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June 6, 2011 3:32 pm

The Continuing War Against The Jews

avatar by Ed Koch

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A bustling beach in Gaza. Photo: Gus.

Sometime this month a flotilla of ships will once again seek to breach the Israeli naval blockade of Gaza.  This effort is similar to the one that took place  a year ago.  That last attempt to break the Gaza blockade ended with nine people on the ships being killed after they attacked and injured the Israeli soldiers who took custody of those ships.  The Israeli sea blockade is intended to prevent weapons, explosives and other contraband from being shipped to terrorists in Gaza, also preventing the entry of terrorists.

Last Thursday, The New York Times reported on the new plans for breaking the blockade, and described what happened on the first attempt: “A year ago, nine people in a flotilla of six boats were killed when Israeli commandos boarded a Turkish boat in international waters off the coast of Gaza.  The Israelis said their commandos were attacked and struck back in self-defense, but the Turks blamed the Israelis for using live ammunition.  The raid soured relations between Israel and Turkey and intensified pressure on Israel to end the naval blockade.”

The new effort will apparently include ten boats carrying American, Canadian, Spanish, Swiss and Irish protesters.  On the American boat will be a reported 34 passengers, says The Times, “[i]ncluding the writer, Alice Walker, and an 86-year-old [woman] whose parents died in the Holocaust.”  Ms. Walker is the author of “The Color Purple.”

The Times article further reports “The American passengers say they support the Palestinian people, not Hamas.”  They compare themselves to the Freedom Riders who 50 years ago, rode buses to the South to challenge racial segregation then maintained by Southern states.

Let’s examine these arguments and motivations.  Hamas has been described by the American government, the European Union, Russia and the United Nations (the so-called “Quartet”) as a terrorist organization.  It came to power in an election in Gaza where the choice was either Hamas or Fatah.  Hamas ran on its platform and charter that there would never be peace with Israel and that every Jew who entered historic Palestine after 1917 would be expelled.  Hamas won the election against the more moderate Fatah, whose leader, Mahmoud Abbas, said at the time he favored negotiations with Israel leading to a two-state solution with Israel and a Palestinian state living side-by-side in peace.  Israel and Hamas waged a short war in 2008-2009 after Hamas showered civilian targets in southern Israel with thousands of rockets.  Despite a truce, Hamas still allows its adherents and other terrorist factions to attack southern Israel with rockets.  The most recent attack, on April 7th , critically injured an Israeli child on a school bus.

Pray tell, how does this situation compare in any way to that of the American Freedom Riders, such as Congressman John Lewis, who in a documentary on the Freedom Riders talked of the violence visited upon him as he rode the bus?  I believe the situation is analogous to World War II, where the U.S. and our allies declared and enforced a boycott against Nazi Germany.  Would those same American passengers have sought to break such a boycott, saying they supported the German people, not the Nazi government, knowing the German people had voted for Hitler in a democratic election before he took office as German Chancellor in January 1933?

The Times further reported, “About a quarter of the passengers are Jewish.  Among the crew is a former captain in the Israeli air force who refused to fly missions in Gaza.”  Hedy Epstein, the 86-year-old, according to The Times, said “The American Jewish community and Israel both say that they speak for all Jews.  They don’t speak for me.  They don’t speak for the Jews in this country who are going to be on the U.S. boat and the many others standing behind us.”  Hedy Epstein’s parents, the Times noted, died in the Holocaust, and Hedy survived it.

Nobody ever said that all Jews are rational.  But Hamas has said that all Jews who entered historic Palestine after 1917 will be expelled.  Hitler did order the arrest and death of all Jews in Germany and everywhere else the Nazis could enforce the “final solution.”

Why, for heaven’s sake, aren’t these same protesters leading a flotilla to Syria’s shores, where the Syrian government has killed hundreds, perhaps thousands, of Syrian citizens who were, as reported by the media, non-violently protesting the despotic acts of their own government, demanding the ouster of their president Bashar al-Assad? The Times of June 4th reported that “On Friday, more than 30 protesters were killed in the city of Hamah, according to Rami Abdelrahaman, a human rights monitor.  That report could not be immediately confirmed.”   It’s possible the flotilla protesters don’t go to Syria because they know the Syrian government is capable of killing them all in cold blood.

In 1982, in that same city of Hamah, at least 10,000 Syrian citizens were killed by Bashar’s father, who put down an uprising directed against his dictatorship.  His son, Bashar, is now facing a worldwide revulsion to the recent killing and torturing of a 13-year-old boy attending a street protest in a Syrian town, where he was arrested by the Syrian police.  According to The Times of May 31, 2011, “…the remains themselves testify all too clearly to ghastly torture.  Video posted online shows his battered, purple face.  His skin is scrawled with cuts, gashes, deep burns and bullet wounds that would probably have injured but not killed.  His jaw and kneecaps are shattered, according to an unidentified narrator, and his penis chopped off.”

Why aren’t Hedy and the former Israeli captain on boats with 1,000 others, including writer Alice Walker, seeking to land at a Syrian port to show their support of the Syrian people and the family of this tortured and murdered child?  I believe for two reasons:  One, their primary goal is the ultimate destruction of the Jewish state, which I believe is the supreme act of anti-Semitism, comparable to Hitler’s final solution; Second, their fear of being killed en masse by the Syrian army and police at the direction of the Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.  They are afraid of Bashar, but know Israel will do everything possible to avoid bloodshed, but will not flinch in protecting its borders, the right of every country.

I believe it is fair to state that support for the Arab attacks upon Israel here in the U.S. and in the Western world comes overwhelmingly from the radical left.  The question posed by those on the right and those in the center of political thought which no one seems able to answer is:  why are there so many Jews who support the forces that would, if they could, kill them and their religious and ethnic brothers and sisters?  I have no answer to that question, but they are — to use the late Senator Daniel Patrick Moynihan’s words, he referring to President Jimmy Carter — “joining the jackals.”  They are making a deadly mistake, and I do not forgive their folly.

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  • Elliott Alhadeff

    Israel is being targeted because it is a Jewish state in an Islamic environment. An Islamic environment is inherently violent and would continue to be even if Israel and Jews were not there. Witness existing violence of the “Arab Spring” which will bring continued violence among Arabs hereafter in the Middle East for generations. What is remarkable is the conspiracy among Arabs and the European Community caused by (1) presence of large constituencies of violent Muslims and (2) inherent European anti-Semetism. Israeli/American policy should be to utterly ignore any attempts toward peace unless there is first, an irrevocable, enforceable agreement to recognize the legitimate presence of Israel as a Jewish State.

  • Mike Winakur

    Mayor Koch – I agree with everything you wrote with the exception of the two little words “radical left” that you used to describe those demented souls who hold these anti-Israel and anti-Semitic views. These anti-Israel beliefs are common among mainstream liberals today among whom I include – the NYTimes management and editorial staff, the Washington Post, the LA Times, all the major network news editorial staffs, NPR, PBS, Time, Newsweek, most liberal arts university professors not to mention the President of the United States and most of his administration. Therefore, it seems to me that these beliefs are held by mainstream liberals in the US today. It is YOU, Mr. Mayor, who no longer shares these beliefs. Dig deep, sir, and ask yourself how so many on the left can be so wrong about such a fundamental issue. And when you come to terms with this phenomenon I will welcome you to the Republican party.

    • Howell Schisler

      First off, great article by Ed Koch. He raises valid points about why these people are not protesting Syria. Can you imagine them protesting after the killings in Iran when the young woman named Neda was murdered on TV? My only answer is that Israel is an easy target for them to criticize. I find it amazing how so many American Jews find it so easy to find fault with Israel, without even referring to the terror that Israelis are subjected to. Where is the balance?
      Regarding the comment about joining the Republican Party, I agree that many on the left have become quite hostile to Israel. However, let’s not forget in the GOP we have leaders like James Baker, Darrel Issa, Paul Findley and Brett Scowcroft.

  • Matt

    If anyone here had their homes and native country being rocketed daily by a neighbouring state, and that neighbouring state had recently elected a government openly dedicated to continuing those practices, and ultimately the total destruction of your land and people, would you not want to stop them from doing so?

    Now picture that this state is being supported by the international community. Does this not seem wrong to anybody?

    I’m sorry but I think the fact alone that Israel has not gotten fed up with the constant attacks on its civilians and simply whiped Palestine and its terrorist government off the map is kind enough. A blockade intended to cease the import of weapons and terrorists is not only justified, it is in my opinion, a relaxed policy.

  • Lorean

    These comments from readers is unwarranted. Ed Koch is exactly right. Isreal is not looking for trouble– but have every intent to protect their people from Hamas sending rockets their way (as they’ve done in past)–and trying to keep peace in their homeland. The mandate of Hamas is no different from Iran’s but unlike Hitler who was more subtle, Iran and Hamas have been very vocal in their main objective, which is to destroy Isreal from the face of the earth. WWII would have had a very different outcome if not for the discernment of Hitler’s true intents by people like Winston Churchill. Unlike the British Prime Minister who thought Hitler was a “nice man”, Winston saw through to the dark side of Hitler. When we close our eyes to what is really going on behind the scenes, then we are nothing but fools. Hamas was voted in by the Palestinan people, just like Hitler was voted in by the German people — history is trying to tell us to be prudent and not to be so deceived. Thank God that Isreal is not willing to become a victim as they have been in the past. Thank God for Canada whose Prime Minister has stated, “any enemy of Isreal is an enemy of Canada.” Mr. Koch is not crazy — but supporting Palestinians who voted in Hamas is crazy. His suggestion to support the oppressed people of Syria is justified because every group of people deserve to be fairly treated and protected by their government – not fired upon.

  • brad

    James – there is no blockade in gaza…except the one they self imposed on themselves via their own elected leaders. Plus egypt has opened their border in the south. Where are the Gaza voices asking for the end of Hamas rule so that they can get more aid, were is the moderate Arab voice?

    I barely hear a sound… only uber liberals who think they know whats best for everyone…

  • Ira

    Gaza occupied? What non-sense. There isn’t a single Jew there. No, not one! But your anti-semitism is showing.

  • James Hovland

    Why not Syria? Oh! Come on… Get real! Syria isn’t a 60 year old conflict. It’s not occupied. There is no blockade. No system of Apartheid. Do you seriously think the why not Syria question is valid after your rejection of the Freedom Riders comparison? Seriously?

    And the whole article under the ridiculous headline of…
    “The Continuing War Against The Jews”
    Come on Ed… Hitler is dead. Time to move on.

    • richard

      James. You are obviously a victim of the Big Lie. There is no apartheid in Israel, though there certainly is in the surrounding states. Syria, for example, your obvious heroic example, has been ruled by minority Alawites for decades. Non-Alawites get routinely excluded from business and murdered at whim by the authorities. Somewhere between 10.000 & 30,000 Syrians were killed by the dictator when a few people in their town tried to rebel. Wholesale murder is okay so long as it is Muslims killing Muslims. But self-defense is never permitted when it is Jews protecting themselves from attack.

      There is certainly a blockade in Syria. Try reporting the truth in that country. Truth is not allowed if it doesn’t favor the continuing reign of terror by the despotic families who control every aspect of life there.

      Hitler is dead? Perhaps. But his acolytes linger on. When did you join up?

  • Jameela is whacked

    This dude lives in a whacky fantasy world.