Zombie on “peace” flotilla: “Losing is the new winning”

Don’t miss Zombie’s take on this, and his/her tongue-in-cheek take on the kneejerk sympathy for the underdog that motivates people who ought to know better.

The post also embeds a useful video by Shraga Simmons summarizing the evidence:

An earlier Zombie post that ought not to be missed is a photoreportage of an 0bama visit to San Francisco, finding him reviled by left-wing loonbat and “out of the closet” conservative demonstrators alike.

A scandalous saga of withheld footage

Thus entitles David Horowitz (the JPost editor, not his FrontPage.com namesake) his observations about the incomprehensible decision of Israeli spokesmen to withhold footage shot from a neighboring “peace vessel”, which clearly (if quite unintentionally) Israel’s claim that the naval commandos had no choice but to fire in defense of their lives.

Approximately 12 hours after the event, however, when all the condemnations had been issued, the demonstrators had weighed in worldwide, the Arab League, Security Council, Human Rights Council and all were convening or preparing to devote their attentions to this latest Israeli outrage, official Israel finally decided to release the grainy but distinct footage it had been sitting on all day showing precisely what had unfolded in the pre-dawn battle at sea.

Much earlier in the day, it had made available indistinct footage, shot from overhead, of commandos rappelling down to the vessel, and ostensibly being set upon by a raging mob of activists. But this footage was too blurry to be conclusive. The IDF Spokesman’s Office had added captions, but, said a second foreign journalist with whom I spoke on Tuesday, “You couldn’t make anything out definitively. It just looks like ants running around in all directions down there.”

The belatedly liberated footage, however, was evidently shot from a neighboring vessel, the camera held slightly below the level of the Mavi Marmara’s top deck where the confrontation took place. This footage is also far from perfect, but it is conclusive. The clarity with which it shows the commandos coming down onto the deck and being pounced upon and thrashed is sufficient to render the footage nauseating. The clubs and the irons bars rise and fall with sickening force and frequency.

While many of those aboard the flotilla may have sincerely believed they were on a mission to alleviate suffering in Gaza, those people who mobbed the commandos clearly had a very different agenda. Nobody watching that footage could ever again in good conscience brand them “peace activists” or “human rights activists.”

And everybody watching it could finally appreciate the veracity of [IDF spokesman, Col., Avi] Benayahu’s hitherto-unsupported interviews from hours before, claiming that the commandos had faced a veritable lynching.

For many Israelis who had believed the IDF account all along, the belated supporting evidence may have only deepened the frustrations felt all day at the rest of the world’s readiness to doubt Israel’s account of events and believe the false narratives of its enemies.

But for some of the foreign press, who had been less willing to accept Benayahu’s improbable account of commandos overpowered by civilians, the footage was a revelation.

“I saw it, and I realized I had done Israel an injustice,” one of my foreign colleagues said on Monday, with admirable candor. “At that point, and only at that point, I understood what the Israelis had been saying.”

Let there be no doubt about this. The failure to release in good time the video evidence that showed exactly why Israeli commandos resorted to live fire aboard the Mavi Marmara, the video evidence that would emphatically have affected the way the incident was perceived around the world, was not accidental. Neither was it the consequence of some kind of bureaucratic snafu. Nor was it held back for technical reasons.

It was the result of a decision. The officials, in their various competing, conflicting, inadequate propaganda hierarchies, actively chose, after consultation, not to release it. (The Jerusalem Post’s military correspondent Yaakov Katz provides some of the specifics elsewhere on these pages.)

Some of their considerations are not beneath contempt. There was a legitimate concern, for instance, that the footage, showing colleagues in such trouble, might prove demoralizing for Israeli troops. And some of their considerations are utterly contemptible, including the scandalous parochial obsession with local TV – the insistent, misguided desire to hold back dramatic material until late in the Israeli day, so that as many people as possible here will see it fresh on the 8 p.m. Hebrew nightly news.

These, and all other considerations, in a competent official media hierarchy that recognized the urgent imperative to disseminate the footage, would have been immediately set aside. Even allowing generous time for processing and editing the material, the footage could have been flashing across TV screens worldwide by our breakfast time, before news of the entire incident was even beginning to permeate. Would it have completely transformed the way the incident was reported and understood? No. Would it have greatly helped Israel’s case? Unquestionably.

This is not the first time Israel’s abysmal official public diplomacy hierarchies have made this kind of criminal misjudgment, to the terrible detriment of the national interest.

In July 2006, early in the Second Lebanon War, they did almost exactly the same thing. A pre-dawn Israeli air strike on a building in Kafr Kana, in which sheltering Lebanese civilians were killed, was globally reported as having been utterly lacking in military justification and accepted by the international community as evidence of criminal, indiscriminate Israeli aggression.

Only at the end of that black day did the Israeli security establishment convene a press conference – in Hebrew, just in time for the nightly news here – at which footage was released showing Katyushas being fired from the immediately adjacent area.

Monday’s failure was more abject, however. Rather than hopefully enabling a well-intentioned viewer to begin to understand why Israel had acted, as was the case in 2006, the promptly released Mavi Marmara film would have left no doubt about the authenticity of the Israeli narrative.

One of my foreign colleagues said his TV station would repeatedly have run the key few seconds, showing the rods and clubs pounding the outnumbered, ill-equipped commandos. Indeed, on Tuesday, numerous world TV stations were doing precisely that, and some of them were commissioning stories asking why official Israel had shown such spectacular public diplomacy ineptitude in withholding the clip. This behavior puts paid to that other false and defeatist Israeli claim about the foreign media, which has also been reprised in the last two days: “They wouldn’t have broadcast the footage anyway.”

The delayed release of the critical footage was far from Israel’s only public diplomacy failure on Monday. Numerous foreign journalists will tell you that they made phone call after phone call seeking official Israeli responses to the unfolding events, in vain.

Unfortunately, Israel’s official hasbara efforts at times bring to mind Conquest’s Third Law: “The behavior of any large organization is best understood by assuming it to be controlled by a cabal of its enemies”. If it weren’t for an “Army of Davids” of unofficial defenders in the new media…

The whole incident shows two structural problems with Israel’s hasbara apparatus: an obsession with domestic public opinion (as evidenced by Benayahu’s giving a clear, articulate statement in Hebrew for domestic consumption rather than in English for foreign consumption) and a mistaken assumption that foreign media will be “against us no matter what”. As the great Talmudic sage, Reuven Avraham ha-Tarnegolon (known to the rest of the world as Robert A. Heinlein :-)) once put it in Yalkut Elazar ha-Gadol: “Certainly the game is rigged. Don’t let that stop you; if you don’t bet, you can’t win.”

UPDATE: “Render” at C2 provides some very useful links on the IHH group, which is anything but an innocent band of “peace” activists:

IDF’s CoGAT

What is IHH? pt.1

What is IHH? pt.2

Video of “peaceful” Mavi Marmara crew in action

Today’s incident between pro-Hamas “peace” protestors at sea and Israeli forces has been extensively covered in the blogosphere.

To me, the incident smells suspiciously like Israel walked into a carefully set trap calculated to create a PR disaster.The IDF has taken one wise preventative step against blood libels: filming all their operations. Below is some video showing just how “peaceful” the pro-Hamas “people” are:

Unfortunately, none are so blind as those who do not wish to see.

UPDATE: the boat meanwhile docked in the Israeli port of Ashdod. Five other boats in the convoy docked there as well. Richard Landes (of The Augean Stables) reports on PJTV. Netanyahu cancels meeting with 0bama, while the latter asked Netanyahu on the phone for ‘facts’.

William Jacobson: “Useful idiots condemn Israel“.

The left-wing blogosphere is full of useful idiots, who pretend that the flotilla which just was stopped by Israel was a humanitarian mission.

The flotilla was organized by the Islamist government in Turkey to aid Hamas with the goal of opening up shipping channels for Turkey’s new friend, Iran, to ship more and better weapons as it is doing to Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran is busy turning Lebanon and Syria into one large missile launching pad against Israel, and a southern base in Gaza will complete the encirclement of Israel for the coming crisis over Iran’s nuclear program.

The Europeans on the ships were cover, and the placement of an 18-month old child on these ships was the utmost cynical use of a human shield.

If getting humanitarian supplies to Gaza really was the goal, this flotilla was not necessary. The supplies would have been off-loaded in Eqypt or Israel and then shipped in by land after being checked for hidden weapons.

And that is the rub, only sea-based shipping would provide Iran with the mechanism for almost unlimited armament of Hamas. There is a limit to the quantity and size of missiles and other armaments which can be smuggled through tunnels from Egypt. That is why the sea blockade must be broken for Iran to get what it wants.

But the useful idiots (no offense to idiots) in the left-wing blogosphere ignore this reality, and use the incident for their ultimate goal, which is the cut off of U.S. support for Israel.

Insty snarks that calling them ‘useful idiots’ is giving them too much credit.

UPDATE 2: Some observations by Shmuel Rosner. And “the other” David Horowitz, editor of the Jerusalem Post, writes on the race to contain the damage.

UPDATE 3: Doug Ross punctures the “humanitarian” conceit and John Hawkins compares “right” and “left” blogosphere reactions. And Gateway Pundit connects the dots from the ‘Free Gaza activists’ to… Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.

UPDATE 4: NewsBusters has loads of good stuff, as does Tom Gross, who also fills us in on some details about life in Gaza you won’t see in the media.

UPDATE 5: via Joel Leyden, here is more video of “peace activists” at work:

And from NRG (the internet arm of the Israeli mass circulation daily Maariv), via CAMERA, Martin Kramer, via SolBlog, this inspirational image of a “peace activist”: