Friday, June 11, 2010
Readings from the Trenches
Ayers, Dohrn helped organize flotilla group
By: Barbara Hollingsworth
Local Opinion Editor
06/02/10 5:51 PM EDT
Former Weather Underground leaders William Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn, as well as Code Pink founder Jodie Evans, helped organize the Free Gaza Movement, which launched the six-ship flotilla from Turkey to Israel that ended in a violent clash with Israeli Defense Forces, BigGovernment.com reported.
In January, the trio were spotted in Egypt attempting to stir up crowds on the streets with 1,400 other left-wing activists after the Egyptian government refused to allow Free Gaza Movement members to enter the Gaza Strip. About 100 marchers were eventually allowed to cross the border, where they were met by former Hamas prime minister Ismail Haniyeh.
BigGovernment quotes author Philip Weiss, who wrote that he witnessed Ayers and Dohrn arguing with fellow activists over whether to accept Egypt's offer to allow a small number of them into Gaza:
"Dohrn said that the principle of 'All or none' was a miserable one for activist politics. You always took what you could get and kept fighting for more. A European man in a red keffiyeh screamed at her that she was serving the fascisti. Her partner Bill Ayers gently confronted him and asked him why he was so out of control. Between getting on and off the bus, Dohrn, who wore a flower in her hair, said that she didn't like the absolutist certainty of the people on the other side of the police barricades, and having been in the Weather Underground, she knew something about absolutist feeling."
As political theater, an argument between the aging flower child/domestic terrorist and a fellow traveler over who knew more about "absolutist feelings" would be hard to top.
This wasn't the first time that the Free Gaza Movement, whose board of directors include well-known leftists Noam Chomsky and Naomi Klein, sent vessels to Gaza to deliberately provoke a reaction from Israel.
"On August 23, 2008, two FG boats � one of them a 66-foot yacht named The Dignity � sailed from Cyprus to Gaza, where they docked and symbolically 'broke' the Israeli 'siege' when their passengers disembarked. The Israeli navy, seeking not to ignite international disapproval by intercepting the boats, made no attempt to stop them. The passengers, who were greeted by crowds of thousands in Gaza, claimed to be the first people to freely enter Gaza in 41 years," according to David Horowitz.
"Two months later The Dignity made its second trip from Cyprus to Gaza, this time carrying 26 FG activists and some medical supplies. The yacht arrived at a Gaza port on October 29, 2008 � again with no resistance from the Israeli navy� FG made another voyage to Gaza in November 2008, when its members accused Israel of conducting 'chemical warfare on Palestinian fishermen.'"
"On December 29, 2008, The Dignity, bound for Gaza, was loaded with 3.5 tons of Cypriot-donated medical supplies and 16 radical activists, including former Green Party presidential candidate Cynthia McKinney. At the time, a major Israeli military offensive was taking place in Gaza, in retaliation for Hamas' relentless rocket attacks against southern Israeli cities�.Because of the tense situation, on this occasion the Israelis diverted The Dignity before it could arrive in Gaza."
And if there's any doubt that this was a political set-up instead of a humanitarian mission, the fact that Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez promised to join a future convoy should dispel any doubts.
Read more at the Washington Examiner: http://www.washingtonexaminer.com/opinion/blogs/beltway-confidential/ayers-dohrn-helped-organize-flotilla-group-95435639.html#ixzz0qUjs35jz
6.What Helen Thomas missed
By Richard CohenTuesday, June 8, 2010; A17Ah, another teachable moment!This one comes to us from Helen Thomas, the longtime White House reporter and columnist who announced her retirement on Monday. Thomas, of Lebanese ancestry and almost 90, has never been shy about her anti-Israel views, for which, as far as I'm concerned, she is wrong and to which she is entitled. Then the other day, she performed a notable public service by revealing how very little she knew. Asked at a White House event if she had any comments about Israel, Thomas said, "Tell them to get the hell out of Palestine. . . . Go home. Poland. Germany. And America and everywhere else."Well, I don't know about "everywhere else," but after World War II, many Jews did attempt to "go home" to Poland. This resulted in the murder of about 1,500 of them -- killed not by Nazis but by Poles, either out of sheer ethnic hatred or fear they would lose their (stolen) homes.The mini-Holocaust that followed the Holocaust itself is not well-known anymore, but it played an outsize role in the establishment of the state of Israel. It was the plight of Jews consigned to Displaced Persons camps in Europe that both moved and outraged President Harry Truman, who supported Jewish immigration to Palestine and, when the time came, the new state itself. Something had to be done for the Jews of Europe. They were still being murdered.In the Polish city of Kielce, on July 4, 1946 -- more than a year after the end of the war -- rumors of a Jewish ritual murder triggered a pogrom in which 42 Jewish Holocaust survivors were killed. The Kielce murders were not, by any means, the sole example of why Jews could not "go home." When I visited the Polish city where my mother had been born, Ostroleka, I was told of a Jew who survived Auschwitz only to be murdered when he tried to reclaim his business. In much of Eastern Europe, Jews feared for their lives.For that reason, those who had struck out for home soon returned to DP camps and the safety of -- irony of ironies -- Germany. Some of the camps were under the command of Gen. George S. Patton, a great man on the screen, a contemptible bigot in real life. In his diary, Patton confided what he thought of Jews. Others might "believe that the Displaced Person is a human being," Patton wrote, but he knew "he is not." In particular, he whispered to his diary, the Jews "are lower than animals."The Jews, Patton felt, had to be kept under armed guard, otherwise they would flee, "spread over the country like locusts," and then have to be rounded up and some of them shot because they had "murdered and pillaged" innocent Germans. All of this is detailed by Allis and Ronald Radosh in their book about the founding of Israel, "A Safe Haven."For the surviving Jews of Eastern Europe, there was no going home -- and no staying, either. Europe was hostile to them, not in the least appalled or sorry about what had just happened. Even the American military, in the person of the hideous Patton, seemed hostile. For most of the DPs, America was also out of the question. The United States, in the grip of feverish anti-communism and already unreceptive to immigrants, maintained a tight quota. When the Jewish DPs were polled, an overwhelming majority said they wanted to go to Palestine. They knew life would be tough there, but they would be among their own people -- and relatively safe.The Radoshes cite Branda Kalk, a Polish Jew who lost her husband to the Germans in 1942. Along with the rest of her family, she fled east to Russia, where they remained until the end of the war, when they returned to Poland. There, a pogrom wiped out what remained of her family. Kalk was shot in the eye."I want to go to Palestine," Kalk told members of a U.N. investigating committee. "I know the conditions there. But where in the world is it good for the Jew? Sooner or later he is made to suffer. In Palestine, at least, the Jews fight together for their life and their country."Walt Whitman High School in Bethesda understandably canceled Thomas's commencement address. It would be wonderful, though, if Thomas could go through with it and tell the graduates what she had learned in recent days. I hardly think it would turn her into a supporter of Israel, but it might lead her to understand why so many others are.