Comment is Free, Sam Bahour, Adam Shapiro and the malice of anti-Israel “activists”

It appears that the latest flytilla‘ provocation has been granted the Guardian seal of approval. On July 5th CiF published an article by Sam Bahour  extolling its virtues and attempting to place it in the category of people standing up for their ‘rights’.  

It all sounds so innocent and pastoral according to Sam Bahour, but just as his own Guardian profile has been sanitised into something approaching the anaemic, carefully editing out his connections to and affiliations with a plethora of anti-Israel organisations, so the ‘flytilla’ has been given a similar cosmetic make-over in this piece. 

Every sovereign country has the prerogative to deny entry to whomsoever it sees fit: there is no automatic ‘human right’ to travel to a country of which one is not a citizen, as Israelis – perhaps more than many others – well know. The fact that the holder of a specific type of passport may not be required to apply in advance for a visa to the country to which he wishes to travel does not guarantee automatic right of entry; it just means that the application process is carried out upon arrival and an entry stamp, which doubles as a visa for a limited period of time, is given (or not) at passport control. In this respect, Israel’s border authorities behave no differently than any other nation, but apparently Sam Bahour believes that what is accepted common practice in all other nations of the world should not apply to Israel. Some might call that a case of double standards. 

Bahour’s unsubstantiated claim that Israel denies the Palestinians ‘the right to receive visitors’ is of course absurd. Were that the case, we would not for one thing see the endless stream of B list celebs and intellectuals, activists known as Internationals‘ and misguided Christian ‘peace-makers’ wandering around the territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority. One of the ‘flytilla’ organisers, Mick Napier, claims to have visited the Palestinian-controlled territories numerous times; clearly disproving Bahour’s empty claims.

It is also of course possible to reach the Palestinian controlled areas either via Egypt (in the case of the Gaza Strip) or by means of a flight to Amman and a road journey to any of the three border crossings.  Had the Palestinian Authority continued with the Oslo process rather than choosing to initiate the second Intifada, it would by now not only have had its own border crossing with Jordan, but the level of security necessary today would not have come about. There were days – not very long ago – when one could travel unhindered, but terrorism brought that to an end.  Sam Bahour obviously subscribes to the much touted belief that Palestinians should never be required to take responsibility for the outcomes of their actions and decisions.

But beyond the practical, the most ridiculous aspect of Bahour’s article is the attempt to paint those scheduled to arrive en masse at Ben Gurion airport this coming Friday as ‘visitors’ – as though they were coming to see his new sofa. They are nothing of the sort; this is a pre-coordinated political provocation hatched by a group of anti-Israel organisations and activists and aided and abetted by radical far-Left elements inside Israel.  One of the organising bodies is the International Solidarity Movement (ISM) which is notorious for advising its foreign activists to deceive airport security when trying to enter Israel. Here is some travel advice from their website:

“Visitors coming in solidarity with the Palestinian people and/or to support Palestinian non-violent resistance therefore face a difficult situation. If they admit the goals of their visit to Israeli border staff, and admit any association with ISM, they will most likely be denied entry. If they state other reasons for their visit, they can also be accused of lying to Israeli authorities and denied entry for this reason.”

“Faced with this dilemma, some activists choose not to talk about their activist goals and instead explain other reasons for their visit, such as visiting the Holy Land, visiting an Israeli friend, tourism, etc. These activists generally articulate a clear plan for their visit, including places they will stay within Israel and the names, addresses and phone numbers of people they will be visiting (not mentioning visits to Palestinians).”

Here is the ISM co-founder and leader, Adam Shapiro, explaining exactly what the aim of the various ‘tactics’ employed by his organization is.

The ‘flytilla’ is indeed just another of the tactics in the arsenal of people such as Adam Shapiro, Mick Napier and Paul Larudee ; people who talk about “60 years of occupation”, people who openly admit to wanting to “undermine Israel” and spark conflict between “Israel and the rest of the world”.  As for those who have signed up for the campaign (donating their time and buying their own plane tickets), they have the responsibility to inform themselves of the objectives and affiliations of the organizers before they consent to becoming foot-soldiers for terrorist sympathizers and enablers. If they decide to go ahead regardless, they certainly should not feign surprise if they are turned back. No country on earth is required to respect the ‘rights’ of those collaborating with elements which seek its destruction.

But whilst we’re on the subject of rights, what about those of the other people – the real tourists and travellers – who will be flying to Tel Aviv on Friday from London, Paris, Zurich, Frankfurt or Rome? Are they entitled to expect the airport authorities and the airline with which they fly not to expose them unnecessarily to the possibility of harassment or danger by taking on board passengers willingly acting as pawns for people with links to Hamas?

One suspects that the editor who commissioned this article from Bahour might be a little less forthcoming with the Guardian stamp of approval for the ‘flytilla’ if his own children happened to be aboard one of those planes.  Yet another example of the Guardian’s double standards on Israel.  

63 replies »

  1. In support of the comment about Passport Control always asking questions of non-citizens, since our daughter, son-in-law and children moved to New York in 2006 from the UK, we have visited 3 or 4 times a year. Our passports have not had to be renewed in that time. Thus, they are covered in entry and exit stamps: still, despite this, we are asked every time by Homeland Security for the reason for our visit, and the answer is always the same: to visit family.

    Why should Israeli Passport Control be any different?

  2. ‘Every sovereign country has the prerogative to deny entry to whomsoever it sees fit: there is no automatic ‘human right’ to travel to a country of which one is not a citizen’

    Which of course is why Israel’s colonial occupation preventing Palestine from exercising this right needs to be denounced, and why those with the courage of ethical moral convictions will continue to break the blockade. Free Palestine.

    • Every sovereign country,/i> and Palestine is a contradiction in terms. (look for it in a vocabulary Sanity)

      You can not prevent Palestine to excercise the rights of an independent country because it doesn’t exist as an idependent country.

      Free Palestine

      Be careful Sanity don’t try to enter Jordan, they won’t tolerate your wish to free them from the Hashemite rulers……

      • I believe this was the very point I was making. Palestine doesn’t yet exist because of the colonialism of Israel.

        I’ve been to Jordan, thanks. They didn’t have any problems with my views.

        • “…because of the colonialism of Israel.”

          It is not possible for the indigenous to engage in colonialism on their own indigenous territory. The Jews are the indigenous Palestinians—the one and only true Palestinian nation. The only colonialism here is that of the Arabs. The manifest injustice of Arab settlers colonizing indigenous Palestinian (i.e. Jewish) land is ingeniously masked by a Goebbelsian feat of revisionism—claiming that the Arab settlers are the indigenous Palestinians—but the truth is unchanged.

          Free Palestine from Arab settler-colonist land-thieves.

          • Of course, denying Palestinian Arabs are indigenous to Palestine is essentially racist. While there are a sizeable number of Jews whose families have lived in the area for centuries, and most Israelis were born in Israel, the law of return essentially ensures that poor Russians and Eastern Europeans are granted rights in a land of which they have never known, and it is confiscated from people whose families have lived there for generations.

            So while I’m happy for Israel to exist, its colonialist expansionism is not on, and Palestine must be freed. And it will be freed.

            • “Of course, denying Palestinian Arabs are indigenous to Palestine is essentially racist.”

              No, it’s just the truth. The very fact that they’re Arabs means they’re indigenous to the Arabian Peninsula, not to Palestine.

              “…the law of return essentially ensures that poor Russians and Eastern Europeans are granted rights in a land of which they have never known…”

              A Jew is connected to Palestine no matter where he or she was born. A person born to a Jewish mother or having undergone Orthodox conversion is a member of a nation whose only true homeland is Palestine, a nation whose claim to Palestine trumps all other nations’ claims to the land.

              “…and it is confiscated from people whose families have lived there for generations.”

              A great many of the French pieds-noirs in Algeria who were forced to leave after 1962 had descent in that land going all the way back to 1830, but that doesn’t mean they were indigenous to Algeria. Arab settler-colonists in Israel, even those who can trace generations back, have no more a legitimate claim than would a modern Greek to Afghanistan even if he can trace his descent to one of the troopers of Alexander occupying Sogdia.

              “…its colonialist expansionism is not on,…”

              Only the Arabs are colonists in Palestine.

              “…and Palestine must be freed. And it will be freed.”

              Yes, it must and will be freed—of Arab settler-colonist land-thieves.

              • Ok, well in that case, we really ought to give the whole land back to the Caananites, since they’re the true indigenous people. So by that logic, Israel should pack up shop and head back to slavery in Egypt. No, didn’t think you’d like that. Only an ethnocentric introspective bigot like yourself would come up with the comments you make.

                But it’s what I’ve come to expect form this blessed message board. the stench of racism is repugnant.

                • “Ok, well in that case, we really ought to give the whole land back to the Caananites, since they’re the true indigenous people.”

                  If they existed. But they don’t. We’re the most ancient nation still extant with a connection this land, so it’s ours by default.

                  “So by that logic, Israel should pack up shop and head back to slavery in Egypt. No, didn’t think you’d like that.”

                  I’d just like to know what gives you the right to tell the Jewish people what is lawful for them and what isn’t. By what authority is Zionism—Jewish nationalism—put under trial? The return of the Jewish people to their one and only tiny plot of land (look at a map, gosh darn it!) in the world is axiomatically a right and just endeavor. Consequently, I must make it clear to you that it is not us Zionist Jews but you anti-Zionists (whether Jewish or not) who are under trial, for the injustice of wishing to coerce the land-poor Jewish nation to give up lands in favor of the land-rich Arab nation.

                  You’re in the dock, not us Zionists.

                  “…an ethnocentric introspective bigot … the stench of racism …”

                  Music to my ears from a Marxist anti-nationalist agent of worldwide sedition. Thanks.

                  • Ah, so let’s exterminate a people group, and then we get the land by default!

                    Seriously, where do the dolts who comment on this blog come from?

                    • “Ah, so let’s exterminate a people group,…”

                      You know, I find it strange that the anti-Zionists tell the Zionists to “stop bringing the Bible to it,” yet here we see how my argumentation has been pretty much confined to modern times yet the anti-Zionist brings up Biblical matters.

                      Then again, what’s new about anti-Zionists being guilty of the very things they accuse the Zionists of?

                      “Seriously, where do the dolts who comment on this blog come from?”

                      I’d like to get an answer to that question regarding at least one dolt.

                    • Fair enough, so on what basis do you say that Jews are the people group with the oldest claim to the Palestine Mandate?

                    • Insanity asked:

                      “Seriously, where do the dolts who comment on this blog come from?”

                      Der Guardian, BBC, Socialist Wankers Party…

                      The usual hypocrites who support islamofascism and Socialist Imperialism, who EXCUSE Arab/Muslim racism, fascism, imperialsim, homophobia ( i haven’t seem gays hang non-gays from construction cranes as is done to them in the islamofascist regime of iran).

                    • Insanity,

                      Here is a video of a “palestinian”, a “True Muslim”, a 3 1/2 year old child reciting what your fellow racists have drilled into her.

                      That Jews are “apes and pigs”.

                      If that isn’t dehumanizing iand “progressively” fascist what is???

                      Case closed Racist Insanity.

          • Now, I know you think all Arabs are the same. It’s nice to bracket lots of people groups together and brand them ‘other’. The only problem is that it’s also hugely racist to do that! Which makes you a disgusting repugnant stinking racist!

    • Ah Sanity – I really didn’t expect you to get it.
      If landlocked Switzerland fired rockets at its neighbours, would you expect France, Germany and Italy to allow free and uninhibited access through their joint borders with it?
      And what’s with the ‘colonial’? That word does not represent anything happening here.

    • Free Palestine you say… This demand of you is addressed to whom? If you are not a complete idiot (a very slight chance) then you must know that “freeing Palestine” could be achieved only trough a total war resulting hundreds of thousands maybe more deads – probably most of them Palestinians. During this war you would be busy to hosting polite dinner parties in absolute security thousands of miles from this “liberation” of the area.
      Your war cry is the living proof that you don’t give a sh*t about the lives and freedom of the Palestinians, you are using them as cannonfood serving your hate of the Jews. Inciting others to fight while you sit in security is the most disgusting and despicable thing to do – not that anybody would expect anything else from your kind of polite partygoers.

      • Why should it involve any bloodshed?

        No, all that needs to happen is for Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders (including handing back the Golan Heights to Syria) and then Palestine will be established and its people free from colonial occupation.

        So do tell, what has this to do with my hatred of Jews? Ah, yes, actually, it simply shows what an immoral half-wit you are.

        • “No, all that needs to happen is for Israel to withdraw to the 1967 borders (including handing back the Golan Heights to Syria)…”

          We do not have land to spare. Let the land-rich Arab nation give to the land-poor Jewish nation for the sake of peace for a change.

          “…and then Palestine will be established and its people free from colonial occupation.”

          The Arab settler-colonial land-grabbers have their eyes on more than post-1967 Israel. They want it all. They want to steal everything we Jews have worked to build for over a century.

          • I think you must not be familiar with the Arab Peace Plan. Come back and discuss when you actually have some information in your two brain cells.

            • “I think you must not be familiar with the Arab Peace Plan.”

              I’m familiar with it, just as I’m familiar with the concept of waging war by deceit.

              • Ah, yes, those pesky Arabs with their deceitful brown skin…don’t trust them for a second. They’ll sign agreements with you and then build settlements on your land, bomb your schools, build checkpoints around your territory and… oh, hold on, wait, I think I got that one the wrong way round…

                • “Ah, yes, those pesky Arabs with their deceitful brown skin…”

                  The Race Card, it never gets old.

                  Not even when most of those pesky Zionist Jews in Israel today have brown skin, while some of the Arabs in the Galilee could pass for Polish peasants in that department.

                  “…and then build settlements on your land…”

                  If only it were just settlements. When the Gaza Strip was ethnically cleansed of all Jews in August 2005, it was subsequently followed by the construction of terrorist training camps for brainwashing Arab settler kids in the evacuated lands. For a peaceful future, of course.

            • An interesting suggestion. The crux of the Arab Peace Plan was the uncontrolled and nonnegotiable full “right of return” of millions of Palestinians inside the 1967 borders. Maybe you should learn the facts before posting your laughable and ignorant crap.

    • you of course failed european and american history

      cuz there is no way that an intelligent person could use the term colonial occupation, in the way you just did

      oh….and the sovereign nation of palestine is a myth

      • Er, plenty of people do, including diplomats, academics and businesspeople. I realise you don’t like this, and probably think these people are intelligent, but the evidence suggests that actually it’s you who is deluded.

        • Insanity bleated:

          “plenty of people do, including diplomats, academics and businesspeople”

          You think those “diplomats, academics and businesspeople” consider themselves SOCIALISTS?

          Socialism is the best friend of every tyrant in the world.
          SHITler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Mao, Castro, Chavez, Mugabe, Putin.

          • No idea what socialism has to do with this. Socialism is a nasty little creed which is possibly only slightly better than ethnofascist nationalism. Funnily enough, the two often coincide, as with Israel’s founding, Kibbutz movement, and the disgraceful belligerence of Israel’s Labour Party.

    • … why those with the courage of ethical moral convictions will…

      People who come up with this kind of phrase or similar such as “any reasonable person …” tend to be bereft of substantial argument.
      And yes – that applies to both “sides” of the debate.

      But talk of Israel as a “colonial occupier” (with all its historical connotations) is just silly.

      • Hm, bunch of white people pitch up in foreign land, set up own institutions and drive pesky natives into bantustans.

        Sorry, what word for this is there but colonialism?

        • Bunch of white people?

          You must be very well versed with the color and racial composition of the Jewish population of Israel…

          Did your Jordanian hosts tell you about the happy years when they occupied and colonised Palestine and Jerusalem? About the ethnic cleansing of the Jews from there? About their mass murder of the civilian Jewish population of Gush Etzion by the Jordan Legion under the command of Her Highness officers? (who certainly were the same kind of hosts and guests of polite dinner parties like yourself)?

  3. Sanity, a blessed son of the British Empire like your good self should be free to travel the high seas and disembark wherever he damned well pleases. What must rile you more than anything else is having to cow-tow and haggle with some bloody uppity Jews for the price of admission.

    Jewish sovereignty seems to have rendered you completely impotent and your slogans utterly vacuous. Keep up the pretense of high morals and ethics (but don’t mention being in bed with misogynists, homophobes and anti-Semites) if it helps your fantasy of having a pair of balls bigger and better than the Zionists.

    • No, Israel can have all the security checks it wants on its own sovereign territory. All it will do is discourage trade and tourism. Whatever. My problem is the colonial occupation and the restrictions it places on Palestinians to control their sovereign territory. Fortunately, though, the Saudis are starting to flex their financial and natural resource muscles, and once the squeeze the Americans hard enough for the the US to stop giving Israel weapons with which to commit crimes, things will improve. If only Israel had made peace 10 years ago this could have been avoided.

  4. Nurse,

    “it would by now not only have had its own border crossing with Jordan”

    I do not recall the Israeli government willingness to relinquish control of the jordan Valley.

    In fact this is one of Bibi’s red lines.

    Perhaps you mean that hypotheticaly past governments such as the one Ehud Barak lead would have given that part to the Palestinians?

    But given what we assume Yasser Arafat realy had in mind a war would have broken and Israel would have reclaimed that territory…

    Speculations can go a long way.

    I for one do not believe the above sentence is true because the Palestinian leadership that would have chose to carry on with the Oslo accord would have been commiting suicide or had to fight against its own people sooner or later.

    • Itsik – there was supposed to be a five year transition period, during which final status negotiations were to be held on all outstanding issues – including borders, passage to Gaza and passage from Jericho to Jordan.
      It was there on the table for the taking….

  5. Brian Goldfarb,

    “Why should Israeli Passport Control be any different?”

    Because the ISM said so…

    Surely we are beyond that point now?
    You tell them sanity!
    Good on you girl!

    Just be careful not to stray into Taliban, Hizbullah or Hamas’ controlled areas, they do not Apreciate girls that talk back, write, think or drive…

    Come to think of it they do not seem to like girls at all.

    Perhaps the those Islamists and Raed Salah are at odds here…
    I suspect Raed is a Zionist spy… Isn’t it so Sanity?

    What’s your sources take on this?

  6. (answering Sanity here to get out of the indentations)

    “…so on what basis do you say that Jews are the people group with the oldest claim to the Palestine Mandate?”

    On the basis that there’s no one else with so good a claim.

    Arabs are from Arabia in principle, though a lot of them in Palestine were the result of juggling around by the Ottomans—18th and 19th century Palestine was somewhat like Australia in the role of trashcan for unwanted groups. This juggling also brought the Circasians in from the Caucasus.

    The Samaritans are ancient, but still not as ancient as the Jews. If they were in sufficient numbers, I’d say they’d be best served having a state of their own, maybe a Vatican in the region of their two sacred mounts (Gerizim and Ebal).

    The Druzes, like the Jews, are a nation loyal to its host country. Again, I think they’d be best served by having their own nation-state, carved out of the huge mass of land the Arab nation has, but those matters are not for me to decide—none of my business really.

    In summary, there really is no one who would be done an injustice by having a Jewish State in Palestine. The Arabs are already well outside their indigenous mandate (the Arabian Peninsula), so their grievances are all illegitimate. (A legitimate grievance on their part would be if we Jews were to construct settlements on the Arabian Peninsula.) The rest have national claims that could be settled easily, and would never have brought to such a protracted conflict as we have currently, the result of Arab imperialist greed.

        • Where do I start?

          Let’s just say that you may be discounting other people groups. But more importantly, on what records are you relying and why are they reliable?

          • “Where do I start?”

            I hear that line so much from academics. “Where to begin, where to begin?” but they never begin. All that there is to it is the impression of victory through “obvious truth,” as in, “It should be obvious there are so many problems with this thesis that we can safely put it away from any consideration.” Arrow put in place, then dartboard drawn around it. Victory.

            “Let’s just say that you may be discounting other people groups.”

            If you mean artifacts of Western colonial partitioning now pretending to be nations (“Syrian nation,” “Iraqi nation” and the non-Jewish faux-Palestinian “nation”), then I plead guilty. I only recognize as nations those that have some positive things to show for it. In the Middle Eastern case: Jews, Arabs, Druzes, Turks and Persians, to name the more prominent ones.

            When all the pretend nations are filtered out, the case for the exclusive Jewish right to sovereignty on Palestine is ironclad.

  7. Sanity “Have you ever heard of missing variable bias?”

    Er, no. Will it make me as clever as you? Will I be able to see all the nuances of a long-running, intractable conflict in terms of self-projection – as a one-dimensional problem caused by the offspring of white European colonial settlers who exploited and terrorised in the name of a superior morality – starting off with Europe’s old favourite – the Jews, who your ancestors persecuted, hounded, segregated and murdered, until they went somewhere else, only to be told by you that you have a superior set of moral standards and you have absolved yourself of your own culture’s sins by imagining that the traditional European scapegoat – the Jews – are really the white colonial oppressors – instead of your own grandparents, and that really the nasty prejudices you inherited from them are progressive and liberal.

    That’s how I imagine a clever academic like you works things out, sitting in their ivory tower. And don’t you come out smelling of roses compared to those nasty ‘white’ Zionists?

    • Well said. The transparency of the anti-Zionists’ intellectual clothes needs to be pointed out.

  8. A dolt like Insanity who declares that she is “anti-nationalist” should then be “ANTI-PALESTINIAN”.

    Why create another nation, especially one that brainwashed their own children with racist dogma that Jews are “pigs and apes”.

    How “progressive” that leftist/socialist/fascists are tolerant of Arab/Muslim RACISM.