The Charade Begins: Netanyahu’s Flotilla Massacre Probe Testimony

On August 9, Israel’s self-appointed Turkel Commission, its planned whitewash, began hearings into the Freedom Flotilla massacre, a humanitarian mission delivering essential aid to besieged Gazans, Israeli officials blaming the victims, not themselves.

After the incident, Defense Minister Ehud Barak said organizers incited the attack. His deputy, Danny Ayalon, connected them to international terrorists, trying to smuggle in arms, bogusly claiming weapons were found on board the mother ship, the Mavi Marmara.

Netanyahu’s spokesman, Mark Regev, accused the activists of “initiat(ing) the violence,” insisting IDF commandos “were attacked with knives, clubs, and even live fire.” Chief of Staff General, Gabi Ashkenazi, said soldiers were forced by violence to open fire.

He and other Israeli officials lied, clear evidence showing commandos attacked peaceful activists even before boarding, shooting others multiple times at point blank range, some in the head. Their well-planned mission was to interdict, attack, assassinate designated targets, seize the ship’s cargo, take prisoners, brutalize them, then send them to an Israeli prison for interrogations.

Straightaway, damage control cover-up began, including appointment of the Turkel Commission, Israel’s thinly veiled whitewash, hearings now underway – on day one, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu the first witness, Israel’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs publishing his full testimony. Let the charade begin.

Deceiving no one, he absolved his government and IDF commandos, saying they:

conducted themselves in accordance with international law….display(ing) a rare courage in fulfilling their mission and in defending themselves against a real threat to their lives. I have full confidence in our soldiers, and the State of Israel is proud of them. (My) appearance before this committee is the best evidence of the high standards by which Israel’s democracy functions.

Democracy or hypocrisy? In Israel, as in America, for the privileged, not others; for Jews, not Arabs; why observers call Israel a failed state, a rogue one – reckless, lawless, and out-of-control, the Flotilla massacre one of many examples, murdering civilians in international waters, the Prime Minister condoning it, his above statement self-explanatory – words of a criminal, not a leader, asserting bald-faced lies, making false accusations, saying:

Israel has always been different (from other Middle East states) – very different. Israel is a liberal, democratic country governed by the rule of law, with independent courts, a bona fide parliament, and a free press.

False.  Israel spurns democracy, the rule of law, and free expression, treating Jews one way, Palestinians another, including 1.5 million Arab citizens, denied their rights, treated like a fifth column in an alien land — persecuted, threatened, and intimidated to leave, perhaps expelled one day if they won’t.

Yet Netanyahu cited “unprecedented threats of war and terrorism,” his government “defend(ing) the security of its people and protect(ing) its democratic values, (meeting) this challenge for 62 years.”

No nations threaten Israel, the region’s only nuclear power, its history blood-drenched in violence against neighbors and Occupied Palestinians, living for 43 years under conditions Westerners can’t imagine, surviving and persisting nonetheless, determined one day to be free on their own land in their own country, reclaiming just 22% of what Israel stole, or living cooperatively in one state treating Muslims, Jews, Christians and all others equally, renouncing violence to live peacefully, what Israel won’t do and never has, its politics driven by violence, its motive – a dominant Jewish-only Greater Israel, dividing and subjugating other regional states, rendering them weak and subservient, what’s never acknowledged but true. What the Turkel Commission knows but won’t hear or discuss.

Netanyahu then bogusly called Hamas a terrorist organization, “work(ing) toward the destruction of Israel,” assisted by Iran, “also (wanting) to wipe Israel off the map….equipp(ing) Hamas with thousands of rockets, missiles, and other weapons, (transforming Gaza) into a terrorist enclave.” False, but Turkel Commission members won’t dispute it.

Asked by its members to justify military action, Netanyahu called it “a last resort, and the instructions were to conduct it with as little friction as possible.” False again. Planned weeks in advance, commandos had names and photos of activists to assassinate. Even IDF video was faked, filmed in advance on a look-alike ship, staged to comply with Israel’s version of events, the real ones entirely different, showing intent to commit premeditated murder.

Yet Netanyahu claimed Flotilla activists were terrorists, “interested with clashing with the IDF,” saying commandos had a right to defend themselves from violent attacks, the way Israel always blames victims for its crimes, in this case courageous activists delivering humanitarian aid, risking their lives and welfare doing it, knowing the risks, yet committed as are other planned flotillas coming, determined to break Israel’s illegal siege.

Haaretz Writer Gideon Levy Comments

On August 8, ahead of Netanyahu’s testimony, he headlined, “Missing the forest,” saying:

“Does anyone actually know the meaning of the term ‘Jewish state’? Wouldn’t it be better to live in a just democracy,” instead of Israel’s fake one?

Levy calls Israel’s “forest of political, governmental and institutional racism… dark and deep, (containing many) poisonous trees: Citizenship laws, loyalty laws, conversion laws, the razing of Bedouin villages in the Negev,” Israeli citizens losing their homes to make way for Jews, “and even the story of the Arab delivery man who was convicted of rape for pretending to be a Jew.”

Few see the “big picture… several times worse than the sum of its components,” more than ever today under Netanyahu, Israel’s most extremist ever leader, backed by a rogue government — militant, racist, fundamentalist, and dangerous, threatening everyone in the region.

“Defining Israel as a Jewish state condemns us to living in a racist (one). This is the new definition of Zionism,” moving relentlessly from one injustice to another, a character “embedded in the state’s most fundamental values. There is no other state” where religion is so blatantly one-sided.

“Jewish blood, whether authentic or dubious, is kosher. Other blood… is unacceptable.” Does this not reflect “a new kind of ‘racial purity… a religious ethnocracy or an apartheid state? Wouldn’t it be better to live in a just democracy? And how is it even possible” to call a Jewish state democratic, especially one defiling the rule of law, committing crimes of war and against humanity throughout its history, murdering humanitarian activists in international waters, claiming it’s self-defense, suppressing truths too disturbing to reveal under a leader even Jews should fear, Levy earlier saying Israelis should be worried.

Discussing the Flotilla attack, he cited a “chorus singing songs of falsehood and lies,” accusing activists of committing “a violent attack on Israeli sovereignty,” outrageous propaganda claiming the aid convoy violated international law, not the siege but legitimate aid trying to break it, so stopping it by cold-blooded murder is righteously justified.

“We (are now) portrayed not only as the ones that have blocked assistance, but also as fools who do everything to even further undermine our own standing,” Israel’s friend, Mario Vargas Llosa saying the “occupation was approaching its grotesque phase.”

More astute analysts know that passed long ago, reaching new heights under Netanyahu, Levy calling him “Tricky Bibi,” a pathetic outrageous extremist, preaching peace while waging war, practicing deceit, a man “betraying himself in his own words as a con artist,” worst of all a dangerous, treacherous one, endangering Jews like Arabs, Exhibit A the Flotilla massacre exposing Israel’s true face, revealing what everyone in the region fears, most of all peace and democracy advocates, notions Netanyahu and his colleagues won’t tolerate.

A Final Comment

On June 2, the UN Human Rights Council (HRC) approved formation of an international committee (like the Goldstone Commission) to probe the Flotilla attack, comprised of lawyers and international law and human rights experts. They’ll visit Israel, Turkey, Greece, and the Flotilla coalition, then present its findings in September, during the Council’s three week Geneva session. If they investigate as admirably as Judge Goldstone, expect a true account of Israeli lawlessness, exposing the real face of a rogue state.

Stephen Lendman wrote How Wall Street Fleeces America: Privatized Banking, Government Collusion and Class War. Contact him at: Also visit his blog site and listen to The Global Research News Hour on Mondays from 11AM-1PM US Central time for cutting-edge discussions with distinguished guests. All programs are archived for easy listening. Read other articles by Stephen.

14 comments on this article so far ...

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  1. hayate said on August 10th, 2010 at 8:58am #

    Decent piece from Lendman. Hopefully, the arrogance of the ziofascists in defending their despicable war crimes against the Gaza convoy will further erode israeli standing and hasten the demise of that racist country.

  2. mary said on August 10th, 2010 at 9:16am #

    Did you know that the Mavi Marmara was completely repainted by the Israelis before it was returned to Turkey? They obviously hope to cover up the bloodstains and the bullet holes and all evidence of their crimes.

  3. Ismail Zayid said on August 10th, 2010 at 11:59am #

    Blaming the victims is a standard element in the Zionist Israeli lexicon. We see it again in this vicious attack on the Mavi Marmara, bringing humanitarian aid to the starved 1.5 million people in Gaza. Mr. Netanyahu, in his statement before the Turkel Commission confirms that, in a series of lies that have no bearing on the facts. We are told that the peace activists in the Flotilla initiated the violent attack on the israeli soldiers, who were acting in self defense by waging an assault on this unarmed flotilla in international waters. Was Mr. Netanyahu aware of whose helicopters and naval vessels are that bombarded this flotialla before landing on it?!!

    This story of aggression and falsifacation of the facts is only a recent chapter in Israeli history against its neighbours or anyone who voices a call for justice for the oppressed and dehumanised Palestinian people. I think Gideon Levy, in his statement quoted by Stephen Lendman, sums it accurately and very well.

  4. mnbob said on August 10th, 2010 at 2:21pm #

    Ismail, if the people of Gaza are so starved, how did they manage to recently open a new very modern and well stocked shopping mall?

    Must have been my imagination. I wish I could paste a few photos.

    Oh by the way, it has its own swimming pool, although I don’t know why. There are miles of beautiful beaches available. But then again there aren’t any sharks in the pool!

    Question is who’s lying, you or the Israelis. Maybe a little on both sides?

  5. Rehmat said on August 10th, 2010 at 6:18pm #

    mnbob – Have you ever thought that Someone stole a few millions from $3 billion USAID to the zionist entity?

    Now some food for non-Zionist thought….

    Look how Israel rejected and condemned the UN’s Goldstone Report documenting possible war crimes during the 2008-09 attack on Gaza. Look at its refusal to allow the UN’s Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, Professor Richard Falk, to enter the West Bank to carry out his mandate. Look at Israel’s refusal to allow Archbishop Desmond Tutu into Gaza to help conduct an international investigation. Look at the one time Israel pretended to agree to cooperate with a UN investigation team, in 2002, when the UN was set to examine the killing of civilians in the Jenin refugee camp during Israel’s re-occupation of the West Bank……..

  6. mary said on August 10th, 2010 at 11:00pm #

    For the new troll on the block mn bob –

    and the sea is full of sewage (as if you didn’t know) because the sewage system, which has been bombed in the past, is not fully functional. Parts to repair it are in short supply and sometimes there is not even any electricity with which to run it. You also run the risk of being shot at by an Israeli gunboat if you do go swimming or fishing in the tiny amount of the Mediterranean sea the people of Gaza have access to.

    Enough of your nonsense please.

  7. hayate said on August 11th, 2010 at 10:29pm #


    “Did you know that the Mavi Marmara was completely repainted by the Israelis before it was returned to Turkey? They obviously hope to cover up the bloodstains and the bullet holes and all evidence of their crimes.”

    The former doesn’t surprise me at all, and the latter, definitely, that is what they are up to. I think of israel as a country of petty thugs, run by petty thugs elevated to absurd levels. Ever see the camp film, “Scarface”? With israel, it’s like the main character of that film runs the place, and is idolised as a god by the majority of the rest.

  8. mary said on August 12th, 2010 at 1:14am #

    Not enough ‘smiting’ was done apparently Hayate!

    smite (smt)
    v. smote (smt), smit·ten (smtn) or smote, smit·ing, smites
    a. To inflict a heavy blow on, with or as if with the hand, a tool, or a weapon.
    b. To drive or strike (a weapon, for example) forcefully onto or into something else.
    2. To attack, damage, or destroy by or as if by blows.
    a. To afflict: The population was smitten by the plague.
    b. To afflict retributively; chasten or chastise.
    4. To affect sharply with great feeling: He was smitten by deep remorse.

    To deal a blow with or as if with the hand or a hand-held weapon.


  9. hayate said on August 12th, 2010 at 9:46am #


    Jesus, those disgusting things are still promoting those lies. They remind me of a little boy, hiding behind a skinny sapling and thinking nobody can see him. Both the israelis, and their media pets covering for them.

  10. teafoe2 said on August 12th, 2010 at 11:26am #

    Thank you again, Mary, for disposing of that disgusting liar “mbob”. one saboteur down, how many to go.

  11. mary said on August 14th, 2010 at 1:52am #

    An American friend wrote to correct inaccuracies in an article in the Miami Herald.

    openobserver wrote on 08/14/2010 01:01:26 AM:

    I am writing to correct a few errors in your story.

    1. The Israeli commando attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla happened around 4:30 a.m. on May 31st, not 30th.

    2. Nine unarmed people on the Turkish Mavi Marmara didn’t “die.” They were shot dead by heavily armed, masked commandos under orders to use lethal force from Israel’s leaders, in international waters — violating the human rights of the passengers, including 14 Americans — and, yes, one of Israel’s victims indeed was an American-Turkish lad of only 19, who’d intended to become a doctor, Furkan Dogan, executed at point-blank range with two bullets to the head and three to the back and legs (readers may care to see a picture of him, to humanize the story, to see his sweetness: ( .

    3. The IHH did NOT organize the flotilla, but co-organized it with three other humanitarian groups, the Free Gaza movement of the United States, the European Campaign to End the Occupation, and the Swedish-Greek coalition to end the siege of Gaza.

    4. IHH has no ties to Hamas, which was freely elected and is labeled “terrorist” by the U.S. and Israel.

    5. Israel, not Hamas, controls life on the Gaza Strip. That is why the Flotilla sailed, for Gaza’s Freedom: to provide essential goods Israel illegally blocks, and to demand world governments enforce international human rights law and stop letting Israel get away with abusing Palestinians’ rights.

    Thank you for letting me share this.

  12. mary said on August 17th, 2010 at 2:37am #

    There was a shocker of a documentary broadcast on BBC1 last night. Jane Corbin was reporting on the attack. It was straight out of Regev’s department in Tel Aviv. Outrage has followed.

    My comment on this BBC blog was:

    ‘Simple fact. Jane Corbin is an Israeli shill. Yet again, the Palestinians have been betrayed by the British Broadcasting Corporation.’

    At first it was moderated but now like many others it is being subjected to ‘further investigation’ as have many of the over 100 comments!

    34. At 10:06pm on 16 Aug 2010, viva palestina wrote:
    This comment has been referred for further consideration. Explain **

    **’Sometimes, a comment may be referred for further investigation to a supervisor, host, editor or the Central Communities Team, who are responsible for moderation across all BBC services. Your post will be hidden while a decision is pending and the time taken to make this decision will depend on the investigation necessary.’

    Perhaps one of the thought police from the Central Communities Team will be round to arrest me! There’s an Orwellian title for the outside company that the BBC employ to bury any dissenting opinion. Some of the dissent has been allowed through as you can see. Just to prove that they have no bias perhaps but notice the likes of Sebastian get as much space as they like to shill for Israhell and propagate the lies.

    There is a link to the actual programme within the link above.

  13. mary said on August 19th, 2010 at 3:06pm #

    What is it with these Israeli military personnel? Always stealing other people’s property.

    Passports, money, credit cards and cameras were reported stolen from the passengers and apparently their laptops too.

  14. mary said on August 21st, 2010 at 1:05am #

    From Free Gaza

    First Murder, then Theft and Lies from the “World’s Most Moral Army”

    [London, August 21, 2010] An investigation revealed by Israeli news sources confirms that an Israeli military officer and soldiers stole and sold laptops belonging to passengers on board the Freedom Flotilla, which was illegally boarded by Israeli forces on May 31, 2010.

    The Israeli military now claims that “[t]he IDF did not receive complaints of stolen computers after the Navy raid on the Gaza-bound flotilla,” and is suggesting that “the civilians who were on the ships chose not to complain in light of the complicated incident they had gone through.”

    The Free Gaza Movement, one of the organizers of the flotilla, says that statement is patently untrue. Passengers immediately filed complaints with their consular representatives and embassies about possessions taken from them. They also submitted extensive affidavits to lawyers, and reported it to the media: millions of dollars’ worth of computers, cameras, phones, cash, jewelry and other equipment was taken, and none has been returned. Embassies have repeatedly told us that they are in touch with the Israelis about getting our belongings back.

    Col. Ann Wright, one of the passengers on board the U.S. flagged ship, Challenger 1, stated, “Since the U.S. State Department has assured me that they are in touch with the Israeli authorities about our belongings, I expect that they would respond to these articles that say the Israeli government did not know that passengers were missing any personal possessions.”

    In addition, our lawyers at Adalah have been corresponding with the Israeli military authorities about the missing personal property, including computers. Therefore, it is a deliberate lie to say they have not received any complaints.

    “Many of these computers, cameras and phones may contain vital evidence of Israeli military crimes committed during the attack on our ships,” said Free Gaza chairperson and attorney Huwaida Arraf. “Despite repeated requests, Israel has refused to return the equipment or turn it over to the United Nations. Instead it has stolen documents from our computers and cameras to use for propaganda purposes.”

    While the actions of the officer and soldiers who stole and sold a half dozen laptops is reprehensible, it is Israel’s military and political leaders that must be held accountable for the larger crimes of aggression, murder, unlawful detention, bodily harm, confiscation and pillaging of property, tampering with evidence and more. All of these issues are being pursued by lawyers in Europe, Turkey, and the United States.

    Contact: Huwaida Arraf,
    Col. Ann Wright
    Audrey Bomse, legal coordinator
    Adam Shapiro