Kalt Und Fest

Israelis frightened by the avalanche of criticism against Israel: Don’t press the panic button.


By Moshe Arens

(A version of this column appeared in Haaretz on June 7, 2010.)

Many years ago, when Ze’ev Jabotinsky and his followers were assaulted by waves of hatred and anger and called fascists and murderers, he issued a call to his adherents: “Kalt und fest!” – Cool and firm! This too shall pass. This advice is appropriate today to Israelis, supporters of Israel and all those who are engaged in the war against terrorism, in the face of the almost universal condemnation leveled against Israel.

The incident off Israel’s coast last week was no more than a skirmish in a long war against international terror, a war in which the terrorists will be defeated regardless of the public relations experts they may hire and the many naive bleeding hearts throughout the world who naively lend them their support in the mistaken belief that they are “freedom fighters” who are justified in using terror as a weapon.

What happened off the coast of Israel early Monday morning? Israel fell for a fast one engineered by the Turkish organizers of this “humanitarian” flotilla, who adamantly refused to allow Israel to send, via Ashdod, the supplies they were bringing for the residents of the Gaza Strip. Aware that there was no humanitarian crisis in Gaza and that Israel was trucking in tons of supplies every day while the Egyptians insisted on closing their border with the Gaza Strip, these organizers were out to demonstrate that they could confront Israel and win.

In Turkey the ship took in a gang of hooligans, armed with iron bars, knives and other implements and intent on bludgeoning to death any Israeli soldiers who might board their ship.

And bludgeon, beat and knife the young Israelis they did. Were it not for the bravery of these naval commandos, who used their weapons only as a last resort, after being attacked, many Israelis would have attended military funerals the next day. Instead, they are visiting the injured soldiers in the hospital.

These “humanitarian” hooligans, their pockets stuffed with dollar bills, did not even present themselves as humanitarian volunteers. They refuse to divulge their identities after they were apprehended. Who are they? Certainly not do-gooders, concerned for the welfare of the population in Gaza. Who hired and funded them? That will surely become clear in the coming days.

It is at a time like this that people show their true colors. Take, for example, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. For some months he has been escalating his attacks against Israel. But now he has become genuinely vicious and threatening, allying himself with Iran’s president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Erdogan is making it clear that not only is he not a friend of Israel, but is allied with Israel’s enemies. And this man, who represents the country that committed genocide against the Armenians and is now persecuting its Kurdish population, is preaching to Israel about how to behave humanely.

One can only wonder what our former prime minister, Ehud Olmert, had in mind when he asked Erdogan to mediate between Israel and Syria. The European Union, some of whose members have joined the chorus of criticism against Israel, nevertheless wants to keep this kind of Turkey out of the EU.

A word to those Israeli Arabs who are again declaring support for Israel’s enemies. They do not represent the majority of Israel’s Arab citizens, but they are doing their level best to damage the relationship between Jews and Arabs in Israel.

As for Ra’ad Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement – a subversive movement that is allied with Hamas and should have been outlawed long ago – it was no surprise to see him on board the Turkish boat. He should have been in jail rather than cruising on the Mediterranean with the Turkish hoodlums.

And I say to those Israelis, frightened by the avalanche of criticism against Israel, who are running for cover and accusing the government rather than explaining the problem for Israel of Gaza’s being controlled by Hamas, which is allied with Hezbollah and Iran: Don’t press the panic button. Kalt und fest!

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