Thursday, June 3, 2010

Pretext and the Middle East

Can you name one person who’s opinion of Israel was changed by a careful review of the recent boarding incident? I can’t. The purpose of the attempt to run the Gaza blockade was to embarrass Israel – to give people who hate Israel a media window to lie some more, and to give people who would like to hate Israel an opportunity to pretend they know something now that they did not know before. But no one who knows the Middle East believes for a minute that the people on the Mavi Marmara were seeking anything other than a violent confrontation that would end in the deaths of people who could be colored as humanitarians.

The mission was a success, just as 9/11 was a success. The media, including the American media, so famously controlled by "The Jews," are falling all over themselves to condemn the Israeli action. Some are unsympathetic to the blockade, but that’s a separate matter. The facts of this event are still the facts of this event.

I have no problem, by the way, with the tactics the anti-Israeli forces are using; they are at war and are no more obliged to be truthful than any other combatants. But I can criticize the media for allowing the tactic to work. This account by Israel’s ambassador to the US, albeit obviously written by an advocate, just sounds more credible to me than the rantings of Israel’s enemies, not because of the evidence adduced – evidence can always be planted – but because this is how asymmetrical war is fought.

I keep thinking of Lenin’s remark about how the capitalists would sell the Soviets the rope they would use to hang us. I wonder if Osama hasn’t said something similar about ink and the Jews.


  1. Larry- I agree with most of your feelings in the blog. There are however some questions that I would like the answer to;

    1. Why not wait until the ships were closer to land, and or force them to anchor in Israeli waters?

    2. Did Israel consult at all with Turkey about the issues? (losing Turkey as an ally is not a good thinhg for Israel)

    3. Is there evidenciary proof that the people on the boat were armed with guns?

    On a general note, I don't think the attack on the boat was well handled by the military

  2. 1. I'm not sure what the ramifications are of enforcing the blockade only in territorial waters. I suspect there are security issues. I don't know how you force a boat to do anything if you don't threaten to sink it, disable it, or board it, and of these three, in the normal course, boarding seems the least damaging. All the folks have to do is let you come on board and do your thing. I realize that there was no legal obligation to comply - that Israel was acting in violation of international law - but so was Kennedy in October, 1962. That's how blockades work.

    2. I don't know if there was any consultation with Turkey. But the blockade was not news to anyone. What could the benefit have been?

    3. Elon says they found shell casings of non-Israeli caliber. Who knows if they did or didn't? I don't doubt that they had crowbars, and I don't subscribe to the notion that the outnumbered Israeli soldiers should not use guns against people who mean to do them harm by any means they may choose.

    The military is being criticized for being unprepared for the violence. I'll be interested to hear what the "correct" tactic would have been now that it's Monday morning. Note that, according to Amb. Elon, five of the six boats in the flotilla were boarded and inspected and their goods delivered to non-Hamas agencies. It's unlikely the Israelis uniquely provoked the sixth boat's passengers to violence.

    Military exercises are not rehearsals, and shit happens. Maybe this boarding was botched, maybe it wasn't. Like the Gates business in Cambridge, I wasn't there.


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