Support from a surprising source

This is a guest post by Joy Wolfe

Gradually, as the true facts about what happened when the Israeli commandos were dropped from a helicopter to board the Mavi Marmara in an attempt to halt the so-called Freedom Flotilla, a few more supportive media stories are starting to filter through.

And none is more welcome than Seth Freedman’s posting on “Comment is Free”.

It is one thing to get support from people who are known to be Israel’s friends who have consistently backed Israel in the past, but when that support comes from someone better known for his unrelenting criticism of the Jewish state, it carries so much more weight. Thus when Seth Freedman writes that Iisrael had no option other than to stop the flotilla it is music to my ears.

This week I have been on a roller coaster of emotions.

When the news first broke that there had been fatalities among those on board I was filled with horror and disbelief. How could Israel have been stupid enough to get drawn into this scenario I thought? As one by one countries throughout the world rushed to condemn Israel before any of the facts had a chance to filter through, the scale of the incompetence became clear.

As I watched the videos of the vicious attack on the Israelis, clearly pre-planned, with weapons, improvised means of attack and  saw the force with which violently wielded iron bars and clubs and fire bombs  rained down on helpless young and largely inexperienced soldiers, I began to understand that they were literally fighting for their lives against heavy odds.

But Israel’s detractors had already made up their minds, and were not going to allow truth or clear evidence to get in the way.

That someone like Seth Freedman was prepared to abandon his usual critical stance and speak up for Israel was remarkable, and very welcome.

Other emotions that have flooded in have included a feeling of incredulity that  military strategists, intelligence gatherers, and the Defence  Minister could have come up with such a half-baked plan that any 10 year old could have told them was doomed to failure. Allowing the soldiers to approach the deck with paint guns, both hands incapacitated because of the need to hang on to the rope, simply beggars belief    If I were a parent of one of the injured young Israelis I would be baying for the blood of those responsible for putting their sons in such mortal danger, without adequate intelligence gathering in advance to find out what they could expect.  At the very least I expect a very strong call for some heads to roll, and that should include the Defence minister,

The material on the web is now showing the world very clearly that the Israeli commandos were lowered into an ambush, and stood absolutely no chance against around 40 or 50 well prepared extemists whose sole aim was to martyr themselves in their attempt to break the sea blockade of Gaza   Unfortunately, it is too late for the entrenched opinions to be reversed and the adverse PR fallout from this unforgivable blunder will linger on for years to come.   Organisations such as Stand WithUs whose incessant pressure and circulation of information and useful materials have led the way (see with many others such as BICOM, the ZF and a brilliant new website called Flotilla Facts keeping us well informed.But despite the wealth of material supporting the fact that Israel was forced to retaliate as the commandos had to fight for their lives, it seems a virtually impossible task to get any of that message across to the likes of Jon Snow, Jeremy Bowen and John Humphrys, whose aggressive one-sided interviewing style finds Israel guilty before their interviewees have a chance to open their mouths.   It  also seems the UK coalition gvoernment has also found Israel guilty until proved innocent, with the statement by Foreign Minister William Hague which did not have a sliver of understanding of what the Israelis were subjected to.

That is why I take my hat off to Seth Freedman for abandoning his usual less than supportive stance, to state unequivocally that Israel did what she had to do.  The fallout from this disastrous mission will take a very long time to overcome, and clearly the tiny glimmer of hope for peace there was has now completely evaporated.    It is our job to get the true message out explaining that Israel was faced with a no win situation against a group of misguided and ill-informed so called supporters of the Palestinians.

But I beleive we also have the responsibility to seek answers as to how such a crazy scenario was allowed to develop and to express the hope that action will be taken to censure those responsible.

Categories: Guardian

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32 replies »

  1. Joy

    It was saddening to see this article by Seth. I have praised his beautifully crafted and colourful prose on many occasions. He had an ability to be your eyes taking you into the scene.

    Also despite his right wing economic stance I read his articles on banking with a sense of wonder as to how such a far sighted and carefully balanced dude ever got into banking surely the graveyard of careers.

    His support for the Gaza war was a shock…he had bought into the” they are firing missiles ” agenda hook, line and sinker..but I put that down to his youth and the fact that the Israeli media global view was unchippable and irresistible….also …they should have fired any feckin missiles so he had a point.

    But his latest article was a dud. His legal take was 4th year school stuff lacking any evidence of even a glance at the UN legislation. It was an illegal act…only blockades authorised by the UN can be enforced on the high sea.

    I wish people would just say ” F*** it ..we dont give a toss what people think”… its the justifying that grinds the teeth.

  2. Joy

    That should read ” they should NOT have fired missiles”! Freudian! 🙂

  3. Joy Wolfe – so Seth Freedmans post is welcome? Don’t hold your breath – remember how he supported Cast Lead and a while later he changed his mind? HE JUST WANTS AS MANY HITS AS POSSIBLE, and you’ve been conned.

  4. Berchmans – this is especially for you. It’s gone around the world

    Try and get this through your head, accept it and don’t waste our time bleating about the Demon Israel


    From your post it shows your head is unchippable – how you go through life with this view is astonishing, when so much evidence to the contrary is under your nose.

    I don’t know if anybody else on here has noticed that this HTD, Berchmans, whoever, seems more “reasonable”, less unhinged lately? I think he’s got somebody else to write his posts and his gang swap their identities. He’s such a p*ss poor bluffer he’s bluffing himself! (As they all are).

  5. Berchman you must feel on CiFWatch what pro-Israelis feel on CiF.Except for the simple fact that here you can say whatever you like.And you don’t get deleted,moderated,or vapourized.

    C’mon,Berchamans even you should know by now that you are backing the wrong horse.Open your eyes,your idol SFreedman has.

  6. Even a broken clock is right twice a day. Freedman gets it right now and again.

    Big deal !

  7. That video is a masterpiece,it just goes to show that when Jews and Israelis put their minds on to something they come up aces.

    Berchmans,surely even you must have got a good laugh from that video.

    The least that you could do Berchmans is thank “Damnedsickofit”,who posted that video specially for you……Enjoy………….

  8. That the Israelis were lowered into the midst of an ambush of hardened terrorists,doesn’t say much for our intelligence agencies.

    Even blind Freddie could see that the soldiers were rapelling down into the arms of a lynch mob.

    Yet those on the helicopter didn’t.

  9. Joy:

    “…and fire bombs rained down on helpless young and largely inexperienced soldiers…”

    Not to say that the commandos didn’t do what they needed to do but you realy do play to the hands of those who say we are taking things over the top.

    Give me a break.

    1 molotove cocktail filmed thrown.
    Hardly what I call rain (don’t forget how well we know the arab rioters methods of burning everything they can).

    Inexperienced soldiers.
    They were the shayetet.
    If they are inexperienced we might as well pack up and call it a day now.

    Do you even know a thing or two about Tzhaal?

  10. “Give me a break. 1 molotove cocktail filmed thrown. Hardly what I call rain”

    Just 1 filmed does not mean just 1 thrown. Your grey cell must be lonely.

  11. Berchmans

    I prefer your comments on CIF where you are less constrained to express your loathing and mendacious comments rather then the more considered and balanced view you present whilst visiting CIFW ,the away ground so to speak .

    How do you do it? Is the OU running courses on schizophrenia or do you have a doppleganger ? Is their a third Berchmans ou there . Scary stuff .Dont forget to take the medication.

  12. Joy:
    “That someone like Seth Freedman was prepared to abandon his usual critical stance and speak up for Israel was remarkable, and very welcome.”

    I am not a fun of Seth even though I am a left winger.
    But I have to say that most Israelis today, and Seth is no exception, feel betrayed by the world.
    The outright barrage of names, condemnation and occasional diplomatic fiascos is inexcusable.

    Jumping the gun and arranging an emergency UN council meeting (goaded by the arabs and Turks) is not only shooting from the hip but childish and extremely inflamatory.

    I am disapointed by Sarkozi who cares more to surpruse muslims anger in his country than seeking for the truth behind the incident.
    Need we remind him that a French citizen is still being held without access to the red cross or any international organisation in Gaza.

    Need we also remind him that 25 years ago it was his country that attacked a green peace vessal in NZ territorial waters without France being at war or in conflict with NZ.
    Further more after the death which resulted in this botched opearation in Auckland harbour the only 2 agents cought up were released to French hands after France threatened NZ with an embargo.
    The deal later was to have them serve at least 3 years but even that was dusted under the curpet by the French.

    We mustn’t forget that it is alleged that the then president authorised this operation.

    But JStreet of course tries to make this operation end result valid to attack the Israeli operation:

    There is no similarity between the 2.
    One was a covert operation which is entirely illegal, in which the French government actualy lied about its involvment publicly.
    Later after it was forced to admit they bullied the NZ govt, refusing to hand over any other people involved, to hand over the convicted suspects with false assurances of sentence under French control.

    A commission of enquiry headed by François Tricot cleared the French government of any involvement, claiming that the arrested agents, who had not yet pleaded guilty, had merely been spying on Greenpeace.
    When The Times and Le Monde claimed that President Mitterrand had approved the bombing, Defence Minister Charles Hernu resigned and the head of the DGSE, Admiral Pierre Lacoste, was fired. Days later, Prime Minister Laurent Fabius admitted the bombing had been a French plot.

    French nuclear tests in the Pacific were halted, although a further series of tests was conducted in 1995.

    The second example (The flotila boarding) is legal.
    Though it may not suit everybody’s agenda, it is still legal.
    It might not be productive and may not be what we want to do it is what people who are pushed to the corner do.
    Defend themselves.

    The Comments made by Ron Kampeas yesterday are (though we were both alive in 1985 – big deal):
    “Murder charges, manslaughter convictions, two years’ imprisonment, world opprobrium, a scandal that brought down the French defense minister…”

    1) murder charges – of course! everyone thought it was a terror attack. The charges dropped.
    2) Manslaughter convictions. Should have been 10 years. After France bullying they settled for France paying 6.5$ million and the 2 serving 3 years in a French controlled base of which not even 2 were served.
    Hardly adequate for a menslaughter charge, in a non combat area.

    May i remind you that Sgt. Hayb was sentenced to 11 years of which he will serve 8.
    This tragic events took place in the Gaza strip under daily stress and what we can define as a war zone.
    I am not trying to justify his actions but they couldn’t be further away from the French team placing bombs on the rainbow warrior.

    3) 2 years’ imprisonment. actualy less than 2.
    4)world opprobrium.
    Can’t say I recall anything similar to what has been going on in the Muslim worlds or even western cities since September 2000 for minor issues and similar “jumping to conclusions” actions.

    5)a scandal that brought down the French defense minister

    Rightly so. Though reports that the French president was involved are still unanswered.

    So this is the minimum you can get.

  13. Toko:
    “Just 1 filmed does not mean just 1 thrown. Your grey cell must be lonely.”

    we are talking about video proof are we not?

    Just 1 filmed doesn’t mean more were thrown, or does it?

    My main point was stick to the facts we know. Not what we assume.
    We will look better.

    The commando guys were there to do a job and I believe they did it the best was they could, given the circumstances.
    Any other nation taking over would have probably resulted in twice as many dead

    Remember Beslen, or the Moscow theatre?

  14. ‘Just 1 filmed does not mean just 1 thrown’

    you ever been to a burns unit? if not, don’t underestimate what a bottle full of accelerant can do…i’m sure israelinurse would be able to give you clearer details.

  15. Itsik

    You rightly point out the French placing bombs under the rainbow warrior.

    Its worth remembering that almost 30 years ago the British decided to torpedo the Argentinian battle cruiser Belgrano in international waters allbeit waters that had been deemed to be a British exclusion zone.

    No warnings just a simple decision taken that the Belgrano was a threat to British interests in the region This so called Peace Ship whilst not a Battle cruiser was nevertheless subject to an exclusion zone which it chose to ignore except that in this case warnings were given and a boarding party rather then a torpedo was the given directive .

    It is not unreasonable to search a ship for arms given the fact that Israel is effectively in a state of war with Hamas.

    The objective was to test Israels will . Had they succeeded then regardless of whether or not there were weapons on board ,it would have been a foregone conclusion that future shipments would have carried weapons for Hamas.

  16. Wow So much reaction in such a short time
    As for the comment regarding experience the remarkable thing about our wonderful IDF is that they are thrown into the thick of things as soon as they have completed their training so I stand by what I said.
    And I don’t think Seth’s article was about getting hits!!!
    The anti Israel brigade is so desperate that people are now learning the truth about what really happened that they are resorting to say the video evidence of the attack on the Israelis as they hit the deck was faked!!!
    As I actually know three of the injured Israelis who have head injuries and broken bones I think I prefer to believe their authenticity

  17. Could it not be that Seth Freedman has discerned that the counter-wave of factual reporting has swept some of the lies out of the way and to be heard he has to be on this counter-side?

    Or has someone in his family perhaps explained things to him?

  18. “Need we remind him that a French citizen is still being held without access to the red cross or any international organisation in Gaza.”

    Has there been any approach from the French government to Hamas?

  19. Damnedsickofit


    “and don’t waste our time bleating about the Demon Israel ”

    I never use this expression to describe Israel as it is inaccurate.. incendiary and normally used by those who lack any creative ability with words whatsoever.


    .”Dont forget to take the medication.”

    Yes hinting people are mad…if you read what I say above please note particularly the bit about lacking any ability to create a view that is not shown a hundred times by others…you would call it “originality” if you had the nous.

    . Re my change of character here…I am a guest here…whereas CIF is my home… I do not have to knock or wipe my feet there.

  20. Berchmans……..”I do not have to knock or wipe my feet there.

    Berchmans for once you have come out with the truth.You and you mates don’t wipe your feet there.

    No wonder there is this nasty stench that emanates from that web site.

  21. Harvey, the other Berchmans you sometimes see here is because the posts are often written by someone else. These jokes swap email addresses and log ons and post as each other.

    He’s not mad, exactly, but a little “misguided” and particularly so when, as he would say, he’s driven to it. (Of course, it doesn’t occur to him that he always has a choice NOT to lash out verbally, but he’s developmentally stuck at about age 7).

    Ariadne, Freedman has nothing if not an eye for the main chance. He’s unpopular at al-Grauniad because his star is about to blink out, so he’s chancing his arm now with pro-Israel punters there.

    And Joy, are you really as naive as you sound? No matter what you think Freedman’s history on CiF is all about getting hits! Why should it be different now?

    And as for arguing that the video evidence is faked, you should read Mitnaged’s article here about why that might be. You can find it at

  22. “censure those responsible.”

    what a masochistic attitude
    I have seen this week unfold before my unbelieving eyes a whole new balance of forces unveiling i.e. Turkey a Jihad exporting rogue state

    and you think Israel should have been smart enough to foresee that?

    nobody did and still almost nobody does realize that that is what has happened – to get it:
    imagine after 9/11 the Saudi monarchs praising the action and defending the murderers? Did that happen? it didn’t but Erdogan is out there praising the Jihadists and their handlers and you concentrate on Selbstkritik (self criticism) the original was btw the way a communist favourite – time to put it back in the box and use it sensibly but not as a first call to action.

  23. Harvey,

    I agree. Israel would have lost either way.
    Funny how no one mentioned that the reason why they chose to board that ship was its size.
    It was reported by the IDF in Hebrew that the ship was too large to intercept in other means.

    The choices were to plead with them (check), board it and attempt to take control (check) or shoot it down (luckily it was not required).

  24. Joy,

    As I tried to explain I’ll take our elite soldier’s words over those activists any day.

    Especially when it is supported by video footage.

    The main problems is that our Shayetet boys are trained to combat and to police groups of mix anti capitalists / Jihadists with the mental ability of 12 year olds on crack that try to kill/ beat/ club/ burn/ wound/ shoot them so that these activists can abuse imaginary female sex slaves in their imaginary heaven.

    Sadly, though not surprisingly, that’s exactly what our boys had to deal with.

  25. Zoidberg,

    I am well aware what burns look like.
    I served in a millitery recovery hospital in Israel and seen what came back from Lebanon.

    One of the many reasons I still support Barak for his decision to leave Lebanon.
    I just didn’t support the fashion it was carried out in.

  26. Ariadne:

    “Has there been any approach from the French government to Hamas?”

    Yes there were.

    They stopped a couple of years ago when they realised “Berchman’s do no evil Hamas leaders” simply don’t care.

  27. Zoidberg, you’ve attacked the wrong target; it was Itkis who minimised the Molotov cocktail incident(s).

  28. The objective was to test Israels will . Had they succeeded then regardless of whether or not there were weapons on board ,it would have been a foregone conclusion that future shipments would have carried weapons for Hamas.

    Excellent point, Harvey.

  29. ItsikDeWembley

    “They stopped a couple of years ago when they realised “Berchman’s do no evil Hamas leaders” simply don’t care. ”

    You have used “quotation marks” …in the literary world these mean they are a quote in said by the person named . I have on a hundred ?? occasions comdemned the violence of Hamas seems unlikely I have actually said that Hamas leaders” do no evil.”

    You probably have other skills that we have not seen yet

  30. ItsikDeWembley

    Thank you for the response on Gilad Shalit. That sounds like about the time that Sarkozy was elected.