While these people were being deported, others were carrying anti-Israel placards and confronting security forces at the Airport. Yet there was not a single violent incident through the whole affair! The icing on the cake was how Israel dealt immediately with an unrelated case in which an Israeli officer was filmed striking a young man protesting against Israel. The officer was suspended pending a military inquiry. When was last time Hamas or the PLO suspended any of their own for doing far worse than striking a protester?
Where else in the Middle East (or the world for that matter) would a country deal with people who deny its right to exist in such a way? Try landing in Damascus with an anti-Assad poster or go to Cairo and scream against the Muslim Brotherhood – or even go to Ramallah and chant against Abu Mazen or to Gaza and oppose Hamas. You would most certainly not just be deported...
But Israel went one step further and distribute a letter to the protestors “questioning their motivation for protesting against the region's only democracy when terrible human rights abuses are occurring across the Middle East, especially in Assad's Syria and the Hamas-ruled Gaza strip”
On Sunday, commenting on the flytilla, Prime Minister Netanyahu said “If they want to check on the issue of human rights, they should go to Syria – maybe they will help stop the killing of thousands of innocents. They should go to Iran and stop the stoning of women. They should go to Gaza and stop the practice of using children as human shields for terrorists who fire rockets on our citizens. After they do that educational tour, they should come to Israel and we can talk with them about what they learned about the Middle East and how it really is”
I'm proud of Israel. The way the whole incident was handled was an example of how to deal with these potentially explosive situations.
I'm proud of Israel – a country and a society were dissent can be expressed, a country were people have the right to demonstrate peacefully and the right to disagree. Go Israel!