Tag Archives: Gaza

Syria Slaughters, Hamas Terrorizes: Public Relations Firms Advance their Cause

Asam Al-Assad in VogueIn recent days, we have seen an intensification of the Syrian regime’s attacks on its own people. If reports are correct, more than 5,000 Syrian civilians have been slaughtered on President Bashar al-Assad’s command since the effort to bring the so-called Arab spring to Syria began late last spring. The dead include hundreds of women and children, people who just wanted freedom from a tyrannical regime. Supply lines have been cut; medical supplies are running out, and the United Nations admits that it can neither provide a reliable accounting of the number of dead, nor stop the killing.

This regime is the extension of one begun in 1970, when Hafez al-Assad seized power and which was responsible for the deaths of tens of thousands of Syrian, including one of the most gruesome massacres in Middle East history, the destruction of the Sunni rebel stronghold of Hama, in which between 10,000 and 20,000 people were killed by government forces. Bashir al-Assad has ruled since his father’s death on 2000 and has been able to maintain his stranglehold on Syria’s people largely because of world indifference, lack of commercial resources, and because of its proximity to Israel.

Read the rest in The Cutting Edge News


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New Footage Aboard Gaza Flotilla Show Preparations to Throw Israelis “Into the Sea”

The Hamas Flotilla

New Footage Aboard Gaza Flotilla Show Preparations to Throw Israeli “Into the Sea”

Gaza Topics - Gaza flotilla 2

To the cry “Takbīr,” the crowd shouts “Allahu Akbar” in harmony, as the leader of the Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and
Humanitarian Relief (IHH), Bulent Yildirim addresses a gathering of men aboard the ship Mavi Marmara on May 30, in a new video released by Israel’s Foreign Ministry last week. The images and dialogue, in Arabic with English subtitles, depict four men standing in front of the crowd; Yildirim, one man labeled as member of Egypt’s Parliament, and two others preparing the group for a planned confrontation with Israel. (More)

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The Hamas Flotilla

Gaza Flotilla Captain Tells of Planned Armed Provocation in Video Tape

June 14th 2010
Gaza Topics - Gaza flotilla 2

A new videotaped interview with the captain of the largest ship in the Gaza Freedom Flotilla has surfaced, revealing that the ship had been overrun by members of the Turkish humanitarian group İnsani Yardım Vakfı (IHH) preparing for a confrontation with Israel.

The whole truth of the incident has yet to come out, but with each day that passes, new information gets presented that helps piece this puzzle together. Mehmut Tuval, Captain, Mavi Marmara tells Israeli officers of a very different type of voyage than that of a pure humanitarian mission. The video opens with Tuval talking about a group of IHH members cutting steel pipe from the rails of the ship and cutting chains, preparing them on the deck three hours before the IDF commandoes boarded. To do this, they used cutting disks that were brought on for this purpose.

Tuval was asked if he was worried that violence would ensue. He asserted that he was quite worried, yet, he did say that no one was able to control the IHH members. In the video tape, the ship’s Chief Officer Gokkiran Gokhan confirms that under IHH control, people who were unknown to the IHH members were unable to move freely about the vessel.

If nothing else, the interviews bring more clarity to what was truly a chaotic situation, in that it indicates that there were those with other than humanitarian motives aboard. Even more, it suggests that the Mavi Marmara, if not the flotilla itself, was willingly sailing toward confrontation.

Israel’s blockade of the waterways to Gaza was established to limit the flow of munitions and tools that could yield weapons into Gaza. At the same time, critics condemn Israel for quarantining Palestinians. The fact that the Gaza Strip is a place from where rockets into Israel fall frequently and lawlessness and anti-Israel sentiment prevail gets overlooked or brushed aside as trivial. Critics fail to acknowledge that food and supplies go through the checkpoints into Gaza constantly by truck, after the content is inspected for materials that could be exploited for malice. Other ships carrying supplies meant for Gaza before the deadly flotilla and even after have been peacefully sent to Israeli ports and the content has been sent into Gaza by land. It is clear today that while there were some unassuming people aboard the pack of boats sailing that night, the purpose was to provoke Israel and cause an international incident.

For its role, the government of Turkey may not be an honest broker in this event. Its Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan has been ratcheting up the harsh rhetoric against Israel for some time, and was among the first nations to recall its ambassador and used some of his harshest words yet, calling the Israeli Navy’s actions a “bloody massacre,” and declared that outright murder by an “aggressive country” was committed. Allusions then were made that Turkish Navy would escorting future ships, risking an armed confrontation with Israel. Yet, to a small degree, its rancor has cooled a bit as more evidence like this interview appears.

It is still unclear how much of a clear role Erdogan’s government played in planning the confrontation with Israel in the Mediterranean on May 31. Whether it was direct, having been on the ground floor of planning, or veiled, allowing it to sail knowing what was likely to happen, is an important piece of the puzzle. The former would be tantamount to an international crime, and would put the United Nations to task having to rein in the republic with a near 100% Moslem population. The latter would signal that the leadership of Israel’s most reliable Moslem population in the region has joined the forces to delegitimize and undermine the Jewish state.

Almost to the hour after the news of the bloodshed aboard the fateful ship, advocates, politicians and throngs of regular people throughout the world clamored for justice with unforgiving tirades against Israel. With the word that Israeli naval troops boarded the Mavi Marmara, and that people trying to bring aid to Gaza were killed, the jury seemed to have been out on the cause and effect. The United Nations Security Council, as sure as the sun rising, condemned the “Acts” in the Israeli raid, without seeing any evidence other than the news of gunshots and death.

What the evidence so far shows is that there was a concerted effort afoot to bring Israel to its knees and release the blockade of Gaza. Being that aid and supplies do flow into the region, the wisdom of ending the blockade is a design to help fuel Hamas and ready them for more aggression against Israel. The captain and the chief officer both acknowledge that there was something going on other than the delivery of needed goods, and the IHH contingent who boarded in Istanbul were prepared for battle.

As Egypt lifted opened the Rafah Crossing into Gaza in the wake of the international cries, cracks in the wall Israel has tried to maintain to keep Hamas from strengthening its abilities have formed. Even while the evidence seems to mount in support of Israel’s suspicions about the flotilla and its subsequent actions, world opinion intensifies against Israel. Should the Obama Administration agree to a United Nation designed investigation of the incident, it would signal an unquestionable implication that the flood of criticism and pressure rushing in by anti-Israel opportunists has pervaded the thinking in the White House to such a degree that facts are less important than political expedience.

Juda Engelmayer is President and Partner with the NY PR agency, HeraldPR

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While Thomas is Going Home, Jews are Already there

Helen Thomas is Going Home, and Jews Are Already There

Listening to the now infamous Helen Thomas interview, I either can be disgusted with her, or I can focus on and be revolted by the real issue here: the state of education, knowledge and bias in the world. Sad as it is, Ms. Thomas-a bright, worldly and cultured member of our elite press corps for over a half-century either does not know or does not care about what the truth really is. Sadder still is the fact that there are millions of people out there who agree with Thomas. In most cases, however, it is not because they ignore the truth but because they do not know it. Instead, they repeat the lies that are consistently told by the anti-Semitic, anti-Israel racists who have made it their mission to delegitimize Israel and degrade the Jewish people.

Thomas’ sentiments that Jews should go back home to Poland and to Germany reveal a deep-rooted animosity. That Jews should go back to the places where they were slaughtered en masse is a sure sign of extreme hatred. Yet, that is not the most troublesome part for me. Thomas, exposed as an intolerant bigot, advises Jews to go home-but the same opinion is rooted even among the people who openly support Israel. The Thomas affair brings to light just how well the anti-Israel lobby has succeeded in distorting the truth that even Israel’s friends repeat the propaganda that the Jews have no legitimate claims to a place in the Holy Land.

Former Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee said as much when he criticized Thomas-and he is a strong supporter of Israel, her existence and right to defend herself. He recalled the Holocaust in his rebuke of the 90 year old columnist, speaking of how inappropriate it is to tell Jews to go back home. Appreciative as I am to hear him do that, he fails the Jewish history test too.

Then Whoopi Goldberg and Joy Behar chided Thomas on The View, and once again, reminded the viewers of the horrors that occurred at Auschwitz and Buchenwald. Goldberg, in imploring for a peaceful solution to the Middle East, alluded to a time when Jews did not live there, but came to the region. She too failed the Jewish history test.

Here is the bottom line. It truly is set in stone: Jews never left what they and the Bible call the Land of Israel. From the day the Israelites under Joshua crossed over to the west bank of the Jordan River 3,200 years ago until today, Jews have lived in the Land of Israel. They lived there during the Babylonian exile; they lived there during Persian rule; they lived there under the Roman thumb; they lived there throughout the Byzantine and Ottoman empires; they lived there during the days of Mandatory Palestine.

In 1929, for example, 67 Jews were killed in Hebron and the rest of the Jewish population was forced to leave. These were not immigrants from Europe; they and their families had lived in Hebron for at least 800 years. That same year, 20 Jews were massacred in Safed-again a community in which there had been a continuous Jewish settlement for at least 800 years. (Earlier Jewish communities in both places were eradicated by Christian crusaders in the 12th century.)

Jews lived in Jerusalem and Jericho, Nablus and Nazareth, Beersheba and Beit Shean-and these are provable facts, not Zionist fairy tales.

Towards the end of the 19th Century and through the first half of the 20th, Jews indeed came to Israel from other areas of the Near East, Africa and Europe. Most either were expelled from their homes or were fleeing persecution. Persian Jews were expelled from Iran. Jews from Iraq, Syria, Algeria, Yemen, Libya, and so many more, all fled to the one place they knew they were permitted to live freely. Jews from Russia and Germany fled pogroms, anti-Jewish riots and bloodshed. They left their material homes for their ancestral one because they were no longer allowed to live in the place they themselves were born and raised. So they joined up with the Jews who had always lived in “Palestine” to create a home for the Jews that truly was their home.

As an aside, we never see international calls for Jewish justice; no calls for return to or compensation from the lands they fled. It is always a one way street when it comes to Jews and Israel

Even Israel’s supporters forget the demographics of the Middle East, or they ignore it. They forget-or ignore-other truths, as well, such as that the Jewish Settlement in Palestine on Nov. 29, 1947, announced its acceptance of a United Nations resolution that called for the creation of two separate Palestinian states, one Jewish and one Arab; that the Jews were the only ones in the region to accept this; that seven Arab states immediately invaded the lands set aside for the Palestinian Arab state and occupied those lands for the next 19 years; that the Palestine Liberation Organization was founded in 1964, three years before the first Israelis in a generation set foot in the West Bank and Gaza, before any settlement was ever an issue; that Jordan, which illegally occupied the West Bank, denied the Jews access to their holy places from 1949 through 1967; that in the wake of the Six-Day War in June 1967, the Arab states and the PLO meeting in Khartoum adopted the infamous “three no’s”-no peace with Israel; no negotiations with Israel; no recognition of Israel; and so many other truths.

Israel and the Jewish establishment must bear most of the blame for these misperceptions. They have failed to do their jobs effectively. They have allowed anti-Semites old and new to kidnap the truth and subvert the dialogue. They have allowed the message to be obscured by false rhetoric. Helen Thomas is not the real problem, as someone with her views would not be inclined to report the truth anyway. The outwardly pro-Israel contingents of public figures, newsmakers, celebrities, advocates and such who defend Israel to the world every day are more worrisome. If even Israel’s friends do not know the truth, how can anyone expect a world, inclined to vilify Israel, to treat her justly?

The Mavi Marmara incident has marred Israel and given the anti-Semites new ammunition to fire, but it triggers an even bigger calling for Jews and for Israel right now – to find a way to change the dialogue about Israel and Jewish people as it comes to the Middle East. Israel’s supporters and historians need to do much better to present the truth and purge the spin meant to delegitimize her:

Jews have always been in Israel, and in many ways, 1948 just opened the gates for Jews to return.

Juda Engelmayer is President and Partner with the NY PR agency, HeraldPR

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Goldstone is Foolish, Bolton is Right and Obama’s an Enigma

When Ambassador John Bolton wrote in the WSJ the other day about the sad state of affairs at the U.N. and the Obama Administration’s choices now, several thoughts hit me.  A leftist Jewish judge was duped by his own naiveté and President Obama’s Middle East strategy and relationship to Israel makes very little sense to even an expert onlooker.

While I agree with Bolton on what the President’s strategy should be, Obama won’t back away from the United Nation’s farce of a Human Rights Council because he doesn’t truly view its positions on Israel as a negative. His politics and policies indicate that there is sympathy for the general U.N. bias against Israel; if sympathy is the wrong word, try political expedience for the support base to which Obama campaigned and is indebted to. I believe a combination of the two is a better explanation.

The enigma here is that he surrounded himself with key staffers whom are undoubtedly in Israel’s corner.  His Chief of Staff stands out on the top of that list; Rahm Emanuel is a son of Sabras, and a father who served the Irgun While more left leaning that I consider myself on Israel, he is a supporter.  There are others, and they have Obama’s confidence, which makes one wonder what we are all missing, or if the President’s mass appeal that turns people to mush and sends thrill up reporters’ extremities, blinds the best of us.

As to Justice Richard Goldstone, the former judge of the Constitutional Court
of South Africa, he may be a well meaning judge, and I expect he is no fool.  Yet, he fooled himself. In preparing and endorsing the report which bears his name, he should have known from consistent historical occurrences that even when a leftist Jew trying hard to see it from the “other side,” feeling a need to placate and play devil’s advocate in the public eye – as he attempted to do with his report – the attempt often fails and gets used as further “proof” that Israel is wrong.

One need not look further that the 1967 war that was thrust on Israel.  Three Arab forces tried to eliminate Israel, but Israel beat them back; yet it has since been made to look like an aggressor that baselessly stole property and destroyed the lives of the Palestinians.  In 1973, a surprise war on Yom Kippur further forced Israel’s hand and further made Israel into the bad guys.  Two falsehoods that have prevailed through today.

I am more shocked that Justice Goldstone seemed shocked at the rhetoric of the U.N. H.R.C than I am at the the H.R.C itself.  In fact, I am not shocked at the United Nations members at all.  I knew it would happen, and I’m just a U.N. outside observer, like most of us out there.  if not this report, it would have been something else.

Now we have our President Obama weighing in.  He is very possibly in way over his head if he thinks the world is going to change just because he – the rockstar – is president now. All he is doing is offering the anti-democracy, despotic and terrorist regimes time to plan more while he contemplates just how he will actually earn his Nobel .

The Goldstone Report is a foolish endeavor, as it criticized “both sides” but does not really help anyone find the path to peace; for it ignores the basic underlying truth in the Middle East: This is not about land, not about economy, trade, agriculture or human rights at all, it is about ideology, pride and an unrelenting belief by too many under the Muslim faith, that Jews (Christians too), Israel, human rights and Democracy all fly in the face of a God they revere, worship and insist wants to see the world turned upside down in his honor.

There is no negotiating with God, no deals to be made and certainly few to no accommodations made that would preclude the ultimate goal of Shariah law and total buy-in to their beliefs and way of life. To anyone claiming that this is just s small radicalized minority within Islam, why not then ask the silent majority take some more responsibility for their errant brethren, and let them begin to vocally- and physically if needed – set this awful condition right and pave the road to peace once and for all without blood and lopsided compromises.

Juda Engelmayer is President and Partner with the NY PR agency, HeraldPR

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It’s all about the food: Food Security in the New Economy

The new economy is slated to hit many people quite hard, if it hasn’t already done so.  In the past few weeks I have been traveling for work and the pain becomes more evident than before.  My wife and I discuss this often, and she would say that there are still people going to movies, Broadway shows and in restaurants, malls and even on vacation.  It seemed for a while that the hard times had not come, but to the teleprompters of the daily news anchors.  That appears to be changing.  In a small county down south in Georgia, a local newspaper owner told me that he makes payroll now on the foreclosure notices that banks are obligated to post which have doubled over last year.  He is running 20 pages of notices.

Whereas Christmas time, just a few weeks ago, mall parking lots were full, today, you can easily get a spot right by the front door.  Yet, you may find the stores  closed…

Come today, I had a confluence of very different experiences, with very different people, with essentially the same pivotal message: The food is what is important now.

Contacted last week by an old friend, now a public official, I had coffee today with New York City Councilman Bill de Blasio (D-Brooklyn), chair of the Council’s General Welfare Committee.  What began as a friendly talk about careers, kids, family and future, evolved into a discussion on food and how there is a whole new reality out there today.  The need is so great and becoming greater, he told me, that new solutions are needed, and needed fast.

“While a year ago or so issues like pride and image may have prevented people of the [middle class] from asking for help, we are looking at a new situation today.”

It was intriguing; he is passionate on the issue and has championed food security for years.

Bill comes from a democratic background, understands the needs of the average New Yorker, and is running for Public Advocate to help advance his ideals.

Later in the evening I was in a very different place; the annual dinner for our kids’ school held at the Marriott Marquis in Times Square.  This was an opulent event, yet relatively less than years past.  The pre-dinner buffet had just about everything you could enjoy and more, and one may not have known that food was an issue for some.

The speeches began and the story of the struggle to make this dinner happen this year was revealed.  Between the markets as they are and Bernard Madoff’s mind blowing criminal scheme (for which he should not be allowed bail, IMHO – but I need to get back to the point), the school and many of its benefactors suffered some serious losses.  We were told about the amenities that had been cut to make the night possible and to make it affordable and profitable as the same time.  The committee believed that there was also a need to address the realities of the world today.

We saw that there were no centerpieces on the table.  Instead, the money that would have been spent on them, as a note on the table explained, was sent to an Israeli organization called Table to Table, which feeds those in need; school children, families and military serving in the Gaza front.

They could have put the money to anything; a hospital, shelter, or even to subsidize other families at this dinner.  Instead, the dinner committee felt it necessary to let us know that while we are aware that there is a war in Israel, and Israel can use a lot of things to help out right now, the basic need for food is prevalent.

From a coffee shop in Manhattan with a liberal City Councilman trying to feed those in need, to a major dinner with many upper middle class and wealthy people feeding themselves generously, the message I gleaned was that food security is as important, if not even more, than many issues facing people today.  To be healthy, strong, well educated and poised to make the positive differences in our world tomorrow, we need to help nourish people today.

It is a basic need that many of us take for granted.  We must not!


Filed under Food Pantries, Food Security, Israel

The Problem Even with Jewish Coverage of Israel in Gaza… Israel in General

Atlantic Monthly writer Jeffrey Goldberg penned an op-ed in the NY Times yesterday that pretty much sums up the Arab Israel conflict in a way that too many peace seeking anti-Israel leftists often miss.  In his travails through Hamas territory, Goldberg elicited the most honest interviews with Hamas leaders.  The outcome: Hamas, Hezbollah, Iran and a decent sized segment of the Arab world believe that Jews are tantamount to the descendants of apes and pigs, and that Jews are a cursed people with no rights to Israel, and barely any rights to live among any other nations either.  Israel (Jews) is never welcome in their world and any cease fire is only temporary.

I believe I read that correctly, and I believe Goldberg was thorough.  Also, I have no doubt that it is all the true thoughts of these radical Islamists who control a vast majority of Arab thought and Arab lands.

Why is any of this new or different?  It normally wouldn’t be.

Most of us who support Israel as we do knew this before the op-ed ran in the Times.  Most of us, in fact, believe that the left and even some on the right who promote a two-state solution as if simply opening borders, encouraging commerce, trade, education and all the good things that civil societies enjoy will convince Israel’s neighbors that the Jews are not such bad neighbors to have alongside them, delude themselves and miss the point of Goldberg’s discoveries.

What makes it incredible to me is how Goldberg’s piece is irresponsibly titled.  After penning the 1489 words in this piece, pro0freading it, editing it again and double checking the facts, Goldberg, who is Jewish and admittedly felt uncomfortable during some of these talks (or a NY Times editor) chose to make the title “Why Israel Can’t Make Peace With Hamas“.

Does that strike you funny?  It does me.  After reading how Islamic clerics and leaders across the Arab nations and territories loathe Israel and cannot accept Jews as neighbors – pigs, apes, infidels, cursed, Holocaust denial, etc – the onus was put on Israel; better served would this piece and the readers have been had the title been, “Why Hamas Won’t Ever Make Peace with Israel.”

I would also have accepted “Why Arabs…”

Even where the writer cannot help but to exemplify the hatred amongst Arabs for Israel and Jews, the left must still try to sway the argument, if only so slightly.

It simply doesn’t make sense.


Juda Engelmayer is President and Partner with the NY PR agency, HeraldPR and a contributor to the Cutting Edge News.

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