Terrorism, the Media, and Israel
Here we go again: more “peace activists” – complete with knives, iron rods, and clubs. It all takes me back to my radical student days, when I too was a “peace activist”. Indeed, those of us in the New Left were experts at using Orwellian doublespeak to achieve our aims: the overthrow of the West.
We became quite adept at highjacking legitimate causes and using them to further our revolution. And we became especially good at creating “incidents”. We knew how to engage in outrageous activities which were guaranteed to draw a response from the authorities, leading to a very public confrontation.
And we were of course always sure to have this violent “overreaction” by our opponents filmed by an eager media, to be broadcast in full colour on the six o’clock news. Amazing how we always came out looking like an innocent victim, and the police or other authorities ended up looking like the aggressor.
We became experts in manipulating the media to end up supporting our causes. We staged things so that our cause always looked right, and noble, and humanitarian, while our opponents always looked like inhumane aggressors, out to get us. We won one skirmish after another this way.
That is why the events over the past day or so concerning Israel’s response to the Turkish flotilla had such a familiar ring to it. The truth is, the radical left, the Islamist terrorists, and the enemies of Israel, have all managed to perfect this technique of staging an international “incident”.
They have become quite adept at provoking the beleaguered nation of Israel, generating a reaction from it, all with TV cameras rolling. The most recent episode was simply a case study of this strategy. And it worked wonderfully. All around the world the usual outrage has been generated, complete with a compliant mainstream media.
We of course expect the secular left, the Islamists, and the MSM to hate Israel. Thus this story comes as no surprise whatsoever, especially to those of us who were once part of the revolutionary left, and can recognise these tactics a mile away.
Fortunately a few commentators have been able to see through this ruse. Greg Sheridan for example writes about how the “Grotesque theatre succeeded brilliantly”. He explains, “It’s too early to call it definitively, but the evidence is disturbing. In the melee of the Gaza ships, real violence occurred on only one ship, the Marmara. It was a Turkish vessel and its activists came from the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH).
“The IHH is a pro-Hamas Islamist terror group implicated in numerous al-Qa’ida operations. They took clubs, steel bars, knives and perhaps guns on board. But their object was not to kill Israeli soldiers – though they would have been happy for that to happen. The aim was a kind of grotesque theatre, which is what all terrorism is really about, in this case to carry out enough violence to ensure a violent Israeli reaction. It succeeded brilliantly.
“For weeks before the flotilla set off, the Israelis were constantly nagging the Turkish ambassador in Tel Aviv to help them manage the situation. We can do nothing, the Turkish government said, adding the matter was being carried out by non-government organisations.
“The flotilla never had any interest in getting aid to Gaza. The Israelis offered to route the aid through the Israeli port of Ashdod. Or the flotilla could have landed in Egypt and sent the aid in by road. No, the flotilla existed only to make political theatre and the IHH activists were determined to make deadly theatre, for the more deadly the performance is, the bigger the theatre becomes.”
Andrew Bolt puts it this way: “What a coup for those pledged to the destruction of that tiny Jewish country. How discredited and invitingly defenceless Israel now seems. Someone couldn’t have scripted this any better. Well, almost no better, because even the journalists most sympathetic to the activists on the six ships intercepted on Monday by Israel couldn’t help but refer, albeit grudgingly, to a couple of untidy details too obvious to ignore.
“ABC radio host Jon Faine, for instance, described these poor victims of Zionist aggression as ‘humanitarian activists with a few knives’. Er, with knives? Humanitarians? And a strident report in The Age, Australia’s most Left-wing metropolitan daily, conceded that video of the Israeli soldiers being lowered on to the ships from helicopters did show that some of the ‘hundreds of politicians and protesters’ on board did offer ‘signs of resistance’.
“Here are some of those ‘signs of the resistance’ that this Age reporter tactfully failed to detail. You see the Israeli commandos, at first brandishing just paint-ball guns, being grabbed by mobs as they landed, dragged to the ground, and beaten brutally with metal pipes and clubs.
“On another clip, apparently shot by protesters, you see a soldier stabbed in the back, and then in the front. Another soldier is shown being beaten and thrown over the side. Photographs show two Israeli soldiers, one of them shot, being carried off with serious wounds. This isn’t what you’d normally expect from ‘peace protesters’ or ‘humanitarian activists’, even those armed merely ‘with a few knives’.”
Melanie Phillips provides some background to this story: “Gaza’s markets are full of produce, thousands of tons of supplies are travelling into Gaza every week through the Israeli-controlled border crossings, and there is no starvation or humanitarian crisis. It was always obvious that the flotilla was not the humanitarian exercise it was said to be.”
She continues, “And now we can see that the real purpose of this invasion – backed by the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation (IHH), a radical Islamic organization outlawed by Israel in 2008 for allegedly serving as a major component in Hamas’s global fund-raising machine – was to incite a violent uprising in the Middle East and across the Islamic world.”
Contrary to a biased MSM, this was not an attack on the Turkish ship: “It is also becoming clearer as the day wears on that, far from storming the boats in order to attack those on board, the Israelis were hopelessly ill-prepared for the violence they encountered. Israel’s Channel 10 and IDF radio have reported that the Israeli naval commandos were equipped with paint ball rifles to ensure minimum casualties among the flotilla terrorists, with their hand guns to be used only as a last resort.
“The terrorists tried connecting the steel cables from the overhead helicopters to the boat’s antenna, in order to cause the helicopters to crash. Only when the terrorists beat the soldiers with iron rods, stabbed them with knives and tried to lynch them did the soldiers respond. The Israeli commandoes were pushed down stairs, thrown overboard, and shot at.”
She concludes, “It is becoming ever more clear that Islamist terror attacks like this are fiendishly staged theatrical events in which the western media – and beyond them, western governments – play an absolutely essential role in the drama. If those media and governments refused to swallow the lies and instead called operations like this and the players behind it for what they actually are, such terrorist operations would not happen.
“The Islamist strategy of war against Israel is carefully calibrated to deploy the most effective weapon in its armoury in the cause of jihadi violence – the western media. Right on cue, western governments accordingly deliver their own script in condemning the victims of terror for defending themselves. And so, courtesy of the west’s fifth columnists, yet another nail is driven into the west’s own coffin. Let’s see whether this time the western elites show any signs of waking from their lethal trance.”
Quite right. This is not the first such example of guerrilla theatre, and it will not be the last. It comes straight out of the radical’s playbook. I and plenty of others have used these tactics to great effect. Now the Islamists and enemies of Israel and the West are also using them, with great – and deadly – results.