Ship to Gaza
Ship to Gaza
Few religions add new holidays to their calendars these days. However, one religion keeps piling them on. Known as Palestinianism, and despite being relatively fresh on the historical scene compared to older world faiths, it has been gaining devotees at an amazing speed. Furthermore, it has fully understood that in order to galvanize followers and to gain new proselytes it needs to have holidays, which can serve as rallying points, strengthening that burning flame of faith.

One such holiday, which has become as regular as Christmas Eve, is Israel Apartheid Week, which commences worldwide every year around February and has done so since 2005. This festival has as its aim the “enrichment” of campuses with virulently anti-Semitic and vitriolic abuse of the State of Israel.

Another such holiday, akin to a pilgrimage, is the Freedom Flotilla. Every year since 2010 -- meaning that this year marks a five year anniversary -- the worshippers of Palestinianism go to the Mediterranean, but unlike others, who go to Club Med, these people swear by Gaza. Clearly, where the main attraction of a trip to the Mediterranean is typically the sandy beaches, the good weather and the great food, followers of Palestinianism are attracted by terror tunnels, Iranian made missiles and promises of ethnical cleansing of all Jews from the state of Israel.

It is now that sweet time of the year again, when the most religious of the devotees get ready to board their vessels and set sail to Gaza. This year the pilgrimage is called “Freedom Flotilla III” comprising several planned sea voyages, all aptly named “Ship to Gaza” from different ports in Europe, as well as Canada, Turkey, and South Africa according to the website of the organizers.

Some of the most devoted followers of Palestinianism are Scandinavians – a fact worth mentioning, since Scandinavia is one of the least traditionally religious places in the West, Palestinianism thus filling a notable void – and it should therefore come as no surprise that the first ship in the Freedom Flotilla III is from Sweden. Norway helped purchase the ship and has sent a few members from its own sizeable community of Palestinianists.

The trawler, named Marianne of Gothenburg, left its homeport on Thursday. It travelled first to Malmoe, that lovely city in the far south of Sweden, where Jews cannot wear a kippa in the streets out of fear for their personal security. Then it continued to Copenhagen, where it picked up a lonely female populist Danish parliamentarian, scrambling for Muslim votes before the upcoming parliamentary elections.

While Marianne of Gothenburg is the first boat in the Freedom Flotilla III to leave for Gaza, according to the website of Ship to Gaza Sweden, it is scheduled to stop at several ports on the way that will be announced later. One devotee observer posting on Facebook, but not travelling on the ship himself, wrote that the purpose of these stops is to “expose Israel’s occupation of Palestine”.

Before leaving the port of Copenhagen, the Ship to Gaza devotees tried to explain the purpose of their voyage to the Danish press. “The ship’s cargo consists of important things such as solar panels and midwife equipment… but the cargo is primarily symbolic…probably our most important cargo is our message. We are carrying international law and human rights,” said the ship’s Swedish communications coordinator Staffan Granér to the Danish newspaper Berlingske Tidende.  Another co-religionist, the Norwegian left wing politician from the party “Red”, Torstein Dahle, felt it pertinent to add his belief that the Israeli navy “shoots Palestinian fishermen and throws them into the sea”.

Palestinianism, as anyone who has followed the rise of this religion will have noticed, is many things, but it is not about “helping Palestinians”.
Faced with a question about Israel’s legitimate interest in screening ships for weapons shipments, the Palestinianists gathered in the port of Copenhagen became markedly evasive. “We are non-state actors and have no contact with Hamas. It is up to the Palestinians to decide, which government they wish to have” said Torstein Dahle. Notice the almost immediate denial of having anything to do with Hamas -- bringing to mind that old Shakespearean quote of “methinks the lady doth protest too much” -- and the convenient omission of the fact that there have been no “elections” in Gaza since 2006, when Hamas gained power. Not to mention that they did not answer the legitimate question posed by the Danish journalist.

So far, the Israeli navy and its allies in the Mediterranean have prevented the yearly pilgrimages of individual ships of Swedish, Norwegian, Irish, French, Spanish, Greek and Turkish origin to Gaza from reaching their Nirvana in Hamastan. This, however, does not deter the activists, who pursue their goal of “breaking the blockade” relentlessly.

Palestinianism, as anyone who has followed the rise of this religion will have noticed, is many things, but it is not about “helping Palestinians”. If that were the case large rescue missions would long ago have been sent to Yarmouk, the refugee camp on the outskirts of Damascus, which was caught in April between Assad’s starvation campaign against it and the assault of ISIS. The devout followers of Palestinianism did not bat an eyelid, as their spiritual brethren were brutally murdered or slowly starved out of existence.

Ship to Gaza has as its mission to ”break the blockade” of Gaza. The deeply manipulative and false claim implicit in this mission statement is that there is a blockade of Gaza affecting civilians. This is not the case. The blockade is for one purpose only -- stopping Hamas from rebuilding their abilities to launch missile- and terror attacks against Israel, and as such, it is more comparable to a weapons embargo. Israel has provided -- and continues to provide -- Gaza with millions of tons of humanitarian supplies, including food, medicine and water. Even during Operation Protective Edge, Israel continued the influx of humanitarian supplies, a fact which former IDF Chief of Staff Benny Ganz has admitted prolonged the duration of the operation for several weeks. Nevertheless, the people on Ship to Gaza claim that Israel is withholding medicine and food stuffs.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Emmanuel Nachshon, speaking generally about the Freedom Flotilla, said that “if the so-called helpful Gaza flotillas were really interested in the welfare of the population in Gaza, they would send their aid via Israel. The fact that they insist on a flotilla demonstrates this is an unnecessary provocation.” This is fact. In 2010, Israel offered to land the vessels from the flotillas in the Israeli port of Ashdod and to transfer the aid from there to Gaza. The Flotilla organizers, however, plainly refused.

Furthermore, but most significantly, the blockade is legal under international law. Even the UN has admitted this fact. In a report from 2011 in which the UN reviewed Israel’s response to the Turkish based flotilla to Gaza in 2010, the UN noted, “Israel faces a real threat to its security from militant groups in Gaza. The naval blockade was imposed as a legitimate security measure in order to prevent weapons from entering Gaza by sea and its implementation complied with the requirements of international law.”

The whole Ship to Gaza operation is a show, a particularly malicious kind of circus in which the Palestinians are only extras. The people on board the ship know very well that they will never get to Gaza. Freedom Flotilla 3, and its first Swedish dispatch, the old, retired fishing trawler Marianne of Gothenburg  is just a seaborne version of the Palestinianist campaign for the dehumanization and delegitimization of the Jews of Israel.