Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Stratfor: Flotillas and the Wars of Public Opinion

By George Friedman
May 31, 2010

On Sunday, Israeli naval forces intercepted the ships of a Turkish nongovernmental organization (NGO) delivering humanitarian supplies to Gaza. Israel had demanded that the vessels not go directly to Gaza but instead dock in Israeli ports, where the supplies would be offloaded and delivered to Gaza. The Turkish NGO refused, insisting on going directly to Gaza. Gunfire ensued when Israeli naval personnel boarded one of the vessels, and a significant number of the passengers and crew on the ship were killed or wounded.

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon charged that the mission was simply an attempt to provoke the Israelis. That was certainly the case. The mission was designed to demonstrate that the Israelis were unreasonable and brutal. The hope was that Israel would be provoked to extreme action, further alienating Israel from the global community and possibly driving a wedge between Israel and the United States. The operation’s planners also hoped this would trigger a political crisis in Israel.

A logical Israeli response would have been avoiding falling into the provocation trap and suffering the political repercussions the Turkish NGO was trying to trigger. Instead, the Israelis decided to make a show of force. The Israelis appear to have reasoned that backing down would demonstrate weakness and encourage further flotillas to Gaza, unraveling the Israeli position vis-à-vis Hamas. In this thinking, a violent interception was a superior strategy to accommodation regardless of political consequences. Thus, the Israelis accepted the bait and were provoked.

The ‘Exodus’ Scenario

In the 1950s, an author named Leon Uris published a book called “Exodus.” Later made into a major motion picture, Exodus told the story of a Zionist provocation against the British. In the wake of World War II, the British — who controlled Palestine, as it was then known — maintained limits on Jewish immigration there. Would-be immigrants captured trying to run the blockade were detained in camps in Cyprus. In the book and movie, Zionists planned a propaganda exercise involving a breakout of Jews — mostly children — from the camp, who would then board a ship renamed the Exodus. When the Royal Navy intercepted the ship, the passengers would mount a hunger strike. The goal was to portray the British as brutes finishing the work of the Nazis. The image of children potentially dying of hunger would force the British to permit the ship to go to Palestine, to reconsider British policy on immigration, and ultimately to decide to abandon Palestine and turn the matter over to the United Nations.

There was in fact a ship called Exodus, but the affair did not play out precisely as portrayed by Uris, who used an amalgam of incidents to display the propaganda war waged by the Jews. Those carrying out this war had two goals. The first was to create sympathy in Britain and throughout the world for Jews who, just a couple of years after German concentration camps, were now being held in British camps. Second, they sought to portray their struggle as being against the British. The British were portrayed as continuing Nazi policies toward the Jews in order to maintain their empire. The Jews were portrayed as anti-imperialists, fighting the British much as the Americans had.

It was a brilliant strategy. By focusing on Jewish victimhood and on the British, the Zionists defined the battle as being against the British, with the Arabs playing the role of people trying to create the second phase of the Holocaust. The British were portrayed as pro-Arab for economic and imperial reasons, indifferent at best to the survivors of the Holocaust. Rather than restraining the Arabs, the British were arming them. The goal was not to vilify the Arabs but to villify the British, and to position the Jews with other nationalist groups whether in India or Egypt rising against the British.

The precise truth or falsehood of this portrayal didn’t particularly matter. For most of the world, the Palestine issue was poorly understood and not a matter of immediate concern. The Zionists intended to shape the perceptions of a global public with limited interest in or understanding of the issues, filling in the blanks with their own narrative. And they succeeded.

The success was rooted in a political reality. Where knowledge is limited, and the desire to learn the complex reality doesn’t exist, public opinion can be shaped by whoever generates the most powerful symbols. And on a matter of only tangential interest, governments tend to follow their publics’ wishes, however they originate. There is little to be gained for governments in resisting public opinion and much to be gained by giving in. By shaping the battlefield of public perception, it is thus possible to get governments to change positions.

In this way, the Zionists’ ability to shape global public perceptions of what was happening in Palestine — to demonize the British and turn the question of Palestine into a Jewish-British issue — shaped the political decisions of a range of governments. It was not the truth or falsehood of the narrative that mattered. What mattered was the ability to identify the victim and victimizer such that global opinion caused both London and governments not directly involved in the issue to adopt political stances advantageous to the Zionists. It is in this context that we need to view the Turkish flotilla.

The Turkish Flotilla to Gaza

The Palestinians have long argued that they are the victims of Israel, an invention of British and American imperialism. Since 1967, they have focused not so much on the existence of the state of Israel (at least in messages geared toward the West) as on the oppression of Palestinians in the occupied territories. Since the split between Hamas and Fatah and the Gaza War, the focus has been on the plight of the citizens of Gaza, who have been portrayed as the dispossessed victims of Israeli violence.

The bid to shape global perceptions by portraying the Palestinians as victims of Israel was the first prong of a longtime two-part campaign. The second part of this campaign involved armed resistance against the Israelis. The way this resistance was carried out, from airplane hijackings to stone-throwing children to suicide bombers, interfered with the first part of the campaign, however. The Israelis could point to suicide bombings or the use of children against soldiers as symbols of Palestinian inhumanity. This in turn was used to justify conditions in Gaza. While the Palestinians had made significant inroads in placing Israel on the defensive in global public opinion, they thus consistently gave the Israelis the opportunity to turn the tables. And this is where the flotilla comes in.

The Turkish flotilla aimed to replicate the Exodus story or, more precisely, to define the global image of Israel in the same way the Zionists defined the image that they wanted to project. As with the Zionist portrayal of the situation in 1947, the Gaza situation is far more complicated than as portrayed by the Palestinians. The moral question is also far more ambiguous. But as in 1947, when the Zionist portrayal was not intended to be a scholarly analysis of the situation but a political weapon designed to define perceptions, the Turkish flotilla was not designed to carry out a moral inquest.

Instead, the flotilla was designed to achieve two ends. The first is to divide Israel and Western governments by shifting public opinion against Israel. The second is to create a political crisis inside Israel between those who feel that Israel’s increasing isolation over the Gaza issue is dangerous versus those who think any weakening of resolve is dangerous.

The Geopolitical Fallout for Israel

It is vital that the Israelis succeed in portraying the flotilla as an extremist plot. Whether extremist or not, the plot has generated an image of Israel quite damaging to Israeli political interests. Israel is increasingly isolated internationally, with heavy pressure on its relationship with Europe and the United States.

In all of these countries, politicians are extremely sensitive to public opinion. It is difficult to imagine circumstances under which public opinion will see Israel as the victim. The general response in the Western public is likely to be that the Israelis probably should have allowed the ships to go to Gaza and offload rather than to precipitate bloodshed. Israel’s enemies will fan these flames by arguing that the Israelis prefer bloodshed to reasonable accommodation. And as Western public opinion shifts against Israel, Western political leaders will track with this shift.

The incident also wrecks Israeli relations with Turkey, historically an Israeli ally in the Muslim world with longstanding military cooperation with Israel. The Turkish government undoubtedly has wanted to move away from this relationship, but it faced resistance within the Turkish military and among secularists. The new Israeli action makes a break with Israel easy, and indeed almost necessary for Ankara.

With roughly the population of Houston, Texas, Israel is just not large enough to withstand extended isolation, meaning this event has profound geopolitical implications.

Public opinion matters where issues are not of fundamental interest to a nation. Israel is not a fundamental interest to other nations. The ability to generate public antipathy to Israel can therefore reshape Israeli relations with countries critical to Israel. For example, a redefinition of U.S.-Israeli relations will have much less effect on the United States than on Israel. The Obama administration, already irritated by the Israelis, might now see a shift in U.S. public opinion that will open the way to a new U.S.-Israeli relationship disadvantageous to Israel.

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. It has to do with controlling public perception and using that public perception to shape foreign policy around the world. In this case, the issue will be whether the deaths were necessary. The Israeli argument of provocation will have limited traction.

Internationally, there is little doubt that the incident will generate a firestorm. Certainly, Turkey will break cooperation with Israel. Opinion in Europe will likely harden. And public opinion in the United States — by far the most important in the equation — might shift to a “plague-on-both-your-houses” position.

While the international reaction is predictable, the interesting question is whether this evolution will cause a political crisis in Israel. Those in Israel who feel that international isolation is preferable to accommodation with the Palestinians are in control now. Many in the opposition see Israel’s isolation as a strategic threat. Economically and militarily, they argue, Israel cannot survive in isolation. The current regime will respond that there will be no isolation. The flotilla aimed to generate what the government has said would not happen.

The tougher Israel is, the more the flotilla’s narrative takes hold. As the Zionists knew in 1947 and the Palestinians are learning, controlling public opinion requires subtlety, a selective narrative and cynicism. As they also knew, losing the battle can be catastrophic. It cost Britain the Mandate and allowed Israel to survive. Israel’s enemies are now turning the tables. This maneuver was far more effective than suicide bombings or the Intifada in challenging Israel’s public perception and therefore its geopolitical position (though if the Palestinians return to some of their more distasteful tactics like suicide bombing, the Turkish strategy of portraying Israel as the instigator of violence will be undermined).

Israel is now in uncharted waters. It does not know how to respond. It is not clear that the Palestinians know how to take full advantage of the situation, either. But even so, this places the battle on a new field, far more fluid and uncontrollable than what went before. The next steps will involve calls for sanctions against Israel. The Israeli threats against Iran will be seen in a different context, and Israeli portrayal of Iran will hold less sway over the world.

And this will cause a political crisis in Israel. If this government survives, then Israel is locked into a course that gives it freedom of action but international isolation. If the government falls, then Israel enters a period of domestic uncertainty. In either case, the flotilla achieved its strategic mission. It got Israel to take violent action against it. In doing so, Israel ran into its own fist.


Some of the best writing on this issue is from the Israeli press (Haaretz). See this, this, and this



jams o donnell said...

Amn interesting piece Ren. Three words sprang to mind in respect of Israel when I saw the news of this - "Stupid" "Bloody" and Idiots"

As for the Palestinians - "Propaganda" and "Coup"

The Sentinel said...

A very stupid move by Israel but then Israel never has seemed to care what the world thinks or really seemed too bothered by any consequences for its actions at all.

There have been 84 UN Resolutions condemning Israeli crimes against peace and crimes against humanity. There have been 41 additional UN Resolutions against Israel, in which the US – alone - vetoed the resolution.

And yet the US felt it entirely acceptable to deem Iraq as a rogue nation and invade based only on claims that Iraq was not complying with one single UN Resolution; and as we all now know those claims turned out to be nothing other then lies.

In this latest incident, the blame lies not with the soldiers who reacted in the way that they have been trained to react - albeit perhaps heavy handedly - but with the criminal fools who ordered the invasion and violation of a civilian vessel in international waters.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I can only hope that this atrocity by Israel acts as a stimulus for sea-change in the US and UK with regards to their relations with Israel.

Their actions were utterly unacceptable, perhaps the isolation of Israel and implications for its domestic policy begin now.

I hope so.

SecondComingOfBast said...

They should have torpedoed the damn ships. In what dream world does a nation under constant attack not have the right to inspect ships bound for enemy territory with alleged "aid".

If a relief ship were to deliver aid and supplies to North Korea, does anybody think for one minute its not going to be inspected to make sure the supplies are what they are claimed to be? Not only by the South, but the North as well.

I have yet to hear the answer to one simple question-how were the Israelis supposed to know what was on those ships if they did not inspect it?

The relief organization involved in this was told to dock the ships at the port of Ashdod, and that after they were inspected, the Israelis would allow the supplies through to Gaza by way of land convoy.

What would have been the problem with that?

ANSWER: It wasn't about delivering relief aid, it was about STARTING SHIT!! Same old shit, different day.

I repeat-they should have torpedoed every damn one of them, including the lead ship-the "Rachel Corrie", which perhaps should have been boarded (or sunk) by sailors from good ship INS Caterpillar.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Hawkish to say the least Pagan, although after your idea of a nuclear attack upon North Korea and starting some kind of war with them, this doesn't surprise me.

In answer to your question:

The publicity surrounding the vessels journey and it's contents, both in terms of people and aid for the occupied territories provided plenty of clues as to the vessels contents. And it was indeed a provocation, one that the Israeli government swallowed hook line and sinker and in doing so have further exposed themselves as a brutal regime and one that deserves ostracising.

Add to this the fact that it is perfectly possible to carry out an investigation of a boat's contents when...

a) it gets to your waters and

b) without killing people and using excessive force.

I have no doubt that you will be unmoved by this answer, just as the Israeli government are to calls for common sense, restraint and decency.

I would have to wonder what Israel would have to do to draw your ire PT?

SecondComingOfBast said...


There's nothing special or unique about Israel from my perspective. At one point I criticized them frequently. I changed my mind later, but there it is. There is simply no way to make peace with a group of people who have proven multiple times to me that they have no desire for it.

But that's the Palestinians. Here we are talking about mostly Westerners stepping into areas they don't understand, and don't belong, every bit as much the victims of propaganda as Rachel Corrie, who was actually encouraged to enter Gaza and act in a provocative way by the leftist college-Evergreen-which she attended, and which should be boarded up and auctioned off as far as I'm concerned.

Most of these people were, I think, Swedes and other Europeans. I don't think there were any Americans, so far as I know. The people on the ship who were killed-after they attacked the Israelis with nightsticks and ball bats, and other things-were Turks.

By and large, the Israelis are so reviled throughout the world, its hard for me to comprehend how you can expect them to take these people's words there was nothing on the ships but aid based on publicity. That's like judging a movie based on a trailer, or a play or a novel based on the reviews. Only they don't have privy to even that much information in this case.

So, why did they not just dock the ship at Ashdod and allow inspection. That seems to me to be a perfectly valid and reasonable request, and I don't believe for one second they honestly thought the Israelis would refuse to allow any legitimate aid to go through.

The Israelis can earn my ire and have earned my ire by electing leftist leaning governments who have sought to pursue wishy-washy policies that will just lead to more bloodshed.

When you are attacked with a scimitar you don't try to protect yourself with a pocket knife, you use something more than equal to the task. The more the Israelis act with restraint, the more they are reviled. Yet they still do that, so in that regard, yes they have earned my ire.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Your argument seems to come down to dismissing people who are concerned with Israel's actions in the occupied territories as not understanding the situation there and you seem to suggest they should keep their noses out. This is not a productive line of argument.

But then in the same beat you also dismiss the Palestinian perspective on the troubles in that region by marking them out as 'the bad guys' for want of a better phrase. Leaving, as far as you are concerned, no alternate perspective on the actions of Israel, no angle that offers a different take.

This is not useful or tenable.

Then throw in terms about provocation and leftist, I mean, I hate to break it to you but Israel is pretty provocative to many of us; not exclusively of course but we need no Marxist training camps to enrage us about the actions of that nation.

It seems, not that I can see this mattering at all, that the majority of the people on the boat were Turkish, with some Israeli's, Europeans, people from all over the world. Their origins are of little use here, unless certain types of people have different merits in this case of extreme force and violence.

You speak of Israelis being so reviled, I would disagree with this, anti-Israeli sentiment is different from anti-Semitism (and in turn anti-Zionism) and lest us not forgot they have powerful allies in the US, the worlds superpower. Pretending they are somehow victims and global weaklings is misleading.

The reason many people do not like the Israeli government is its constant cruel and barbaric treatment of the Palestinians, it is not an extension of anti-Semitism, it is a reaction to the vile policies is has expounded for some time.

The full facts of the matter are not yet clear, we will have to wait and see but what is clear is that there are conflicting stories with many elements of the Israeli story being strongly challenged by people present at the scene, including Israeli journalists and members of the Knesset.

You seem eager to accept the Israeli turn of events but refuse to take on board the other side of the argument here.

You raise issues of Ashdod without dealing with the fact that the incident occurred in International waters (illegal) and with excessive force in breach of International agreements (also illegal).

Although arguing on points like this becomes ever decreasing circles (after all, one could argue the legality of the Israeli blockade is non-existant) and moves us away from the crux of the argument, which for me is that you seem to fully support the actions of the Israeli government, with all the brutality, violence and intolerance for human rights that entails.

SecondComingOfBast said...

When I use the term "Palestinians", please kindly assume I am referring to mainly Hamas and their supporters, and to a lesser extent Fatah, though I will gladly add in there those Palestinian civilians who honestly support them.

I do concur with you that it was questionable to engage the ships in international waters, but really, what difference does it make? It probably would have been the exact same result had they done so in Israeli territorial waters. I am assuming there was some operational issue at work in that decision, perhaps a desire to avoid drawing others into the conflict.

I turned against the Palestinian "cause" when I came to the ultimate conclusion they have no one speaking for them who is truly interested in having peace. At least, not on any kind of terms that would be acceptable to me. They certainly aren't interested in a two-state solution. When Arafat met with the Israeli PM of the day when Clinton was President, that all turned out to be smoke and mirrors on his part.

He was offered well over ninety percent of his stated demands. He refused point blank. In the real world, you don't get any better than ninety percent, and so I lost all further interest in supporting them. It's a lost cause.

Frank Partisan said...

Jams: I agree.

Sentinel: What you said about blame, is similar to some of the editorial writing in Haaratz.

Pagan: Zionism was founded on the principle that Jews would be safer, if they have their own country. If Israel would torpedo an unarmed ship, would that make Jews safer? I doubt it.

Rightist Zionists are the biggest dangers to Jews. They give red meat to antisemitism.

Ideas like yours, are Israel's biggest threat. Torpedoing a NATO country ship. Good one.

I talked to you several times, about Russia's isolation leading to Stalinism. Being isolated is devastating for any country.

Daniel H-G: The strongest and best written criticism of Israel's adventure, is from the Israeli press.

The narrative is against Israel. I don't really why they don't care.

When Israel invaded Gaza, demonstrations in countries like Morocco, were so large, the government could have been overthrown.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Ren, I heartily agree with you that ideas like PT's are those that do their very best to destroy Israel.

Indeed the actions of Israel echo much of the gung-ho attitude escrowed by PT and we see that this further alienates Israel from the rest of the world and this is, of course, dangerous.

But until the US (plus the UK and a change in attitudes is occurring) government chimes in with the world's disbelief at the violence and cruelty of Israel, it will remain unmoved. It has moved more hawkish with each passing year it seems.


Your unique, personal definition for what is meant by Palestinian speaks volumes of your contempt for the people it seems to me.

The reason I raised the position of the attack is that is makes is illegal for a start off, not that Israel seems to bother or abide by International Law, serving its own interests, which again is another nail in the coffin of its credibility.

I recall the verve with which you despised the North Korean attack, as it is presumed to be, but the Israeli attack falls inside your acceptable parameters.

I would argue that your personal prejudice to whoever is doing the shooting, colours your ability to make a clean swipe of the facts and situation.

You speak of what disconnected you from the Palestinian cause (quote marks are not needed here) but your very sentence could be used by a Palestinian supporter and merely swapping key words around:

"I turned against the Israeli "cause" when I came to the ultimate conclusion they have no one speaking for them who is truly interested in having peace. At least, not on any kind of terms that would be acceptable to me. They certainly aren't interested in a two-state solution."

We have in the Middle East a impasse that is not rooted in Israel, or rooted in Palestine but that is mutually rooted in the two leaderships that poorly reflect the will of their people.

Of course, the increased brutality by israel upon the people of the occupied territories has driven the Palestinians more and more into the arms of those that will use violence and any means to enable freedom for their people. This is why the situation is so desperate but I would argue that the actions of Israel, the settlements, the huge wall, the stripping away of the human rights of those in Gaza and the West Bank have fed this violence, which in turn begets tougher behaviour from Israel.

And as the world watches on, it is Israel that comes across as a pariah state.

Your analysis of Arafat and the Cap David summit is not at all accurate, a more balanced and detailed assessment of the summit can be found here.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Daniel, I'll check that link out, but I doubt I'll change my mind. In my assessment, I am taking the word of Bill Clinton, which is in itself fucking ironic as hell, but there is a reason for that. Every American President since Carter has wanted to forge a lasting peace in the Middle East, particularly between Israel and the Palestinians. That has been so to speak the Holy Grail of American foreign policy for some time. You might well say that when it came to the pursuit of this policy, Clinton lusted in his heart for a peace deal between Arafat and Ehud Barak. He was severely, terribly disappointed when the deal fell through, and he laid the blame squarely on Arafat's intransigence. I have no reason to disbelieve. Ordinarily, I wouldn't believe a word out of his lying mouth, but when he was talking about that, he almost literally had to stop and collect his thoughts. He was visibly upset about the whole ordeal.

So no, no one can legitimately turn my words around by changing key words, because Ehud Barak was ready to sign a very significant peace deal with Arafat, but he refused, point blank, over some issue that was probably unrealistic of him to expect. Probably wanting the right of hundreds of thousands of Palestinians to millions of them to just come and go as they please in and out of the country so many of them have spent years trying to attack.

Arafat was in exile for years, during which time he fomented the civil war in Lebanon, or helped it along at least. The first mistake the Israelis made in retrospect would probably be allowing him back in the territory to begin with. He was a crooked, corrupt piece of work to be sure. Who knows how many hundreds of millions or perhaps billions of dollars he has stashed in some kind of Swiss or Andorran bank account?

All money from Britain, the US, and the UN that was meant to help the people went to things like the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, funding the Intifada, all of which in my opinion was nothing more than smoke screens intended to camouflage the most remarkable and brazen degree of corruption, vice, and pure slime that an entity could possibly perpetrate on a subject people.

So in a sense I don't fault the Palestinian people in Gaza for voting Fatah out and handing Hamas the reigns of power. They weren't so stupid as to not be able to see how they were being duped.

That's why I used quotation marks when I spoke of the Palestinian cause, by the way, because the outward cause being espoused all too often doesn't match the behind-the-scenes reasons for much of what is going on.

And now that Hamas has power in Gaza, what have they done? Are they willing to accept a peace deal? Are they willing to live in peace with the Israelis? Of course not. Neither was Fatah, at least not at the time when it really mattered most.

And so it goes. Who really wants peace? The only people I see making the substantive offers, a hell of a lot more than I would ever offer to be frank, are the Israelis. If it were up to me, any chance for peace would have been out the window after 1999, and that would have been it. Unfortunately, or maybe fortunately, its not up to me. The Israelis seem to want peace, but I don't see it happening any time soon. The Palestinians are just saddled with corrupt leaders, or fanatic ones, who have international enablers in the UN, the EU, and of course the Arab and Muslim world.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Which look, if it were up to me, they could have that hell hole and do with it what they will. From my perspective, the Israelis would be more than welcome to come here. If they wanted, there's enough of them they could form their own state if that's what they wanted, but I doubt they would want that.

But then we'd see what the Palestinians made of it. If they continued their present policy of tolerance towards their Christian population, probably quite well, much like the Lebanese did with their country before Arafat contributed to its utter ruin.

I rather suspect though that it wouldn't be long before the Christians became extremely marginalized, with many of them being killed, or forced to leave, until they were down to "manageable levels", at which point you would be left with your typical backward thinking Muslim state.

The Jews would do quite fine I'm sure, as they don't seem to be in the habit of kowtowing to their leadership, be it secular or religious.

By the way, if the Israelis had warned those ships not to enter Israeli territorial waters, or not to breach the blockade, repeatedly, and made clear their intentions to the host nations, then yes they would have been well within their rights to torpedo them had they continued on.

A baseball bat or nightstick is more than capable of rendering incapacitating injury or death, so why anyone would be surprised that the Israelis would open fire when thus provoked just goes toward proving my point as to how unfair this all is.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Well, indeed, you're taking the word of a man you loath because I think it fits what you believe in. And peace in the Middle East is pretty much everyone's goal in Western politics and far more complex than a blog comments forum can handle.

Your rebuttal to my reversal of your words is to fail to acknowledge that the deal you talk of contained many unworkable elements for Palestinians, I get the feeling you think that petty spite enabled failure, rather than unworkable demands from Israel and the US.

And you're getting distracted about Arafat, we are not talking about him, or the attempted efforts in 2000.

We are talking about the illegal boarding of a ship which was trying to provide goods to a people illegally blockaded by Israel, a country that has carried out awful acts of brutality upon the Palestinian people and is, in Gaza, starving them to death.

That is it.

Your lengthy and quite pointless hypothetical of what would occur if, in some bizarre and twisted alternate universe, Israeli Jews moved to America, only illustrates your lack of understanding, faith and knowledge in that part of the world.

Best to stay away from hypotheticals.

And to be clear, torpedoing a boat is not reasonable force, with regards to your brief on-topic comment. Not that Israel respect International law anyway.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

I'd also like to highlight what an idiotic and foolish thing Israel's unwarranted attack was because of the onrushing implications for it, aside from the world's disgust at its actions.

"It has done irreparable damage to its relationship with one of longest standing regional allies, resulting in Turkey's decision to send armed naval ships along with future aid convoys to the Gaza strip.

It has led Egypt to re-open the Rafah crossing indefinitely, thus effectively breaking the blockade.

The opinion of Quartet leaders, whose assistance in enforcing the barricades and normalising Israel's behaviour, would appear to have been shifted pragmatically against continuing with the blockade policy...

I have to suppose that this attack was supposed to terrorise pro-Palestinian activists, deter aid to Gaza, and deliver a rather unsubtle slap in the face to the Turkish leadership for having taken to criticising some of Israel's policies, notably Cast Lead. It was intended, I guess, to remind people who was boss. It would appear to have achieved just the opposite, and given the people of Gaza a potential breathing space."

Excellent words from over at Lenin's Tomb.

tony said...

The only real outside influence on Israel in the US.
This Israeli action proves that nothing has changed , Obama's silence says it all.He now has Blood as well as Oil on his hands.

SecondComingOfBast said...

That's all too bad, Daniel, but bear in mind, what you tend to forget, or perhaps you don't put as much significance on it as I do, is that all Israel asked was to inspect the ships. That's all they wanted to do, inspect them. We can quibble about whether they should have done so in international waters, or whether they should have allowed them into Gaza after inspecting them (as opposed to their to me reasonable offer to transport them via land convoy from Ashdod) but at the end of the day, that's all they wanted to do-inspect them.

I don't think you, or anybody else in all honesty believes the Israelis purposely boarded those ships with guns blazing, purposely killing unarmed peaceful activist civilians in an attempt to bully the world and start an international incident.

It isn't the Israelis fault that people are starving (assuming just for argument that is the case) and dying of untended medical conditions. Their first and major priority has got to be to protect their citizens from the constant barrage of missile attacks. It's easy to minimize such activities an ocean away, but this is a very real danger to them.

Again, it would be a gross dereliction of their duties, to protect their citizenry, had the Israelis not attempted to inspect the cargo on those ships before allowing it through.

A question not yet answered to my satisfaction-how were the Israelis supposed to know, with any assurance, what was really on those ships?

By the way, this current state of affairs is fine with the present Turkish government. The previous relationships with Israel was more than anything at the behest of the Turkish military and came about under the last government. Israeli relations with the current Turkish government, which has been described as Islamist, has been tentative at best.

They are actually more at fault for this than the Israelis, for allowing and for that matter encouraging those ships to embark from their ports, and for allowing its own citizens to participate. The Turkish government knew full well what was going on.

By the way, the Turks have been pretty brutal themselves towards the Kurds, so pot, meet kettle.

The Sentinel said...


Well I suppose it had to happen sometime but I find myself in agreement with Hoffmann-Gill on this one.

If Israel wanted to carry out inspections on these vessels then they should have done what pretty much every other country does and waited until they entered Israeli waters and escorted them to a dock of choice for legal due process.

They were fully aware of who was on the vessel and what it was carrying but they choose to completely disregard the law and instead to attack it in international waters, completely outside their jurisdiction and remit, and as I told a few Police and NCO’s in my younger days, once that happens the uniform will not protect you nor will it stop the blows from hurting.

The people on that boat had every right to defend themselves from an illegal assault just as the soldiers then in turn had every right to defend themselves; like I said it was the people who ordered such arrogant and criminal actions at fault here, not the servicemen doing their jobs.

Israel has a long history of behaving like a rogue and often terrorist state, and again I am in agreement Hoffmann-Gill here, because it is enabled by many of the world’s premier states, with the US in particular. Just look at my last comment to see how many times the US alone has gone to bat for Israel in extricating them from one atrocity or another.

I fully support Israel’s right to exist and the premise it was founded on but they lose legitimacy every time they pull such disgraceful, arrogant and criminal stunts like these with complete contempt for laws, other countries opinions and citzens and human rights.

In this instance they were fully aware they were not dealing with any arms shipment and therefore any danger but even when you are dealing with danger you are legally and morally bound to use proportionate force to end the danger and only those presenting the danger and the Israelis never, ever do that as we see in so many of their responses to acts of terrorism against them.

Can you really imagine the consequences for the UK if we treated, say, West Belfast to air strikes, artillery shelling and helicopter attacks every time an IRA bomb went off?

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

At last, Sentinel and I find common ground!

Sentinel is right with regards to any searches that needed to be carried on the boats in question, to behave illegally whilst then asking for the protection of International law when it suits you does not bode well for the nation in question.

However PT, I do agree that the intention was not to cause harm but I do not think that the Israeli government, from a position of high arrogance, gave full due to the implications of their actions and I do stand by what I said previously with regards to the IDF being used to dealing with Palestinians without so much of a media glare and also, carrying out attacks on non-Palestinian targets comes with, unfortunately, extra weight.

I also believe Israel constantly mis-reads what it can get away with in the International arena, due to its cast-iron alliance with the US, the world's superpower.

Again, you serve the situation in Israel short-shrift with your generalised comments that you are dragging into this discussion, which is about the actions on that boat.

You are making bad excuses for brutality because, unlike the North Korean issue, your sympathies lay with the Israeli government.

"A question not yet answered to my satisfaction-how were the Israelis supposed to know, with any assurance, what was really on those ships?"

It may not have been answered to your satisfaction but it has been answered, the publicity about this trip was immense, this was no secret attempt to give weapons to the occupied territories. It was a transparent adventure.

And again, we have to return to the point, made by Sentinel, why did they not just do it the proper way?

I am glad you are ceding that this incident is doing them harm, the fact you are dismissing the impact on the Turkish-Israeli relationship is pretty desperate in my book, of course after the illegal war in 2008 the Turkish government was unhappy with Israel but attacking a Turkish boat and indeed, by default, Turkey, has made the relationship worsen to a far more extreme degree, you cannot deny this and this, for Israel which is lacking in allies, is dangerous. Indeed, dangerous for the world, if Turkish and Israeli navies look set to clash in the near future.

"They are actually more at fault for this than the Israelis"

I think this, of all your ridiculous statements, best captures the level of prejudice and to a degree, blindness to any other side of the argument. Everything seems to be everyone else's fault, along as no blame is apportioned on Israel.

Your terms of reference with regards to this situation are so blinked and narrow, which is a shame.

And you top this of with a dig at Turkey's treatment of the Kurdish population, as if that it relevant here or that makes the crime carried out by Israel any better.

Bizarre and pretty desperate.

SecondComingOfBast said...

I agreed, and still do, that they probably should have waited until the ships entered Israeli territorial waters, but like I said, would it really have made any difference?

If the Israelis had waited until then, and the overall situation unfolded in the exact same ways otherwise, does anybody really believe this would really make any difference?

Again, why did the Turks not agree for the ship to dock at Ashdod for inspection and its goods hauled by land convoy. Did they believe the Israelis were lying about delivering legitimate humanitarian aid? Why? For what reason would the Israelis do this? They have no reason to seek to purposely harm innocent Palestinian Arabs, either Muslim or Christian. They have every reason in the world for these people to receive food and medical attention and their other basic needs be seen to. If nothing but PR, never mind the basic humanity and decency.

If these Turks and "peace" activists were truly interested in helping these people, why did they not willingly accede to what seemed to me to be a more than reasonable demand, along with what I believe to be a sincere promise for assistance, by the Israelis.

I still say the answer to this is, this was far more about ending the embargo than it was about helping Palestinian Arabs. It was about maneuvering the Israelis into provoking an international incident. The Turkish government was well aware of what was going on and what the true intentions were, and as far as I'm concerned they aided and abetted it.

Well, the Zionist haters have got their wish. The embargo has ended, thanks to Egypt. Maybe its for the best. Maybe things will work out for the good of all concerned.

Of course, if this embargo ending causes an increase in illicit materials to flood into Gaza which is then used to increase attacks on the Israelis, it could plunge the entire region into war. Or it could cause what these people really want, the Israelis to make unreasonable concessions to the point they will no longer even be able to build apartment buildings for their citizens in the Jewish section of Jerusalem. Why should they, seeing as how there will probably soon not be any such thing as a Jewish section of Jerusalem.

And of course, the right of return will insure the Israeli nation will soon become minority Jew, that minority comprising what few, if any, manage to survive the bloodbath that is sure to come their way.

When that happens, I want to hear the left bitch and moan about that as well. Not that I'll be holding my breath for that to happen.

Oh well, at least I caused Daniel and Sentinel to act civilly to each other-next mission, Ren and Beak.

Frank Partisan said...

I will reply more late tonight.

I would say that whatever Israel intended by the raid, it doesn't matter. As the article says, its the narrative that is important. I think Israel's narrative, puts Jews more in danger.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

"they probably should have waited until the ships entered Israeli territorial waters, but like I said, would it really have made any difference? "

Yes, to the legality of the enterprise and to give Israel some kind of moral leg to stand on. It would also have been perceived as fair and not muddied the waters by rising the spectre of legality.

"Again, why did the Turks not agree for the ship to dock at Ashdod for inspection and its goods hauled by land convoy."

It did not get to this stage, the attack was anticipatory conflict before this issue has even arisen.

And I'm sorry but your but about Israel wanting the people of the Gaza Strip to have supplies is utterly at odds with the way Israel has behaved with regards to the blockade and starvation of a people.

Again, your use of quotation marks speaks volumes about your prejudice on this issue and you have to stop building vast hypotheticals that have no bearing on the matter or basis in fact.

You talk about efforts to move the Israeli government into a provocation and they swallowed it, hook, line and sinker and hopefully this will at Iast force the Israeli government into a change of tact but I doubt it.

You speak of the Turkish government being well aware of what was going on with no proof and a tenuous grasp of what actually was going on, which was to deliver aid to a dying people.

And I've said it before, this is nothing to do with hating Zionism and everything to do with a nation getting away with terrible behaviour for far too long.

And I hate to break it to you but the region is in a state of war, no amount of goods into Gaza will effect that.

And how you've arrived at the evacuation of Jews from Jerusalem and the concept of the minority Jew I've no idea, again, poor hypothesis based on limited knowledge and partizan thoughts on the issue. Your own fevered ramblings lead you and you alone to some sort of apocalyptic bloodbath. That's just weird.

Weirder still, having built this utterly fictional scenario that exists only in your fevered brow, you then attack 'the left' for it's (read yours) imagined response to your imagined scenario. There is lot of imagining going on there...

A more sentient, less imagined and relevant post on the matter can be found here.

The Sentinel said...


I will just add two analogous points here:

1) Of course it matters that what occurred happened in international waters, that Israel acted outside of their jurisdiction and contrary to the law – why else have laws – in that it meant that what they performed was not a legal boarding exercise but an illegal assault and that the people on the receiving end were not resisting any legal authority but an attack by armed men who happened to be wearing a uniform of no consequence.

If some guys kicked burst through your doors and windows wearing Mongolian police uniform and shouting “Mongolian police” do you not think you just might every right to defend yourself against such unauthorized interlopers?

Whereas if they had done the same in Mongolia…

2) As for intentions and peace, if someone from your town committed an act of terrorism towards Canada and they responded with air strikes, shelling, helicopter strikes and combat incursions against the whole of your town killing men, women and children at random - quite possibly even your own family - do you think you’d be best disposed towards Canada, sympathetic to their cause, trustful of their intentions and behind any kind of peace deal?

Do you not think it just more likely that you would want some sort of payback and at the very least harbour a burning resentment?

I know I would kill every member of the force that committed such an atrocity that I possibly could.

Rightly or wrongly.

SecondComingOfBast said...


"And how you've arrived at the evacuation of Jews from Jerusalem and the concept of the minority Jew I've no idea,"

I got it from the horses mouth, through a Palestinian spokeswoman who expressed the sentiment that Jerusalem was and is an Islamic holy city, and that should the Palestinians ever regain full control of it they would be well within their rights to bar any non-Muslim from entrance therein, the same as with Mecca and Medina, or any other Islamic holy area. There is nothing arcane or apocryphal about this, this is standard Islamic practice regarding their holy sites.

This woman even seemed dumbfounded as to why anyone should question this.


"If some guys kicked burst through your doors and windows wearing Mongolian police uniform and shouting “Mongolian police”"

I would think I just woke up in the middle of a David Lynch film. As it is, neither I nor any in my immediate circle have assaulted anyone in or from Mongolia. I don't know if they have pizzerias or not in Ulan Baator, but if they do, they have nothing to fear from me, other than maybe not leaving a sufficient tip.

As for your Canada analogy, there again, if I were conducting attacks against Canadians, or even more importantly-and this is perhaps the important point-if the mayor and the cit council and other city and county leaders og my town and county were conducting or encouraging terrorist attacks on say Montreal, I wouldn't expect any different. I sure as hell wouldn't support and encourage such foolhardy behavior and wanton violence against Canadian civilians.

Even if I thought I had a legitimate reason to dislike them or even hate them, I would hope to resolve the dispute in another manner. The fact that a Canadian might now occupy a home that my great-grandfather once owned at some distant point in the past, one which I never laid eyes on in my life, would not be sufficient reason for such ire.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Don't believe everything you hear PT, members of the Knesset have deemed Arabs as subhuman and animals who have no place in Greater Israel, that doesn't make it so.

You are letting this extreme statements, which feed directly into your perverse world view on this subject matter and enable that fevered imagination to run riot, into all kinds of grotesque scenarios that exist only in your mind.

Glad there's nothing else to be said on the rest of it though.

Ducky's here said...

Instructive write up, thanks, ren.

Gert said...

Very interesting article, Ren. I think the analogy with the Exodus affair may be pushed a little too far but it's true this battle will not be won by logic or 'legalese'. The Israelis have lost this one fairly and squarely. Own goal of the century... Too late for much damage control.

I have to admit I was originally quite surprised by the barrage of International condemnation, believing Israel's Hasbara regarding 'terrorists on board' might still cut some sway with the usually cautious IC (once bitten, twice shy). But it seems no one buys Israel's bullshit anymore: so some hotheads were defending themselves or attacking the 'special ops' (and I must admit that the guy who was pushed from the upper deck to the lower made me laugh: he didn't see that one coming ;-)), it seems people worldwide are concentrating on the Big Picture and that involves a useless siege, a risible 'naval blockade' (so called because of Israel's navel staring?), a disastrous settlement policy, the storming of ships carrying humanitarian aid and Israel's two-fingers-to-the-world 'foreign policy'... In short, it seems the 'Bulwark against Islamofascism!' thingy now only works for internal use and for Zionist masturbatory purposes (which is the only real use it ever had).

Seriously looking Israeli spokes persons have begun to inform us in impeccable English of the 'legalese' and no one give a crap. And considering the general make-up of the people on board, trying to connect them to al-Qaeda (who must nonetheless be having a field day with this - talk about a massive own goal by Team Israel/West) will further reinforce the impression that those in charge of Israel have gone bonkers in the bunker.

There'll be increased talk of 'antiiii-Seeemitism' by Israelis and their supporters but people are getting tired of that song too. Israel is being 'singled out', as it should be: the mix of self-proclaimed victimhood in their 'tough neighbourhood', mixed in with references to past genuine Jewish suffering is past its sell by date too...

'This time we went too far... again!'

There may be an inquiry, may be even a Goldstone II but it will change very little: the people worldwide aren't so much interested in what happened on the boat, blow by blow, shot by shot, as they are in the bigger picture: siege, naval blockade, settlement policy, Israel's general arrogance and lies and distortions that are part of it 'foreign policy'... We're just not buying it anymore. An 'internal' inquiry could even be damaging because it won't address the wider points and will naturally try and deflect some of the blame...

In terms of Israel's gaffes, it's broken a glass ceiling.

The Sentinel said...


The obvious point in analogy one is that no matter what clothing you wear or what credentials you carry, if they are not within the correct jurisdiction they count for naught.

When Israel choose, yet again, to ignore international law and attack a vessel with armed men, that is all they were. They were not soldiers, they had no authority. They were just armed men carrying out an illegal assault and the people on that vessel had every right to treat them as such.

The second analogy you seem to have warped beyond recognition – what evidence do you have of “the mayor / council / city and county leaders” ordering attacks and do you not think that if such evidence were in existence it is the duty of the Israelis to police territories under their control rather then lash out in wild, random murderous rages serving neither justice nor prevention?

Killing civilian men, women and children at random is murder, nothing less.

In fact the situation you describe was more akin to parts of Northern Ireland not too long back and how much support would you have given the British if they carried out air strikes, shellings and helicopter attacks in West Belfast or ‘Derry instead of trying to police the area, collate evidence and prosecute the terrorists? I know how much the support the rest of the world would have given us and quite rightly so.

Violence begets violence, and the only chance of peace will come after a generation of a general ceasefire.

But talk is cheap anyhow Pagan, if you were born into that life and knew no other then your rationalisations would quite clearly not be the same. Particularly if it were your mother / father / son / daughter / brother / sister - or maybe even all - murdered at random in retaliation for something you knew nothing of by a state purporting to be a legitimate country.

If you wouldn’t stand and fight against that then I wouldn’t have any respect for you at all.

Israel has long been a rogue nation with countless real WMD’s that it has against treaty and refuses UN inspection of; denies their existence officially but threatens neighbours with its “mad dog” theory; has 84 UN Resolutions against it (to Iraq’s 1, which was a lie in any case); regularly murders civilians at random by air, by artillery, by helicopter and by rifle; regularly carries out false flag operations and shows it contempt not only for even more international law but it supposed allies by forging their passports and putting their citizens at risk; uses internationally prohibited weapons such as WP over densely populated civilian areas without a care in the world … and on and on and on…

SecondComingOfBast said...


"The second analogy you seem to have warped beyond recognition – what evidence do you have of “the mayor / council / city and county leaders” ordering attacks and do you not think that if such evidence were in existence it is the duty of the Israelis to police territories under their control rather then lash out in wild, random murderous rages serving neither justice nor prevention?"

The comparison was to Hamas, who controls Gaza, as the lawfully elected ruling party of Gaza, and who do initiate terrorist attacks on Israel, and have done so for some time.

And like I said, if my town were controlled by people like that, people I had voted for, and I supported, what right would I have to expect any kind of a different response. Of course I wouldn't like my family members killed, but that's not the point at all.

Also, if the Israelis did police the area to prevent such attacks, then we'd be hearing cries of "they are occupying us, they are oppressing us, they are blah blah blah somebody make them leave, withdraw back to their own area". And of course there would still be violence and attacks every day.

By the way, I honestly don't know the answer to this, so maybe you or someone can tell me-how many free elections have there been in Gaza since they took power there? Has there even been one? If not, why not?


the woman who said that was not an extremist, she was actually portrayed as a moderate. She was not affiliated with Hamas, but Fatah, and was close to Arafat. She was an official spokeswoman.

While I am sure there are some Knesset members who view Palestinians as subhuman, I seriously doubt that is official policy, seeing as how there are Arab members of the Knesset.

It's not a pro-Jew anti-Arab thing with me, by the way. The fact is, by all rights I shouldn't be such a staunch supporter of them, as they are far more liberal than I am or ever could be. In the US Jews tend to vote for the Democratic Party by something like over seventy percent. Even Beakerkin is more of a liberal than people give him credit for. If he weren't so anti-communist he would probably mainly vote Democrat himself, were he not so convinced as to communist infiltration of the Democratic Party, which is by no means an unreasonable view.

The point being, Jews are far more liberal than I would like, so its not just a thing for Jews. In fact, on balance Arabs are probably more conservative than Jews. I don't think you're going to be seeing a Gay Pride Day in Mecca anytime soon.

I'm just tired of the shit and want it stopped. I wanted peace. I still do. I am a peace loving person. I am for the people who I think actually want it as well.

The Sentinel said...


"if my town were controlled by people like that, people I had voted for, and I supported, what right would I have to expect any kind of a different response"

On the basis you describe every Iraqi has the right to attack your country and kill as many men, women and children at random as they feel is justified; quite possibly every Arab after what the US has done to the entire region, let alone pretty much every country in the world with some act or another, be it overt or covert, at one time or another.

The situation was no different in Northern Ireland with the accusations of occupation and oppression but nonetheless, on the whole, we British tried to apply the rule of law as a responsible country rather then carry out the random murder of men, women and children through air attack, through artillery shelling or through helicopter attack.

That’s what real legally constituted countries do: They do not murder people at random in retaliation and defy every law, convention and norm of morality.

SecondComingOfBast said...


But do the Israelis do that, or do they merely counter-attack directly at positions from which attacks are conducted. Its my understanding that these assaults are conducted from the rooftops of private dwellings, in addition to mosques, hospitals, schools, and in one case a UN mission building. So what are the Israelis supposed to do, just hold up and say, "oh well this is a school, we'd better just avoid returning fire and try to take cover"? Come on.

The IRA so far as I know were never in control of Northern Ireland, or any portion of it, though of course they were an influence among the Catholic population. Still, was it a Northern Ireland policy to conduct attacks on the British? Did the elected leaders of the region in question, Ulster I think it was, pursue a policy of agitation and military or terrorist assault on Britain? Were the IRA in that kind of position of power and influence, or were they simply an underground terrorist group?

Hamas and before them Fatah are not Al-Queda, and they are certainly not the IRA, they are political entities who conduct elections and wield political influence. The closest Al-Queda got to that was as guests of the Taliban, who are another example, along with Hezbollah. I understand Sinn Fein was the political arm of the IRA, and they wielded an influence, but they never, under their most influential, held the entirety of Norther Ireland in their iron grip, such as is the case with Hamas in Gaza, Fatah in the West Bank, Hezbollah is Lebanon, and at one time the Taliban in Afghanistan, who are growing again due to a resurgence and are gaining significant ground in Pakistan as well.

How is it exactly that America has been such a negative influence in the ME. Don't you think that might owe something to Soviet influence? What about the UN? They were the ones who set up the nation of Israel. The US had little to do with it. It wasn't until Nixon that the US and Israel became really tight, and that was twenty years after the countries founding, actually longer than that. The US has just been caught in the middle of the mess made by the UN.

Where would the Arab nations be if it weren't for us and also Europe buying their oil. It's not the fault of the US that their leaders are brutal thugs by necessity in order to clamp down on their intransigent religious leaders. They are the problem. Not America, not Israel, not Mubarrak, or not even Assad and Hussein, as bad as they are/were, it is the fault of the imams and mullahs of the region who are determined they will be the sole influence in the region, and anyone who doesn't toe their line is deserving of nothing but death. The old Shah of Iran was not exiled to France because he cared about freedom. He cared about nothing but power for him and his clique. That's true of all this region's religious leaders. They are the problem, not a tiny little country that doesn't even make up as much as five percent of an area that is made up by people who have established their hegemony by way of the genocide of the areas original native inhabitants. If you want to learn about genocide, study the Arabs, as they pretty much wrote the book on the subject. I see no hint that things are changing in any event. Case in point-Darfur. While the world waxes poetic about it, while wringing their hands impotently otherwise, the roar of silence from the Arab world is deafening. Yet, these are Arabs conducting genocide against blacks, and to top it off, their victims are fellow Muslims.

Sorry, I think I'll steer my sympathies elsewhere.

The Sentinel said...


You really do need to look into the matter a hell of lot more if you really want to express such strong opinions.

Attacking heavily built up and densely populated areas with weapons such as artillery is nothing more then murder, as is the use of air strikes and the like. Seriously mate, you really do need to look into the way Israeli military marshals its force with blatant disregard for civilians – and often more sinister then that – if you really don’t know (although it sounds more like a case that you just don’t care.)

There are so many incidents you need not do much work, just look into the attacks on UN compounds and schools for a start, you have already mentioned them, and then have a peek at attacks on journalists to get a flavour. And a flavour of the pathological lies that always follow such attacks.

The IRA did indeed control large portions of Northern Ireland, Pagan, clearly this is another area you need to look into. Try Londonderry and how it became just ‘Derry’ and how long that went on for. Then look into the Falls Road for starters.

The IRA have always had a political wing too and murdered in the main because they were largely rejected by the ballot box; the province voted overwhelming to stay British, huge numbers of Catholics too by the size of the count – for economic reasons rather then nationality.

Nonetheless the IRA had enormous control over the administration of Northern Ireland though loyalty and through fear; as soldiers, when we entered pretty much any Republican area the people worked in tandem alerting the IRA, hindering us as best they could and routinely attacking us. Most of the IRA attacks were only possible with considerable complicity. A lot of the Catholic clergy were involved in some form, some blatantly, some just hiding people. Nearly every government office was comprised; the IRA ran the entire black cab franchise in Belfast etc

The troubles could not have lasted for so long and with such intensity without enormous Catholic support at all levels for the IRA.

Nonetheless, in the main, we British acted on principle of law and justice rather then random murder and never by air, shell or helicopter attack.

Aside so many other reasons, the main one to cite for the US’s responsibilities for the troubles in the region is that the fact that you personally – as do all of your fellow citizens – pretty much pay for and supply all of the weapons that Israel uses against the people there. That is why the US is hated so much in that region and by so many Arabs.

But back to your premise for justifying such attacks, there is no denying that under that logic every Iraqi has the same right to attack your country and kill as many men, women and children at random as they feel is justified – you seriously wronged them.

But I think they would have to get into line, certainly behind the 4 million+ Vietnamese, Cambodians and Laotians killed in that war of lies, as well as their families, and maybe behind the list of other countries that have been bombed by the US since WW2 including: China 1945-46, 1950-53; Korea 1950-53; Guatemala 1954, 1960, 1967-69; Indonesia 1958; Cuba 1959-61; Congo 1964; Peru 1965; Laos 1964-73; Vietnam 1961-73; Cambodia 1969-70; Lebanon 1983-84; Grenada 1983; Libya 1986, El Salvador 1980s; Nicaragua 1980s; Panama 1989; Iraq 1991 to present day; Somalia 1993; Bosnia (Republic of Srpska) 1995; Sudan 1998; Yugoslavia 1999; Afghanistan 1998, 2001-02; Yemen 2009.

That is without factoring in other US attacks; US sponsored attacks and CIA coups and machinations, of which there are many.

Your logic would not bode well for the people of your country.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Put another way, suppose Hitler had never become Chancellor of Germany and then acquired supreme power. Suppose he and his merry band of Nazi thugs were never anything more than an IRA style terrorist group, initiating assaults on Germany, France, Poland, etc. Would we have the right then to firebomb Dresden, or level Germany, destroying German railroads, bridges, roads, etc. Would we be justified in destroying German infrastructure and targeting their industrial centers for destruction, resulting in the loss of lives of tens of thousands of innocent civilians? Of course not. We would certainly have had the right to go after them, and we would have had the right to expect cooperation from the legitimate German government, and certainly there would doubtless have been innocent civilians killed as a result. But we wouldn't be at war with the nation of Germany.

But that's not how it was, of course. Hitler was the legitimate leader of the nation, and as such, the nation was a legitimate target. Sure, we can debate the rightness of Dresden, but in the vast majority of cases, I don't think any reasonable person would deny the rightness of our attacks on the nation of Nazi Germany.

And the same with Gaza. This is not just another underground terrorist group conducting secretive raids and terrorist assaults. Like Hitler's Nazis, Hamas is the legitimate rulers of Gaza, and their actions are the result of their deliberate, and official, policy. As such that makes all of Gaza a legitimate target, in my estimation. That the Israelis do try to avoid unnecessary civilian casualties is their own business. Frankly, I would pursue a more aggressive policy, not out of hatred for Palestinians, but on the grounds that the never-ending use of "proportional" force is designed to keep hostilities permanently on-going, and originates from an organization-the UN-which is heavily influenced by Arab and Muslim sentiments.

If the US and Britain had pursued such a policy against Germany, and Japan, we might still be looking out for kamikaze pilots as we speak.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Sentinel, I have a question for you. I heard tonight a cab driver went on a shooting spree somewhere in England and killed about twelve people, but they didn't give his name, strangely. Have you heard who he was and-ahem-where he was from?

Why do I have this strong suspicion his name was NOT "Morrie".

As for the US and its alleged atrocities, your complaining to the wrong person. I have long been in favor of an "isolationist" policy. I do not want to see my country continuing on as the policeman of the world. There's no need for it. I don't even have the standard hang-up that we should be the number one nation in the world in terms of military power. As we have seen, being number one brings with it its own set of headaches I personally can do without.

I don't want US troops continually stationed in Europe, in Japan, in Korea, and all that. We're in Iraq now, and Afghanistan, and I do think we have legitimate reason to be there-to protect gulf shipping lanes in the case of Iraq and other nations in that vicinity. Otherwise, I wouldn't want to be there either. Hopefully, the day will come when this will not be a necessity.

I am not an American imperialist, by any stretch. World War II is over. So is the Cold War. So what are we doing in Europe and Japan? We can have a mutual defense pact without having our troops in Europe. I would just as soon our troops were stationed at our borders, blocking the hordes or illegal immigrants, which as far as I'm concerned is tantamount to an invasion. But of course the left will complain about that too.

I am well aware the US is not perfect, and I damn sure know Israel is not, but perfection is not the issue. The issue is who do you trust? Who can you trust?

We are dealing here with people who are led by religious leaders who will tell you, in all seriousness, that earthquakes of the world are the result of women dressing immodestly. And the people accept this, by and large. They are taught not to question them.

Good luck reasoning with that kind of mindset, I don't care to even try.

tony said...

I think the Israelis did purposely board that ship with guns blazing.Oh, & Obama is still silent.But dont worry, Tony Blair is on his way there.all will be well..........

Frank Partisan said...

Nobody gains more from the blockade than Hamas. They are making a fortune, from smuggled goods, from the Egyptian underground tunnel network.

Tony: I think the soldiers really believed they were attacking Hamas.

The attack was at 4:30am. Soldiers only had guns, no crowd control weapons.

Pagan: It was the Soviet Union that defeated the Germans and Japanese, not the US.

Palestinians were for many years secular. Hamas isn't in power because of religion, but Fatah's corruption.

You mentioned you wondered what would happen if Hamas ran Gaza. You know what happens when you have low productivity, small working class and isolation. It's not possible to be viable no matter who runs it, without socialism. Isolation means failure.

What weapons does Hamas have? The Gaza incursion showed it was a joke. How does Iran arm Hamas, without going through Egypt?

Gert: Some demonstrations during the war in Gaza, in Arab states, were large enough to overthrow the government.

Sentinel: International law is a joke, as is the UN.

Daniel H-G: Palestinians are relatively secular. Israel used to give $$ to Hamas, to counter than radical Fatah.

Fatah leaders today are drawing up a plan for a state, with the IMF.

tony said...

REN:I wonder if Israeli soliders actually make any distinction between "Hammas" & "The Rest"?

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...


As expected, because on the actual issue of the boat, the issue we're actually supposed to be talking about, you're horribly wrong, you have now drawn this debate out into something far beyond a comment section on a blog, by trying, cack-handedly may I add, to summarise the Middle East conflict, were, surprise surprise, you come down unerringly on the side of Israel.

As Sentinel has pointed out, your grasp of the workings of that region and the complexities of it, are weak, so all we have is a lot of hot air and fevered mewling of little value.

So stick to the topic at hand.

Also, what the hell is this supposed to mean:

"I heard tonight a cab driver went on a shooting spree somewhere in England and killed about twelve people, but they didn't give his name, strangely. Have you heard who he was and-ahem-where he was from?"

First up, his name was available pretty much as the incident broke, well it was on the BBC anyway. Second, I think what you're inferring and this is based on your comments in this thread alone, that you presumed him to be a Muslim and I think here we have the nub of your problem, aside from bringing in Nazi Germany into the equation and all sorts of unrelated shit that you're frankly making up as you go along; I'm not sure if you're a racist (Islam is not a race) or not but whereas Sentinel's and indeed everyone'e else's critique of Israel's awful domestic policy is rooted in analysis of the human impact of their actions, yours seems to be rooted in prejudice. I hope I'm wrong.

You'll be happy the know the murderer was a white guy in his 50's, depressed and angry, he wasn't called Morrie, he was called Derrick Bird.

Gert said...

Having worked myself through the long thread here, I see good points being made (I hate to say it but also by Sentinel).

But Pagan's 'torpedo the flotilla' does kind of take the biscuit here. Pagan, I can't say 'I wish they had' because of the ridiculous death toll that would have involved, but such an act of barbarism would have been the end of Israel, can't you see that? Even with only 9 deaths, Israel is now decidedly looking shaky. Apparently no one in the Bunker wants to face the music, they've dispatched all 'terrorists' without charge, even allowed Turkish military ambulance planes (landing on Israel's sacred soil!) to recover their people...

And no one cares what the f*ck Ayalon and the other loonies still have to prattle on about 'al-Qaeda' links, 'Hamas' supporters and blahdiblahdiblah...

What's more, Israel's internal momentum (of a supertanker that struck a really big rock) will probably continue to make waves for a bit more: some Israeli apparatchiks and their dedicated blogger nutters are claiming the Turkish G'ment is now 'like Hamas'.

When in a hole...

The Sentinel said...


I’m off to Morocco on business early tomorrow morning so no doubt I will hear how this news was received in that state, the general feeling amongst Muslims and just how much they hold the US complicit, and I will also now leave this debate with a final comment:

Gaza and even Hamas can not even be remotely compared to the Nazi war machine or even the political situation surrounding that war. Neither has any conventional forces and Gaza is not engaged in a war, more victim of a brutal siege punctuated by acts of retaliation.

I will give one short example of how the Israeli’s respond to incidents:

In January 2004, after carrying out raids in Rafah in which Israel destroyed 1500 homes and left over 16000 people homeless, and then further raids in March with another 65 homes destroyed and 52 people killed - 10 of whom were clearly and undoubtedly unarmed civilian protesters - and a few more incidents of the same vein, in response to a retaliatory rocket attack on the Israeli town of Sderot that killed three people the Israelis launched “Operation Days of Penitence” which was just over two weeks of shelling, air strikes, helicopter attacks and combat incursions leaving 116 dead - at least 20 of whom were under 16 - as well as massive damage to housing and refugee camps.

But quite possibly the most disgusting act to come light though was the cold blooded murder of a 13 year old Palestinian girl on her way home from school – it is also the most revealing insight into the mentality of the Israeli forces.

Little Iman Al-hams was blasted at a range of 70M from an army outpost by an Israeli officer. The officer then walked up to the dying girl and shot her twice in the head at point blank range.

Not satisfied with the cold blooded murder of an innocent young girl he returned a second time and emptied the rest of his assault rifle magazine into her now lifeless body in utter contempt, despite the protests of his men through his radio. Amazingly the soldiers under his command reported his actions to the media and forced an official IDF enquiry.

The officer claimed in his defense that he believed that the school satchel that the girl was carrying contained a bomb, though quite how he was blessed with such powers of insight from a range of 70M he failed to explain.

He also went on to claim that he had not fired into the girls body on full automatic on his second return but was in fact firing into the ground around her body in response to hostile fire. Quite apart from the fact that none of the other soldiers reported any hostile fire, the usual procedure in such a situation - I know from experience, as if any were needed - is to fire back at the enemy rather then fire into the floor. It is much more effective.

The officer did not deny shooting the girl initially, or executing her at close range which begs the question that if the officer genuinely believed that the girl had a bomb why on earth would he have stood in immediate proximity to her?

After its enquiry the IDF concluded that it accepted that the officer had indeed shot into the ground in response to enemy fire and not into the girls body - though why it even bothered to mask this action is beyond comprehension after it decided that “the behaviour of the company commander, from an ethical point of view does not warrant his removal from his position.”

The choice of words is extremely revealing.

It does not consider it ethical that an officer of its army should issue a warning to a school girl at a range of 70M before he opens fire. It does not see any wrong in its officers standing over a child and putting two bullets into her head without any attempt at search. It does not see any wrong in its officers contravening the Geneva Convention by not rendering first aid to a wounded - and somewhat innocent - civilian child. In fact it considers that his behavior was wholly appropriate.

Indeed ethical.

The Sentinel said...

The UN had released a statement at the time which said that it has “repeatedly called on Israeli authorities to stop firing at schools” in the wake of so many child killings.

Other notable examples included an 11 year old school girl shot in the chest by the IDF whilst standing outside her school after it claimed it had come under mortar attack - though there was no claim that she had been operating the mortar.

This was just a few weeks after another young girl from the same school in Khan Younis was shot in the head whilst she sat at her desk.

Pagan, nothing can justify this behaviour and nothing will add more fuel to the fire then a country using it vastly superior US paid for weapons to attack and kill people in this manner.

As I said, if I were born there and witnessed any of this - let alone experienced any loss of family - I would fight with every breath left in my body.

There will be no peace until the cycle is broken and Israel stops behaving as if it were some sort medieval overlord to whom laws, conventions and morality do not apply.

Gert said...


Must be you. I don't see it that way.

Gert said...

Shit, I'm gonna have to agree with Sent here, just this relatively minor point he makes here is in fact important:

"Gaza and even Hamas can not even be remotely compared to the Nazi war machine or even the political situation surrounding that war."

The constant attempt at trying compare Hamas (or even Islamists in the wider sense of the word) to the Nazis is simply absurd. Even if one, like Pagan seems to do, completely ignores the historical context from which Hamas arose (with initial Israeli support - typical 'divide and rule' - a short term strategy the Palestinians are still paying the price for) to compare Hamas to the Nazis in terms of strength and goals is absurd. I don't see the Israelis as 'the new Nazis' either, yet the parallel would be slightly more apt.

As regards, "As I said, if I were born there and witnessed any of this - let alone experienced any loss of family - I would fight with every breath left in my body", ditto here.

Sheikh Ahmed Yassin:

"'Tzvika, listen, we had good teachers: You established a state thanks to your military power. The dead I take from you are for the sake of establishing a state, but you are killing women and children for the sake of the occupation. You already have a state. You are dirty and hypocritical. I have no interest in destroying you - all I want is a state."

Frank Partisan said...

I'll reply tonight.

SecondComingOfBast said...

The point wasn't that Hamas was exactly like the Nazis in every particular, the point was and is that they are the law and government of Gaza, they are not just an underground group acting independently on their own without official government sanction. The fact that they are in fact the governing body of Gaza and act as such in pursuit of these policies is what justifies much of Israel's actions, though granted nothing justifies such heinous crimes as Sentinel describes. But both sides have committed atrocities.

I also clarified my point about torpedoes to state that the Israelis would have been justified had the following happened-

1. Had the ships entered Israeli territorial waters

2. Israel issued stern orders for them to allow for boarding and inspection and for the ships to dock at Ashdod in order to better facilitate this.

3. The ships crew refused to grant permission and showed every sign of resisting the demands and continued on into Israeli territorial waters.

I concur the action that took place on international waters was unfortunate, even though I personally don't recognize the UN's right to exercise any control over international waters, a concept that is meaningless in my opinion.

Still, for the sake of argument, I'll cede that they should have held to that standard and its unfortunate they did not.

Having said that, I wonder why it is the Israelis opened fire on one ship, yet seemed to ignore the others. Did they even land on the others? Was the ones who landed on the ship that sustained the casualties perhaps not as well trained as those who boarded the other vessels?

Would somebody like to theorize perhaps that this was a craven move by the Israelis to extract some blood but allow the others to go unmolested as a smokescreen, to make their intentions look good when they were obviously not?

Surely somebody can come up with some citations to that effect.

I should also reiterate that, although I don't know nor can I prove it, I suspect the reason this happened in "international" waters was probably something to do with operational issues. I am not excusing it, just explaining a possible reason for it.

And while I am not pointing fingers at anyone here, I am reasonably certain that had the IDF and Israeli Navy been attacked from offshore from Gaza with anti-aircraft and other weapons, many of the same ones crying now would instead be dancing with joy and celebration, pretty much like mobs of Palestinians did at word of the 9/11 attacks before Hamas even entered the picture, certainly before they became the elected leaders of the region.

And as for the Turks, my advice to the Israelis is they need to hang out with a better class of people, but in that neighborhood, its good they got enough sense to keep their doors locked day and night.

Frank Partisan said...

I'm going on to my next post. Making a final statement is ok.

Sentinel: During the Gaza incursion, demonstrations in Morocco were so big, that the government could have been overthrown.

Tony: Zionism needs a state of siege mentality to exist. It believes all gentiles are antisemitic.

LWB: I deleted your comment, because the thread has been free of personal attack.

I don't think Israel is an apartheid state. South African black people, were clearly fighting for democratic rights within South Africa. The national question is too complicated for that analogy.

Pagan: I deleted your response to LWB.

You could have said simply Hamas has state power in Gaza. Nazi analogies are desperate. Gert is correct that Israel subsidized Hamas against Fatah.

The ship was inspected in Turkey.

Gaza is isolated and unproductive. There is no basis for a state. It can only be Bonapartist. Hamas is an annoyance to Israel, not a threat.

Gert: The release of the foreign nationals, is a political defeat for Israel. That is a good point.

Daniel H-G: Before anything can happen in that area, it has to be acknowledged both sides have real fears.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Ren-I don't know enough about Gaza to have an opinion on what kind of state they could have, but they do have ports, which is always an advantage.

I want to try to explain something though and I just want to make this clear. I was not intending to compare Gazans to Germans, or Hamas to the Nazis. That wasn't the point. The only reason that came up was because Sentinel made an analogy regarding Britain and the IRA. I was merely trying to point out what I believed to be the flaw in his analogy.

That being, the IRA did not have political power over Northern Ireland, unlike Hamas over Gaza. How the Nazis came into the discussion was in my positing as to what the conduct of World War II might have been had we been fighting the Nazis, not as the rulers of a state government, but as an underground terrorist organization, like the IRA. We would have had to conduct ourselves much differently.

The point being that, in that regard, Hamas, being the legitimate rulers so to speak of Gaza, is much more similar to the Nazis than to the IRA, thus in my honest opinion the Sentinel's analogy in that regard was a flawed one. I hope that clears that up for good.

My apologies for the outburst, however much fun it was at the time.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

There is always trouble when a debate on quite a tight set of parameters becomes bloated and drifts into areas that are far too complex to be touched on accurately.

Also, to be clear, it is not the UN that exercises power of International waters, it is a universal agreement and just because you don't recognise International waters as a concept Pagan, doesn't mean it makes it a reality.

In answer to your question about the other ships (for someone typing a lot about this issue, you don't seem to have read anything about it...just a thought), the one they boarded was the only one to press on towards the Gaza Strip, hence their illegal attack upon it. The rest of your hypotheticals, as always, are pointless.

And as we wade through yet more of your aforementioned hypotheticals and fictional scenarios about people celebrating death, how about I show you some actual Israeli's celebrating the loss of life on the boat? Directly outside the Turkish embassy?


And your comment about "Turks" as you phrase it, once again raises the spectre of your personal prejudice leaking into racism.

Speaking of one of your distractions...

"That being, the IRA did not have political power over Northern Ireland, unlike Hamas over Gaza."

This is not quite true, they may not have had political power over it but they had extensive political power in it, in the form of Sinn Fein. The IRA were a legitimate voice for many, many people.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Sure the IRA had political power, I know that. But they weren't the government of Northern Ireland. Hamas IS the government of Gaza.

Where exactly is the racism in the recognition that the current government of Turkey knew full well what this flotilla was about, and that its purpose was to breach the blockade? That is a fact. Ren even went out of his way to make the point that the Turks inspected the ship, or that it was inspected in Turkey, which of course is meaningless.

If the Turks did not respect the Israeli blockade of Gaza to the point they allowed ships to leave from Turkey with the intention of breaching it, why should the Israelis take their word as to what is on the ships?

The current elected government of Turkey has been wanting to end current relations with Israel anyway, and this was just one way of doing this, and cementing their power over the Islamic population. All of these demonstrations going on in Ankara, the photo-ops with the returning coffins, the "heroes" welcome for the survivors of the ship, etc., is nothing more nor less than pure Islamic populism at work.

If my recognizing this is racist, so be it.

And yes, there was dancing in the streets in Gaza after 9/11. I don't say it was a universal celebration. It might have been a sentiment of a small minority, or the vast majority. Perhaps they felt they had valid cause to celebrate. I don't know. All I know is, it happened.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

In the off topic diversion of the IRA, you stated that they had no political power, which is not the case at all.

Indeed, Hamas is the political power in Gaza, which considering the harsh treatment of Gaza that is no surprise.

With regards to your language having an air of racism, that stemmed from the use of the word Turks and your insults about what a type of people they are.

I hope you also have that opinion now about Ireland, the sponsors of the MV Rachel Corrie that is on its way to Gaza, they are aware there is an illegal blockade, they are still attaching their flag to the boat. Your logic is flawed.

Not many nations do respect the illegal blockade of Gaza, the majority of world nations do not. Your logic as to that making Turkey untrustworthy is again, flawed. Your framing is entirely pro-israel, it has blinded you to reality.

Also, your statements regarding what the government of Turkey has intended have no basis in fact or reality, there only basis is in your opinion.

I see you have not acknowledge the dancing in the streets at the Turkish dead by Israeli's, merely repeated your own accusations.

Your double standards are as grotesque as your ideas.

SecondComingOfBast said...

I didn't say anything about the Israelis dancing over Turkish deaths because I don't know anything about it. That is not the same thing as denying it happened. I don't deny it happened. As many times as other people have cheered and danced over Israeli deaths, I just don't care, is all.

I knew all about the Rachel Corrie embarking from Ireland. As unfortunate as that was, there is a very big difference-the Irish don't have a mutual defense agreement with Israel, or any kind of strong bi-lateral agreements or treaties. As far as I know, the only agreements or treaties that the Irish have with the Israelis is nothing more or less than your standard, run-of-the-mill diplomatic relations which are probably not all that particularly good, judging by the wall of sound that emanates from most of Europe whenever the subject of Israel is brought up.

Don't make the mistake of assuming that because I am a person of Irish descent I have it in my head the Irish can do no wrong. If I thought the place was that close to perfect I would be moving there.

I'm going to drop my part of the discussion pertaining to the IRA/Sinn Fein-Hamas-Nazi analogies, its gone on long enough and no explanation or clarification I offer ever seems good enough.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Right, you "just don't care" about that but are more than willing to bring up similar actions by Palestinians.

Speaks volumes.

What you call a wall of sound from Europe is actually based upon the treatment of the Palestinians by Israel, it is thought anchored in experience, not anchored in anti-Semitism.

I had no idea you were of Irish descent, I merely mentioned Ireland as they are the sponsors of a boat on it's way to Gaza.

SecondComingOfBast said...

"Right, you "just don't care" about that but are more than willing to bring up similar actions by Palestinians."

"Speaks volumes."

The "volumes" I'm thinking about is the amount of times I've seen it from Palestinians compared to the time I've seen that kind of behavior out of Israelis. I'm going to say its at least ten-to-one, and that is probably a conservative estimate. So why should I care when a bunch of Israelis finally get fed up enough to let off a little steam?

When I see a group of Israeli guards ripping into a helpless prisoner with his bare hands and showing bloody gore out the windows to a mob of screaming, laughing, cheering Israeli citizens, I might start to think maybe the Israelis are starting to act on a par of monstrosity similar to their enemies.

You almost never heard the left bring that incident up, if they brought it up at all, but I would be willing to bet you ten thousand pounds or dollars either one if that had been Israelis who had done that to some Palestinian, we'd still be hearing about it constantly. There would probably be innumerable YouTube videos of it and they would be a prominent feature not only on liberal blogs, but on every mainstream media outlet in the US and Europe.

It would probably have inspired screams for sanctions within the UN, which so far as I am aware never even discussed the incident, at least not openly. If they discussed it privately it was probably along the lines of "well, I wonder how we can spin this for the benefit of the Palestinians".

But since it was Palestinians, not just citizens but public officials, who brutally tortured and murdered an Israeli, probably their reaction was "who cares it was nothing but a fucking Jew, good fucking riddance". Of course they won't admit that. Their most benign reaction would probably have been "damn I hate this happens, this is really going to make us look bad if we support the Palestinians now. We'd better hold off saying anything for a week or two until people forget about how this man was ripped to shreds by his captors."

These are the kinds of people you support. You're welcome to them.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

This is getting circular and the longer it goes on the greater the chance of even more ridiculous things being said.

It seems to me that you are unable or unwilling to take on board how prejudiced you are in favour of Israel with this incident.

You now talk about quantity or behaviour, not knowing that during Operation Cast Lead, Israeli's set up viewing posts with BBQ's, binoculars and music to watch the bombs rain down on Gaza, to celebrate. There are even further examples, do we need to keep a tick chart to see who is worse? Pathetic.

Is this what we have to do? Exchange vile behaviours? Make weak excuses for awful behaviours? Or, as you make a request for, need a violent act to "swap sides"? What we actually have to do, is take in the bigger picture and when someone has made a stupid mistake, as Israel has here, put your hand up to accept that, rather than justify, duck and obfuscate.

I mean, you use examples of Palestinian violence as if they happened in isolation, you make no concession to the behaviour of Israel at all and it is this that weakens your entire argument.

Crucially, this isn't about supporting anyone, this isn't a sport, it is about objectively and impartially dealing with the facts at hand.

SecondComingOfBast said...

I did say the Israelis probably shouldn't have boarded the ships outside of their own territorial waters. They should have waited until they got within those waters and just took the chance on outside interference from the Gaza coast. Then they would have been much more justified in using whatever force they deemed appropriate. But they didn't do that. They fucked up, and again, I admit that much. Isn't that enough?

I don't see anything else wrong that they did pertaining to this incident. A bunch of radical Islamists, or at least sympathizers, were killed. They seem to have got their wish. They are on their way to get their seventy-two virgins. Be happy for them. I know I am, but then again, those seventy-two virgins might not be quite what they're all cracked up to be. There might be very good reasons they are virgins. Couldn't happen to a nicer bunch of guys. Like I always like to say, you spend your whole life making the heaven or the hell you most deserve, so you better make the most out of it.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

There is no doubt the Israelis shouldn't have boarded the ship outside of their own territorial waters.

And that is where it ends.

Aside from you have to insult the dead and to justify that you have to label them as something deserving of death and that, I'm afraid, makes you look less of a human yourself.

Your lame digs at Islam only further confirm your bigotry and prejudice.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Well, I'm not that unusual in that regard. You don't have to look very far to find blogs that constantly hurl insults at Islam, and other religions.

Why, I recall this one blogger-some actor fellow, if I remember right-from London, interestingly enough, who at one time or another has conducted "lame digs" towards Christians, and Christianity. He was quite acerbic about it too. I wish I could remember who he was, but right off hand, all I can remember is-

Oh, wait a minute. Whoops.

Gert said...


In the US there's practically an information blackout when it comes to crimes committed by Israel. You guys have clowns like Glen Beck for 'infotainment'. On foreign affairs the American media are about as thorough and reliable as the Pravda.

If you really want to know of some of these crimes (they happen literally everyday), try blogs like Mondoweiss or Max Blumenthal, Cecile Surasky and a few others. The bimbos from Fox et al just won't do.

And they used to say that there's no 'Israel Lobby'... Must be those 'unbreakable, unshakable, eternal bonds' again. Ever hear ANY country speak about its 'special relationship' with ANY other country in THOSE terms? No Sir, you never saw that... But the US is slowly waking up too.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Gert, Daniel, et al-

Let's just all forget about all this fussing and fighting and calm down. Let's listen to some good, peaceful, relaxing, heartfelt music composed for the cause of peace.

Here You Are

Gert said...


I pity the makers of the video. One can only hope that when the jubilant atmosphere that exists currently in parts of Israel subsides and some sobriety sets in, the imbeciles who made this thing will realise that this time denying reality will not work.

It'll be the lesser minds, like you on this occasion, who will rejoice in this kind of puerile 'commentary'. To those I say: 'And the band played on...'

I have some Zionist friends in Israel with decent brains and a sense of realism: none of them will find this kind of thing remotely funny. Instead they'll find it embarrassing... Even on the lesser level you manage to choose the wrong side...

Frank Partisan said...

Pagan: During the shelling of Gaza, some Israelis watched it from porches, as watching Fourth of July fireworks.

It was rotten when Palestinians celebrated 9/11. At that time they didn't care what the world thought. Now Israel is like that.

Gert: I don't buy Jewish Lobby. AIPAC is a ruling class, neoliberal lobby.

I see the US ditching Israel. My instincts are, don't believe public statements.

Daniel H-G: The Rachel Corrie will have cameras, and ties to satellites.

Gert said...


Israel Lobby, not Jewish Lobby. And yes, very ruling class...

Satcoms won't work very long: they jammed all communications when they boarded the flotilla. Also cameras, phones and comps were confiscated: really 'military junta' style stuff. But by now the Corrie will have been seized, must look at the news...

Just another small example of how al-Qaedaish the activists must have been: on board on of the smaller vessels was the indomitable Edward Peck, a former US ambassador to some ME country (he's funny, he said once: 'I have a covenant with the US G'ment: I can say what I want and my G'ment complete ignores me!') Must be al-Qaeda's Granddad's Division!

James said...

Disgusting article, full of unsubstantiated, speculative comments.

Arguments that take no account whatsoever of how Viva Palestina came into being or what agenda it serves.

You twist the facts in a mway that would make any Israeli spokesman proud.

Luckily the vast majority of socialists and oppressed people all over the world are off the fence and on the side of the beseiged Palestinians.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Pagan, as your embarrassing calamity of comments proves, you fail to see clear differences.

You confuse my clear and open dislike of religion with your bigotry towards people based upon their faith. There is a difference.

I didn't watch the video, no doubt it was an epic fail on your part.

SecondComingOfBast said...


That's odd, seeing as how I am in complete agreement with your assessment of such matters as Creationism taught as science in schools, etc. Such matters are appropriate grounds for satire and ridicule, in my view, its not about hate.

But since you insist on the H word, I would be interested in your take on the difference.

You should watch the video, no need in being squeamish. It is quite good. I especially like the Bob Dylan stand-in at about the 3:21 mark. Good stuff.

white rabbit said...

I think it is right that the blockade plays into Hamas's hands and reinforces its power but the Israelis being idiots have not noticed this.

I've no brief for Hamas but it did win an election which nobody challenges as to its fairness. This not being in accordance with plans, what then happened was a Fatah coup in the West Bank spun as a Hamas coup in Gaza. This has the unintended effect that Abbas is so weakened he can't even discharge his purpose as - pardon the expression but it's the most apt analogy - house nigger to western interests. This will not end well...

Gert said...

"I think it is right that the blockade plays into Hamas's hands and reinforces its power but the Israelis being idiots have not noticed this."

I doubt that the blockade actually reinforces Hamas' power but totally predictably the people of Gaza didn't 'turn on de Gamas' as was supposed to happen in Israel's imaginary scenario: a people that knows it has both justice and history on its side can afford painful steadfastness.

It's important to note that the siege isn't just intended to keep weapons out but also has an economic sanctions angle: Israel states so quite clearly.

The absence of meaningful quantities of building materials such as cement, steel and glass means that reconstruction (for which large amounts of funds have set aside by the IC) is reduced to some Gazans grinding the rubble from destroyed structures into some kind of gravel, mixing this with whatever and moulding their own brand of breeze blocks from the paste. The resulting structures do not comply with any real building standards and in the West even hobos would probably snub them on safety grounds...

In the medium-long term this is all completely unsustainable, of course...

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Indeed it is Gert, indeed it is.

SecondComingOfBast said...

I don't know if this escaped anyone's attention, or if they are ignoring it, but Hamas has refused all aid from the flotilla ships. Of course, part of the reason for that might well be that the medications that were part of the flotilla donations were more than one year past their expiration date.

People, if you want to donate to the Palestinian Arabs in Gaza, that's fine, maybe even commendable. But there are proper channels by which you can do that, through UN relief agencies, which I am sure many here would swear to my face could do no wrong. The Red Cross is another, among many others, by which you can donate to their well-being. If you're not sure as to what to donate, you pretty much can't go wrong with money.

Where you can go wrong is by supporting these jackals who are using this flotilla as a political tool, and who view the suffering of Palestinians (which is highly exaggerated at any rate) as a propaganda ploy. As far as they are concerned, the Palestinians are taking one for the team, and by God they should just keep on doing so.

If you really want to help them, ditch the politics, find your humanity, reach into your pockets, and help them the right way.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

The people you talk of are not jackals, enough of your de-humanising talk! The suffering of Palestinians in Gaza is not highly exaggerated either, yet more prejudice.

And more importantly, none of us here need lectures from you on humanity.

SecondComingOfBast said...

Actually you are right, Daniel, they are not jackals, that was wrong of me, and I most sincerely apologize to all jackals the world over. I had better cut this short though, or the next thing you know I'll be having to issue an apology to pond scum the world over.

Daniel Hoffmann-Gill said...

Tedious stuff.

Gert said...


As so often your contribution here is jingoistic, macho ('torpedo them!'), factoidal (rather than matter of factly) and ill-thought through. If anything you clearly don't care about the plight of the Palestinians, why then make such a song and dance about it: don't donate and instead find some Hollywood bimbo who 'forgot' to put her knickers on to keep you busy (possibly with both hands)...

"If you really want to help them, ditch the politics, find your humanity, reach into your pockets, and help them the right way. "

Firstly, no major injustice has ever been solved by charity alone, only political solutions can do that. The activists are rightly combining humanitarian aid with political activism. The activists could be accused of provocation but so can Israel's Ship of Fools for not wanting to budge and choosing a military 'solution'.

As regards, the 'exaggeration' of Gaza's plight, it's a typically Conservative idea that if a crisis doesn't resemble the worst in the Sahel, it can't be all that bad. All of you would feel hapless, helpless and miserable without your mod cons and outside your comfort zone but mocking people who live increasingly in worse than third world conditions is supposed to be funny? It starts with 'H'...

SecondComingOfBast said...

You guys are going to have to overlook me, I've got this really nasty head cold that's kicking my ass, and I'm short of cash right now, so I'm just going to have to suffer through it until it works its way out.

Although, hey, come to think of it-does anybody know where I might find some good out-of-date by a year cancer meds someone might "donate" to me? That might do the trick.

Frank Partisan said...

James: I'm for self determination for Arabs, Jews and Kurds, within a socialist federation of the Middle East.

Read between the lines.

One doesn't read Stratfor or The Economist or WSJ for opinion. The post has useful information.

In Ted Grant's home, was stacks of the WSJ.

I give no political support to Hamas, Fatah or Zionism.

White Rabbit: Hamas and present day Fatah are bad alternatives.

It shouldn't be forgotten, when Fatah was leaning toward socialism, Israel subsidized Hamas.

Gert: Hamas gains from blockade, besides politically, they gain from the underground tunnels from Egypt. The masses suffer.

Pagan: Try cancer meds. They are used now for arthritis.

Daniel H-G: Agree.