You Sank My Humanitarian Aid!
May 30, 2010 9:57 PM   Subscribe

The Gaza Freedom Flotilla is attempting to bring humanitarian aid into Gaza from the sea. Those who ride on the five ships do so for their own reasons. Others are skeptical. The Flotilla has enjoyed the nominal support of Turkey. In retaliation, Israel has taken a shot at Turkey's wallet. posted by quakerjono (793 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite
 
Of the 700 people (including a Holocaust survivor, and Nobel Peace Prize recipient, Mairead Corrigan Maguire) 10 have been reportedly killed by the IDF.

You can follow the Free Gaza Movement's twitter page to read what has happened from the moment it left Cyprus to the aftermath.
posted by hal_c_on at 10:07 PM on May 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


I can't imagine the people on these flotillas are armed, so why would they open fire? This is fucked up from the perspectives of both sides. For the flotilla folk, it's devastating and frightening, and from the Israel side it's just plain stupid. How is murdering probably unarmed civilians in international waters going to help anything? At the very best, you get protests around the world, further souring of relations with neighbours, and a reprimand from the super powers.

These boats should be treated as if they're flying the red cross.
posted by doublehappy at 10:15 PM on May 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


In a sarcastic e-mail message to reporters this week, Israel’s Government Press Office recommended a high-end restaurant in Gaza, the Roots Club, attaching the menu and a link to its Web site. “We have been told the beef stroganoff and cream of spinach soup are highly recommended,” the office said.
posted by doublehappy at 10:21 PM on May 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


The BBC reports up to 14 fatalities.

The Israelis don't suffer consequences even when they sink US military warships, why would they worry about some bunch of people trying to supply Gaza?
posted by sien at 10:29 PM on May 30, 2010 [17 favorites]


Welp, perhaps we can rely on the fact that the sheer amount of spin this will inevitably generate may very well force the Earth to rotate backwards on its axis and reverse time to before this happened.
posted by griphus at 10:37 PM on May 30, 2010 [22 favorites]


On the flipside; a military blockade is a military blockade. Everyone knows that the IDF, for better or for worse, doesn't fuck around. What's that saying? "You play with fire..."
posted by dazed_one at 10:37 PM on May 30, 2010 [3 favorites]


Here's a letter by Ann Wright, Free Gaza Flotilla participant: "Many of us would like to see our boat renamed "The Audacity of Hope"

It goes without saying that this didn't fly, thank goodness. IMHO, to name a flotilla in a Gazan war zone after a published work by ANY American president, would be ill advised...

Disgusted with this recent turn of events? Gaza Freedom March has posted an emergency response plan to support the flotilla here.
posted by Lisitasan at 10:39 PM on May 30, 2010


On the flipside; a military blockade is a military blockade. Everyone knows that the IDF, for better or for worse, doesn't fuck around. What's that saying? "You play with fire..."

Yeah! They should have known better than to be in unarmed in international waters!
posted by Talez at 10:42 PM on May 30, 2010 [68 favorites]


On the flipside; a military blockade is a military blockade. Everyone knows that the IDF, for better or for worse, doesn't fuck around. What's that saying? "You play with fire..."

Yeah, that's kind of the point of civil disobedience.
posted by stammer at 10:45 PM on May 30, 2010 [26 favorites]


I can't imagine the people on these flotillas are armed, so why would they open fire?

Because (they say) they met violent resistance from Palestinian activists. Whether you believe that to be true likely depends on what you already believe about the situation.
posted by Justinian at 10:50 PM on May 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't imagine the people on these flotillas are armed, so why would they open fire?

Jerusalem Post reports:
Passengers tried to grab weapons away from soldiers boarding the Gaza protest flotilla, starting the violence, Army Radio reported Tuesday morning, responding to accusations that Israeli commandos assaulted the ships guns blazing.
Between the Free Gaza updates and the IDF responses, I'm sure we'll get a clear picture of what really happened any minute now...
posted by lullaby at 10:53 PM on May 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


I can't imagine the people on these flotillas are armed

I can.

Yeah, that's kind of the point of civil disobedience.

Study these examples. See if you can see the difference between them. Look hard. This will be on the test.

Civil disobediance.

Anarchy.
posted by Cool Papa Bell at 10:55 PM on May 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


What's that saying? "You play with fire..."

I think the saying you're trying to convey is, "If the US sets fire to you, then you should sit there and suck it up."

You're acting as though these people are deliberately taunting the US for no reason - in fact, Gaza is being systematically choked to death in what is pretty obviously a humanitarian crisis to everyone except Israel and the US.

What would you have people do? Kill themselves to save the Israelis the trouble? (Note that this is Gandhi's suggested action for the Jews dealing with the Nazis....)
posted by lupus_yonderboy at 10:59 PM on May 30, 2010 [15 favorites]


Cool Papa Bell, which one of those was the flotilla?
posted by stammer at 11:01 PM on May 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


I do not like the State of Israel, and wish that it would go away. It does a grave disservice to Jews, democracy, memory of the Holocaust, the West, pretty much anything it associates itself with.

One state solution.
posted by Meatbomb at 11:06 PM on May 30, 2010 [34 favorites]


Because (they say) they met violent resistance from Palestinian activists. Whether you believe that to be true likely depends on what you already believe about the situation.

Of course they did... they boarded the Palestinian activists' boat without permission. I have no real position on Israel v Palestine, to be honest/

I can't imagine the people on these flotillas are armed
I can.

There's a difference between having a few guns on board this boat, and an Israeli helicopter full of soldiers with orders to open fire. I'm not saying these guys necessarily had a shipment of food and love, but they weren't military.
posted by doublehappy at 11:07 PM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


On the flipside; a military blockade is a military blockade. Everyone knows that the IDF, for better or for worse, doesn't fuck around. What's that saying? "You play with fire..."

So, they were asking for it, is what I'm hearing.
posted by ChurchHatesTucker at 11:10 PM on May 30, 2010 [11 favorites]


It's pointless to speculate about the facts right now. Both sides will (at best) spin it to justify or condemn the other and all that results is yet more bickering about who is wrong and who is right. As of BreakingNews' update a second ago, 15 people have died needlessly.

. for them.
posted by saturnine at 11:11 PM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Speaking as a Jew:

Not in my name.
posted by shii at 11:11 PM on May 30, 2010 [58 favorites]


Wow, it's like they are actively trying to see how far they can go commuting acts of fucked up shit within the free pass they get.
posted by Artw at 11:13 PM on May 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Passengers tried to grab weapons away from soldiers boarding the Gaza protest flotilla, starting the violence...

Uh, shouldn't the violence have ended when they, you know, failed?
posted by griphus at 11:13 PM on May 30, 2010


So, they were asking for it, is what I'm hearing.

Well the Flotilla was dressed provocativly!
posted by Talez at 11:15 PM on May 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Everyone knows that the IDF, for better or for worse, doesn't fuck around.

Nice to see the Middle East conflict reduced to its ultima ratio.

I, for one, would like to congratulate the IDF for this courageous naval victory against 16 unarmed people.

Oh, and good luck convincing the world now that it's worthwhile stretching even a little finger to prevent Iran from getting nukes. Because you've proven yourselves so much more cool-headed and trustworthy than Ahmadinejad. Idiots...
posted by Skeptic at 11:16 PM on May 30, 2010 [8 favorites]


You know, when God told the Israelites that they could have their promised land when they slaughtered every man, woman, child and animal in it, he wasn't fucking around.

The Israeli government is no less capable of following a batshit imaginary edict than the US government, so none of this should be a surprise.
posted by klanawa at 11:16 PM on May 30, 2010 [14 favorites]


It's pretty astounding how many body blows the public image of Israel has taken in the last eighteen months or so. When they bombed a refugee camp, killed 1,500 people, and got caught using banned weapons on a United Nations refuge, I think they burned their bridges with a lot of diaspora Jews. When they got caught forging passports of some of their most useful enablers and patrons, they seem to have lost a lot of diplomatic support -- a surprising amount, really. The South Africa documents confirmed that they are completely unreliable with their nuclear weapons, and also reminded the word that the State of Israel saw a kindred spirit in the apartheid government. Everything they've done since Hamas won the elections seems to have gone awry, except their attempts to inflict pain and terror on the population of Gaza.
posted by stammer at 11:24 PM on May 30, 2010 [45 favorites]


good luck convincing the world now that it's worthwhile stretching even a little finger to prevent Iran from getting nukes.

The far right within the Israeli military eager for an Iranian confrontation don't necessarily have to convince "the world," they just to have to use subterfuge to create some kind of justification for military response. After all, they already know they have the American political establishment on their side.
posted by HP LaserJet P10006 at 11:27 PM on May 30, 2010 [2 favorites]


Here is the IDF response from Jpost:
According to IDF reports, at least 10 acitivists were killed during the ensuing clashes as well as six Navy commandos, some of them from gunfire and at least one in serious condition with a head wound. Foreign reports claimed that the number of dead was close to 15. Some of the wounded were evacuated to Israeli hospital by Air Force helicopters.

Upon boarding the ships, the soldiers encountered fierce resistance from the passangers who were armed with knives, bats and metal pipes. The soldiers used non-lethal measures to disperse the crowd. The activists succeeded in stealing the weapon from one of the IDF’s soldiers and reportedly opened fire, leading to an escalation in violence.

“It was like a well-planned lynch,” one IDF officer said. “These people were anything but peace activists.”
posted by andoatnp at 11:37 PM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


from my twitterstream i saw that the number of dead may be up to 20 now
posted by liza at 11:40 PM on May 30, 2010


According to IDF reports, at least 10 acitivists were killed during the ensuing clashes as well as six Navy commandos

Note that this article seems to be saying that the six Navy commandos were wounded, not killed. It looks like there is a missing verb in the quoted sentence. Everywhere else in the same article, including the lede, gives a figure of six injuries, no deaths to the IDF.

That said, the speed with which the IDF PR team can (anonymously) put its stories into wide circulation always demands admiration. You have to ask how "well-planned" a "lynch" can be that leaves dozens of the lynch mob dead.
posted by stammer at 11:47 PM on May 30, 2010 [14 favorites]


Hmm, there seems to be a typo in the Jpost article that I linked and excerpted above as elsewhere in the article it says that six naval commandos were injured, not killed.

And here is the report from Haaretz.
posted by andoatnp at 11:49 PM on May 30, 2010


The IDF having dead bodies on it's own side is pretty fucking weird. I wonder what happened? Freindly fire incident? A rare incidence of the truth matching the IDFs claims?

In a way this might be seen as them lucking out, as it's going to be their basis for getting away with absolutely anything.
posted by Artw at 11:50 PM on May 30, 2010


blah blah blah... "It was like a well-planned lynch,” one IDF officer said. “These people were anything but peace activists.”

Yes those people we murdered, they tried to lynch us! So it's not our fault we had to kill them. Fuck these idiots.
posted by carfilhiot at 11:52 PM on May 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


Ah, it's just more of what the IDF is good at then - bullshit, misinformation, murder, war crimes and more bullshit.
posted by Artw at 11:52 PM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]




You know, if I were a member of a racist organisation that liked murdering people I'd like to think I'd feel a tinge of shame when using the word "lynch".

Kidding of course, these people have no shame.
posted by Artw at 11:55 PM on May 30, 2010 [6 favorites]


Video footage of the raid from Turkish TV
posted by stammer at 11:58 PM on May 30, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow...so we don't really know ALL the facts do we. And I'm sure both sides are painting things in their own best interest...

But video doesn't lie. 700 people were on board...I'm sure there's all sorts of video of this mess.

Where is it? Find it someone.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:13 AM on May 31, 2010


It seems to me that the essential point here will be whether or not the ships were in international waters when they were boarded. I see many people claiming they were, are the IDF claiming they weren't? Because if they were, I don't see how the IDF can come out of this unscathed. The laws of the sea are pretty clear, and this would fall squarely under piracy. If armed people board you in international waters, you've got the right to defend yourself.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:15 AM on May 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


I'm pretty sure they'd get away with that same as they get away with everything else.
posted by Artw at 12:17 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Appalling. Disgusting. Outrageous. Sickening. Criminal.

Shii said it perfectly: not in my name,


god
fucking
dammit.

In my opinion, Israel has become a rogue state, with a powerful patron to which I am ashamed to be a contributing taxpayer. I am equally ashamed to be of Jewish ancestry today, once again.
posted by fourcheesemac at 12:18 AM on May 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


Im guessing we won't see anything more from this youtube account after this video from the IDF.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qKOmLP4yHb4
posted by hal_c_on at 12:20 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am equally ashamed to be of Jewish ancestry today, once again.

Man, no. That sort of logic isn't any better than Joe in Australia's. These actions were performed by a discrete 20th century political structure. To be ashamed to share an ethnicity with them is to fall into the trap of equating disagreeing with their actions to anti-Semitism. You should damn well be ashamed of this as a Jew, not because of it.
posted by griphus at 12:31 AM on May 31, 2010 [66 favorites]


Pretty much all the reports I've read state pretty clearly that the ships were in international waters. It sounds like a horrible clusterfuck operation from a military that gets a lot more hype then it probably deserves. The blockade of Gaza itself is no less stupid and cruel.
posted by chaz at 12:34 AM on May 31, 2010


Country A retains sovereignty over a body of water under a fragile peace accord. Elements openly hostile to Country A, and in no uncertain terms acting in support of a terrorist entity, have voiced their intention to enter those waters. Country A's military warns them not to, then intercepts their vessel when it refuses to comply. Country A's soldiers come under fire and return fire, yielding an as-yet unknown number of casualties on the intercepted vessel.

It should be obvious who is at fault.
posted by holterbarbour at 12:38 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Flotilla also included Wallander author Henning Mankell. Won't somebody think of the Scandinavian crime fiction?
posted by Damienmce at 12:41 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Playground Politics
posted by keli at 12:42 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


How isn't this an act of war against Turkey and every other country who had flagged ships in the flotilla?
posted by Megafly at 12:44 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


lupus_yonderboy: "I think the saying you're trying to convey is, "If the US sets fire to you, then you should sit there and suck it up."

You're acting as though these people are deliberately taunting the US for no reason - in fact, Gaza is being systematically choked to death in what is pretty obviously a humanitarian crisis to everyone except Israel and the US.
"

Wait... how is the US getting taunted? As far as I know the US is not blockading Gaza in any way.

NYT: "Gaza has been under an Israeli- and Egyptian-imposed blockade since Hamas, the Islamic militant group that does not recognize Israel’s right to exist, took over the territory by force in 2007."
posted by sharkfu at 12:46 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


sharkfu,
Where did you get that quote in the NYT from? Didn't the "force" happen to be an election?

Genuine question. Seriously.
posted by hal_c_on at 12:50 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't have much of a dog in this fight: peace in Israel is long overdue, but with Hamas on one side and Likud + some farther-right parties on the other, it's unsurprising that it remains remote. I don't agree with the Israeli blockade of Gaza, but can understand why Israeli hawks feels its a strategic necessity.

That said, I can't see any excuse for this. Things like the assassination in dubai - illegal, but I can at least see an argument from expediency. An occasional assassination might be better than a war. But while I don't think this flotilla was much more than a provocation, and I never expected the Israelis to allow it to dock, turning it into a military incident on the high seas looks spectacularly bad, and Israel has already been hemorrhaging diplomatic support.

Al-jazeera quotes an Israeli spokesperson as saying the incident took place in international waters. If this turns out to be correct it's inexcusable, and the Israeli government needs to fall (in the manner resulting in an election, not a revolution).
posted by anigbrowl at 12:51 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


hal_c_on: "sharkfu,
Where did you get that quote in the NYT from? Didn't the "force" happen to be an election?

Genuine question. Seriously.
"

Fourth paragraph of the linked New York Times article in the OP.
posted by sharkfu at 12:52 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I am absolutely livid that my hard-earned tax dollars go toward supporting these murderous assholes.

Not a single fucking dime of America's money should be spent propping up Israel. Let the fuckers fend for themselves.
posted by Despondent_Monkey at 1:07 AM on May 31, 2010 [23 favorites]


sharkfu,

I really don't know much about the history here...but that quote has gotta be wrong. Hamas took over the territory by election in 2006. How would they take over the territory by force in 2007?

Any help?
posted by hal_c_on at 1:08 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


How is murdering probably unarmed civilians in international waters going to help anything?

It makes Bibi look like a tough, no-nonsense PM, which gets him votes. Kinda like GW's attack on Iraq. Or Ahmadinejad's no negotiation with the US policy, or Kim Yong-il's sinking of a South Korean naval vessel.

It's not about international relations, it's about domestic politics.
posted by orthogonality at 1:13 AM on May 31, 2010 [8 favorites]


Israel obviously decided they needed to act to prove Peter Beinart absolutely, positively fucking right re: young Jews outside of Israel thinking it's a rogue nation and wanting nothing to do with its cruel and militaristic regime.
posted by bardic at 1:20 AM on May 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


Also from the Jerusalem Post:

"if Jews were being blockaded anywhere in the world, Israel would respond exactly as we have."
posted by tbonicus at 1:23 AM on May 31, 2010


Reading a couple wikipedia articles, it seems that after the 2006 election that Hamas won, there was an attempted coup, possibly aided by the US, which Hamas managed to resist. In June 2007, Hamas started rounding up Fatah members of the government and raiding Fatah weapons stockpiles. Hamas claims that Fatah was being fed weapons by the US and Israel in preparation for a coup. In the aftermath, a state of emergency was declared and Hamas took full control of the government.

Short version with all caveats removed: US and friends attempt a coup, fail, and thereby consolidate the power of the extremists. This has certainly never happened before!
posted by kaibutsu at 1:24 AM on May 31, 2010 [8 favorites]


supremacism at work.
posted by Substrata at 1:26 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Murder on the high seas. I somehow doubt, though, that the nations beating on Somalis who do this will be setting up in the Med any time soon, though.
posted by rodgerd at 1:29 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Joe in Australia: Meta.
posted by orthogonality at 1:32 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


sharkfu,
Where did you get that quote in the NYT from? Didn't the "force" happen to be an election?

Genuine question. Seriously.
Well, they won the election, weren't seated, and then took over Gaza by force from the Fatah party. However, there would have been another election by now.
posted by delmoi at 1:46 AM on May 31, 2010


griphus, you don't get to tell me how I *should* (your word) feel 'as' anything.

You also misquote me. I said 'as a person of Jewish ancestry,' not 'a Jew .' I long ago stopped identifying 'as a Jew' precisely because of people telling me how I 'should' feel 'as a Jew.' You feel however you want as whatever you claim to be.

I am usually quite precise with my words around these parts, and I meant what I said.

How that is 'almost as bad' as either anti-semitism is unclear to me.
posted by fourcheesemac at 1:56 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]



The battle is in our hands. And we can answer with creative nonviolence the call to higher ground to which the new directions of our struggle summons us. The road ahead is not altogether a smooth one. There are no broad highways that lead us easily and inevitably to quick solutions. But we must keep going.

. . . .

The only normalcy that we will settle for is the normalcy that recognizes the dignity and worth of all of God’s children. The only normalcy that we will settle for is the normalcy that allows judgment to run down like waters, and righteousness like a mighty stream. The only normalcy that we will settle for is the normalcy of brotherhood, the normalcy of true peace, the normalcy of justice.

. . . .

I know you are asking today, "How long will it take?" Somebody’s asking, "How long will prejudice blind the visions of men, darken their understanding, and drive bright-eyed wisdom from her sacred throne?" Somebody’s asking, "When will wounded justice, lying prostrate on the streets of [Jerusalem] and [Gaza] and communities all over the [Israel], be lifted from this dust of shame to reign supreme among the children of men?"

Somebody’s asking, "When will the radiant star of hope be plunged against the nocturnal bosom of this lonely night, plucked from weary souls with chains of fear and the manacles of death? How long will justice be crucified, and truth bear it?"

I come to say to you this afternoon, however difficult the moment, however frustrating the hour, it will not be long, because "truth crushed to earth will rise again."

How long? Not long, because "no lie can live forever."

How long? Not long, because "you shall reap what you sow."

How long? Not long:


Truth forever on the scaffold,
Wrong forever on the throne,
Yet that scaffold sways the future,
And, behind the dim unknown,
Standeth God within the shadow,
Keeping watch above his own.

How long? Not long, because the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.

How long? Not long, because:

Mine eyes have seen the glory of the coming of the Lord;
He is trampling out the vintage where the grapes of wrath are stored;
He has loosed the fateful lightning of his terrible swift sword;
His truth is marching on.
He has sounded forth the trumpet that shall never call retreat;
He is sifting out the hearts of men before His judgment seat.
O, be swift, my soul, to answer Him! Be jubilant my feet!
Our God is marching on.
Glory, hallelujah! Glory, hallelujah!
Glory, hallelujah! Glory, hallelujah!

His truth is marching on.

--The Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, 25 March 1965. Montgomery, Alabama. (paraphrased, emphasis added).
posted by orthogonality at 2:01 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


How would [Hamas] take over the territory by force in 2007?

Simple. Via the Big Lie technique. If you say something often enough (Hamas took over Gaza by violence) then it enters the common discourse as if it was true.

The NYT is not a reliable source when it comes to Israel.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:15 AM on May 31, 2010 [11 favorites]


A quick update:Here's a video, the EU has asked for a full inquiry, Israeli ambassadors have been summoned to the Turkish, Greek and Spanish foreign ministries to explain what happened and the Greek-Israeli air exercise Minoas 2010 has been canceled.
posted by ersatz at 2:16 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fiji, for instance. Is anyone here opposed to Fiji?

You mean the Millitary dictatorship that spys on journalists? Why not?

Anyway, when most people say they are opposed to a country, they mean they are opposed to the government that runs that country.
posted by delmoi at 2:41 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


basing a 'state' on ethnicity is kind of the problem, no?
posted by artof.mulata at 2:43 AM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


fourcheesemac: I am equally ashamed to be of Jewish ancestry today, once again.

Why?

It is the Israelis who wish to present themselves as the representatives of all the Jewish people, but clearly there are plenty of Jewish people in and outside Israel who do not wish to have Israel represent them and who repudiate the actions of the government in Israel.

You might be a little proud that your Jewish ancestry provides you and others some sense of personal decency. Pity this does not seem to extend to the nation state which calls itself "the" Jewish nation.

If anyone should be ashamed is it the holders of American passports who underwrite and enable this.

Not in your name? How about not with my money and my weapons and my political support.
posted by three blind mice at 2:46 AM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


How isn't this an act of war against Turkey and every other country who had flagged ships in the flotilla?

Yeah, I was thinking that when I saw the photo of the actual boats. There are flags everywhere.



Fiji, for instance. Is anyone here opposed to Fiji?

I haven't been around MetaFilter for long, but I've been here long enough to know if something exists, there's someone on here opposed to it.

That said, there's a lot about the Fijian state that is disturbing, but it has more nudity than Israel and there are cheap flights to there at the moment.
posted by doublehappy at 2:52 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


it has more nudity than Israel

Are you kidding? I bet you I can find more sanctioned sin in Tel Aviv than Suva any day of the week. However.

I find this commentary a reasonably accurate description of why this has happened.
Some might wonder why on earth Israel would do such a thing knowing full well that it will be universally condemned for doing so. The answer is simple. Like North Korea they have a garrison state mentality in which internal political dynamics and an oversized conception of threats far outweigh any concern with external reactions. Israel gave up a long time ago worrying about how its actions will be perceived by the international community. Its major concern is to not appear weak. Whatever their other differences, the Israeli political elite is virtually unanimous in its support for a hard-line defense policy, to include the blockade. It is a mindset that external actors do not share but which is compelling to them. Anything that could appear to be an exploitation of a point of Israeli weakness (such as successfully running the blockade) is seen as an existential threat. Thus killing activists who dared to challenge Israel’s commitment to enforcing the blockade is seen as a fair price to pay for maintaining its image of toughness. What is more, the Israeli government believes that its Arab neighbours as well as others in the international community quietly respect its toughness, which serves as both a deterrent as well as a reaffirmation that it is here to stay, on its own terms.

Since the Palestinians receive little more than rhetorical support from the Sunni Arab world, Israel also knows a hard fact that the North Koreans understood when they torpedoed the South Korean frigate in March: there is nothing anyone can really do about the kilings beyond rhetorical condemnation and meaningless UN sanctions (and it will be interesting to see if Israel receives a UNSC sanction while North Korea does not). Although it may engage in some diplomatic retaliation, Turkey is not going to declare war over this incident. No other state or coalition of states are going to mount a counter-blockade that would invite an Israeli armed response, and economic and trade sanctions, even if they were to be applied, will be happily circumvented by the numerous “quiet” partners Israel has around the world. As an old Latin American phrase puts it, impunity has its own reward.

The point being that what appears outrageous to the outside world makes perfect sense to Israeli decision-makers given their garrison state mentalities. Had the flotilla organisers understood this, perhaps they would have thought twice about challenging the blockade. Had the Turkish government understood this, they would have been better served by dealing with the political wrath at home caused by their denying the flotilla permission to leave port rather than deal with the violent protests now occurring in the aftermath of the commando raid.
Personally I am past the point of feeling ashamed "as a Jew". I no longer identify with the right-wing camp in Israel, and far from feeling that a Jewish state gives me a secure haven, in fact the Zionist enterprise as realised via the Israeli right is putting me at risk.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:02 AM on May 31, 2010 [37 favorites]


But video doesn't lie. 700 people were on board...I'm sure there's all sorts of video of this mess.

Where is it? Find it someone.


Here is the Al Jazeerah English report (last report on board the ship). We watched the attack live via Turkish TV site online. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pn-l_JltCB4

Twitter is surging, but (as of now) we cannot get to any #flotilla streams. Tweeps claim that Twitter has filtered/censored any searches for the hash tag flotilla or even the word itself. Turkey has had the #Israil stream as top topic for the night. Stories of rioting there.
posted by Surfurrus at 3:09 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Had the flotilla organisers understood this, perhaps they would have thought twice about challenging the blockade.

This is the only point in which I differ from this analysis. If the organisers were Hamas sympathisers, as Israel alleges, in their eyes, and certainly in the eyes of Hamas, this should be a much better outcome than if the ships had been simply allowed through. We are now in a particularly dangerous situation in which the actions of the extremists on each side strengthen the extremists on the opposite side.
posted by Skeptic at 3:09 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


and far from feeling that a Jewish state gives me a secure haven, in fact the Zionist enterprise as realised via the Israeli right is putting me at risk.

That certainly seems true in the case of the passports-for-assassination asshattery.
posted by rodgerd at 3:11 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Skeptic, I believe the author is assuming that while there may have been Hamas plants on the flotilla, that the organisers were not Hamas.

Incidentally, speaking of time, it's bedtime in NZ, so I'm over and out for a while.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:12 AM on May 31, 2010


Fair enough - having never been to either place, I just went with my postcard knowledge.

That's a great analysis. I think Turkey and the flotilla maybe did understand that but, perhaps, weighed up the human costs against the international political gains, i.e. strengthening ties with Europe, weakening popular support of policies that support Israel, quiet or otherwise, &c.

Are you actually Joe's spleen?
posted by doublehappy at 3:13 AM on May 31, 2010


Thus killing activists who dared to challenge Israel’s commitment to enforcing the blockade is seen as a fair price to pay for maintaining its image of toughness.

They don't seem "tough" they seem deranged.

---

Also, suppose their had been rocket parts on the ship. If the rocket fire had resumed after the flotilla docked, it would have been a big P.R. win for them, and probably not all that dangerous. This response just seems insane.
posted by delmoi at 3:18 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


.

I believe I know people on that float, however indirectly (party-mates of my boyfriend, among others). This is not okay. This must have consequences. I'm doing my part by demonstrating outside the Israeli Embassy in Oslo, and if they start arresting people like they always do, so be it. This time, I will not remain silent.
posted by MaiaMadness at 3:18 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Its major concern is to not appear weak.

Yes, but how is this not a sign of weakness? The truly strong can afford to be magnanimous, only the weak are afraid to show any sign of softness.

Had the flotilla organisers understood this, perhaps they would have thought twice about challenging the blockade.

Yes, but I thought the whole purpose of this exercise was to bring attention to the fact that there is a crushing economic blockade going on. Israel crows about having "withdrawn" from Gaza when they have done no such thing.

I am tired of hearing, "We gave them Gaza and this is how they thank us."

It's like an endless loop of non-sensical George Bush "logic."
posted by three blind mice at 3:21 AM on May 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


BTW, ersatz, that BBC video is shocking for what the commentators say about the 'task' the Israeli soldiers faced with the 'crowd control problem' --- and not one word about the ship being illegally boarded in international waters.

The MSM have shown distinct deficits of reason once again.
posted by Surfurrus at 3:24 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Israel is a pretty special case, not that in it is Jewish, but in that it is a nation founded on an exclusive concept of ethnicity and religion.

Surely you're not serious. Egypt is officially Islamic. Jordan is officially Islamic. Iran is actually a theocracy. Saudi Arabia might as well be a theocracy. Syria might or might not be officially Islamic, but it's a dictatorship run by a Moslem clique. Let's cut to the chase and list the countries in the Middle East that aren't de facto or de jure Islamic: Israel and Lebanon, each of which has genuine freedom of religion - although most Jews in Lebanon found it healthier to emigrate.

Now, besides the Middle East, here are some other countries founded on an exclusive concept of ethnicity and religion: Pakistan, which was separated from India specifically to create an Islamic state. Bangladesh, which was separated from Pakistan specifically to create a majority-Bengali Islamic State. To my mind this duplicated process means that Bangladesh is the purest example of nations founded on blah-de-blah. Greece. The Scandinavian countries. England. Anyway, here's a list of countries with established religions.

As for ethnicity, you'll find that most countries other than those in the New World have a pretty firm idea of their national ethnic composition. This is why Belgium is perpetually on the verge being split into Flanders and Wallonia, or whatever their adherents want the bits to be called. And Yugoslavia actually was split into ethnic subdivisions. And so was Czechoslovakia. And after World War Two millions of ethnic Germans found themselves expelled from their homes specifically because of their ethnicity - their neighbours didn't want to be included in any more dreams of Greater Germany.

So you can see that Israel is not a special case. In fact the USA, Australia, Canada and other parts of the New World are unusual in that they are not defined by religion or ethnicity. None the less, they're all pushing for the establishment of a state in the West Bank and Gaza. And what will this state be? Why, Palestinian. And almost certainly Islamic, like almost all the other countries in the Middle East - the draft constitution already provides for legislation to be made according to the principles of Sharia. So this state will be both ethnically and religiously exclusive, even more so than your bugbear, Israel.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:29 AM on May 31, 2010 [12 favorites]


Live news blog http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/blog/2010/may/31/israel-troops-gaza-ships :

... Turkey announcing it has withdrawn its ambassador to Israel .... around 10,000 demonstrators marching in Turkey, some of whom tried to storm Israel's consulate building in Istanbul ...

Plus, word of Turkey demanding an emergency UN Security Council meeting.
posted by Surfurrus at 3:40 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


The truly strong can afford to be magnanimous, only the weak are afraid to show any sign of softness.
I think the entire Israeli psyche is predicated on a consciousness of vulnerability, so Israelis don't think they're "truly strong." They can't show any personal weakness precisely because their tough reputation is the only thing that protects them.
posted by craichead at 3:50 AM on May 31, 2010


Israel, like America and Australia, but unlike England or India or Iran, is a colony based on importing foreign settler labour, not on controlling local labour. This surely accounts for some of the hypnotic effect it exerts on people in the USA and Antipodes. As Israel's ex-ambassador to Australia put it: "We are in Asia without the characteristics of Asians. We don't have yellow skin and slanted eyes. Asia is basically the yellow race. Australia and Israel are not - we are basically the white race."
posted by stammer at 3:53 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


"We are in Asia without the characteristics of Asians. We don't have yellow skin and slanted eyes. Asia is basically the yellow race. Australia and Israel are not - we are basically the white race."

Except for you know the 40%-50% of Israelis who have ancestry from Yemen, Morocco, Ethiopia, Egypt, Iran, Iraq and Syria.
posted by PenDevil at 3:58 AM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


So you can see that Israel is not a special case. In fact the USA, Australia, Canada and other parts of the New World are unusual in that they are not defined by religion or ethnicity.

Most countries may be defined by religion or ethnicity, but they weren't founded on it. Israel is a special case, because it wasn't founded by people who lived there, but people who moved there to form a state around their common ethnicity and religion. Most countries with a state religion have one because, at the time the country was founded in its present form, that's the religion most people who happened to live in that geographic area followed. Israel was formed as a Jewish state, expelling the Arabic population who lived in the area and importing Jews from around the world. There is a difference.
posted by MaiaMadness at 3:59 AM on May 31, 2010 [10 favorites]


Surfurrus, I've seen other hastags about it do trend - @flotilla is a twitter name, and I'm note sure twitter names can trend.
posted by dabitch at 4:13 AM on May 31, 2010


ps searching flotilla and #flotilla works just fine.
posted by dabitch at 4:15 AM on May 31, 2010


Sydney Morning Herald correspondent Paul McGeough is riding with the flotilla, and is out of contact. He usually has pretty insightful reporting. I am hoping he is ok and will read his report with interest, as the foaming mouths on both sides of this argument make it hard to draw an opinion due to lack of anything approaching balance.
posted by bystander at 4:17 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


craichead: They can't show any personal weakness precisely because their tough reputation is the only thing that protects them.

I get this, but my point is that to an outsider like myself, the "tough reputation" is the facade of someone inherently weak.

The IDF killing unarmed civilians is a less than impressive show of strength.

Like North Korea, just being ridiculously bellicose isn't fooling anyone.

It's a sign of a fearful and paranoid and unpredictable government who should not be allowed by the rest of us to have nuclear weapons.
posted by three blind mice at 4:22 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


ps searching flotilla and #flotilla works just fine. - dabitch

It seems to be hit or miss - overload? There is a new hashtag #freedomflotilla and 'Gaza flotilla' will show up on search.

Does anyone see any news of what has happened to the rest of the flotilla people (800 people being secretly detained in Israel?)?
posted by Surfurrus at 4:31 AM on May 31, 2010


posted by Joe in Australia: Syria might or might not be officially Islamic, but it's a dictatorship run by a Moslem clique.

Syria is a fairly secular state with no official religion, and the Assad family/Ba'ath Party is not well liked by many Muslims in the country.
posted by gman at 4:36 AM on May 31, 2010


I'm honestly just trying to figure out where these ships were when the helicopters arrived, can someone please point me to a better map than this one where I can see the international waters borders (and suss out how far they had to go before reaching gaza). Does anyone know where they were? bystander hope to hear from him and other journalists onboard soon.
posted by dabitch at 4:38 AM on May 31, 2010



bystander:
Peter Fray, editor of Fairfax publication The Sydney Morning Herald, issued a statement about 8:00pm (AEST) confirming journalist Paul McGeough and photographer Kate Geraghty are safe.

Mr McGeough and Ms Geraghty had last made contact around noon (AEST) while onboard the MV Samoud.

The pair joined the flotilla in Crete about a week ago and are on assignment covering the convoy and had been moving from boat to boat.

Both have satellite phones but Mr McGeough reported his GPS was not working, blaming the malfunction on Israeli attempts to jam communications.

Mr Fray says the pair are being processed in an Israeli detention centre.
http://www.abc.net.au/news/stories/2010/05/31/2914432.htm
posted by Surfurrus at 4:43 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I get this, but my point is that to an outsider like myself, the "tough reputation" is the facade of someone inherently weak.
Well, yeah. I'm just not sure why that's news to anyone. Jewish Israelis know they're fundamentally weak and that their toughness is a way to compensate for that fundamental weakness. Israel is a tiny country, most of whose citizens are members of a tiny, despised minority, and they're a country whose legitimacy is not accepted by most of the world's people. I don't think the fact that they're really weak is really a "stop the presses" insight.
posted by craichead at 4:43 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


1. Start out with a defensible, reasonable moral position. Israel has a moral responsibility to protect its citizens from suicide bombings and rocket attacks.

2. Create a vastly disproportionate policy that, among other things, addresses the need in step 1. Deny Gazans the right to travel to the West Bank. Arrest Palestinians in the West Bank with Gaza residency in their ID cards and deport them to Gaza. Create a hermetic blockade around Gaza that denies cilantro, peanut butter, jelly, and medical supplies.

3. When criticized about step 2, point to step 1. Insist that any response to a moral necessity is itself moral. Deny the possibility that any option exists other than the one implemented. Express indignation that Israel is faulted for merely trying to act morally. Paint criticism of policies as criticism of right to existence and/or self-defense. Call critics racists.

Repeat.
posted by awenner at 4:44 AM on May 31, 2010 [46 favorites]


Surfurrus , yes it's very hit or miss, which is standard twitter operation level (I can't remember a day this past month where I didn't see "something is technically wrong" at least twice).

SvD are reporting (Swedish, sorry) that the first ships have arrived to Ashdod port now. Alternative news are reporting that Israeli activists are denied entry to that port and are demonstrating nearby.
posted by dabitch at 4:46 AM on May 31, 2010


three blind mice: The IDF killing unarmed civilians is a less than impressive show of strength.

At 6' in this video, a person is hitting a soldier over the head with a pipe or a stick right after they land on the deck. Sorry, but not the best way to avoid being shot.
posted by sundri at 4:47 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]




Some interesting points (via tweets):

- When a ship is boarded by armed people in international waters - that is called PIRACY.
- If this had been done by Iran (or insert name) instead of Israel, there would have been immediate retaliation by US, et al.
- Number of Israeli deaths by rockets from Gaza in the past ten years? - less than the number of deaths of humanitarian activists this morning.
posted by Surfurrus at 4:56 AM on May 31, 2010 [34 favorites]


No, it isn't piracy - piracy involves the potential for economic gains. This is maritime terrorism.
posted by avocet at 5:01 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


At 6' in this video, a person is hitting a soldier over the head with a pipe or a stick right after they land on the deck. Sorry, but not the best way to avoid being shot.

Well, landing like that in the middle of a well-lighted, crowded deck isn't exactly the best way to avoid being beaten into a pulp, either. Apart from being piracy, of course.

Now, seriously, apart from the illegality, callousness and outright unfairness of Israel's actions in all this, there's something that strikes me in Israel's military actions since the last invasion of Lebanon: its complete inepcy. I mean, that scene doesn't strike me as reflecting well on the soldier's training, or the tactics of his leadership. Just think of how Israel's military leadership would have dealt with this kind of situation just one generation ago: possibly less bloodily, certainly a great deal more stealthily. Those ships wouldn't even have left harbour.
posted by Skeptic at 5:20 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


UK Foreign Secretary William Hague has called on the Government of Israel to open all crossings for aid to enter Gaza and deplored the loss of life during the interception of the Gaza Flotilla......This news underlines the need to lift the restrictions on access to Gaza, in line with UNSCR 1860. ( USA abstained ).
posted by adamvasco at 5:21 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


sundri: At 6' in this video, a person is hitting a soldier over the head with a pipe or a stick right after they land on the deck. Sorry, but not the best way to avoid being shot.

It's like the IDFs penchant for using lethal force on kids who throw stones at them. It's always the fault of the stone thrower and never the fault of the armed soldiers in tanks and helicopter gunships.

The guy with the stick wasn't shot or at least it does not appear so from that video. It's pretty hard to see. By this time in the video the shooting had already started and it appears that the solider - in full body armour - retreated from the defensive actions of that guy with a stick. Big balls on that one. The guy with the stick I mean.

The soldier deserves credit for retreating and not shooting. He showed self-restraint. His buddies not so much.
posted by three blind mice at 5:23 AM on May 31, 2010 [8 favorites]


At 6' in this video , a person is hitting a soldier over the head with a pipe or a stick right after they land on the deck. Sorry, but not the best way to avoid being shot.

Because, y'know, you should never try to defend yourself from an unprovoked and armed invasion by a hostile force. Just stand there and take whatever's coming at you.
posted by Thorzdad at 5:28 AM on May 31, 2010 [12 favorites]




Among the passengers on the flotilla were two members of the German Parliament, Inge Höger and Annette Groth, both members of Germany's Die Linke (Left) party.
posted by stammer at 5:36 AM on May 31, 2010


Just stand there and take whatever's coming at you.

This pretty much sums up the attitude of the Israelis towards the Palestinians: shut up, accept your humiliation, accept the injustice of your situation, and maybe we'll stop proving to you the futile nature of your protests. And pick up that gum wrapper.

Right? It seems to me that this violent aggression is a result of the fact that the government of Israel issued warnings to the flotilla who had the temerity to bravely ignore them.

The only thing they (the Palestinians) understand is force. I hear this again and again from Israelis. There was no way that these ships were going to be permitted to continue without some people being killed by way of example for others who might follow.

So sad for the Israelis that the Palestinians don't really seem to understand force. I guess living for decades in refugee camps kind of has that effect on a person.
posted by three blind mice at 5:42 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


- Number of Israeli deaths by rockets from Gaza in the past ten years? - less than the number of deaths of humanitarian activists this morning.

It's like the IDFs penchant for using lethal force on kids who throw stones at them. It's always the fault of the stone thrower and never the fault of the armed soldiers in tanks and helicopter gunships.

Those two points right there can't be emphasized enough.

I used to be an ardent supported of Israel, but these tactics and the continual building of settlements in the West Bank and traditional arab parts of Jerusalem by far right fanatics living out biblical fantasies has put an end to that.

That we, the US, subsidizes the ghetto-ization of the Gaza strip, and the undue influence of AIPAC on our own national politics has to stop.
posted by Max Power at 5:45 AM on May 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


(retweet)

@avinunu: So if I understand Israel's justification correctly, #FreedomFlotilla were going sail to Gaza and then beat Israel with sticks?
posted by Surfurrus at 5:47 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Because, y'know, you should never try to defend yourself from an unprovoked and armed invasion by a hostile force.

Actually, if you are on a humanitarian mission and trying to make a point about the asymmetrical oppression of a group of people, I would firmly say you shouldn't react by "defending" yourself. I believe it's called nonviolent resistance.

And watching the whole video through, I believe it's edited, not linear.
posted by sundri at 5:50 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


sundri, some of us saw the whole thing live on Turkish broadcast - for US (the rest of the world got to watch Al Jazeerah live).
posted by Surfurrus at 5:53 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Israel's treatment of Turkey is a gross betrayal of a country that has traditionally been a good ally.

The die has been cast. Turkey should stop sending water to Israel.
posted by markkraft at 6:04 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


The idea that Israel's existence is up for debate is very paternalistic, very neo-colonial.

Bullshit, Joe. The establishment of Israel by a bunch of European Jews was the last big colonialist adventure of the 20th century. Debating the existence of this failed experiment should be no more neo-colonial than debating the existence of apartheid South Africa, white Rhodesia, British Hong Kong, Chinese Tibet and East Turkmenistan, etc., etc.
posted by Meatbomb at 6:12 AM on May 31, 2010 [23 favorites]


One of the things that strike me most about this is that many of the rabbis in the US in the early part of last century were strongly against the largely Russian-based, godless Zionist movement, which did -- and to some extent still does -- reflect a kind of Stalinist totalitarianism when it comes to military matters and enforcing doctrine.

You can catch a sense of this, when even some of the so-called moderates in Israel, who currently make up the political opposition, are only in power because tthey were related to known terrorists... the kind of people who blew up hotels, killed British, Arabs, and Jewish civilians indiscriminately, hid caches of weapons inside synogogues, and counterfeited bonds and currency to fund their terrorism.

These are the State of Israel's "heroes", and the kind of connections it helps to have in order to be considered electable there, where politics have become so poisoned by the radical Zionists as to require cowtowing to a despicable, hateful, radical legacy that *STILL* assassinates, *STILL* counterfeits, and *STILL* engages in the kind of illegitimate radical behavior that the absolute worst of their founders did.

There were, indeed, plenty of Israelis who defended themselves against attacks in the formation of the state. But these kind of people were not part of them. They were the ethnic cleansers in the group... and they had a helluva lot of support within the Israeli society... and still do amongst Israel's ruling elite.
posted by markkraft at 6:23 AM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


This will all blow over. The US state department will condemn the attack and the loss of life “in the strongest possible terms.” There will be some kind of UN investigation, resulting in a resolution that deplores Israel’s actions. The US congress will reject the UN resolution, reiterating American support for Israel in the face of terrorism. Nothing will change in Gaza, something new and shiny will show up in the news cycle, and everybody will act surprised at the next atrocity.

“Instead, they expressed a profoundly distorted view of this country -- a view that sees white racism as endemic, and that elevates what is wrong with America above all that we know is right with America, a view that sees the conflicts in the Middle East as rooted primarily in the actions of stalwart allies like Israel, instead of emanating from the perverse and hateful ideologies of radical Islam.”
Obama speech on racism, March 18th, 2008.

This kind of stupid either/or statement is so commonplace in American political discourse that we don’t even notice it when it comes in the middle of a nuanced speech from someone smart. As long as Israel is the US’s stalwart ally no matter what it does, Israel feels pretty comfortable telling the rest of the world to fuck off. For American politicians, the no-matter-what supporters of Israel form a bloc vote that matter, and that can be given assurances that don’t cost anything politically. Voters who are critical of US policy in the middle east seldom treat this policy as a litmus test, and if they did they wouldn’t find anybody to vote for.
posted by Killick at 6:23 AM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


Surprisingly, (as of this moment) flotilla.eu.com, .us.com, .uk.com are still available domain names....

(maybe a zombo.com redirect will help the situation)
posted by Bighappyfunhouse at 6:28 AM on May 31, 2010


Even the State of Israel's fraudulent defense for this action is shockingly, appallingly flawed.

They do not deny that they intercepted these vessels in international waters. Indeed, they absolutely *DO* deny that Gaza is a part of Israel, largely because they refuse to treat Gazans like Israelis, viewing them as a demographic "time bomb".

The point of the matter is, any of those civilians on those vessels -- such as 1976 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Corrigan Maguire of Northern Ireland, or 85 year old Holocaust survivor Hedy Epstein -- had every legal right to shoot those IMF pirates dead, because what they were engaging in was in violation of not only international law, but also the Basic Law of Israel, which says that treaties that the State of Israel is a signator to are the same as law. Period. No exceptions.
posted by markkraft at 6:35 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


It's pointless to speculate about the facts right now. Both sides will (at best) spin it to justify or condemn the other and all that results is yet more bickering about who is wrong and who is right.

I wouldn't hold my breath for these so-called "facts" to reveal themselves.
posted by tybeet at 6:45 AM on May 31, 2010


As for Turkey, it has increasingly (with a growing MNuslim control of the nation) turned against Israel.

The comment that a bunch of zionist established a failed colonial state hardly jibes with the idea that th United Nations sancted the diviwsion of the British Madate into two nations...one of which was Israel and the other ...well you know the rest, I presume.
posted by Postroad at 6:51 AM on May 31, 2010


markkraft: - had every legal right to shoot those IMF pirates dead,

IDF. You meant IDF. Israeli Defense Forces.

The IMF, International Monetary Fund, is a different organisation of pirates altogether.
posted by three blind mice at 6:56 AM on May 31, 2010 [25 favorites]


This will all blow over. The US state department will condemn the attack and the loss of life “in the strongest possible terms.” There will be some kind of UN investigation, resulting in a resolution that deplores Israel’s actions. The US congress will reject the UN resolution, reiterating American support for Israel in the face of terrorism. Nothing will change in Gaza, something new and shiny will show up in the news cycle, and everybody will act surprised at the next atrocity.

Man, I wonder if Obama can get a SECOND Nobel peace prize!
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:59 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Given the current tension between the US administration and the Israeli administration over the Israeli policy re: Palestine, and that the Israeli Prime Minister is scheduled to meet the US president tomorrow for talks, how is this act not a giant, well thought out "Fuck You" from the Israeli government to Obama?
posted by merocet at 7:01 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


"We are in Asia without the characteristics of Asians. We don't have yellow skin and slanted eyes. Asia is basically the yellow race. "

I guess everyone in Asia west of Burma better find a new name for the continent they live on, then...
posted by bardophile at 7:05 AM on May 31, 2010


MaiaMadness wrote: Most countries may be defined by religion or ethnicity, but they weren't founded on it.

I can't see the distinction you're drawing, but in any case: Pakistan ("India for Moslems"), Bangladesh ("Moslem India for Bengalis"), the Czech Republic ("Czechoslovakia for Czechs"), and so forth. And then of course there are places like Jordan, which was basically a sinecure for King Abdullah, but I digress.

Israel is a special case, because it wasn't founded by people who lived there

They lived there at the time the State was founded. They literally had nowhere else to live.

Most countries with a state religion have one because, at the time the country was founded in its present form, that's the religion most people who happened to live in that geographic area followed. Israel was formed as a Jewish state, expelling the Arabic population who lived in the area and importing Jews from around the world.

You seem to be equating "Arab" with "Moslem" which isn't at all correct, but leave that to one side. Firstly, "the Arabic population who lived in the area" were not expelled. This is why Israel has a significant Arab population today. In fact it was the Jews who were expelled - there were literally no Jews left in the Old City and Eastern Jerusalem after it was captured by the Jordanians. Secondly, Jews were not "imported". Most of them were heart-breakingly grateful to be able to live in a place where they were subject to only intermittent violence rather than official persecution. They were refugees and, as I said before, literally had nowhere else to live.

In any event, you're talking about a country that's sixty years old. There are undoubtedly babies alive today whose great-grandparents were born in Israel. Are you suggesting that they be rounded up and sent ... well, "to the East"?

There is a difference.

Of course there is. They're Jews.

Meatbomb wrote: The establishment of Israel by a bunch of European Jews was the last big colonialist adventure of the 20th century.

Really. Of which country was this a colony? And where do you think these adventurous refugees ought to have gone? Furthermore, and this is just a minor quibble, many of them were refugees from Arab countries. There were literally millions of Jews in Egypt, in Iran, in Syria and so forth; now I suspect there are not even thousands.

Debating the existence of this failed experiment should be no more neo-colonial than debating the existence of apartheid South Africa, white Rhodesia, British Hong Kong, Chinese Tibet and East Turkmenistan, etc., etc.

I'm so glad that you are refuting the suggestion that "go away" means anything other than "be extinguished", but in any event.

South Africa and Rhodesia were in the wrong because the white minority denied democratic rights to the black majority. British Hong Kong was more complex; in a perfect world they'd have had self-determination, but that was never going to happen. The same goes for Tibet and so forth; they're being ruled by outsiders. Israel is precisely the opposite: your complaint is that the Israelis, the people who actually live there are wrong to do so. They were born wrong.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:14 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Breaking now: Israel cancelling WH visit to deal with Gaza crisis.

Almost reminds me of that kid who worked at Blockbuster and didn't want to go in for the day, so he stabbed himself.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:15 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Joe in Australia, it's all well and good that you want to give everyone a history lesson on the Middle East, but you've said very little (nothing?) about the legality/morality of the actions of the IDF. If you'd like to make a point about the action that occurred last night, by all means, let's hear it.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:20 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


The deaths are sad, and it's not clear to me what the Israeli government was hoping to gain with this raid.

That said, the language used by a lot of the critics, here and elsewhere, continues to be really troubling to me. It's like, if the US or Brazilian or French militaries were to kill a bunch of activists, people would (mostly) manage to criticize their actions without jumping directly to questioning the entire country's right to exist.
posted by Forktine at 7:20 AM on May 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


The US is a failed state imposed upon the British who in turn made a colonial empire by uprooting the Am Indians, who possessed the land till invaded and overrun by a colonial power. The white occupiers committed a genocide upon the original natives, and to this day the native peoples live mostly on reservations (concentration camps), impoverished and addicted to drink, originanlly supplied by their oppressors.
posted by Postroad at 7:24 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Well... yes?
posted by Artw at 7:26 AM on May 31, 2010


how is this act not a giant, well thought out "Fuck You" from the Israeli government to Obama?

And what would be the point of that?

BARACK OBAMA AND JOE BIDEN: A STRONG RECORD OF SUPPORTING THE SECURITY, PEACE, AND PROSPERITY OF ISRAEL

Barack Obama and Joe Biden have established a strong record as true friends of Israel, stalwart defenders of Israel’s security, and effective advocates of strengthening the steadfast U.S.-Israel relationship. They believe that Israel’s right to exist as a Jewish state should never be challenged. As a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Obama has consistently emphasized his commitment to our ally Israel, and has been an active supporter of legislation helping to ensure the support and security of the Middle East’s only established democracy. Obama continually works with a number of his colleagues in the Senate to promote a closer relationship between the U.S. and Israel on a range of fronts – security, economic, political, and cultural. He has traveled to Israel, most recently in 2008, to convey to Israel’s leaders and citizens his commitment to the close friendship between Israel and the United States, and his determination to help Israel defend itself from the serious threats it faces and pursue peace with neighbors who seek to achieve it.

Not sure if that was written by or for AIPAC, but the intent is pretty clear. When it comes to Israel, Obama is no different than George Bush, Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Ronald Reagan.

Obama will do nothing. American weapons and money will continue to sustain an otherwise unsustainable state.
posted by three blind mice at 7:26 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


(Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates asked: Joe in Australia, it's all well and good that you want to give everyone a history lesson on the Middle East, but you've said very little (nothing?) about the legality/morality of the actions of the IDF. If you'd like to make a point about the action that occurred last night, by all means, let's hear it.

Life is too short. Nobody should die before their time.

The legality? I have no idea and I don't think anyone else here does either.
posted by Joe in Australia at 7:28 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Life is too short. Nobody should die before their time.

That's brave of you to say. Golf clap. Highly principled stand.

The legality? I have no idea and I don't think anyone else here does either.

Yeah, it IS tough to defend, isn't it? Funny.
posted by (Arsenio) Hall and (Warren) Oates at 7:32 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


The legality? I have no idea and I don't think anyone else here does either.

This is a gem, you get to sound humble while attempting to dismiss the statements of an entire thread full of people with a wave of the hand. It's a step up from your "FTFY" but not a big one.
posted by Space Coyote at 7:32 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


The legality? I have no idea and I don't think anyone else here does either.

There, fixed it for you.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:33 AM on May 31, 2010 [10 favorites]


Joe in Australia wrote: The legality? I have no idea and I don't care.

There, fixed it for you.
posted by Skeptic at 7:41 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Just saw this on Twitter: NYT NEWS ALERT: Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel Cancels Meeting With Obama.

Quick notes on this thing:

1) The flotilla was repeatedly warned not to proceed to Gaza. Or, if they wanted to proceed, they should land at the Israeli port of Ashdod (I lost the link of the video of the interview of an Israeli spokesman saying this, sorry) and the supplies would reach Gaza by land from there.

2) Don't fuck with a military blockade. This is from an AP article from yesterday, a quote from an organizer: "We fully intend to go to Gaza regardless of any intimidation or threats of violence against us," she said. "They are going to have to forcefully stop us." These people knew exactly what they were signing up for and knew Israel would have no option but boarding the ships.

3) Once the ships were boarded, the soldiers were attacked with clubs and pipes (Approx 6. It's shown clearly on the video. Things escalated quickly from there.

4) Having said that, I am appalled by how inept the Israeli military seemed in dealing with this threat. Rapelling soldiers in the middle of a crowded boat of potential hostiles? This makes no sense. There must be a better way of disabling a civilian vessel without casualties so you can tow it to a port.
posted by falameufilho at 7:42 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Firebombs? latest video on IDF channel show firebombs and stun grenades thrown at Israeli soldiers. or should I say latest IDF video shows what IDF claims to be firebombs, I can't make out what that is.
posted by dabitch at 7:45 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


A few people have asked what was Israel's endgame here. Did they just expect they would just takeover the flotilla with no problems?

Capture the flotilla, bring it to Israel, no issue?
posted by hazyspring at 7:54 AM on May 31, 2010



The “humanitarian aid” flotilla was clearly a perniciously well-conceived initiative, for which Israel prepared inadequately. - The Jerusalem Post
posted by CunningLinguist at 7:55 AM on May 31, 2010


how is this act not a giant, well thought out "Fuck You" from the Israeli government to Obama?

Almost as good as the fireworks show they put on for his inauguration.
posted by Artw at 7:58 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


i_am_joe's_spleen: Thanks for that link. That's a pragmatic, yet chillingly realistic, summation of the thought process leading up to what is a seemingly nonsensical response.

I've never understood this mindset. It seems a better way to display power would be to show little outward acknowledgement of the effort and let it continue unmolested as it is clearly inconsequential. To say, "Clearly, there is no humanitarian aid crisis in Gaza so we feel this aid could be better used in more needy areas, but if this group of individuals wish to bring in five to nine shiploads of potted meat and band-aids, they can go right ahead. Their actions will be monitored closely to ensure that's all they're bringing in. We can do that and we can do it without interfering in their political stunt because we are Israel and when it comes to kicking ass and chewing bubble gum we neither admit nor deny that we are out of bubble gum."

Of course, not understanding this mindset is probably why I wouldn't make a very good politician.
posted by quakerjono at 8:10 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


When it comes to Israel, Obama is no different than George Bush, Bill Clinton, George Bush, and Ronald Reagan.

That's unfair to George Bush Senior, who did in fact turn off the money tap from the US in order to exercise leverage when it suited him.

The Post article is a window into another world:
Barak also noted that “there is no humanitarian crisis in Gaza” – the alleviation of which ostensibly motivated the organizers of this flotilla.
posted by rodgerd at 8:11 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


When I said that I have no idea of the legality I could have answered more fully, knowing that it will be condensed in the mind of many readers into "Well, he would say that":

There are no easy answers with things that concern international law. From one perspective there is no such thing as international law because there is no source of legitimate power greater than an individual state. You can say whether or not actions accord with international treaties; you can say whether they accord with common practice, but that's not law, as such. This is why some people stridently deny that the USA is bound by international treaties - they are not law, because (from the perspective of the USA) all law is USA law.

From a perspective that recognises the existence of international law, assuming the facts as reported are accurate, the questions are:
Was Israel within its rights to board the vessels?
Was the IDF, upon encountering resistance, entitled to open fire?

The answer to the first question necessarily depends on whether Israel is entitled to blockade the coast of Gaza. There's another good question. Israel would say that it is effectively in a state of war with Hamas and is entitled to prevent supplies from reaching it. I think the first part cannot be denied, seeing that both parties agree a state of war exists. Furthermore, given that a state of war exists, Israel is surely entitled to prevent weapons and so forth from reaching Hamas. It doesn't matter whether the waters are international or not, once it knows that they're going to Gaza. So I think Israel was within its rights to board the vessels or at least prevent them from reaching Gaza.

If I am correct in that conclusion then the IDF was entitled to use the force necessary to accomplish their goal. And once they started boarding it (according to reports) became necessary to fire upon the activists bludgeoning the soldier to death. You could say that at that point the IDF was entitled to open fire. But I'm surprised that anyone should have thought that it was a good idea to dangle soldiers from a helicopter like so many camouflaged piñatas.

Now we come to morality. Like most people my morality isn't academically justifiable, and I'm getting tired. So briefly, I think it is immoral to behave carelessly when this will impact on others. I think I'm correct in saying that it is evident the operation was badly planned. This was immoral. But the flotilla's organisers surely knew it was going to be intercepted, and it was evidently possible that this could be dangerous. And it certainly doesn't like as though they adequately prepared their cast for this. So both the IDF and the flotilla organisers acted without care. And so too did the people who assaulted the soldiers. It was a massive cock-up that could (and did) result in the deaths of at least ten people, which in my book is immoral.

So. Was it legal? Insofar as the term has any meaning in this context, probably. Was it moral? No, morality would have demanded that the parties do things differently.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:13 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


.

Shii said it perfectly: "not in my name"

A thousand times ---
posted by mikelieman at 8:14 AM on May 31, 2010


An interesting coincidence: I went to bed last night after watching half of Exodus and woke up this morning to these news. Too lazy to draw the parallels now.
posted by falameufilho at 8:15 AM on May 31, 2010


1) The flotilla was repeatedly warned not to proceed to Gaza.

If you subscribe to the "Two State" model, then Gaza's OWN MARITIME PORTS aren't lawfully under Israel's jurisdiction, and the blockade is a prima-facie act of war.

FWIW, I don't subscribe the the "Two State" model. The only thing it's good for is preserving this status quo.
posted by mikelieman at 8:16 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


So. Was it legal? Insofar as the term has any meaning in this context, probably.

Joe in Australia, in your hand-waving about international law, you failed to mention that Israel is a signatory to various treaties, which means that those treaties carry the force of law in Israel. So, "was it legal?" does not necessarily depend on your conception of international law, but may indeed be a question about Israeli law.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 8:19 AM on May 31, 2010


Was the IDF, upon encountering resistance, entitled to open fire?

These are the questions that the IDF shouldn't have tried to answer on a sugar rush.
posted by ed at 8:20 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Before we all get too self rightgeous here, and right from Al Jazerra's mouth itself, here is what was going on at the ship prior to any boarding by Israel;
sobngs of martydom and intifada songs. (alas, I use Mac and can not download the plug required but if you have it, or use windows, listen to the peacefulness!

http://www.memri.org/clip/en/0/0/0/0/239/0/2489.htm
posted by Postroad at 8:20 AM on May 31, 2010


Bit UK-centric, but the Guardian have mentioned that international law expert Philippe Sands is interviewing UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg at the Hay festival on Sunday - which should be interesting given this article Clegg wrote in December. Might give some indication of the UK government's thoughts once there's been a few days to look at things, and also because someone who knows something about the law surrounding this is asking the questions.
posted by djgh at 8:21 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Capture the flotilla, bring it to Israel, no issue?

Armchair quarterback time: Would it not have been far cleaner to foul the props of the flotilla's ships? Disable the ships, then tow them somewhere at your leisure without ever putting people on board.
posted by whatnotever at 8:21 AM on May 31, 2010


[Early, crappy comment from Joe In Australia removed along with a bunch of stuff responding and re-responding to it. There is a metatalk thread, anything further regarding bad quoting practices or metacommentary should go there, pronto. Joe, you kind of poisoned the well with your early comments and it might be a good idea for you to just leave off this thread at this point.]
posted by cortex (staff) at 8:24 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Joe in Australia: You have a valid point regarding law in international waters. If Israel has proof that the flotilla contained weaponry and was bound for Gaza, the legality at least seems clear (although the execution, and I use that word intentionally, seemed designed to maximize antagonism). Israel, after all, has a demonstrated history of seizing ships that are performing such transport.

However, your legality issue pretty clearly hinges on what the flotilla was actually carrying. Not to sound flip, but the whole world at this point knows how well a search for WMDs can go. It seems likely that, were the flotilla actually carrying proscribed weaponry, that the second the Israeli commandos touched down, they would have broken it out and engaged in a much more even-sided firefight. As it stands, the flotilla, even by Israeli statements, "attacked" with pipes, clubs, and other makeshift weapons. This makes me at least question that the flotilla was carrying anything more offensive than Spam, if not outright believe that it was exactly what it claimed to be.

It's entirely possible Israel had what it felt to be good intelligence that weapons were being transported and acted in accord with that intelligence. If that intelligence is proved to be wrong, though, then it would seem the legality of the Israeli action is much murkier, particularly since it seems to be fairly certain that the flotilla was still in international waters.
posted by quakerjono at 8:25 AM on May 31, 2010


South Africa and Rhodesia were in the wrong because the white minority denied democratic rights to the black majority.

Israel is demographically not quite there, but getting awfully close. The population of Israel is 7.5 million, of which 1.5 is Arab. The Arab population of the West Bank is somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 million, depending on who's counting. The population of the West Bank is about 0.5 million. That results in a combined population balance in the territories controlled or surrounded by Israel of 6 million Jewish, 3.5-4.5 million Arab. And that of course fails to take account of the millions of Palestinian refugees living in Jordan, Lebanon and elsewhere.

Of course, it isn't just a question of numbers. The problem lies in the denial of rights, not in the proportion between the oppressers and the oppressed.
posted by Skeptic at 8:26 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Postroad: Erm, not to be flip, but that must have been some truly off-key singing to prompt this sort of retaliation. Although, to be fair, every time Hannah Montana opens her mouth...yeah, I could kind of see that.

Seriously, though, no one is suggesting that the flotilla was unaware of the danger and risk of their actions. Their stated aim was to break what they felt to be an illegal blockade. But to suggest that their singing implicates darker motivations than simply trying to garner political attention and provide humanitarian aid is reckless, and somewhat bigotedl, conjecture.
posted by quakerjono at 8:30 AM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


This is a clear a terrorist message from the Israelis to would-be aid suppliers as a car bomb from Al-Qaeda outside of a UN compound in Iraq is.
posted by Burhanistan at 8:30 AM on May 31, 2010


Joe in Australia, in your hand-waving about international law, you failed to mention that Israel is a signatory to various treaties, which means that those treaties carry the force of law in Israel. So, "was it legal?" does not necessarily depend on your conception of international law, but may indeed be a question about Israeli law.

I will cheerfully admit to not only being entirely ignorant of Israeli law, but also not knowing which treaties it is a signatory to. My whole answer was an expansion of "I don't know"; I don't think it's fair to blame me both for being terse and also for being long-winded.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:30 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why weren't the Israeli soldiers loaded with rubber bullets instead? They certainly have them - I've seen videos of Palestinian protesters fired upon with rubber rounds.
posted by tybeet at 8:34 AM on May 31, 2010


Wow – I guess it's pretty relevant that despite having been an IMO member since 1952, conforming to the IMO's gamut of maritime conventions, Israel has not signed UNCLOS, the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, which defines international waters and what can and can't be done in them.
posted by avocet at 8:40 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Juan Cole: "It is worth noting on Memorial Day that the Israeli attack deeply complicates the task of the US military in the region. It is a propaganda boon for Sunni extremists and Shiite activists such as Muqtada al-Sadr in Iraq, and for the Taliban in Afghanistan. It undermines the authority of the Egyptian and Jordanian governments, which have US-brokered peace treaties with Israel, treaties that are deeply unpopular with ordinary people in both countries. That some demonstrations are being held in front of US consulates and not just Israeli ones tells us who will get the blame for Netanyahu’s machismo."
posted by homunculus at 8:40 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


This story says: "However, to their misfortune, they were only equipped with paintball rifles used to disperse minor protests."
Except later the commandoes pulled handguns, it says.
posted by CunningLinguist at 8:42 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Forktine wrote: It's like, if the US or Brazilian or French militaries were to kill a bunch of activists, people would (mostly) manage to criticize their actions without jumping directly to questioning the entire country's right to exist.

For a lot of critics of Israel, the salient comparison is to somewhere like South Africa or the other places Meatbomb mentioned. If the existence of the Israeli state depends on the armed repression of an entire population, then there is every reason to question its right to exist. And to repeat what others have already said, we are talking about the "right to exist" of the Israeli state apparatus -- the institutions of government, the IDF, and so on -- not of its citizens. The language of nation-states makes it easy to conflate the Israeli state with the Israeli people, but the distinction is crucial. (When someone starts questioning the Israeli people's right to exist, there's a pretty good chance the person is an anti-Semite.)

Personally, I would like the US, Brazilian, and French states to be dismantled as well as the Israeli state, but that is a minority opinion on Metafilter.
posted by twirlip at 8:42 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


twirlip: Personally, I would like the US, Brazilian, and French states to be dismantled as well as the Israeli state, but that is a minority opinion on Metafilter.

Why stop there? That's actually not snark, although it may play snark on TV. I'm curious as to why those three nations are deserving of dismantling and not others. Is it a prophylactic or is the argument similar to that against Israel?
posted by quakerjono at 8:47 AM on May 31, 2010


We explain, time and again, that we are not at war with the people of Gaza. We say it time and again because we ourselves need to believe it, and because, deep down, we do not.

There was a time, when it could be said that we knew ourselves only in wartime. No longer. Now we know nothing. Yet another problem with refraining from talks with Hamas and Iran: They know us so much better than we know ourselves.

They know, as the song about the Lebanon War suggested ("Lo Yachol La'atzor Et Zeh") that we, unable to see ourselves in any clarity, are no longer capable of stopping ourselves.

Hamas, as well as Iran, have come to know and benefit from the toxicity of Israeli domestic politics, which is all too ready to mortgage the future for the sake of a momentary apparent calm.
Excerpt from The Second Gaza War: Israel lost at sea by Bradley Burston writing in Israeli newspaper Haaretz.
posted by Kattullus at 8:49 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Given the current tension between the US administration and the Israeli administration over the Israeli policy re: Palestine, and that the Israeli Prime Minister is scheduled to meet the US president tomorrow for talks, how is this act not a giant, well thought out "Fuck You" from the Israeli government to Obama?

Which is especially strange given that the US's unwavering support for Israel regardless of what Israel chooses to do is the only thing standing in the way of a solution to the whole problem. Israel now is apartheid South Africa in the 1990s. As soon as US support is withdrawn, a solution will suddenly be "found." So it is very much in Israeli interests not to piss off their patron and protector. I wonder how clearly those in charge of Israel realize this fact.
posted by rusty at 8:54 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure that this raid took place in international waters precisely so it didn't come under Israeli law, which would allow pro-Gazan activists in Israel to drag it through the courts.

As for the deaths? Very sad. But as long as the US gives Israel diplomatic cover at the UN who cares? What's the worst that can happen?* A handslap here and there. But neither the US nor the EU are going to impose sanctions.

*FWIW I think Israel's disregard for civilians and its diplomatic allies cause it huge long term damage. But in the short term, not so much.
posted by MuffinMan at 8:57 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't really believe anything the IDF says anymore.
posted by A189Nut at 8:58 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


rodgerd: That's unfair to George Bush Senior, who did in fact turn off the money tap from the US in order to exercise leverage when it suited him.

You are right that Bush Sr. did try to tie loan guarantees to the cessation of building settlements on Arab land.

He relented under pressure.

Having perhaps learned that using levers on Israel leads to an earlier than desired retirement, Bush Junior gave Israel more than requested in loan guarantees.

Obama tried to do what Bush Senior did - and like GHWB he also relented under pressure from the Israel Lobby.

So I stand by my assertion that with regard to Israel Obama is no different than his predecessors in bowing to The Israel Lobby.
posted by three blind mice at 8:59 AM on May 31, 2010 [8 favorites]


The US reaction is going to be jack and shit. Furthermore, having gotten away with this, you can expect Israel to commit ever more disgusting acts as it feels out the boundries of what it is allowed to do.
posted by Artw at 9:05 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]




This archived segment of the live video stream from the boats includes the raw feed of an Al Jazeeera English reporter describing the tense hours after the 11pm first contact with the Israeli navy, before the pre-dawn boarding. (this is referenced by the Haaretz article, and mentions that the flotilla decided to change course away from the Israeli navy) Also includes lots of short multi-lingual interviews with participants from different countries (sweden, england, kuwait, usa, france, etc)
posted by warreng at 9:13 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


sharkfu: "As far as I know the US is not blockading Gaza in any way."

Who do you think paid for the weapons that enforce this blockade? Whose imperial largess is the only reason the blockading state currently exists?

The reason why we put up with the occasionally difficult hireling that is Israel is because it is such an irreplaceable enforcer of our geopolitical will. So the sooner we get past thinking of this wretched drama as "Israelis vs Palestinians" and recognize it as "Americans vs Rest of World", the wiser we will be.
posted by Joe Beese at 9:14 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, I think that the pro- and anti-Israel parties, both in Metafilter and elsewhere, can at least agree on something: the commanders of that boarding party are going to find themselves transferred to patrol duty in the middle of the Negev desert quite quickly.
posted by Skeptic at 9:15 AM on May 31, 2010


Artw: The US reaction is going to be jack and shit. Furthermore, having gotten away with this, you can expect Israel to commit ever more disgusting acts as it feels out the boundries of what it is allowed to do.

Probably, and probably. But eventually they will go too far, and I think it will be shocking (to the Israeli hard-liners) how quickly and completely their protected status collapses. I don't think there will be any warning; the first time the US fails to veto a UN sanction in the security council will be the end of Israel's carte blanche, and one of the already universally agreed upon solutions will be implemented immediately.
posted by rusty at 9:17 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


If nothing else, it would be wise to remember the Jenin "massacre" from 2002, when a number of Western media, politicians and NGOs were up in arms about Israeli acts, based on allegations by pro-palestinian groups.

As we learned soon after, the stories about the "massacre" were unfounded, and the whole thing as a PR lie.

I would recommend taking a few breaths and counting to 10 before jumping to conclusions here as well.
posted by dagny at 9:23 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


This is fucking gross. I hate that my tax dollars support this crap.
posted by nevercalm at 9:26 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Artw: The US reaction is going to be jack and shit.

I'm not completely sure I agree, given Israel's recent "tear off at the wrist the hand that feeds you" approach to US relations. What I can't decide is if this new stance is a reaction to Obama specifically or if Israel has begun to believe their own propaganda and fails to understand that its continued existence is largely predicated on US support.

While I think you're right that Israel may expect this to be the reaction, I'm wondering if Obama's change in stance on Israel in relation to the recent NPT conference might be an indication that "close bonds" aren't unbreakable.

Joe Beese: So the sooner we get past thinking of this wretched drama as "Israelis vs Palestinians" and recognize it as "Americans vs Rest of World", the wiser we will be.

As I said to artw, I'm not sure this "classical" approach to US/Israel relations is the current valid ground state. Furthermore, even if it is, to suggest that Israel's issues in the Middle East derive down to little more than a proxy war ignores way too many factors in Israel's 60+ year history.
posted by quakerjono at 9:26 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]




Video of the search of the boat released and posted on YouTube. The video includes footage of the weapons found on the boat: slingshots and marbles.
posted by verb at 9:32 AM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


here's another n.korea comparison and AS draws a british parallel...

also let it not be left unsaid they both have nukes, which as pariah-states-acting-under-impunity goes is pretty choice (i learned it by watching you)

a coupla other thoughts: i wonder if this could draw turkey and germany closer? (only israel, go figure...) and along the acting-with-impunity line does the israel lobby really hold that much sway over US politics (not to mention the midterms)?
posted by kliuless at 9:36 AM on May 31, 2010


Seems Henning Mankell may have been 'damaged' (google translated) during the take-over.

Not found confirmation from any other source yet.
posted by titus-g at 9:36 AM on May 31, 2010


> Don't fuck with a military blockade.

Absolutely sound advice. Countered by "never, ever, forcefully board a vessel, armed and without the captain's consent, while in international waters". That 'permission to come aboard' thing you may have heard is important, it's not some fancy sailor folklore.

Maritime law says that such an act is piracy when the perpetrators are 'independent', and an act of war if they are an organised national militia. In this case, an act of war against Turkey, for instance, which has already retired its ambassador from Tel Aviv. This is pretty fucking big, as Turkey is a member of NATO and treaties say that an act of war against a NATO member is to be considered as an act of war against all members (the US included, go figure). Formally, you could treat this as an armed platoon of IDF forces forcefully entering US territory.

Meanwhile, not all of the 700+ people of various nationalities who were taking part in that are accounted for. Turkey asked for a NATO extraordinary meeting, and it will be held tomorrow. This urgency gives the size of the matter.

I'm not even starting with the I/P issues. One thing is for sure; at some point in the IDF chain of command there has been a major, major fuckup which -hopefully- will blow over, but not without consequences. There is no justification for this.
posted by _dario at 9:37 AM on May 31, 2010 [24 favorites]


> escorted by the Turkish Navy

Oh SHIT. Is this where it starts?
posted by seanmpuckett at 9:38 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


rusty, this is too far. They left too far in the rear-view mirror a whiles back. The only way this begins to make sense as a strategy is as a giant game of chicken with the Obama administration: you think you can tell us what to do? It’ll cost you too damn much to try to make it stick and you know it, but just in case you don’t, well, watch as we do this and then watch as you don’t do a goddamn meaningful thing to stop us. You think we care about protests outside our embassies? Oh, and yours too? Gosh.

—I mean, I hope this isn’t how it plays out. But the signs ain’t good. The lesson I think will be taken to heart yet again, and the only real change in this hateful awful situation is the neocons will have to come up with a new round of jokes about the latest batch of dead activists.
posted by kipmanley at 9:43 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Joe Beese: "The reason why we put up with the occasionally difficult hireling that is Israel is because it is such an irreplaceable enforcer of our geopolitical will. So the sooner we get past thinking of this wretched drama as "Israelis vs Palestinians" and recognize it as "Americans vs Rest of World", the wiser we will be."

How exactly is the blockade a function of our geopolitical will? Doesn't this, in fact, harm our plans for peace in the Middle East, put our relations with Arab nations at risk, weaken our perceived power? It seems to me it's just as likely the White House meeting was cancelled on our end because we didn't want to appear to condone the actions.

Why don't you recognize Egypt's role in the blockade? Egypt, who, apparently, is constructing an underground steel barrier to prevent circumvention of the blockade through smuggling tunnels.

And why do you think it's "Americans vs Rest of World"? The European Union classifies Hamas as a terrorist organization.

All genuine questions.
posted by sharkfu at 9:48 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm not completely sure I agree

Well, China probably doesn't want to support the batshitinsane North Korea to the hilt, but it's started and now it's stuck doing that forever, no matter how loony NK gets. The Us/Israel relationship is much like that.
posted by Artw at 9:50 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Israel has discovered what one of my best friends in school discovered his senior year: what are your parents gonna do, really? Hit you? You're their size, and besides, they're pussies. Yell at you? So what? Forbid you to do things? Screw 'em, do it anyway...cause...what are they gonna do, really? It turned my friend into an unemployed junkie that no one wanted to be around; his default mode became a bullying asshole that not even his family cared about.

Sort of what is happening to Israel. Just not fast enough. The U.S. needs to realize that, while Israel used to be a feature, now it's a bug.
posted by umberto at 9:53 AM on May 31, 2010 [10 favorites]


Turkey asked for a NATO extraordinary meeting, and it will be held tomorrow.

I work close to NATO HQ, and there definitely was quite a lot of activity there today.
posted by Skeptic at 9:54 AM on May 31, 2010


Well, China probably doesn't want to support the batshitinsane North Korea to the hilt, but it's started and now it's stuck doing that forever, no matter how loony NK gets.

Possibly, but I think the assumption of the permanency of international alliances is overstated. As _dario rightly pointed out above, both Turkey and the US are NATO members. If Turkey chooses to see this as an act of war, the US has to choose between Israel which can charitably be described as a "loose cannon" and its responsibilities to NATO. Now that the US has another foothold in the Middle East, Israel's "value" in the region as a US ally has shifted accordingly.

This could be seen as yet another slap in the face of the US by Israel by this same reasoning and if there's one thing we don't seem to handle too well here in the US, its people slapping us in the face.

Now, a little smack on the ass can be sort of fun...
posted by quakerjono at 9:57 AM on May 31, 2010


quakerjono wrote: I'm curious as to why those three nations are deserving of dismantling and not others.

Nothing special about those three; I mentioned them specifically because Forktine mentioned them. I favor dismantling all states.

posted by twirlip at 9:58 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


This is the source for the Mankell story. Apparently Sweden denies. Still a lot of fog of war.

Skeptic, could you elaborate?
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:11 AM on May 31, 2010


Skeptic, could you elaborate?

I drove past the entrance at noon today. Official traffic, motorcycle escorts, etc.
posted by Skeptic at 10:13 AM on May 31, 2010


Turkey announces future supply vessels to Gaza will be escorted by Turkish navy.

The Turkish navy is going to escort vessels that the Israeli navy is going to try to stop?

I really don't want another war.
posted by whatnotever at 10:20 AM on May 31, 2010


What's the most comprehensive news story re: this that's been dropped so far? I need to give a recap to someone.
posted by griphus at 10:20 AM on May 31, 2010


titus-g he Swedish foreign minister says that Mankell isn't hurt, it's Dror Feiler the artist who created the installation that aggrevated the Israeli ambassador in Stockholm, who has "smaller damage to face" (smärre ansiktsskada DN source).
posted by dabitch at 10:23 AM on May 31, 2010


Thanks Skeptic.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:25 AM on May 31, 2010


Video showing israeli soldiers beaten.

If nothing else, this is an embarassing intelligence failure on the part of Israel. Just for that the government should resign. If your going to be a hardliner, you should at least be competent at it.
posted by empath at 10:35 AM on May 31, 2010


I know a couple of friends from school who were planning to go on the trip. I've been unable to reach them. Cowardly actions by a cowardly state. Not as bad but perhaps even more infuriating will be the intense media spin machine that is about to kick into action.
posted by cell divide at 10:38 AM on May 31, 2010


Peace Activists Trigger World War III.

(Heavily Doctored) Film at 11.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:41 AM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


Btw, this is an attack on a NATO member, and Turkey has called for a NATO meeting.

The US may be obligated to defend Turkey.
posted by empath at 10:42 AM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


kliuless: "and along the acting-with-impunity line does the israel lobby really hold that much sway over US politics (not to mention the midterms)?"

410-4.
posted by psyche7 at 10:43 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


sharkfu: "How exactly is the blockade a function of our geopolitical will? Doesn't this, in fact, harm our plans for peace in the Middle East, put our relations with Arab nations at risk, weaken our perceived power?"

Israel is our designated enforcer in the region. The more thuggish the behavior we permit from them, the more feared an enforcer they become. Consider this episode. Now even international waters are no longer safe from their brutality. Sort of an equivalent to Bush II's tenative assertion - followed by Obama's open proclamation - of the right to murder any American citizen deemed to be a terrorist.

I am not aware that we have any "plans for peace" - in the Middle East or anywhere else. It tends to cut into the profits of corporations who are very generous in their sponsorship of the American political process. As others have noted, we could achieve peace in Israel very quickly simply by ending our gifts of money and weapons, thereby forcing them to reach terms with their neighbors. It's not going to happen.

And after our rape of Iraq, I hope you'll understand my belief that our relations with Arab nations is not something Washington spends a lot of time worrying about.
posted by Joe Beese at 10:45 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


My earlier comment was by no means condoning the actions of the IDF. I just was describing a lack of surprise at what happened. That the flotilla was boarded is no surprise. That people attempted to repel the boarders by what means they had available is no surprise. That people got shot and died in the close quarters melee on board that ship is also no surprise.

In fact, the only thing that surprises me is that the Israelis tried to pull this stunt in what could possibly have been international waters. Whether it actually was international territory I don't know yet. Between the ECM and jamming tech that the IDF was probably blanketing the area with it will probably be impossible to tell. Either way it's a tragedy and a terrible loss of life. But not really surprising.
posted by dazed_one at 10:47 AM on May 31, 2010


The stun grenades and firebombs video is a joke; it's completely unclear what the thrown objects are.

The video of the protesters beating the shit out of the boarding soldiers is rather more credible, but, unfortunately, it's easily interpreted as self defense against a heavily armed invading force that may have already opened fire on the boat and killed someone prior to boarding.

I can't imagine the Israelis would have taken so kindly to the protesters trying to board one of their ships, for example.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:47 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


"Maritime law says that such an act is piracy when the perpetrators are 'independent', and an act of war if they are an organised national militia. In this case, an act of war against Turkey, for instance, which has already retired its ambassador from Tel Aviv. This is pretty fucking big, as Turkey is a member of NATO and treaties say that an act of war against a NATO member is to be considered as an act of war against all members (the US included, go figure). Formally, you could treat this as an armed platoon of IDF forces forcefully entering US territory."

I really don't want to go to war with Israel. Here's hoping the diplomats work this out! There has to be some concession and admission of blame from the Israeli side, and maybe a promise to let aid in to Gaza. One way or another, they have to be perceived to be losing something, or anger towards them is going to grow and grow.
posted by Kevin Street at 10:47 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'm pretty sure no one is going to go to war with Israel over this. Israel blew up Lebanon and no one really gave a fuck. I don't see how this is going to get governments fired up. That Turkey is some how tangentially involved in this doesn't make me think Canada and the rest of NATO are going to be dropping paratroopers on Tel Aviv any time soon.
posted by chunking express at 10:50 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yeah, why are people going "Look, the flotilla people beat on the soldiers!" as if it's a point against them? They're in international waters and being boarded by a hostile force. They are entitled to defend themselves.
posted by Pope Guilty at 10:50 AM on May 31, 2010 [20 favorites]


The Turkish Navy will escort the next humanitarian mission.
posted by empath at 10:54 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


That Turkey is some how tangentially involved in this doesn't make me think Canada and the rest of NATO are going to be dropping paratroopers on Tel Aviv any time soon.

I think that if Turkey's membership in NATO means anything, then if Turkey's navy were to escort the next mission, NATO members should give some kind of warning that any aggression by Israel will result in a NATO response.

Or else NATO needs to tell Turkey in no uncertain terms that they will not support any further provocations of Israel.
posted by empath at 10:56 AM on May 31, 2010


This, from the Guardian, is a pretty good ....I hate to use the word liveblog, but series of updates.
posted by CunningLinguist at 10:59 AM on May 31, 2010


I'm not saying it'll happen, chunking express. But this may be a situation where a lot of people will have to do some extremely fancy footwork to explain away why we aren't honoring our obligations. If Turkey and Israel do go to war over this, we'd have to join Turkey, or admit that NATO is no longer a functional alliance.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:00 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe the US should leave NATO and form it's own gang with Israel.
posted by Artw at 11:07 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


All the world's right-thinking citizens must deplore and condemn in the strongest possible terms the cowardly and brazen attack that was perpetrated by these thuggish, unarmed humanitarians upon the peaceful, well-meaning and heavily armed soldiers innocently rappelling onto their ship in international waters from hovering military attack helicopters.
posted by rusty at 11:08 AM on May 31, 2010 [12 favorites]


Joe Beese: "Israel is our designated enforcer in the region. The more thuggish the behavior we permit from them, the more feared an enforcer they become. Consider this episode. Now even international waters are no longer safe from their brutality. Sort of an equivalent to Bush II's tenative assertion - followed by Obama's open proclamation - of the right to murder any American citizen deemed to be a terrorist.

I am not aware that we have any "plans for peace" - in the Middle East or anywhere else. It tends to cut into the profits of corporations who are very generous in their sponsorship of the American political process. As others have noted, we could achieve peace in Israel very quickly simply by ending our gifts of money and weapons, thereby forcing them to reach terms with their neighbors. It's not going to happen.

And after our rape of Iraq, I hope you'll understand my belief that our relations with Arab nations is not something Washington spends a lot of time worrying about.
"


What are some examples of ways we've used Israel to enforce our goals in the Middle East? The only one I can think of is providing a threat to Iran's nuclear ambitions. If you don't think Obama's administration has been trying to rebuild ties with the Arab world, I don't think you've been paying attention.

"Reach terms with their neighbors" is one of those things that's easy to toss off in an internet forum but it doesn't take into account that many of your neighbors don't recognize your right to exist and guarantee they'll see you driven into the sea. I'm not saying this hardline administration is the answer, but it's easy to see how the Middle East has become an echo chamber of increasingly militant behavior based upon the rhetoric on both sides.

Also, you didn't really address my questions regarding Egypt or the EU.
posted by sharkfu at 11:11 AM on May 31, 2010


I'd like to take this opportunity to coin a new phrase: Israel Fatigue.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 11:15 AM on May 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


Ah shit.
posted by codacorolla at 11:15 AM on May 31, 2010


I'd like to take this opportunity to coin a new phrase: Israel Fatigue.

Surely, this....
posted by empath at 11:17 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think that if Turkey's membership in NATO means anything, then if Turkey's navy were to escort the next mission, NATO members should give some kind of warning that any aggression by Israel will result in a NATO response.

Actually, this is explicit in the terms of the NATO treaty. Article 5:
The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.
If I recall correctly, this was basically the legal justification the Canadian govt used for its military intervention in Afghanistan (which - arguably, anyway - was providing shelter to an armed force which had attacked the US) and not Iraq (which, you know, hadn't). The Afghan war remains under NATO jurisdiction for this reason.

I wonder if this'll come down to some kind of legal elision whereby that end of the Mediterranean is deemed outside "Europe and North America."

Still, even not knowing much about Turkish politics, I have to assume the Turks know exactly what it means to put NATO smack in the centre of this. Something close to an all-in bet that NATO obligations will outweigh US-Israeli bilateral ties, I'd say.
posted by gompa at 11:17 AM on May 31, 2010


Israel's main problem is this:

The US doesn't need them any more.

With American troops in Iraq, and good relations with Turkey, Egypt, Jordan, Saudi Arabia and so on, we no longer need Israel as a foothold in the Near East. Just in monetary terms, Israel is costing us more money than what we are getting in return. If you add in the stress they are causing in Iraq, etc, its even worse.

A lot of bullshit they could get away with before, they simply can't now. Hopefully they learn this before they strain relations with the US to the breaking point. All the US really needs to do is not get involved for things to get very bad, very quickly for Israel.
posted by empath at 11:24 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I get the sense that if Turkey really agressively wanted to go to war with Israel over this, we'd be in the position of either a) not honouring the NATO agreements, or b) going to war with Israel.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:29 AM on May 31, 2010


dabitch: ta for that.

Another snippet of info from here: one of the people on the ships was Joe Meadors, a U.S.S. Liberty veteran.

Could of been some nasty deja-vu there.
posted by titus-g at 11:31 AM on May 31, 2010


"I wonder if this'll come down to some kind of legal elision whereby that end of the Mediterranean is deemed outside "Europe and North America." "

I don't there's any legal out there, because it's like _dario said: when you attack a ship in international waters, you're effectively attacking the flag that ship is sailing under. (It's like when that New Zealand anti-whaling protester boarded a Japanese ship and a Japanese court arrested him for trespassing.) So the IDF landed a bunch of commandos on Turkish territory, got attacked, fired back, and killed people. It's up to Turkey now to decide how to respond, and Israel, imo, should be doing everything it can to mollify them.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:40 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


I wonder if this'll come down to some kind of legal elision whereby that end of the Mediterranean is deemed outside "Europe and North America."

I don't think that would be possible; Article 6(1) of the NATO Charter specifically notes the Mediterranean as one of the territories in which an attack invokes the charter.
posted by never used baby shoes at 11:46 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


as Turkey is a member of NATO and treaties say that an act of war against a NATO member is to be considered as an act of war against all members (the US included, go figure). Formally, you could treat this as an armed platoon of IDF forces forcefully entering US territory.

Meanwhile, not all of the 700+ people of various nationalities who were taking part in that are accounted for. Turkey asked for a NATO extraordinary meeting, and it will be held tomorrow. This urgency gives the size of the matter.


That will certainly put a number of nations in an awkward position, the US the lead amongst them. It would look a bit naff to have campaigned to expand NATO in former Warsaw Pact nations and then to walk away from Turkey, for example.
posted by rodgerd at 11:46 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


For that, you need to read ahead to Article 6:
For the purpose of Article 5, an armed attack on one or more of the Parties is deemed to include an armed attack:

* on the territory of any of the Parties in Europe or North America, on the Algerian Departments of France (2), on the territory of or on the Islands under the jurisdiction of any of the Parties in the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer;
* on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.
So, yeah, there probably won't be any hair splitting about whether the Mediterranean is covered by the NATO treaty.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:49 AM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


I have a feeling that the next step is a larger flotilla backed by the Turkish navy and some number of (non-German) European forces, under NATO auspices, which would lead to the collapse of both the blockade and the Likud government.
posted by empath at 11:51 AM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


there's a button _right there_ marked 'preview.' you'd think I would notice it by now...
posted by kaibutsu at 11:51 AM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


American (and other) Jews need to reclaim our hijacked identity from this rogue state, and fast. The Israeli propaganda machine has been hard at work for decades to erase the distinction between "Israeli" and "Jew", and it has succeeded with disturbing success. Israel's utter lack of regard for human rights has squandered the flood of sympathy 'earned' after the Holocaust, and made the world a much more dangerous place for Jews. We need to stand up and show the world that Jews are not monolithically pro-apartheid bullies. When AIPAC asks for a donation, tell them to shove it. When your temple asks you to go on a Birthright trip, ask them why you have a "birthright" to a place you've never seen where other people already live. When someone assumes you unilaterally support Israel because you're a Jew, show them they're wrong. Not in our name indeed.
posted by threeants at 11:59 AM on May 31, 2010 [15 favorites]


I just returned from a demonstration by the Israeli Embassy in Oslo. The police was blocking the street, so we couldn't get closer than about 100 metres from the actual embassy, but it was a good demonstration. Entirely peaceful, if a little noisy. No teargas, and no one threw anything, which is rare as emotions are always flying high at this kind of demonstration. The speakers included writer Erlen Loe, former leader of the Red Party Erling Folkvord and Angela Godfrey-Goldstein, an Israeli citizen and one of the founding members of the Free Gaza Movement (I seem to remember). I took a few pictures:

The crowd
More crowd, flags and banners
Erlen Loe speaking
Demonstrators lying down in protest during Erling Folkvord's inspiring (though, as it turns out, not entirely factual since he bought into the Mankell story) speach
Angela Godfrey-Goldstein speaking
A reporter from Al Jazeerah was there
Coppers in the street
posted by MaiaMadness at 12:12 PM on May 31, 2010 [8 favorites]


Where next for under-fire Israel?

Maybe they could burn a basket full of live kittens?
posted by Artw at 12:22 PM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]




I'm doubtful that blockades operate under the Law of the Sea, more like laws of war, thus making "international waters" kinda irrelevant, but obviously the humanitarian aid part remains highly relevant. If however we're talking police action, the Laws of the Sea are clear :

States have the right to search ships entering Israeli territorial waters, which extend 12 miles from their cost. After that, a state has another 12 miles of contiguous zone extending into international waters where they may detain and inspect ships they suspect have or will violate their law inside their territorial waters. Btw, I'm curious if the Right of Innocent Passage might oblige Israel to search the aid ships at sea rather than diverting them.
posted by jeffburdges at 12:53 PM on May 31, 2010


Yeah, I get the sense that if Turkey really agressively wanted to go to war with Israel over this, we'd be in the position of either a) not honouring the NATO agreements, or b) going to war with Israel.
posted by kaibutsu at 11:29
AM


Oh don't worry, I'm sure the US govt would gladly break it's treaty obligations with NATO rather than lift a finger against Israel. Besides, NATO was originally meant to be a collection of US clients and puppets rather than a true "alliance" in the first place.
posted by Avenger at 1:07 PM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Israel would say that it is effectively in a state of war with Hamas and is entitled to prevent supplies from reaching it.

Actually, they are not legally allowed to block humanitarian aid. I understand that some people feel international law is not well established, but Israel was established under international law and is fine with using it when it suits it.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:14 PM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]




Speaking as someone who is actually physically trying to extend a hand, the possibility that the US will again do nothing about this doesn't make my life any easier.

.
posted by lauranesson at 1:22 PM on May 31, 2010


That came out wrong. This isn't about my life. This is about the lives of millions of people that are being forced to lead shadows of the lives they should have. These people are on many sides of the conflict. And my home country, so ostensibly for cooperation and democracy and freedom, continues to support a country that is clearly Doing It Wrong. Hell, my country's clearly doing it wrong. And trying to live the life that the leaders propound is difficult and exhausting, and every time I have a friendly conversation in bad colloquial Arabic with someone who would normally say they hated my home, it's a small win. Then this shit happens again, and our hypocrisy is again exposed to the bone. We just can't afford to do this anymore. It's hurting everybody. Every side.
posted by lauranesson at 1:32 PM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Artw

Maybe they could burn a basket full of live kittens?

Hey, there's no excuse for invoking kitty libel here. No matter what we think of Israel's actions, we must still be sensitive to the history involved.
posted by The Confessor at 1:32 PM on May 31, 2010


Israel would say that it is effectively in a state of war with Hamas and is entitled to prevent supplies from reaching it.

How can it be in a state of war with something it doesn't recognise as a government or a nation?
posted by rodgerd at 1:35 PM on May 31, 2010




They burnt those kittens in self defence. After heavy critisism President Obama relented in his claim that he was slightly grumpy about the kitten burning and issued a statement reinforcing Israels right to self determination in the field of feline incineration.
posted by Artw at 1:39 PM on May 31, 2010


This is the article I am sick of reading.

(probably/possibly has inaccuramacies, but elegantly done.)
posted by titus-g at 1:39 PM on May 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


The Israel government storyline is now firming up. Hamas operatives used their immense wealth and technological prowess to disguise themselves as German politicians and Swedish novelists. In order to get a chance to attack IDF commandoes, they snuck out of Gaza, boarded fake humanitarian supply ships that were searched and confirmed to have no weapons, and then sailed into international waters. Once in international waters, they used their psy generator to lure unwilling Israeli soldiers onboard the boats. Then they snatched their pistols and opened fire. Thankfully they didn't manage to kill any, but luckily all twenty of the violent terrorists were killed in self-defence. As this fiendish terror plot didn't involve bringing along any firearms of their own, you will just have to accept the IDF's evidence that IDF soldiers standing around a bunch of dead bodies holding IDF-issued pistols with empty clips counts as evidence of the violent intent of the flotilla lynch mob.
posted by stammer at 1:39 PM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]




How can it be in a state of war with something it doesn't recognise as a government or a nation?

I don't think this is a particularly good criticism; Hamas isn't a nebulous abstract noun like in the "War on Terror". It's a real organization. Nations go to war with entities they do not recognize as a legitimate government all the time. I'm making no judgment on the wisdom or practicality of any of this, only that Israel could certainly be at war with Hamas in a concrete, real sense.
posted by Justinian at 1:42 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Actually, they are not legally allowed to block humanitarian aid.

How is this consistent with the many blockades that we participate in which prevent food and such from reaching the embargoed countries? (This is not a rhetorical question; I'm curious as to the distinction between this and, say, our previous Iraq or Cuba embargos).
posted by Justinian at 1:44 PM on May 31, 2010


But those are different situations. The sanctions against Iraq were supported by the United Nations, and the Cuba embargo is much less than total. Canadians and Europeans go there all the time.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:51 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not to mention the same people critisise all three.
posted by Artw at 1:52 PM on May 31, 2010


How is this consistent with the many blockades that we participate in which prevent food and such from reaching the embargoed countries? (This is not a rhetorical question; I'm curious as to the distinction between this and, say, our previous Iraq or Cuba embargos).

I'm not saying the law is enforced consistently or well, and I'm not talking about any other situations. The fact remains that the attempt was made to deliver aid to Gaza to make the point that Israel is blocking humanitarian aid, which is illegal. I do think the aid itself was important, but it's clear they were trying to make a point by ignoring warnings from Israel. There is nothing wrong in this. In fact it makes the point explicitly. It's rather doubtful that anyone will act on that transgression, as the NATO issues are the first concern to Turkey. So the issue of humanitarian aid is incidental, but still I believe that was the impetus of the mission originally.
posted by krinklyfig at 1:53 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


7 min ago:
Second humanitarian (Irish) boat, Rachel Corrie, en route to Gaza

>> We have 2 days to turn this outrage into a victory & get the Rachel Corrie into Gaza with the support of the world
posted by Surfurrus at 1:57 PM on May 31, 2010


Israel had warned Turkey et al that the ship could not simply dock and unload whatever they carried but had to be screened and then, if all ok, they could supply the aid. The Ship people said No and that they would run the blockade.
We will see and hear both sides offer their sides of the situation.
I note that the immediate protests in NY Times Square showed lots of people waving Palestinian flags, suddenly available from street vendors, no doubt.
While this was taking place:
1. America moving nuke submarine into Gulf of Harmetz.
2. Syria sending thousand rockets to Hezbollah via Lebanon in violation of UN (Unecessary Neuters) guards, and theuy are aimed at Israel.
3. Iran now known to be training Taliban in their country!
4. Saudi Arabia continues massive funding of Taliban
5. Turkey and Brazil to cooperative wilth Iran on nuke manufacture.

---all those items are availble on the net.
posted by Postroad at 1:58 PM on May 31, 2010


The Paintball defence force
http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3896796,00.html
posted by mr.marx at 2:00 PM on May 31, 2010


I've been looking into it and I'm not sure you're correct about the legality issue. At the very least the matter is more complicated than you make it out to be. For example the ICRC's San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea from 1994 says the following:

SECTION V : NEUTRAL MERCHANT VESSELS AND CIVIL AIRCRAFT

Neutral merchant vessels
67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:

(a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;
(b) engage in belligerent acts on behalf of the enemy;
(c) act as auxiliaries to the enemy s armed forces;
(d) are incorporated into or assist the enemy s intelligence system;
(e) sail under convoy of enemy warships or military aircraft; or
(f) otherwise make an effective contribution to the enemy s military action, e.g., by carrying military materials, and it is not feasible for the attacking forces to first place passengers and crew in a place of safety. Unless circumstances do not permit, they are to be given a warning, so that they can re-route, off-load, or take other precautions.
It looks to me like this falls squarely under 67a, vessels reasonably believed to be breaching a blockade and having refused to stop after receiving warning.

I don't see an exception for humanitarian aid. Such an exception wouldn't make sense as it defeats the purpose of a blockade in the first place. Can you provide some references which talk about it being illegal to prevent humanitarian aid from passing a declared blockade? Or are you just assuming it's illegal to stop humanitarian aid because it seems morally suspect to do so?
posted by Justinian at 2:03 PM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


A video of the last two minutes of Angela Godfrey-Goldstein's speach at the demonstration in Oslo this afternoon. (Took a bit longer to upload than the photos, thus was not included in my previous post.)
posted by MaiaMadness at 2:07 PM on May 31, 2010


6. I shat myself
7. Popcorn is great
8. Hey ho let's go
9. Google.com
10. Rocket to Russia

---all those items are availble on the net.
posted by mr.marx at 2:07 PM on May 31, 2010 [14 favorites]


Justinian, the references to "enemy armed forces" suggests that clause applies to a state of war between two nations. Is Israel claiming that the Gaza Strip is an enemy nation?
posted by anthill at 2:09 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


There are other sections in there which reference humanitarian aid, by the way. Such ships are required to submit to identification and inspection which these vessels refused to do. So even if humanitarian aid were exempt from blockade the vessels in question did not comply with international law which requires them to submit to inspection.

Note that I'm not talking about the wisdom or morality of Israel's blockade, only the legality. From what I'm reading it really does look like refusing to allow Israel to inspect the vessels gave Israel the legal cover to enforce the blockade.
posted by Justinian at 2:10 PM on May 31, 2010


lauranesson : That's not entirely true, all this conflict helps specific politicians maintain power. It helped Ariel Sharon take power from Ehud Barak, especially after Arafat never even made a counter offer at Camp David. It helped Arafat maintain power for years, and obviously helps Hamas now. Hillary Clinton has definitely played towards the extremist Jewish lobby here. It'll likely help the Islamist party in Turkey now too. So you're helping when you vote & campaign against the politicians that benefit. I doubt we'll see much real peace until the palestinians get tired of Hamas' but obviously pushing for more left wing Israeli politicians will save lives and speed that up.
posted by jeffburdges at 2:12 PM on May 31, 2010


Is Israel claiming that the Gaza Strip is an enemy nation?

My understanding is that, yes, Israel has declared Gaza to be hostile territory controlled by the terrorist group Hamas. Again, I'm not saying that's good or wise, only that I believe it is the case.
posted by Justinian at 2:12 PM on May 31, 2010


Justinian, the International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea deals with wartime conduct. Israel is not at war with either Gaza or Turkey, so it doesn't seem to apply here. Read Section I (Scope):

1. The parties to an armed conflict at sea are bound by the principles and rules of international humanitarian law from the moment armed force is used.

2. In cases not covered by this document or by international agreements, civilians and combatants remain under the protection and authority of the principles of international law derived from established custom, from the principles of humanity and from the dictates of the public conscience.

The parties here are not "parties to an armed conflict at sea."
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:17 PM on May 31, 2010 [5 favorites]


Israel had warned Turkey et al that the ship could not simply dock and unload whatever they carried but had to be screened and then, if all ok, they could supply the aid. The Ship people said No and that they would run the blockade.

I can explain that right now. My aunt has been involved in plenty of humanitarian aid directed at Palestine for the last 30-odd years. One of the things that never fail when trying to get supplies into Palestine is that border patrol/airport security/similar will a) take the supplies into another room and then give them back to you without telling you what they have or haven't done to them or b) make up an excuse to tell you no and destroy the supplies. Give the supplies to the Israelis and trust them to get them to the people who need them? Fuck no. Not with their track record. That's like giving humanitarian aid to the guards at a concentration camp and expecting them to give them to their prisoners.
posted by MaiaMadness at 2:18 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


FWIW, the Israelis were trying to divert the ships to Israel for the inspection, and away from Gaza, where the supplies were meant to go.

(Also: I was just thinking what a shame it was that Postroad wasn't around for another rousing I/P discussion. Welcome!)
posted by kaibutsu at 2:23 PM on May 31, 2010


I think the obvious course of action under the circumstances is to just do it again! But bigger!

To me this looks like a good example non-violent resistance with clear and obvious international interest. Worst case it helps unmask the Israeli gov't. Best case some or all of the food and supplies get through.

If Turkey chooses to get involved so much the better. Despite Israel's PR machine the IDF is not actually terribly good. Even they know better than to go toe-to-toe with a large first world army. (One that has a reputation for shooting first).

Under the circumstances I also find the Israeli tendency to bang on about 'legality' rather confusing. I mean, UN resolutions 194, 242, 3236 and all that... I mean, the whole nation's basically founded on a bunch of lies, backroom deals and halftruths.
posted by fingerbang at 2:27 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


The parties here are not "parties to an armed conflict at sea."

I doubt Israel agrees. In any case you can't simply wave your hand and declare this to be true. Israel has said it considers Gaza to be hostile territory occupied by Hamas. My suspicion is that they would claim this is similar to NATOs military operations in Afghanistan in 2001/2002. The only reason we didn't impose a sea blockade on Afghanistan is that it lacks certain requisite features.

If you consider Israel's entire struggle with Hamas and Gaza to be illegal and illegitimate then of course you would see the embargo and, thus, the boarding of these ships as illegal. But that's tautological. It seems to me that the boarding was legal if the blockade is legal, and the blockade is legal if Israel is in a legal struggle with Hamas in Gaza. So it boils down to whether Israel's entire struggle with Hamas is legal or not.

If it is, boarding the ships looks legal to me. If it isn't, boarding the ships was illegal and an act of war. Whether it was smart or moral even if legal is, again, another question.
posted by Justinian at 2:27 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Number of Israeli deaths by rockets from Gaza in the past ten years? - less than the number of deaths of humanitarian activists this morning.

I've seen this a lot this morning but it isn't actually true. Rocket attacks have resulted in 28 deaths since 2001, and the highest predictions I ever heard even Al Jazeera get was 19. That doesn't make Israel's actions any less despicable though.
posted by p3on at 2:31 PM on May 31, 2010


Oops, forgive me for phrasing that poorly. What I meant was, the highest reports of casualties I heard even from Al Jazeera was 19 deaths.
posted by p3on at 2:32 PM on May 31, 2010


It seems to me that the boarding was legal if the blockade is legal, and the blockade is legal if Israel is in a legal struggle with Hamas in Gaza.

If this is the case, wouldn't the ship have had to actually violate the blockade, not just look like it was heading in that direction?
posted by desuetude at 2:37 PM on May 31, 2010


If you consider Israel's entire struggle with Hamas and Gaza to be illegal and illegitimate then of course you would see the embargo and, thus, the boarding of these ships as illegal. But that's tautological.

Which is precisely what you did, on the flip side, by introducing the International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea. The application of that law depends on it being appropriate for the situation. You assumed it was, because the blockade is legal, making the boarding legal.

So, let's assume International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea applies. Did you read Section II?

4. The principles of necessity and proportionality apply equally to armed conflict at sea and require that the conduct of hostilities by a State should not exceed the degree and kind of force, not otherwise prohibited by the law of armed conflict, required to repel an armed attack against it and to restore its security.

5. How far a State is justified in its military actions against the enemy will depend upon the intensity and scale of the armed attack for which the enemy is responsible and the gravity of the threat posed.

Read especially 5. If military actions are justified (read: justified legally) by the gravity of the threat, well, I'd say it looks like Israel will have difficulty showing it was justified.
posted by Philosopher Dirtbike at 2:38 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh, shoots, p3on ... numbers are wrong?? (although, I note that your site - BBC - does not give source for their numbers)

Then lets just look at one year of deaths by Hamas rockets, etc. ... or ... for more details on all casualties from 2005- 2008. Do give special attention to the numbers in parenthesis -- the number of children killed.
(source: The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories)

Go ahead, correct the figures for the original statement.
posted by Surfurrus at 2:50 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


If military actions are justified (read: justified legally) by the gravity of the threat, well, I'd say it looks like Israel will have difficulty showing it was justified.

I'm not sure you're reading the section correctly. The blockade runners aren't the enemy referred to there, Hamas in Gaza is. If Hamas in Gaza is a serious threat, enforcing a blockade would be justifiable under that section. Whether or not using live rounds was justified is also a quesiton, of course, but I suspect you have a ton of leeway for what kind of force to use when enforcing a legal blockade.

Which is precisely what you did, on the flip side, by introducing the International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea. The application of that law depends on it being appropriate for the situation. You assumed it was, because the blockade is legal, making the boarding legal.

I didn't assume the blockade is legal, I have specifically said that whether to boarding is legal is going to depend on whether someone considers the entire Israeli policy towards Gaza to be legal. But I was originally responding to someone who asserted that Israel stopping these vessels was clearly illegal as though it were an incontrovertible factual claim. It isn't; the situation is complex and the boarding was only illegal if the blockade is illegal.

I'm not arguing that Israel is right or justified, I just don't think we do anyone favors by pretending this is a black-and-white issue which can be summed up with a blanket "this is illegal". The Israel-Gaza situation is difficult and complicated.
posted by Justinian at 2:58 PM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


If anyone has not seen Children of Gaza, you should really set aside an hour to watch it, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6 so you can see what is at stake.

Especially this conversation at 5:15 in this part.
posted by empath at 3:12 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]




Let's say you were a cartoonish, Ahmadinejadesque lunatic fixated on destroying Israel. How would you go about achieving your goal?

"... I'm now certain that the Israeli government is packed to the hoop with Iranian sleeper agents. Short of handing Syrian intelligence the launch codes to their nuclear arsenal, I really can't think of any way in which the Israeli political class could do their country more harm. "
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 3:20 PM on May 31, 2010 [7 favorites]


Surfurrus:
Then lets just look at one year of deaths by Hamas rockets, etc.

That's a pretty big "etc.". (ISWYDT)

List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2001–2006

"Go ahead, correct the figures for the original statement."

Adjusted to stay on the topic of "rockets."
posted by psyche7 at 3:31 PM on May 31, 2010


Israeli Deputy Ambassador to Ireland just stated on RTE current affairs program that boarding was justified as there were sophisticated weapons "like knives" on board . Audience laughing derisively.
posted by minifigs at 3:40 PM on May 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


Passenger Lists
posted by ZenMasterThis at 3:51 PM on May 31, 2010


sraeli Deputy Ambassador to Ireland just stated on RTE current affairs program that boarding was justified as there were sophisticated weapons "like knives" on board . Audience laughing derisively.

so

there is hope.
posted by Substrata at 4:00 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


minifigs

I'd love to see video of that; I doubt it's quite as ludicrous first-hand as you describe it, but it reminds of the whole "Front Fell Off" video.

"Well, cardboard's out."
posted by The Confessor at 4:09 PM on May 31, 2010


This just in... Lando Calrissian of Cloud City has expressed concern about the Empire's raid upon Senator Leia Organa's diplomatic cruiser, the Tantive IV, in open space, on approach to the planet Tatooine.

Calrissian expressed deep regret at the loss of life in today's incident, and concern for the wounded, many of whom were taken back to the Death Star for medical treatment. Calrissian also expressed the importance of learning all the facts and circumstances around this morning's tragic events as soon as possible.

Calrissian and Vader had been scheduled to meet tomorrow, but Vader abruptly canceled the meeting shortly before the raid, and flew back to the Death Star to directly oversee the situation.

Calrissian said that he understood Vader's decision to return immediately to the Death Star to deal with today's events. They agreed to reschedule their meeting at the first opportunity.
posted by markkraft at 4:22 PM on May 31, 2010 [11 favorites]


Is this where we make our book recommendations? Israelis and Palestinians: Why Do They Fight? Can They Stop? A substantial background to the I/P issues in a short book.
posted by HLD at 4:30 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


The USA and Australia are settling around "firm" calls for Israel to investigate itself. This is obviously completely inadequate.

Ahdaf Soueif: "A few days ago, young Jewish Israeli activists told me they saw that the only hope for their country lies with the international community. Israel is on a path to self-destruction, they said, and it will take the region with it. It will not stop, they said, until the price it pays for its actions becomes too heavy. This price has to be a moral and economic price imposed by the world."

Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions
posted by stammer at 4:40 PM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


In reference to the discussion regarding legality:
Article 110. Right of visit

1. Except where acts of interference derive from powers conferred by treaty, a warship which encounters on the high seas a foreign ship, other than a ship entitled to complete immunity in accordance with articles 95 and 96, is not justified in boarding it unless there is reasonable ground for suspecting that:

(a) the ship is engaged in piracy;
(b) the ship is engaged in the slave trade;
(c) the ship is engaged in unauthorized broadcasting and the flag
State of the warship has jurisdiction under article 109;
(d ) the ship is without nationality; or
(e) though flying a foreign flag or refusing to show its flag, the ship is, in reality, of the same nationality as the warship.

2. In the cases provided for in paragraph 1, the warship may proceed to verify the ship's right to fly its flag. To this end, it may send a boat under the command of an officer to the suspected ship. If suspicion remains after the documents have been checked, it may proceed to a further examination on board the ship, which must be carried out with all possible consideration.

3. If the suspicions prove to be unfounded, and provided that the ship boarded has not committed any act justifying them, it shall be compensated for any loss or damage that may have been sustained.

4. These provisions apply mutatis mutandis to military aircraft.

5. These provisions also apply to any other duly authorized ships or aircraft clearly marked and identifiable as being on government service.
Admiralty and Maritime Law Guide
posted by MaiaMadness at 4:58 PM on May 31, 2010


MaiaMadness: That doesn't appear on point. Article 110 is specifically talking about under what circumstances a warship may board a foreign vessel suspected of being pirates. Which isn't the case here. This was a situation in which a military carrying out a naval blockade engaged blockade runners, so Article 110 doesn't have much to do with it.
posted by Justinian at 5:08 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Stammer: Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions.

Openly boycotting Israel may be illegal for US corporations and individuals. The Department of Commerce has an entire office dedicated to it.
posted by toxic at 5:29 PM on May 31, 2010 [6 favorites]


MalaMadness, 1(a) - 1(e) don't apply here. (a) piracy? No. (b) slave trade? No. (c) unauthorized broadcasting (Pirate radio) and warship's State has jurisdiction? Don't think so. (d) without nationality? No. (e) same nationality as warship? No.
posted by zippy at 5:34 PM on May 31, 2010


Good point, toxic. Here's a PDF report from the National Lawyers Guild on the disputed legality of BDS.
posted by stammer at 5:36 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


21-year-old American art student loses her eye after being shot in the face by the IDF: "They clearly saw that we were internationals and it really looked as though they were trying to hit us."

Her blog, with her artwork.
posted by orthogonality at 5:44 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]




The story of the MV Francop gives a little background on why Israel is justified in boarding these ships, no matter which flag they're flying under.
posted by falameufilho at 6:07 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


The MV Francop incident doesn't give them carte blanche. They could easily have disabled the flotilla and towed them to an Israeli port, then processed the inventory and released / deported the passengers. Why didn't they do so?
posted by zarq at 6:19 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


Openly boycotting Israel may be illegal for US corporations and individuals.

Holy shit. That's a joke right? Right? Somebody please tell me this is a spoof site?
posted by Big_B at 6:20 PM on May 31, 2010


* They could easily have disabled the flotilla and towed them to an Israeli port, then processed the inventory and released / deported the passengers.

Completely agree. They shouldn't have rappelled commandos into a boat with 700 potential hostiles. They should have disabled the ship and towed it to port.

Still, if you believe Israel boarded the ships illegally, towing them to Ashdod and boarding them there would have been illegal too.

My point is that the precedent set by other ships like the MV Francop provides justification for Israel in taking these extraordinary measures.
posted by falameufilho at 6:48 PM on May 31, 2010


Big_B, my understanding is that private (non-foreign-govt sponsored) boycotts are OK, the aim of the law being the prevention of US firms being used as tools of foreign policies that may go against the US's official policies.
posted by bashos_frog at 7:06 PM on May 31, 2010


In the case of the MV Francop, and Operation Noah's Ark before it, vast quantities of weapons were found, presumably after intelligence suggested they were there, and no crew members were shot. In this case we have no obvious signs of weapons, or advance intelligence. Otherwise I'd expect to be hearing about it right now as it would provide obvious justifaction.

In the cases of the MV Francop and Operation Noah's Ark, there were no casualties when commandos boarded.

So I'd say if there is a parallel to be drawn, it doesn't reflect well on Israel.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 7:07 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Five Fresh Fish, thanks for sharing the Stratfor analysis. This is a great article that I think many of us on both sides of the debate in this thread would agree with most of it.

As I said earlier in the thread, I am still getting goosebumps when I think I was watching Exodus last night before I went to bed... considering the timezone difference, a firefight was taking place on a boat in the Mediterranean while I was sitting here in New York watching a story with many parallels. And the Stratfor article explores these parallels very well.
posted by falameufilho at 7:07 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


"My point is that the precedent set by other ships like the MV Francop provides justification for Israel in taking these extraordinary measures."

A fair point, but at the same time, just because you can do something or even might be justified in doing something doesn't mean you should do something. In the long run, I suspect this will be less about who was right and who was justified and more about who did what. The Stratfor analysis analysis linked to by Five Fresh Fish points out that, while humanitarian aid was certainly on the agenda, the Flotilla's main goal was a focusing of attention. In that, it has succeeded admirably and Israel has blackened its own eye.

It is certainly possible that Israel acted correctly in this instance. That they had credible intelligence that weapons were being smuggled in via the flotilla, that their boarding of the Turkish vessel was legal and justified, that they made all reasonable attempts to limit civilian casualties and only used deadly force when all else failed.

All of this may be true (current evidence would suggest it's not, but things can change), but at the end of the day, the message sent to the rest of the world is that Israel is an increasingly belligerent rogue nation that may not be any more controllable by its chief supporter than China can truly "control" North Korea and that Iran, and indeed the whole of the Middle East, may have more to fear from Israel than the other way around.
posted by quakerjono at 7:11 PM on May 31, 2010


* In the cases of the MV Francop and Operation Noah's Ark, there were no casualties when commandos boarded.

Agreed. But what I'm saying is while the method chosen by the Israeli navy to disarm the threat presented by the flotilla was probably irresponsible, Israel was justified in not allowing the flotilla to proceed. Let's remember that the flotilla was composed of 6 vessels (or 7, maybe - not sure), and with the exception of the Marmara, the Israeli navy took control of all of them without using any force.

There are others in this thread that say that Israel had no business looking inside these boats and they should have been allowed to proceed to Gaza unchallenged, as if their self-declared humanitarian status was enough evidence of goodwill. The example of MV Francop says otherwise - perfectly innocent civilian ships are used to smuggle truckloads of weapons that are used to kill Israelis.
posted by falameufilho at 7:15 PM on May 31, 2010




It seems to me that it was illegal for Israel to board the boats in international waters, but it also seems to me that the soldiers, having been ordered to board the boats, were forced to defend themselves with deadly force. Those videos clearly show the people on the vessels overwhelming them and beating them with metal poles, which can kill a person with only a few blows. Their lives were clearly at stake. That doesn't mean that it was okay for Israel to put them in that position, but who among us, in that position, would want our colleagues to hold their fire as we were beaten with metal poles, attacked with knives, and had molotov cocktails thrown at us?

Even if the shootings were justified in the narrow circumstances, I hope the Israeli elite begin to get the message - which seems to continually elude them - that the fact that their soldiers act in self-defence in X encounter misses the broader imperative - to stop the encounters happening in the first place. Even if the blockade of Gaza is necessary - let's say that it is - don't be stupid and force a confrontation if you don't need to, just to show how tough you are.

The real risk to Israel's security is not that a peace deal might take a few extra square miles, it's the continued existence of a conflict that puts Israel in the position of occupying power, so that even when they are attacked by people like Hezbollah whose purpose is not to liberate the Palestinians, but to wipe out Israel, millions of people around the world see the conflict through the prism of the Palestinians' oppression. Then, when Israel defends itself and inflicts inevitable civilian casualties in a war against an enemy that uses human shields, it's seen by too many as the moral equivalent of organizations that try to kill as many civilians as possible. It's a ridiculous situation, one that does a massive disservice to Israelis' security and their place in the world, but one that will exist so long as the Palestinians don't have a state.

That Israelis leaders who profess to understand that Israel will have to choose between being Jewish and democratic or ruling the Palestinians cannot seem to bring themselves to make the tough decisions necessary for peace - that they would rather show how tough they are by storming ships with motley crews of naive peace activists and violent Israel-haters - is a tragedy that I think threatens the future of Israel more than Hamas rockets do.
posted by Dasein at 7:32 PM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]




people like Hezbollah whose purpose is not to liberate the Palestinians, but to wipe out Israel

Hezbollah is a Lebanese organization. Their posture toward Israel is the result of multiple Israeli invasions of their country, Israeli interference with Lebanese politics, and the continued occupation of Lebanese territory by Israel. If I lived next to a racist state with designs on my territory, I'd be interested in getting rid of it too.

Hezbollah's popularity and strength are the direct result of Israel's actions. If Israel gave up its territorial ambitions, Hezbollah would either find a new rationale for existence or it would wither away.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 8:23 PM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Woah, is that video real? Thats pretty f'd up.
posted by rosswald at 8:25 PM on May 31, 2010


"but it also seems to me that the soldiers, having been ordered to board the boats, were forced to defend themselves with deadly force."

If I break into your house you have every right to kill me.

The IDF might as well have been Somali pirates. These were international waters and they had no right to board any of the vessels.

(Actually, I'd probably feel safer being boarded by Somali pirates. They'd hold me for ransom at least instead of shoot me outright.)
posted by bardic at 8:34 PM on May 31, 2010


If I break into your house you have every right to kill me.

That's because robbery involves an implicit threat of death. The soldiers who boarded the vessel, had they been unopposed, would have directed it to Ashdod and unloaded the cargo. No one would have been harmed. Your comparison is deliberately obtuse, it seems to me.
posted by Dasein at 8:40 PM on May 31, 2010


Hezbollah's popularity and strength are the direct result of Israel's actions.

Well.... sorta. But not exactly.

Hezbollah may have been formed by Shiites 40 years after Lebanon achieved independence, but the reasons for its existence stem from that time period. In the '40's, the new country of Lebanon was governed by Sunnis. (Well, actually, by an alliance of Christian Maronites and Muslim Sunnis.) Over the next 40 years, the Shi'a minority would become a larger portion of the population than either the Maronites or the Sunnis -- and there was an uproar in the '80's because the Shi'a felt they were underrepresented politically. This was further complicated by economic and class struggles: the Shiites were extremely poor. Hezbollah was formed to help protect and support that Shi'a minority.

The wars in '78 and '82 definitely increased their strength and raised their visibility. But their popularity in Shiite Southern Lebanon isn't entirely Israel-dependent.

The group also absorbed and incorporated the message(s) of the Iranian revolution -- Khomeni was a Shiite and had ties to Lebanon. Hezbollah saw the revolution as a huge victory for Shiites, and used it to help propel them into greater political power in Lebanon.

If Israel gave up its territorial ambitions, Hezbollah would either find a new rationale for existence or it would wither away.

No, it wouldn't. They have provided social and economic services to areas of Lebanon populated by poor Shi'as since the 1980's. However, they might or might not become less militarized without Israel.
posted by zarq at 8:43 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


That's because robbery involves an implicit threat of death. The soldiers who boarded the vessel, had they been unopposed, would have directed it to Ashdod and unloaded the cargo. No one would have been harmed.

Robbers, unopposed, would take the money and run. For all you know.

We know that this illegal boarding carried an implicit threat of death, because when people tried to resist the boarding, the threat was fulfilled and the resisters were massacred.
posted by stammer at 8:58 PM on May 31, 2010 [2 favorites]


...the resisters were massacred.

Perhaps keeping this incident in some sort of rational perspective would be a good idea.

A total of nine people were killed. Out of 700. A single death from this incident is a horrible tragedy. But nine deaths is hardly a "massacre."
posted by zarq at 9:05 PM on May 31, 2010


The number of deaths does not define a massacre, it's the cowardly method that does.
posted by Big_B at 9:09 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


Whoa, that video crazy, it makes the IDF look like a bunch of amateur clowns.
posted by furtive at 9:10 PM on May 31, 2010


Wow, really? When soldiers kill nine civilians by shooting, I call that a massacre. The Kent State massacre involved four deaths "out of" about 500.
posted by stammer at 9:10 PM on May 31, 2010 [9 favorites]


Well, zarq, I suspect that Hezbollah would turn its attentions toward Syria if Israel wasn't the current threat. Yes, I know Syria is their current sponsor, but things do change, and Syria's popularity in Lebanon has severely waned.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:25 PM on May 31, 2010


Oh, they "only" murdered NINE people, so it's all okay then?

That's up there with "they had pipes" for asinine bullshit.
posted by Artw at 9:36 PM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Openly boycotting Israel may be illegal for US corporations and individuals.

If that isn't a symbol of everything that is wrong with the US-Israel relationship, and by extension American politics in general, then I don't know what is.
posted by cell divide at 9:41 PM on May 31, 2010 [4 favorites]


Oh, they "only" murdered NINE people, so it's all okay then?

Would you please read what I fucking said?

I said: A single death from this incident is a horrible tragedy.

I objected to nine deaths being characterized as a massacre. That's it. Nothing more. I'm not fucking justifying the deaths. I'm not fucking praising them. I'm not saying they're fucking okay. I'm not saying Israel was in the right AT ALL. In fact, I said those deaths were a horrible tragedy.

If you want to argue against the idea that nine people dying is not really a massacre, then do so. But don't fucking tell me that I said their murders were okay. I absolutely did not do that. And for you to imply that I did is really fucking low.
posted by zarq at 9:42 PM on May 31, 2010 [1 favorite]


The number of deaths does not define a massacre, it's the cowardly method that does.

That's reasonable. I withdraw my objection.
posted by zarq at 9:44 PM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


sage, cardamom, cumin, coriander, ginger, jam, halva, vinegar, nutmeg, chocolate, fruit preserves, seeds and nuts, biscuits and sweets, potato chips, gas for soft drinks, dried fruit, fresh meat, plaster, tar, wood for construction, cement, iron, glucose, industrial salt, plastic/glass/metal containers, industrial margarine, tarpaulin, sheets for huts, fabric (for clothing), flavor and smell enhancers, fishing rods, various fishing nets, buoys, ropes for fishing, nylon nets for greenhouses, hatcheries and spare parts for hatcheries, spare parts for tractors, dairies for cowsheds, irrigation pipe systems, ropes to tie greenhouses planters for saplings, heaters for chicken farms, musical instruments, size A4 paper, writing implements, notebooks, newspapers, toys, razors, sewing machines and spare parts, heaters, horses, donkeys, goats, cattle, and chicks
These are some of the "weapons" Israel won't allow into Gaza.

Obviously, the allegation that Israel is simply trying to starve out the Gazans is a reprehensible lie. Everyone knows that Palestinians make rocket bombs out of potato chips!
posted by orthogonality at 10:23 PM on May 31, 2010 [13 favorites]


It's very difficult to take seriously any discussion of the blockade that doesn't mention Egypt.
posted by planet at 10:26 PM on May 31, 2010 [3 favorites]


Wow, bloodthirsty and stupid: Israelis celebrating attack on Turkish Aid Ship - in front of Turkish Embassy,Tel Aviv.

Do these celebrators want a war with Turkey?
posted by orthogonality at 11:44 PM on May 31, 2010


Do these celebrators want a war with Turkey?

Thanks for putting that up prthogonality.

7000 people in Stockholm peacefully protesting the actions of Israel yesterday. It's in Swedish, but it says that after 2 hours the demonstration broke up on its own without any police action.

The Israeli embassy is just a few blocks from my kids' school. There was a large police presence in the area this morning. My kids were excited to see all the mounted police, but I think I will keep them home the next few days.
posted by three blind mice at 1:29 AM on June 1, 2010


My kids were excited to see all the mounted police, but I think I will keep them home the next few days.

Wait, why? Is it because there might be opposing protesters...or do you feel that the original protesters themselves may start violent and destructive action on their own?

I'm really asking...I think its fantastic that 7,000 Swedes could feel so passionately about the plight of others who don't quite look like them. I have no idea how or what people like that think.
posted by hal_c_on at 2:33 AM on June 1, 2010


Do these celebrators want a war with Turkey?

Maybe Israel hates their only potential Muslim ally as much as they claim all non-supporters of Israel hate Jews. They are just rubbing it in their faces, aren't they?
posted by hal_c_on at 2:39 AM on June 1, 2010


I think its fantastic that 7,000 Swedes could feel so passionately about the plight of others who don't quite look like them.

Well, those others also have, usually, a body, a head, four limbs, and various dangly bits depending on gender. They do look quite like them, that is, like humans.
posted by Skeptic at 3:07 AM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Their posture toward Israel is the result of multiple Israeli invasions of their country, Israeli interference with Lebanese politics, and the continued occupation of Lebanese territory by Israel.

Really? Which bit of Lebanese territory is Israel occupying? If you mean the Shebaa farms area, it seems that everyone from the UN down agrees that it is in fact part of Syria, and that Hezbollah is only claiming it as Lebanese territory in order to justify hostilities against Israel.
posted by Joe in Australia at 3:52 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Orthogonality, did you not read the comments attached to the site you linked to?

"The Israelis are filth from the sewer. Let’s hope their disgusting rathole of a country is incinerated."

"The man who damaged her eye should have to lose one of his. In a painful scary way."

"I hate to say it, but sometimes I think Hitler didn’t take things far enough."
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:02 AM on June 1, 2010


Joe; enough already. Please don't start again.
Orthogonality linked to a video and not their comments. The same as people posting a Youtube link with the usual innane garbage below it.
posted by adamvasco at 4:17 AM on June 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


from stephen walt:
My second question is: "Will the Obama administration show some backbone on this issue, and go beyond the usual mealy-mouthed statements that U.S. presidents usually make when Israel acts foolishly and dangerously?" President Obama likes to talk a lot about our wonderful American values, and his shiny new National Security Strategy says "we must always seek to uphold these values not just when it is easy, but when it is hard." The same document also talks about a "rule-based international order," and says "America's commitment to the rule of law is fundamental to our efforts to build an international order that is capable of confronting the emerging challenges of the 21st century."

Well if that is true, here is an excellent opportunity for Obama to prove that he means what he says. Attacking a humanitarian aid mission certainly isn't consistent with American values -- even when that aid mission is engaged in the provocative act of challenging a blockade -- and doing so in international waters is a direct violation of international law. Of course, it would be politically difficult for the administration to take a principled stand with midterm elections looming, but our values and commitment to the rule of law aren't worth much if a president will sacrifice them just to win votes.

More importantly, this latest act of misguided belligerence poses a broader threat to U.S. national interests. Because the United States provides Israel with so much material aid and diplomatic protection, and because American politicians from the president on down repeatedly refer to the "unbreakable bonds" between the United States and Israel, people all over the world naturally associate us with most, if not all, of Israel's actions. Thus, Israel doesn't just tarnish its own image when it does something outlandish like this; it makes the United States look bad, too. This incident will harm our relations with other Middle Eastern countries, lend additional credence to jihadi narratives about the "Zionist-Crusader alliance," and complicate efforts to deal with Iran. It will also cost us some moral standing with other friends around the world, especially if we downplay it. This is just more evidence, as if we needed any, that the special relationship with Israel has become a net liability.

In short, unless the Obama administration demonstrates just how angry and appalled it is by this foolish act, and unless the U.S. reaction has some real teeth in it, other states will rightly see Washington as irretrievably weak and hypocritical. And Obama's Cairo speech -- which was entitled "A New Beginning" -- will be guaranteed a prominent place in the Hall of Fame of Empty Rhetoric.
this kind of bottom lines it for me; walt goes on about how the US might respond...
posted by kliuless at 4:28 AM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Big_B, my understanding is that private (non-foreign-govt sponsored) boycotts are OK, the aim of the law being the prevention of US firms being used as tools of foreign policies that may go against the US's official policies.

So much for the free market, eh?
posted by MaiaMadness at 4:29 AM on June 1, 2010


7000 people in Stockholm peacefully protesting the actions of Israel yesterday. It's in Swedish, but it says that after 2 hours the demonstration broke up on its own without any police action.

We were about 1500 here in Oslo which is nevertheless no negligible number, albeit not quite as impressive.
posted by MaiaMadness at 5:08 AM on June 1, 2010


Egypt temporarily suspends blockade

(Egypt not paticularly being angels when it comes to Gaza either)
posted by Artw at 5:53 AM on June 1, 2010


Information Dissemination's analysis is a good example of treating the strict legality of enforcing a blockade in international waters:
Under international law, the consensus of the maritime attorney's [sic] I have spoken to is that the boarding operation by Israel was legal.
as entirely distinct from the broader moral
If we presume the Israeli Navy is competent, we can presume they knew this would happen. That suggests Israel knew the initial boarding would be met with violent resistance, but the political cost of allowing violation of the blockade was higher than the expected political fallout of a violent response.
and political
As far as I am concerned, any country that acts as politically stupid as Israel has in this situation deserves every political attack they get. Israel has some seriously tone deaf leadership right now who seems to look at every problem as a nail and every solution requiring a hammer.
contexts of that discussion.
posted by Skorgu at 6:04 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Artw, that sounds like an obvious attempt by Egypt's government (possibly encouraged by the US) to avoid more embarrassment to Israel by proposing the crew of the Rachel Corrie, still underway to Gaza, to dock in Egypt, rather than in Gaza.
posted by Skeptic at 6:15 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Maybe the US should leave NATO and form it's own gang with Israel.

You mean formally, I suppose.
posted by rokusan at 6:18 AM on June 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


* Orthogonality linked to a video and not their comments. The same as people posting a Youtube link with the usual innane garbage below it.

No, it's different. YouTube is a service where each uploader can customize the rules by which the comments on their items are posted. Directly, moderated or no comments at all. YouTube is a service provider and therefore not responsible for the comments (nor for the videos, for that matter).

Orthogonality linked to a personal blog where the author has the responsibility (not legal, but perhaps moral) to moderate these comments. The fact that the author allowed things like "Hitler didn't take things far enough" to be posted on that page says something about the nature of that blog. A comment like that wouldn't be allowed on Metafilter, for example.
posted by falameufilho at 6:22 AM on June 1, 2010


Orthogonality linked to a personal blog where the author has the responsibility (not legal, but perhaps moral) to moderate these comments.

The weird thing is that there is now a comment from the owner of the blog in which he claims that he does moderate the comments and that he deletes racist ones. The "Hitler didn’t take things far enough" one is still there. And as for Orthogonality linking to the blog, not to the comments ... I can see that argument as being valid in some circumstances, but not when there are only four comments (at the time of his post) and at least two are virulently racist.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:30 AM on June 1, 2010


Meanwhile, the Give Israel Your United Support (GIYUS) Megaphone army of automatons has no doubt been dispatched to shape public opinion on this event.
posted by tybeet at 6:33 AM on June 1, 2010


The weird thing is that there is now a comment from the owner of the blog in which he claims that he does moderate the comments and that he deletes racist ones. The "Hitler didn’t take things far enough" one is still there.

Or possibly he's busy and hasn't had a chance to get to moderating the comments on his blog. Some of us work for a living, you know.

And as for Orthogonality linking to the blog, not to the comments ... I can see that argument as being valid in some circumstances, but not when there are only four comments (at the time of his post) and at least two are virulently racist.

So in other words, if people have written hateful comments on an article or post, you can't link to it, regardless of whether the article/post actually contains any hateful content. You do understand that that pretty much precludes linking to any website other than that of hard left-wingers, and specifically hard left-wingers that have the time to moderate comments, right?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:37 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Orthogonality linked to a personal blog where the author has the responsibility (not legal, but perhaps moral) to moderate these comments. The fact that the author allowed things like "Hitler didn't take things far enough" to be posted on that page says something about the nature of that blog. A comment like that wouldn't be allowed on Metafilter, for example.

Do you have a problem with the content of the post itself? Comments ≠ the post's content.
posted by zarq at 6:44 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Apparently an IRish ship named the "Rachel Corrie" is on it's way. That may have seemed a better idea a few days ago.
posted by Artw at 6:47 AM on June 1, 2010


Information Dissemination's analysis is a good example of treating the strict legality of enforcing a blockade in international waters:

Maritime law is one perspective. But NATO Doctrine is another. Articles 5 & 6 of the NATO Charter seem to indicate Israel's actions are piracy at best, and a de facto act of war, at worst. Turkey's motion to escort future supply vessels, and their push to hold an emergency NATO meeting (which will be held) indicate that this falls within NATO's jurisdiction. What the meeting decides will ultimately be Israel's fate in this matter it seems.
posted by tybeet at 6:49 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


40 Britons held after Israeli raid

What the meeting decides will ultimately be Israel's fate in this matter it seems.

Expecty to hear the words "US veto".
posted by Artw at 6:59 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


And as for Orthogonality linking to the blog, not to the comments ... I can see that argument as being valid in some circumstances, but not when there are only four comments (at the time of his post) and at least two are virulently racist.

Oh good, Joe, you've let us in on more of the secret rules about how to call people racists on the internet. Jesus Christ have you learned a goddamn thing in the last 24 hours?
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:00 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


So I linked to a blog about a young women losing her eye for protesting Israel, perhaps after being intentionally shot in the face, and Joe in Australia is truly offended -- not that she lost an eye, but that omigawd! there are unmoderated comments attached to the blog, in which some random dude on the Internet says something stupid!

No not just stupid, but far worse-- something mean and stupid about the Jews. Joe doesn't even notice this poor young girl, a visual artist, can no longer see out of her eye, can no longer see in three dimensions, will be disfigured and half-blind, may be unable to practice her art.

Because Joe can't see in three dimensions either: all he can see is suffering of the Jews, attacks against the Jews, threats to Israel -- those so fills his mental field that he's oblivious to anyone else's pain.

A blog about a girl losing her eye? No, Joe can't see that, he can't empathize with her, his eye instead is immediately drawn to the bottom of the page, scanning back and forth -- he knows that somewhere down there, there's a witch an anti-Semitic comment which will justify his ignoring the suffering of Emily Henochowicz, will justify Israels action in putting out her eye, because far more important -- somewhere there's anti-Semetism afoot.

And as long as there is anti-Semitism somewhere, even if confined to the margins of society and to knuckleheads who comment on unmoderated blogs, we can preoccupy ourselves with that anti-Semetism as an excuse to never have to look Israel's actions in the face, to never have to get around to judging Israel, to always be able to excuse Israel, because its means are always justified by the end of protecting Jews from anti-Semites.

As long as we have an external boogieman -- the Eternal anti-Semite! -- to unite against we never have to look at ourselves and ask if what we are doing makes sense or is right.
posted by orthogonality at 7:05 AM on June 1, 2010 [47 favorites]


Meta
posted by Artw at 7:08 AM on June 1, 2010


Anyway, apparently some things are still business as usual: Turkey sees no impact on Israel drone delivery.
posted by lullaby at 7:10 AM on June 1, 2010


Oh good, Joe, you've let us in on more of the secret rules about how to call people racists on the internet. Jesus Christ have you learned a goddamn thing in the last 24 hours?

The value of persistance and how to make some minor modifications to his trolling technique, it seems.
posted by Artw at 7:13 AM on June 1, 2010


I however, have not learned to switch between threads when cutting and pasting.
posted by Artw at 7:15 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Artw, that sounds like an obvious attempt by Egypt's government (possibly encouraged by the US) to avoid more embarrassment to Israel by proposing the crew of the Rachel Corrie, still underway to Gaza, to dock in Egypt, rather than in Gaza.

Or an attempt to deflect attention from it's own role in Gaza. Or some super dumb point scoring in an attempt to appease it's populace. Almost certainly cowardish maneuvering of some kind.
posted by Artw at 7:19 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Israelis will argue that this is all unfair, as they were provoked. Like the British, they seem to think that the issue is whose logic is correct. But the issue actually is, whose logic will be heard? As with a tank battle or an airstrike, this sort of warfare has nothing to do with fairness.

I don’t know. I liked the Stratfor analysis, and I understand that it was examining the issues from the perspective of likelihood to sway public opinion rather than who is right or wrong, but the line about “fairness” is an authorial intrusion into this analysis, and it rankles. Provoking a brutal response – where that response is not necessary but merely anticipated because of past brutalities – most certainly does not render criticisms of that response “unfair”.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:20 AM on June 1, 2010


(Note: I understand that this is not the author's view but rather a response to "The Israelis will argue that this is all unfair" -- but "nothing to do with fairness" seems to concede the point)
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 7:21 AM on June 1, 2010


As far as I can tell, the Israeli government sure took a running jump and put both feet in it this time. If the Turkish navy does escort the next mission, what's the fallout going to be?

BTW, the Jerusalem Post story reads like an IDF press release.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:24 AM on June 1, 2010


minifigs: Israeli Deputy Ambassador to Ireland just stated on RTE current affairs program that boarding was justified as there were sophisticated weapons "like knives" on board . Audience laughing derisively.

I'm not sure if RTÉ player works outside of Ireland, but you can find the interview with the Deputy Israeli Ambassador to Ireland and the Irish Palestinian Envoy here ( interview starts @ 0:42:40).
posted by nfg at 7:25 AM on June 1, 2010


And as long as there is anti-Semitism somewhere, even if confined to the margins of society and to knuckleheads who comment on unmoderated blogs, we can preoccupy ourselves with that anti-Semetism as an excuse to never have to look Israel's actions in the face, to never have to get around to judging Israel, to always be able to excuse Israel, because its means are always justified by the end of protecting Jews from anti-Semites.

Thank you for saying this far more clearly and eloquently than my crappy attempt over in MeTa.
posted by zarq at 7:32 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]






zarq withdrew his objection already. Keep up.
posted by dabitch at 7:43 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


7000 people in Stockholm peacefully protesting the actions of Israel yesterday.

Any idea as to the numbers in DC or NY?
posted by dunkadunc at 7:48 AM on June 1, 2010


American artist/activist Emily Henochowicz was shot in the face today by IDF forces, who fired tear gas canisters into a group of Western protesters in the West Bank.

"They clearly saw us," says Sören Johanssen, a fellow protester. "They clearly saw that we were internationals and it really looked as though they were trying to hit us. They fired many canisters at us in rapid succession. One landed on either side of Emily, then the third one hit her in the face."

Emily Henochowicz is currently undergoing surgery to remove her left eye, as a result of the attack.
posted by markkraft at 7:54 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


But, but, but, markkraft, did you see the insensitive comments on that blog post?????
chuzzlewit: that looks like it smarted a bit.
Kojak replied to comment from chuzzlewit: Yeah loosing an Eye would sorta put a damper on the entire middle-east experience. I can only theorize that she's in some kind of discomfort.
chuzzlewit replied to comment from Kojak: great story, though - red badge and all that. Glass eye tricks make sure folks remember you. Really, a lot of plusses if you look at it right (close one eye and squint)!
Obviously, that's what we should focus on: pro-Israel chuckleheads laughing about the victim's pain and disfigurement.
posted by orthogonality at 8:02 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Jerusalem Post reports:
Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

"We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war," the officer said. "That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war."
I assume he means the ships that will be escorted by the TURKISH NAVY. Yeah, this'll end well.
posted by orthogonality at 8:11 AM on June 1, 2010


zarq withdrew his objection already. Keep up.

Thank you, dabitch. Much appreciated.

For anyone who may be morbidly curious, I did additional research on the subject this morning. This Wikipedia page lists (a depressingly large number of) events that have been called massacres throughout history. In many of them, only a small number of people were killed. To expand on what Big_B said, the term "massacre" seems to have been used historically when the murders of multiple people were particularly brutal -- the number of those killed, be they 10 or 10,000, makes little difference.
posted by zarq at 8:12 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


(zarq, I'm really impressed, in this thread and the metatalk thread, by your willingness to do additional research, and even more, to publicly modify or correct your statements in the light of that research.)
posted by orthogonality at 8:17 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


hal_c_on: do you feel that the original protesters themselves may start violent and destructive action on their own?

This. Anytime you have 7000 angry people and cops on horses you have the ingredients for violence.
posted by three blind mice at 8:21 AM on June 1, 2010


"We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war," the officer said. "That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war."

hmm. Assides from the obvious, that he's a massive cockend and that he and his trioops are cowards, isn't there a particular term for the murdering of unarmed civilians during a war? Like "war crimes"? Not that I'd expect that to bother him much.
posted by Artw at 8:23 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Do you have a problem with the content of the post itself? Comments ≠ the post's content.

You can't divorce a statement from its context. Someone else in that comment thread complained about the racist comments and the blog owner replied that he deletes ones which actually call for violence against Jews. It's not a matter of allowing an open forum or not having had time to check for offensive comments; he actually considered the "Hitler didn’t take things far enough" comment and decided to let it through. I haven't read the rest of his blog but he's either a racist or is consciously giving them a platform.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:24 AM on June 1, 2010


The point of a massacre is not only that a lot of people were killed, it's that defenseless people were killed. Given that the people killed here were attempting to kill several of the soldiers, and very nearly succeeded, I don't see how it qualifies as a massacre.
posted by Dasein at 8:26 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


"We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war," the officer said. "That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war."

They boarded a foreign vessel in international waters and were assaulted and they're the victims. This statement is like the bully who feels victimized because the nerds started fighting back.

But it's really about expectation, isn't it? The Israeli government has an expectation (and I would characterize it as an unreasonable expectation) that they have the right to do whatever they want all the time and get the outcome they want. In the light of that expectation, it should not be surprising that this sort of outrageous, lunatic rhetoric is coming out of the government's PR flaks; they simply believe that they have the right to board and commandeer any ship they want, whereever it is, and that the people on those ships should simply accept it. This is a fundamental disregard for the rights of others and the laws they themselves agreed to.
posted by Pope Guilty at 8:28 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


You can't divorce a statement from its context.

You can fairly reasonably say "those comments are fucked up but the video they're attached to doesn't have a hell of a lot to do with that", though, and I think people are pretty fairly wondering why you aren't leaving it at that.

Please, if you or anyone else needs to keep on arguing about the comments attached to that video, go on over to that awesome Metatalk thread from yesterday and take it up there.
posted by cortex at 8:31 AM on June 1, 2010




Do these celebrators want a war with Turkey?

It certainly looks that way. WTF.
posted by homunculus at 8:45 AM on June 1, 2010


The point of a massacre is not only that a lot of people were killed, it's that defenseless people were killed. Given that the people killed here were attempting to kill several of the soldiers, and very nearly succeeded, I don't see how it qualifies as a massacre.

You think in context of soldiers invading from boats and descending from helicopters with guns which have already been lethally discharged, that retaliating with fisticuffs and slingshots constitutes a defended position? What planet are inhabiting, exactly?
posted by tybeet at 8:53 AM on June 1, 2010


I thought this was excellent. It's a blog entry by Jay Bookman, an award-winning columnist with the Atlanta Journal Constitution: Israel wins a minor battle, but is losing the larger war:
As in past such instances, Israeli leaders and some in the Israeli press are treating the international backlash as just good public-relations a public-relations failure on the part of the government. That’s an act of willful self-deception. By pretending that the problem is bad PR, they are trying to avoid admitting that the real problem is the underlying policy.

In another such dodge, some Israelis are explaining away the harsh international criticism by claiming that it confirms widespread anti-Semitism. As the Jerusalem Post put it in an editorial about the incident, “It was as if a pent-up torrent of rabid anti-Israel hatred had finally found its release.”

Sorry, no sale.

Is all criticism of Israel’s actions — legitimate or otherwise — to be dismissed as anti-Semitism? Is Israel — and Israel alone — somehow exempt from the judgment of the international community, as if it can never do wrong? The charge of anti-Semitism, with all its tragic implications, should not be cheapened by turning it into a means of silencing criticism or opposition. Yet sadly, that is increasingly what it has become.
He also mentions the recent piece written by Peter Beinart, in the New York Review of Books (mentioned upthread by bardic,) which was discussed on MeFi here.
posted by zarq at 9:00 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


We boarded the ship Our soldiers, armed with automatic weapons and wearing body armor, assaulted the ship from combat helicopters and were attacked as if it was a war
posted by kirkaracha at 9:03 AM on June 1, 2010


(zarq, I'm really impressed, in this thread and the metatalk thread, by your willingness to do additional research, and even more, to publicly modify or correct your statements in the light of that research.)

Thank you. I can't stand knee-jerk reactionaries and the last thing I want to do is become one myself. So, I'm trying to keep an open mind and move beyond my own ingrained biases. Look at various issues objectively. I know I don't always succeed.

But hell, if I don't at least try, then I feel like I'm not being honest with myself or anyone else.
posted by zarq at 9:12 AM on June 1, 2010 [11 favorites]


Jim Henley offers a perspective which suggests that Israel is calling everyone's bluff:
The raid is the latest case of Israel choosing militarism over liberalism, which Beinart identifies as the core issue...Israel not only no longer faces any enemies who pose an existential threat, it doesn’t even have enemies who can thwart any strongly held Israeli policy aim. No state is going to go to war to “destroy Israel.” I doubt any state particularly wants to. Certainly no state that might want to can do so. But beyond that, no state is going to go to war on behalf of the Palestinians and the Palestinians lack the power to launch an effective war on their own behalf.Every time Israel takes major, disproportionate action, the“counter productivity corps” tells us that very soon now Israel’shigh-handedness will cost it essential allies, alienate the United States and set the country on the road to ruin. Every time, the furor passes. In particular, the United States has attempted no material rebuke of Israel since the administration of Bush the Elder, and these
days barely bothers with rhetorical rebukes...This is not Israel “shooting itself in the foot.” This is Israel winning. Be for that or against it, but at least recognize it.
posted by SecretAgentSockpuppet at 9:43 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Emily Henochowicz is currently undergoing surgery to remove her left eye, as a result of the attack.

That poor young woman. :(

Is there any reason why the Israeli soldiers would deliberately not fire their tear gas canisters at the ground? What possible reason could they have for firing them at people and not around them?
posted by zarq at 9:45 AM on June 1, 2010


What possible reason could they have for firing them at people and not around them?

Fire at them? Why? To hurt them.
posted by Mister Bijou at 9:50 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


This is Israel winning.

Perhaps. But with little thought for the future and at everybody elses cost.
posted by Artw at 9:51 AM on June 1, 2010


What possible reason could they have for firing them at people and not around them?

Hate and a disregard for all human life?
posted by Artw at 9:52 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


And now, some reaction from inside Israel, to the attack on their former ally Turkey's ship and the killing and wounding of numerous civilians.

And some words from Israelis on the street...

"You know what the Israeli army is guilty of? It's not (sinking) the whole ship and killing everyone."
@ 12:14
"Death to the Arabs!" shouted by the crowd @ 14:35.
"Death to the leftists!" @ 16:45.

...followed by attacks and intimidation of counter-protesters and journalists.

Why aren't they shouting "Death to Turkey" or even "Death to Palestinians"? Could it be that these people are racists? What punishment is there under Israeli law for that kind of behavior? Obviously, there's something comparable to laws against public racism against Jews in Germany, I'm sure. Are we going to see these people held legally accountable for their destructive racist ideology?

Or the next time an Israeli complains about Arabs celebrating after a terrorist attack, or shouting out "Death to Israel!", should the rest of the world ignore that as a kind of hypocrisy?
posted by markkraft at 9:55 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


>
In short, unless the Obama administration demonstrates just how angry and appalled it is by this foolish act, and unless the U.S. reaction has some real teeth in it, other states will rightly see Washington as irretrievably weak and hypocritical. And Obama's Cairo speech -- which was entitled "A New Beginning" -- will be guaranteed a prominent place in the Hall of Fame of Empty Rhetoric.

As we know, US government support for Israel comes down to domestic US politics-- not entirely (Israel is the dominant military power in an area filled with people who loathe the US, and there are strong cultural ties between the US and Israel), but largely.

Still, there's pretty much one driving engine for the marshaling of US popular opinion and, more to the point, US government action: AIPAC.

At the beginnings of Obama's administration, there were some suggestions that the administration was attempting to cut off and isolate the increasingly right-wing, Likudnik AIPAC and instead promote J Street, the newish and dovish Jewish political action committee-- a PAC whose aims seemed to be a much better fit for the largely liberal bent of America's Jewish voters.

Unfortunately, those suggestions weren't really followed up, which fact represents a tremendous missed opportunity.

If Obama really wants to create some breathing room for himself, he should stop trying to create a working relationship with Bibi-- Netanyahu and Israel's right-wing will never "feel safe" enough to want to work out a decent deal, because feeling unsafe is their raison d'etre-- and instead make a shift, paradoxically, on internal domestic politics: He should have the J Street guy at his elbow in as many photo-ops as possible, and systematically shut out AIPAC, in an attempt to supplant the latter with an organization whose vision actually incorporates the peace process, instead of seeing it as a farce that must be gamed, delayed, and circumvented.
posted by darth_tedious at 9:56 AM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


Another snippet of info from here: one of the people on the ships was Joe Meadors, a U.S.S. Liberty veteran.

More on Meadors: US Navy Veterans Continue to Seek Justice for Israeli Attack

Local veteran worries about friend, former shipmate detained in Israeli raid
posted by homunculus at 10:01 AM on June 1, 2010


Hate and a disregard for all human life?

To quote you back at you, that's asinine bullshit.

If that had been the case, one of their submarines could have simply sunk the ships with a well-placed torpedo and called it a day. Or seeded the region with underwater mines. Why bother to risk your own men, if you're just going to indiscriminately slaughter everyone?
posted by zarq at 10:09 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Siding with JStreet and releasing all the government information on AIPAC's ties with espionage against the US would be a nice start.

Another, frankly, would be laws designed to halting all immigration or travel from the US to Israel in which it is not abundantly clear that the immigrants or travelers won't settle in Palestinian territory, as defined by the 1967 agreement.

Why should the US tolerate any of its citizens violating UN resolutions?
posted by markkraft at 10:10 AM on June 1, 2010


All of this because people believe an imaginary sky-monster promised a certain group of people some real estate millenniums ago in a poorly written, hateful, violent book. WTF humanity?
posted by fuq at 10:13 AM on June 1, 2010 [6 favorites]


What possible reason could they have for firing them at people and not around them?
Why? To hurt them.


To hurt them with plausible deniability, I suspect.
posted by rokusan at 10:14 AM on June 1, 2010


What punishment is there under Israeli law for that kind of behavior?

My understanding is, Israeli Penal law bans hate speech. You can read it here, but it's not searchable. I don't have time to read it to confirm or deny.
posted by zarq at 10:20 AM on June 1, 2010


Another, frankly, would be laws designed to halting all immigration or travel from the US to Israel in which it is not abundantly clear that the immigrants or travelers won't settle in Palestinian territory, as defined by the 1967 agreement.

That would accomplish nothing. People would simply emigrate to Israel, renounce their US citizenship and then become settlers.
posted by zarq at 10:22 AM on June 1, 2010


We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war

I suspect a small misplacement of a phrase. That would make more sense if it read:

We boarded the ship as if it was a war and were attacked
posted by rocket88 at 10:26 AM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


...people believe an imaginary sky-monster...

Don't do this here. We have enough fighty derails.
posted by rocket88 at 10:27 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


To quote you back at you, that's asinine bullshit.

Oh fuck off. You think the people who happily roll over protestors with bulldozers and who were later gunning people down on the ship give a shit if they "accidentally" shoot someone in the face with a CS canister and kill them? These are not nice people. These are thugs on a political mission who later murdered a bunch of people, and if they can get away with hurting people they will hurt people, we already know that.
posted by Artw at 10:32 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


All of this because people believe an imaginary sky-monster promised a certain group of people some real estate millenniums ago in a poorly written, hateful, violent book. WTF humanity?

While religion does pay some part in the conflict, the primary motivation for the Palestinians and Israelis for possession of Israel is no longer religious, it's political. Both sides now believe their survival is in jeopardy, and are acting accordingly.
posted by zarq at 10:34 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh fuck off.

You nastily accused me of something upthread I didn't say. Now you're telling me to fuck off.

What the fuck is your problem, Art?
posted by zarq at 10:36 AM on June 1, 2010


In this case that you asked a stupid question and were huffy about the obvious answer.
posted by Artw at 10:39 AM on June 1, 2010


If the both of you mind your language a bit, we might still have a decent shot at a decent discussion.
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 10:40 AM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


"That would accomplish nothing. People would simply emigrate to Israel, renounce their US citizenship and then become settlers."

I would suspect it would discourage it considerably by raising the bar to immigrate, and possibly putting in some financial restrictions or penalties.

My mother, who is English, had to renounce her citizenship when she came to this country. Why not get rid of this whole dual citizenship fraud, if it's nothing more than a recruiting scheme, oftentimes for illegal settlement?

It says something that Danny Ayalon and Avigdor Lieberman of the ultranationalist Yisrael Beiteinu both had prominent positions previously in encouraging Israeli government supported immigration, and that their orgs encouraged immigration to the Occupied Territories. These organizations are littered with ultranationalists who are pushing a mindset of cheap, easy, illegal settlement on American citizens.

If you want to take the wind out of the ultranationalists -- as well as to cut off some of their wealth -- find ways to discourage such immigration. Tax the hell out of people who renounce their citizenship, for example.
posted by markkraft at 10:42 AM on June 1, 2010




(Or, maybe a lot easier, simply treat those organizations that encourage illegal settlement like organizations that encourage donations to Hamas. Shut them down, period.)
posted by markkraft at 10:49 AM on June 1, 2010




In this case that you asked a stupid question and were huffy about the obvious answer.

My original question may have been naive but I don't think it was stupid. I'm asking if there is a tactical reason why the soldiers might fire into a crowd, as opposed to around them. Gas canisters aren't bullets and are too large to fire with the same sort of precision. It would make far more sense for the soldiers to fire at the ground, than firing directly into a crowd to whom they could potentially cause severe harm.

Your answer to me wasn't "obvious." It was overwrought hyperbole that ignored the facts, just the same as your earlier accusation. If the Israelis wanted to cause mass deaths and injuries, it would make far more sense that they would have done so without risking themselves in the process. And your further explanation that they are thugs still doesn't address why they would bother to open themselves up to a face to face attack if they didn't have to.

If you have a problem with me, then by all means, please say so. But I don't think I deserve to be attacked by you, because you are unable to control your anger about this incident.
posted by zarq at 10:56 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Authorities who wish to disperse a crowd in the interest of public safety will fire tear gas on the ground. Those whose goal is to punish the crowd for their views and discourage anyone else from ever daring to speak out against them again, will fire directly into people's faces. I hope that answers your original question.
posted by rocket88 at 11:00 AM on June 1, 2010 [7 favorites]


If the both of you mind your language a bit, we might still have a decent shot at a decent discussion.

I don't take well to being told I'm being an apologist for heinous acts, especially after I've clearly condemned them. Nor to being told to fuck off. Since he has neither acknowledged my response to him earlier, nor apologized, I think I'm within my rights to respond forcefully and ask him what his problem with me is.
posted by zarq at 11:01 AM on June 1, 2010


I still consider quibbling over whether it's a massacre or not if it's not in double digits to be asinine bullshit, for what it's worth, so you'll be waiting a long time for that apology.
posted by Artw at 11:10 AM on June 1, 2010




Keee-riste, ArtW, you've both made a lot of good points in this thread, and zarq already classily apologized publicly for the quibble and decided this was indeed a massacre. What's wrong with taking this to metatalk if you're both going to derail this conversation?
posted by stagewhisper at 11:21 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


WaPo Plum Line:
"Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been privately asking foreign leaders to "dial down" criticism of Israel until all the facts of the flotilla attack are known, according to a source who personally discussed the matter with her."
posted by goodnewsfortheinsane at 11:22 AM on June 1, 2010


Here's hoping they're telling her to go to hell.
posted by Artw at 11:24 AM on June 1, 2010 [5 favorites]


If the Israelis wanted to cause mass deaths and injuries, it would make far more sense that they would have done so without risking themselves in the process.

That line really doesn't hold up.

An order to subdue with gas grenades (or batons, or what have you) is not free reign to whip out a sidearm and start capping protestors. How the order is carried out still speaks volumes. A "strategic" reason? Depends on how you define "strategic".
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:25 AM on June 1, 2010


I still consider quibbling over whether it's a massacre or not if it's not in double digits to be asinine bullshit, for what it's worth, so you'll be waiting a long time for that apology.

For what it's worth, I'm not waiting. But taken together, your two comments seem more like an attack on me than an attempt at any sort of reasonable discourse.

From the current MeTa and other I/P discussions, it should be obvious to you that this conflict has supporters on each side who fling emotionally charged, exaggerated statements back and forth in an effort to make their side's plight seem far worse than it is. In general, casting either side as completely evil is not constructive or accurate. So yes, when I saw something described in a way that I thought was a wild exaggeration, I said so. It was shown to me that I was wrong, so I withdrew my objection.
posted by zarq at 11:26 AM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


Israel should lead investigation into attack on Gaza flotilla, says US

Which would go like this: "We're completely exhonerated!"
posted by Artw at 11:29 AM on June 1, 2010


For what it's worth, I'm not waiting. But taken together, your two comments seem more like an attack on me than an attempt at any sort of reasonable discourse.

Take them apart then. Or take them to meta.
posted by Artw at 11:30 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Israel should lead investigation into attack on Gaza flotilla, says US

Brilliant! This new investigative style, in which the accused is in charge of the investigation, could save us billions on incarceration and trial costs!
posted by Pope Guilty at 11:37 AM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm concerned it could take a while though. For instance OJ still hasn't found the real killer, and seems to have become sidetracked into petty burglary - who is to say the same won't happen here?
posted by Artw at 11:40 AM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Take them apart then.

I did.

Or take them to meta.

Why bother? Have said my piece.
posted by zarq at 11:41 AM on June 1, 2010


Article 22 of the UN convention on the High Seas says that military warships can board foreign merchant ships if they suspect they are actually domestic ships flying a false flag for the purpose of verifying the nationality of the ships in question.
posted by BrotherCaine at 12:37 PM on June 1, 2010


Yeah, but a) there's absolutely no way Israel can reasonably make that claim and b) Israel's response so far has been "Whatever, I do what I want!", so I doubt they care about the UN Convention on the High Seas.
posted by Pope Guilty at 12:57 PM on June 1, 2010


Has there been any account of what the boardings were like on the 6 of the 7 vessels that went ahead peacefully?
posted by PenDevil at 1:20 PM on June 1, 2010




PenDevil: former US Ambassador Edward Peck was on one of the other ships, and he was interviewed on The World today. He said basically that there was no violence, and they decided to offer only passive resistance. No one was hurt, aside from minor scrapes. The radio item doesn't seem to be online, but he's been speaking to other reporters too. E.g. http://blogs.abcnews.com/theworldnewser/2010/06/exclusive-american-onboard-attacked-flotilla-describes-chaos.html
posted by rusty at 1:38 PM on June 1, 2010


Authorities who wish to disperse a crowd in the interest of public safety will fire tear gas on the ground. Those whose goal is to punish the crowd for their views and discourage anyone else from ever daring to speak out against them again, will fire directly into people's faces. I hope that answers your original question.

It does, and it fits what we know about Israeli tactics: they react disproportionately to threats in order to quash future problems.
posted by zarq at 1:43 PM on June 1, 2010


homunculus had a pretty good link several posts back. If the Al Jazeera producer's account is accurate, it would seem that the IDF attacked the Mavi Marmara with tear gas and stun grenades, killing at least one person before any commandos landed on the ship. That puts a different light on the protestor's later violent defence. If they'd already been bombarded (even after raising a white flag), then they had reason to believe that they were fighting for their lives.
posted by Kevin Street at 1:55 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fast-Roping 101
posted by lullaby at 2:26 PM on June 1, 2010 [12 favorites]




Irish Times: "Earlier today, Taoiseach Brian Cowen warned there would be “most serious consequences” should any harm come to Irish citizens involved with an aid flotilla destined for Gaza."
posted by zarq at 3:06 PM on June 1, 2010


FAIR notes: Much of the U.S. media coverage has been remarkably unskeptical of Israel's account of events and their context, and has paid little regard to international law.

and ... According to Craig Murray (5/31/10), former British ambassador and specialist on maritime law, the legal position "is very plain": "To attack a foreign flagged vessel in international waters is illegal. It is not piracy, as the Israeli vessels carried a military commission. It is rather an act of illegal warfare."

posted by Surfurrus at 3:35 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


"The instructions were clear. Do not provoke, remain calm and go to meet them (the commandos) saying 'We are pacifists and not terrorists'," Youssef Benderbal said after arriving at a Paris airport."

The people in this video must've missed that memo because they were resisting pretty hard.
posted by PenDevil at 3:39 PM on June 1, 2010


The people in that video already had one person dead and several injured, so yes, I can't imagine they'd be terribly inclined to remain calm and walk directly toward the people who'd already shown a desire to injure and kill them.
posted by Orb at 3:42 PM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]


What's the indication that anyone is dead yet? From what I can tell that's the first soldier to hit the boat (my limited hebrew pickes out "very good very good" at the beginning) and he gets beaten pretty bad. Same for the 2nd soldier.
posted by PenDevil at 3:47 PM on June 1, 2010


Well, if Egypt has lifted it's side of the blockade, that means other boats can just dock in Egypt and deliver the supplies via trucks. In which case the flotilla was a success in terms of political impact.
posted by delmoi at 3:53 PM on June 1, 2010


Until they start blockading again, and we are back to square one.
posted by Artw at 3:54 PM on June 1, 2010


PenDevil, I take it you haven't seen the video taken before the soldiers boarded.
posted by Orb at 3:58 PM on June 1, 2010


One wonders why, on seeing that their plan was not going to work, they didn't just back off and try again later, rather than electing to murder a bunch of people.

Oh, and have the drop weapons been mentioned again or did everybody forget about those?
posted by Artw at 4:00 PM on June 1, 2010


Editorial from Israeli author and journalist Amos Oz in the NYTimes: Israeli Force, Adrift on the Sea. He's been pushing for a two state solution for decades.
posted by zarq at 4:04 PM on June 1, 2010


Until they start blockading again, and we are back to square one.

Has anyone posted an explanation of Egypt's thinking in supporting the blockade in the first place, and if its expected they'll continue it?
posted by empath at 4:08 PM on June 1, 2010


Pressure from Israel and the US, bad history with Hamas.
posted by Artw at 4:12 PM on June 1, 2010


Has anyone posted an explanation of Egypt's thinking in supporting the blockade in the first place, and if its expected they'll continue it?

Time Magazine:
Egypt, which depends on billions of dollars of annual aid from the U.S., says its actions in Gaza are driven by its own national interest. Not only is there pressure from Washington to stop smuggling into Gaza, but Mubarak is a staunch supporter of the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, and views Hamas as an ally of his own most feared opponents, the banned Muslim Brotherhood.

posted by zarq at 4:18 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


IDF Transfers Flotilla Aid to Gaza:
The move came a day after Israel raided an international flotilla carrying supplies to the Palestinian territory, reportedly killing nine activists.Also on Tuesday, Israel transferred the humanitarian supplies aboard the ships to the Gaza Strip after inspecting the cargo. According to Channel 10, COGAT transferred most of the aid which had been on the ships, with the exception of pills whose expiry dates had passed.

posted by zarq at 4:22 PM on June 1, 2010


So, the supplies have reached their destination and the future ones will be passed on, too. Everything's fine now, eh?
posted by Surfurrus at 5:25 PM on June 1, 2010


People had to die during State-sponsored piracy to bring us hysterical headlines such as this:

Israel should lead investigation into attack on Gaza flotilla, says US
posted by meehawl at 5:46 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Israel transferred the humanitarian supplies aboard the ships to the Gaza Strip after inspecting the cargo.


Stupid and incompetent. If the purported reason for intercepting this convoy was to, ostensibly, enforce the blanket embargo, what purpose does it serve (except to save a modicum of face) to fold in the face of vocal opposition to the point where you subvert the very rationale you have for causing the incident in the first place? Netanyahu's government should fall for this--they've managed, in one fell, swoop, to alienate a goodly number of their allies and demonstrate to their enemies how utterly morally bankrupt and craven their Palestine policy really is.

Cue Operation Gaza Boatlift (aka Berlin Airlift II). If Turkey and the Arab World wants to really twist the knife, they'll keep sending regular supply convoys to Gaza, and be willing to scream bloody murder when the Israelis try to turn the aid spigot off again. Now that they've broken their own blockade, their remains no reason, save spite, to refuse further humanitarian shipments.
posted by Chrischris at 5:58 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


Fast Roping 101. Someone linked to this earlier, but I didn't click it at the time. I saw it posted on another posted as an inline image on another blog and it's pretty funny.
posted by delmoi at 6:28 PM on June 1, 2010 [2 favorites]


Turkey wants US condemnation of Israeli raid


Good luck on that Turkey! Maybe pigs will fly and hell will freeze over too! Really you should have asked for Duke Nukem Forever and bigfoot's autograph while you were at it.
posted by Artw at 6:44 PM on June 1, 2010 [3 favorites]


I think a few people mentioned this in passing, but no one has really highlighted its significance. Israel has nuclear weapons. Unfortunately in geopolitical terms this means that no one is going to do fuck all. This point also clearly illustrates why Israel and the U.S. are so keen to keep Iran from getting nukes; because then they will be able to pull the same kind of stunts and no one will do anything besides slap on the wrist shit that is par for the course when one is in the nuclear club of nations.
posted by AElfwine Evenstar at 8:24 PM on June 1, 2010 [1 favorite]


So, the supplies have reached their destination and the future ones will be passed on, too. Everything's fine now, eh?

Past flotillas of humanitarian aid were also passed on to the Palestinians by Israel despite the blockade.

It does seem as if Israel is attempting to return to the previous (apparently acceptable-to-the-world) status quo, when flotillas of international aid were inspected by Israel, and either allowed to reach Gaza or diverted to dock in an Israeli port where the aid was processed and passed to the Palestinians. That is what happened to the eight previous flotillas sent to Gaza.
Eight previous flotillas were either allowed to reach Gaza or were diverted by the Israeli navy without incident. This time, activists spent a year planning the eight-ship "Freedom Flotilla,'' soliciting the participation of international parliamentarians and the backing of the Turkish government. Because of the much larger scale of this flotilla, and because of concerns about the presence of activists with alleged links to militant groups, Israel mounted a far more aggressive military response than it had before, officials said. Last week, Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu consulted with his top security advisers and approved "Operation Sea Breeze" to try to stop the flotilla from reaching Gaza.

posted by zarq at 8:45 PM on June 1, 2010




ISRAEL JUST MAKING IT EASIER FOR GUARDIAN READERS TO LOOK GOOD (via)

Nine people were slaughtered by Israeli soldiers and an innocent, unarmed, idealistic 21-year old college student permanently lost her eye.

In case you wonder in the future how anyone could possibly think you're a heartless, clueless person with a reputation of blindly defending Israel at all costs, no matter how monstrous their behavior -- please think back to this moment.
posted by zarq at 9:27 PM on June 1, 2010 [8 favorites]


PenDevil: The people in this video must've missed that memo because they were resisting pretty hard.

If I had helicopter gunships open fire on my vessel and then land a bunch of heavily-armed commandos, I might resist pretty hard, too.

My first thought when I heard soldiers had been thrown overboard was "I hope all that battle armor is heavy".
posted by dunkadunc at 9:58 PM on June 1, 2010


"If I had helicopter gunships open fire on my vessel"

Did that happen? I haven't seen any reports of that and would like a link please.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 10:56 PM on June 1, 2010




British activist claims he was injured during Israeli raid on flotilla

What an oddly passive headline, Telegraph. But I suppose he was just beaten and not shot or electrocuted or anything exciting like that.
posted by Artw at 11:16 PM on June 1, 2010


Oh, and by the way, I'm going to use my 2,000th comment to say:

If you give soldiers or cops "non-lethal" weapons, they will use them in as brutally and as lethally a way as possible.
posted by dunkadunc at 11:20 PM on June 1, 2010 [4 favorites]




Nine people were slaughtered by Israeli soldiers and an innocent, unarmed, idealistic 21-year old college student permanently lost her eye.

Did you understand that the page I linked to is a satirical magazine? It's not partisan; it's making an observation about at least some of the people involved in this debate. I linked to it partially because its sketch of "the expert" hit uncomfortably close to home, but it's an equal-opportunity offender.

Incidentally, here are three links that give more information about the incident in which Emily Henochowicz's eye was injured. The one from Ma'an News Agency allegedly shows her being hit.
posted by Joe in Australia at 12:13 AM on June 2, 2010


Did you understand that the page I linked to is a satirical magazine? It's not partisan; it's making an observation about at least some of the people involved in this debate. I linked to it partially because its sketch of "the expert" hit uncomfortably close to home, but it's an equal-opportunity offender.

Nice non-partisanship there:

"Meanwhile I'm sitting there knowing it's actually a tad more complicated and that the Israelis are dealing with people who will not rest until it they've all been wiped from the face of the Earth and if it was us then we might just get a bit jumpy too, particularly if someone had tried to do it before."

with an icing of libertine-misogynist "humour":
"But if I come out and say that then this vegetarian ponce is going to accuse me of wanting to make a fancy cocktail with the blood of Palestinian babies and there goes any chance I may have of picking off the drunkest woman from the pack.

"If they could just protect their borders against exploding maniacs with a little more tact then that would help me enormously in my quest for a really good blow job."

posted by Gnatcho at 12:23 AM on June 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


--Why Europe? Because if Turkey invokes the NATO charter and the US doesn't react, then NATO is GONE. GONE and DEAD. Why? Because when the US was attacked on 9/11, the NATO charter was invoked -- and that is why NATO troops are in Afghanistan today. 9/11 was proof that NATO was not just an 'anti-Russian' pact -- that it applied anywhere. If the US doesn't go along with a Turkish response... it will reveal NATO as being a "US pact" -- that the entire alliance exists only to help the US. Oh, there will still be mutual defense treaties with the UK and maybe Germany. But that is just about it. And the US will have to go on its own in Afghanistan. That is unless they want to invite the IDF to help....
from some trenchant observations by Robert Mackey, Lieutenant Colonel, U.S. Army (Retired).
posted by orthogonality at 12:40 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Here's a recent article about Operation Mincemeat, which Mackey refers to in orthogonality's link.
posted by homunculus at 12:58 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Israeli interview with Noam Chomsky from may 23rd, before the flotilla. But he talks about how Israel is doing a lot of damage to itself by being arrogant and irrational. It really presages the coming flotilla disaster. It would have been far easier to just let the flotilla through, or disabled the propellers, or just let them through. But they are obsessed with looking "strong" (Ironically making them look like they're they're trying to cover up weakness. And of course the raid itself was tactically incompetent)

Very interesting talk. I wonder if this will give Israel some pause or if they will head off the cliff. History is full of examples of governments going full bore over the precipice. But of course when they turn back in sanity, it doesn't make the history books.
posted by delmoi at 4:17 AM on June 2, 2010


* with an icing of libertine-misogynist "humour"

Oh please, don't be obtuse. It's called satire.

Some people, in this thread and in Meta, have declared a fatwa against Joe in Australia, and anything he posts is received with a collective rolling of the eyes and examined in the worst possible light, not to mention the calls for silencing him. It is ridiculous.
posted by falameufilho at 5:02 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some people, in this thread and in Meta, have declared a fatwa against Joe in Australia, and anything he posts is received with a collective rolling of the eyes and examined in the worst possible light, not to mention the calls for silencing him. It is ridiculous.

I agree. If you don't like what he has to say, ignore him! I do...
posted by MaiaMadness at 5:20 AM on June 2, 2010


The real answer:
Egypt is a dictatorship, and the leading nonviolent political group who wants to overthrow that dictatorship -- by democratic means -- in order to restore something akin to an Islamic democracy, are routinely arrested, blocked from putting people on the ballot, or simply blocked from voting. This explains why only a little more than 20% of Egyptians bother voting.

Today, the Muslim Brotherhood strongly rejects terrorism, strongly rejected 9/11, is not linked to Al Qaeda, and is *not* viewed by the US State Department as a terrorist organization.

Hamas is an offshoot of the Muslim Brotherhood organization, and was originally supported by Israel. Contrary to its depiction as a terrorist organization, they are an increasingly a reformist movement, primarily concerned with Palestinian liberation.

The current Egyptian dictatorship sees the emergence of a largely defensive and democratically elected Hamas to be an existential threat to their existence. Anything resembling a longterm victory for Palestinians in Hamas-controlled Gaza only serves to embolden the pro-democracy forces in Egypt.

If you want to see where the real reform is happening in the Arab world, it's more often than not taking place within organizations like the Muslim Brotherhood or Hamas, who have been forced to adapt to become more democratic , more structurally evolved, more helpful to the people, and less corrupt than the ruling counterparts in order to be effective.
posted by markkraft at 5:47 AM on June 2, 2010 [4 favorites]


Parties of God is a great read, from Harpers a few years back. It's about Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood and groups like that, and some of the reasons for their popularity that have little to do with being Islamic. (I linked to it here, a long time ago.)
posted by chunking express at 6:15 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Some people, in this thread and in Meta, have declared a fatwa against Joe in Australia, and anything he posts is received with a collective rolling of the eyes and examined in the worst possible light, not to mention the calls for silencing him. It is ridiculous.

If you would like to take this to MeTa, please feel free and I will respond there. But I stand by what I said.
posted by zarq at 6:39 AM on June 2, 2010


Some people, in this thread and in Meta, have declared a fatwa against Joe in Australia

This is histrionic, unproductive, and just dumb.
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:39 AM on June 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


Do we know what supplies were on the ships?

From the Jerusalem Post: "During its searches of the Mavi Marmara on Tuesday, the military also discovered a cache of bulletproof vests and night-vision goggles, as well as gas masks. On Monday morning, at least nine foreign activists were killed during the navy’s takeover of the Mavi Marmara, which was trying to break Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip."

I did a search of other news sources and found no confirmation of this. Propaganda?
posted by futz at 6:44 AM on June 2, 2010


Did you understand that the page I linked to is a satirical magazine?

I do.

It's not partisan;

From the link:
"Meanwhile I'm sitting there knowing it's actually a tad more complicated and that the Israelis are dealing with people who will not rest until it they've all been wiped from the face of the Earth and if it was us then we might just get a bit jumpy too, particularly if someone had tried to do it before.

"But if I come out and say that then this vegetarian ponce is going to accuse me of wanting to make a fancy cocktail with the blood of Palestinian babies and there goes any chance I may have of picking off the drunkest woman from the pack.

"If they could just protect their borders against exploding maniacs with a little more tact then that would help me enormously in my quest for a really good blow job."
It's quite partisan.

It's making an observation about at least some of the people involved in this debate.

Yes, the ones who disagree with Israel's actions and think the Palestinians are being oppressed. That makes it partisan.

I linked to it partially because its sketch of "the expert" hit uncomfortably close to home, but it's an equal-opportunity offender.

I've derailed this thread enough. If you have a problem with something I said, please feel free to take it up with me in MeTa.
posted by zarq at 6:46 AM on June 2, 2010


"During its searches of the Mavi Marmara on Tuesday, the military also discovered a cache of bulletproof vests and night-vision goggles, as well as gas masks.

Considering that they were boarded in the middle of the night, were shot at and tear gassed, it sounds like they probably should have used it.
posted by empath at 7:04 AM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


More experiences of the people on board are starting to emerge now that they've been released from captivity. Gaza flotilla raid: 'We heard gunfire – then our ship turned into lake of blood'
"They said we were terrorists – it was absurd. They came into the part where the women were, lots and lots of them, dressed in black and with gigantic weapons as if they were in a war. They confiscated all of our telephones and all of our luggage and took everything out of the bags and put it on the floor."

"We expected them to shoot people in the legs, to shoot in the air, just to scare people, but they were direct," she said, in a separate interview with the Folha de São Paulo newspaper. "Some of them shot in the passengers' heads. Many people were murdered – it was unimaginable."...

Footage of the assault shown on Turkish TV and images released by the Israeli military clearly showed some commandos being beaten with sticks by passengers.

However, Paech said he saw no arms being used by the activists. "There were only two men with short sticks but no knives, iron rods, pistols or any real weapons," he said. "Throughout our planning of the mission we said: 'no arms, no explosives', we said we'd only resist politically, with normal means."...

The tough treatment did not end after they were taken into custody in Israel, others said.

"During their interrogation, many of them were badly beaten in front of us," said Aris Papadokostopoulos.

"There was great mistreatment after our arrest," added Grigoropoulos.
posted by tybeet at 7:21 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]




God damn it Canada. Someone punch Harper in the dick.
posted by chunking express at 7:38 AM on June 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


I can relate... Our government reacts similarly when faced with pressure from the EU, even though we're not a member. We're one of the few countries in Europe who recognised the Hamas government as democratically elected, but that doesn't stop our politicians from cowering when they have to publically speak against the stance of the EU, much like what seems to be happening in Canada with regards to the US.
posted by MaiaMadness at 8:02 AM on June 2, 2010


Honestly, you'd think the only 2 options Harper ever considers are "the wrong thing" and "nothing at all". It happened in international waters and is therefore not a domestic issue. How on earth does the word "impartial" imply that the party accused of forcibly boarding a vessel in international waters should get to lead the investigation into its' own actions? "Not partial or biased," my ass. Harper's gonna have to sing like 3 more Beatles songs over this.
posted by Kirk Grim at 8:08 AM on June 2, 2010 [7 favorites]


Gnatcho wrote: an icing of libertine-misogynist "humour":
"But if I come out and say that then this vegetarian ponce is going to accuse me of wanting to make a fancy cocktail with the blood of Palestinian babies and there goes any chance I may have of picking off the drunkest woman from the pack.
Well spotted! The academic, whom one would expect to be a disinterested exponent of the truth, betrays his petty and ignoble motives in an amusing manner. You have now learned to identify irony. With a little practice you will also be able to identify sarcasm.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:15 AM on June 2, 2010


Canada backs US position that Israel should lead the investigation.

I agree that they shouldn't lead the investigation.

However, there is a sense amongst many Israelis and at least a percentage of American and Canadian Jews that their country will never be treated fairly by the UN -- an impression that is in some ways justified by historical precedent. It was reinforced by the Goldstone report, which was picked apart and attacked by all the usual suspects, including Dershowitz, the JPost, Honest Reporting and CAMERA... as well as a few other bloggers and media outlets. Some of them even attacked Goldstone directly, calling him an antisemite.

At the time, the right-wing and pro-Israel outcry attacking the report drowned out the moderate perspective. As a result, anyone who was interested in deciding for themselves whether the report really was unbiased and fair would have found it difficult to do so.

It seems extremely unlikely that we'd hear any sort of objective report from Israel about this incident. But I would be willing to bet that Israel and her allies would say the UN has a poor record when it comes to judging Israel objectively, too.
posted by zarq at 8:33 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


You have now learned to identify irony. With a little practice you will also be able to identify sarcasm.

who knows, joe? with time, you yourself might be able to identify such complex things as compassion, justice and proportionality
posted by pyramid termite at 8:39 AM on June 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


I know that the Israeli court system has occasionally made rulings that have been soundly ignored by the rest of the political establishment. Even if an Israeli investigation produced something disfavorable to the IDF, it would likely be buried or ignored.

During Cast Lead I did a good bit of reading, and so far as I can make out there are no controls on the Israeli military. The military makes the war, and the politicians have no choice but to support them or further the cause of the war. The occupation is business as usual, and business is usual is what the business of the military is all about. The aid and defense funding keeps coming in so long as the conflict exists, and the aid and defense funding are what make the military run. The costs of the occupation to the occupiers are relatively low in terms of lives lost. Thus, it is in the best interests of the military establishment to continue the conflict.
posted by kaibutsu at 8:48 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]




You have now learned to identify irony. With a little practice you will also be able to identify sarcasm.

Level up?
posted by rokusan at 8:58 AM on June 2, 2010




But I would be willing to bet that Israel and her allies would say the UN has a poor record when it comes to judging Israel objectively, too

Totally, I think most people understand that because Israel and her allies have been crying foul over being called out on violating international law at the UN consistently for years. You could look at the focus on Israel as the UN's "institutional bias", but that would completely ignore the UN's historical role in the region.

a percentage of American and Canadian Jews that their country will never be treated fairly by the UN

Why would what a hypothetical percentage of American and Canadian Jews think be the basis by which our countries endorse an investigation into a violation of international law? If you have reservations about the UN's impartiality, volunteer to do the damned investigation yourself or suggest someone else. Suggesting Israel investigate the incident is absurd if your concern is supposedly "impartiality".
posted by Kirk Grim at 9:05 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


Why would what a hypothetical percentage of American and Canadian Jews think be the basis by which our countries endorse an investigation into a violation of international law?

Because they vote and lobby their politicians. I have been watching a number of friends on Facebook do so actively for the last three days. In politics, the loudest voices are often the ones that guide policy.

If you have reservations about the UN's impartiality, volunteer to do the damned investigation yourself or suggest someone else. Suggesting Israel investigate the incident is absurd if your concern is supposedly "impartiality".

I agree.
posted by zarq at 9:11 AM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Level up?

ACHIEVEMENT UNLOCKED
posted by zarq at 9:12 AM on June 2, 2010


It's a good job Blair isn't still in power. He'd probably be heading down to Israel to blow everybody.
posted by Artw at 9:14 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]






Right-wing media rush to blame Obama for Gaza flotilla incident

Well, if Obama hadn't shot those "activists", he wouldn't be having this problem now, would he?
posted by fatbird at 9:40 AM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


zarq: If the Israelis wanted to cause mass deaths and injuries, it would make far more sense that they would have done so without risking themselves in the process.

I think the person "filled with hate" wanting to cause the maximum harm is the bloke pulling the trigger, not the commander who decided which guns they were allowed to bring...
posted by Dysk at 9:42 AM on June 2, 2010


An Arab member of Israeli parliament confirms there was lethal force used and deaths before soldiers even boarded the Mavi. "She added that within minutes of the raid beginning, three bodies had been brought to the main room on the upper deck in which she and most other passengers were confined. Two had gunshot wounds to the head, in what she suggested had been executions."
posted by tybeet at 9:44 AM on June 2, 2010


It's a good job Blair isn't still in power. He'd probably be heading down to Israel to blow everybody.

Not sure the new ones are any better. Inside Britain's Israel Lobby.
posted by klue at 9:50 AM on June 2, 2010


"there is a sense amongst many Israelis and at least a percentage of American and Canadian Jews that their country will never be treated fairly by the UN -- an impression that is in some ways justified by historical precedent."

So, you're saying that the ADL "Advocating for Israel" gets to decide arbitrarily that the UN is unfair to Israel?

As the ADL says, "From 2008-2009, the U.N. General Assembly (GA) continued to spend a disproportionate amount of time focusing on Israel and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, passing 20 resolutions which are one-sided or blatantly anti-Israel."

That, frankly, is a complete crock. Of all the resolutions that were specifically about Israel in 2008, only four didn't pass with at least 160 votes... .and all of those four specifically cited previous resolutions which Israel was currently in violation of.

Perhaps if Israel wasn't in a state of continual violation of UN resolutions regarding issues such as the territory it occupies, settles, builds walls through, destruction of property, death of civilians, etc. they would have an easier time of it at the UN?!

It's really simple. Address the violations. Israel can do that, right? Perhaps you can point out several declarations that the UN put forth in the past ten years that Israel has addressed and promptly complied with?!
posted by markkraft at 9:58 AM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


So, you're saying that the ADL "Advocating for Israel" gets to decide arbitrarily that the UN is unfair to Israel?

markkraft, you didn't bother to read my entire comment, huh? Go back and read it again, please.
posted by zarq at 10:14 AM on June 2, 2010


"It's a good job Blair isn't still in power. He'd probably be heading down to Israel to blow everybody."

He would, but he's been too busy shoveling money and supplies to the corrupt, unelected Fatah dictatorship, so that they can arresting, intimidating, torturing anyone who disagrees with them.

But at least Fatah's torturers have learned from the best.
posted by markkraft at 10:24 AM on June 2, 2010


Re: sites with crazy racist comments, don't rad the comments in the article that tybeet linked upthread.

>> "She added that within minutes of the raid beginning, three bodies had been brought to the main room on the upper deck in which she and most other passengers were confined. Two had gunshot wounds to the head, in what she suggested had been executions."

This beginning to sound more and more like a bad spy movie. Executions? Who were shot straight in the head, who were they? Why were they such a threat?
posted by dabitch at 10:32 AM on June 2, 2010


(And no, I am not saying Hamas is perfect. Far from it. However, the idea that they are worse, or somehow less legitimate than Fatah, and therefore should play no role in the the Palestinian government or in negotiations is laughable and counterproductive.)
posted by markkraft at 10:33 AM on June 2, 2010


On the off chance you won't bother to do so, I should probably defend myself.

markkraft, I presented information to the group with the intent of providing a wider perspective. I tried to do so objectively while voicing my own objection to the idea that Israel should head their own investigation.

I explicitly did not endorse the pro-Israel side in my comment. If you had bothered to read everything I said, perhaps you'd have noticed.

I am well aware that you have a history of over-the-top responses towards those here who speak up in defense of Israel. So when and if I do so in the future, I'm sure I'll engage any logical, well-reasoned argument you may raise.

But if you're going to attack a position I take, perhaps it would be a good idea for you to confirm I actually took it first.
posted by zarq at 10:35 AM on June 2, 2010


I didn't challenge your other points, Zarq.

I challenged the idea that the link you provided was an appropriate, balanced way of suggesting that Israel's claims of bias at the UN were, as you have said, "in some ways justified by historical precedent".

Based on any reasonable examination, the claims of bias against Israel at the UN are both defended by precedent and supported by near-global condemnation.
posted by markkraft at 10:50 AM on June 2, 2010


(Oh, and BTW, I really shouldn't have to defend you on attacks I didn't make against your other points.)
posted by markkraft at 10:52 AM on June 2, 2010


I challenged the idea that the link you provided was an appropriate, balanced way of suggesting that Israel's claims of bias at the UN were, as you have said, "in some ways justified by historical precedent".

None of the links I posted in that comment were unbiased. Not one -- not even the PBS link. I tried to explain that, too. Some of what are listed on the ADL page are reasonable objections. A good deal of them aren't, because they ignore that Israel has repeatedly flouted UN regulations and resolutions when it has suited them to do so. I was trying to say this.

My greater point (which I've repeated it in at least two different ways in this thread,) is that both sides' extremists make meaningful discussion impossible.
posted by zarq at 11:20 AM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


"My greater point (which I've repeated it in at least two different ways in this thread,) is that both sides' extremists make meaningful discussion impossible."

That's what they used to say about Ireland.

The extremists on both sides didn't suddenly disappear or get more reasonable before peace broke out. Hardly.

What happened was the leaders of the resistance, such as Michael Collins, were willing to settle for the best worst deal they could get -- something there are signs of Palestinian leaders being wiling to do -- while the occupiers chose to accept the deal, because the cost of trying to maintain their occupation was too high, and the insurgency could not be stamped out.

Of course, that meant death for Michael Collins, and a continuation of terrorist violence on a smaller scale for decades, but in the end, a deal that nobody really liked was the necessary step forward.

Asking Israel for restarting talks and meaningful discussion should *NOT* be the goal, frankly. It's not going to happen, under the current government, because they predicate their political support on being inflexible and bellicose.

The way to achieve a peaceful settlement is to substantially increase the cost Israel is forced to pay in order to maintain the occupation... and nobody in the world can do that if the US is willing to keep funneling massive aid to Israel.

A "peace" would likely happen within a year or two, if the US simply stopped feeding them monster.
posted by markkraft at 12:50 PM on June 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Eyeless in Gaza
posted by homunculus at 1:05 PM on June 2, 2010


It's also perhaps worth pointing out that one of the reasons Britain was forced to relinquish control of most of Ireland is because neither the US nor anyone else was bankrolling their occupation for them.

(Quite to the contrary. US citizens donated $5.5 million to the Irish revolutionary movement in 1920, helping to guarantee that the the IRA could keep fighting. They even spent $500,000 on the American presidential campaign of 1920, in order to increase political support and sympathy for the Irish people!)

The only way forward is the threat of direct financial pressure on Israel, if only because nothing else would force their leaders to stand down in the wake of the inevitable, unavoidable terrorist attacks which would follow any peace treaty.
posted by markkraft at 1:21 PM on June 2, 2010


NYT: Netanyahu Offers Defense of Israel’s Gaza Blockade:
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu mounted a vigorous public defense of Israel’s blockade of Gaza on Wednesday, rejecting international criticism of a deadly Israeli attack on a flotilla of activists who had been trying to carry aid to Gaza.

In his first nationally broadcast comments on the raid, Mr. Netanyahu accused Israel’s critics of hypocrisy and said the blockade of the Hamas-controlled territory of Gaza was necessary to prevent rockets and missiles from being smuggled to militants.

“It is our duty and our responsibility according to international law and common sense to prevent by air, sea and land the smuggling of weapons into Gaza,” Mr. Netanyahu said, according to a translation of his remarks broadcast on Israeli radio. He added: “This was no Love Boat.”

posted by zarq at 1:44 PM on June 2, 2010


Thanks for clearing that up, Mr. Netanyahu, try not to shoot anybody in the face on the way home.

Hervé Villechaize has gone into hiding after issuing a statement to the effect that he was actually on Fantasy Island. The last that was heard of him was "The plane! The plane!" and then a muffled explosion.
posted by Artw at 1:55 PM on June 2, 2010


From the Eyeless in Gaza link:

"In some quarters, the assumption is that American pressure will force Israel to change course. It’s far from clear to me that this is the case. Certainly there’s little evidence that those Administrations that have been inclined to pressure Israel – Eisenhower’s, Carter’s and Bush Sr.‘s – have actually been able to materially change Israeli behavior by that means."

Umm.. Camp David? Carter threatened to cut off all foreign aid to Israel.

The simple fact is, neither H.W. Bush or Eisenhower were willing to apply real consequences to Israel for not playing ball, whereas Carter relied on both the carrot and the stick, to great effect.

"The meetings quickly devolved into shouting matches between Begin and Sadat, and the Americans realized that the leaders “could not interact constructively on a personal level” (Telhami, Pew Study 7). From then on, the two leaders were kept apart while Carter and his aides proceeded with a kind of “shuttle diplomacy,” constantly moving between cabins to speak with each delegation separately. . . On the morning of the eleventh day, Sadat’s delegation packed their bags to leave in frustration. Though Carter was pessimistic about finalizing an agreement, he realized that his presidency would be greatly jeopardized without one. He convinced the Egyptians to stay by threatening to end the US-Egypt bilateral relationship as well as his personal friendship with Sadat (Quandt 239). Carter then shifted his strategy to be more proactive in offering incentives to overcome sticking points. The Sinai issue was at an impasse because Begin would not agree to abandon Israeli settlements and air bases there. Carter persuaded him to do so by offering both to guarantee Israel continued access to oil supplies and to build two new air bases in the Negev Desert."
posted by markkraft at 1:59 PM on June 2, 2010


Israel to deport remaining Gaza flotilla activists - Decision to release and not prosecute any activists is an attempt to limit damage to relations with Turkey, says Israel

Well, that's blunt. Probably they don't want any of this near anybodies court as well, theirs or overseas.
posted by Artw at 2:03 PM on June 2, 2010


Reuters: Excerpts from Israel PM Netanyahu's televised remarks:
Hamas is smuggling thousands of Iranian rockets, missiles and other weaponry, smuggling it into Gaza in order to fire on Israel's cities.

These missiles can reach Ashdod, Beersheba, these are major Israeli cities. And I regret to say that some of them can reach now Tel Aviv and very soon the outskirts of Jerusalem. And from the information we have, the planned shipments include weapons that can reach even farther and deeper into Israel. *Under international law and under common sense and common decency, Israel has every right to interdict this weaponry and to inspect the ships that might be transporting them.

This is not a theoretical challenge or a theoretical threat. We've already interdicted vessels bound for Hezbollah and for Hamas from Iran containing hundreds of tons of weapons.

*Israel simply cannot permit the free flow of weapons and war materials to Hamas from the sea. I'll go further than that. Israel cannot permit Iran to establish a Mediterranean port a few dozen kilometers from Tel Aviv and from Jerusalem, and I go beyond that, too. I say to the responsible leaders of all the nations, the international community cannot afford an Iranian port on the Mediterranean.
It's an interesting disparity: the NYTimes coverage of his remarks doesn't mention Iran at all, but the Reuters excerpts make it sound like he spent most of the time talking about them. That would certainly be in character for Netanyahu, who has spent the last several years and much of his time as Prime Minister raising the specter of a nuclear Iran that wants to wipe Israel off the map.

It reminds me of the fearmongering mantras from the Bush administration throughout his Presidency, regarding Iraq and a variety of (dubious) terrorist threats.
posted by zarq at 2:05 PM on June 2, 2010


Another case in point... Reagan hinted at US sanctions if the Israelis didn't stop the siege of Beirut on Aug. 5th, 1982.

Israel, Lebanon, and the PLO finally agreed to a negotiated end to the siege -- with US mediation -- on Aug. 18th.
posted by markkraft at 2:21 PM on June 2, 2010


“It is our duty and our responsibility according to international law and common sense to prevent by air, sea and land the smuggling of weapons into Gaza,”

Wow. Invoking the duties and responsibilities under international law in Israel's defense seems more than a little nutso...

Bunch of stupid questions because I am not familiar with naval protocol beyond a few bits of trivia:

if the contention is that Iran is smuggling weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah via Turkish ships on highly publicized aid flotillas, could this concern not be addressed by intercepting and escorting the ships into a harbor and then examining the cargo before it gets distributed to its intended recipients? My impression is that when Canada pulled this sort of thing over turbot fishing, they fired a couple of warning shots to get their attention and then escorted the fishing boats back to Canada (and got widely criticized for it, for what it's worth).

Under whose jurisdiction are the territorial waters off Gaza if Palestine is not internationally recognized?
posted by Kirk Grim at 2:51 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


My impression is that when Canada pulled this sort of thing over turbot fishing, they fired a couple of warning shots to get their attention and then escorted the fishing boats back to Canada (and got widely criticized for it, for what it's worth).

IIRC, the criticism Canada received wasn't over the manner in which is performed it's interception and escort, it's that they did it to Spanish fishing boats on the Grand Banks, far outside of Canadian territorial waters. According to standard territorial limits, Canada was out of line, but because one can vacuum the Grand Banks clean outside of Canada's jurisdiction, Canada simply asserted jurisdiction over all of the Grand Banks to protect the fishery that was within her limits.
posted by fatbird at 3:07 PM on June 2, 2010


if the contention is that Iran is smuggling weapons to Hamas and Hezbollah via Turkish ships on highly publicized aid flotillas, could this concern not be addressed by intercepting and escorting the ships into a harbor and then examining the cargo before it gets distributed to its intended recipients?

Sure. That's exactly what Israel did to the 8 aid flotillas that were sent to Gaza prior to this one. The ships were diverted to an Israeli port, their contents reviewed and then distributed to the Palestinians in Gaza. Humanitarian aid gets passed through pretty quickly, and everything else (there's a very long list of items that aren't allowed) gets confiscated or put back on the ships when they leave port.

It was a status quo that could easily have continued unimpeded with this flotilla.
posted by zarq at 3:16 PM on June 2, 2010


could this concern not be addressed by intercepting and escorting the ships into a harbor and then examining the cargo before it gets distributed to its intended recipients

That's exactly what Israel usually does. The issue is that the ships in this flotilla refused to comply with such inspection.
posted by Justinian at 3:36 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


it's that they did it to Spanish fishing boats on the Grand Banks, far outside of Canadian territorial waters. According to standard territorial limits, Canada was out of line

Sorry, yeah that's what I meant but I was a little unorganized in how I put it together. The Canadian ships pulled that stunt in international waters, which is considered a no-no even when countries other than Israel do it--there would have been an objection to this sort of action even if they hadn't opened fire on civilians. Netanyahu's statement doesn't seem to address the idea at all that it may not have been necessary to shoot people in the head to prevent a "free flow of weapons" to Hamas.
posted by Kirk Grim at 3:40 PM on June 2, 2010


Expect Netanyahu to properly address that shortly after Elvis arrives on a jet pack.
posted by Artw at 3:44 PM on June 2, 2010


Netanyahu's statement doesn't seem to address the idea at all that it may not have been necessary to shoot people in the head to prevent a "free flow of weapons" to Hamas.

Pretty much because there's no defending it. They could have fouled the ships' screws and rudders, then tugged them to port.

I'm convinced the reason he spent so much time talking about Israel's anti-Iran moral imperative (as it were) is because he doesn't want people to think too hard about a number of things, including that they didn't have to board those ships in order to divert them.
posted by zarq at 3:46 PM on June 2, 2010 [3 favorites]


Humanitarian aid gets passed through pretty quickly, and everything else (there's a very long list of items that aren't allowed) gets confiscated or put back on the ships when they leave port.

I find it interesting looking at one of these lists that many of the forbidden food items (chocolate, glucose, jam, halva, seeds and nuts, biscuits and sweets, dried fruit) seem to have in common that they are all high-energy foods, while others (flavor and smell enhancers, musical instruments, newspapers, paper, notebooks, writing instruments) may be banned to keep the residents both low in morale and uneducated. Certainly chocolates and tam-tams aren't going to be weaponized, so I can't imagine any other reason.

Honestly, I can't blame these people for trying to skirt the inspection process, if that was part of their intention. It is strict beyond justification to the extent that it's cruel and absurd.
posted by tybeet at 4:05 PM on June 2, 2010 [6 favorites]


That's exactly what Israel usually does. The issue is that the ships in this flotilla refused to comply with such inspection.

This is what my question about whose jurisdiction the waters off Gaza are under was for--typically ships can intercept/escort/etc in their own waters, and aside from the use of deadly force the contentious issue seems to be that it occurred in international waters. I'm not really familiar with how a blockade generally works--are these usually done within a country's territorial waters or in international waters? Could they have waited until the flotilla entered territorial waters and avoided [at least some part] of this controversy?
posted by Kirk Grim at 4:10 PM on June 2, 2010


Right, it's way easier for the Israeli government if they can keep everybody distracted with BOOGA BOOGA BOOGA IRAN so the other hand can keep on keeping on.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:13 PM on June 2, 2010


It is strict beyond justification to the extent that it's cruel and absurd.

It's not strict beyond justification. When the (puported) justification is preventing weapons and weaponizables getting to Hamas, "strict" got left behind a long time ago. It's collective punishment and nothing else.
posted by fatbird at 4:17 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


Could they have waited until the flotilla entered territorial waters and avoided [at least some part] of this controversy?

Of course they couldn't. A great many of the people critical of Israel's actions don't particularly care if it was legal. Claiming it was illegal is simply a convenient club. I think that's a mistake; most experts on maritime law seem to believe Israel had a legal basis for the action. The legality of the situation has little bearing on the morality.

Essentially, most critics believe Israel's embargo of Gaza is inherently immoral and, thus, the actions taken here are also immoral regardless of their legality. There also seems to be an aspect of "this was immoral, therefore it must also be illegal" to it all. But as far as I can tell, Israel didn't actually act illegally. They have a declared blockade against Gaza. The ships in the flotilla publicly announced their intention to break the blockade, which gave Israel a reasonable belief that they were going to, uh, break the blockade. Such a reasonable belief is a valid legal basis for boarding and inspecting the cargo. When the boarding was resisted, it was legal to use force.

Now, the whole thing is a major clusterfuck and Israel's treatment of Gaza may well be immoral, but the legality question is a distraction from the more fundamental question of Israel's policy towards Gaza. And I strongly suspect that people would be just as upset if Israel had conducted this raid inside territorial waters. Because the legality or lack thereof is as a said a tertiary issue.
posted by Justinian at 4:19 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


You don't think doing this all in international waters wasn't a little bit obnoxious?

Also, as far as I can tell you aren't supposed to board ships that aren't yours using force. That's for pirates. There seems to have been a discussion about treaties and whatever up thread, but I still don't see how a country would get a pass on this but some poor Somali pirate doesn't.
posted by chunking express at 4:24 PM on June 2, 2010


most experts on maritime law seem to believe Israel had a legal basis for the action

There seems to have been a discussion about treaties and whatever up thread


Oops, my bad. I'm gonna play my first "tl;dr" card and go have a look upthread. Sorry to retread old ground here folks.
posted by Kirk Grim at 4:31 PM on June 2, 2010


I'm not really familiar with how a blockade generally works--are these usually done within a country's territorial waters or in international waters? Could they have waited until the flotilla entered territorial waters and avoided [at least some part] of this controversy?

You cannot stop ships at sea unless they are flying your flag (or, I believe, the flag of a country you're at war with, but I may be wrong about that). Israel cannot possibly have been ignorant, and my theory is that they did it in international waters as a show of defiance and aggression to the rest of the world. It's a way of saying "We don't care about the rules- if you cross us, we'll fuck you up and maybe kill you, and we'll do it however and whereever we want, the law be damned." Imagine some kind of guy who represents Israel grabbing his dick and yelling that, and I think you've got the message they're trying to send.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:37 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


I've seen it reported elsewhere that, legally, you can stop ships in international waters if they've announced that they're going to run your blockade, which the flotilla did.
posted by fatbird at 5:35 PM on June 2, 2010


You cannot stop ships at sea unless they are flying your flag (or, I believe, the flag of a country you're at war with, but I may be wrong about that).

Did you read upthread? You can legally board and inspect the cargo of a neutral-flagged ship if you have a reasonable belief that they are attempting to run your blockade. Since the flotilla ships publicly declared that they were going to run the blockade, I think we can take as a given that Israel had a reasonable belief the ships were going to do just that.

You don't think doing this all in international waters wasn't a little bit obnoxious?

I don't know how I can be any clearer that the legal argument is a completely tangential issue to the moral argument. My point is simply that pursuing the "Israel acted illegally!" line of argument weakens one's case because it isn't at all clear that what they did was, in fact, illegal. The moral argument is on much firmer ground. Why give opponents something they can latch on to with the legalistic argument when it doesn't really matter to the moral one?

In other words, if your issue is that Israel is acting like an immoral bully in ways which lead to the deaths of civilians, argue that Israel is acting like an immoral bully in ways which lead to the deaths of civilians. Don't argue that they are acting illegally; they may well have been within their legal rights. At the very least it isn't a clear-cut case of illegal boarding.
posted by Justinian at 5:46 PM on June 2, 2010




When discs for an angle grinder are outlawed, only outlaws will have discs for an angle grinder.
posted by Justinian at 6:23 PM on June 2, 2010


The IDF has successfully halted the slaughter of hundreds, if not thousands, of Palestinian onions. The world should be thankful for the bravery of their actions.
posted by kaibutsu at 6:37 PM on June 2, 2010


Is that a baseball bat? What possible use could a baseball bat have other than as a weapon?
posted by Pope Guilty at 6:42 PM on June 2, 2010


What possible use could a baseball bat have other than as a weapon?

Playing baseball?
posted by Talez at 6:48 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


When discs for an angle grinder are outlawed, only outlaws will have discs for an angle grinder.

Hero or Outlaw?
posted by homunculus at 6:50 PM on June 2, 2010 [2 favorites]


and some more of the shocking cargo from the ships. OMG NOT A POCKET MONSTER!
posted by tybeet at 6:53 PM on June 2, 2010


Hero or Outlaw?

Hero, obviously. Unless you're like, Skeletor or something.
posted by dunkadunc at 7:14 PM on June 2, 2010


Sounds like something may be in the works: NYT link
posted by rosswald at 7:55 PM on June 2, 2010


Pope Guilty asked: Is that a baseball bat? What possible use could a baseball bat have other than as a weapon?

I think they're either axe handles or (since they don't have a curve and look badly shaped) they're just clubs made from some trimmed branches.

There is actually a video showing the activists using clubs of some sort, apparently to beat someone lying on the ground. If that was a soldier, as seems likely, they were about to kill him. And that picture of the alleged weapons is a bit disingenuous in that it doesn't label the clubs, and it describes some of the knives as "kitchen knives" and an "Arab traditional knife". That's a lot of kitchen knives for a relatively small ship, and calling something "traditional" doesn't mean "non-violent". In fact there's a photo from before the flotilla set off with one of the activists mugging for the camera, pretending to kill someone. He's holding a knife very much like that one.

That being said, only the clubs and the traditional knife really look like weapons to me.
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:19 PM on June 2, 2010


And that picture of the alleged weapons is a bit disingenuous in that it doesn't label the clubs, and it describes some of the knives as "kitchen knives" and an "Arab traditional knife". That's a lot of kitchen knives for a relatively small ship.

How would you describe the knives? They sure fit the bill for kitchen knife. As far as numbers go, between my partner and I, our veerrry tiny kitchen has more than half that many. Though we do a fair bit of cooking. For a ship that size, I'm surprised there aren't more. Also: the Arab traditional knife is in the technical sense a dagger, but it's also commonly carried by 14-year old Yemen men as an accessory to their clothing. My guess is that it happens to be the tradition of a passenger to wear.
posted by tybeet at 9:28 PM on June 2, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's a lot of kitchen knives for a relatively small ship

Oh FFS. Are we talking about tybeet's link? I've known chefs that carry more knives than that on city buses on the way to work. It's not even a full set of knives, Joe. Ron Popeil is selling twice that many for LOW LOW PRICES IF YOU ACT NOW!!!!!! The "clubs" look like handles for tools or even wooden dowels. Are these the weapons freely flowing to Hamas? They were going to supply Hamas with dowels and kitchen knives to inflict terror on Israel? The average prison has worse stuff in it than I'm seeing here.
posted by Kirk Grim at 10:02 PM on June 2, 2010 [3 favorites]




The "clubs" look like handles for tools or even wooden dowels.

They don't look much like them to me, but in any case they are definitely clubs. Here they (or some similar rods) are apparently being used to club a soldier. to bHere's a video allegedly recovered from one of the activists' cameras. It shows them preparing them before the assault, swinging them around and so forth.

I'm not sure what the point of this argument is. It's incontrovertible that the soldiers were attacked, even if some of the weapons were improvised. The activists may have had a right to attack, but the soldiers had a right of self defense. The questions I have are:
1) How did this monumental cockup occur?
2) Under what circumstances were people killed?
3) Who killed them?
4) Did the soldiers use more force than necessary, taking into all things into account.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:47 PM on June 2, 2010


That picture of everything vaguely dangerous looking the Israelis could scrounge up from the boat is one of the most sad and pathetic things I've ever seen. If they hadn't just murdered a bunch of people it would be laughable.

And what happened to the alleged guns? A while back Israel was claiming guns had been taken, and now they are letting evetbody go? That doesn't make sense, they wouldn't just be letting people waltz off. Why has there been no further mention of the guns? Were they drop weapons, and Israel then dropped that part of the story as too implausible? Because that kind of botched frame up deserves some kind of investigation as well.
posted by Artw at 11:19 PM on June 2, 2010 [3 favorites]




Artw: I find this musing on the Israeli account interesting.
My canny theory about what happened is that the Israelis had convinced themselves that the flotilla were gun-running, didn't bother to check, and acted accordingly, planning roughly the clustereff that actually happened, presuming that the justificatory material would be found after the event. And then it wasn't and oooerr, oh shit. This would also explain why the post facto media strategy (via Henry) was so totally incoherent - it was built around a corpus delicti that didn't arrive.
DD also links to this, which I also was struck by.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 12:16 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Awesome link there.
posted by Artw at 12:23 AM on June 3, 2010


Does it mean anything that both Jon Stewart and Stephen Colbert didn't touch this subject (on Tue. night)? Does this reflect feelings in New York? Too touchy?

I am watching this flotilla story begin to change as time progresses. It seems that something odd is happening. Of course the US and Israel would like the rest of the world to forget (or at least be distracted from) this tragedy -- this brutal military attack on civilians. Is the media backing off? Is the media *required* to always show a 'balancing story' about Israeli struggles? (Is this a case of 'fair and balanced'?) Are the bare facts -- military force over humanitarians taking aid to Gaza -- too raw? Is the minutia more important than these bare facts? Do the human stories have to be 'toned down'? Do they even matter?!

Even if these deaths were a 'blundering mistake' (a la Kent State), the central story is not about Israel's chaos -- it is about the flotilla; it is about Gaza. In the past 24 hours, it seems, the story of the flotilla (ongoing) is becoming a fading backdrop. The only significant story seems to be the political maneuvering of Israel and the US. And now I wonder, why do *they* get to define the frame of the discussion.

Coverage of the central issue of the misery of Gaza is quickly returning to the domain of the 'fringe media' -- where it can, once again, be conveniently ignored.
posted by Surfurrus at 12:35 AM on June 3, 2010 [4 favorites]


OK, here's the plan guys: we're gonna pose as an Islamic charity on a boat full of pokemons and expired pills. We're gonna pack a few innocent-looking crates of slingshots, BUT--a-ha! --our secret cache of axe handles and dowels and like a dozen kitchen knives are in there! You still have that bottle, Ahmed? Bring that, too. We can also use the ship's tools in a pinch if we have to. They probly got like really big wrenches. So next we get in their face and say we're gonna totally ram their blockade, and when they say "stop," we go "naw guy, if you want a piece come get some!" And we sit there in international waters and wait. Once it's dark we put on our tactical bright orange life preservers and swing sticks around under a spotlight until they show up. If one of you sees them, point at them like you're Hulk Hogan in the steel cage. They got nuthin, man, paper tiger. When they send their helicopter commandos in, we make our move. We reverse light and dark and beat them with lightsabers.
posted by Kirk Grim at 12:43 AM on June 3, 2010 [7 favorites]


According to BBC (scroll down) Three hostages - from the Irish Republic, Australia and Italy - are being kept in detention in Israel for unspecified reasons. Meanwhile it's nice to know the Official US reaction. Plus ça change, plus c'est la même chose.
In other news NATO is not happy: Nobody but the Americans doubts the US position on the Gaza attack is wrong and insensitve. But everyone already quietly thought the same about wider American policy. This incident has allowed people to start saying that now privately to each other.
posted by adamvasco at 12:44 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Well, yes, I'd say you'd summed things up nicely there. I guess Stewart and Colbert could be lagging in addressing it because of the timing and whatnot, but you are certainly right that the US media is going to try as hard as possibly not to touch this too much until it's been nicely sanitised into a "balanced" narative. It;s not even necisarrily political, they'll do it for pretty much the same reason the US goverment is going to do pretty much nothing: They like having their jobs, and making too big of a deal over this would be a job threatening move. It can probably even be justified by saying that by taking a softly-softly approach and not losing their jobs they'd be able to do more good making little moves behind the scenes, some bullshit like that.
posted by Artw at 12:45 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]






nicely sanitized into a "balanced" narrative

THAT is the phrase that sums it all up! Thank you!
posted by Surfurrus at 1:06 AM on June 3, 2010


Three hostages - from the Irish Republic, Australia and Italy - are being kept in detention in Israel for unspecified reasons.

I heard on the radio this morning that the Irish citizen was delayed due to issues with their passport. Surely, the Israeli government can sort them out with an Irish passport.
posted by Elmore at 1:23 AM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


WTF?

On the Rachel Corrie blog site there is a large "Ads by Google: SUPPORT OUR ALLY ISRAEL" at the bottom ... with a link for ... AIPAC!

posted by Surfurrus at 1:28 AM on June 3, 2010




19-year old American among the 9 killed.
Dogan, who held a U.S. passport, had four bullet wounds to the head and one to the chest, Omer Yagmur of the Foundation of Humanitarian Relief (IHH), told Anatolia.
posted by tybeet at 7:09 AM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]




I guess Stewart and Colbert could be lagging in addressing it because of the timing and whatnot, but you are certainly right that the US media is going to try as hard as possibly not to touch this too much until it's been nicely sanitised into a "balanced" narative.

Colbert and Stewart ignored the last time a kid shot up his school too. While they're amazing arbiters of media irresponsibility, they're first and foremost comedians, and perhaps there's no coverage because the Israeli army killing nine people isn't really funny.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 7:35 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I take it no one watched The Daily Show last night, during which they covered the flotilla raid.
posted by Orb at 8:50 AM on June 3, 2010


The coverage of this event on Worldview provided a lot of interesting perspectives that I am not hearing in a lot of other places...the nuance, the interconnection between all the players, the "proxy war" being fought between the US and Iran through events related to this.

Here is the point of view from Orli Gil, Counsel General of Israel to the Midwest.

And here is the analysis (with the interesting proxy war description) from Rashid Khalidi, Edward Said Professor of Modern Arab Studies at Columbia University.
posted by jeanmari at 9:09 AM on June 3, 2010








See? Lag.
posted by Artw at 10:26 AM on June 3, 2010


Also worth noting... the death of this American also seems to indicate the use of automatic weapons, contrary to what the Israelis reported.

it's a pretty hard thing to hit someone four times in the head and once in the chest if you're firing from a standing position, as they'd likely drop after the first one or two bullets. Four headshots would be especially hard to do.

However, if you're firing with an automatic weapon from, say, a helicopter, firing down on someone... you'd expect an accurate burst to potentially hit someone multiple times in the head.
posted by markkraft at 10:58 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


In other news NATO is not happy

I was wondering about that. Thanks for the link.
posted by homunculus at 11:09 AM on June 3, 2010


Can Americans be murdered by the Israeli government with impunity?

So, they shoot him five times, refuse him and others immediate medical attention, accuse them of being terrorists, and then wait the better part of a week before letting their parents know what happened?

Good thing they aren't our allies.
posted by markkraft at 11:09 AM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


Yes, lag. Thanks for the Stewart update. (Watching TDS online means viewing it a day late). And, the takeaway message of that segment is GAZA ... GAZA, the real victim, the real story (i.e., what I said).
posted by Surfurrus at 11:48 AM on June 3, 2010


Haneen Zuabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, has been sworn at by parliamentary colleagues and received death threats since disembarking on Monday.
Nearly 500 people have signed up to a Facebook page calling for her execution.
posted by adamvasco at 12:00 PM on June 3, 2010


How Free Explains Israel’s Flotilla FAIL

Thanks for this link, homunculus. It's fascinating. Since last year's Iranian riots, I've been marveling at how effective social media is at communicating messages while avoiding traditional media. It has import to me professionally, too.
posted by zarq at 12:02 PM on June 3, 2010


This is what happened in the Israeli Knesset today. There's a video, with selected, translated text underneath.
posted by zarq at 12:21 PM on June 3, 2010


Haneen Zuabi, a Palestinian member of the Israeli Knesset, has been sworn at by parliamentary colleagues and received death threats since disembarking on Monday.

The death threats are wrong, and illegal in Israel. There's absolutely no question of that.

Background on her political views: The Only Palestinian Woman in Israel's Parliament
posted by zarq at 12:22 PM on June 3, 2010 [1 favorite]




zarq that's an interesting link, thanks for sharing it.
posted by cell divide at 2:51 PM on June 3, 2010


It's like rubbernecking a train crash, except we're on the train.
posted by Justinian at 3:39 PM on June 3, 2010


That was supposed to be in the oil spill thread. Except, sadly, it is actually sort of relevant here as well. What a wonderful year this has been.
posted by Justinian at 3:40 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]




The events during and preceding the assault are still unclear, but this interview [Hebrew] [link to Google's translation] interview with Ms Zuabi is perplexing. She seems to be saying that people were killed before the helicopter assault via weapons fired from the boats. I found an interview with her online, but the interviewer (who has the IQ of a very small peanut) actually cuts her off with some pointless wittering just as she's about to clarify what happened. Most aggravating. If anyone finds a more complete account could they post a link? Thanks.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:15 PM on June 3, 2010


Gaza flotilla activist faces death threats

Zuabi said that naval boats surrounded the Mavi Marmara and fired on it before soldiers abseiled aboard from a helicopter. She went below to the ship's hold and said that, within minutes, two dead passengers were brought inside, followed by two more who had been seriously wounded.

soldiers refused her requests for medical assistance for the injured passengers, who died shortly after.

posted by Artw at 4:31 PM on June 3, 2010


cell divide, you're welcome.
posted by zarq at 4:48 PM on June 3, 2010


The events during and preceding the assault are still unclear, but this interview [Hebrew] [link to Google's translation] interview with Ms Zuabi is perplexing. She seems to be saying that people were killed before the helicopter assault via weapons fired from the boats. I found an interview with her online, but the interviewer (who has the IQ of a very small peanut) actually cuts her off with some pointless wittering just as she's about to clarify what happened. Most aggravating. If anyone finds a more complete account could they post a link? Thanks.

Joe, we're never, ever going to know the truth of what happened, beyond the videos that were taken during the moment, and the circumstantial evidence of people's wounds.

I don't trust the IDF soldiers who were there, or their bosses. They're going to cover their own asses.

Zuabi and the others on the flotilla are clearly biased observers who are interested in forcing Israel to drop the blockade. So I don't trust their word, either -- especially since some of the reports from them that I'm reading seem to be conflicting.

In addition, Zuabi has also gone on record criticizing Israel as a racist state and seems to be advocating a one-state solution along with Palestinian equality. She's not exactly wrong. But let's face it, she's clearly biased. I see no reason to take her word as fact any more than I would Binyamin Netanyahu's or Avigdor Lieberman's.

The Spin Machines are now running at full tilt on both sides. You could pick these events apart from now until the end of time and never know the truth of what happened.

My personal opinion is that instead of worrying about the details of this specific tragedy, we should be using it as a reason to push very very hard for change in the status quo. Start negotiations and peace talks and make the two sides sit at a damned table until they come to an agreement that precludes them trying to kill each other.

It seems obvious that the only way they're all going to get out of their current situation is if changes are imposed on them. So let's impose them now, before someone else in the Middle East nukes up and escalates things further.
posted by zarq at 5:04 PM on June 3, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm not trying to say we should absolve either side for their responsibility in this incident.

But... let something good emerge from the deaths.
posted by zarq at 5:06 PM on June 3, 2010


Either side? Only one side shot up a bunch of people with assault rifles, as far as I can tell.
posted by chunking express at 5:22 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


Yeah, but that side was "provoked" so that makes everything square. Try to keep up, c.e..
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 5:29 PM on June 3, 2010


Ah yes, the "they should have known better" defense.
posted by chunking express at 5:30 PM on June 3, 2010


Zarq wrote: Joe, we're never, ever going to know the truth of what happened, beyond the videos that were taken during the moment

There seem to be lots of videos - ones taken by the people aboard, ones taken by the Israelis, and ones taken by the ship's security cameras. I think these can give a very full picture of what happened. I wish more unedited ones had been released - the original files, would be best, not just a full-length version of things we've seen in clips. I've seen one that appears to have been deliberately altered to provide a false impression of events.

Zuabi and the others on the flotilla are clearly biased observers who are interested in forcing Israel to drop the blockade. So I don't trust their word, either -- especially since some of the reports from them that I'm reading seem to be conflicting.

So far I think all the first-hand accounts can be reconciled. That is, I don't see any reason to disbelieve her when she says what she saw rather than what she believes. She didn't see clubs because at the time she saw them they weren't clubs, or they weren't in her vicinity. We, on the other hand, know that there were clubs because we've seen videos of them at different times and taken from different angles.

A few accounts refer to gunfire before the assault and Ms Zubai talks about gunfire from the assault ships. Was this the classic shot across the bows or was the ship itself fired upon? Soldiers report being fired upon, and you can hear them screaming about it in one of the videos. Was this friendly fire, or from weapons taken from them, or from weapons already aboard the ship? One thing that concerns me is that she seems to say that there were three people killed before the assault. If she's right about it (and I think it's in a recording taken before the assault) then how did they die? Was it due to fire from the ships, and if so, how? Could the activists have suffered their own friendly fire incident, or might there have been a murder or suicide attack aboard the ship? It's perplexing. Like I say, I hope the videos clear it all up.
posted by Joe in Australia at 6:22 PM on June 3, 2010


Like I say, I hope the videos clear it all up.

Oh you mean the ones seized by the idf? I doubt we'll see all of them.
posted by empath at 6:25 PM on June 3, 2010


Either side? Only one side shot up a bunch of people with assault rifles, as far as I can tell.

Seriously? The "activists" took the weapons from the Israeli marines and fired them. According to this story they also fired on the marines using pistols that could not have come from the Israelis. The story also alleges that the "activists" tried to kidnap three of the marines - no doubt learning a lesson or two from Hamas.

The first Israelis to board didn't have assault rifles, they had paintball guns (and pistols with live rounds) because they anticipated needing only minor crowd control.

It doesn't mean boarding was a good idea, but my god, to imply that only one side used violence is just insane. If the activists hadn't tried to kill the marines, no one would have gotten hurt.
posted by Dasein at 8:49 PM on June 3, 2010


To be honest, I find it rather sad that the point of my comment was ignored / dismissed, considering that I was trying to convey that playing the blame game is counterproductive and misses the point. Ending the humanitarian crisis in Gaza is the point. Bringing two intractable sides in an endless conflict to a peace table where they talk face to face, air grievances, hash things out and learn to live with each other is the point.

Achieving peace is the goal. So many people seem to keep forgetting that.

The more we concentrate on the endless cycles of spin and manipulation of the facts and total bullshit from both sides, the further away from that goal we move.

Days after the incident, I truly don't give a damn who is to blame here. What does it matter? Both sides are culpable. In this incident, Israel far more so. However, that doesn't mean the activists are innocent in this matter.

The activists didn't want to deliver aid to Gaza. They wanted to try and run the blockade and make a broader political point and broadcast the plight of the Palestinians to the world. If they had wanted to simply get aid to Gaza, they would have taken it to the Israelis, who would have processed it just as they had 8 times before. Instead, the activists seem to have been itching for a conflict, and were prepared to broadcast it on Twitter, Facebook and through recorded video. They no doubt got far more than they expected. :(

The Israelis didn't want the activists to run their blockade for obvious reasons. But rather than acting sanely, fouling the ships' screws and rudders and towing them to an Israeli port, the IDF did something monumentally stupid, fucked that up and people died.

Agree with me. Disagree with me. I don't give a shit. What does it matter?

But perhaps it would be wise for everyone to keep in mind that the more we worry about the trees, the more we miss the forest. And if a bunch of people who are thousands of miles removed from the conflict are so invested that they can't see that there needs to be an overriding goal that both sides need to strive for, what hope do those have who are immersed in it of ever seeing the big picture?
posted by zarq at 9:28 PM on June 3, 2010 [3 favorites]


The story also alleges that the "activists" tried to kidnap three of the marines - no doubt learning a lesson or two from Hamas.

So, these "commandos" got knocked out by the vicious broomsticks of boats passengers, then woke up and just sort of wandered back to join thier mates and continue the killings, and nobody has mentioned this until now? All a little implausible sounding isn't it?
posted by Artw at 10:54 PM on June 3, 2010


If the activists hadn't tried to kill the marines, no one would have gotten hurt.

What a kidder you are.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:39 AM on June 4, 2010


There's only one way in which several humans were killed and them having paintball guns. Others must have been shot with the paintball guns before they resorted to lethal force. I actually don't see any paintball anywhere in any of the media I have seen. Shouldn't it be rather visible?

Wow, Metafilter argues...and the conclusion you're coming up with is "ok, everyone is to blame...thats why this situation happened".

Fuck that.

A bully blockaded an area for its own political gain. When the international community tried to break the blockade with humanitarian aid, several humans were killed, the rest were all taken against their will for numerous hours-days, where they would have had the opportunity to take any videotape that didn't portray its actions in the best light.

That's not a good person and I don't know why anyone is defending that bully?
posted by hal_c_on at 2:59 AM on June 4, 2010


I don't really think any of the stories from the Israeli government are reliable. The wrestled guns from commandos? How do we know the idiots didn't just shoot one of their own by accident? The situation was pretty chaotic.

But look. Anyone arguing that somehow these stick wielding passengers posed a serious threat to warships is just insane. The commands were the ones who decided to take a helicopter and rappel into a angry crowd. It was due to their own incredible incompetence that they were in any danger.

And furthermore, many people claim that they were shot at before they were boarded, which could have made the people on board afraid for their lives, and certainly would have made the situation far more dangerous then it needed to be. They also confiscated all media that the activists recorded. If Israel's story is true, they shouldn't have any problem releasing all of it. Until they do, we should assume it's false.

And anyway, people have a right to defend themselves from having their ships boarded if they want too.
posted by delmoi at 3:39 AM on June 4, 2010


According to this story they also fired on the marines using pistols that could not have come from the Israelis.

Haaretz is basically the organ of the Israeli right so I would take anything they say with a mound of salt the size of your average apartment building.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:57 AM on June 4, 2010


Haaretz is basically the organ of the Israeli right so I would take anything they say with a mound of salt the size of your average apartment building.

Ha'aretz is a left wing paper. It's read by about 6% of the Israeli population, whereas the Jerusalem Post has a higher readership. However, Ha'aretz is considered the most influential paper in the country, because it is the primary source of reliable news and editorials for many politicians.

Their readership is wealthier, better educated and more politically powerful than that of any other paper in Israel. It has been highly critical of Israeli policies, foreign and domestic, and has been the source of several embarrassing stories about the government, including the Anat Kam case.
posted by zarq at 4:28 AM on June 4, 2010


Shocking! A time travel twist. Just like on LOST.

Well that, or the IDF posted photos of "weapon" they seized from other boats years ago. You'd think they'd know to strip to the EXIF data from photos before posting them on Flickr.
posted by chunking express at 4:29 AM on June 4, 2010


The JPost is the right wing paper.
posted by zarq at 4:29 AM on June 4, 2010


chunking: The EXIF stuff is a massive red herring. All indications point to the cameras simply not having their clocks sync'ed to the real world; most of the pictures seem to have EXIF data indicating Jan 1st on the particular year the camera was manufactured.
posted by kaibutsu at 4:36 AM on June 4, 2010


Also, I've tried not to comment too much in this thread, because they all sort of go the same way, but arguing what needs to happen now is that everyone forgets what happened and tries to move on is all kinds of stupid. The reason the IDF does what they do is because they are never held accountable for any of their actions. The IDF could have blown that boat up with rockets and this thread would be more or less the same. "Holy shit, it's a good thing the IDF had those rockets, that boat was coming right at them." I think people should know better than to try and get a boat full of aid to Gaza via a boat during a blockade. Obviously that won't fly with Israel, because they are dicks about stuff like that. Still, it's not an excuse to send in a bunch of paratroopers to shoot shit up. If you are trying to defend that action, you need to try harder. Seriously.
posted by chunking express at 4:47 AM on June 4, 2010


Everyone's camera had the wrong date set, and these are all from different cameras? It's certainly possible. I mean, if you were going to fake photos, you'd think they'd pick better stuff to find. Changing the date after the fact seems like a bad idea though.
posted by chunking express at 4:50 AM on June 4, 2010


...arguing what needs to happen now is that everyone forgets what happened and tries to move on is all kinds of stupid.

That's not what I was arguing.

I'm saying that we need to use this incident to force peace talks and perhaps ultimately impose an agreement. Which is not "moving on." It's using this tragedy as a launch point to get something accomplished.
posted by zarq at 6:47 AM on June 4, 2010


It looks like there are three dates on the pictures in that post: 1 Jan 2003, 6 Feb 2006, and 7 Feb 2006. Given that it's quite feasible that the pictures were taken on two separate days, the 6 Feb and 7 Feb could very well be from the same camera.

All told, I'm not going to take camera time-stamps as smoking-gun evidence of photo substitution. Given what we've seen lately, the IDF probably needs to focus more attention on raid drills than synchronizing clocks in digital cameras.
posted by kaibutsu at 7:08 AM on June 4, 2010




Re the kidnapping claim, there's this Times Online article:
Alexandra Lort-Phillips, 37, an activist from Hackney, was on the Mavi Marmara when it was stormed and described seeing an Israeli soldier taken down into the stairwell below the deck where the soldiers landed.

“I went down the stairwell and there was a massive crowd of people and lots of shouting,” she said, after being deported to Istanbul.

“They had got a soldier who had boarded the ship from the roof. There was a sense of ‘My god, we’ve got an Israeli soldier’. I don’t think we really knew what we were going to do.”

“I saw a gun being taken. His gunbelt was removed and someone, I don’t know who, ran past me with the weapon and disappeared. They could have shot him but didn’t.” She said around 25 people were gathered around the soldier, who was held by his legs and stripped to his underwear as he was restrained.

“The women who were there were shouting ‘Don’t hurt him’.” Ms Lort-Phillips denied he was beaten, but said: “There were obviously some guys there who were extremely agitated by the situation. It is like you’d expect when there’s a fight between men.”
posted by lullaby at 8:01 AM on June 4, 2010




Also from lullaby's link: "Six of the nine passengers killed in an Israeli raid on an aid convoy bound for Gaza were shot by a single Israeli commando, who is being considered for a medal of valour for saving his injured comrades as passengers attacked them with clubs, knives and even guns they had taken from downed Navy Seals."

I wonder if he's also the one who put 5 bullets into Furkan Dogan.
posted by homunculus at 8:40 AM on June 4, 2010


Ha'aretz is a left wing paper. It's read by about 6% of the Israeli population, whereas the Jerusalem Post has a higher readership. However, Ha'aretz is considered the most influential paper in the country, because it is the primary source of reliable news and editorials for many politicians.

And Haaretz has shown a lot of courage reporting on unpopular topics, like publishing the accounts of Israeli soldiers during Operation Cast Lead.
posted by homunculus at 8:54 AM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


The Jerusalem Post has also been frequently controlled by groups outside Israel, usually affiliated with the North American Right and even neo-conservative zealots from Canada. Conrad Black chased most of the existing staff of the Post away when he took it over, and the Asper clan of Canwest Global made a failed play for ownership of the paper recently, too. The lobbying and special interests we often hear about with respect to Israel influencing North American policy appears to work both ways.
posted by Kirk Grim at 9:48 AM on June 4, 2010


With all due respect, Dasein, the account reported in that Haaretz article doesn't make a lot of sense nor does your implication the soldiers were being kidnapped Hamas-style. It says they were "taken captive", which sounds like they were detaining aggressive, armed and armored trespassers and taking away their weapons. If you're not the guy with the gun, you probably have to do that with violence, and even if you do have a gun it's not as though cops don't beat aggressive people into submission all the time. I agree it's totally understandable why it might have looked like they were trying to kill the marines from the marines' point of view. It also sounds like the activists were behaving aggressively and in a disorganized fashion. That the activists fought back against the Israeli commandos the way they did does seem like a pretty stupid thing to do, but it would be a ridiculous plan to stage this entire flotilla in an effort to kidnap some hypothetical commandos that may or may not show up at all, by brandishing secret 9mm pistols and improvised clubs, and then ram through an Israeli naval blockade in an unarmed converted cruise ship to deliver "the goods" to Hamas.

I'm going with futile, stupid, macho response from some of the activists to an ill-conceived, irritated "flex our muscles" approach by the Israelis. The "seekrit sabo-terrorists on board planned this whole thing!" angle some people are taking just seems way too implausible.
posted by Kirk Grim at 11:01 AM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


I'd say it was more of a terrified fight or flight (where flight was impossible) response from the activists. They wanted a confrontation with Israel to bring attention to the plight of Gaza, but didn't expect to be gas bombed from the air and invaded, so they reflexively fought back to stay alive. The Israeli commandos (or marines or whatever they were) didn't start out with the intention of killing anyone, but the situation they were dropped into was fouled from the beginning, and when their lives were perceived to be in danger they fought back as well.

The flotilla organizers do share some of the blame for instigating a provocative situation, but I'd put the lion's share of blame at the feet of the Israeli military and government for escalating the situation to the point where a violent outcome occurred, when there were non-violent, less risky alternatives available.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:27 AM on June 4, 2010


I'd say it was more of a terrified fight or flight (where flight was impossible)

That's possible, too, and I think some people up thread have indicated in the same situation they would also put up a fight. Myself, when confronted with machine gun wielding commandos and no escape is possible, would have neither the "fight" or "flight" response and would go straight to "shit pants and cry."
posted by Kirk Grim at 11:33 AM on June 4, 2010


Honestly, I don't think anyone really knows how they would react in a situation like that until it happens to them. There's just no analogue in everyday life to sudden, intensely stressful situations like that. Some of the strongest people can shut down and go non-responsive, while otherwise peaceful folks might suddenly turn into wild animals. Without training, anything can happen.
posted by Kevin Street at 11:41 AM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]




Concerned Israeli Citizens Determined To Make People Hate Their Country More

Talk about doubling down.
posted by fatbird at 12:38 PM on June 4, 2010


Paul McGeough : Prayers, Tear Gas and Terror a report from The veteran Middle East reporter.
posted by adamvasco at 12:51 PM on June 4, 2010


and Glenn Greenwald : How Israeli propaganda shaped U.S. media coverage of the flotilla attack.
posted by adamvasco at 12:54 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Big protests in Egypt
posted by Artw at 1:04 PM on June 4, 2010




I should have known this was all Hamas' fault.
posted by chunking express at 1:14 PM on June 4, 2010


The thing that depresses me most about this whole thing has been talking about this with one of my best friends, who is Jewish. Generally liberal, not particularly religious, open minded, Obama voter, and yet he talks about Palestinians as if they are subhuman dogs, fit for nothing but extermination. Not an iota of concern for the gazans.

I really don't understand it. He even knows how much the are suffering, but as far as he is concerned, one israeli life is worth more than a million Palestinians. He'd rather they all starve than be able to fire one rocket.
posted by empath at 1:18 PM on June 4, 2010


Though I do have to say it's refreshing to listen to an American interview that doesn't consist of two people yelling at each other.
posted by chunking express at 1:18 PM on June 4, 2010


Apropos the camera dates: sorry, chunking express, but the most likely explanation is that the batteries had recently been replaced on those cameras. The EXIF data also gives the camera model, and if you look up the default dates in the manuals for those cameras, or check when they were first manufactured, they align closely with the supposed fake photos. See the notes at the bottom of this article.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 1:37 PM on June 4, 2010


* He'd rather they all starve than be able to fire one rocket.

Who is making that choice? Is your friend, here representing the Israelis, making that choice? Or is it Hamas who is saying we'd rather be able to fire one rocket than rebuild our infrastructure?

Also, on the starvation point - there's no widespread famine in Gaza. Lack of supplies, yes. Crumbling infrastructure, yes. Unfortunately, the supplies that can be used to fix and build things will be used to build tunnels under the Egyptian border that will be used to smuggle weapons that will be used in attempts to kill Israeli civilians. That succession of events is not a fabrication - it's a fact.

Give Hamas a brick and they will throw it at Israel, every single time. It's that simple.
posted by falameufilho at 1:49 PM on June 4, 2010


Give Hamas a brick and they will throw it at Israel, every single time. It's that simple.

There are 1.2 million people in Gaza. They aren't all in Hamas.
posted by empath at 1:53 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]






There are 1.2 million people in Gaza. They aren't all in Hamas.

To acknowledge that would be to abandon the racist attitude.
posted by Pope Guilty at 2:03 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]






* There are 1.2 million people in Gaza. They aren't all in Hamas.

I never even suggested they were. But Hamas, unfortunately, runs the place and decides what happens with the aid.

*To acknowledge that would be to abandon the racist attitude.

I'm sorry, are you calling me a racist? Based on what?
posted by falameufilho at 2:23 PM on June 4, 2010


I really don't understand it. He even knows how much the are suffering, but as far as he is concerned, one israeli life is worth more than a million Palestinians. He'd rather they all starve than be able to fire one rocket.

Sounds like my Facebook feed. A friend who is Palestinian-American says her feed is a mirror image of mine.
posted by zarq at 2:25 PM on June 4, 2010


I'm sorry, are you calling me a racist? Based on what?

Based on your support for a policy of collective punishment for the acts of a few.
posted by empath at 2:31 PM on June 4, 2010 [3 favorites]


*Based on your support for a policy of collective punishment for the acts of a few.

And for fuck's sake since WHEN is that as a definition of racism?
posted by falameufilho at 2:39 PM on June 4, 2010


But Hamas, unfortunately, runs the place and decides what happens with the aid.

Unless the aid comes from the UN, who once recently refused to continue to supply aid to Gaza after Hamas "police" stole a shipment from a UN warehouse. But it's possible, after Israel first picks through it to make sure there's no cardamom or chicken to build tunnels to Egypt with, that Hamas decides what happens with the aid.

there's no widespread famine in Gaza. Lack of supplies, yes. Crumbling infrastructure, yes

Famine, no, food insecurity, yes. But I'm not really sure what the use of the distinction is when addressing Israel's blockade.

from Wikipedia:

"Food security refers to the availability of food and one's access to it. A household is considered food secure when its occupants do not live in hunger or fear of starvation. "

From the WHO:

"The World Food Summit of 1996 defined food security as existing “when all people at all times have access to sufficient, safe, nutritious food to maintain a healthy and active life”. Commonly, the concept of food security is defined as including both physical and economic access to food that meets people's dietary needs as well as their food preferences"
posted by Kirk Grim at 2:39 PM on June 4, 2010


And for fuck's sake since WHEN is that as a definition of racism?

Since forever?
posted by delmoi at 2:43 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


* Famine, no, food insecurity, yes. But I'm not really sure what the use of the distinction is when addressing Israel's blockade.

There's a link someone shared above that says malnutrition in Gaza is around 10%. Without doing any research whatsoever I would say that sounds about what would be expected for a third world country. For a conflict zone, I would say that 10% malnutrition is probably above average (again - based 100% on common sense).

Food insecurity as defined by the WHO is a hell of a fuzzy concept, hm? The definition above talks about "food preferences" which I read as if all the bread available is white and I only eat whole wheat, I am "food insecure". Also - creating that sort of insecurity is sort of the whole point of a blockade, isn't it?
posted by falameufilho at 2:56 PM on June 4, 2010


Food: A 2010 World Health Organization report stated that "chronic malnutrition in the Gaza Strip has risen over the past few years and has now reached 10.2%. Micronutrient deficiencies among children and women have reached levels that are of concern." According to UN OCHA: "Over 60 percent of households are now food insecure, threatening the health and wellbeing of children, women and men. In this context, agriculture offers some practical solutions to a humanitarian problem. However, Israel's import and access restrictions continue to suffocate the agriculture sector and directly contribute to rising food insecurity. Of particular concern, farmers and fishers' lives are regularly put at risk, due to Israel's enforcement of its access restrictions. The fact that this coastal population now imports fish from Israel and through tunnels under the Gaza-Egypt border speaks to the absurdity of the situation." 72 percent of Gaza's fish profit comes from beyond the three nautical mile mark, but further restrictions by Israel's naval blockade prevents Gazans from fishing beyond that mark. Between 2008 and 2009 the fishing catch was down 47 percent.
posted by cell divide at 3:01 PM on June 4, 2010


A bit more re "kidnapped soldiers" from AlertNet/Reuters:
Abu Khalil told Reuters by telephone from the southern Lebanese village of Marjayoun: "There were four Israeli soldiers brought to the lowest deck. They had fracture wounds."

The soldiers were apparently captured during attempts to descend to the ship from helicopters, Abu Khalil heard from activists who had been on the top deck of the Mavi Marmara.

[...]

One activist used a loudhailer to tell the Israelis the four captive soldiers were well and would be released if they provided medical help for the wounded.

With an Israeli Arab lawmaker acting as mediator, the Israelis agreed to the request and the wounded were brought to the top deck where they were airlifted off the ship.
Well, it certainly couldn't be any clearer that whatever happened, the top deck of the Marmara was a complete clusterfuck.
posted by lullaby at 3:03 PM on June 4, 2010


Also - creating that sort of insecurity is sort of the whole point of a blockade, isn't it?

Yes, it is. I'm glad you admit it. You realize there are children there, yes? Children who have never done any harm to anyone?
posted by empath at 3:11 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Unless the aid comes from the UN, who once recently refused to continue to supply aid to Gaza after Hamas "police" stole a shipment from a UN warehouse. But it's possible, after Israel first picks through it to make sure there's no cardamom or chicken to build tunnels to Egypt with, that Hamas decides what happens with the aid.

BBC: The tunnels are used to smuggle in arms, fuel and goods from Egypt, but cave-ins are frequent.
posted by zarq at 3:16 PM on June 4, 2010


To be fair, falameufilho hasn't said anything particularly outrageous in this thread. All y'all might do well to Ctrl+F his/her name to review what has really been said.
posted by five fresh fish at 3:16 PM on June 4, 2010


To be fair, falameufilho hasn't said anything particularly outrageous in this thread. All y'all might do well to Ctrl+F his/her name to review what has really been said.

Since when has that ever made the slightest bit of difference around here?
posted by zarq at 3:19 PM on June 4, 2010


* You realize there are children there, yes? Children who have never done any harm to anyone?

You already accused me of racism, feel free to escalate to infanticide.
posted by falameufilho at 3:21 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


That's what the WHO says the term is commonly used for, if you check the previous sentence it should be clear what the WHO thinks food insecurity is. This isn't about whether or not there's TGI Fridays in town.
posted by Kirk Grim at 3:22 PM on June 4, 2010


You already accused me of racism, feel free to escalate to infanticide.

Nobody is killing children in Gaza currently.
posted by empath at 3:26 PM on June 4, 2010


* falameufilho hasn't said anything particularly outrageous in this thread

Well thank you for your nihil obstat.
posted by falameufilho at 3:29 PM on June 4, 2010


* Nobody is killing children in Gaza currently.

Child molestation then. An accusation as solid as racism.
posted by falameufilho at 3:33 PM on June 4, 2010


Supporting the blockade is supporting children starving to death. That's as good as infanticide as far as I'm concerned.
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:35 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'd go so far as to say supporting the blockade is support for collective punishment, which is inhumane. As to whether its motivated by racism or brutal pragmatism, I can't say. I don't think its infanticide or genocide or anything else of the kind, since no one is dying from it, only suffering.
posted by empath at 3:38 PM on June 4, 2010


* That's as good as infanticide as far as I'm concerned.

Why are you elevated souls wasting your time with my racist and infanticidal self?
posted by falameufilho at 3:40 PM on June 4, 2010


Not too defend killings but when you take Israeli soldiers captive you are setting yourself up for a world of hurt. The entire Israeli military is built on concept of "No One Gets Left Behind".

Hell the entire Lebanon War was basically launched to find the two soldiers who were kidnapped initially (Eldad Regev and Ehud Goldwasser). After the war Israel released 5 Lebanese prisoners (including Samir Kuntar who had been in prison since the 1980's for the murdrer of two Israeli children) in exchange for Regev and Goldwassers bodies alone.
posted by PenDevil at 3:40 PM on June 4, 2010


Why are you elevated souls wasting your time with my racist and infanticidal self?

Because you're posting? Why would the fact that I find your opinions on this topic distasteful be a reason to not refute them?
posted by Pope Guilty at 3:42 PM on June 4, 2010


Why are you elevated souls wasting your time with my racist and infanticidal self?

Okay, y'all remember how discussions of bigotry get sidetracked by the accused trying to change the subject from "you said something racist" to "you're a racist"? Yeah, that's what's happening here.
posted by fatbird at 3:43 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Hell the entire Lebanon War was basically launched to find the two soldiers

BS. It was launched in an attempt to annex the Litani River (yet again).
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:51 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Give Hamas a brick and they will throw it at Israel, every single time. It's that simple.

You tell yourself that in order to excuse the criminal and racist doctrine of Zionism. No Arab threw a brick at a Jew in 1890 when the Zionists first decided to take their land from them.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 3:58 PM on June 4, 2010


Jimmy, its not that simple. I'm far, far from an expert on the history, but my understanding is that most of the land had been owned by absentee Ottoman Turk landlords, and that Jewish settlers bought the land legally. I guess one can argue about the unjustness of the local people being renters on land they had lived on for generations, but that wasn't the fault of the Zionists. They didn't just run in and start driving people off the land.

Which isn't to say it never happened, but I don't think that it happened in the majority of the cases.
posted by empath at 4:09 PM on June 4, 2010


* Okay, y'all remember how discussions of bigotry get sidetracked by the accused trying to change the subject from "you said something racist" to "you're a racist"?

Ok fatbird, please go back on this thread and find one example of bigotry coming from me. Quote it and explain, with rational arguments and without foaming at the mouth, why I am a bigot.
posted by falameufilho at 4:10 PM on June 4, 2010


* Why would the fact that I find your opinions on this topic distasteful be a reason to not refute them?

Except you haven't really refuted anything. Your replies to me are one-liners. You just said I had to "drop the racist attitude" and after I joked about being accused of infanticide or a supporter thereof, you actually went ahead and did it!
posted by falameufilho at 4:10 PM on June 4, 2010


Well that went well. Have a great weekend everyone!
posted by Kirk Grim at 4:10 PM on June 4, 2010


I don't think focusing on 'how we got here' is honestly as important as looking at where we are. And where we are is 1.2 million people living in an open air prison camp who sometimes fire rockets at the people who are imprisoning them. Focusing on who started it isn't really that helpful. We should be trying to figure out how to stop it.
posted by empath at 4:12 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


I don't think they've fired any rockets since '08. Have they?
posted by delmoi at 4:13 PM on June 4, 2010


Except you haven't really refuted anything. Your replies to me are one-liners.

The same applies to you.
posted by delmoi at 4:17 PM on June 4, 2010


I don't think so, but whether that's due to inability or a change in tactics is hard to say. I'd like to think they've adopted non-violent resistance. But I really, really doubt that they have.
posted by empath at 4:18 PM on June 4, 2010


most of the land had been owned by absentee Ottoman Turk landlords, and that Jewish settlers bought the land legally.


1.) We should maybe be coming out against exploitation of poor people via renterism.
2.) I can buy up all the land I want, that doesn't mean I can make a country.

I don't think focusing on 'how we got here' is honestly as important as looking at where we are. And where we are is 1.2 million people living in an open air prison camp who sometimes fire rockets at the people who are imprisoning them. Focusing on who started it isn't really that helpful. We should be trying to figure out how to stop it.

When one side screams and lashes out violently at those who acknowledge the reality of the past, it is insane to expect that side to take part in the process of moving forward.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:19 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


Also it's absolutely hilarious how if you're an oppressed minority, the only way to get the white people to acknowledge you as a person who has rights is to restrict yourself to non-violent resistance. I'm shocked that the Star Wars movies are popular- the way most people talk about nearly every minority group who defend themselves with violence, you'd think they'd come out of the theatre complaining that Luke and Leia are obviously insincere in their rebellion and that if they truly opposed the Empire, they should do so through non-violent resistance.
posted by Pope Guilty at 4:21 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


Ok fatbird, please go back on this thread and find one example of bigotry coming from me. Quote it and explain, with rational arguments and without foaming at the mouth, why I am a bigot.

Actually, I don't think you're directly a bigot; I was pointing out that your "okay I'll be a child molester" routine was a derail.

I do think there's something very problematic about your acceptance of collective punishment of one side in an ethnic conflict that nudges up against the sort of outright racism that characterizes much of the attitude seen toward the Gazans. Bigotry in consequence if not intent, as it were.
posted by fatbird at 4:24 PM on June 4, 2010


You think blowing up cafes and randomly killing civilians is a better tactic?

Because that's what we're talking about here, not blowing up military convoys.
posted by empath at 4:27 PM on June 4, 2010


* 2.) I can buy up all the land I want, that doesn't mean I can make a country.

You buy all the land you want AND get the UN to recognize it as a country, well, you can make a country.

Also, I assume from your statement above that you disagree with the existence of the state of Israel? Care to elaborate on your alternative?
posted by falameufilho at 4:30 PM on June 4, 2010


I have to think that randomly murdering civilians has to be near the bottom of 'ways to liberate your people' in terms of efficacy.

This is a PR war. The Palestinians can't win a military conflict. If you're going to martyr your population in a PR war, its far, far better to make your enemy kill your women and children than to strap bombs to them yourself. Do you disagree with this, PG?
posted by empath at 4:31 PM on June 4, 2010


Well thank you for your nihil obstat.

To my eyes, that reads as a "fuck you." Not much of a way to win friends and influence people, but at least it was dressed-up nicely.
posted by five fresh fish at 4:40 PM on June 4, 2010


I don't think they've fired any rockets since '08. Have they?

List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2009
List of Palestinian rocket attacks on Israel, 2010
posted by Tenuki at 4:46 PM on June 4, 2010




that's what we're talking about here, not blowing up military convoys

Hey man, the Death Star wasn't even complete, it was probably full of civilian contractors.

far better to make your enemy kill your women and children than to strap bombs to them yourself


I agree, but when your enemy is slowly depriving women and children of nutrition and basic necessities it doesn't make for pictures that you can use in a PR war. On top of which, I've always questioned to what extent top-down management is responsible for suicide bombings, rocket attacks, and other violence against Israel. It seems to me there must be a lot of emotions, anger and frustration, and desires for vengeance on an individual basis here. How can a resource deprived Palestinian Authority be expected to keep it all together and present a unified non-violent response from all groups within Palestine?
posted by Kirk Grim at 4:49 PM on June 4, 2010


There is no Palestinian Authority in Gaza right now. It's all Hamas.
posted by empath at 4:52 PM on June 4, 2010


* I do think there's something very problematic about your acceptance of collective punishment

There's a long debate to be had on whether or not a blockade constitutes collective punishment. I'm not so sure. Does the term "collective punishment" applies to an act of self defense? And an act of self-defense that is a response to a bona fide act of collective punishment: the terror campaign of Hamas against Israel?

That being said, there's a long way between my position and acceptance of the blockade. I'm not happy about the blockade, and not willing to accept it as a fact of life. I'd like to see the Israeli leadership taking all possible steps to end the blockade as soon as possible, while keeping Israel's borders and citizens safe. I don't think that's happening, unfortunately.
posted by falameufilho at 4:56 PM on June 4, 2010


* Sorry five fresh fish, I was being sarcastic but it was definitely not a "fuck you". :-)
posted by falameufilho at 5:00 PM on June 4, 2010


Does the term "collective punishment" applies to an act of self defense?<>

If the blockade were only about preventing weapons from getting to Hamas, I wouldn't call it collective punishment. But the blockade includes foodstuffs, livestock, and medical supplies. Your average Gazan is directly affected by it. That's collective punishment. It improves Israel's security not one bit to prevent chocolate from getting into the Gaza Strip; the only purpose is denial of those items to the Gazans in general.

posted by fatbird at 5:05 PM on June 4, 2010


I thought they were a "party" in the Palestinian Authority like Fatah or something. My bad. Still though, I'm not sure how exactly any current authority in Palestine (notice the lower case "a" in authority this time around) is going to be able to accomplish what Israel claims is necessary before they can both resume treating each other like human beings.
posted by Kirk Grim at 5:09 PM on June 4, 2010


* Kirk, I linked to the Joe Biden's interview on Charlie Rose. He does a good job summarizing the current situation in Gaza and what are parties involved.
posted by falameufilho at 5:17 PM on June 4, 2010


As I understand it, the Quartet (the US, EU, United Nations and Russia) have said that Hamas must officially renounce terrorism and recognize Israel's right to exist before being allowed into peace talks. So I guess the place to start would be an official pronouncement, proclamation or whatever from Hamas on those two things. Then formal talks would get started and everyone could cobble together a wobbly two state solution, with Hamas and Fatah somehow sharing power. In a better world, anyway.
posted by Kevin Street at 5:22 PM on June 4, 2010


I think the Quartet can probably just negotiate with Fatah and make a deal without them. If the West Bank gets true sovereignty, and the inevitable economic recovery happens there, it will put a lot of pressure on Hamas in Gaza.
posted by empath at 5:40 PM on June 4, 2010


Wow, so Mahmoud Abbas is in charge of a Palestinian Authority that is not in control of Palestine's largest city? So is Gaza like it's own unrecognized city-state now? Man that place is fucked. I guess I'll have to sleep on it. You guys do the same, I bet we'll come up with a solution to this whole mess by Monday and we can finally put this one to bed.
posted by Kirk Grim at 5:55 PM on June 4, 2010


* I don't think they've fired any rockets since '08 yesterday.
Oh, so the blockade is actually not doing anything then? Good to know. I thought they stopped and hadn't heard that they'd fired any until now. They do hardly any damage, so it really doesn't matter that much. It certainly doesn't justify the economic blockade.
I thought they were a "party" in the Palestinian Authority like Fatah or something.
They are, or were. They actually won the election. But control wasn't given to them, then they took over the Gaza strip (but not the west bank), etc.
posted by delmoi at 6:05 PM on June 4, 2010


1890 when the Zionists first decided to take their land from them.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 6:58 PM on June 4 [+] [!]

"Jewish migration to Palestine and widespread Jewish land purchases from feudal landlords led to landlessness and fueled unrest which was often led by the same landlords who sold the land. There were riots in 1920, 1921 and 1929, sometimes accompanied by massacres of Jews [21] The victims were usually from the non-Zionist Haredi Jewish communities in the Four Holy Cities. Britain supported Jewish immigration in principle, but in reaction to Arab violence imposed restrictions on Jewish immigration. -Wikipedia

Now this is one source, but it doesn't really jive with your "version" of history.
posted by rosswald at 7:20 PM on June 4, 2010


Ah, and there's the rub, falameufilho. Joe Biden in that Charlie Rose interview was a perfect example of the kind of people being discussed in posts above - i.e., a staunch Liberal Progressive who seems totally for justice and humanity ... but then has one HUGE ass blind spot that shocks the hell out of us.

Biden's blind spot just happens to be the part that you like. ("There is no famine in Gaza.")

So, just post what the man said as quotes and folks here will tear it all apart. We all might learn something.
posted by Surfurrus at 7:26 PM on June 4, 2010


Yeah, the Israelis were not the ones that oppressed the local population. They were already oppressed by the Ottomans. They did take advantage of it, though. I mean, look, I don't blame them, considering what they were fleeing from in Europe. They did what they had to do to survive. One can be sympathetic to both sides, here. You don't have to hate Israel or the Israelis to be against their current policies. I'm against the settlements, and I'm against the blockade, but and Israel without that, at peace with an independent or at least a self governing Palestine is fine by me. I'd even be fine with Israel and Palestine being a single democratic state, but I don't see that happening ever.
posted by empath at 7:30 PM on June 4, 2010




[few comments removed - we don't play "fixed that for you" games here when people are being serious and there's an open thread in MeTa if you just want to GRAR]
posted by jessamyn (staff) at 8:59 PM on June 4, 2010


Hamas must officially renounce terrorism and recognize Israel's right to exist

Why are the requirements for them so much tougher than the ones for Israel?
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:09 PM on June 4, 2010


They didn't just run in and start driving people off the land.

Yeah, they waited a little while before they started doing that.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:11 PM on June 4, 2010


So since China doesn't recognize Taiwan's right to exist, does that give Taiwan cart Blanche to attack Chinese boats?
posted by delmoi at 9:13 PM on June 4, 2010


Jimmy, I suspect that the history is more complicated than you think. History usually is. Most empires are accidental.
posted by empath at 9:20 PM on June 4, 2010


Lol @ delmoi
posted by rosswald at 9:20 PM on June 4, 2010


* Oh, so the blockade is actually not doing anything then? Good to know. I thought they stopped and hadn't heard that they'd fired any until now. They do hardly any damage, so it really doesn't matter that much. It certainly doesn't justify the economic blockade.

So the fact that most missiles land on empty land and do "hardly any damage" (never mind the psychological damage from the terror of constant air raid sirens and having 15 seconds to take cover) doesn't justify the economic blockade? Do you suggest then that Israel sits idly by while Hamas improves its arsenal through a constant supply of Iranian weapons, like Hezbollah did? And when Hamas starts killing a number of Israeli civilians that you consider acceptable, would the blockade then be OK?

It's Hamas' intent, directly expressed by their actions, that justifies Israeli self-defense. The actual results of these actions matter very little.
posted by falameufilho at 9:20 PM on June 4, 2010


does that give Taiwan cart Blanche to attack Chinese boats?

Silly question. China has nuclear weapons.
posted by empath at 9:21 PM on June 4, 2010


get the UN to recognize it as a country

Now there's an excellent proposal. Go back to the UN partitions.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:22 PM on June 4, 2010


Israeli self-defense

Killing people so you can keep the property you stole from them (and steal more) isn't self-defense.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 9:23 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


So the fact that most missiles land on empty land and do "hardly any damage" (never mind the psychological damage from the terror of constant air raid sirens and having 15 seconds to take cover ) doesn't justify the economic blockade? Do you suggest then that Israel sits idly by while Hamas improves its arsenal through a constant supply of Iranian weapons, like Hezbollah did? And when Hamas starts killing a number of Israeli civilians that you consider acceptable, would the blockade then be OK?

I'd wager that Mexican drug lords have killed more americans than Gazans have killed Israeli this year. Let's blockade Mexico, ban all imports of chocolate, concrete, canned food, and so on, until they do something about it.

I don't know why this needs to be said, but there are 1.2 million people in Gaza, including a huge number of children, the vast majority of whom are not in Hamas. You cannot punish an entire people for the acts of a few. I'm sorry, but that's Nazi logic. You want to ban weapons? Fine. But Israel has imposed a blockade to destroy the Gazan economy and deprive people of any source of happiness and hope.
posted by empath at 9:26 PM on June 4, 2010


Killing people so you can keep the property you stole from them (and steal more) isn't self-defense.

You really have no idea what you're talking about and you're being a jerk about it. Yes, the settlements are a problem, yes the Israeli's are now encroaching on Palestinian land, but the vast majority of Israeli property was bought legally from the legal owners. Palestine was basically a feudal state, and the Palestinians never owned the land they lived and worked on.
posted by empath at 9:28 PM on June 4, 2010


So since you are clearly the only person in the world with a clear and nuanced view of the morality of the situation Jimmy, what should happen next? You seem to know exactly whose wrong and right, so enlighten us!
posted by rosswald at 9:31 PM on June 4, 2010


* Joe Biden in that Charlie Rose interview was a perfect example of the kind of people being discussed in posts above - i.e., a staunch Liberal Progressive who seems totally for justice and humanity ... but then has one HUGE ass blind spot that shocks the hell out of us.

Surfurrus - maybe you have the blind spot? It's a possibility. His depiction of facts and events that led us to where we are now was very clear.

So, just post what the man said as quotes and folks here will tear it all apart.

Hm? Feel free to do it yourself, friendo.
posted by falameufilho at 9:43 PM on June 4, 2010


the vast majority of Israeli property was bought legally from the legal owners.

700,000 of those legal owners were driven out, and their property was seized.

since you are clearly the only person in the world with a clear and nuanced view of the morality of the situation

I accept your admiration in the spirit in which it is offered.

what should happen next?

1) Israel immediately begins obeying the Geneva Accords.
2) Israel moves all settlers out of the West Bank, Golan, and Shebaa Farms.
3) Israel withdraws its troops from West Bank, Golan, and Shebaa Farms.
4) US pays reparations to Palestinians who lost property in the ethnic cleansing.
5) US offers green cards to any Israeli or Palestinian who wishes to emigrate.

Step one is simply obeying international law. Step two is implied by step one, and would immediately result in the recognition of Israel by the Arab League members. Once the settlers are out of the occupied territories, there's no need for the troops. Step four is reparation for all the money that the US has spent enabling Israel's crimes. Step five is a way to further reduce the tensions of the area by allowing anyone who doesn't want to participate a way out.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:00 PM on June 4, 2010


4) US pays reparations to Palestinians who lost property in the ethnic cleansing.

Oh, FFS. Just as many Jews fled Arab countries. IMO, it evens out. Just like when Turkey and Greece swapped about a million people and when India and Pakistan were partitioned. It worked out okay for Turkey and Greece and it was a bloody mess in India/Pakistan and in the middle east, but you can't say one side suffered more than any other.

I don't know where you're getting your history from, but you have an incredibly biased point of view.

Protip: Just because one side is lying, that doesn't mean the other side is telling the truth.
posted by empath at 10:10 PM on June 4, 2010


* I'd wager that Mexican drug lords have killed more americans than Gazans have killed Israeli this year. Let's blockade Mexico, ban all imports of chocolate, concrete, canned food, and so on, until they do something about it.

Sorry, but there's absolutely no comparison -

0) We're not talking about genocide, so it's not about the body count. So "Mexican drug lords killed more than Hamas" makes no sense as a simple justification for action.
1) The drug lords are not running Mexico (perhaps some enclaves have sympathetic politicians running local government, but there are still functioning institutions in the Mexican government)
2) Mexico has a democratically elected government that is doing (or appears to be doing) everything within its power to put these drug lords in jail, going as far as surrendering Mexican citizens accused of crimes in the U.S. to American authorities so they can be trialed and incarcerated in America.
3) The drug lords did not declare war on America and do not want to destroy this country. Au contraire - the healthier and richer the U.S. economy is, the better for them.

I don't know why this needs to be said, but there are 1.2 million people in Gaza, including a huge number of children, the vast majority of whom are not in Hamas. You cannot punish an entire people for the acts of a few. I'm sorry, but that's Nazi logic. You want to ban weapons? Fine. But Israel has imposed a blockade to destroy the Gazan economy and deprive people of any source of happiness and hope.

Thanks for Godwining the discussion with the first Nazi comparison of the thread (the previous mention of Nazis wasn't really a comparison, so you win).

Anyway, you said it is fine for Israel to ban weapons. How do you suppose they do it without a blockade?

About the happiness and hope part, I'm with you there. Living in Gaza is probably shit. It is probably a fucking awful place, and I wish it wasn't. Never been there, but they say the beaches are beautiful and he Mediterranean weather is great. It could be great place to live. And don't get me started on the children.

But hey - the ball is in Hamas' court. It's that simple. They just have to:

* Abide to previous agreements made by the Palestinian authority
* Renounce terror
* Recognize Israel's right to exist

And the Quartet and Israel and everybody else who has a beef on this thing will sit down on the table with them.l But it seems like that is too difficult for them. Those three simple things, that's going too far. Well - there's a price to pay for that kind of stubbornness.
posted by falameufilho at 10:18 PM on June 4, 2010


you can't say one side suffered more than any other.

Why not? It's a fact. The Israelis are suffering nowhere near as much as the Palestinians, no matter how much they cry about the psychological torture of never knowing when they'll be punished for their crimes.

Just because one side is lying, that doesn't mean the other side is telling the truth.

Please be more specific. My opinions on the situation aren't based on claims that Jews kill babies to make their Passover matzo. They're based on well-documented events.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:19 PM on June 4, 2010


I mean do you really think Jews went to Israel because it was an awesome place to live? They went there because they had nowhere else to go! And they had to fight the British to even get that much. It sucks that there was already a population of oppressed peasantry that lived there, but any place they went was going to have that problem. There was no way they were going to be allowed to move where anyone rich and powerful was. I mean, you're really going to blame early 20th century European jews for trying to find a place to escape to, and doing whatever they had to? This was life and death for them. I don't blame Mexicans for hopping the border into the US and the Jews had it far, far worse.

You can't unwind the clock and if you keep playing eye for an eye, it won't stop until everyone is dead. Just evacuate the settlements, give the Palestinians autonomy and hope they are satisfied with that. Right of return and reparations are never going to happen. There's too much blood that's been spilled on both sides.
posted by empath at 10:20 PM on June 4, 2010


Well - there's a price to pay for that kind of stubbornness.

Hamas isn't paying the price. I don't know how to make you understand that. Hamas loves the blockade.
posted by empath at 10:22 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


The Israelis are suffering nowhere near as much as the Palestinians, no matter how much they cry about the psychological torture of never knowing when they'll be punished for their crimes.

Today, no. And that's why I'm currently strongly against Israel's current policies which are cruel and counterproductive, but in the past? You can't even compare the suffering.
posted by empath at 10:23 PM on June 4, 2010


Hamas loves the blockade.

You really should watch Children of Gaza, which I linked to upthread.

Then explain how burning a families fishing boat, their sole means of feeding the family, is supposed to defeat Hamas.

Because at the end of the documentary, the family's son has sworn that he's going to join Hamas and get revenge. And to be honest, that would probably be my reaction, too.
posted by empath at 10:26 PM on June 4, 2010 [2 favorites]


And the Quartet and Israel and everybody else who has a beef on this thing will sit down on the table with them.

Remember the Oslo Acccords? Israel doesn't need to sit down at the table with anyone, they need to start obeying international law.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:28 PM on June 4, 2010


but in the past? You can't even compare the suffering.

I hope you're not saying that the Holocaust justifies Gaza.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:30 PM on June 4, 2010


No, but I hope you're not saying that anything isreal did justifies murdering random people in a cafe with a suicide bomb, or firing rockets at civilian targets.
posted by empath at 10:32 PM on June 4, 2010


I don't blame Mexicans for hopping the border into the US and the Jews had it far, far worse. <>

The oppression of European Jews was horrible. That doesn't give them any right to visit oppression on the people who lived in the place they decided they wanted.

posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:32 PM on June 4, 2010


You obviously haven't read anything I've said if you think I think anything justifies Gaza. The blockade is cruel and inhumane and needs to be stopped.
posted by empath at 10:33 PM on June 4, 2010 [1 favorite]


That doesn't give them any right to visit oppression on the people who lived in the place they decided they wanted.

I agree, I just happen to think that until the last 20 years or so, Israel was much more restrained in how it dealt with Palestinians. After the second intifada, they seem to have completely lost their minds.
posted by empath at 10:35 PM on June 4, 2010


They just seized the Irish Ship. The Irish have made it clear that they will consider this an act of wall. This is going to become intensely interesting.
posted by five fresh fish at 10:43 PM on June 4, 2010


Israel started the war. If their citizens are killed in it, that's the price they pay for electing the government that has continued to prosecute it. I'd rather not see anyone killed, but it's obvious that's not going to happen, since the alternative to suicide bombers and random rockets is to sit quietly and be murdered.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 10:45 PM on June 4, 2010


Are you sure?

AP Top News at 1:20 a.m. EDT
(AP) – 25 minutes ago
JERUSALEM — The Israeli military says it has not taken over a Gaza-bound aid ship. A military spokeswoman said, "At this minute, there's no takeover."
posted by empath at 10:46 PM on June 4, 2010


I suppose I should add a link to the Reuters story on the Rachel Corrie.

They have yet to board. The big question is whether Israel will settle for an on-board inspection.

Need to find the article that had aggressive Irish attitudes toward the idea of an Irish ship being seized...
posted by five fresh fish at 10:47 PM on June 4, 2010


Arguing about stuff from 40, 50 years ago is kind of beside the point. The question is what's fair going forward. If there's going to be a two-state solution then the Israelis need to dismantle settlements in the west bank and leave, and allow the Palestinians to control their own borders. Instead, they are constantly building new settlements.
posted by delmoi at 10:48 PM on June 4, 2010


Israel started the war. If their citizens are killed in it, that's the price they pay for electing the government that has continued to prosecute it. I'd rather not see anyone killed, but it's obvious that's not going to happen, since the alternative to suicide bombers and random rockets is to sit quietly and be murdered.

You lack imagination. And more than that, you're using the exact fucking same bloody-minded logic that Israel is using to bomb civilian targets in Gaza. Be Better Than Them and the world will notice.

The alternative is things like the Flotilla and other means of non-violent resistance. The world is ready to move on this, but they have to keep provoking Israel without justifying them, if you understand what I mean. All lobbing rockets into Israel will do is let Israel kill more palestinians with impunity.

Empires always seem invincible until they fall, but they always fall.
posted by empath at 10:51 PM on June 4, 2010


fff, which report are you reading? The latest from the JPost and Ha'aretz indicate that the ship has not been seized, and that earlier reports that it was were wrong.

Also, this is from yesterday:
Ireland: Agreement reached with Israel over 'Rachel Corrie' but crew refused

The Irish Department of Foreign Affairs has announced that it reached an agreement with the Israeli government by which the 'Rachel Corrie' would dock at Ashdod port, where it would unload the aid meant for Gaza and submit it to inspection, however the crew aboard the vessel refused.

Therefore, the ministry said in a statement, "the Government demands that (Israel) demonstrate every restraint" when it intercepts the ship. (Ynet)
It seems apparent that the Irish would understand that if the ship violated the agreement between the two governments that Israel would take action, and that such action needed to be minimal and reasonable.
posted by zarq at 10:53 PM on June 4, 2010


Rachel Corrie did more for the Palestinian cause than a thousand rockets, and all she did was stand in front of a bulldozer.
posted by empath at 10:54 PM on June 4, 2010


er.... shoulda previewed.
posted by zarq at 10:55 PM on June 4, 2010


"We are working urgently with Israel, the Palestinian Authority, and other international partners to develop new procedures for delivering more goods and assistance to Gaza," Mike Hammer, spokesman for the White House National Security Council, said on Friday.

This sounds to me like they are working on loosening the blockade.
posted by empath at 11:07 PM on June 4, 2010




What kind of weapons does the blockade keep out of Gaza?

chart
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:54 PM on June 4, 2010


Noam Chomsky on imperialist thinking:
That is a constant refrain of imperialism. You have your jackboot on someone's neck and they're about to destroy you.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:59 PM on June 4, 2010 [5 favorites]


"Arguing about stuff from 40, 50 years ago is kind of beside the point. The question is what's fair going forward. If there's going to be a two-state solution then the Israelis need to dismantle settlements in the west bank and leave, and allow the Palestinians to control their own borders. Instead, they are constantly building new settlements."

Yes, that's a very good point. And there should be some kind of free transport corridor between Gaza and the West Bank, like a road where you don't have to go through customs. It's pretty hard to unite two non-contiguous pieces of land into a single country if another country gets to restrict the flow of people and goods between the pieces whenever it wants to.

Ideally, the end result (maybe a generation or two down the line) would be for Isreal and Palestine to be joined together like siamese twins, with so many economic, cultural and physical connections that they can never go to war.
posted by Kevin Street at 12:07 AM on June 5, 2010


You could also have a Canada/Quebec kind of situation, too. Maybe a looooong way down the line.
posted by empath at 12:09 AM on June 5, 2010


Autopsy results: -Gaza flotilla activists were shot in head at close range.
Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back
posted by adamvasco at 12:13 AM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


Link
posted by adamvasco at 12:13 AM on June 5, 2010


Bible Stories retold
posted by adamvasco at 12:20 AM on June 5, 2010


You seem to be saying the Israeli fear of attacks is unfounded, which I feel like ignores... well basically everything.

As I see it, the blockade is untenable, but so is ending it. Neither Hamas, nor the blockade have stopped the rockets or armed attackers trying to cross the border.

So in a perfect world, the blockade ends, but then what? It would maybe be good for some Palestinians in the very short term, but it also seems likely that a lot more weapons would come in, and that they would be used.

I'm not a big fan of the blockade, but its not like Israel woke up one morning and said 'How can we be cruel.' There is no easy answer, and ending the blockade would just create as many issues as enforcing it does. If it were to disappear, the mortar-air-strike-rocket-bulldozer cycle would just get worse.

My personal feeling is that the UN is going to have to man the border. Until there are a bunch of Euros standing between the Palestinians and the Israelis playing referee, its just gonna get worse.
posted by rosswald at 9:38 AM on June 5, 2010


If you wanted to design a machine to generate terrorists you'd basically come up with Israel and the occupied territories, and they work very hard to reinforce teh aspects that make it so. So yeah, Israels concerns about terrorism are very well founded, but the actions they take in dealing iwth it are exactly ass backwards.
posted by Artw at 9:42 AM on June 5, 2010 [3 favorites]


EVERYONE works very hard to make it so. That's kinda my point. The Israeli's and Palestinians walked down this road hand and hand.
posted by rosswald at 9:44 AM on June 5, 2010


hand in hand.
posted by rosswald at 9:45 AM on June 5, 2010


Autopsy results: -Gaza flotilla activists were shot in head at close range.
Fulkan Dogan, who also has US citizenship, was shot five times from less that 45cm, in the face, in the back of the head, twice in the leg and once in the back
posted by adamvasco at 3:13 AM on June 5 [+] [!]

Which sounds more like people struggling in close quarters, than people being shot indiscriminately from helicopters.
posted by rosswald at 9:47 AM on June 5, 2010


The Israeli's and Palestinians walked down this road hand in hand.

Excpet the Israelis have all the agency here.
posted by Artw at 9:57 AM on June 5, 2010




Who had the agency here: 1948 war
posted by rosswald at 12:02 PM on June 5, 2010


Egypt, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Syria and Israel, notably not the Palistinians., though they did put up some largely ineffectual resistance during the ethnic cleansing that preceeded the war.

Not that it matters, - what matter is, as I'm sure someone might put it, the facts on the ground. How much agency do thge palestinians have in the current set up of Israel and the occupied territories right now? Not a hell of a lot.
posted by Artw at 12:21 PM on June 5, 2010 [1 favorite]


"though they did put up some largely ineffectual resistance during the ethnic cleansing that preceeded the war. "

Arab Revolt

And it was the Palestinians, backed by their Arab neighbours who rejected the partition (giving the Palestinians 80% of the non-desert land). They lost. And then twice again in the 60s-70s.

Your right, the Palestinians are basically screwed. But they screwed themselves, and were screwed by their "allies" moreso than by Israel.
posted by rosswald at 12:33 PM on June 5, 2010


Your right, the Palestinians are basically screwed. But they screwed themselves, and were screwed by their "allies" moreso than by Israel.
To be fair, though, they'd been living there for generations before a minority population (roughly 10-15%) was given half of Palestine by the UN. It was a pretty shitty scenario no matter how you cut it, and while riots and military resistance rarely get things off on the wrong foot, it's undeniable that the existing population of Palestine got shafted by Partition.
posted by verb at 12:47 PM on June 5, 2010


er, riots rarely get things off on the RIGHT foot.
posted by verb at 12:48 PM on June 5, 2010




Half of the territory, but the Negev desert being the majority of the Israeli state. The Palestinians were offered most of the villages/farms/cities
posted by rosswald at 1:42 PM on June 5, 2010


“GAZA Flotilla Drives Israel Into a Sea of Stupidity” declared the Israeli daily Haaretz on Monday, as though announcing the discovery of some hitherto unknown body of water. -- Micheal Chabon in the NYT, writing mostly about what he perceives as the myth of Jewish exceptionalism.
posted by delmoi at 2:53 PM on June 5, 2010


The Palestinians were offered most of the villages/farms/cities

You know...where they lived. How unfair!

Ben-Gurion's commentary on partition (quoted by Jeremy Slater in PSQ):
“I favor partition of the country because when we become a strong power after the establishment of the state, we will abolish partition and spread throughout all of Palestine.”
Of course, who was he? Some fringe radical barely remembered today.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:38 PM on June 5, 2010


Half of the territory, but the Negev desert being the majority of the Israeli state. The Palestinians were offered most of the villages/farms/cities

Ha! Please show proof if you're going to make these kind of a historical suggestions.
posted by cell divide at 4:46 PM on June 5, 2010


You know...where they lived. How unfair!

My point was that, as far as these kinda things can go, it was, fair...

UN Partition Plan
posted by rosswald at 4:54 PM on June 5, 2010


Based on your earlier comments, it sounded more like you were justifying Plan Dalet.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 4:59 PM on June 5, 2010


verb wrote: To be fair, though, they'd been living there for generations before a minority population (roughly 10-15%) was given half of Palestine by the UN.

That isn't actually correct, but let's suppose that it were. That was over sixty years ago. Most people who were adults back then are no longer alive. Their great-grandchildren are in school right now. Why is it "fair" for those great-grandchildren to be under attack?

As for why it isn't correct, you can do the math yourself. The idea behind partition was that one bit of former-Palestine would have a majority Jewish population, and one would have a majority Arab population. So if the Jews constituted 15% of the population they could have received no more than 30% of the territory. Which is in fact roughly what happened, if you keep in mind that former-Palestine includes Jordan, which is way bigger than Israel - about four times the size. Israel is presently about 20% of former-Palestine, and I think the Jewish population of Israel is only a bit less than half the total population of former-Palestine. Of course, the area of the territories is only part of the story; the natural resources and so forth are also important.
posted by Joe in Australia at 5:08 PM on June 5, 2010


there should be some kind of free transport corridor between Gaza and the West Bank, like a road where you don't have to go through customs.

Just one of the many provisions of the Oslo Accords that was violated by Israel.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 5:28 PM on June 5, 2010


That isn't actually correct, but let's suppose that it were. That was over sixty years ago. Most people who were adults back then are no longer alive. Their great-grandchildren are in school right now. Why is it "fair" for those great-grandchildren to be under attack?

Why is it "fair" for the decedents of the other side to be packed into open air prisons, or be evicted from their homes today to make room for Jewish settlers from other countries?
posted by delmoi at 6:06 PM on June 5, 2010 [4 favorites]


Just one of the many provisions of the Oslo Accords that was violated by Israel.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 8:28 PM on June 5 [+] [!]

Not for fun though, people died
posted by rosswald at 6:55 PM on June 5, 2010


delmoi wrote: Why is it "fair" for the decedents of the other side to be packed into open air prisons, or be evicted from their homes today to make room for Jewish settlers from other countries?

Can you tell me what you're referring to?
posted by Joe in Australia at 9:44 PM on June 5, 2010


> Can you tell me what you're referring to?
posted by Joe in Australia at 11:44 PM on June 5 [


Partition walls, checkpoint after checkpoint, aid blockades, bulldozing homes on family land, etc etc. It's pretty disingenuous to pretend otherwise.
posted by Burhanistan at 9:49 PM on June 5, 2010 [5 favorites]


My point was that, as far as these kinda things can go, it was, fai

From your link about the Partition plan: it gave the majority of the land (56 percent) to the Jews, who at that stage legally owned only 7 percent of it, and remained a minority [33%] of the population.

How does that square with your assertion that "The Palestinians were offered most of the villages/farms/cities", not to mention the question of fairness.
posted by cell divide at 11:32 PM on June 5, 2010


It's pretty disingenuous to pretend otherwise.

Glenn Greenwald's discussion of how tribalism drives the arguments is very on point.
A prime cause of this inversion is the distortion in perception brought about by rank tribalism. Those whose worldview is shaped by their identification as members of a particular religious, nationalistic, or ethnic group invariably over-value the wrongs done to them and greatly under-value the wrongs their group perpetrates. Those whose world view is shaped by tribalism are typically plagued by an extreme persecution complex (the whole world is against us!!!; everyone who criticizes us is hateful and biased!!!)

...When it comes to Israel, we see the same mindset from otherwise admirable Jewish progressives such as Anthony Weiner, Jerry Nadler, Eliot Spitzer, Alan Grayson, and (after a brief stint of deviation) Barney Frank. On this one issue, they magically abandon their opposition to military attacks on civilians, their defense of weaker groups being bullied and occupied by far stronger factions, their belief that unilateral military attacks are unjustified, and suddenly find common cause with Charles Krauthammer, The Weekly Standard, and the Bush administration in justifying even the most heinous Israeli crimes of aggression.

... They never wonder to themselves:
I had it continuously drummed into my head from the time I was a small child, from every direction, that Israel was special and was to be cherished, that it's fundamentally good but persecuted and victimized by Evil Arab forces surrounding it, that I am a part of that group and should see the world accordingly. Is this tribal identity which was pummeled into me from childhood -- rather than some independent, dispassionate analysis -- the reason I find myself perpetually sympathizing with and defending Israel?
Doesn't the most minimal level of intellectual awareness -- indeed, the concept of adulthood itself -- require that re-analysis? And, of course, the "self-hating" epithet -- with which I've naturally been bombarded relentlessly over the last week -- is explicitly grounded in the premise that one should automatically defend one's "own group" rather than endeaveor to objectively assess facts and determine what is right and true.

...listen to Fox News fear-mongers declare how Christians in the U.S. and/or white males -- comprising the vast majority of the population and every power structure in the country -- are the Real Persecuted Victims, from the War on Christmas to affirmative action evils. Ronald Reagan even managed to convince much of the country that the true economic injustices in America were caused by rich black women driving their Cadillacs to collect their welfare checks. This kind of blinding, all-consuming tribalism leads members of even the most powerful group to convince themselves that they are deeply victimized by those who are far weaker, whose necks have been under the boots of the stronger group for decades, if not longer.
I've mentioned the wonderful facility certain people have for finding covert antisemitism, even seeing it in the way the word is capitalized. I've been accused of antisemitism for making the tribal argument," because 'tribe' is a derogatory word." It's a great way to divert attention from the validity of the argument, even as it illustrates it.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 11:44 PM on June 5, 2010 [6 favorites]


it gave the majority of the land (56 percent) to the Jews, who at that stage legally owned only 7 percent of it, and remained a minority [33%] of the population.

Cell divide asked: How does that square with [...] the question of fairness.

Earlier in the article it says "The bulk of the proposed Jewish State's territory, however, consisted of the Negev Desert. The desert was not suitable for agriculture, nor for urban development at that time. " That probably had something to do with it. And the Jews may have legally owned only 7%, but that doesn't mean that the rest was owned by the Arabs - most land then, as now, was not in private hands. But these things are really not relevant, because the partition plan was never implemented and the Arab representatives didn't even agree to the idea of partition.

For what it's worth, I don't think the committee could have found a significantly fairer plan given the conflicting constraints: give each side comparable amounts of natural resources and comparable amounts of land and make the territories as contiguous as possible while including the mostly-Arab areas in the Arab side and the mostly-Jewish areas in the Jewish side.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:44 AM on June 6, 2010


the Arab representatives didn't even agree to the idea of partition.

Could be they'd heard what Ben-Gurion was saying about it.
posted by Jimmy Havok at 2:11 AM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


delmoi wrote: Why is it "fair" for the decedents of the other side to be packed into open air prisons, or be evicted from their homes today to make room for Jewish settlers from other countries?
Can you tell me what you're referring to?
Odd question. I was referring to the things I mentioned: People packed into open air prisons (Gaza) and being evicted from their homes today to make room for Jewish settlers (west bank).
posted by delmoi at 3:59 AM on June 6, 2010


Delmoi wrote: I was referring to the things I mentioned: People packed into open air prisons (Gaza) and being evicted from their homes today to make room for Jewish settlers (west bank).

Gaza is blockaded, yes, but that doesn't mean that it's a prison. If the inability to travel abroad turns a place into a prison then lots of countries are prisons today - and people who can't afford to travel live in prisons while their neighbours are free.

Also, I don't believe that people in the West Bank are being evicted from their homes "to make room for Jewish settlers". Can you provide some evidence for your assertion?
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:06 AM on June 6, 2010


Henning Mankell's diary I guess he was on the main boat.
Also, I don't believe that people in the West Bank are being evicted from their home
Then you're an idiot.
posted by delmoi at 5:00 AM on June 6, 2010 [5 favorites]




Delmoi, I'm astonished that you should feel the need to use two posts to insult me.

I was actually aware of Sheikh Jarrah, and I wondered if that is what you were thinking of. As the article says, Jews lived in the property in 1948. Then the Jordanians invaded and - although the article doesn't make it clear - all Jews were expelled from the now-Jordanian territory. Formerly-Jewish homes were taken over by the Jordanian Custodian of Enemy Property. Some were given away, some were sold, and some - like this one - ended up in a sort of limbo, still the property of the Custodian, with the Ghawi family technically being its tenants.

Nineteen years later there was another war and Israel's Custodian inherited all the property that had formerly belonged to the Jordanian Custodian. Including this one. It was not thought appropriate to re-open the books and change ownership of all the property that the Jordanian Custodian had disposed of, but this one was actually in the Israeli Custodian's hands. So when the people with the actual pre-1948 title came forwards it was quite a thorny moral dilemma - the Israeli authority had (in a sense) inherited the Jordanian ethnic cleansing of 1948.

The case went all the way up to the Supreme Court which decided that the Ghawi family ought to be treated as "protected tenants": they couldn't be evicted, but they would have to pay rent. They didn't want to pay rent and tried a whole lot of legal arguments about the ownership of the property and so forth. This is where the "century old land deeds" come in, apparently people still need to use the Ottoman Empire's archives on occasion. What a strange world we live in. Anyway. So they didn't pay rent, and they were evicted not because they were Palestinian, but because they didn't want to pay rent for a house that they had never owned, and which they had only lived in because its previous owner had been marched away at gunpoint.

So if this is your evidence for people being "evicted from their homes today to make room for Jewish settlers (west bank)" it fails for two reasons. One is that it wasn't their home, except in the sense that they were tenants who wouldn't pay rent. The other is, of course, that Sheikh Jarrah isn't part of the West Bank except in the sense that it was under Jordanian control from 1948-1967. It's part of Jerusalem and was so even before 1967.

Have you another example?
posted by Joe in Australia at 8:59 AM on June 6, 2010




The ridiculousness of having to keep track of land deeds from the fifteenth century is part of a reason for the principle of adverse posession, or, if you prefer, squatter's rights. The family in question says they've been on the land since 1967; there's no way the 1948 deed should hold any water.

It's rather hard to believe that no Palestinians were ever displaced by these jokers and their well-documented tactics.
posted by kaibutsu at 9:27 AM on June 6, 2010


The ridiculousness of having to keep track of land deeds from the fifteenth century is part of a reason for the principle of adverse posession, or, if you prefer, squatter's rights.

You're a math student. You know how it might be irritating if someone started going on about how .99999 repeater is not equal to 1? Or if someone were to tell you that zero isn't a quantity? Well, this is the same sort of thing.

The family in question says they've been on the land since 1967; there's no way the 1948 deed should hold any water.

The family's claim was never more than that they were tenants. That they had a right to remain there until and unless the "real" owner came along. Adverse possession does not help tenants, and it doesn't help anyone if the owner is trying to get his property back.

The case was fought up to the Israeli Supreme Court. You could always you know, actually read something about it. And in any event, your charming ideas for reforming Israeli property law have nothing to do with Delmoi's rants about Arabs being thrown out of their homes on the West Bank so that settlers could live there.
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:04 AM on June 6, 2010


"Based on your earlier comments, it sounded more like you were justifying Plan Dalet."

Only though the most purposeful misreading of my comments could you have come to the conclusion. And if you read the article you linked to, inlcuding the background, it really destroys whatever point (if you could call anything said a "point") you were trying to make.
posted by rosswald at 10:04 AM on June 6, 2010


And the winner for least helpful offer: Iran Revolutionary Guards ready to escort Gaza ships

Also, a Turkish paper released a bunch of photos of scenes from the Marmara. Mainly bloodied IDF guys. And, inexplicably, a bag of vegetables.
posted by lullaby at 10:15 AM on June 6, 2010


Ok, cool, I admit it's not a case I had read anything about.

Done.

I do stand by my assertion that the settlers have been real assholes, though.
posted by kaibutsu at 10:28 AM on June 6, 2010


I was actually aware of Sheikh Jarrah, and I wondered if that is what you were thinking of. As the article says, Jews lived in the property in 1948. Then the Jordanians invaded and bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla bla

What? You asked for an example of people being evicted and I gave you one. It's interesting that you claimed initially not to be aware of anyone being being evicted, then later you were aware of this instance. So you were totally dishonest? And the idea that people should be evicted not because the property is going to be returned to a specific individual but to a member of the ethnic group who lived there before is absurd. It's entirely racist.
posted by delmoi at 10:49 AM on June 6, 2010 [6 favorites]


One word - Nakba. More recently
(2000) In the 60 Percent of the West Bank Under Full Israeli Occupation, Palestinian Evictions Continue ; and Same but different.
Nice people there in Sheik Jarrah - friends of yours Joe?
an international consensus was built [against apartheid], which helped to bring an end to this iniquitous system. But we know too well that our freedom is incomplete without the freedom of the Palestinians
Nelson Mandela
.
posted by adamvasco at 12:01 PM on June 6, 2010


Also, does Joe favor the right of return now? Should Palestinians get back the homes they had to abandon in 1948? Somehow I suspect the answer is no. An incredible double standard. Homes in the west bank get returned to the ethnic group of the people who lived there in 1948, not even the individuals or families but just the same religion. On the other hand, not even the individuals or families get their property in Israel returned.
posted by delmoi at 12:15 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


What? You asked for an example of people being evicted and I gave you one.

No, I asked you to back up your assertion that Palestinians are "evicted from their homes today to make room for Jewish settlers from other countries (west bank)."

And you provided an example of tenants being evicted from somebody else's house at the request of the original owner in Jerusalem. I have highlighted the places where your example, stirring though it was, failed to meet the criteria of your original claim. That is, on any point.

Should Palestinians get back the homes they had to abandon in 1948?

Most homes abandoned in 1948 - those owned by Jews and those owned by Palestinians - have now legally passed into other hands. I think the original owners ought to be compensated, but we can't undo the injustices of sixty years. These houses in Sheikh Jarrah have a unique status: the people living there were formerly tenants of the Jordanian government (via its Custodian of Enemy Property) and then became tenants of the Israeli government (through its Custodian). So in this case it was possible to undo the injustice without compromising established law or being unfair to anyone. The Ghawi family would still be there today if they hadn't decided to stop paying rent.(*)

(*) Incidentally, I suspect that they stopped paying rent on legal advice. They would have won the property by adverse possession if they had refused for long enough and the owners hadn't taken them to court. It was a clever tactic and they'd have been a good lot wealthier if it had worked - no rent, plus a free property in downtown Jerusalem.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:13 PM on June 6, 2010 [1 favorite]


Oh yes -

Delmoi wrote: Homes in the west bank get returned to the ethnic group of the people who lived there in 1948, not even the individuals or families but just the same religion.

The house has been returned to the very same owner. It was a corporate entity (a community association) so it was still around. With respect, you might try reading up on the case before you start making these unsubstantiated rants.
posted by Joe in Australia at 4:17 PM on June 6, 2010


And you provided an example of tenants being evicted from somebody else's house at the request of the original owner in Jerusalem.

Not to get too deep into semantic weeds here, but a tenant evicted from a house that someone else wins in a court fight is still a person evicted from their home. None of what you said has any baring on the accuracy of my statement.

Also, are you saying you favor the right of return for Palestinians who left Israel in 1948? Because that's what it sounds like you're saying. Or do you think the right to reclaim property is something that only applies to Jews in that region?

Of course, I'm pretty sure you don't, which really illustrates how hypocritical you are. My view is that Israelis will never accept a right of return for Palestinians to Israel proper, so Israelis should not have one in the west bank either. I also think your 'legal' argument and the court case is mostly a sham, a little nicety and ass covering.

What I said (that people are being evicted from their homes) was accurate, and any reasonable person (which you are not) would agree.
posted by delmoi at 6:09 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Most homes abandoned in 1948 - those owned by Jews and those owned by Palestinians - have now legally passed into other hands.

Knowingly receiving stolen property is a crime, and even if you didn't know it was stolen, you don't get to keep it.
posted by Pope Guilty at 7:37 PM on June 6, 2010 [2 favorites]


Wow -- when is North America being given back to its indigenous people?
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:09 PM on June 6, 2010


To be slightly less obtuse: most American (and Australian, and Canadian, and New Zealand) land is "stolen" in the sense that delmoi uses the word, and legally owned in the way Joe in Australia puts it. And yet things are a bit more complicated than that.
posted by i_am_joe's_spleen at 8:16 PM on June 6, 2010


That's the thing; Israel knows full well that the land will be theirs if they can only keep hold of it for another generation or so. Most land on the planet used to belong to somebody else and possession is 9/10 of the law. The Brits in Northern Ireland are probably the model here.
posted by Justinian at 8:18 PM on June 6, 2010




Knesset panel recommends revoking Arab MK's privileges "Decision to strip Balad MK Hanin Zuabi of privileges over Gaza flotilla participation passed by a majority of seven to one; Zuabi to Haaretz: We are victims of a witch hunt."
posted by zarq at 8:43 AM on June 7, 2010


Wow -- when is North America being given back to its indigenous people?

It happens in Canada, but slowly.

Some stats on Native Land Claims in Canada:

Under Review: 626
Under Negotiation: 122
In Active Litigation: 71
In the Indian Specific Claims Commission Process: 35
Other not settled: 192

TOTAL UNSETTLED: 1046
Claims Settled since 1973: 272
posted by Kirk Grim at 4:08 PM on June 7, 2010


It happens in Canada, but slowly.

Yeaaaaah. In places nobody really cares much about. When downtown Toronto or similar is given back we can talk.
posted by Justinian at 5:47 PM on June 7, 2010



Funny you should mention that, they're working on a settlement for downtown Toronto.

Look, I get your point, but no one would be claiming for the land if "no one much cares about" it. The point is that Canada at least recognizes it has obligations, regardless if it's something they can realistically compensate for. The Toronto Purchase was 200 years ago, a lot has happened with that land that can't be reversed at this point. The same is not true of the Palestinian territories.
posted by Kirk Grim at 9:20 PM on June 7, 2010


The Okanagan Indian (Westbank First Nation) band is making out like bandits with their reserve, essentially operating a very profitable town. The Osoyoos (Nk'mip) band has blown everyone away with their Osoyoos Desert eco-tourism, lakefront vacation holdings, and winery. There are several lower mainland bands that are doing extremely well; really, how could they not, the land is priceless — and essential for the shipping industry. I don't know the details of their treaty, but the Nisga'a are apparently quite satisfied with their 2000 sq.km. land settlement (pop. ~6000) and invaluable water rights, even though it's in some place no one really cares about.

We're making damn fine progress, I think. The weakness in Canada's land claims is that we aren't making it easier for the more troubled bands to get their shit together. There are bands that are doing extremely well by having control of their land and water resources: some because the property is extremely valuable for commercial development; others because the property provides incredible natural resources that can be exploited in a maintainable fashion. What seems to be key, afaict, is whether they've been able to get a generation of kids educated to modern standards and have them return to the tribe to help organize and operate it.
posted by five fresh fish at 9:22 PM on June 7, 2010



Wow -- when is North America being given back to its indigenous people?

It happens in Canada, but slowly.


And it is predicted as very likely for the Hawaiians. In fact, futurist Jim Dator urges Hawaiians to start planning for "What's Next" -- life after Hawaiian Sovereignty: After Independence - (i.e., after America's collapse).

To get back to the op -- are the Palestinians addressing the same question now? (Note how Dator talks of the chaos in E. European countries that neglected to do so)
posted by Surfurrus at 10:20 PM on June 7, 2010


Anyone catch this item:
Below, the protesters rummaged through captured soldiers' belongings and claimed to unearth a document that they allege is a list of people Israel intended to assassinate. The booklet, written in Hebrew and in English, contained some photographs of passengers on the Marmara, including the leader of IHH, the Turkish charity that provided two of the ships, an 88-year-old priest and Ra'ad Salah, head of the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel, Mr Elshayyal said.
Dunno if The Independent is a good source.
posted by five fresh fish at 11:20 PM on June 7, 2010


How did the protesters know what the document was meant for? Was it headed "People To Be Killed", or something? And I presume these people are still alive, right? These are questions the reporter ought to have asked.
posted by Joe in Australia at 1:48 AM on June 8, 2010


Dunno if The Independent is a good source.

It's fairly reliable as UK newspapers go. It's known as being quite hot on non-mainstream issues, and especially issues that the larger-circulation (and more mainstream, centrist) papers tend to either gloss over or not even cover. This doesn't really come over in its website though. Its World section tends to have a broader reach (smaller nations; less World = Western World) than most of the other papers, and picks up on smaller things (generally, injustice).

It also prides itself on being free of influence from its owners (i.e. the "we're not owned by Murdoch") jab. However, it is worth noting that it was acquired fairly recently by Alexander Lebedev, so who knows if this is still true in reality.

tl;dr - yep, it's a fairly lefty paper which likes to pick up on 3rd world injustices and problems. It can be quite shrill with its viewpoint at times.
posted by djgh at 3:16 AM on June 8, 2010


Rasmussen:
Forty-nine percent (49%) of U.S. voters believe pro-Palestinian activists on the Gaza-bound aid ships raided by Israeli forces are to blame for the deaths that resulted in the high-profile incident.

A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that just 19% of voters think the Israelis are to blame. Thirty-two percent (32%) more are not sure.

But 51% say Israel should allow an international investigation of the incident. Twenty-five percent (25%) agree with the Israeli government and reject the idea of an international probe. Another 24% are undecided.
posted by lullaby at 8:50 AM on June 8, 2010




Artw, did you post that in the wrong thread?
posted by Joe in Australia at 10:24 PM on June 10, 2010


No?
posted by Artw at 12:15 AM on June 11, 2010


Gershom Gorenberg on the incident and other stuff.
posted by wittgenstein at 2:29 PM on June 11, 2010


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