Thursday, June 30, 2011

Mideast Media Sampler 06/30/2011

From DG:
1) More flotilla

Barry Rubin 
and J.E. Dyer have roundups.

Col Richard Kemp recommended Freedom Flotilla II Tests Israel’s Sovereignty by Twitter

Freedom Flotilla II, as with the original failed endeavour, is being sponsored by a coalition of shady figures who amount to nothing more than the Western arm of the Friends of Hamas, Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad. The umbrella group heading the whole thing is again IHH, a charity with links to international terrorism that masquerades as a humanitarian organisation. IHH boasts a history of involvement in Islamic extremism, having been connected with a failed plot to bomb Los Angeles International Airport.
Ehud Rosen explains Who is Behind the second Gaza flotilla? for JCPA and summarizes things:

  • The second flotilla is coordinated by Muhammad Sawalha, a senior UK-based Muslim Brotherhood figure connected to Hamas. Many of the participating organizations can be directly linked with the Union of Good (UoG), a coalition of European charities affiliated with the Muslim Brotherhood, which in 2008 was designated as a terrorist organization by the U.S. Treasury for transferring funds to Hamas. The UoG was initiated by Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, leader of the Muslim Brotherhood on a global scale, shortly after the outbreak of the Second Intifada in 2000.

  • For the Brotherhood, two chief centers of organization can be clearly seen. On the European and global scene, the centrality of its UK-based activists is once again demonstrated, while in the Middle East, its Jordanian branch is noticeable.

  • Other main organizers include the anti-Israel International Solidarity Movement (ISM), as well as far-left socialists from Europe and the United States. Many of the flotilla's main organizers have stated that its prime aim is to create provocations and harm Israel's image.

  • Following Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, which ended in January 2009, a series of international conferences was held in Turkey to restructure the struggle against Israel. A conference in February 2009 featured 200 radical Islamist scholars who came to meet with senior Hamas officials to plot a new, "third jihadi front" (in addition to Pakistan and Iraq) centered on Gaza. The conference gave birth to the infamous, pro-Hamas Istanbul Declaration, which also provided justification for attacking foreign navies which might try to prevent arms smuggling to Gaza.

  • In general, the same organizers stand behind the second flotilla, with several changes. The most important may be the IHH decision not to send the Mavi Marmara, the ship which brought the first flotilla its publicity following violent clashes between IHH activists and the IDF in which nine Turks were killed. Rather than take a leading role, it appears that the IHH will settle this time for sending activists to sail on other ships.

  • Thus, the flotilla is far from being a peaceful, humanitarian effort to support the Palestinians in Gaza. It should instead be seen as a major, pro-Hamas effort to delegitimize Israel by a "red-green alliance" of leftists and Islamists.

2) Dennis and the Syrian menace

The Washington Post slams Rep. Dennis Kucinich for giving succor to the Assad regime.

But Mr. Assad still has a friend: Mr. Kucinich. The Cleveland lawmaker chose not just to meet with the ruler but also to hold a “press conference. ” Though he might not have heaped praise on Mr. Assad, Mr. Kucinich did endorse the regime’s latest propaganda strategy, which is to claim that it intends to engage opponents in a “dialogue” and then carry out reforms. “I have found a strong desire to make a substantial change,” the Xinhua news agency quoted Mr. Kucinich as saying. “People want President Bashar al-Assad to carry out reforms.” If the Chinese agency is also misrepresenting the congressman, his office hasn’t said so.
3) 70th anniversaries

Romania regrets its role in collaborating with Nazis (via William Daroff, Howard Mortman)

The president of Romania says his compatriots need to take responsibility for their "serious mistakes of the past," such as the pogroms during World War II.This week Romania marks 70 years since the killing of about 12,000 Jews in the northeastern city of Iasi. In a message read out at Tuesday's ceremony, President Traian Basescu said no one could ever justify that crime.
It has also been 70 years since the Farhud. (via LibertySpirit)
Seventy years ago during the Jewish holiday of Shavuot, June 1st and 2nd, 1941, Iraqis rampaged through the Jewish sections of Baghdad, killing between 100 and 600 individuals, injuring countless more, and looting whatever they could. This was the turning point in the history of Iraqi Jews, who had resided in Mesopotamia for over 2,500 years. In the decade that followed, the community was systematically disenfranchised, robbed, and largely expelled.
4) Slipping in

Sheikh Raed Salah managed to defy an exclusion order and enter England. (via memeorandum)
Salah's solicitor, Farooq Bajwa, said Salah had no knowledge of any ban and had made no attempt to conceal his identity when he entered Britain on Saturday. He had addressed a meeting in Leicester on Tuesday night and been due to attend a Palestine Solidarity Campaign meeting in the House of Commons on Wednesday evening attended by Labour MPs Jeremy Corbyn and Richard Burden.
It is understood that the Home Office accepts Salah was open about his identity when he arrived. The investigation is believed to be about how the exclusion order could have been made but not served on Salah before his arrival and how UKBA officials waved him through once he landed.
The decision to arrest Salah followed an appeal by the Conservative MP for Finchley and Golders Green, Mike Freer, to May in the Commons on Monday that Salah be banned from Britain because of his "history of virulent anti-semitism".
5) Shipping out

Dutch journalists who had intended to cover the second flotilla are leaving:
Via Honest Reporting we hear that a number of Dutch journalists, despite being sympathetic to the cause, have abandoned ship due to disagreements with the flotilla organisers.
“Yesterday morning I had a final meeting with the participants. I told the activists that given everything that had happened, they shouldn’t trust the organisation leading this mission.”
More from Elder of Ziyon.

Though this is a fascinating blog story, The Lede blogger, Robert Mackey hasn't seen fit to cover it.

The Washington Post's version of The Lede also hasn't covered this either. She writes about "both sides" of the flotilla. Of course she doesn't acknowledge that the Israeli version is what the flotilla activists claim.
Israeli officials insist the naval blockade of Gaza is meant to prevent the smuggling of weapons into the territory. On Wednesday, an Israeli cabinet minister said Israel is “prepared for the worst” and promised to block the flotilla before it gets to Gaza. 
But unlike Mackey she does quote pro-Israel sources.

6) How's that Iranian outreach going?

Three American soldiers killed in Iraq.
A rocket attack on a U.S. base near Iraq’s border with Iran killed three American soldiers, an official said Thursday, blaming the strike on a Shiite militia linked to Tehran.
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