"I was one of those who chose to defy Israeli forces when they attacked and took our Freedom Flotilla ships that were trying to deliver desperately needed humanitarian aid to civilian organizations in the Israeli blockaded Gaza Strip. Most of us resisted, to varying degrees, for which we paid a price -- in my case multiple beatings in two days of captivity in Israel. At least nine paid with their lives. "OK, so now Mr. Larudee is saying the goal of the flotilla really was to bring "desperately needed" aid to Gaza. This is interesting, because flotilla organizers have said in the past their goal was something substantially different. The Guardian reports that the goal was, in addition to bringing aid,
"All of us were unarmed. I chose to resist by jumping overboard from the Sfendoni soon after we were captured, far out at sea. I took the calculated risk that Israel would find it hard to explain its failure to rescue me, and that the act might disrupt their operations to at least some extent. Later, I continued to protest by refusing to speak or walk, forcing my captors to carry me. Pain was used to force me to comply, and of course, when pain didn't work, they applied more pain, with the same result."So here Larudee claims a few interesting things. He randomly jumps into the water, in the hopes that the IDF won't be able to find him and "disrupt" their operation. When he says they "would find it hard to explain its failure to rescue me," does that mean he didn't want to be rescued? Was he perhaps hoping to drown and make Israel look bad? Only one kind of person would take a risk like that: A fanatic.
He also "refuses to speak or walk". Is it any stretch of the imagination that when the IDF soldiers tried to carry him, he struck back? Or that they got frustrated and hit him anyway? I feel like saying: If he didn't want trouble, he shouldn't have made trouble. Besides, we have only his word that he protested non-violently, and we have a bunch of IDF soldiers in the hospital to suggest the other members of his movement aren't quite as devoted to pacifism. But I can't prove him wrong, so we'll move on.
"I practice nonviolence, so that is the way I resist, but it's not necessarily for everyone. A number of passengers aboard the Mavi Marmara, who were from thirty-two different nations, responded with their hands, feet, and whatever objects were at hand. I admire them for doing so; they knew that Israel has a reputation for disproportionate response. It also seems increasingly probable that the Israeli soldiers killed some of the victims at close range before any resistance had begun."Now, Larudee has just admitted that he was on board the Sfendoni, not the Marmara, so he really has no idea what went down there. He claims that the Israelis killed some activists in close range, but he offers no explanation a) why we should believe him and b) why the Israelis would do that. He also "admires" his allies for fighting the Israelis, which is very interesting. Would he "admire" them if, say, they sucker-punched the commandos and took four of them hostage? But at the end of the day, we have no reason to believe anything Larudee writes about what happened on the Marmara. He wasn't there, so everything he's saying is hearsay and most likely configured to meet the Free Gaza party line.
"Let us please not try to justify Israeli actions by appealing to security arguments or "self defense." Self-defense is for those who are being attacked, not those who are attacking. Furthermore, there were no arms of any kind aboard our humanitarian aid ships. Most if not all of us would have refused to participate in the voyage otherwise. Let's not be duped into buying the snake oil that Israel is trying to peddle. If the attackers of our ships had been Iranian, would anyone be making the absurd excuses we are now hearing for Israeli actions?"Larudee knew that the IDF would try to stop the boats. He knew that the blockade is technically legal under international law, and that Israel is legally allowed to stop the flotilla, and use violence if necessary. His claim of self-defense simply does not hold up. If a criminal speeds past a cop and the cop tries to stop him, can the criminal claim he's defending himself when he attacks the cop? That's exactly what Larudee and the rest were, criminals breaking the law.
The rest of the post is standard anti-Israel rhetoric, the myth about General Petraeus' remarks, Israel's actions are "disproportionate", etc. But I just want to say this, Paul Larudee is one of the heads of the Free Gaza movement. In this "he said, she said" kind of situation, he is in the same level as General Gabi Ashkenazi in terms of how believable his testimony is. The fact that the Huffington Post has published his remarks is not surprising, but unfortunately neither is the fact that they have not and most likely will not publish the comprehensive report Israel will eventually come out with describing the Israeli side of the events.
The Free Gaza movement is not the innocent, dogooding band of humanitarians they claimed to be. They have lied in the past, more often than not. Good thing we can rely on the HP to give lying, terrorist supporters fanatics a platform to make their voices heard. If only they did the same for Israel.