Forward Thinking

How the Flotilla Helps Hamas

By Ezra Glinter

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Waiting for Flotilla

Chrisopher Hitchens, in a July 4 piece on Slate linked to on Tuesday by J.J. Goldberg, almost got it almost right.

“It seems safe and fair to say that the flotilla and its leadership work in reasonably close harmony with Hamas, which constitutes the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood,” he wrote.

It’s unclear if Hitchens, by “in reasonably close harmony,” meant to suggest that the flotilla activists are in actual collaboration with the Islamist organization that governs Gaza, or just that they are self-consciously in sympathy with it. Whichever it is, the claim is large, and unsubstantiated. Worse, it distracts from a more important truth.

Whether those aboard the flotilla are working with, or have had any communication with Hamas, doesn’t matter. Whether they believe in Hamas’s Islamist ideology and declared mission to destroy Israel, doesn’t matter. Either way, their actions support Hamas.

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The Futility of Barring Flotilla Coverage

By Gal Beckerman

Never thought I would say this, but Benjamin Netanyahu just saved me from banging my head against the wall in desperate frustration.

This morning brought news that Israel’s Government Press Office had warned media outlets that any foreign correspondent found aboard the flotilla about to set sail for Gaza would be “denied entry into the State of Israel for ten years” as well as “the impoundment of their equipment” and “additional sanctions.” Attempting to write about the harsh measure with a degree of dispassionate objectivity, Ethan Bronner at the New York Times could barely contain his own anger — his article seemed to almost burst at the seams.

A few hours later though Netanyahu overruled his own press team and put out a statement saying that journalists would be exempt from “the usual policy applied to infiltrators and those who enter illegally” — a decision greeted by the Foreign Press Association. He also said that reporters would be invited along on the Israeli navy ships set to intercept the “Freedom Flotilla,” in order, Netanyahu said, to ensure “transparency and accurate coverage.”

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