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EU Jews Work to Prevent Second Clash; SA Recalls Ambassador

Reactions to Gaza flotilla clash continue: European Union Jews work to prevent a second round, South Africa condemns Israel.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 6/4/2010, 10:22 AM / Last Update: 6/4/2010, 11:15 AM

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As Israel deals with the repercussions of the bloody clash between IDF soldiers and armed passengers on a Gaza-bound ship, Jews all over the world are rallying along with Israeli citizens to support the blockade and the IDF operatin. The Knesset's Jewish members, coalition and opposition, stood by the IDF operation as well. The press is mixed, with some editorials reminding readers of the unequal treatment Israeli operations received in comparison to other countries' similar actions and others criticizing Israel.

European Jews, however, are trying to ensure that the incident does not repeat itself. The European Jewish Congress is pushing the European Union to ban terrorist-linked “human rights groups” such as the group that organized the Gaza flotilla.

The ship on which the clash occurred, the Mavi Marmara, was sent through the Turkish group Insani Yardim Vakfi (IHH), which has been linked to al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups. The Turkish government found concrete evidence of IHH participation in terrorism as early as the 1990s, the EJC noted.

"Organizations affiliated with and used as front for terrorist groups like Hamas and Al-Qaeda have to be outlawed with immediate effect,” EJC President Moshe Kantor told the European Jewish Press.

"Such organizations need to be immediately exposed so Europeans will not be deceived into believing that they are a legitimate humanitarian organization,” he added. IHH clearly was not on a humanitarian mission, as evidenced by the fact that the group refused to allow its cargo to be taken to Gaza via Israel or Egypt, the EJC stated.

Israel has received some support following the clash at sea, including US Vice-President Joe Biden's Wednesday statement that “Israel has a right to know” what goods enter Gaza.

However, Israel has been widely blamed for the incident throughout the Arab and Muslim world and beyond. On Thursday, South Africa joined the ranks of those condemning the IDF action, recalling Ambassador Ishmael Coovadia.

The recall “is to show our strongest condemnation of the attack,” said deputy International Relations Minister Ibrahim Ibrahim. He referred to the incident as “Israeli aggression of attacking the aid flotilla.”

Despite its condemnation, South Africa does not plan to expel Israel's ambassador, or to cut diplomatic ties.