Saturday, June 12, 2010

Sunday, June 06, 2010

On the Flotilla Incident

You know that an incident involving Israel is bound to bring out the fringe unhinged types. Nick Cohen is certainly right on this point:
“Israel has become the main source of mystification for modern liberals. It twists them into ever-uglier contortions. It allows them to ignore secular tyranny and radical religious reaction and to revive with more relish than is seemly Europe's oldest anti-Semitic tropes while they are about it...

Where to begin? Perhaps with the inability of a large section of leftwing opinion and, indeed, isolationist conservative opinion to consider any foreign policy question without reverting within minutes to denunciations of a tiny country on the eastern edge of the Mediterranean. So prevalent are the evasive manoeuvres that we need an update of Godwin's Law to describe them...From the far left to the Liberal Democrats, alleged progressives have Jews on the brain.”
I attended the first part of the protest against Israel here in Edinburgh yesterday, but left before the march began. It was exactly what I expected to find: a hodgepodge of socialist parties, Islamist groups, with a smattering of well intentioned liberals. Marchers called for a new Intifada, referred to Israel as an apartheid state, and a rogue nation. Having been around these things long enough, I recognize that this is all par for the course. What has become increasingly sad (or has been sad for a long time, and has been progressively more frustrating), is the simpleminded responses given to any Israeli action from colleagues and associates. Without considering exactly how international law works, or how global ethics are applied, my conversations inadvertently return to the same basic claims parroted by simpletons and do-gooders alike. I have to occasionally remind myself that the individuals I am debating have proved themselves to capable academics and intellectuals in their respective fields, and yet fail to apply the same reasoning to a minuscule nation’s policies in the Middle East.

Take the debate over the blockade of Gaza and its legality. Reuters recently published a piece demonstrating that the blockade is legal when one considers international norms, and that the interception of the boat in international waters to also be justified.
“On the basis that Hamas is the ruling entity of Gaza and Israel is in the midst of an armed struggle against that ruling entity, the blockade is legal," said Philip Roche, partner in the shipping disputes and risk management team with law firm Norton Rose.

Under the law of a blockade, intercepting a vessel could apply globally so long as a ship is bound for a "belligerent" territory, legal experts say.”
In the hours immediately following the death of nine “activists,” the web was a flurry with folks claiming Israel had attacked an unarmed group of aid activists who simply wanted to bring starving individuals in Gaza needed aid. The subsequent videos, showing exactly what kind of “activists” these folks were aboard the flotilla, tempered some of the indignation. The martyr videos, the slew of weapons aboard the ship, the calls for the Jews to “go back to Auschwitz,” this all put a damper on the argument made by useful idiots around the world that these “activists” were just humanitarians with the best intentions at heart. A little research demonstrates that the starving Gaza assertion is demonstrably wrong, and that a massive amount of aid is delivered to Gaza through Israel routinely.

But like all things regarding Israel, respective commentators and groups already have their narrative ready for press before these incidents even occur. Why let the truth get in the way?

Bob and the New Centrist have more to say on this subject, and have a slew of links worth checking out.