Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Diakonia Bears False Witness

Many of the various Christian organizations of Sweden--who all profess to follow a higher divine authority--seem to have a problem with that “Thou shalt not bear false witness” Biblical injunction. At first glance, Diakonia, the largest of Sweden’s Christian aid agencies, seems to be an exception. On their website, they profess that “The aim of our work is for all people to be allowed to live under dignified circumstances in a just and sustainable world, free from poverty.”

They also have a “Position paper on Israel and Palestine”, written in English. This position paper states that “it is high time to deal with the old view of the conflict that you have to make a choice – either that you support Israel or you support Palestine. To achieve a sustainable peace, the interests of both sides have to be respected or we will create ongoing tensions and a constant risk of new violence”. The position paper also states that “it is of fundamental importance that Diakonia’s starting point is not to take side with any of the parties in the conflict”. Well, that certainly sounds good, doesn’t it? That’s what I thought, too, so I went searching the web for examples on how they are managing this “not taking sides”.

Turns out they aren’t managing it at all.

To show their lack of bias in the conflict, Diakonia took part in the Free Gaza-flotilla, joining communists, anarchists and Islamo-fascists in a grand, spectacularly un-neutral show of support for the Hamas movement. They also issued a report condemning Israel for its “attack” on the flotilla.and the blockade which is available here in English. It is just bristling with misapplied citations of international law, including the Geneva Convention. One of the Swedish “red herrings” thrown into the waters, as it were, is this claim:

 "Starvation is an illegal method of warfare. Objects indispensable for the survival of the population need to be protected…"

Of course, as we have seen earlier, there has been no starvation in Gaza caused by the blockade, even prior to the lifting of restrictions on some goods. If you have a look at these photos from Tom Gross Media, you will see that there simply has been no shortage of food products in the markets in Gaza, and the fine dining business is booming at one deluxe country-club-styled venue.  So, insinuating that Israel has been starving the Gazans is just another bit of Swedish-style propaganda.

And then there’s this item:

"The fact that the ships are armed cannot by itself justify an attack...The existence of ammunition does not grant carte blanche to regard the civilians on the ships or the ships themselves as legitimate military targets."
"Naval warfare should only take place against legitimate military targets, not humanitarian ships."

 It seems that the Mavi Marmara jihadist-humanitarians who attacked the Israeli naval commandoes with clubs, knives, broken bottles pre-rigged with handles, and gunshots were not “legitimate targets”. In what manner would anyone have responded to a lynch attempt by IHH hired thugs lusting for their quota of virgins in paradise?  What kind of “humanitarians” arms themselves when Israel had already stated their intent to board peacefully and cooperate in delivering the goods to Gaza? In the end, the Hamas leadership let this “desperately needed” aid sit for days at the land crossing.  How humanitarian was that?

Following the logic of those quotes a bit further, ships full of weapons such as the Karine A and the Iranian ship seized in November of last year with  500 tons of guns, ammunition and missiles would also given a free passes into Gaza’s harbor.   Since Israel is at war with Hamas, Israel is in no way expected to allow Hamas to re-arm with upgraded missiles to be fired at Israeli citizens.

And of course, no anti-Israeli diatribe is complete without that favorite topic: “proportionality” so here it is—
"Any attack should follow the customary law principles of distinction and proportionality and the rule on precautions in and during attack."
"The chain of events starting from the military interception to the Mavi Marmara until the death of nine passengers reflects violations of the above mentioned principles. Even if the operation is analyzed under the law enforcement regime, it seems that the principle of proportionality in the use of force was also violated."

Again, boarding was peaceful until the ship with the IHH jihadist mercenaries questing for martyrdom took matters into their own hands and did their best to shred the Israelis who boarded with crowd control equipment and small side arms. Diakonia, however, makes the “unbiased” decision to go with the Hamas position, retelling it as if it were G-d’s own truth, and not the party line of a totalitarian regime with genocidal aspirations.

While Sweden, much like the rest of the Western world, is a free country, where everyone is entitled to believe whatever they want and say almost whatever they want, one shouldn’t do so while at the same time claiming impartiality. Doing so is pure hypocrisy, and misrepresenting Israel’s actions smacks of anti-Semitism, in addition to “bearing false witness”. In that aspect, Diakonia is no different from so many other Swedish Christian organizations.

This posting was written by Chanah Shapira and Adam Eberhag

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