The Israeli Foreign Ministry on Thursday strongly condemned the International Committee of the Red Cross for conducting an interview with Huseyin Oruc, the deputy president of the IHH, a Turkish NGO that organized the infamous 2010 Gaza flotilla and is suspected of terrorist ties.
The interview with Oruc, which was posted to YouTube last week, focuses on “humanitarian principles and their implementation,” according to the Red Cross. Bülent Yildirim, the head of IHH, which stands for Humanitarian Relief Foundation, is being probed on suspicion of funding al–Qaeda, and the group has been tied to a plot to bomb LAX, Los Angeles’s main international airport.
“By dignifying the IHH with ICRC publication, the Red Cross has demonstrated an incredible lack of discernment,” Israeli Foreign Ministry spokesman Yigal Palmor told The Times of Israel. “We believe that if this is brought to the powers that be at the ICRC, they will realize that they made a terrible mistake and will want to retract this.”
During the clip, Oruc doesn’t say anything especially inflammatory about Israel, instead focusing on the Islamic imperative to aid others. Briefly answering a question about the flotilla, he says, “My responsibility isn’t only giving something [to] the people, but also I need to show the problem for the others… To bring relief to Gaza — it is the main [goal]… I [also] need to show there was a siege in Gaza.”
In a 2011 interview, Oruc accused Zionism of nefarious aspirations to “control the West” and said the “Zionist policy” was to kill off anyone who opposed Israel’s global domination agenda, regardless of religious or political affiliation.
“Now the Israelis are showing their real face,” he said then. “They are not acting only against the Muslims, not only against the Turks; they are acting against everybody. And they want to control the West. They feel they oversee things at the highest level and that Westerners have their orders.
“It is the position now and European people need to understand that it is not related to religion. It is not related to beliefs, to nationality. It is completely related to the bad Zionist policy. And this policy is not only against the Muslims. They are not making any differentiation between religions. Whoever is against them, they are ready to kill them: Americans, Greeks, Germans and whatever they are,” Oruc said.
The Foreign Ministry’s Palmor said those comments were “beyond bizarre.”
“This isn’t plain old anti-Semitism,” he said, adding that “the fact that this has been dignified by the ICRC is mindboggling.”
Contacted by The Times of Israel for comment, an ICRC spokesman, Ran Goldstein, maintained that the opinions posited by Oruc did not represent the views of the Red Cross.
“The views expressed are not those of the ICRC,” the spokesperson said. “These interviews, linked to the 150th anniversary of the ICRC, are part of an initiative to highlight different perspectives on current humanitarian challenges.”
During the Gaza flotilla incident, Israeli commandos boarded the MV Mavi Marmara with the intention of preventing its passage to Gaza, which was under Israeli naval blockade. However, the commandos came under attack and nine Turkish activists were killed in the ensuing melee. Israel has agreed to pay compensation to the families of the casualties in an effort to repair its frayed relations with Turkey.
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