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Sunday, June 27, 2010

Of course Free Gaza is not a humanitarian group

Barry Rubin, and some other blogs, have been talking about the Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center's finding documents on the flotilla ships that indicate that Free Gaza's aims were not humanitarian, but political, and that they seemed to be instructing their members not to explicitly show that they are de facto supporters of Hamas in order to avoid apparent ties to terror.

The documents are almost certainly legitimate. Documents released by ITIC are, for all intents and purposes, the same as if the IDF sent them out. They work together and ITIC often publishes things before the IDF does, but it does not do so without at least the IDF's tacit approval.

The thing is that we don't need these documents to know Free Gaza's aims. Even though they are registered as a "humanitarian organization," in their own mailings they have made it very clear that they are not - and they say this explicitly on their own web site:

GOALS
There is a time when silence is complicity and inaction is unacceptable. Free Gaza is neither a "protest group" nor an aid agency. Our mission and our work are political. We are a Palestinian and international effort dedicated to the principle of non-violent direct action. We are engaged in active, civil resistance against the ongoing Israeli occupation of Palestine, and the violence this occupation uses to sustain itself.

We do bring medicine, supplies, and doctors to besieged Gaza as we can, but this is utterly insufficient. Although humanitarian aid is very much needed, especially now in Gaza, focusing on humanitarian efforts alone is a form of complicity in Israel's malevolent quest to destroy the Palestinian people.
They have said, in an email to their supporters, that they are against humanitarian aid!
While many potential funders recognize the significance of our work, for various reasons they have not come through with funding. Most prefer their financial contributions go toward to humanitarian aid for Palestine. But Palestine is not a charity case! There are hundreds of millions being pumped into Palestine by aid agencies that are unable or unwilling to address the political issues, or by donor countries that shirk their political, legal, and moral obligations, by throwing money at Palestine.

This aid is paying for Israel’s occupation by alleviating Israel of the responsibility to care for the people it occupies. We firmly believe that activists and people who care about Palestine should not be raising money for humanitarian aid but should focus on direct action to confront the Israeli policies that leave Palestinians in need of this aid.
So, yes, Free Gaza had already admitted to its own members a number of times that it was not a humanitarian aid agency.

In fact, it does nto even advocate peace! In another mailing sent out to members, Free Gaza said that they support a "third intifada":
The third Intifada being urged now has to be our intifada too. As Israel steps up its destruction of the Palestinian people, we need to step up our reconstruction of our resistance, our movements, of our communities in our own counties, where so many of us live in alienation and isolation. We need to be the third intifada - people here need more and say repeatedly that they need more than the demonstrations, because they are not stopping the killing here
....The third intifada needs to be a global intifada.

Even though it may be possible to read this last article as merely a call to nonviolent resistance, the usage of the term "intifada" indicates that Free Gaza had no problem with the methods of the first two.

And, indeed, they have explicitly supported violent resistance too! As yet another of their articles says,
On the Right of Resistance

We are often told that resistance is either unwarranted or impossible. Liberal apologists for Israel, such as Thomas Friedman, are constantly demanding that Palestinians lay down their arms, all the while exhorting Israelis to pick them up in ever increasing acts of violence and degradation.

...But even mainstream “peace” movements in the West try to delegitimize resistance by calling on both Palestinians and Israelis to renounce overt acts of violence, equating Palestinians who commit suicide bombings with Israelis who send F-16s, D9 military bulldozers, and Apache attack helicopters to level entire neighborhoods.

The problem is that the usually random and individual acts of violence by Palestinians against Israelis are not equal to the myriad structural oppressions and cruelties imposed on Palestinians through Israeli government policies. No Palestinian fighter jets bomb Israeli cities - because Palestine has no fighter jets....

Even immoral and self-defeating acts of violence against Israeli civilians (such as some suicide bombings are) cannot be equated with the daily humiliations, terror, and death that Israel inflicts on Palestinians by deliberate policy.

This is not to say that any and all acts of resistance are acceptable. Clearly they are not. But it grows tedious to continually hear well-meaning, but otherwise clueless, Westerners try to equate the two sides of this conflict. I am past tired of hearing white people passively whine, or shrilly demand, “Where is the Palestinian Gandhi?”

With respect, just because some people have chosen to remain ignorant of the long and deep history of Palestinian nonviolent resistance - from the 1936 Boycott to Bil’in today - does not mean that it does not exist.
The 1936 "boycott" resulted in the deaths of hundreds - it was hardly non-violent, and Free Gaza knows that very well as they extol how wonderful it was. Not to mention that they say here that some suicide bombings are acceptable!


(Now would be a good time to take screen shots of these postings before Free Gaza erases them.)

Of course Free Gaza is not a humanitarian group. It is explicitly political; and it tacitly supports violence. These facts should be brought up to every nation that has recognized it as a charity - and given it tax benefits that charity agencies normally get.