"STAND WITH US" CONFRONTS GAZA FLOTILLA SPEAKERS
BY: FERN SIDMAN
On Thursday evening, June 17th, members of Stand With Us, the pro-Israel student advocacy organization staged a raucous demonstration outside The House of the Lord Church on Atlantic Avenue in downtown Brooklyn, as they confronted the allegations leveled against Israel in its role in the May 31st commando raid on the "Free Gaza Flotilla" ship, the Marvi Marmara. The former Turkish MP and IHH activist Ahmet Faruk Unsal who had been scheduled to speak was denied access to the USA, however Viva Palestina organizer Kevin Ovenden and filmmaker Lara Lee, who claim they were passengers on the ship, took the podium to spew forth invective against Israel for the attack that left nine Turkish terrorist nationals dead.
Sponsored by a litany of anti-Israel and pro-Hamas organizations such as Al-Awda-New York: The Palestine Right to Return Coalition, the Muslim American Society, American Muslims For Palestine, NYC Labor Against the War, International Jewish Anti-Zionist Network, the Arab Muslim American Federation, Labor For Palestine, Columbia Students for Justice in Palestine, Action for a Progressive Pakistan, and the ANSWER Coalition among others, the speakers called for "an international war crimes" tribunal to be established in order to bring Israel to "justice" for what they perceive as an act of "piracy and murder".
Approximately 40 member of Stand With Us and other concerned citizens stood directly across the street from the church holding aloft signs saying, "Humanitarian Aid Workers Don't Carry Knives, Axes and Metal Bars", "Israel: We Stand With You” and "Shame on Turkey" while chanting "Terrorists - Yes; Humanitarians - No". Clearly, the implications of the demonstrators was that the Turkish sponsored flotilla, under the aegis of the IHH, which stands for the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief, is not an Islamic charity but rather a group with direct links to terrorist organizations.
According to news reports, Turkish security forces, in 1998, raided the IHH’s headquarters in Istanbul and found weapons, explosives, instructions for making IEDs and a flag with a jihad message. As former French counter-terrorism magistrate, Jean-Louis Bruguière, who was involved in the raid, has explained: “It was clearly proven that some of the NGO’s work was not charity. It was to provide a facade for moving funds, weapons and mujahedeen to and from Bosnia and Afghanistan.”
The IHH is also a member of the Saudi-based umbrella organization, the Union of Good (Ittilaf al-Kheir), led by Sheikh Yusuf Quaradawi, who is considered the spiritual leader of the Muslim Brotherhood. Every year the Union of Good, whose top officials include Hamas members, channels millions of dollars to Hamas-controlled organizations in the West Bank and Gaza.
Avi Posnick, the local chapter leader of Stand With Us said, "We are here today to counter the bald faced lies and egregious propaganda that are being hurled against Israel inside this church. Based on video and personal testimonies, Israel has been exonerated from any wrongdoing but these speakers, who allege to be humanitarians, but are just the opposite; choose not to look at the truth. Israel did not randomly kill "innocent” people aboard the Marvi Marmara but rather defended herself against terrorists with the intent to kill Israeli commandos and with the intent of smuggling weapons to Hamas forces in Gaza."
Referencing a June 15th article by Jerusalem Post reporter Caroline Glick in which she wrote: "Led by US President Barack Obama, the West has cast its lot with Hamas against Israel. It is not surprising that Obama is siding with Hamas. His close associates are leading members of the pro-Hamas Free Gaza outfit. Obama's friends, former Weatherman Underground terrorists Bernadine Dohrn and William Ayres participated in a Free Gaza trip to Egypt in January. Their aim was to force the Egyptians to allow them into Gaza with 1,300 fellow Hamas supporters. Their mission was led by Code Pink leader and Obama fundraiser Jodie Evans. Another leading member of Free Gaza is former US senator from South Dakota James Abourezk. All of these people have open lines of communication not only to the Obama White House, but to Obama himself", New York State Assemblyman Dov Hikind who represents the 48th assembly district in Boro Park and was present at the demonstration said, "I am not at all surprised. Obama has created a political atmosphere that not only endangers Israel but the entire Western world."
"My question is: Where are all the Zionist organizations? Where are all the pulpit rabbis? Why aren't they here today and why don't we hear their collective voices of outrage and indignation against the Obama administration's pressure on Israel to empanel an investigative committee to find out what really happened on the Marvi Marmara, when we all know that the State of Israel was being attacked by terrorists? Why isn't the Zionist leadership, especially here in New York organizing rallies and demonstrations against the nefarious policies of this administration as it pertains to Israel?" Assemblyman Hikind declared.
Citing the abject silence on the part of his colleagues in the Democratic party, Hikind intoned, "We can expect little or nothing in terms of strong opposition to Obama's Middle East agenda from our elected officials in the Democratic party. Their reluctance to voice their concern about Israel's predicament speaks volumes about their allegiance to partisan politics and their repudiation of the concerns of their constituencies."