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IHH Flotilla Leaders Call For–And Aid–Terrorism Against Israel, Admitting True Mission

Posted on January 4 2011 8:00 pm
Seth Mandel is the former managing editor of four New Jersey-based newspapers, where he won awards for his coverage of the Middle East and Russia. He has appeared on Shalom TV's current affairs roundtable. He is currently based in Washington, D.C. Twitter: @SethAMandel
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“Israel will not apologize to Iran for a May raid on a Hezbollah-led convoy that killed nine Hezbollah activists and talks to mend ties have so far fallen short, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday.”

Can you imagine the preceding sentence being reported with a straight face? It’s from last week’s Reuters dispatch–though I substituted the words “Turkey” and “Turkish” with “Iran” and “Hezbollah.” But go ahead, play this Mideast Mad Libs game with other terrorist groups, such as Hamas, and see if it looks any less ridiculous.

So why are we seriously discussing the idea of an official Israeli apology to Turkey over stopping the IHH–the Turkish “humanitarian” organization that directed the violent, pro-Hamas flotilla last spring that led to clashes aboard the Mavi Marmara?

The answer is, the media are still unwilling to cover the story and the organization honestly. A recent incident involving the IHH should have changed that–but, not surprisingly, it was completely ignored. On December 15, a ceremony was held to celebrate renovations made to a building in the northeastern Gaza Strip town of Jabaliya. The building, which was used to launch rockets at Israel, was damaged during the IDF’s counteroffensive in Gaza, Operation Cast Lead. Interestingly, the construction was funded by the IHH, and supervised by Hamas.

IHH’s man in Gaza, Muhammad Kaya, gave a stirring speech, as senior members of Hamas looked on. Here, according to the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center, part of an Israeli NGO, is what Kaya said:

“We [IHH] represent Turkey, and our interest and goal is not to feed the Palestinian people and bring them food, but to help them stand on their feet in face of the occupation’s oppression and support them in confronting their enemies. We are certain that if the force on this land [i.e., the de facto Hamas administration in the Gaza Strip] submitted to imperialist dictates money would flow in from every side, but this force refused [to surrender to all the dictates] and stood firm in the face of challenges.” He added that “We the Turkish Muslim people will continue to stand at the side of the Palestinian people. Our spirit is with theirs, our money is [placed] with theirs, we will remain at their side and support them.” He then thanked those who had helped rebuild the building and said that “the day will come when Palestinians will build their houses in Jaffa, Tel Aviv and Haifa.”

All of this is telling, but the first sentence–that IHH’s goal is not to bring humanitarian aid to the Palestinians, but rather to help them confront their enemies–and the last sentence–that all of Israel, including Tel Aviv and Haifa, is occupied territory and must be Judenrein–are admissions by IHH that they are, in fact, what Israel and her allies said they were: terrorists, just as the behavior of the “activists” aboard the Mavi Marmara indicated.

The information isn’t what’s new–after the flotilla incident reams of research were produced showing IHH’s ties to terrorist organizations. We found out they had been helping al-Qaeda since before 9/11; they were caught bringing weapons in the guise of humanitarian relief to Muslims in the Balkans; they were sending Islamic terrorists to fight in Chechnya–wherever there was war, the IHH wasn’t far behind.

But what do IHH’s defenders do now that we can highlight the organization’s confession of its true mission? After the flotilla, leftist filmmaker and activist Iara Lee wrote in the Huffington Post that anyone pointing out the group’s terrorist connections was “Slandering the Good Guys”–the title of her defense of IHH. She complained that politicians were simply “trying to tarnish [IHH’s] stellar reputation.”

But so comprehensive is the IHH’s bad behavior that even foot-stomping defenses of the group contain clear indictments. Case in point: Lee (who was aboard the Mavi Marmara) says that after the flotilla incident she asked IHH Vice President Huseyin Oruc about the accusations that IHH was working with terrorist groups around the world:

“While he was not interested in dignifying such claims, he was very emphatic about the transparency of IHH’s work over the years.”

Lee thinks we should be satisfied with this. So let us translate for her. The phrase “he was not interested in dignifying such claims” means he had no answer.

And there is none. The IHH is, and has always been, involved in global Islamic terrorism. Like its Gaza and Lebanon-based brothers in Hamas and Hezbollah, the IHH uses its humanitarian work as a passport into societies ripe for Islamic radicalization.

Speaking of Lebanon, in late November Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan attended a rally near Beirut. Here is how the Turkish press reported it:

“Turkey’s prime minister called on Israel to apologize for its mistakes in the region in a speech he gave in Lebanon on Wednesday, adding Turkey would do its best to avert a fresh armed flare-up in Lebanon.”

That is nothing less than a veiled threat–apologize, and we’ll hold back–from Erdogan, who has strong ties to the IHH, which operates in Lebanon as well. I don’t expect Israeli leaders to give in to such threats, nor should they.

But what about the leftists like Iara Lee who attacked Israel’s defenders relentlessly? How will they respond now that their lies have been exposed by the IHH itself?

I’d be interested to hear what they have to say after the speech in Jabaliya, though it’s possible this is the first they’re hearing of it. I certainly won’t hold my breath waiting for an apology.

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