Anti-Israel fly-in protest is a bust

Sunday, April 15, 2012 |  Ryan Jones

Israel was on alert Sunday for a planned mass fly-in protest, or "flytilla," by foreign anti-Israel activists protesting the Jewish state's control of Judea and Samaria, including the eastern half of Jerusalem. But by the end of the work day, a mere 27 activists had managed to land in Israel. They were quickly detained and deported.

The stunt was largely thwarted by Israel loudly publicizing the fact that it would deny entry to the activists, insisting that they were arriving for the sole purpose of provoking unrest. As a result, most airlines cancelled the activists' tickets rather than be billed for their return flights upon deportation from Israel. Unable to even reach Israel, hundreds of the activists demonstrated at an airport in Paris.

Those who did make it to Israel were presented an official letter of welcome by Israel's Foreign Ministry. The wry letter read:

Dear activist,

We appreciate your choosing to make Israel the object of your humanitarian concerns. We know there were many other worthy choices.

You could have chosen to protest they Syrian regime's daily savagery against its own people, which has claimed thousands of lives.

You could have chosen to protest the Iranian regime's brutal crackdown on dissent and support of terrorism throughout the world.

You could have chosen to protest Hamas rule in Gaza, where terror organizations commit a double war crime by firing rockets at civilians and hiding behind civilians.

But instead you chose to protest against Israel, the Middle East's sole democracy, where women are equal, the press criticizes the government, human rights organizations can operate freely, religious freedom is protected for all and minorities do not live in fear.

Therefore we suggest to let you solve first the real problems of the region, and then come back and share with us your experience.

Have a nice flight.

The letter was seen as a public relations victory, as it strongly highlighted the grossly exaggerated attention paid to Israel and its conflict with the Palestinian Arabs, a conflict that pales in comparison with so many other crises around the world. For many, it is that gross exaggeration, that irrational obsession with what "the Jews" are doing, that marks such schemes as anti-Semitic.

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