Can We Hear the Recording Please?

In his zeal to defend Israel, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies’ (FDD) Cliff May cites a colleague’s contentions that the activists taking part in the “Freedom Flotilla” were obviously Islamic radicals bent on massacring Jews. From his weekly round-up of the very best in Likudnik commentary:

FDD’s Ben Weinthal notes:

According to media reports, activists invoked on their way to Gaza the Islamic battle cry, “Jews, remember Khyabar [sic], the army of Mohammed is returning.” The reference is to a Muslim massacre and expulsion of Jews in seventh-century Arabia.

The reader is then encouraged to “Read more” with a link that goes to a May 30 Jerusalem Post article which quotes Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon and the Foreign Ministry as the basis for this assertion:

Also Sunday, Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon criticized the effort, saying anti-Semitic chants voiced by the activists on board earlier in the day showed the ‘real motivation’ for the campaign, which he termed an ‘armada of hate.’

According to a Foreign Ministry press release, participants on the flotilla were recorded shouting ‘Khaybar Khaybar ya yahud, Jaish Muhammad saya’ud,’ which means ‘Jews, remember Khyabar [sic], the army of Mohammed is returning.’ This cry relates to an event in the seventh century when Muslims massacred and expelled Jews from the town of Khaybar, in modern-day Saudi Arabia.

‘Israel condemns the anti-Semitic chants that were publicized this morning,’ Ayalon said. ‘This amply demonstrates that many are not against a particular policy of the Israeli government, but have very real and dangerous hatred for Jews and the Jewish State.’

So, from FDD, we get “media reports” that are based entirely on assertions by a government ministry without the slightest effort to confirm those assertions from any independent source. This, of course, begs many questions, such as of the source of the recording, how it was obtained by the Foreign Ministry, and how many of the flotilla’s participants allegedly took part in the chants, if indeed that’s what took place.

As a former reporter for the New York Times, May should be a bit more conscientious about what he and his colleagues assert as fact. Especially when Khaybar is spelled “Khyabar,” twice.