Alana Goodman in Commentary begins a report on an Israeli law group that acted to stop the Gaza flotilla last June with a scene in a "radical, leftwing coffee shop in Washington." Do these people really think the world works that way? Wow. The piece focuses on Shurat HaDin, a "rightwing Israeli law center" in Tel Aviv that used international legal actions and threats of same to prevent many flotilla boats from leaving Greece. The firm worked in concert with the Israeli Prime Minister's office. “They said we had to do anything, anything possible to stop the flotilla," says one of the Shurat HaDin lawyers. More:
Next, Shurat HaDin lawyers discovered American flotilla activists were potentially in violation of the Neutrality Act, which prohibits U.S. citizens from taking part in a hostile act against an allied country. “So we approached the Attorney General of the United States to fix it. And we also got Gov. Rick Perry to write a letter to Eric Holder,” said Darshan-Leitner.
It may seem a little weird that the governor of Texas would be one of the first people [Nitsana] Darshan-Leitner approached to help with the plan. But she explained that Perry was enthusiastically on-board with the cause ever since he met her on a trip to Israel.
“I once spoke at a mission that Perry took part in, in Israel,” she said. “And he approached me and said, ‘I love what you do. It’s amazing what you do. If you ever need help combating Israel’s enemies, I’m here to assist.’”
So with Attorney General Holder on notice – and a Neutrality Act lawsuit filed in New York federal court – Shurat HaDin turned its attention toward Greece. The group discovered the country had a Neutrality Act similar to the one in the U.S., and it prohibited boats from leaving Greece to sail to illegal ports, including Gaza.
Shurat HaDin notified the Greek minister of civil protection about the flotilla, and he immediately blocked the ships from leaving Greece.
“The second thing he did was order the port authorities in Greece to raid the boats and to find what’s wrong with each and every boat – to be very, very particular,” said Darshan-Leitner, clearly amused. “And at that point, an additional six or seven boats were grounded. Because they found a lot of [problems] there.”
This was around the time Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin and her fellow flotilla activists finally caught on to the scheme. But by that point, there wasn’t much they could do.