MKs on Left decry Israeli response to 'flytilla'

Meretz head Gal-On says blacklisting of activists deepens delegitimization; Zoabi: Israeli reaction a violation of rights.

MK ZOABI speaks to reporters in Amman, Jordan 311 (R) (photo credit: REUTERS)
MK ZOABI speaks to reporters in Amman, Jordan 311 (R)
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Left-wing politicians called on Israel to allow pro-Palestinian “flytilla” participants to enter Israel through Ben-Gurion Airport on Sunday, while right-wing ones urged the country to bar their entry and not to fall prey to such provocation.
MK Zehava Gal-On (Meretz) said that Israel’s foreign policy is falling victim to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman’s politics.
“Israel’s security and strength would not be harmed by a few hundred people entering the country,” Gal-On stated. “Instead, just like in the [Gaza flotilla ship] Mavi Marmara, the government’s policy is hysterical and serves the interests of those de-legitimizing Israel.”
MK Ofir Akunis (Likud) dismissed the “flytilla” as “another provocation by the Palestinians and their supporters.”
According to Akunis, the activists are not innocently working for peace, but are a group of anarchists that seek to harm Israel.
MK Hanin Zoabi (Balad), however, said that the government’s reaction to the “flytilla,” including efforts to convince European airlines to cancel activists’ tickets, proves that Israel violates the human rights of citizens around the world, not just of Palestinians.
“These are political activists who represent a broad and legitimate political struggle against Israeli oppression, racism and occupation,” she said. “Preventing them from entering the country will not stop them from continuing to fight for the Palestinians’ freedom.”
MK Uri Orbach (Habayit Hayehudi) took exception to a call by the left-wing organization Gush Shalom to greet them with flowers.
“All this talk about needing to accept haters of Israel with flowers and blessings and hasbara [public diplomacy] videos are so romantic, it’s ridiculous,” Orbach wrote on his Facebook wall.
“People are living in a movie! They think that with sweetness and charm we can talk to the crazies of the international Left that are gathering here.”
According to Orbach, Israelis do not understand the intensity of anti-Semitism and hatred of Israel in Europe, which can often be found under the guise of human rights organizations and other NGOs.
Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon wrote on his Facebook wall that the diplomatic preparations for the “flytilla” were successful, and prevented provocateurs trying to delegitimize Israel from reaching their goal.
“Like any other state in the world,” he wrote, “we worked together with the relevant parties, according to international law, to ensure that anti- Israel elements will not reach Israel when it is clear that their only goal is to create a disruption and challenge [Israeli] sovereignty.”
Tovah Lazaroff contributed to this report.