The Flotilla Jihadists’ Artsy Propagandist and Her Billionaire Husband


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When the Hamas-linked Foundation for Human Rights and Freedom and Humanitarian Relief (IHH) sponsored a “humanitarian” flotilla last summer to try and break the Israeli “siege” of Gaza, the purpose was not merely to engineer a showdown between Israeli commandos and armed IHH “peace activists.” Far more vital to the IHH’s cause was the ensuing campaign to demonize Israel in the international media, a campaign in which propagandists such as documentary filmmaker Iara Lee played a key role.

Lee later appropriated the language of the American Civil Rights Movement to describe herself and the IHH:

Israeli spokespeople insist that the Gaza Freedom Flotilla was a provocation. It was, in the sense that civil rights protesters in the American south who sat at segregated lunch counters represented a provocation to segregationists, or in the sense that all nonviolent protests against the illegitimate acts of a government are by definition provocations. Under an illegal siege, the delivery of aid to civilians is a prohibited act; the intent of our humanitarian convoy was to violate this unjust prohibition.

This account of what happened on the Mavi Marmara was reprinted in the San Francisco Chronicle, The Huffington Post, and in the O/R Books anthology Midnight on the Mavi Marmara: The Attack on the Gaza Freedom Flotilla and How it Changed the Course of the Israel/Palestine Conflict. Online it was accompanied by footage Lee shot of the event. Touted as “the video Israel doesn’t want you to see,” Lee’s images, showing the IHH attacking Israeli soldiers with slingshots and other weapons, dramatically undermine her claims of innocent moral witness.

Who is Iara Lee and what was she doing on a ship determined to provoke an agitprop showdown with Israeli soldiers? And how is she involved in the next flotilla? The answers to these questions cast a harsh light on the movement supporting Hamas by making the “siege” of Gaza into another skirmish in the international propaganda war against Israel.

Lee first began her film career in the 1980s. She was the producer of the Sao Paulo International Film Festival – located in her native Brazil – from 1984 through 1989. She relocated to New York City and began Caipirinha Productions, a multi-media company. (The Caipirinha is Brazil’s national cocktail.)

Behind Lee’s relocation to the US was her relationship with a new patron. In 1986 – when she was 20 and he was 47 – Lee met sports mogul and art film enthusiast George Gund III at the Berlin Film Festival. The couple married and the wealthy Gund started producing and distributing her films.

Throughout the 1990s Lee’s work centered on cultural issues. Her first feature documentary, “Synthetic Pleasures” (1995) focused on technology and art and featured countercultural figures Timothy Leary and R.U. Sirius. No company would release the film so Lee and Gund distributed it themselves. Lee followed this in 1998 with “Modulations,” a movie exploring the history of electronic music.

Since the beginning of Operation Iraqi Freedom in 2003 Lee has lived abroad and grown increasingly engaged in leftist political causes. The shift is reflected in her documentaries. In 2006 she lived in Lebanon, and claimed afterwards that her virulently anti-Israel political views were the result of having “experienced firsthand the 34-day Israeli bombardment of that country.” (The fact that Israel’s reaction was a response to Hezbollah’s terrorist attacks does not enter her discussion of her political development.)  By 2008 Lee was living in Iran with the goal of, “promoting arts & culture for global solidarity.”

Lee has released a film this year called “Cultures of Resistance” that compiles her adventures with more than a dozen other activists. The next showing of “Cultures of Resistance” will be sponsored by Code Pink on June 29 in Los Angeles. Code Pink co-founder Jodie Evans will be on the panel and Lee will participate via skype from the Audacity of Hope in the Gaza “freedom” flotilla.

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  • Roger Zem

    Lee and Gund are tearing down the old to bring in the new. I'll wager a movie ticket that they are going to be very surprised and disappointed with the new. Horrified, even.

    • mlcblog

      IF they actually succeed.

  • http://vnnforum.com DeShawn

    I say good luck to the flotilla. I hope against hope that they avoid the murderous zionist thugsfrom stopping their humanitarian mission. When are you jews gonna realize that NO ONE (except foolish braindead goys in America) supports what you do in Israel? K*kes.

    • Terry

      G-d supports what we do because we live civilised values. Unlike fascists like you. And when the fighting starts in earest, we'll find you cowering in your comfortable loungeroom. And if you aren't for us, you'll suffer the fate of those who are against us.

    • Elpi Nipni

      G-d are you stupid. It is about time you realize that there is not enough STUPID leftists in the world to change anything. What is really comforting is the fact that Muhammad and Marx had put a clamp on your ability to THINK. And let me whisper a little secret, DeShawn, without that ability you can get nowhere. If you start THINKING YOU WOULD HATE YOURSELF.

    • Col. Jakob Marse

      DeShawn, the name alone tells it all. Dis-enchanted, black, un-educated, angry. No hope, no reason, no job (2:41 am), but most of all : No where to go!

      The most radical revolutionary will become a conservative the day after the revolution.
                  — Hannah Arendt

    • kafir4life

      deshawn, question for you. are you one of the followers of the moon god allah that was invented by the pedophile mohamat (mohamandcheese to some) who also shat the contents of the most holy terror guide, the koran? Is that who you hang wih deshawn?

  • Luke Weyland

    Free Palestine
    End the Siege of Gaza.

    Best wishes to all who sail on the ships bringing aid to the Gaza Ghetto. May you reach your sheduled destination. May all your lives be safe.

    Looking forwards to here from Vivienne, Sylvia and Michael when they return to Australia.

    • Travis

      I hope the Israelis torpedo all the nazi boats. Send them all to hell.

    • Rifleman

      Free 'Palistine', kick the 'palis' out.
      End the siege of Gaza, wipe out fatah and hamas.

      Best wishes to all the fish food on the blockade runners, hope those cameras are waterproof.

    • EVABeliever

      Hey Idiot: How do Aussies spell "hear"? Maybe your lack of intelligence has something to do with your ignorance. I hope your "dear" friends become fish food!!

    • Buki

      Have you actually been to Israel? Are you such a fool to think that there is any siege going on? Actually the Israelis deliver aid to Gaza daily and are the first to help not some liberal left wingers who try to float in while attacking israelis. In the West Bank, Israel built over 100 homes for the Palestinian refugees and the Palestinian Authority told the people if you move into those homes we will kill your family. If the Palestinians were allowed to leave the camps in the West Bank and Gaza and live in homes the PA would have no way to scam money out of the leftists in the rest of the world. The PA is a mafia, extorting money from its people and providing no services to them. After all this time, they could dismantle the camps but they don't. Where would they get the photos to guilt the world into believing they are oppressed. The PA consists of a bunch of thugs. The arabs and palestinians who live in Israel enjoy a great life and DO NOT WANT THE PA…wake up people…

    • No Obama 2012

      Luke, you are another hate monger with no REAL education. Obama maybe teaching you hate for Jews and the destruction of Israel! Luke, I hope you meet the 75 virgins real soon!

    • MixMChess

      Free Palestine? Israel completely withdrew from Gaza in 2005 and the P.A. autonomously governs over 98% of the W. Bank. The Palestinians were given countless chances for freedom. Their actions have proven that they don't want freedom, they just want to murder Jews.

      How is Gaza a ghetto when it has luxury malls, full markets and destination beaches? Just look at the horrendous conditions currently in Gaza (sarcasm)!:
      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oJQgDBKeDFU&fe

    • myomy

      yes, may you wind up in Paradise (hell)….

  • Andy Gill

    This flotilla is turning out to be a damp squib, as more and more ships drop out. Most people have realised it's a publicity stunt sailing on a sea of anti-semitism.

    • mlcblog

      Exactly. Thank you.

  • Not in Awe

    Let’s let this “Dog, Boat, and Pony Show begin, shall we. PURE and FREE worldwide promotion for our Main-Stream Media.

  • Rifleman

    The lefty propagandist must be pretty lame even for lefty propagandists, if the lefties in hollywood won't even touch her garbage and her old man has to produce and distribute it.

  • Tziona

    For all the bluster from the Islamists and the reactionary anti-Semites on the Left about the so-called illegal Seige of Gaza it is notable that no major nation nor even the UN has stood up and made a noise about the sea-blockade. Compare that with the reactions to Israeli self-defence against rocket attacks from Gaza and Lebanon, or suicide bombers from the West Bank.

    One has to ask why that is? The answer is actually quite easy, but is not mentioned nearly enough. The international community says nothing, except the occasional giving of lip-service to the "radicals", because it knows that the sea blockade is 100% legal under maritime and international law, and if they deny Israel the right to use it they risk undermining their own ability to make use of blockades in future. It really is that simple. The only people who say the blockade of Gaza is illegal are propagandists like Iara Lee who believe that those who shout the loudest are the ones who get say what the law is, to hell with legal experts, let the mob rule.

    So come on FrontPage, you have legal eagles on-line, how about a easy-to-read legal analysis of why international law supports the Blockade of Gaza.

  • rick

    David “Swindle.”

    Ha Ha Ha.

  • Jan de Vries

    The IHH crew of the Mavi Marmara sung before departing fromTurkey: 'Khaibar, Khaibar, the Islamic Amy is coming again'. They have proven themselves, that the goals was not bringing aid.. In Khaibar, Saoudi-Arabia, Medina region, the Jewish tribe Banu Koraisha was massacred at the time of Mohammed… So, it became very clear, what the Khaibar-flotilla wanted. Not for nothing, there were self declared 'shahids' .praying to become a martyr.
    Meanwhile, even luxuroius cars are smuggled into Gaza and the student team is taking part in an international Formula 1 race in GB. Last wednesday and thursday, 567 truckloads of food and other needed material were brought to Gaza. There is much less poverty as the media suggest.

  • jacob

    Mr. DE SHAWN :

    Instead of barking from tne safety of your kennel , why don't you join the "flotilla" and
    face what's coming to all of you on board ??

    This time you will be able to say with property, whatever you will see "prima facie" and
    not parrot the lot of crap Israeli enemies broadcast …

    Sadly, there isn't anybody willing or able to fix the wagon of this pseudointellectual movie "producer" anmd hwer Nazi millionnaire husband which would be precisely
    what would happen to them if their position would be anti Arab……

  • Steve Chavez

    Civil Rights movement? Try being a JEW anywhere in the United States especially at Universities, the bastion of free speech, free thought, and Diversity! Blacks have more respect than Jews but Jew bashing is commonplace!

    If any group did to Blacks what is done to Jews, they would be expelled from the land of Diversity!

  • bob maram

    this action against israel by misguided and mistakenliberals again demonstrates the radical left''s almost obscene fascination with totalitarianism. bob maram

  • myomy

    I hope all you flotilla flakes wind up in paradise soon. Kennedy didn't bow to Kruschev during the Cuban missile crisis when weapons were being smuggled into Cuba to be used against us, and Bebe won't bow to you bastards for basically trying to do the same thing to Israel. You can put lipstick and makeup on a pig but it's still a pig and you can cloak yourself in freedom fighter garb but you're still pigs on your way to the same place Osama bin Forgotten is now… Hell.

    • scum

      Then ask Horowitz why he hates Kennedy…

      • myomy

        I don't have to ask, I already know.

  • tanstaafl

    Even the rich can lack morality.

  • StephenD

    I am sorry the likes of DeShawn and Luke won't be on the illegal aggressor boat that will attempt to run a LEGAL Naval Blockade and reap the just due results of such foolishness. You want to "Help" the Palestinians? Petition Jordan to take their people back home and stop treating them as refugees. In fact, they would be better off if Jordan, Egypt, Syria, Lebanon, et al, treated them as Israel does and makes them citizens.

    • scum

      Not sure how the blockade is 'Legal.'

      • MixMChess

        You're an idiot scum. When Israel ended its occupation of Gaza, there was no blockade. In fact, it left behind greenhouses so that the Gazans could become peaceful and productive.

        Instead, Hamas seized control and engaged in illegal acts of warfare against Israel – by firing over 10,000 rockets at Israeli children and civilians – which by the way is a war crime. Israel responded to these war crimes by declaring a LEGAL blockade, the purpose of which was to assure that "no rockets or other material that could be used for making war against Israeli civilians were permitted into Gaza."

  • Speedy

    It's ironic that the left has neutered themselves with antiwar, anti-violence, pro climate protection and pro human rights rhetoric. The Arabs represent the exact opposite of those values yet the left romanticizes them and either ignores or celebrates the eliminationist rhetoric of the Arab multitudes and the internecine violence that permeates the Arab Middle east. No left voices rise for the oppressed Maronites in Lebanon, the Coptic Christians in Eqypt, the Kurds in Turkey, Irag, Syria and Iran, or the Bahai in Iran. But Hamas, a group that kills homosexuals on sight and repeatedly states that their heartfelt desire is to murder as many Jews as possible wins their sympathies. While eschewing violence and prejudice themselves, the left romanticizes the violence of others. How dumb and immoral? Loving and encouraging violence and hate by proxy while claiming the moral high ground.

  • CB Harder

    It' is outragious that it has come to this.Israel is an oasis of civility in the middle of a morass of oppressive and murderous mayhem.I say blow this ill informed flotilla out of the water and send the 'Agitprop Hobbyist Lee' with it.

  • Tziona

    Oh, what was the name of that ship again, oh yeah, "The Audacity of Hype".

    Hmm, wonder why Obama never muttered any complaint about the ship bringing his work into disrepute and devaluing the image and credibility of his book?

  • LindaRivera

    The leftist terrorist supporting jihad flotilla participants are devoid of all compassion for the many victims of Islam. They ignore the daily suffering of non-Muslims.

    British Schoolgirl's Testimony – Muslims Threaten Children With Violence & Rape Outside School Daily http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=24cg_pnpZJE

    A nation's leadership that refuses to protect its own children is a nation that cannot survive.

    Muslims are ALLOWED by Western leaders to do absolutely anything they want. No act is restricted for top favorite Muslims – nothing is off limits.

    • scum

      That's right, Muslims don't have to obey any laws in this country. LOL. You people are hilarious.

  • LindaRivera

    There is not a single word of protest from the leftist jihad flotilla participants against the daily severe persecution and INHUMAN atrocities and barbaric murders of non-Muslims by Muslims. There are no leftist/Muslim flotillas to rescue the children.

    Silence is CONSENT.

    Horrifying and Evil. The utter horror of kidnapped Christian children. Christian girls as YOUNG as NINE years old REPEATEDLY RAPED by Muslim males. Their lives forever destroyed. The cruel Muslims are determined to make the kidnapped Christian boys exactly like they are. The murder of their soul. Far worse than physical murder.

    Quran School: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7Jwii8QihT0&fe

    Who will rescue the children?

    It is war against all non-Muslims. A war that has been going on for 1,400 years.

  • Willis

    I heard that anyone that applies or are already, on Public Assistance will have to do Community Service which in turn pays for their Public Assistance Grant. If the appiicant or receipient claims that are disabled then have to have a valid Dr. Medical Statement stating the medical problem/s and how long that unable to work and Dr. recommendations plus file for Social Security Disabilty. If they are found disabled then their Public Assistance Grant has to be paid off before Social Security Disabilty is approved & granted. Their name and social security will be recorded and the Federal, State, and County Governents will be recorded and checked before any Public Assistance Grants will be approved &
    granted. My question is this true and can the govenment do this or is this gossip?

  • Roger Zem

    No, no trials. Apply adminstrative detention until transportation home is arragned for them, and whisk them out of the country as quickly as possible, after fingerprinting and photographing. Treat them like the lost children they are. Prolonging their stay will only give them a seed for grandiose delusional stories of how they suffered at the hands of the inhumane Israeli monsters.

  • Mike

    I'm shocked at the callousness of the article and the people who posted comments on this board towards human beings living under segregation (apartheid?). No one has the right to make human beings like you and me under the boots of a foreign army. This is simply not right! Either give suffering palestinians the right of self determination, or, better yet, make them full fledged Israeli citizens.

    • No Obama 2012

      Dear Mike, you are a moran and know nothing about Jewish History going back centuries! Educate yourself before you speak than maybe I will agree to disagree with you if you do not hate or display violence.

    • So Cal Mike

      Clues for sale Mike. Israel already has more than 1 million Arab citizens.
      The Palestinians don't want a country of their own.
      They only want the SINGLE JEWISH state in the world replaced with another Muslim state. And we all "know" that will bring peace to the Middle East.
      Thomas Friedman even said so.

    • Stephen_Brady

      Mike, Israel is a JEWISH state. JEWISH. Do you get it? Allowing the PALs to become Israeli citizens defeats the entire purpose of the State of Israel, that is, a safe homeland for the Jewish people.

      By the way, do you have any sympathy for the people who have suffered under constant rocket attack from Gaza, over the last several years? Are you callous?

    • MixMChess

      "I'm shocked at the callousness of the article and the people who posted comments on this board towards human beings living under segregation (apartheid?)."

      The apartheid argument has already been proven to be false. In apartheid S. Africa, blacks couldn't vote and "were not citizens of the country in which they formed the overwhelming majority of the population. Laws dictated where they could live, work and travel." In S. Africa, the government killed blacks who protested against its policies, whereas Israel allows freedom of movement, assembly and speech by all citizens including Arabs. The Israeli Arabs are full citizens who enjoy equal rights under the law, are represented in the Knesset, serve in high-level government positions and on the Supreme Court. Some of the Israel's harshest critics are Israeli Arabs and Israeli Arab groups formed inside Israel.

      In Gaza and the W. Bank Palestinians govern themselves and time and time again elect terrorists as their leaders.

    • MixMChess

      "Either give suffering palestinians the right of self determination, or, better yet, make them full fledged Israeli citizens."

      Israel offered the Palestinians statehood in 1993, 2000, 2005, 2006, 2008 and each time they rejected it. They don't want a state of their own, they just want to destroy Israel.

  • So Cal Mike

    Israel has more than 1 million Arabs (Palestinians) who enjoy full citizenship including the right right to vote, own land, hold public office and serve in the military.
    Calling Israel an Apartheid state is a lie and a Jew-hating smear.
    In psychology this is called "projection."
    Why do the Palestinians insist any future Palestinian state be DEVOID of Jews??
    Because they hate Jews. Israelis don't hate Palestinians but Palestinians hate Jews because they are Jews. Their hatred is Hitlerian.

    This clown Lee is fortunate Israel doesn't send the Mavi Marmara to the bottom of the ocean where it and the sordid crew of Jew haters belong.

    • scum

      Actually, Jews DO hate Palestinians.

  • Amused

    Ok , LET THEM [ HAMAS AND FATAH ] FIRST SAY UNEQUIVICALLY , THAT THEY ACCEPT THE EXISTENCE OF ISRAEL AND RELINQUISH THEIR POSITION OF STRIVING FOR ISRAEL'S DESTRUCTION .

    BTW -they were full fledged citizens of Israel , for they ARE arab and muslim Israelis who want DEAD JEWS and NO ISRAEL >

    • scum

      Why should they? Has Israel agree to a Palestinian state? And what does it matter? Why does the opinion of members of one state toward another determine the outcome, anyway? Israel has a state, remember?

  • Ghostwriter

    To paraphase Shakespeare,"What fools you anti-semites be."

  • steven l

    Lara Lee had to accept the lies of those she wanted to support in order to do what she did.
    She obviously DID NOT DO her home work and like many others, deliberately ignoring the facts, makes her guilty of supporting terrorism.
    So many of the enemies of Israel are just stupidly ignorant.

  • mrbean

    If you march with the Nazis and their supporters you are a Nazi supporter, if you march with the Communists and their supporters you are a Communist supporter, abd if you march with terrorists who advocate genocide and their supporters you are a terrorist supporter who supports genocide. No amount of evasion can get you out of this one.

  • CB Harder

    Make them all participate in a 'clinic' where they will be thoroughly informed re:the dynamics of the middle east.I'm sure many of them really know almost nothing about the true state of these countries and the inherent 'madness'.

  • astra

    Warn them Then sink them all.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    lara lee, reminds me of lois lane, does she have a Jimmy Olson working for
    her and what comic book is she living in, Tales from the Crypt? Great Post,
    I had no idea about this person, there is always one who want's center stage
    no matter what or where. Will she be there when the bombs fall?…………William

  • mlcblog

    SHE is the slimy tentacled octopus!!

  • Ann

    the American Civil rights movement was not the genocide of a people — unlike the mass murder of the Jews and Christians!!!

  • scum

    It's really sad to see a young mind like Swindle's get contorted so easily. Another Horowitz in the making. Ouch.

  • scum

    Wow, such big words. I for one, am uber-impressed.