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June 13, 2010
What about Egypt's blockade of Gaza?
Egypt's blockade of the Gaza Strip entered its fourth year this week, depriving the area's residents of access to numerous goods and services and, according to one report, even contributing to severe health problems among the population.
That's right - Egypt's blockade.
While the United Nations and the international news media denounce Israel for its sea blockade of Gaza, and the Obama administration pressures Israel to back down, Egypt maintains a near-total land blockade of the strip, without a single foreign government protesting.
And whom may we thank for helping to expose the world's incredible double standard? Amazingly, of all people - Bill Ayers and Bernardine Dohrn.
That's right - Ayers and Dohrn, the former (but unrepentant) 1960s Weather Underground terrorists whose friendship with Barack Obama was the cause of so much controversy during the 2008 presidential campaign.
Ayers and Dohrn are very active in the "Free Gaza" movement that has organized numerous attempts to bring goods to Gaza, including the recent flotilla disaster. Whether they personally had any connection to the flotilla is not known. But what is known is the duo's deep involvement in another recent, though unsuccessful, attempt by Free Gaza to breach the blockade of Gaza - from Egypt.
Aaron Klein of World Net Daily revealed earlier this year that Ayers and Dohrn were among 1,400 Free Gaza activists who arrived in Egypt in December 2009 with the intent of marching into Gaza. The Egyptian government, dubbing the activists a threat to national security, banned the march.
A press release issued by Free Gaza at the time reported that when the activists protested Egypt's action, they were "violently forced into pens in Tahir Square by Egyptian police and additional security forces. Reports of police brutality are flooding a delegate legal hotline faster than the legal support team can answer the calls. The reports span from women being kicked, beaten to the ground and dragged into pens, at least one confirmed account of broken ribs, and many left bloody."
You did not read about this in the New York Times, nor hear any demands for a "transparent investigation" from the State Department's press spokesman.
Ms. Dohrn, writing later on her blog, described how she and Mr. Ayers went to the U.S. embassy in Cairo to protest, only to be "ushered into a holding pen a block away from the embassy building where we joined 35 people already there, surrounded by Egyptian soldiers."
Interviewed on Chicago's "Heartland Cafe" radio program on January 23, Dohrn called the Egyptian regime "miserable" and "authoritarian," and Ayers complained that the Egyptian military was "everywhere . . . you could be in front of the Egyptian Museum in downtown Cairo, and you could be like, 'I don't see any police,' well, try to unfurl a banner and see who comes out!"
According to pro-Gaza activist Ahmed Shokr, Egypt's blockade "has effectively tightened Gaza's economic strangulation, causing acute shortages in basic supplies, a near-complete halt in industrial production, and a sharp rise in health and sanitary problems. It has contributed to what several human rights organizations have described as the worst humanitarian crisis in Gaza since ... 1967."
In fact, according to Shokr, it was the confrontation with the Free Gaza members in December that led Egypt's foreign minister to announce "a ban on all future aid convoys destined for Gaza...leaving international activists no recourse but the sea to deliver supplies to the besieged strip."
Talk about irony. Egypt's land blockade and bloody suppression of Free Gaza protests, ignored by the world, led directly to Free Gaza's attempt to break Israel's sea blockade, in which Israeli soldiers are nearly beaten to death by frenzied mobs of "peace activists," and Israel is denounced by a frenzied mob of international inquisitors.
Nor is Egypt's blockade the only aspect of complicity by a Muslim-majority country that the faltering news media fail to report.
In her quick reaction to the flotilla affair, Gov. Sarah Palin admonished her readers to "seek out fair reporting to ensure you have all the information...."
"We should be asking some serious questions," Palin wrote on June 1st, less than two days after the incident, "about Turkey's role in this whole affair."
"Why is a fellow member of NATO sponsoring such a dangerous publicity stunt?" The Turkish government sponsored the pro-Hamas flotilla, enabled a violent mob assault by Turkish citizens on Israeli soldiers, and treated the returning attackers as heroes. "The media insults our intelligence with their outright mischaracterization of who these enemies are," Gov. Palin noted. Yet reporters accept at face value Turkey's claims that it is the aggrieved party.
Wouldn't it be right for the international news media to direct towards Egypt and Turkey even a few of the tough questions with which they have relentlessly been bombarding Israel?
Benyamin Korn, former executive editor of the Jewish Exponent (Philadelphia), is director of Jewish Americans for Sarah Palin, and editor at JewsForSarah.com