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By request, here’s an article on topic.  Please post links to more detailed articles.  I’m not up on the story.

I still haven’t had the time to catch up with the story behind what was a horrific event over the weekend, but here’s some coverage.

From The Nation:

This one is about lack of satisfaction in Obama’s response.

Netanyahu canceled a meeting with Obama to fly home to deal with the fallout.

Turkey is comparing the incident to 9/11.

An article on one of the Americans involved.

Israel’s press conference on the subject claiming they found weapons on the flotilla, and that they were shot at first.

The Israeli account of the incident.

The videos came from the Israeli government link.  If anybody has anything from a more neutral source, please let me know.

Addendum: Here is the most reasonable piece on the incident I’ve come across, or so it appears to me since I pretty much agree with the analysis.  I think in Israel’s case I’m reminded of the old peace movement saying, “when your only tool is a hammer, you see every problem as a nail.”

Second addendum: Some statements from flotilla survivors.

Third addendum: Here’s a CBS story on the topic.

From an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network.

“One of the things I find most interesting is that generally Evangelicals are so much more supportive of Israel than the American Jewish community,” Huckabee, an ordained Baptist minister, said.

What he leaves out is that much (not all) of the evangelical base support Israel primarily because it fits into their views of Biblical prophecy and the end days rather than any real affinity.  But one TPM reader is even more to the point.

The American Jewish community is divided about lots of things, it’s our nature. One thing we tend NOT to be divided about is support for Israel. But support doesn’t mean merely blind acceptance, which is something Republicans never seem to understand in general. We can support Israel while disagreeing–loudly and forcefully at times–about specific behaviors of its government. As an American Jewish liberal Democrat, I can support a 2-state solution (which, to my knowledge, remains official Israeli government policy), oppose the expansion of settlements, rail about Bibi’s government or at least his governing style, and still wholly, fundamentally support the state of Israel. And, you know what? I resent Huckabee and his ilk for implying that my support of Israel is anything less than total just because it doesn’t fit into his narrow prism of what he perceives that support should be.

In response to this Nation piece entitled Feeling the Hate in Tel Aviv, which includes a rather disturbing video (includes racist remarks directed at Obama); a long time friend of mine who has lived in Israel and is an expert on Israeli culture and the Middle East conflict threw together some thoughts.  She is very much a left winger.

I saw it. You can see the contradiction in the Kikar scene where one of the young guys pointed to himself and talked about not liking people who are dark skinned. One thing that the video does not do a good job is showing the context for these ideas, which are very complicated. Part of it has to do with the lack of international education and awareness, part of it has to do with the attacks that Israelis have suffered from since the beginning of the Second Intifada. This is a big factor. I remember being in Tel Aviv during the First Intifada and even in 1993 – when most Tel Avivis were of the mind set – the Intifada isn’t against me and I’m not against the Intifada.

Also I don’t think that Max Blumenthal knows Arabic. I was on the web just last night and I was watching a youtube video of a Yemeni Jewish dance and the comments in Arabic were completely anti-Semitic, stating that the Jews weren’t real Yeminis and that they were Zionists, that the women were whores. Last December one Rabbi in Yemen was murdered and it now looks like the very last Jews in Yemen are leaving. There were also anti-Semitic attacks in Europe, in Spain, in France, in Holland. One guy was tortured for 3 weeks and then murdered. This is not being reported by the mainstream international press, but it is being reported in Israel. South Africa is a leader in the Boycott Israel movement and calling for the replacement of Israel with a secular Palestinian state. There was a record number of immigrants to Israel from there in December. The economy in Israel is really awful 1/3 of Israeli children go hungry. The welfare state has been almost destroyed, but people are still immigrating because of this rise in anti-Semitism. What you are seeing is a cycle of anti-Semitism fueling racism, extremism fueling extremism. All of this on top of the on-going Israeli Occupation, and that is also on top of a general feeling that Israel’s right to exist is being attacked, and Israelis are in danger of having bombs dropped on them and the rest of the world doesn’t care. Such a situation is not one conducive to promoting liberal enlightened ideas.

I have been trying to continue this post and facebook is really annoying so I will try to be as brief as possible despite the fact that this is not a good format for dealing with this issue.
The west’s relationship with the Middle East continues to be exploitative – sell weapons of mass destruction and buy oil. Talk of the Nation had some guy on a couple of weeks ago wishing that someone would drop bombs on Israel after having read Carter’s book. There is your stimuli for Israel’s current hatefest.

10 years ago there was not massive popular support for the Occupation, but Israel was able to continue that Occupation with US support. Now the US has finally changing its policies but it is doing so at a time when Israeli cities have seen bombs drop on their civilians, when there is a regime in Iran that threatens to destroy Israel and is close to having a nuclear bomb and sponsors right wing Islamistists who try on a regular basis to infiltrate Israel and do in Israel what is being done in Iraq on a daily basis. Israel is not in the US it is in the Middle East and it is becoming like any other shitty Middle Eastern country. Americans and American Jews need to face the facts and deal with reality. And it is an ugly reality. The whole Middle East is an ugly reality. Cakha ze ha haim sham!

I realize some of these thoughts may fall on deaf ears as the American political approach to the issue pretty much breaks it down to an oversimplified black and white.  But the end result of the progressive communities’ Arab good-Israel bad approach is pretty much guaranteeing a perpetual cycle of violence.

Michael Walzer, in my view one of the more profound thinkers when it comes to war and foreign policy, asks the question and tries to answer it.  He argues that both sides have to take some unilateral actions without obsessing over what they will get in return.

Some highlights:

NO ONE can say with any certainty that the two-state solution was viable before the war in Gaza. I can imagine arguments that the war made it more viable and also that it made it less viable. But, really, its viability doesn’t have a lot to do with the immediate strategic/political situation. There isn’t any other solution; this one is unique. People keep coming back to it because there’s no other way to go. It survives, therefore, I guess, it’s viable.

But it isn’t in great shape right now, even though everyone knows what each side would have to do to realize this solution. The Palestinians have to end their civil war, and form a provisional government that recognizes Israel and represses all terrorist activity. The Israelis have to form a government that recognizes the Palestinians’ right to a state of their own, defeats the settler movement, and begins the evacuation of the settlements.

The nice thing about these two lists of what-ought-to-be-done is that they don’t require any mutual engagement. Settling their civil war and repressing terrorism are things that the Palestinians can do—indeed, have to do—by themselves. And Israelis can defeat the settler movement and move the settlers out of the West Bank without a “partner” on the other side and without handing over territory. Move the settlers out and the army in. That would be a sufficient indication of a readiness to withdraw, just as the repression of terrorist activity by the Palestinians would be a sufficient indication of a readiness to coexist. The readiness is all…

It’s a good follow up to the Four Wars of Israel/Palestine – old but still relevant.  He’s right about the two-state solution being the only possibility for peace in the short term.  It would be nice if everyone could sing Kumbaya under a grand banner of Palestine propped up by western standards for the separation of church and state, and maybe decades or centuries down the road it’ll all be moot (actually it will, one way or another), but in the short run we need a solution which stops the shooting for a generation or two when what are open wounds now become points of contention in debates over the interpretation of history.

In the meantime, what governs is expressed in the lines from the old Obie-winning SF Mime Troupe play, Seeing Double:

There is no God in the land of Palestine
just millions of voices crying “I want mine!”

Jerome Slater began the discussion with this discussion of the just war philosophy and the invasion of Gaza, in which he boldly argues that Israel does not in fact have the right to defend itself until it retreats to the pre-1967 borders.

Doug Lieb then submitted a rebuttal, in which he dismisses the idea that Hamas represents “resistance” and basically characterizes Slater’s argument as a moral justification for killing civilians.

Slater then responds by accusing Lieb of employing a straw man instead of his actual arguments, and responds to a number of Lieb’s points.

If Lieb responds further, I’ll post the response.

Quite the ad being aired in Israel.

I recently posted about a tragedy which could be heard on live television in Israel.  It may not have been the direct result of an Israeli attack.

From Israel Matsav:

I’m sure you all remember the story of Dr. Izzeldin Abuelaish, the ‘Palestinian’ doctor who lives in Gaza and works in Tel HaShomer. You will recall that three of the doctor’s daughters died in their home, allegedly as a result of the house being hit by an IDF shell. You will also recall that I reported that Israel Television’s Channel 1 reported that the doctor’s daughter and niece who were brought to the hospital had shrapnel in their heads that came from a Grad-type Katyusha rocket, which is a weapon used by Hamas and not by the IDF.

On Saturday night, Israel’s Channel 2 presented with the IDF Golani Brigade battalion commander whose unit fired on the house. While the conclusions are still preliminary and he’s careful to present them as such, they also speak for themselves.

There’s a little more through the link, but here’s the interview.  It’s in Hebrew, but if you pull up the menu at the little triangle in the lower right hand corner of the video image and hit the closed caption (cc) button you can get English subtitles.

Setting aside the fact that, besides the videos which have not yet been releases, the only non-IDF individual who could provide any useful information is the physician who removed the shrapnel, it’s really beside the point.  This happens with war, so whomever you blame for starting the war is responsible regardless of whose weapons actually hit the house.

The Arab-based political parties have won their appeal and will participate in the election.

A demonstration a few days ago, 10,000 in Tel Aviv protesting the bombing of Gaza.

A little bit of a contrast with half a century ago.

Addendum: These Israeli kids are going to jail for refusal to serve in the military.  Yes, military service is mandatory for women as well.

They are known as the Shministim and you can sign a petition on their behalf at this site, which also contains profiles of each of the conscientious objectors including their sentences.  Can’t find a translation of Shministim there (the boy in the video makes the translation, but I can’t make out what he says), but maybe someone here can help.

Second addendum: Meanwhile, here is a clip of one very brave young American woman, using her national status and the presence of a Korean news camera to at least calm the situation in one corner of the conflict.  It seems like they were ready to manhandle her until she started speaking English.  Whatever satisfaction she feels about the brief moment of restraint is undone as she looks at the violence across the way, wishing she can be everywhere at once.  Her conduct earned her some praise from a prominent conservative blogger.

Third addendum: The y0ung woman is Hawaida Arraf, co-f0under of the International Solidarity Movement.   Her father is Israeli-Arab.  Her mother is Palestinian.  She is Christian and an American, raised in Detroit.  She co-founded the group with her husband Adam Shapiro.


July 2020