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Author Topic: Gaza Flotilla: Some questions for the activists sailing to Gaza
philnotfil
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I was amused by this.

slate.com

quote:
The tale of the Gaza "flotilla" seems set to become a regular summer feature, bobbing along happily on the inside pages with an occasional update. A nice sidebar for reporters covering the Greek debt crisis: a built-in mild tension of "will they, won't they?"; a cast of not very colorful characters but one we almost begin to feel we know personally. Such cheery and breezy slogans—"the audacity of hope" and "free Gaza"—and such an easy storyline that it practically writes itself. Since Israel adopts a posture that almost guarantees a reaction of some sort in the not-too-distant future, and since there was such a frisson of violence the last time the little fleet set sail, there's no reason for it not to become a regular seasonal favorite.
quote:
It seems safe and fair to say that the flotilla and its leadership work in reasonably close harmony with Hamas, which constitutes the Palestinian wing of the Muslim Brotherhood. The political leadership of this organization is headquartered mainly in Gaza itself. But its military coordination is run out of Damascus, where the regime of Bashar Assad is currently at war with increasingly large sections of the long-oppressed Syrian population. Refugee camps, some with urgent humanitarian requirements, are making their appearance on the border between Syria and Turkey (the government of the latter being somewhat sympathetic to the purposes of the flotilla). In these circumstances, isn't it legitimate to strike up a conversation with the "activists" and ask them where they come out on the uprising against hereditary Baathism in Syria?
quote:
Only a few weeks ago, the Hamas regime in Gaza became the only governing authority in the world—by my count—to express outrage and sympathy at the death of Osama Bin Laden. As the wavelets lap in the Greek harbors, and the sunshine beats down, doesn't any journalist want to know whether the "activists" have discussed this element in their partners' world outlook? Does Alice Walker seriously have no comment?
quote:
The little boats cannot make much difference to the welfare of Gaza either way, since the materials being shipped are in such negligible quantity. The chief significance of the enterprise is therefore symbolic. And the symbolism, when examined even cursorily, doesn't seem too adorable. The intended beneficiary of the stunt is a ruling group with close ties to two of the most retrograde dictatorships in the Middle East, each of which has recently been up to its elbows in the blood of its own civilians. The same group also manages to maintain warm relations with, or at the very least to make cordial remarks about, both Hezbollah and al-Qaida. Meanwhile, a document that was once accurately described as a "warrant for genocide" forms part of the declared political platform of the aforesaid group. There is something about this that fails to pass a smell test. I wonder whether any reporter on the scene will now take me up on this.
I look forward to the follow up when someone does ask these questions.
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Redskullvw
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Lol
Don't hold your breath. However I'd love to know how the Israelis managed to sabotage the two ships they managed to disable.

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philnotfil
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The link I posted on the shrinking constitution thread has some interesting commentary on the Obama administration inviting Israel to attack the flotilla.

truth-out.org

quote:
I am particularly disgusted by this administration’s statements and actions with regard to the current Gaza aid flotilla. Some ten boats, including one, the provocatively-named “Audacity of Hope,” which is a US-flagged vessel, are trapped in a harbor in Athens because of overt and secret behind-the-scenes pressure by the US government and its partner in crime Israel, which are leaning on the bankrupt and severely weakened Greek government to prevent them from setting sailing for Gaza.

Israeli divers have reportedly damaged the propeller shafts of the “Audacity of Hope” and another of the boats, the “Audacity’s” captain is facing arrest on trumped-up charges, and the Greek coast guard is blocking the ships from departing for the open sea, again on trumped-up charges.

But more seriously, the Obama administration has publicly invited the Israeli military to use violence against the American ship! This is so incredible and shameful that it is mind-boggling. One of the first foreign actions of the fledgling United States was to join in a military campaign against Barbary pirates (of what is now war-ton Libya), who were threatening the freedom of US-flagged vessels to sail in the Mediterranean Sea. For the first time since its founding, American fighting men were sent into harm’s way and died fighting for that fundamental right, recognized by all countries of the world, at least at the time (the Marines still sing about this in their anthem).

How pathetic and grotesque that today, Israel, which already, last spring, attacked an unarmed Turkish- flagged vessel bound for Gaza, killing nine people including a 19-year-old American youth who was executed while he lay wounded on the deck by several shots to the head fired by Israeli Defense Force troops, is not only being told it can attack a whole shipload of peaceful and unarmed American protesters (carrying only a cargo of letters expressing a desire for the peaceful liberation of Gaza). It is literally being invited to do so, by an American president and his Secretary of State.


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Blayne Bradley
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Be interested in what the facts of the matter are.
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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by Redskullvw:
Lol
Don't hold your breath. However I'd love to know how the Israelis managed to sabotage the two ships they managed to disable.

Well, apparently.
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RickyB
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What, you're denying it was Israelis who sabotaged the ships? I don't even BLAME Israel for doing it. In fact, I am genuinely pleased that unlike last year's stupidity, my leaders and my army are acting to uphold their policy (disagree with it though I might) in an intelligent manner and without killing people.

Phil - close harmony is a stretch, although I do agree that the presence of a senior Hamas fundraiser on one of the boats is a serious tactical and moral error for the organizers. As for the Syria question - I don't know a single activist connected with the flotilla (and I have a couple dozen in my twitter feed alone) who supports the Assad regime. In fact, one of the most heartening developments of the Syrian revolution has been seeing all those activists turn on Hizballah despite how much they love the organization's determination and relative skill in fighting Israel. I enjoy ragging on them about it, telling them they should have realized what reactionary scum Nasrallah is, but every single pro-Palestine activist I know personally (including virtual-personally) is 100% with the protesters and against the Assad regime and against Hizballah and Iran for supporting Assad. When a guy named Ray Hananiah tried to say that "Like every Arab-American, I am conflicted" on the matter, he was turned on by everyone and castigated for being "conflicted" about a regime that attacks its own citizens with gunships. Just today, poet Remi Kenazi, who can sometimes tweet 10 times an hour or more on the evils of Zionism, tweeted "Stop whining about Zionism while defending mass murder in #Syria, #Bahrain & #Yemen. End all oppression hypocrite" (https://twitter.com/#!/Remroum/status/88161790877368321)

The OBL question is fair. Too many of the pro-Palestine suffer from the leftist disease that prevented "good" leftists from speaking out against the evils of Stalin because that might "turn the discussion away from the evils of capitalism" or "give the capitalists a talking point". They try to deflect talk about Islamism and so on instead of dealing with it head-on (unlike state-sponsored crimes, which as I said above they happily do not).

As for the Flotilla itself - I believe it is misguided. Gaza's biggest problem now is not imports but exports. Last year's flotilla debacle killed the incoming part of the siege to a large degree. Even Gisha, the Israeli NGO working against restrictions on Palestinian freedom of movement, says that Gaza is not in pressing need of humanitarian aid right now. I believe the ships have the *right* to sail to Gaza, but I think its a waste of effort.

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starLisa
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quote:
Originally posted by RickyB:
What, you're denying it was Israelis who sabotaged the ships? I don't even BLAME Israel for doing it. In fact, I am genuinely pleased that unlike last year's stupidity, my leaders and my army are acting to uphold their policy (disagree with it though I might) in an intelligent manner and without killing people.

I didn't have any problem with what they did last year (other than thinking that they should have just sunk the damned ship), but I like what they did this year a lot.

The question was how they did it. The answer is well.

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Blayne Bradley
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quote:

The OBL question is fair. Too many of the pro-Palestine suffer from the leftist disease that prevented "good" leftists from speaking out against the evils of Stalin because that might "turn the discussion away from the evils of capitalism" or "give the capitalists a talking point". They try to deflect talk about Islamism and so on instead of dealing with it head-on (unlike state-sponsored crimes, which as I said above they happily do not).

You've clearly not set foot inside any University with a liberal arts or social science department recently then.
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RickyB
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"You've clearly not set foot inside any University with a liberal arts or social science department recently then."

?

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Adam Masterman
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quote:
But more seriously, the Obama administration has publicly invited the Israeli military to use violence against the American ship!
Can anyone find this quote. I googled for a while and didn't come up with anything. Its damning, if true, but I'm sort of automatically suspicious when a columnist "tells" something awful a politician said without citing a quote.
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RickyB
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I'll try to find it for you tomorrow. Too sleepy now. Posting something and going to bed.
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RickyB
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http://www.state.gov/secretary/rm/2011/06/166868.htm

It's toward the end so just ctrl+f for "flotilla". Note the wording. It is not, in fact, necessary for a ship trying to reach Gaza to enter Israeli waters at all. By pretending it is, Clinton couched this as a matter of self defense, rather than enforcing a blockade in someone else's water which is NOT self defense (as the flotilla is not carrying weapons and therefore not threatening anyone).

Conversely, if Israel insists on calling Gazan waters its own, it forfeits the right to claim it has disengaged from Gaza, is an occupying power responsible for the population and by the blockade guilty of massive int'l law and HR violations against an occupied people.

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Adam Masterman
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Thanks for the link, Ricky. I *do* think that the author's characterization is misleading, at best. She *implied* a justification in advance that is debatable, thats not the same thing as inviting Israel to blow up the ship. I would say that my skepticism was borne out.

I'd be interested to know what international law and precedent say about blockades. We blockaded Cuba during the missile crisis; obviously not our waters, but we claimed a defense rationale. Does Israel need to demonstrate that each vessel turned away is carrying weapons, or can they simply institute and enforce a total blockade in response to missile attacks from Gaza?

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starLisa
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The Audacity of Dopes Band brings you "Guns, Guns, Guns!"
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RickyB
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"She *implied* a justification in advance that is debatable, thats not the same thing as inviting Israel to blow up the ship. I would say that my skepticism was borne out."

This is diplo-speak. That implication screams consent to use force - especially since it is couched in a false rationale.

"I'd be interested to know what international law and precedent say about blockades. We blockaded Cuba during the missile crisis; obviously not our waters, but we claimed a defense rationale."

After we proved they were working on putting up nuclear missiles. Plus, the missile crisis was over in a matter of weeks. It didn't deprive Cubans of the right to import seasoning herbs, export produce and fish for years.

[ July 07, 2011, 04:47 PM: Message edited by: RickyB ]

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