Friday, June 4, 2010

The World vs. Israel

Israel once again stands alone versus the world, suffering an unjustified, biased, and prejudicial backlash over its handling of the attempted blockade-running by a group of pro-Palestinian activists-cum-aggressors. Earlier this week, a flotilla of six ships attempted to break the Israeli and Egyptian enforced blockade of the Gaza Strip in what they thinly described as a ‘humanitarian-aid’ mission.

The flotilla was anything but driven by humanitarian aims. The organizers themselves described it primary as a mission to break the blockade – a political, not a compassionate goal.  Greta Berlin, leader of Free Gaza, one of the organizing groups stated, "Our mission is to break the blockade of Gaza."  And while the activists filled their ships with wheelchairs and other non-military items, the cynical ruse was not to provide the supposedly oppressed Gazans with these supplies, but win a public relations battle versus Israel. In this vein, the flotilla refused offers from the Israeli navy to transfer the humanitarian supplies to Gaza overland via the Israeli port of Ashdod, instead opting to have a high-seas confrontation with the Israeli navy.

The activists knew very well that they could set a trap for Israel, creating a win-win situation. Either they would break the blockade, thus rendering Israel’s necessary defense ineffective or they would goad the Israelis into a battle that although winnable in a tactical sense would receive the standard international condemnation.

The Israelis were unfortunately caught in the latter, as the passengers of the lead ship, the Mavi Marmara¸ violently attacked the boarding Israeli commandos after refusing to stop their approach towards Gaza. Despite being primarily armed with paintball guns and cautioned to treat the mission as a police, not a military, assignment, the Israeli commandos were ruthlessly beaten, attacked, and savaged by the supposed ‘peaceniks’. The commandos responded in-kind, defending their own lives, and leaving nine Turkish passengers dead.

Unsurprisingly, there was quick condemnation from the international community. Many critics argue that Israel used excessive force in dealing with the activists. But while such denunciation is routine, is highly unjustified. Video footage [Clip 1 Clip 2 Clip 3 Clip 4] from the incident is unquestionably clear as to the violence of the passengers. News reports, largely ignored by the Western media, indicate that at least 50 of the 700 activists were hired mercenaries, strategically placed to inflict maximum harm. Other reports indicate that guns and other weaponry may have been thrown overboard after the fight. And to boot, there are firm connections between the organizers of the flotilla, a ‘charity’ referred to as IHH, and radical Islamist terrorists, such as Hamas and al-Qaeda.

Israel is the one country the world loves to pick on. In a combination of anti-Semitism, anti-Westernism, liberal apologism, Islamism, and a disgusting moral equivalency, Israel finds itself internationally isolated, save for some tepid support by the US administration. The backwardness and hypocrisy of this is appalling. Little is said when North Korea sinks a South Korean ship, killing 46 sailors, criticism is muted against the intra-Muslim massacres that routinely occur in Iraq, and condemnation of the abuses of such regimes ranging from Iran to Sudan is dismissed; however, Israel, operating in a legal and just fashion to defend itself, is blasted from every corner.

Leaving aside the justness of the specific blockade for a moment, it is indubitable that any country maintaining a blockade of an enemy force will seek to maintain the barrier. The activists knew this very well and chose to pick a fight. No blockade can be successful if anyone claiming ‘humanitarian aid’ can simply waltz through. By not complying with the restrictions of the blockade the flotilla necessarily became an antagonistic force towards Israel, which rightly had to impede the ships’ progress. Any country at war would do the same, most without the conscientious regard for the perpetrators wellbeing (and the aid, by the way, is already en route overland to Gaza). As the fate of the other five ships demonstrates, the Israelis had no interest in harming any people on board; only when the pro-Palestinians became aggressive did the commandos feel a need to respond.

Critics, however, point to the blockade as the source of all problems. The fact is that the blockade is necessary, proper, and legal. It is (or has been) accepted by the Quartet, the four major negotiators in the region, and managed in tandem with Egypt. Both Egypt and Israel are threatened by the heinous leadership that is Hamas, which not only subverts its people but routinely sends rockets into Israel. The blockade is indispensable in preventing Hamas from rearming, which ultimately will save both Israeli and Palestinian lives.

The anti-Israel rhetoric is grounded in a baseless argument that the blockade and the fight against Hamas is anything but necessitated by Israel’s desire for security and self-preservation. Arguments that claim collective punishment or state oppression are meaningless pufferies that are aimed to excite the emotions of the na├»ve and ignore the reality in the region. One only need compare the conditions in Gaza to those in West Bank to see Israel’s true aims when it comes to the blockade. The West Bank, run by the more moderate Fatah, is far less violent and threatening to Israel, and thus has not been blockaded.

The Mavi Marmara incident has unjustly given Israel a black-eye, but should not sway the Netanyahu administration from the correctness of its course. As the next flotilla, led by the Rachel Corrie, heads towards Gaza’s shores, the Israelis must be resolute in protecting the blockade. To give an inch is to undermine the last defense they have against a resurgent Hamas in Gaza. As the international community slowly whittles away at the foundations of Israeli security, the tiny nation must do what it can to preserve its existence. While, per standard procedures, all actions should be taken to minimize civilian harm, Israel must recognize that no matter what actions it takes, short of liquidating itself, it will receive international condemnation. It is far better to receive global opprobrium than sow the seeds of your own destruction.

19 comments:

  1. So do you tag all of your blogs with "terrorist"?

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  2. No - only the relevant ones. Seems that its actually only been a tag on 3 posts in the history of ANR, 7 if you count "terrorism".

    And see I didnt even think people read the tags.

    Thanks for reading.

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  3. You sir are a sheep and a moron. It saddens me how many sheep just like yourself are in my party now, it is an embarrassment.

    Signed a 10 year US Army vet and Proud TRUE Republican.

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  4. You need to offer a little more substance than that if you really hope to contribute to anything in the way of ideas.

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  5. You ignored mentioning that Israel fired live ammunition at the largest ship before dropping the commandos on it. So the civilians on the ship, not armed with any lethal weaponry, defended their lives from an obviously violent and illegal siege on international waters.

    of course, given the unabashed and blind conservative bias you write under, i dont think anyone with skills in critical thought expected you to shed lights on the parts of the story that did not support your pro-Isreal-no-matter-what narrative.

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  6. I've seen no reports or footage of Israel firing live ammunition at the ships as you suggest - if you do have something to that affect please provide it.

    Regardless, WHAT were they defending themselves against? The five other ships were boarded without so much as a scuffle - not one person was hurt. The Israeli commandos had paintball guns - yes paintball guns. I can tell you that a paintball isn't going to kill anyone. And last time I checked knives were lethal. Try watching the videos and see for your self where the aggression was coming from. This was a routine mission - one by the way that the Israelis have done before in similar situations and also something routinely done by nearly every coast guard across the globe. The difference is that the activists chose to use force. When a police or paramilitary operation seizes a ship, generally civilians step back and do not fight. If you fight against authorities (whether right or wrong) they will fight back.

    Finally, please explain how this is "illegal" or a "siege". International law allows a country to act with military strength in international waters when the threat is imminent and the purpose of perpetrators is unquestionably clear. You seem to ignore that Israel made numerous attempts to stop the flotilla via diplomacy, including contacting Turkey and the ship. Every attempt was refused - I presume you would tell Israel to simply let anyone break the blockade that desires to? That's simply foolish.

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  7. New audio coverage released of 'activists' telling the Israeli Navy to "go back to Auschwitz" and "We are helping Arabs go against the US. Don't forget 9/11 guys."
    http://www.jpost.com/Israel/Article.aspx?id=177505

    The flotilla's intent was clear.

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  8. Dr. Daniel Gordis of the Shalem Center in Israel writes to his Jewish-American friend who is critical of Israel’s action in stopping the flotilla to Gaza. “As we look out at Jews across the world, we're just assessing who gets Jewish history, and who's so thoroughly intellectually assimilated that they're actually embarrassed that that Jews don't have to continue to be victims.” Most of the world has a traditional role for Jews, victims. Sadly, too many in the Jewish community also have the same traditional role for us and themselves, especially as it relates to Israel.
    We Jews, no longer have to accept the role of victims. We Jews, don’t want your pity; we want your respect (praise is too much to expect) for being able and willing to defend ourselves. And we certainly don’t accept your condemnation as Israel strives to protect its people.

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  9. Well said Harry. The Jewish victimhood syndrome is unfortunately a deep problem, both from an internal and external perspective. There is often a knee-jerk drive to give the 'underdog' a higher moral standing, simply for being in the weaker position and to fault the 'overdog' without cause for being an oppressor. Ironically Jewish success over the years has led to rabid anti-Semitism and thus victimization. The 'outsider' Jew has often been punished for achieving success (financial in Europe pre-Holocaust, military and financial in Israel, etc.)

    The worst, as you point out, are those Jews that can't break this self-imposed role. The JStreeters of the world, who can't in their "liberal Zionist" mentality [See a great article by Jonathan Tobin http://www.jpost.com/Opinion/Op-EdContributors/Article.aspx?id=177306] fit Israel into the mold of victim, tar and feather it as an oppressor. In a world were power and success are automatically tagged as morally reprehensible, the good who use these characteristics will be punished while the bad will drum up propoganda to cloak themselves in the mantle of victimhood.

    Thanks for positing.

    ~Josh

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  10. Interesting how the entire world is wrong and Israel is right.

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  11. It is no secret that victims of abuse later become abusers. This holds true for Israel. Bitter victims given billions of US military aid...used to kill millions of men, women & children and take over their land. The real story doesn't get told in US. When Israelites first came to promised land, they killed every man, woman and child living there. Interesting how history is repeating itself.

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  12. Sounds like Anonymous needs to stop reading Iranian state-run media outlets.

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  13. Publius, that is certainly a possibility. Although I would hope even Iranian media outlets have some content in their arguments.

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  14. Sadly, Mr. or Ms. Anonymous seems not only to be full of hate or envy (or both), but completely out of touch at the same time. I have never seen such a clear right and wrong to a debate as I read above. Well said Josh and Publius. It is unfortunate that Isreal, the West and other logical and reasonable peoples have to deal with the Anonymous's we share this good Earth with.

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  15. Thanks David. Whatever one things of the blockade or Israel, for that matter, seems irrelevant when the facts of the flotilla incident are so clear.

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  16. If you can't refute the message, attack the messenger. If you can't attack the messenger, make false accusations about the messenger.

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  17. Anon - Absolutely correct and "shooting the messenger" is never a means to understanding and growth through discourse. Certainly, though the messenger needs to be saying something substantive, and not mere puffery. What, in your opinion, is the message?

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  18. Josh,

    Glad you're able to keep your composure and offer very salient and dignified responses. "Anonymous" has no interest in drawing you into intellectual discourse. He's simply baiting you. We know he has no idea what he's talking about and is using what he thinks is clever rhetoric to try and lash out and counter your sound arguments with angry falsehoods and blather. You're wasting your time trying to confront his barrage of nonsense . He hates Israel, possibly all Jews, and will make up baseless assertions so he can continue his hateful diatribe. Facts will not dissuade him. Just ignore him and move on.

    Common sense is with you here.

    Jeff F. Cornell '85 (and not even a Republican)

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  19. Jeff,

    Thanks for your words Jeff. Common sense is one of the aims of this blog. There isn't any point in meaningless rhetoric and talking points. The point, in my mind, of any politics is to reach truthful and rational policy. One way to accomplish this is through the discussion and debate over important topics. Through such interaction one is able to strengthen their ideas and/or change them when confronted with flaws.

    Thanks for reading

    Josh

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