The Times of Israel reported on March 29 that “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized for ‘operational errors’ in the incident in a phone call last week to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during the final moments of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit, and agreed to compensate the injured and relatives of the dead.”
To gain a fuller understanding on this matter, Dave Gahary spoke with Ken O’Keefe, a 43-year-old California native and former United States Marine, who was aboard the fated vessel when Israel’s massacre occurred, in this informative interview, (15:21).
Dave Gahary, a former submariner in the U.S. Navy, is the host of AFP’s ‘Underground Interview’ series.
Be sure to check out all of AFP’s free podcasts. You’ll find them on the HOME PAGE, in the ARCHIVES & in the PODCAST section.
Obama’s Israel Visit Spurs Netanyahu Apology to Erdogan for Mavi Marmara Massacre
• Turkey wants Israel to pay $1M to each family; Jewish State willing to pay only $100,000
By Dave Gahary
This May marks the third anniversary of the Gaza flotilla raid, an Israeli military operation by against six ships in international waters. The “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” was organized by the Free Gaza Movement and the Turkish Foundation for Human Rights and Freedoms and Humanitarian Relief (İHH), and was carrying humanitarian aid and construction materials to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip.
Israeli naval commandos boarded the ships from speedboats and helicopters, and the Turkish ship MV Mavi Marmara offered resistance, and nine activists, eight Turkish nationals and one American national, were murdered, and many wounded. All deaths “were caused by gunshots, some of them at point blank range or from behind.”
The Times of Israel reported on March 29 that “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu apologized for ‘operational errors’ in the incident in a phone call last week to his Turkish counterpart Recep Tayyip Erdogan, during the final moments of U.S. President Barack Obama’s visit, and agreed to compensate the injured and relatives of the dead.” They also reported that “Erdogan…said that an Israeli refusal to lift the [Gaza] blockade would be a deal-breaker.”
To gain a fuller understanding on this matter, AMERICAN FREE PRESS conducted an exclusive interview with Ken O’Keefe, a 43-year-old California native, former United States Marine, who was aboard the fated vessel when Israel’s massacre occurred. Mr. O’Keefe is a human-rights activist who regularly places himself in dangerous and precarious positions to point out the plight of the world’s oppressed.
AFP asked Mr. O’Keefe about the Israeli apology and offer.
He began, chuckling, “I have to admit, I was taken in quite a bit by the Turkish government, but looking back on it now retrospectively, I see that, in truth, this was just more of the charade, you know, all the world is a stage, as Shakespeare said.”
“The Turks were appearing to be adversarial to the Israelis, and Erdogan…was saying some very strong things, but, if you actually look at the record, aside from fairly meaningless gestures…trade actually more than doubled between 2010 and now.”
“So this deal that was effectively accepted by [Erdogan], in the course of an apology, which was supposedly brokered by Obama…, it’s a hollow gesture, the money that’s being offered is an absolute pittance. It doesn’t change anything…for the people of Gaza. And ultimately it’s an insult to the family members who lost their loved ones, in my opinion, that any kind of apology would be accepted, when in fact the goals of those who died on that ship, many of whom were executed by the Israelis. Ballistics proves several of the people, including the Turkish-American citizen, 19-year-old Furkan Doğan, he was down on the ground, and I think he was hit twice, face-down on the ground, and I think he got three more bullets to the back of the head at point-blank range.”
“They can say that they will end the blockade on civilian goods, but nobody really believes the Israelis; if you do you’re a fool. They make all sorts of statements but they rarely honor their word. It’s almost an inherent quality of the Israeli power structure to lie, about everything, unless it conveniently doesn’t need to be lied about and somehow benefits them.”
AFP asked if he considered Gaza an open-air concentration camp.
“You’re right,” he said, “it’s really a concentration camp, because ultimately, when you say it’s a prison, some people refer to it as an open air prison, but prison denotes criminality, prison denotes even found guilty of a crime. The only crime the people of Gaza have committed is being Palestinian, and for being Palestinian every one of them is punished, and that ultimately is collective punishment. And I just don’t know how any sane individual, no matter what kind of propaganda we’ve been fed, could in any way, endorse, support, or be complicit with collectively punishing in some very extreme ways, children. Children, who are not responsible for the actions of the adults…and the adults themselves, for the most part, are not responsible for firing a rocket, as if that was a legitimate excuse to punish an entire section of people. But, ultimately what’s happening in Gaza is a crime against humanity; it is a crime that we are all complicit with to one degree or another in the West, and particularly the United States.”
AFP asked if those directly responsible are Israelis, Israeli Jews or Jews, or if Israel can be separated from the Jews?
“I think not. In fact I think that Jew is more appropriate. When you speak about Israel, the Jewish State of Israel, that’s their own term, you have to talk about the Jewish role in supporting the State of Israel, both in Israel and externally. And externally you find that Israel has overwhelming support amongst Jewish people around the world, although there are many, many Jews who have been very outspoken about the policies of Israel and their opposition to it. For the most part, you won’t find too many Jews that are against a, quote, Jewish State, and their belief in that is based on many other falsehoods, quite frankly. The mythical Holocaust as it’s been told in the official version of history is just about as realistic as the official version of 9-11. Any critical analysis of the reality of World War 2 and the so-called Holocaust makes clear that while many Jews did die and some invariably were murdered, the official version is a fantasy and many other people died including 27 million Russians, and yet we don’t have Holocaust memorials and all sorts of things for them, or Hiroshima or Nagasaki, and blah, blah, blah, we could go on and on and on.”
“The bottom line is that the State of Israel, the Jewish State of Israel, enjoys overwhelming support from the Jewish community, and the problem that I have with Judaism is that the inherent “chosen-ness” of it is a form of “supremacism.” And if you believe in Judaism to the degree that the Old Testament tells you that you are “chosen” as a Jew, i.e., the rest of us are not “chosen,” I have a problem with that. When you combine the Jewish supremacism that exists with the power that it enjoys, this is extremely problematic. It has nothing to do with being anti-Semitic or anti-Jewish per se, I’m anti-supremacism, in every single form. And a Jew that can practice his religion without feeling that he is superior to others, I have no problem with that, although it doesn’t really sit correctly or sit well with the Old Testament teachings and certainly not the Talmud, which makes very clear that all the rest of us are basically cattle to be used. The Jewish State of Israel is self-professed, and until the Jewish people of the world make clear that this Jewish State does not represent them, then sadly for their own sake, they’re gonna have to take responsibility for the actions of this Jewish State.”