Is it a coincidence that the last flotilla desperately trying to reach Gaza is setting sail from Greece? While the Greek economy is imploding, Gaza’s is booming. Those angry Hellenes trying to break the blockade (and to fix their ships) look more like boat people than like freedom fighters.
Crowds are protesting daily (and violently) in Athens. The Greek government recently passed an austerity plan through parliament to get a bail-out from the EU, but the rescue plan will only temporally keep afloat a bankrupt economy incapable of paying its debts and of reforming itself. Greece is insolvent: its debts amount to 160% of its GDP. The government cannot finance its own budget deficit, and it would run out of money without help from the EU and the IMF.
Gaza, by contrast, has enjoyed a two-digit (16%) GDP growth in 2010. The New York Times recently reported that a new mall and two luxury hotels just opened in Gaza. Imports are unrestricted except, of course, for weapons and ammunition.
So those European citizens of bankrupt countries kept afloat by German and US taxpayers (via the EU and the IMF respectively) seem to have figured out that moving to Gaza is really what the “audacity of hope” was all about. In reality, of course, the “flotillas” have a sinister agenda.
One of the key organizers of the “second flotilla” to Gaza is Muhammad Sawalha, a Hamas activist living in Britain who is among the signatories of the “Istanbul Declaration.” This document states, among other things, that “the Islamic nation” has an obligation to provide weapons to the Palestinians “so that they are able to live and perform the jihad in the way of Allah Almighty.” Other flotilla organizers this year include Walid Abu al-Shewarib, a member of Hamas as well as of the German branch of the Muslim Brotherhood, and Amin Abu Rashid , a Hamas leader from Holland.
Hamas’ strategy to end the maritime arms embargo imposed by Israel on Gaza is simple: create a clash with the IDF, portray Hamas as the victim and Israel as a bully, and gather international support for the “liberation” of Gaza. This strategy partially worked last year (French daily Libération called Israel a “pirate state”). As the delightful “We Con the World” satire put it: “We’ll make them all believe that the Hamas is Momma Theresa… We’ll make them all believe the IDF is Jack the Ripper.”
That Hamas-Europe is organizing a flotilla to help Hamas-Gaza makes sense. They are, after all, co-workers and brothers-in-arms. It is the support of self-proclaimed progressive Jews and Western liberals for those medieval anti-Semites and misogynists that seems unexplainable. But there is an explanation.
Among the flotilla crusaders are people like Adam Shapiro and Dror Feiler. The former is a Brooklyn Jew who says he doesn’t regard himself as Jewish, who married an Arab girl, and who visited Arafat in his compound in March 2002 at the height of the PA’s terror war against Israel. The latter was raised on a Communist Kibbutz, moved to Sweden, and renounced his Israeli citizenship. If people like Shapiro and Feiler care so much about freedom and human rights, how come they don’t organize flotillas to Syria and Libya where people are being butchered by their tyrants? The answer is that Shapiro and Feiler have an obsession with Israel because Israel acts as a mirror of what they want to bury: their Jewish identity.
As for European and American leftists, Israel is a painful reminder of their failed attempt four decades ago to rid Western society of its Judeo-Christian basis. “Palestine” has become the mythical promised land of Western nihilism. Unlike the real boat people, those freedom fighters wannabes from Europe and America are not fleeing massacres and starvation. But they too hope that wandering on the sea in front of cameras will salvage them from misery.