Rosengarten, sole American on boat: It is Jew against Jew

jewishboat

We have received two accounts of the treatment of passengers and crew on the Jewish boat to Gaza. The first is from the American passenger on the boat, Lillian Rosengarten of New York (pictured at left among boat’s passengers in Cyprus earlier this week), a former refugee from Nazi Germany. The second is from Nurit Peled-Elhanan, an Israeli married to Rami Elhanan (second from right). Rosengarten:

I was deported and very conflicted about leaving Edith Lutz [of Germany, second from left above] behind. I felt assured when I spoke to the vice consul from the American Embassy in Tel Aviv who had brought our human rights lawyer, Smadar Ben-Natan, and another lawyer who will meet with Edith and help her as she decided to resist deportation as a very personal statement of resistance.

I was extremely happy to hear that Reuven [Moskowitz, in white shirt at center], Rami, Yonotan Shapira [right, in Crocs] and Itamar Shapira [3d from left] were allowed to go home. Such wonderful people, now cherished friends. Glyn Secker and Vish Vishvanath were also deported along with myself. For me the deportation process was humiliating. Jew against Jew is totally against the dreams of so long ago, what we imagined how our beloved Israel would evolve. That dream was for me a safe haven, a country of compassion. Tolerance for all, and a completely open society. I can imagine that Israel would have become a beacon of light for the world to follow. In this dream there would be tolerance for political difference. Now sadly, Jews have become divided against one another and it is no longer a safe haven. We from the Jewish boat were treated as traitors and people to get rid of. We were not “good Jews,” but “bad Jews to deport without being allowed to enter Israel again.” Only in Fascist regimes are people forced to think the same. I experienced humiliation when arrested. I was not physically mistreated but suffered emotionally. I suffered when the immigration person asked me if I was Jewish after I told him I was a refugee from the Nazis, the last generation to be able to tell the heinous story. He wanted me to prove that I was Jewish. How was I to do that and yes, how deeply humiliating. When I witness the Israel of today, I feel enormous pain. I was deported because of my human rights beliefs and non violent actions. In detention I no longer felt safe or cared about. I don’t even think it mattered that I am Jewish. Now I will not be allowed to return to Israel as the cycle of hate and fear goes on and on. Those of us who dreamed of a different kind of Israel can only weep.

Nurit Peled-Elhanan is the wife of Rami Elhanan, who was on the Jewish boat to Gaza. Peled-Elhanan passes along the following report:

Coming out of the police investigation, Yonatan [Shapira] looked like someone coming out of prisoners’ camp: Long pale distorted face. It was the same monstrous soldiers who attacked the Marmara. They were all after him. They beat him up, kicked him and used a taser on him. The other passengers said he was palpitating and screaming like a wounded animal but the monster wouldn’t stop. When Rami asked him for his name he said Gepeto.

Now Rami is accused of threatening a soldier because he said he would find out his name and press charges against him. Yonatan and Itamar [Shapira, Yonatan's brother], who were handcuffed and dragged and then thrown violently to another boat, are charged with assaulting the soldiers and resisting arrest. There were dozens fully armed comandos who attacked them on the boat, 4 navy war boats.

A very senior general, Amidror, head of research unit of the IDF said on the radio 2 days ago that Yonatan Shapira, an ex-pilot in the Air force is psychopath and should be locked away. I reacted to that so they interviewed me the day after. I told them this is the Russians did to Sakharov and that Yonatan is Israel’s best son and an example to Young people of what they should be as well etc.

However it seems the media are very eager to interview us along with their complete faith in what the IDF says. We were interviewed all day long, while waiting for them to come out of the investigation, by everybody, all the time, but it looks like they see us as a curiosity rather than reliable sources of information.

The whole world should support Yonatan and Itamar Shapira now because the security forces are surely after them and there are no limits to what these soldiers would do if ordered.

About Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of Mondoweiss.net.
Posted in Gaza, US Politics | Tagged , , , , ,

{ 33 comments... read them below or add one }

  1. Chaos4700 says:

    There is something intensely sick and twisted about what the IDF has become in the way that they treat diaspora Jews. It’s almost like a bizarro universe concentration camp, where the kapo needs you to prove you are Jewish if you don’t want to be imprisoned.

    In a sense, I feel sorry for Zionists that they dwell in the shadow of Nazi persecution and take from that, that they need to become the ethnic supremacists. I find myself reminded of a very poignant story from a cherished computer game I played, about a race which responded to generations of enslavement by adopting the cultural imperative that life in the universe could only be preserved if they themselves enslaved everyone else.

    ( link to en.wikipedia.org for those interested in obscure gamer culture touchstones)

    • Citizen says:

      Well, after 93 years the Germans just finished paying off their WW1 reparations. Perhaps in a post Iran cum WW3 time, generations of Israelis and Americans will still be paying reparations. Talk about the sins of the fathers….

      • generations of Israelis and Americans will still be paying reparations.

        Israel pay reparations?
        ROTFLMSWCAO !!!
        Israelis will figure out a way to portray themselves as victims and COLLECT reparations.

        Israeli officials assume that the international community will bear the burden of restitution for the refugees. Peace Might Upend Wealth of Israelis, by Jonathan Cook

  2. eljay says:

    >> We from the Jewish boat were treated as traitors and people to get rid of. We were not “good Jews,” but “bad Jews to deport without being allowed to enter Israel again.” Only in Fascist regimes are people forced to think the same. … When I witness the Israel of today, I feel enormous pain. I was deported because of my human rights beliefs and non violent actions.

    Mrs. Rosengarten failed to unconditionally support Israel, to engage in supremacist “humanism”, to make “better wheels”, to “humanize ‘the Other’” and to properly “Remember the Holocaust!” She should be ashamed of herself.

    One can only hope that RW will come along shortly and set straight her traitorous, self-loathing, anti-semitic, Israel-hating mind.

    • marc b. says:

      One can only hope that RW will come along shortly and set straight her traitorous, self-loathing, anti-semitic, Israel-hating mind.

      it’s not worth the effort. israeli geneticists have proven that ‘self-hating’ is an inherited, immutable trait. they have even constructed a three-dimensional model of the ‘self-hating’ gene complete with a tiny, explosive vest strapped to its chest.

    • Citizen says:

      The difference between Mrs Rosengarten and RW is a matter of spiritual-moral
      character maturity. She has it, he does not. She earned it. He did not. Her breath is deep and wide as the whole world. He breathes through an oxygen mask.

  3. Danaa says:

    Lilian sayss “I suffered when the immigration person asked me if I was Jewish…”

    I hope you asked him whether he was Jewish – and then to prove it.

    To me it seems that Israel has become one of the most un-Jewish places in the world, and the one where it is least safe to be Jewish in.

    It is really time to cut the ties that bind, because they are ties of lead. If palestinians don’t recognize it as a “Jewish” state, they may have a very valid reason – it is not. May be they should just choose some other name to describe themselves, so as to bring this little confusion to an end. Judeans would seem to fit the bill.

    • Elliot says:

      Danaa said: To me it seems that Israel has become one of the most un-Jewish places in the world, and the one where it is least safe to be Jewish in.
      Right in the money on both counts. An increasing number of Israelis get it: authentic Judaism exists outside of Israel. Whether it’s values or the practice of the religion, Israel is not friendly to Jews. The one exception, of course, is that minority of Jews known as the Orthodox.
      When it comes to safety, the Israelis Jewish community is most definitely the threatened major Jewish community in the world today.
      But American Jews still pronounce the ridiculous line that Israel is their insurance policy in case they have to leave the U.S. in a hurry.

  4. lysias says:


    Dr. Edith Lutz (Germany)
    :

    Edith, 59, is married with 4 grown children. A former professional nurse, Edith became a teacher. Engaged in Judaic studies, her thesis on H.Heine, she is co-initiator of Schalom5767 and initiator of “Abrahams Töchter” (\’Abrahams\’s daughters\’). She joins this voyage to help children in Gaza and highlight the core of Jewish religion: love and humanity instead of force and hatred.

    This FreeGaza posting is dated Aug. 21, 2008, so the given age should be adjusted.

    Seems Dr. Lutz is about to be deported: Irish Nobel laureate [Mairead Maguire] fights to stay in Israel:

    Three of the four international activists were deported on Tuesday while a fourth, a German national, was in custody after refusing to be deported, organisers said Wednesday.

    Edith Lutz had initially refused deportation until the five Israeli passengers on the boat were released from custody — which happened late on Tuesday.

    She was being held at a detention centre in Ramle near Tel Aviv and would stay there until Sunday, when she will be deported after a hearing, a spokeswoman for the activists said.

    That’s one brave woman.

  5. VR says:

    Israel has majored in “deporting” the sane and compassionate, when they are done who will be left? Many are slowing beginning to realize this, and leave voluntarily.

  6. CTuttle says:

    Aloha, Phil…! Here’s my take on that ‘Hijacking’…

    British Ship Is ‘Hijacked’ Off Coast of Gaza

    A small catamaran swarmed by 8 IDF water vessels and numerous helicopter gunships hovering nearby…! Overkill…? 8-(

  7. Well, blog site Jewlicious is staying true to form. They block rational rebuttals (at least they’re not altering my comments like they have done multiple times in the past). They did allow, to my surprise, a poster who says the captain of the ship is his father. That pretense of acting as if they provide an open forum is just part of their tapestry of lies. I’m curious if anyone else would be able to add comments.

    link to jewlicious.com

    As”ck” reminds us, “We’re better than that.”

    • Citizen says:

      Interesting that the comments on Jewlicious ridicule the notion of the last survivor of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising that it’s the Palestinians who carry the spiritual mantle of that uprising. No respect for a survivor who was there. Instead jeers because the Warsaw Ghetto uprising didn’t include cheap rockets–totally ignoring that the Ghetto uprising used every weapon it could get its hands on, which were few and puny compared to what the Germans had, same as the stones and cheap rockets are puny compared to the US armed IDF. Amazing how Israel uber alles types dumb down–they are ruining the idea that jews are smart. Who wears the goyishekopf now, frum boys?

      • Antidote says:

        Citizen – see also this ingenious juxtaposition of ‘heavy European wood’ and ‘light Israeli steel’:

        “Ari Shavit published impressions from a 12-day stint of reserve duty at the Ansar detention facility on the Gaza shore. The column’s thesis was ahead of its time. Ansar, he noted, is “the best and most enlightened facility among the detention camps that were established since the eruption of the intifada. Ketziot and Fara are far worse; only Megiddo prison is said to compete with it in terms of humanism.”

        But Shavit went on to boldly reveal the explicit associations that struck him during his service in the humane camp that housed more than a thousand inmates: “The facility has 12 watchtowers. Some of the soldiers are shocked at the resemblance between these towers and other towers, which they learned about in their childhood. In fact, the shock is purely emotional and lacks any factual basis. After all, the watchtowers that appeared in Europe in the 1930s, for example, were mostly made of heavy European wood, whereas the towers of the Gaza shore facility are made of light Israeli metal, manufactured by a factory in Tiberias.”

        link to haaretz.com

  8. Btw, could you add David Horowitz’s NewsReal blog (link to newsrealblog.com) as one to keep an eye on as his stuff practically parodies itself?

    Thx.

    • demize says:

      Would you elaborate on this a bit more for me. I’m very curious about what you speak of.

      • This was directed to me, correct?

        What Horowitz’s site regularly does is spout some really contentious nonsense from the get-go (the headline), and then proceeds to pretty much fly off the handle from there. I’ve noticed that they do less Israel stories themselves than before, but link to Frontpage mag and Jihad Watch instead. They make ludicrous and unsupported claims, and the peanut gallery chimes in. I got banned from there a while back by David Swindle claiming I was being rude. He just got tired of easily debunked twaddle being called out. Also look at the caliber of the commenters. A rogues gallery of yes men.

        Hell, Frontpage apparently can’t even keep The Great War vs WWII straight.

        Britain’s Holocaust Secrets Revealed
        link to frontpagemag.com
        Following the end of WWI, the Jewish survivors of Hitler’s Holocaust were desperate to leave the European killing grounds for a new life in Jewish Palestine.

      • Oh, and here’s one of the other bits of serious commentary.

        Why We Need Islamophobia
        link to newsrealblog.com
        This is an admirable attempt at tolerance and pluralism, the key values that make America America. But it overlooks some overwhelming realities. And those oversights may someday threaten America’s very existence.
        The Jewish threat was never real. There are roughly thirteen million Jews on the planet today, far less than the population of just one of Islam’s roughly 200 major cities–Cairo. But there are more Moslems on the planet than all of the world’s Americans and Europeans combined. In fact, there are nearly three times as many Moslems as Europeans and Americans. Think of that. Nearly three times as many.

        Not to mention the fact that there are 123 Moslems for every Jew.

        So apparently it’s just a numbers games. They could just use the German propaganda footage of being overrun by rats for the video blog of this peice.

        And the incredulousness at their own leverage. “We’re just a tiny little fraction of the whole. We couldn’t even hurt a fly if we wanted to.”

        This just seems like sophistry pure and simple.

        • demize says:

          Yes, thank you. I’m interested in this dynamic re. manipulation of commentary and outright censorship and “intra-Jewish” dialectic regarding Zionism.

        • eljay says:

          And the incredulousness at their own leverage. “We’re just a >> tiny little fraction of the whole. We couldn’t even hurt a fly if we wanted to.”

          Echoes of RW’s “blue dot in a sea of green” slogan, which was thankfully abandoned a while ago but which, unfortunately, was replaced by a newer slogan.

        • I know it’s sometimes hard to follow replies to past comments but I do hope you provide updates on your fact finding. It sounds quite fascinating. I know that the term “censorship” is used quite often when the gatekeeping only disallows certain views from a particular site, but the effect might as well be censorship as in most cases you are effectly silenced in a forum that might be responsive to a compelling rebuttal. The intra-Jewish discussion is also an interesting aspect as I’ve heard and seen (from online forum) that the exchange within Israel allows for a more open discussion of Zionism and the IP conflict whereas to take some of those same positions here automatically gets you labeled.

          If you can’t include some of your material here, you could always provided a link or just write me at my Facebook page.

  9. Citizen says:

    This, on the article about the push-back against Peretz a few days ago on this blog: In Israel there are those who require swearing a loyalty oath to the state–in the USA, the litmus test for patriotic loyalty to the USA has been changed to swearing allegiance to Israel: link to counterpunch.org

    Certainly the sound bites coming from the mouths of nearly all congressmen and wannabees for ages now conflates US patriotism and Israeli/Jewish patriotism. Both donkeys and elephants sing this same song.

    • demize says:

      Behind the News on WBAI had a good spot on this today from one of the founders of the SS.program at Harvard. Take home line was “Peretz was always a despicable suckup” it’s worth listening to.

  10. Elliot says:

    Yonatan Shapira gave up his career as an elite Air Force pilot, his standing among his peers, the love of his country to be treated like a “Palestinian” by his former colleagues in the military.
    Edith Lutz’s treatment is shameful – and standard. I’ve been asked by Israeli security employees at Israel’s international airport the same pro forma question: am I Jewish.
    I’ve never had the guts (yet) to tell them to fuck off.
    How can we support these heroes? Invite them to your communities to speak. Let’s have a speaking tour for all of them!

    How can we support these heroes? Invite them to your communities to speak. Let’s have a speaking tour for all of them!

    • occupyresist says:

      How can we support these heroes? Invite them to your communities to speak. Let’s have a speaking tour for all of them!

      I really admire Yonatan’s courage. Him and others like him DO need support.

      Amy Goodman covers the taking of the Jewish aid boat and settlement building resumption, with Gideon Levy and Fatima Mohammadi.

      link to democracynow.org