, as President Obama was getting ready to deliver his vision of peace to Israeli students, the alternative to that vision was typically expressed by a rocket attack from Gaza. On Thursday morning the contrast between the two visions was clearly illustrated; Just a day later the violent alternative received a tremendous boost.
Hamas applauded Turkish PM Erdogan on finally getting his apology, declaring it “A victory” - and so they should: The effort to rescue the Hamas regime in Gaza, taken by the Turkish Islamist organization IHH three years ago, ended Friday with their calamitous moral victory. Since IHH radicals on board of the Mavi Marmara are still too often related to as “carrying humanitarian aid” and as “peace activists”, I’m inclined to remind my readers who they were, via this 3:35 video I made with my friend Guy Ross:
No, these were no peace activists attacked by ruthless commandos while selflessly seeking justice; These were fanatic Islamists confronted with paint guns while seeking martyrdom and itching for a holy fight. These “peace activists”, die-hard supporters of Hamas and the alternative it offers to the region, were never looking for peace. And on Thursday morning, back in their homes in Turkey, they were very happy to see some rockets flying into Israel. These are the people granted an apology.
Beyond the context of intent and ideology, there’s also the issue of affiliation. Three years ago the Muslim Brotherhood was unknown to the Western public; Today it’s a household name, making the significance of IHH’s ties to the global Brotherhood clear. A report by the Jerusalem Center for Public Affairs showed that “The IHH ... was an integral part of a Turkish Muslim Brotherhood network” and that “Since 2006, Turkey has become a new center for the Global Muslim Brotherhood, while the Hamas regime in the Gaza Strip acted as the main axis for this activity.” You can’t expect the IHH to care for Shiites, or even non-Brotherhood Sunnis (like the Palestinian Authority). The flotilla was an act of alliance between Muslim Brotherhood affiliates; The thin veneer of “humanitarian aid” that miraculously still holds, was intended for those who are foolish enough to still believe in it.
Erdogan did not hesitate to throw his weight behind the IHH and keep it there for three years. The PM and his Justice and Development party, (which last year received Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal with a standing ovation and “damn Israel!” chants), are Brotherhood sympathizers, if not affiliates themselves. The moral ramifications are to be expected.
Erdogan doesn’t think Hamas is a terrorist organization, but calls Israel a “terrorist nation”. He takes no notice of Hamas’ violence and accuses Israel of genocide in Gaza, while ironically facing a very similar situation with the Kurdish PKK, a challenge he responds to with lethal ferociousness. Describing Erdogan as a non-objective mediator is an understatement. In 1998 he said that “the image of the Jews is no different than that of the Nazis”; In 2011 he rallied an Arab League meeting: “Israel must pay the price for its aggression and crimes.” He told his Parliament that Israel is engaged in ethnic cleansing; He said that “Israel is inexplicably cruel” and “hiding behind the Nazi Holocaust”. Some classic Antisemitic themes? Here you go: “The world media is under the control of Israel” and “Wherever Jews settle, they make money.” Bizarro roots? By all means: Back in 1974 Mr. Erdogan wrote, directed and starred in the play “Maskomya” about a Free-Mason - Communist - Jewish (Mas-Kom-Ya) evil conspiracy.
And finally, just three weeks ago he told a press conference in Vienna that Zionism is a crime against humanity. This coming from the PM of Turkey, whose nationalism cost an enormous number of Armenian, Greek and Kurdish lives - is infuriating. This is the man granted an apology...? The game of apologies in the Middle East is a one-way affair: the provocateur demands it, the provocateur is granted it.
Commentator Robin Wright was correct to say on Friday’s “Left Right & Center” that the apology “was the most important thing to come out of Obama’s visit”. The diplomatic necessity for Turkish-Israeli cooperation in light of the chaos in Syria is clear; Access to NATO facilities in Turkey and the dismissal of abusive legal charges against Israeli officers are just two of many immediate benefits. It’s a prospect you can’t refuse.
This is an artificial apology, a product of extortion. Israelis don’t believe in it, their PM had to eat a dish-full of frogs in order to make the call. The Turkish PM will escalate again very soon - he won’t be able to help it. It’s the ideology, stupid. Did I hear reconciliation? Erdogan was remarkably quick to cool it down on Saturday using confrontational language the world has grown so deaf to identify.
The moral consequences are devastating. If I were an Islamist anywhere in the world - I’d be launching a new flotilla tomorrow. For the rest of the world, the understanding of good and bad intentions, violent and peaceful ideologies and the very principle of justice, is more blurry today. As I wrote here yesterday, reality and perception are growing further and further removed.
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