Open Comments: Rip Van Winkle and the Middle East

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gaza flotilla.jpg
I had a bit of a schedule change in the last couple of days and had to catch a flight to Doha on short notice. I am here now, but when I boarded the plane, all was still as it was in the Middle East — not peaceful, but not on the brink either.
Now I have landed and am no longer disconnected from the pulsating throb of distressing Middle East-related news tonight.
I’ve missed a lot of detail — and nearly all of the early emotional tension — in the clash between a purported medical supplies/humanitarian flotilla heading for Gaza and the Israeli Defense Forces.
I’m in sort of a Rip Van Winkle moment in which I’ve awaken and lots has changed.
This reminds me of one time years ago when i was put under for some serious oral surgery right as the attempted coup against Mikhail Gorbachev was starting. When I woke, the first thing I could think of was to get caught up on the latest in Moscow intrigue.
I’ve been reading some correspondence that I received both from supporters of Israel’s actions and those loudly crying foul on Israel for the deaths that have occurred. I need to catch up, need to see the video, and have some evolving thoughts that I’ll try to share in the morning (my time).
Until then, I encourage “civil”, unscreaming exchanges here in the comments section.
— Steve Clemons

Comments

140 comments on “Open Comments: Rip Van Winkle and the Middle East

  1. Louis Vuitton Handbags says:

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  3. DonS says:

    I may check that with my brother, who is in that cult. Thanks for the heads up Paul.
    I Had though it might be some code wrapped around that boot spamer.

    Reply

  4. Paul Norheim says:

    “BTW, I just had the captcha “ZUUGGG”. What could that mean?”
    (DonS)
    Holy crap! That, Don, is the final proof that Dan Kervick has just
    been appointed the Master Mason in charge of the Illuminati
    within the Northern Hemisphere.

    Reply

  5. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Good grief, nadine is busier than a fly in a dirty pair of knickers!”
    Trust me, such compliments will get you nowhere with Nadine, so you needn’t be shy in observing that she has not yet reached the “fly” stage of her development.

    Reply

  6. Paul Norheim says:

    Ridvan,
    glad to see you here!
    BTW: I’m not an American; I’m from Norway.

    Reply

  7. Tony C. says:

    Just in case anyone else is interested in the facts behind the Liberty
    attack, this BBC documentary provides just the sort of first-hand
    insight that Nadine would prefer you not to hear:
    http://www.salem-news.com/articles/march192010/liberty-
    attack-tk.php

    Reply

  8. John Waring says:

    Of the 1001 responses Israel could have made to the flotilla, it chose among the most foolish. A commando attack on a Turkish flagged vessel in international waters? A member of NATO to boot? An attack that results in the deaths of several civilians?
    Give me a break. There is no excuse for this level of idiocy.

    Reply

  9. Tony C. says:

    Nadine,
    Ad hominem attacks are to be expected when you can’t face
    facts.
    “Actually, we don’t have to guess at Israeli motives in the Six Day
    War, as they opened the archives after 30 years. The material
    confirms that the Liberty was a friendly fire incident and that the
    Israelis didn’t have a motive to shoot an American ship. It was a
    mistake.”
    Really? A mistake? And you deduce this from Israeli archives?
    How predictable that you would ignore devastating first-hand
    evidence to the contrary.
    To wit:
    “As the attacks were going on, conversations between Israeli
    pilots were overheard by US Air Force officers in an EC121
    surveillance plane overhead. The spy plane was spotted by
    Israeli jets, which were given orders to shoot it down. The
    American plane narrowly avoided the IDF missiles.
    Initial reports on the incident prepared by the CIA, Office of
    Naval Intelligence and the National Security Agency all reached
    similar conclusions.
    A particularly damning report compiled by a CIA informant
    suggests that Israeli Defense minister Moshe Dayan personally
    ordered the attack and wanted it to proceed until the Liberty was
    sunk and all on board killed. A heavily redacted version of the
    report was released in 1977. It reads in part:
    “[The source] said that Dayan personally ordered the attack on
    the ship and that one of his generals adamantly opposed the
    action and said, ‘This is pure murder.’ One of the admirals who
    was present also disapproved of the action, and it was he who
    ordered it stopped and not Dayan.”
    This amazing document generated little attention from the press
    and Dayan was never publicly questioned about his role in the
    attack.
    The analyses by the intelligence agencies are collected in a 1967
    investigation by the Defense Subcommittee on Appropriations.
    Two and half decades later that report remains classified. Why?
    A former committee staffer said: “So as not to embarrass Israel.”
    More proof has recently come to light from the Israeli side. A few
    years after Attack on the Liberty was originally published, Ennes
    got a call from Evan Toni, an Israeli pilot. Toni told Ennes that he
    had just read his book and wanted to tell him his story. Toni
    said that he was the pilot in the first Israeli Mirage fighter to
    reach the Liberty. He immediately recognized the ship to be a US
    Navy vessel. He radioed Israeli air command with this
    information and asked for instructions. Toni said he was ordered
    to “attack.” He refused and flew back to the air base at Ashdod.
    When he arrived he was summarily arrested for disobeying
    orders.”
    Much more from Jeffrey St. Clair and James Ennes Jr. (who was
    an officer ABOARD the Liberty during the attack) can be read
    here:
    http://www.counterpunch.org/stclair1126.html

    Reply

  10. nadine says:

    So if you know so much about ideologies, how come you don’t believe that Hamas is committed to the violent imposition of Sharia and the destruction of Israel by Islam? You’ll believe anything about Islamists except that they mean what they say.
    The Palestinians don’t have a state. They don’t even have a yishuv, the institutions that preceded the Israeli state. That’s because Palestinianism is not about getting a state; it’s about destroying Israel. They don’t really care what comes after. If they wanted a state, they could have had one ten times over by now.
    “BTW, if you had listened more to less biased sources, you would
    have noticed that Muslims don’t have a monopoly on extremism
    in the history of ideologies and politics.”
    No, but they sure are leading the pack at the moment, in cooperation with the far left. Any Muslim who actually is for human rights is out of luck. Oppression at home and no support abroad.

    Reply

  11. Paul Norheim says:

    “They were democrats, not “extremists”.”
    Your reply was expected.
    “You talk as if there was an Irgun state-within-a-state in Israel
    in 1975”
    Nope. The Palestinians don’t have a state, and I was primarily
    referring to the pre-statehood phase of guerilla movements – as
    in my Israeli and African examples.
    “One of the your troubles is that like many on the Far Left, you
    believe so implicitly in your own ideology that you don’t believe
    that anybody else can really have different ideology.”
    Thanks Nadine, but you have the disadvantage of not knowing
    me… As any of my friends can confirm, I have learned so much
    from European thinkers and writers representing right wing
    positions much more extreme than your own, that I don’t know
    where to start if I should make an effort explaining it.
    BTW, if you had listened more to less biased sources, you would
    have noticed that Muslims don’t have a monopoly on extremism
    in the history of ideologies and politics.

    Reply

  12. nadine says:

    Paul, what a ludicrous comparison. Honestly, I thought you could do better than this. The Irgun was incorporated into Israel in 1948 (ever heard the name “Altalena”?). From 1948 until they reached power, Shamir and Begin were law-abiding citizen of Israel, subject to its laws. They were democrats, not “extremists”.
    You talk as if there was an Irgun state-within-a-state in Israel in 1975, with its own army and untouchable by Israel law, like Hizbullah is today in Lebanon. You make your own case ridiculous by such a comparison.
    One of the your troubles is that like many on the Far Left, you believe so implicitly in your own ideology that you don’t believe that anybody else can really have different ideology. You may sometimes say “militant jihadist” but you don’t believe in the entire Islamic political/religious set of view and practices that comes along with these beliefs. You’d rather believe anything but that they mean what they say.
    Have you got any real examples of violent extremists moderated by power? I can’t think of any.

    Reply

  13. kotzabasis says:

    Norheim
    “Theatrical challenge” with pulled knives?
    Frenchconnection
    In critical situations when one’s life is in danger it is almost impossible to react with clinical coolness.
    larry birnbaum
    In politics to be smart with no spine is totally inutile.

    Reply

  14. Paul Norheim says:

    “Hamas has had political responsibilities since 2006.”
    You omit the crucial fact that the “international community”,
    with a couple of exceptions (Norway among them), did not
    recognize Hamas as a legitimate winner of the democratic
    election, and that Israel withheld taxes etc. etc. etc.
    “Power never moderates extremists.” Entirely untrue. History
    proves that acknowledging them, if they are democratically
    elected, as a politically responsible party in many cases (but not
    all of them) has the effect of moderating former extremist. To
    some extent, I would even count Menachem Begin and Yitzhak
    Rabin among the notable examples proving my point. I assume
    you would respond that they were moderate even when they
    were young, blowing up Arabs and Brits, burning Arab villages
    and massacring civilians?
    My point is that some movements and leaders change according
    to the circumstances, just like Erdogan, Begin, and Rabin did,
    while other leaders have shown difficulties transforming from
    guerilla movements to political parties working responsibly
    within a political framework. These developments can especially
    be studied in former European colonies, where nationalist
    leaders got political power. The birth of Israel is more
    complicated: a new colonial power who first fought a bigger
    colonial power (England), then concentrated all its forces
    against it’s territorial rivals in the neighborhood.
    Among the most notable current counter-examples, I would
    especially mention Mugabe of Zimbabwe and Esaias of Eritrea.
    They are both still extremists, unable to adapt to new political
    circumstances. But your claim that political power and
    responsibilities never moderate extremists is simply historically
    inaccurate.

    Reply

  15. nadine says:

    “Obama is still pretty good at the Big Speech, Paul. Nadine talked about “moving the needle” during the health care debate. Obama actually did move the needle very well when he made his big joint session speech. But then the needle moved back gain over the following weeks as he clammed up.” (Dan Kervick)
    Obama clammed up? When? he seemed omnipresent. The Wall St Journal counted over 400 speeches that mentioned health care.
    BTW, the latest Rasmussen poll “shows 60% of U.S. voters now want to see Obamacare repealed. …Currently, just 36% oppose repeal.
    The new findings include 45% who Strongly Favor repeal of the health care bill and 27% who Strongly Oppose it.”
    http://www.rasmussenreports.com/public_content/politics/current_events/healthcare/march_2010/health_care_law

    Reply

  16. Ridvan says:

    paul you left nothing to say more…i am sure this perspective is sharing by many Americans.We lost 9 of our people,we are so sorry about them, but this event provide the world to notice what is going on, thats why ibelieve our losts will sleep in peace…it makes me hopeful to provide the peace in our region and around the world. it is easy to criticize our foreing policy about Iran,Hamas,Syria and so on miles away from Turkey…But our aim is providing peace and stability by diplomacy not by new wars.This approach is the same as Obama’s, because of that as a strategic alliance in the region, we need support of all Americans…Thanks for your objective comments.

    Reply

  17. nadine says:

    “Hamas now is a choosen democratic political party in Palestine which has aim to protect their lands such as Fatah.” (ridvan)
    Really, ridvan? When’s the next election? Come to think of it, Abbas’ term ended two years ago. No elections there either.
    While we’re on election, do you think there will be another election in Turkey where anybody but the AKP will have access to media, or not be in jail?
    For Islamists, democracy is like a bus: you take it to where you want to go, then you get off.

    Reply

  18. nadine says:

    “But as a matter of fact, Israel had the monopoly on narrating
    this event until they released people representing the other
    side. ” (paul norheim)
    That is also untrue; the other side was broadcasting and tweeting all along. Go look on Youtube.
    “As for his support for Hamas, it is motivated by the hope that if
    they get political responsibilities, they may transform into a
    moderate and responsible movement”
    Oh, for crying out tears. Hamas has had political responsibilities since 2006. They killed hundreds of Fatah supports to take sole rule and shot thousands of rockets into Israel. They have turned Gaza into an Islamic emirate. They put in a Virtue and Vice police, like Saudi Arabia has, and forced all the Christians to run away from Gaza.
    Power didn’t moderate them. Power never moderates extremists. Did power moderate Hitler? Stalin? Mao? Saddam? The Taliban? Erdogan just says it because he supports his fellow Islamists, which should absolutely put the lie to the idea that Erdogan himself is a moderate or opposed to violence.

    Reply

  19. Paul Norheim says:

    “Paul, that is unintentionally very funny. Israel NEVER has the
    monopoly on narrating any event; Israel sucks at PR”
    Yes Nadine, Israel and its most aggressive defenders really suck
    at PR; you’re all just a bunch of wannabe Goebbels’es, and not
    the real thing. Even America sucks at PR nowadays, if you
    haven’t noticed.
    But as a matter of fact, Israel had the monopoly on narrating
    this event until they released people representing the other
    side. That’s the main criterium defining a biased version,
    Nadine. Go ahead and ridicule this as “unintentionally” funny,
    but you’ll not be the last one laughing.
    ————————————
    What is much more interesting to me, is the fact that Ankara, in
    the glaring absence of real US leadership and reasonable
    positions, has recently become a loud voice representing
    worldwide common sense – first together with Brazil on Iran’s
    nuclear program, and now on the Israeli blockade of the Gaza
    strip.
    Erdogan has also shown an admirable sense of responsibility
    towards the Jewish community in his own country during a
    serious crisis, and should be praise appropriately for this.
    As for his support for Hamas, it is motivated by the hope that if
    they get political responsibilities, they may transform into a
    moderate and responsible movement – akin to the development
    of Erdogan’s party, and akin to slow, and admittedly
    complicated developments seen on other continents (Africa,
    Asia). There are a lot of dangers and traps inherent in such a
    transformation, and you may argue that his judgement is naive,
    but that isn’t sufficient to blatantly delegitimate his position.
    It’s now up to Washington and the Quartet to wake up, take up
    his challenge, and act responsibly.

    Reply

  20. Don Bacon says:

    Obama job approval opinion polls taken in the past week:
    Rasmussen Reports 46 approve / 54 disapprove
    Gallup 47/46

    Reply

  21. Ridvan says:

    nadine, Do i have to notice? this is not the point, but the point is that about the Hamas,if you want to notice something, in 1970s Israel supported Hamas against Fatah in order to divide muslim population and in Israel Parlament,on 12 of january,2007,Olmert accused Netanyahu of creating Hamas. you can get more information in this article: “Hamas history tied to Israel”, United Press International, June 18, 2002.
    Yes Erdogan talks more about Hamas, because he want to pull them in political area rather than acting such a terrorist group. Hamas now is a choosen democratic political party in Palestine which has aim to protect their lands such as Fatah. i can guarantee that we know the region better than you are, it is easy to call them terrorist group for you to legitimate acts of Israel,but it is just an excuse…you call even peace activists as an terrorists, so it is hard to explain you the facts.

    Reply

  22. Dan Kervick says:

    “On some occasions, even his words would have been sufficient. Right now he seems as unwilling to talk as he seems unable to walk.”
    Obama is still pretty good at the Big Speech, Paul. Nadine talked about “moving the needle” during the health care debate. Obama actually did move the needle very well when he made his big joint session speech. But then the needle moved back gain over the following weeks as he clammed up.
    Over time, an administration is viewed much more like a weekly television show than a Shakespearean drama. The President can’t just live by the big spine-tingling soliloquy. He needs to develop his communication into an ongoing conversation with the American people, and become a sort of character or family member that they grow to like.

    Reply

  23. ... says:

    What does Israel fear from media coverage?
    glenn greenwald
    http://www.salon.com/news/opinion/glenn_greenwald/2010/06/01/israel/index.html

    Reply

  24. DonS says:

    Paul, I’m not in the ‘knock Obama in every way possible’ camp, and then spit on him, of some here, and I recognize that English isn’t your first language (and that mine ain’t the best always), but I don’t find him an ‘extraordinarily gifted orator’. Very good at times, yes.
    BTW, I just had the captcha “ZUUGGG”. What could that mean?

    Reply

  25. Don Bacon says:

    There are several more blockade-running ships headed for Gaza. These include the Irish ship Rachel Corrie with five Irish nationals and five Malaysians aboard. Nobel laureate Maire

    Reply

  26. Paul Norheim says:

    Dan,
    in a previous post, you noted that Obama in his first year in office
    proved to be a brilliant legislator (regardless of the substance of
    the health care bill etc.), in accordance with his background.
    On could add that he won the election primarily by being an
    extraordinarily gifted orator. For unknown reasons, he hasn’t
    used his oratory gifts the way one would have expected when he
    became the President.
    On some occasions, even his words would have been sufficient.
    Right now he seems as unwilling to talk as he seems unable to
    walk.

    Reply

  27. nadine says:

    ridvan, have you noticed that Erdogan never has a kind word for Fatah? His support is totally for Hamas, his fellow Islamists.

    Reply

  28. nadine says:

    Dan, I agree with most of what you say; Obama is reacting like an academic. But I think you are missing an important angle, which is that for all his adult life, Obama has sold himself on ‘promise’ and pretty words. Where and when has he had to produce results? In one arena only: at the ballot box. He never accomplished much in office, yet nobody cared. He actually sold himself for President on the basis of “temperament,” “judgment” and a good campaign staff.
    But while he knows how to campaign, how to sell himself, as we saw with Obamacare, Obama can’t sell anything else; he talked for a solid year about health care but never moved the needle an inch. It was Obama’s job to raise public support and Pelosi and Reid’s to muscle it through Congress. Pelosi and Reid did theirs but Obama failed miserably at his.
    Added to these faults is that Obama is rigid ideologue on foreign policy with a bunch of terribly naive ideas, as Larry says. Beyond those ideas, I think he is ignorant. I really don’t think Obama is well-educated or knows any history at all. He campaigned on the idea that he could waltz into the Mideast & “change the tone” with a speech or two and his magical presence; even worse, he believed it; he drank his own Kool-aid.
    One more thing: have you noticed that with Obama, there is never a Plan B, just more of Plan A?
    When Obama’s speeches didn’t work to get public support for Obamacare, he made more of them. When Obama’s Mideast meddling put talks backward instead of forward, he insisted harder and picked fights with Israel. The only thing that has made him step back is pushback from other Democrats. So he sent Rahm Emmanuel out to talk about “messaging” — it’s always messaging with the Obama White House — but left the policy unchanged.
    As with handling the oil spill, I think we don’t see a Plan B because there isn’t a Plan B. There wasn’t much of a Plan A either. This is what I mean by “in so far over his head you couldn’t find him with sonar.”

    Reply

  29. rc says:

    America & Israel … and a little understanding?
    The censor is at work — so I recommend searching for Liza Minnelli and Joel Grey in Cabaret on You Tube — specifically “Money, “My eyes” and “Tomorrow”.
    What’s changed? A symbol here and there perhaps.

    Reply

  30. DonS says:

    Dan, our breakfast conversation this morning was about Obama’s apparent unwillingness, or inability (which would be an even more serious trait), to think in a more radical way and/or act in a mode demanded by crisis. I.e., pretty much what you said.
    Another thought along these lines, maybe along with the idea of getting it ‘right’, is operating on a lapse time that allows Obama to channel his muted actions in consonance with the emerging trend. Not exactly a follower, because some eventual actions can seem slightly forward thinking — albeit too far forward to be immediately germane to crise response, again as you’ve detailed.
    I also have to suggest, as I did during the campaign and as Obama’s pattern coalesced after the election, that there remains a very likely component of racial insecurity that, along with his personality, favors behavior that 1) seems to go along to get along (dressed up as ‘bipartisanship fixation’ and 2)is a real time constant reminder that I’m one of the boys, that I’m not a threat to the status quo, that the color of my skin is irrelevant because my actions are so, well, white, or at least not white-distressing (except to the yahoos — who shall be nameless — who he has even tried to play to. “I’m president of all Americans”. Yeah, too bad a sizable bunch will never see it that way, and have demonstrated barely disguised racism).
    I suppose we should feel lucky, though that’s a sadly lacking word, that it’s not Obama’s dark side that pulls his psychological levers more. But I’m not sure.

    Reply

  31. nadine says:

    “Until now, Israel has had the monopoly on narrating the event.
    Now, activists give their versions, and as we know, there were
    plenty of journalists on board as well. Here are some of the first
    accounts from activists:” (Paul Norheim)
    Paul, that is unintentionally very funny. Israel NEVER has the monopoly on narrating any event; Israel sucks at PR, no matter how many time Lefties repeat “hasbara” and “mossad”. Any reporter will tell you that the Palestinian always have their statement ready instantly and always supply a spokesman for a quote; while you can’t get your phone calls returned from the Israeli foreign office. At least this time Israel also video-taped events and got the video out there.
    Of course, the Pals do have a big advantage since they don’t care what the facts are, so they can have their side pre-prepared. One CNN reporter said she got the Palestinian statement at 4:30 AM (i.e. instantly) and the Israeli one 16 hours later.

    Reply

  32. Ridvan says:

    Nadine, i really admire your commitment of defending Israel. i recommend you to read some different resources, if you dont trust international media,you can read Haaretz.com (israeli newspaper which is much more objective. i have to thank you, because from answers to your comments, i am learning many things,especially please read again and again what paul wrote (at 3:12PM )and it makes me laugh that you are still trying to defend this

    Reply

  33. Dan Kervick says:

    “He’s a very smart guy who I think came into office with a number of dangerously naive misconceptions about international relations generally and the Middle East in particular.”
    Obama is indeed a smart guy, Larry. But speaking as someone who was an academic for many years, I think Obama shows all the signs of still thinking too much like an college professor. In (most of) the academic world, the chief aim is to get it right, and the time constraints aren’t terribly severe. You access information and previous research, read it, re-read it, synthesize it, draft your own position, re-evaluate the draft in response to more research, and eventually settle on a position you are confident in, and that you believe will stand up. Then you finally put it out there.
    Presidents obviously face many more situations in which they need to act or react very quickly and in real time, within hours or even minutes. They sometimes need to be very decisive and bold, even when they don’t have all the facts, even when they don’t even have the time to collect all those facts, even if they aren’t morally certain they are getting it right.
    It’s not just that the events themselves demand decisiveness, but sustaining the capacity for leadership does as well. The majority of folks – who aren’t in charge of anything – can very easily get anxious, confused, angry and demoralized in situations of real or perceived chaos, and when that happens it is very hard to mobilize them to do anything. Leaders have to convey that they are on top of a situation, and have it in hand. Even when they are not 100% sure they know where they are going, they need to project a decisive confidence to others that they do know where they are going. That’s the only way they can both maintain morale and get people into the habit of instinctively following them in a crisis.
    They also need to guide the narrative of what is happening. In emergencies, people have an intense desire for information. You can’t lead people if your own account of reality doesn’t match the dominant accounts people are getting from other prominent sources that have opportunistically filled the information vacuum – or if your account just seems to ape the accounts of others, so that you look more like a follower rather than a leader. By the time Obama gets around to injecting himself into the Turkish-Israeli-Gaza imbroglio, all of the main narrative threads will have been established and fixed in place, and the US will once again be in the position of projecting back-footed reaction and weakness, rather than leadership.
    A president should *want* to act fairly quickly, so as to be able to shape events while *others* are confused or disoriented. Obama is a basketball player, so I

    Reply

  34. Paul Norheim says:

    Until now, Israel has had the monopoly on narrating the event.
    Now, activists give their versions, and as we know, there were
    plenty of journalists on board as well. Here are some of the first
    accounts from activists:
    “Witnesses cast doubt on Israel’s convoy raid account
    Page last updated at 19:38 GMT, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 20:38
    Eyewitness accounts from ships raided by Israeli commandos
    have cast doubt on Israel’s version of events that led to the
    deaths of at least 10 people.
    German pro-Palestinian activist Norman Paech said he had only
    seen wooden sticks being brandished as troops abseiled on to
    the deck of the ship.
    Israel says its soldiers were attacked with “knives, clubs and
    other weapons” and opened fire in self defence.
    (…)
    Activist Norman Paech: “There were no knives, no axes and no
    pistols”
    “This was not an act of self-defence,” said Mr Paech, a
    politician, as he arrived back in Berlin wrapped in a blue blanket.
    “Personally I saw two and a half wooden batons that were
    used… There was really nothing else. We never saw any knives.
    “This was an attack in international waters on a peaceful
    mission… This was a clear act of piracy,” he added.
    Mr Paech had been a passenger on the Turkish passenger ship
    Mavi Marmara where most, if not all, of the deaths occurred.
    Fellow German activist Inge Hoeger said they had been on the
    ships “for peaceful purposes”.
    “We wanted to transport aid to Gaza,” she said. “No-one had a
    weapon.”
    She added: “We were aware that this would not be a simple
    cruise across the sea to deliver the goods to Gaza. But we did
    not count on this kind of brutality.”
    Activist Bayram Kalyon, arriving back in Istanbul, had also been
    a passenger on the Mavi Marmara.
    “The captain… told us ‘They are firing randomly, they are
    breaking the windows and entering inside. So you should get
    out of here as soon as possible’. That was our last conversation
    with him.”
    Meanwhile, in Nazareth, Israeli Arab MP Haneen Zuabi – who
    was on the flotilla – told a press conference that Israeli forces
    began firing while still in the helicopters hovering over the
    ships.
    “We are calling for an international committee to investigate this
    tragedy,” she said.
    Diplomatic sources in Ankara have said at least four of those
    killed were Turkish. Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip
    Erdogan said the assault was a “bloody massacre” and must be
    punished. He said Israel should not test Turkey’s patience.”
    ————————————–
    LEGALITY OF CONVOY RAID
    The UN Charter on the Law of the Sea says only if a vessel is
    suspected to be transporting weapons, or weapons of mass
    destruction, can it be boarded in international waters. Otherwise
    the permission of the ship’s flag carrying nation must be
    sought.
    The charter allows for naval blockades, but the effect of the
    blockade on civilians must be proportionate to the effect on the
    military element for the blockade to be legally enforceable.
    A ship trying to breach a blockade can be boarded and force
    may be used to stop it as long as it is “necessary and
    proportionate”.
    The Israeli Defense Forces say soldiers acted in self-defence.
    An investigation, either by the UN or by the ship’s flag-carrier
    Turkey, is required to find if the use of force was proportionate
    to a claim of self defence.”
    More here:
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/world/middle_east/10208027.stm

    Reply

  35. Don Bacon says:

    nadine: “Israel very much wanted to avoid killing any activists. . .[Hamas’s] basic street cred comes from killing Jews so they can’t refrain for too long a time.”
    History tells us otherwise, with the numerous UN resolutions against the criminal Israeli behavior which started long ago. Here are two:
    United Nations Security Council Resolution 228, adopted on November 25, 1966, . . . this incident constituted a large-scale and carefully planned military action against Jordanian territory by the armed forces of Israel.. .The Council deplored the loss of life and property and censured Israel for this violation of the United Nations Charter and of the General Armistice Agreement.
    United Nations Security Council Resolution 450, adopted on June 14, 1979, after recalling resolutions 425 (1978), 426 (1978), 427 (1978), 434 (1978) and 444 (1979) and considering the report from the Secretary-General on the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL), the Council condemned attacks by Israel against Lebanon that had displaced civilians, caused deaths and destruction. It called on Israel to cease its actions against the country.
    Thank you, nadine, for continually giving us cause to reveal the facts.

    Reply

  36. Paul Norheim says:

    Nadine,
    please read the first paragraph of the last post by
    frenchconnection (3:13PM). His point is valid: the challenges of
    police forces in the context of street protest are routine matters
    that usually don’t result in loss of life. The flotilla performance, as
    well as the unusually brutal and clumsy Israeli response, are
    destined to become material for history books and instruction
    books in tactics for defense and police forces.

    Reply

  37. nadine says:

    Paul, their means obviously were peaceful only on five of the six ships; on the sixth they tried quite hard to kill the Israelis. So let’s not hear about how peaceful they were.
    Israel very much wanted to avoid killing any activists. They knew violence would help Hamas and hurt them; that was hardly rocket science. They will probably disable any future ships and tow them.
    It would make sense for Hamas to stay peaceful as you suggest; but their ideology compels them to violence, so they won’t. Their basic street cred comes from killing Jews so they can’t refrain for too long a time.
    In fact, it would have made the greatest sense for the whole Palestinian movement to have been non-violent, but with rare exceptions, it wasn’t. That’s because its core goal is not to build a state but to destroy a state. It’s just like with this convoy, getting goods into Gaza is not the point, just the cover story.

    Reply

  38. Don Bacon says:

    Obama and his party are in political hock to Israel, so expecting him get tough on Israel even when it does something condemned by the whole world is unrealistic.
    Israel has long been a pariah at the UN, with hundreds of resolutions against Israeli behavior. Finally the US will be tarred as well and nothing will stop it. It was bound to happen eventually.
    There goes US world leadership. It’s no longer a proper US goal, and that’s a good thing.

    Reply

  39. larry birnbaum says:

    nadine, I agree with a lot of what you say. But I don’t agree with you about Obama. He’s a very smart guy who I think came into office with a number of dangerously naive misconceptions about international relations generally and the Middle East in particular. The situation there has become a lot more volatile and dangerous on his watch and sooner or later he’s going to have to confront the question of how his policies and his statements have contributed to that. I hope it’s sooner.
    Martin Kramer has a typically smart take on this issue. He seems somewhat optimistic.

    Reply

  40. nadine says:

    “I think the Israelis have to ditch the silly “paint-ball guns” line. Yes, apparently they were carrying crowd-control guns. But they were also clearly carrying other weapons, the ones that killed all the people.”
    The Israelis already said what the troops were carrying: paint-ball guns and pistols. The Israelis say they were wrestled away from the troops by the mob and used to shoot at them.

    Reply

  41. frenchconnection says:

    nce for all the “cry me a river” about the activists “weapons” is so lame that it is ridiculous. The amount of violence used by the militants on the boat was nothing compared to the one used in serious riots in Europe, may it come from anarchists or football hooligans. This is normally dealt with teargas, water cannons, batons and flashballs, not with automatic rifles. It maybe OK to shoot at kids throwing stones at tanks in occupied territories – by Israeli standards, but not by civilized countries standards. The Israeli tactics are to exaggerate the threat posed by mostly harmless (with a few exceptions) ways of expressing a righteous anger over an illegal occupation of a country as if it was an existential threat.
    the amount of fatalities caused by rockets hitting Israel the last 10 years is 27, which makes 2.7 a year. The amount of Palestinian fatalities ONLY during the Gaza war is 1,166-1,417, total casualties 6,400-6,700. Keep crying.
    Israel lives on its own planet and has become autistic. That is the path of losers exactly in the footsteps of Milosevic and others. Besides the myth of the “invincible” Israeli Army is over since the defeat in Lebanon and the latest bungled attempt is only its confirmation.

    Reply

  42. Paul Norheim says:

    According to Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, the
    flotilla was manned by terrorist supporters. But what we have
    witnessed was actually a sophisticated political performance,
    perfectly adapted to the situation – which in human terms
    ended tragically because the Israelis did not understand the
    nature of this theatrical challenge, and responded with military
    means.
    Terrorist supporters? But the whole world understood that the
    tactics of the flotilla activists were of an entirely different
    nature, actually the opposite of terrorism.
    Terrorism is not only a tactic intended to spread fear by
    targeting innocent civilians. It is also, when performed by a
    non-state actor, a desperate and lethal form of political theater,
    usually intended to direct the attention of the larger world to
    their cause. One could argue that this genre has become worn
    out and boring; that the Western audience have become blas

    Reply

  43. nadine says:

    “Will this allow the other ships that are headed for Gaza the option of docking in Egypt and delivering their supplies across the Egyptian border.”
    The piece says the opening at Rafah is temporary. The other ships don’t want to deliver their supplies; they want to break the blockade. Israel also offered them the option of delivering their supplies after inspection.
    Remember, Hamas, like Al Qaeda, is a spin-off of the Muslim Brotherhood. They are ideologically indistinguishable; they just have chosen different enemies to concentrate on. For Hamas it’s Israel, for al Qaeda it’s Saudi Arabia (the US was sort of a side-show); for the Muslim Brotherhood, it’s Egypt.
    This means that Mubarak has very strong reasons of his own not to want a Muslim Brotherhood safe haven operating in Gaza.

    Reply

  44. Dan Kervick says:

    Nato has now called for a full and impartial investigation. We’ve heard a lot so far of the Israeli account of the raid, since most of the people on the ships have been detained. But as those people are released and repatriated, we should get a more complete picture. Some eye-witnesses have claimed the Israelis began firing before boarding the ship. We need to find out what actually happened.
    I think the Israelis have to ditch the silly “paint-ball guns” line. Yes, apparently they were carrying crowd-control guns. But they were also clearly carrying other weapons, the ones that killed all the people.

    Reply

  45. nadine says:

    “This US administration is more mysterious than the sphinx. They are showing a consistent pattern of reacting slowly and ultra-cautiously during a crisis, and the president himself goes for many months at a time without talking to the press. He seems out of touch. This doesn’t seem like a recipe for “restoring American leadership”…
    Obama keeps being handed crises/opportunities for talking charge, but so far he keeps punting.” (Dan Kervick)
    Dan, agreed. Obama likes to vote “present” on contentious issues. He doesn’t like to commit himself to decisions when decisions are needed. That’s what he did with the NPT declaration, where he first told Israel he wouldn’t vote for a declaration that singled Israel out, then he did vote for just such a declaration, then he turned around and “deplored” the resolution he had just voted for! as if that balanced things out somehow, instead of a being a unprecedented display of US weakness.
    David Goldman calls Obama’s behavior “baffling in its duplicity and incompetence”. I have a simpler explanation: Obama is in so far over his head you couldn’t find him with sonar. All our enemies are snickering and all our allies are dismayed.

    Reply

  46. nadine says:

    Parker, If you were a member of NATO, wouldn’t you be asking why it was the top priority of a fellow NATO member to lift the siege on Hamas, a protoge of Iran? Last time I checked, helping Iran grow more proxy terrorist armies and get nukes was not on the NATO program, but it is very much on Turkey’s, which has now thoroughly left the Western alliance. This proves it for a final certainty.
    Tony C., your idiotic comments are what we have come to expect from the festival of Israel-bashing that is TWN. Actually, we don’t have to guess at Israeli motives in the Six Day War, as they opened the archives after 30 years. The material confirms that the Liberty was a friendly fire incident and that the Israelis didn’t have a motive to shoot an American ship. It was a mistake.
    Ridvan, five ships were boarded peacefully. On the sixth ship, the IDF soldiers came down into a mob that tried to kill them. They were stabbed. They were shot at. They were beaten with pipes and crowbars. One was thrown 30 feet down onto the lower deck. The video is all out there. That is not bias but plain fact.
    The Israelis screwed up big-time by thinking they were dealing with peaceful protesters and not violent Islamists. They sent the soldiers in with paint-ball guns, thinking they were dealing with peaceful protesters, not a lynch mob. That is the REAL screwup.
    There was a time when everybody in the West understood from intinct that if somebody deliberately brought a baby to run a blockade, you might sort of admire their commitment but if anything happened to the baby, it was on their own head for bringing it into danger. You didn’t have to tell people this; it was just common horse sense.
    But today’s Left subscribes to an inverted “white guilt” morality, where “brown” people cannot be responsible for their own actions if a “white” person is involved. (I have to use quotes because the Palestinians/Turks/Protesters aren’t really brown and the Israelis aren’t really white, but that’s how the Left thinks of them). Functionally, this multi-culturalism is as racist as any doctrine ever practiced; it’s just been inverted.

    Reply

  47. SansS says:

    Zionism has ensured that America can’t participate
    in a boycott, the minimal moral action beyond verbal
    withdrawal.
    Google “Anti Boycott” to see how Zionism has
    enshrined itself into the fabric of US policy.

    Reply

  48. David says:

    “this inhuman state terror” He got that right.
    The best thing the United States can do is nothing. It cannot be an honest broker, it cannot be a neutral third party, and it cannot stand up against Israeli thuggery. There are too many American voters who are Christian Zionists (if you don’t know what drives them, you need to learn), and the Likud lobby is too powerful, because of all of the one-sidedly pro-Israel people in government and business. JStreet is gutsy, it is driven by a moral center worth having, and it is too small to wield the kind of influence AIPAC et.al. do.
    So the US needs to go with “First, do no harm,” which means that since it cannot do the right thing, it should do nothing. Do not interfere with Turkey, do not interfere with the United Nations, state that the United States seeks peace and justice in the region and hopes all the parties directly involved will work for same. But do not interfere, either for or against Israel. Turkey can handle this (and is about to become the flagship Muslim country).
    Denis Halliday is on the Rachel Corrie, and Turkey will send warships if it must to escort the humanitarian mission to aid Islamic victims of ruthless, racist Israeli brutalization of Gaza. Nadine’s arguments mean nothing. This is how it is playing out, and the Israeli government has proven itself a ship of fools. Any violent transgressions by the Gazans are as nothing compared to what the world is finally witnessing.
    The Obama administration will not pay a price for stepping back. It will pay a price for aiding and abetting Israel, and it cannot do anything for the Palestinians. Remember the villification of Jimmy Carter and his rejection by the Democratic leadership. I was, am, and will remain a Democrat, and I support our domestic agenda, although it is far too conservative. But Israel has been our albatross, no American president has ever been able to do much of anything toward actual justice and peace, with the exception of Jimmy Carter while still president, none has stopped the illegal manifest-destiny settlements, and no American administration can, at this point, do anything helpful besides not interfering with the nations in a position and willing to force Israel’s hand through a non-violent effort to provide humanitarian assistance in a manner that rejects Israel’s illegitimate claim that it can do whatever it wants against the Palestinians, including on the high seas, and that Israel can unilaterally tell the rest of the world it cannot alleviate human suffering in Gaza.
    I also think Israel can be ignored at this point on the issue of nuclear weapons and Iran. Israel cannot use its nuclear weapons, at least not twice, and Iran has nothing to gain by ever using nuclear weapons. And the United States, Pakistan, and others have already provided nuclear weapons technology, so the idea there is some point to unilaterally preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons is absurd. Only one constructive idea has been put forward: the elimination of all nuclear weapons in the Middle East. Israel, of course, wants none of this, because in their misguided minds they think their nuclear arsenal protects them and gives them the upper hand in the Middle East. Wrong.
    Stupidity invariably catches up with its adherents. The United States needs to let this play out, intervening only if there is an unprovoked attack on Israel (not including the horrific but very limited individual suicide attacks). Likud dug this hole. Human rights activists, via the Turkish government, finally said enough. Let Likud crawl back up out of its hole and learn how to be a decent, fair-minded, justice-for-all-parties driven factor, or let collapse of its own idiocy.
    Turkey has created a win-win dynamic for itself and for Gaza, so long as the Gazans don’t do anything to re-legitimize Israeli thuggery.
    I hope Obama’s reputation for being a quick learner is validated by what he does in this crisis. Likud has proven it is uninterested in learning anything worth knowing, but then that’s how it is with arrogant knee-jerk reactionaries when they are in power.
    And it is true, leaders who do really dumb things like this are oblivious to the real damage they are doing to their own countries. And since the modern State of Israel was founded, at least in the popular perception, to redress the injustices inflicted on Jews and give them a homeland with a deep and abiding moral center (the reality does not matter here – the popular perception does), this action by the Israeli government, in ham-fisted attempt to enforce an immoral, illegal blockade, is in the process of destroying a pillar of the popular perception of the moral reason for the founding and existence of the modern State of Israel.
    Homicidal stupidity, not totally unlike BP’s ecocidal stupidity, and both criminal in nature.

    Reply

  49. Anthony Milch says:

    Ask any naval officer from any nation.
    “No serious observer can argue that Israel lacked better alternatives
    at its disposal.” (Editorial, Hurriyet)
    “…one option was to use tugboats to push the ships off course.
    Another option was to damage the ships

    Reply

  50. Don Bacon says:

    The problem, of course, extends down into the Congress, particularly on the Dem side. Here’s an MJ Rosenberg nugget on Senator Chuck Schumer who criticized Obama for taking on Netanyahu on settlements (and who happens to be head of the Democratic Senate fundraising committee in an election year):
    Schumer: “You know, my name …. comes from the word shomer, guardian, watcher. My ancestors were guardians of the ghetto wall in Chortkov. And I believe Hashem [Orthodox for God] actually gave me that name. One of my roles, very important in the United States senate, is to be a shomer — to be a or the shomer Yisrael. And I will continue to be that with every bone in my body …”

    Reply

  51. Dan Kervick says:

    should have been: ” …doesn’t degenerate into a tempestuous and escalating babel.”
    Sheesh

    Reply

  52. Dan Kervick says:

    This US administration is more mysterious than the sphinx. They are showing a consistent pattern of reacting slowly and ultra-cautiously during a crisis, and the president himself goes for many months at a time without talking to the press. He seems out of touch. This doesn’t seem like a recipe for “restoring American leadership”.
    These events can escalate rapidly out of control. Obama needs to act fairly quickly to prevent this event from being the spark that drags us all into a Middle East WWIII. He needs to talk Israel and the Turks down off their rhetorical ledges, and get his own mediating voice out there loud and at center stage so that the international discourse doesn’t generate into a tempestuous and escalating babel.
    Obama keeps being handed crises/opportunities for talking charge, but so far he keeps punting.
    If he’s got any serious contingency plans in his desk drawer for moving the I/P conflict forward toward a rapid solution – something that doesn’t involve just more “proximity talks” or the like – now would be the time to pull them out.

    Reply

  53. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “Will this allow the other ships that are headed for Gaza the option of docking in Egypt and delivering their supplies across the Egyptian border”
    Not if Israel feels it can attack merchant ships on the high seas without fear of retribution or accountability. And it appears Secretary Clinton and President Obama are pefectly content to send that message.
    Whaever became of the Oaths of Office??? They mean nothing now? As Secretary of State, Clinton no longer has to execute her sworn duties? Since when?

    Reply

  54. Dan Kervick says:

    Egypt has lifted its side of the blockade:
    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2010/06/01/egypt-lifts-its-side-of-g_n_595786.html
    Will this allow the other ships that are headed for Gaza the option of docking in Egypt and delivering their supplies across the Egyptian border.

    Reply

  55. Don Bacon says:

    Where is the SecState?
    The world now sees clearly that the US-Israel lovefest with Obama/Biden/Clinton totally in bed with Israel (and Rahm Emanuel currently in Israel for his son’s Bar Mitzvah) ASSOCIATES the US with Israel and against the persecuted Arab Muslims whose land and lives have been taken over by the Zionists.
    This fact alone makes the new National Security Strategy — “A Blueprint for Pursuing the World that We Seek” — a farce, with its world leadership baloney.
    “Yet as we fight the wars in front of us, we must see the horizon beyond them — a world in which America is stronger, more secure, and is able to overcome our challenges while appealing to the aspirations of people around the world. . .We have succceeded by steering those currents in the direction of liberty and justice — so that nations thrive by meeting their responsibilities and face consequences when they don’t.”
    America will now face consequences as its marriage with Israel forces it to side with Israel against the world on removing the siege of Gaza.
    “In all that we do, we will advocate for and advance the basic rights upon which our Nation was founded, and which peoples of every race and region have made their own. . .We will strengthen international norms that protect these rights. . .And in a young century whose trajectory is uncertain, America is ready to lead once more.” — Barack Obama
    Let’s look for that leadership on Gaza. As Obama seeks to clarify events, the issue is clear to Muslims around the world. In Muslim-majority countries like Indonesia, protesters have called on U.S. President Obama to get tough with Israel.

    Reply

  56. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Official: As many as 9 Americans on Gaza relief flotillaBy the CNN Wire Staff
    May 31, 2010 5:58 p.m. EDT
    (CNN) — As many as nine Americans may have been aboard the Gaza relief flotilla attacked by the Israeli military, and are now being held by Israeli authorities, a State Department official said Monday.
    The official, who had no details about their identities, conditions or whereabouts, said U.S. consular officials were expecting to interview the Americans on Tuesday.
    Separately, Jonathan Slevin, a spokesman for the activist group Free Palestine Movement, said a group of five Americans participated in the flotilla, including former U.S. Ambassador Edward Peck.
    Slevin said the Americans boarded a ship called the Sfendoni in Athens, Greece. He said there had been no communication with the Americans since the flotilla was intercepted by the Israelis.
    http://www.cnn.com/2010/WORLD/meast/05/31/gaza.flotilla.us.citizens/
    HELLO HILLARY????
    Hillary????
    Do we even HAVE a fuckin’ Secretary of State????

    Reply

  57. PissedOffAmerican says:

    US CITIZEN EMILY HENOCHWICZ WAS SHOT DIRECTLY IN THE FACE WITH A TEAR GAS CANNISTER AS SHE NON-VIOLENTLY DEMONSTRATED AGAINST THE FLOTILLA MASSACRE
    US CITIZEN EMILY HENOCHWICZ WAS SHOT DIRECTLY IN THE FACE WITH A TEAR GAS CANNISTER AS SHE NON-VIOLENTLY DEMONSTRATED AGAINST THE FLOTILLA MASSACRE
    US CITIZEN EMILY HENOCHWICZ WAS SHOT DIRECTLY IN THE FACE WITH A TEAR GAS CANNISTER AS SHE NON-VIOLENTLY DEMONSTRATED AGAINST THE FLOTILLA MASSACRE
    US CITIZEN EMILY HENOCHWICZ WAS SHOT DIRECTLY IN THE FACE WITH A TEAR GAS CANNISTER AS SHE NON-VIOLENTLY DEMONSTRATED AGAINST THE FLOTILLA MASSACRE
    US CITIZEN EMILY HENOCHWICZ WAS SHOT DIRECTLY IN THE FACE WITH A TEAR GAS CANNISTER AS SHE NON-VIOLENTLY DEMONSTRATED AGAINST THE FLOTILLA MASSACRE
    US CITIZEN EMILY HENOCHWICZ WAS SHOT DIRECTLY IN THE FACE WITH A TEAR GAS CANNISTER AS SHE NON-VIOLENTLY DEMONSTRATED AGAINST THE FLOTILLA MASSACRE

    Reply

  58. PissedOffAmerican says:

    US activist loses eye after being shot in face with tear gas canister
    Posted on: May 31, 2010 | ShareThis
    International Solidarity Movement
    31 May 2010
    US citizen Emily Henochowicz was shot directly in the face with a tear gas canister as she non-violently demonstrated against the Flotilla massacre
    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
    American activist loses eye after being shot in face with tear gas canister
    31 May 2010: An American solidarity activist was shot in the face with a tear gas canister during a demonstration in Qalandiya, today. Emily Henochowicz is currently in Hadassah Hospital in Jerusalem undergoing surgery to remove her left eye, following the demonstration that was held in protest to Israel

    Reply

  59. PissedOffAmerican says:

    Upthread, I posted an article that describes yet one more AMERICAN, engaged in peaceful protest, SHOT by IDF troops, and losing an eye as a result. This is the second American citizen recently GUNNED DOWN by the nazi IDF gestapo in recent months, IN ADDITION TO Tristan Anderson, who lays comatose in a hospital in Tel Aviv, ABANDONED BY HIS NATION, HIS PRESIDENT, and his SECRETARY OF STATE
    Two, it is also known that at least one of the ships, in this latest incident is American flagged, and that there were Americans amongst the 700 persons kidnapped off the high seas and illegally detained.
    Where the fuck is our Secretary of State? How does this shameless warmongering witch get away with separating herself fron such events?
    And in reading the comments of these racists like Wig-wag, Nadine, Birnbaum, and Marcus, I can’t help but wonder, if a Muslim was on this site, advocating for state sponsored terrorism, murder of innocent Jews, presenting purposely skewed versions of history, advocating carpet bombing civilian populations, and voraciously defending state sponsored terrorism that results in multiple deaths, would he be so willing to let Muslim terrorists and radicals post here as he is willing to let Jewish terrorists and radicals post here?

    Reply

  60. Ridvan says:

    “I guess it was inevitable that with the end of the Cold War and the cessation of the threat from Russia, the Turkish-American alliance would weaken. And politically it makes sense that once Europe rejected Turkey, it would turn towards the east.” (larry)
    Firstly, as an international relations student, it makes me really happy that seeing you guys concern about Turkey and its politics. i enjoy spending time here,getting information and sharing Turkish perspective. Thats why nadine’s ideas made me feel bad.
    anyway,Larry i do not agree with you. some people argue that Turkey is turning towards east,but what is hapenning is that after cold war Turkish foreign policy is becoming more independent, and taking more role in its region based on its potential hard and soft power.Our 87 years old republic placed itself west side of the world since it born, you should consider that Turkey is the only muslim country which is democratic and secular republic also connected to Europe with its own morals that trying to be bridge between west and east. This basic policy can not be changed easily…
    to understand current Turkish foreign policy, i strongly suggest you and all my friends here to read an article which is written by Ahmet Davutoglu (Turkish minister of foreign affairs).
    “The European Union and NATO are the main fixtures and the main elements of continuity in Turkish foreign policy. Turkey has achieved more within these alliances during the past seven years under the AK Party government than it did in the previous 40 years. Turkey’s involvement in NATO has increased during this time; Turkey recently asked for, and achieved, a higher representation in the alliance. Turkey also has advanced considerably in the European integration process compared with the previous decade, when it was not even clear whether the EU was seriously considering Turkey’s candidacy. EU progress reports state that Turkish foreign policy and EU objectives are in harmony, a clear indication that Turkey’s foreign-policy orientation aligns well with transatlantic objectives.
    As we leave behind the first decade of the 21st century, Turkey has been able to formulate a foreign-policy vision based on a better understanding of the realities of the new century, even as it acts in accordance with its historical role and geographical position. In this sense, Turkey’s orientation and strategic alliance with the West remains perfectly compatible with Turkey’s involvement in, among others, Iraq, Iran, the Caucasus, the Middle East peace process, and Afghanistan…”
    to read full text:
    http://www.foreignpolicy.com/articles/2010/05/20/turkeys_zero_problems_foreign_policy

    Reply

  61. samuelburke says:

    if this were the 1930’s we know who the apologist for the crimes
    that were being committed are, they post here regularly condoning
    and creating defenses for those crimes.
    My question to them is why do they do it?
    in light of the moral bankruptcy that is required to commit such
    crimes, why be just like the image in the mirror of the 1930’s.

    Reply

  62. samuelburke says:

    why do the americans subject themselves to this embarrassment?
    the intelligence community is humiliated by these miscreants and
    all that they do here aided and abetted by the political process.
    the u.s military is seen as the enabler and protector of a nasty
    tempered bully.
    so what gives?
    why the undying support and unswerving fealty?
    the press suppresses news and questions nothing.

    Reply

  63. Tony C. says:

    “The Liberty shouldn’t have gotten so close to the hot zone.”
    Nadine, you really are an eerily accurate reflection of the current
    state of Israel. By which I mean that your rationalizations for
    inexcusable actions are so strained (and, at times, grotesque), that
    they completely undermine your positions. Both you, and the
    country that you desperately seek to defend, are so furiously and
    disingenuously spinning, that you are apparently oblivious to the
    immense damage that you are doing to the very cause to which
    you are so deeply committed.

    Reply

  64. rc says:

    I also now largely skip the nadinite comments — they are predictable and disturbed. Generally exhibiting little insight or compassion beyond an ill mind and the sick psyche of a professional Zionists propagandist.

    Reply

  65. DonS says:

    Ridvan, well said. Your comments are quite respectful considering the ongoing provocation and flood of propaganda.

    Reply

  66. larry birnbaum says:

    “there was a one year old baby in that humanitarian aid [sic] ship.”
    People shouldn’t put one year-old babies in harm’s way by using them as human shields in running naval blockades and then fighting boarding parties.
    By the way in the midst of this sad kabuki, the Times actually reported something interesting:
    “Asli Aydintasbas, a columnist at the Turkish daily Milliyet, argues that the episode was a striking failure in diplomacy, for both the United States and Turkey. The new foreign policy pursued by Turkey

    Reply

  67. Ridvan says:

    “Who was stupid enough to think that Islamist IHH supporters wouldn’t be trained and ready for a fight? The first reports from Israeli hospitals are saying that the so-called “peace activists” who are being treated for their wounds were wearing camouflage.”(nadine)
    nadine, you are so biased and prejudiced that because of you i even don’t want to read comments. you have no right to blame innocent people. your biased and antagonistic ideas contribute nothing our discussions, but shows your psychological illness!! we should try to figure out what is going on, and what happened in that ship objectively.there was a one year old baby in that humanitarian aid ship. babies,old people,women from around the world, from different religions… if they were planning to fight,which father can take his baby with him? these people was just trying to show their democratic and humanitarian reactions against Israel and help palestinian people who live in such a cage without food. even israeli media criticize their army and government, how can you be such a blind? UN stated that Israel just supplying one of four needs of palestinian people, how could they trust israeli government? your psychologic situation prevent you to see the facts. i am really,but really sorry for you…i have nothing to say to you because you are not here to discuss respectfully, your aim is just blaming we Turks in any subject.you are comfortable in your chair,but yesterday israeli soldiers shot an american activist and palestinian women run to help her.
    you can not understand, i can guess that these words meanless for you, but all the world started to see the facts and if you succeed to be objective,you will,too.

    Reply

  68. larry birnbaum says:

    Thus proving that leftists have fallen into a bizzaro-world in which Berlin in 1948 was a city run by a brutal Communist dictatorship that had explicitly abrogated the treaty obligations under which it came to power, declared its intention to eliminate the surrounding democratic nation, and then proceeded to fire missiles randomly at the civilian population of that nation.
    Somehow I don’t think President Truman would have seen the analogy.

    Reply

  69. DonS says:

    “You only have to read the gutless White House statement

    Reply

  70. DonS says:

    Last time it was “tough” sanctions against Iran to buy off the Israelis from attacking Iran; Brazil call the bluff. Now it’s turn a blind I to murder/attack of NATO member in international waters (no possible ‘accident’)? Yet the money and ‘unshakable support’ continue to flow to Israel. And its all because ‘lefties’ hate Israel and America that I can’t see this? And the rest of the world can’t see this? And this is supposed to make sense in any kind of way except US/Israel collusion, blackmail, necophilia? How come condemnations can come from around the world and the official US line is stuck in ‘regrets’.
    Israel Firsters, that small but virulent breed have it backwards, but oh so potently.

    Reply

  71. Marcia says:

    Unlike werewolves whose transformation is provoked by a full moon the Israeli serial killers are put on the prowl by the American election cycle when they operate with impunity.
    The motto is, call us out and you get whacked.

    Reply

  72. Paul Norheim says:

    Apparently “ynetnews” got more than his name wrong:
    “05/31/10 #248

    Reply

  73. Paul Norheim says:

    It appears that “ynetnews” had the wrong name:
    here is CBS:
    “Jean Meadors, wife of Joe Meadors, 63, of Corpus Christi,
    Texas, a Navy veteran also on board a seized ship, said Monday
    evening that she believed he was safe, “but I’d like to hear that
    from him.”
    She said his exact status, whether under arrest, detention or
    otherwise, was unclear.
    Joe Meadors was serving aboard the U.S. Navy intelligence ship
    USS Liberty that was attacked by Israeli forces in 1967, killing
    34 crew members.
    “He hasn’t had much luck with the Israelis,” Jean Meadors said.”
    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2010/05/31/ap/government/
    main6536259.shtml

    Reply

  74. nadine says:

    Ah, yes, the Liberty, one more time.
    Israel did it deliberately! therefore there was some dire existential reason for Israel to sink the ship of its closest ally! So, what was the dire existential reason? Duh…crickets chirping…random theory offered…Israel was afraid the US would learn that Israel was about to attack Syria and would be mad, so Israel attacked the Liberty, which presumably wouldn’t bother the US a bit! And if Israel attacked deliberately, how come they didn’t finish the job? Instead they broke off half-way, and began apologizing and offering assistance.
    The whole conspiracy theory contradicts itself. It makes the believers look very, very stupid, but then, they are generally Jew-haters who look stupid already.
    Friendly fire incidents happen in every war. People are tired and stressed out of their minds, and they have to make instant friend-or-foe calculations. Sometimes they get them wrong. The Liberty shouldn’t have gotten so close to the hot zone.

    Reply

  75. Paul Norheim says:

    “US veteran on board ‘Liberty’ was flotilla passenger
    Man who served on ship bombed by Israel during 1967 war is
    missing in aftermath of flotilla clashes
    News agencies
    Published: 06.01.10, 09:13 / Israel News
    A US Navy veteran who was on board the USS Liberty, which
    Israel attacked during the Six Day War, is now missing after
    taking part in the conflict-ridden flotilla, US news agencies
    reported Tuesday.
    Sixty-three year-old Joe Miduras, of the Texas town of Corpus
    Christi, has not yet made contact with his wife, Jean. She has so
    far remained unconcerned, however, saying she didn’t think he
    had been hurt.
    Miduras was a soldier on board the USS Liberty, which came
    under fire by Israeli warplanes and torpedoes on the fourth day
    of the 1967 war. As a result, 34 crew members were killed. “We
    have no luck with Israelis,” his wife joked.”
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7340,L-3897160,00.html
    ——————————
    I googled this, but didn’t find other sources confirming this.

    Reply

  76. Carroll says:

    .Mondoweiss
    The U.S.S. Liberty and the culture of impunity
    by Philip Weiss on May 31, 2010
    The attack on the USS Liberty is one of the great enigmas of US-Israel relations. On June 8, 1967, in the middle of the Six-Day War, Israeli planes attacked an American spy ship, the Liberty, that was in international waters off the coast of Egypt, listening in on secret communications. The attacks appeared to be deliberate, involving numerous passes on a clearly-marked American boat, strafing and napalming. The attack killed 34 Americans and produced very little by way of investigation. It was deemed an accident from the start, although many American officials doubted this conclusion.
    The following quotes are from the book, The Attack on the Liberty: The Untold Story of Israel’s Deadly Assault on a U.S. Spy Ship (2009, Simon & Schuster), by James Scott, a longtime journalist living in South Carolina, whose father was an officer on the Liberty.
    [With the Liberty] the United States had the capability to intercept and decipher VHF and UHF radio frequencies, common frequencies used for government and military communications…
    In the case of the Liberty, the White House, afraid of offending Israel’s domestic backers at a time when it needed support for its Vietnam policy, looked the other way….
    Hints of disbelief did emerge, often from small newspapers outside the Beltway. Many puzzled over how Israel’s exceptional military could make such a blunder…
    [T]he overall lack of criticism of Israel baffled some senior government leaders. The dogged press corps consistently challenged the administration on its Vietnam policy and ambitious social programs. In the case of the Liberty, the press aimed most of its critical questions at the American government. Israel in contrast enjoyed a reprieve. Reporters soon adopted the phrase ‘accidental attack,’ a description that frustrated Pentagon officials, who felt it minimized the ferocity of the sustained assault that had killed or injured two out of every three men on board…
    “We were quite convinced the Israelis knew what they were doing,” [Thomas Hughes, director of the State Department’s Intelligence office] later said. “It was hard to come to any other conclusion.” Other senior staffers agreed, believing that Israel did not want the United States reading its wartime message traffic….
    Despite Jerusalem’s close ties with Washington, many State Department officials–and others in the intelligence community–believed the Jewish state’s survival instinct was so strong that, if necessary, Israel would attack a close ally in the interest of self-preservation…. [According to William Wolle, former State Department:] “The feeling of those of us at the working level in NEA [State Department Bureau of Near Eastern and South Asian Affairs] was that the Israelis had deliberately done this so that we couldn’t read all of their communications, etc. We are their ally but they are not going to trust us when it comes to a wartime situation in terms of what information might get out, what we might pass along to someone. We all felt it was no accident.”…
    Soon after the Liberty attack, [National Security Agency director Lieutenant General Marshall] Carter appeared before a subcommittee of the House Appropriations Committee to discuss the Liberty. [Deputy Secretary of Defense] Cyrus Vance joined him… “Cy Vance just told me to keep my mouth shut,” [Gerard] Burke [Carter’s chief of staff] recalled his boss telling him…. “There was absolutely no question in anybody’s mind that the Israelis had done it deliberately,” Burke said. “I was angrier because of the cover-up… The only mystery to me was why was the thing being covered up.”…
    Some of President Johnson’s advisers later regretted the handling of the attack. “We failed to let it all come out publicly at the time,” said Lucius Battle, the assistant secretary of state for near eastern and south Asian affairs. “We really ignored it for all practical purposes, and we shouldn’t have.” George Ball, the former undersecretary of state prior to [Nicholas] Katzenbach, wrote that the Liberty ultimately had a greater effect on policy in Israel than in the United States. “Israel’s leaders concluded that nothing they might do would offend Americans to the point of reprisal,” Ball wrote. “If America’s leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed clear that their American friends would let them get away with anything.”
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>
    How many Americans if ‘forced’ to choose between saving Israel for the Jews and saving America for americans would choose the Jews and Israel?
    That is the real question Americans and the zionist need to ask themselves because everything points to it coming down to that choice.

    Reply

  77. Paul Norheim says:

    According to the Jerusalem Post and AP, two more ships are
    heading toward Gaza.
    No reference to Turkish naval escort in English-language Turkish
    papers though.

    Reply

  78. Carroll says:

    Neocons to Obama: Keep Quiet on Flotilla, Or Iran Gets It
    June 1st, 2010 | Printable version |
    Share or recommend
    Share on FacebookShare on DiggTweet itDaniel Luban
    Michael Rubin:
    If Obama decides it is in America

    Reply

  79. Carroll says:

    Neocons to Obama: Keep Quiet on Flotilla, Or Iran Gets It
    June 1st, 2010 | Printable version |
    Share or recommend
    Share on FacebookShare on DiggTweet itDaniel Luban
    Michael Rubin:
    If Obama decides it is in America

    Reply

  80. nadine says:

    It serves the interests of the green-red alliance, marcus, the Left and the Islamists, who are allies because of their shared hatred of Israel and the United States.
    They use incidents like this — which they work hard to provoke — to delegitimize any attempt by Israel to defend itself. They hope to get to the point where Hamas can get long-range Iranian missiles, launch them at Tel Aviv, and the whole world will be primed to scream “war crime!” if Israel does ANYTHING in response.

    Reply

  81. Paul Norheim says:

    I googled it, and clicked on two sites (one being “antiwar”); both
    referred to the site I quoted – but unfortunately there were no
    references to further sources in the article I linked to. We’ll see
    today if there is any confirmation, because yes, it should be
    reported everywhere if it is credible.

    Reply

  82. Dan Kervick says:

    I read the same report Paul did, but also have not been able to find back-up confirmation.

    Reply

  83. nadine says:

    Paul, can’t find another report confirming the naval escort threat. If “Turkey”, i.e. the PM or at least a high level official, had said it, it should be reported everywhere.

    Reply

  84. Paul Norheim says:

    The following news sere also reported in three Norwegian
    newspapers:
    “Published: Tuesday June 1, 2010 MYT 10:52:00 AM
    Updated: Tuesday June 1, 2010 MYT 1:02:14 PM
    Aid ship Rachel Corrie, with 6 M

    Reply

  85. Paul Norheim says:

    Turkey threatens action; Israel on alert
    CNN-IBNPosted on May 31, 2010 at 19:28
    New Delhi: Turkey has threatened Israel with unprecedented
    action after Israeli forces attacked an aid vessel, killing 10 peace
    activists headed to Gaza.
    (…)
    A shocked world has responded with outrage. Turkey recalled
    its ambassador to Israel and warned of unprecedented and
    incalculable reprisals.
    Two Turkish activists were reported to be among those killed in
    the flotilla. Ankara warned that further supply vessels will be
    sent to Gaza, escorted by the Turkish Navy, a development with
    unpredictable consequences.”
    http://ibnlive.in.com/news/turkey-threatens-action-israel-on-
    alert/116743-2.html

    Reply

  86. nadine says:

    Robert C.
    That wasn’t Erdogan, that was the previous government. Not letting 2 American divisions attack from your territory is one thing, OPENLY supporting Iran and Hamas is quite another – while reaping nothing but praise from Mr. Masochist-in-Chief.
    “PS Nadine=Mossad”
    That’s just stupid. Seriously, was that supposed to be clever? You can’t even manage an insult, let alone an argument. How pathetic.

    Reply

  87. Don Bacon says:

    “Turkey has announced that further supply vessels sent to Gaza will be escorted by the Turkish Navy.” (Kervick)
    Bullshit. They have not.

    Reply

  88. Robert C. says:

    BTW, think Erdogan would have dared to do this under Bush? Obama is encouraging bad behavior all over. “…Nadine
    Last time I checked, Erdogan refussed to let GW Bush and US forces invade Irag from Turkey in 2003. Turkey has been consistent in discouraging aggression.
    PS Nadine=Mossad
    PPS..Nadine….comment, rebuttal

    Reply

  89. Don Bacon says:

    “Hamas is a terrorist organization” — it just rolls of the tongue of Zionists. “Israel is a terrorist state” — Erdogan — how about that? Who’s klled more? The “terrorist label is slung around promiscuously. Normally it is applied to the non-state victims of state terrorism.
    Egypt? It’s an authoritarian regime that has been bought-and-paid for with billions of US dollars, and therefore does US bidding. Turkey not so much, which is why they are standing up to Israel and by extension the US. Also their new friend Brazil, of all countries. It’s getting interesting.
    “Turkey didn’t pull any stunts like this when Bush was in office.” The statement implies a reason — what is it? Why didn’t they? Anyhow, the “stunt” has been quite effective, as stunts go. Erdogan is the new hero of Muslims, a goal Obama sought.

    Reply

  90. Dan Kervick says:

    I don’t know Don. It doesn’t seem to me that China’s response is at all incompatible with its previous statements on the situation in Gaza:
    http://www.jamestown.org/single/?no_cache=1&tx_ttnews%5Btt_news%5D=34662
    In a further development, Turkey has announced that further supply vessels sent to Gaza will be escorted by the Turkish Navy.

    Reply

  91. Carroll says:

    NATO to hold emergency session at Turkey’s request
    (updated) 31/05/2010 20:19
    Ma’an/Agencies – NATO will hold emergency talks on Tuesday at Turkey’s request after an Israeli commando unit stormed an aid convoy en route to Gaza, killing at least 10 passengers, spokesman James Appathurai said.
    “Planning is underway for a meeting… at the request of the Turkish authorities tomorrow afternoon,” Appathurai told the Agence France-Presse. The talks will gather ambassadors from the 28 NATO member countries at its Brussels HQ.
    Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told reporters in Santiago, Chile that his government was demanding the NATO council gather to address the deaths and accused Israel of committing “inhuman state terror” with its deadly raid on a fleet of aid ships bound for Gaza, the Turkish daily Hurriyye reported.
    “It should be known that we will not stay silent and unresponsive in the face of this inhuman state terror,” Erdogan said in live televised remarks ahead of his departure from Chile to Turkey, cutting short a Latin American tour, the daily wrote.
    “International law has been trampled underfoot,” he added.
    Israel is not a member state of NATO. Meanwhile Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cut a Canada trip short, and canceled a Washington meeting, saying he regretted the deaths caused in the incident but asserted that Israel had a right to defend itself, the Israeli daily Haaretz reported.
    He further said that Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip would continue, despite renewed international calls to immediately lift the siege following reports of the deaths.”

    Reply

  92. nadine says:

    “Offhand I would guess that Hamas orchestrated this incident to derail the improving prospects for negotiations.” (Sam)
    No need on that score, as prospects were not improving. The negotiations are just a charade that Obama has insisted on; there is zero chance of their accomplishing anything.
    But Obama has shown that he a) doesn’t like Israel, b) is pursuing a ‘doormat’ policy wrt to all Arab or Muslim powers, and c) is as incompetent as he is weak. So the timing was right for those Mideast powers anxious to take advantage of the vacuum left by receding American power, Iran and Turkey, to stage a provocation. This flotilla was Erdogan’s doing.

    Reply

  93. Sam says:

    Offhand I would guess that Hamas orchestrated this incident to derail the improving prospects for negotiations.

    Reply

  94. Don Bacon says:

    The Gaza Freedom flotilla, portrayed by Zionists as being a terrorist gang, carried world-renowned names and veteran activists.
    http://tinyurl.com/29xprl4

    Reply

  95. nadine says:

    “Obviously the point of the mission wasn’t just to deliver humanitarian supplies, but to make the point that the people of the world *should be permitted* to deliver such supplies – in other words, to break the blockade. Gaza is an Israeli and Egyptian run prison, and most of the world now seems to accept that the Gazan Palestinians need to be let out of that prison.” (Dan Kervick)
    Hamas is a terrorist organization and a protoge of Iran. Iran wants to ship long-range missiles to Hamas. Israel wants to stop them. That is what the blockade is about. There’s no shortage of humanitarian supplies in Gaza. But there is a shortage of military supplies, esp. big supplies like missiles that don’t fit easily through the tunnels.
    It’s all very well to say the “Gazans” shouldn’t be blockaded, but are you happy in your progressive soul giving thousands of long-range missiles to Hamas? That’s what you are demanding.
    Turkey has declared itself an ally of Hamas and Iran. It’s done. It’s open. No matter how many happygrams Ben Katcher writes describing how this Turkish-sponsored flotilla for Hamas shows Turkey is doing just great and remains a fine NATO member.
    Turkey didn’t pull any stunts like this when Bush was in office. Who says Obama can’t get results?
    Thanks btw for noticing that Egypt has a border with Gaza too; almost nobody does, as nobody cares what the Egyptians do. The Egyptians have kept the Rafah border closed with blazing machine-guns, and the AP didn’t even do a paragraph on it. If the Egyptians had sunk the whole flotilla, it would have been a non-story.

    Reply

  96. Don Bacon says:

    Simple: People who formerly accepted the siege, or didn’t notice it, now don’t accept it. People everywhere, no matter what they thought of the blockade, are now against it.
    China didn’t give a damn, now they do, for example.
    So the attitude people take toward this raid DOES NOT depend on what they thought of the blockade in the first place. No matter what they thought of it, or if they thought of it, they are now against it. (the US gets a bye)

    Reply

  97. Dan Kervick says:

    How is that the opposite of what I said Don?

    Reply

  98. Robert C. says:

    “BTW, think Erdogan would have dared to do this under Bush? Obama is encouraging bad behavior all over. “…Nadine
    Last time I checked, Erdogan refussed to let GW Bush and US forces invade Irag from Turkey in 2003. Turkey has been consistent in discouraging aggression.
    PS Nadine=Mossad

    Reply

  99. Carroll says:

    It doesn’t matter a rats ass what people “think” of the blockade.
    The blockade is ILLEGAL….according to every single international body and law. Just as every international legal body has declared the Israeli occupation of Palestine ILLEGAL.
    Israel has no more authority to blockade Gaza than I do. They have just gotten away with it for decades because of the Jews eternal victimhood whine while they murder people.
    Pay attention samuelburke’s post upthread..that’s the actual law.
    The UN’s and the ICC findings on the Israeli occupation and the blockade have only been posted here about a gazzilion times.
    Come on Turkey, do it.
    Israel may be able to kill Americans a la the USS Liberty with impunity but there’s no Jewish Lobby in Turkey. Big difference.

    Reply

  100. Robert C. says:

    PS
    Nadine=Mossad.

    Reply

  101. Don Bacon says:

    I think it’s the opposite from what Kervick says. The piracy and murder in the Med has made people realize, those people who had accepted it before, that the siege of Gaza is wrong and it must be removed. The world community is now motivated to act.

    Reply

  102. JohnH says:

    Bibi said that “Israeli troops had right to self-defense” against unarmed ships in international waters. Yeah, and Osama bin Laden was just acting on his right to self defense on 9/11…
    The perverse contortions that Zionist hasbara puts itself though!

    Reply

  103. David says:

    A despicable government engaging in despicable acts. Enlightened Jews see it as clearly as anyone. JStreet represents the Jewishness I came to admire as a student at the University of Florida in the early 60s. The correct term for the current government of Israel is thugs. I remember thuggishness when Jewish friends and I were standing with black Southerners against “law enforcement.” Those Southerners were thugs, these Jews are thugs. I hope this galvanizes the world against the government of Israel the way the dogs, the fire hoses, and the very public killings galvanized America against the thugs in state and local governments in the South. And I hope the pro-human rights movement among progressive Jews, both here and in Israel, begins to gain real traction and momentum. Only the most racist Israeli can be anything but sickened by what was done by Israel against this humanitarian convoy. This was inexcusable, indefensible, and ultimately barbaric. These were aid workers an a peaceful humanitarian mission, goddammit.

    Reply

  104. Dan Kervick says:

    Ultimately, the attitude people take toward this raid seems to depend on what they think of the blockade in the first place.
    If one thinks that the blockade of Gaza is legitimate and justified, then one is likely to think that the effort to intercept the flotilla and board ships that were attempting to run the blockade is also legitimate. Many of the folks in this camp seem to accept that the boarding or raid was “bungled” or “botched”, and that the outcome is “tragic”, “regrettable” or even “deplorable”. But they don’t challenge the legitimacy of the raid itself.
    But if one thinks that the blockade of Gaza is in itself an oppressive and illegitimate act, then one is going to see aggressive actions taken to enforce the blockade as only compounding criminality with more criminality.
    Obviously the point of the mission wasn’t just to deliver humanitarian supplies, but to make the point that the people of the world *should be permitted* to deliver such supplies – in other words, to break the blockade. Gaza is an Israeli and Egyptian run prison, and most of the world now seems to accept that the Gazan Palestinians need to be let out of that prison.
    France, Russia and China have all now demanded that Israel end the blockade. I suppose it’s too much to ask that the United States government, which enthusiastically supported the savage overkill of Cast Lead, and then worked to help Israel trash the Goldstone report, might now join most of the rest of the world in deploring the Israeli and Egyptian enforced siege and quarantine of Gaza.
    The question comes down to this. Who gets to say whether a ship full of relief supplies is permitted to sail into a Palestinian port? The Palestinians themselves, or the Israelis? Is the United States going to continue to acquiesce in the notion that Gaza is in effect an Israeli homeland, and Gazan waters are “Israeli territorial waters”? Or will it put its money where its mouth (sometimes) is and accept that the Palestinians are entitled to run their own affairs?

    Reply

  105. samuelburke says:

    Turkish jurisdiction
    by EVA SMAGACZ on MAY 31, 2010

    Reply

  106. Robert C. says:

    Steve…get two words say it all: International waters. Wake up and smell the coffee.

    Reply

  107. nadine says:

    Hey, Paul, is it “moderate” for Erdogan to send out a flotilla to assist Hamas? How can you say somebody who supports both Hamas and Bashir of Sudan is a moderate? What would an extremist look like?
    BTW, think Erdogan would have dared to do this under Bush? Obama is encouraging bad behavior all over.

    Reply

  108. nadine says:

    Don Bacon, Brazil can only presume to challenge the US on Iran because Obama a) wrote Lula a letter encouraging him to do so, then b) criticized him for doing so. Lula made the letter public, and showed up Obama for a fool.
    Obama is not only intent on pursuing an unbelievably naive policy of nuclear disarmament, he is astonishingly incompetent.

    Reply

  109. Paul Norheim says:

    Note to Ben Katcher:
    The US administration always says that its policy is to strengthen
    and support the “moderates” within the Islamic world. Well, if the
    White House refrains from condemning the Israeli attack on the
    flotilla in plain English, US-Turkish relations will certainly
    deteriorate.
    Any comment on this issue, Ben?

    Reply

  110. nadine says:

    “Fate is not on the Zionist project’s side. First they get chased out of Lebanon (2000). Then they “lose” to Hezbollah (2006). Then they conduct a pogrom in Gaza, to the dismay of the world, resulting in a severe setback in global public opinion. Now they attack an unarmed flotilla.” (JohnH)
    Unarmed, that is, except for the iron pipes, the clubs, the knives and guns with which they attacked the Israeli commandos. It’s on Youtube. Not that you care.
    But you do have one good point — losing wars or fighting half-way does lose legitimacy. The correct moral is to fight to win. And cheer up, you’re doing your bit to encourage the Israelis to do just that, by your biased, disproportionate, Hamas-supporting judgment.
    Bit by bit, the Israelis are coming to understand the Left in the West is a lost cause for Reason or Freedom; the modern “progressive” will always support the terrorist and the fascist against any Western power, especially Israel.

    Reply

  111. Pangloss says:

    Purported, sir (Steve)
    Purport: appear or claim to be or do something, esp. falsely
    Enough said I guess about you and your purported objectivity.

    Reply

  112. Don Bacon says:

    The problem with the US blowing off what the rest of the world wants is that the US then can’t then get support for what it wants on other matters. This is the new reality of a multipolar world, a world where even Brazil can presume to challenge the US on Iran, for example. (I’m just stating the obvious for the record; I know you all know this.)

    Reply

  113. nadine says:

    I wasn’t addressing you, DonS. I said I was addressing people who could tell the difference between people fighting for freedom and people fighting for the freedom to commit genocide.
    That lets you out.

    Reply

  114. ... says:

    just like the goldstone report, the usa will blow this off… that is what they do when it comes to un security council resolutions…
    canucks are even worse off at present with a complete dolt for prime minister – harper… the guy is worse then worse when it comes to sucking up to israel…. israel’s actions are despicable, but don’t expect one of these non-leaders in the usa or canada to show an ounce of backbone on any of this… they are both complete losers…

    Reply

  115. sanitychecker says:

    Turns out the IDF soldiers were bringing the passengers warm croissants for breakfast. Unfortunately, there were not enough croissants for everyone, so the few passengers who couldn’t get any decided to commit suicide (in spite of Israeli promise that a new batch of hot buttered croissants was on its way).
    At least that’s what my hasbara friend told me happened. And Nadine is always right.

    Reply

  116. JohnH says:

    Fate is not on the Zionist project’s side. First they get chased out of Lebanon (2000). Then they “lose” to Hezbollah (2006). Then they conduct a pogrom in Gaza, to the dismay of the world, resulting in a severe setback in global public opinion. Now they attack an unarmed flotilla.
    Makes you wonder if the Knesset and IDF aren’t secretly anti-semitic!?!
    If not, they’re doing one hell of a job at defeating any remaining shred of legitimacy Israel might have left!

    Reply

  117. DonS says:

    Nadine, please, I have not been addressing you. Don’t presume it.

    Reply

  118. Don Bacon says:

    Being a music critic is one thing, piracy and murder on the high seas is quite another. That’s why, no matter what lovers of Zionism might think, the world has turned (finally!) against such criminals.

    Reply

  119. nadine says:

    DonS, progressives can no longer discriminate between people fight for freedom, and people who fight for the freedom to commit genocide. But for those who still can, I offer the words of those on board the “Free Gaza” flotilla: “Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews! The army of Mohammed will return!”
    more detail from Al Jazeera:
    Gaza flotilla extremists created a war atmosphere before attacking Israeli Navy commandoes, according to documented video footage translated by Palestinian Media Watch.
    Several of the extremists shouted the common Islamic chant, “[Remember] Khaibar, Khaibar, oh Jews! The army of Mohammed will return!” according to video footage on Al Jazeera television and translated by PMW.
    Khaibar is the name of the last Jewish village defeated by Mohammed’s army in 628, PMW explained. Many Jews were killed in the battle, which marked the end of Jewish presence in Arabia, and there are Muslims who see that as a precursor to future wars against Jews.

    Reply

  120. DonS says:

    If Steve is going to watch the Israeli concocted video he is not going to learn much. There is no conclusive video. But, you know, the facts that are known place the Israeli action far outside the limits of legal, military and moral law and convention. Those making excuses for the Israelis are doing just that, making excuses. Those of us in the US will be treated to more than our share of excuses, likely led by administration and political types. At such times it’s particularly embarrassing to be a US citizen.

    Reply

  121. DonS says:

    Don Bacon @ 7:08: “Now we will see a concerted effort by the world community to lift the siege of Gaza”. Yes exactly.
    “If they had only negotiated the safe entry of the ships, think of the propaganda victory they would have had.” (Don B). That’s not in the DNA of the Ultra orthodox and Russian emigre thugs who are fast taking over the soul of Israel.

    Reply

  122. Don Bacon says:

    According to Yossi Melman, writing in Ha’aretz, the Israelis have forgotten the story of the Exodus ship in 1947.
    “The British Mandate authorities imposed a blockade on the shores of the land of Israel and Jewish leaders believed it was their right and their duty to break it. The Jewish immigrants on the Exodus decided to forcefully oppose every attempt to stop them. The Jewish leadership wanted to arouse the world’s conscience and gain a victory in the battle for international sympathy.
    “Despite having its eyes wide open, Israel fell into a trap.”
    Now we will see a concerted effort by the world community to lift the siege of Gaza — something Israel never wanted but earned with their stupidity. Not only that, but they have (1) antagonized ally Turkey to the extreme and (2) put Obama right on the hot seat.
    If they had only negotiated the safe entry of the ships, think of the propaganda victory they would have had. The kindly Israelis allowing kids to be fed. But no, they forgot the Exodus ship.

    Reply

  123. Don Bacon says:

    And Iran’s civilian nuclear program is under full UN surveillance to ensure the non-deviation of enriched uranium to weapons programs, while Israel has been scot-free to produce and deploy nuclear weapons. So why shouldn’t Israel, and not Iran, be a matter of further concern?

    Reply

  124. non-hater says:

    “DonS, that NPT declaration – which singled Israel out but didn’t mention Iran”
    Iran is part of the NPT; Israel isn’t and refuses to join. Israel has nuclear weapons and has offered to sell nuclear weapons; Iran doesn’t have any and never has. Why shouldn’t Israel be singled out?

    Reply

  125. Don Bacon says:

    You gotta admit — Bibi has a sense of humor.
    News report:
    Netanyahu: I regret Gaza flotilla deaths, but Israeli troops had right to self-defense [while committing an act of piracy in international waters]
    Could this be a model for Somali pirates and other pirates everywhere? Will the US now excuse “inurgents” in Afghanistan and Iraq on the same grounds? The possibilities are endless.

    Reply

  126. Anthony Milch says:

    “Purported”?
    You like to jet around the world, Steve. Perhaps you would like to
    jet over to Israel for a little visit and see for yourself what was
    onboard.
    By all accounts, (and neither side disputes this) the atrocity took
    place in international waters. By ANYONE’S definition this is an act
    of piracy.

    Reply

  127. Paul Norheim says:

    DonS, I didn’t “forget” neither the coming condemning UN
    resolution nor the US veto, as I regard both events as predictable.
    But one option could be a White House reaction somewhere on
    the scale between total condemnation and total absolution. The
    question is: where on this scale will the US admin eventually land.
    The most interesting issues to me are however a) a possible
    intifada. b) a possible international boycott and finally c) the
    future Turkish/Israeli relations.
    Another unmentioned issue in the comments here (as far as I
    have noticed) is that this could ease the Gaza blockade, by
    putting pressure on Israel.

    Reply

  128. nadine says:

    DonS, that NPT declaration – which singled Israel out but didn’t mention Iran – is significant, but not for the surface reasons you are talking about. It’s significant because Obama had promised Israel the US would not support such a resolution (just as Bush had not), then it turned right around and supported it!
    The promises of the Obama administration are worthless. Let me repeat that. THE PROMISES OF THE OBAMA ADMINISTRATION ARE WORTHLESS. Obama is a weakling who will sell out his allies for worthless pieces of diplomatic paper.
    Israel may be taking the brunt right now, but this message is coming through loud and clear to every country that is, or was, an ally of the United States. Weakness earns only contempt in the Middle East.

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  129. JohnH says:

    Now the whole world sees what is being done to the Palestinians.
    Think about it Nadine. This may be Israel’s Sharpeville massacre or the Palestinians’ version of ‘Exodus.’
    When international public opinion is aroused, the days of Israeli state terror are numbered.

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  130. nadine says:

    Paul, the AKP governement is overtly pro-Hamas, and this flotilla sailed with their blessing. So naturally the Turkish government reaction will be strong.
    When your enemies smell weakness, they reactions grow stronger. That’s a general rule. Obama is weak, and everybody sees it. Nobody fears to embarrass him. Israeli leadership is also weak and conciliatory. This is how they got themselves into the mess, by reacting with too many half-measures that only emboldened their enemies.
    There won’t be another Palestinian intifada because Fatah and Hamas are at daggers drawn – literally 2,000 dead in the fighting already. Fatah doesn’t want to suffer to help Hamas! There will be a week’s noise, then Fatah and the IDF will cooperate to suppress it.
    The internal Israeli reaction should be more interesting. I hope Ehud Barak is forced to resign, but some lower level figure will probably have to take the fall.

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  131. Don Bacon says:

    A recent one-two punch barrage against Israel. First the 189-nation demand that Israel sign the NPT and own up to its nuclear stockpile, and now a universally-condemned act of deadly piracy in international waters. So much for the US-characterized “world community” being against Iran — it’s actually Israel they’re after, a country that ironically has been the instigator of anti-Iran sanctions.
    What will this do the Obama/Biden/Clinton US-Israel lovefest? Let’s watch them hem and haw. The Gulf is now not the only spill that Obama has to think about, there’s also the spill of blood in the Med.
    Let’s look for signs of that US “world leadership” we’ve been hearing about.

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  132. DonS says:

    Paul, you forgot the certain UN Security Council resolution condemnatory of Israel for the deaths that no one could have imagined might result in the clash, in international waters with this “purported” humanitarian flotilla. And you also forgot that the US will veto the resolution.
    By the way, even if this “purported” flotilla was hell bent on a provocative incident, by what right would any nation have not to anticipate potential loss of life of civilians and prepare accordingly? And we don’t need more of the stupid hasbara from the usual ghouls.

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  133. nadine says:

    “Purported” is the right word, Steve, as Israel offered to ship in the supplies, once it had inspected them. The flotilla refused, since the the supplies were only the cover story; the real purpose for this Turkish IHH-sponsored flotilla was to help Hamas break the blockade without having to compromise an inch on their Islamist destroy-Israel program.
    Barak should resign over this screw-up. He sent the IDF commandos onto those ships armed only with paint-ball guns! If they had been properly armed, there would have been no melee. Who was stupid enough to think that Islamist IHH supporters wouldn’t be trained and ready for a fight? The first reports from Israeli hospitals are saying that the so-called “peace activists” who are being treated for their wounds were wearing camouflage.
    btw, Hamas spokesmen are telling the Guardian the the US government is talking to them. Gee, has John Brennan found some new “moderates” to talk to?

    Reply

  134. ... says:

    Apparently Missing Biblical Irony, Nuclear Power Israel Complains about Slingshot Attacks
    http://emptywheel.firedoglake.com/2010/05/31/apparently-missing-biblical-irony-nuclear-power-israel-complains-about-slingshot-attacks/
    As Siun reported earlier, last night some Israeli commandos attacked some humanitarian ships bringing supplies to Gaza. A number of civilians were killed.
    Since then, the IDF has released a series of videos, captioned in English, apparently attempting to spin their own raid as an attack on the poor defenseless Israelis. I found this one

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  135. samuelburke says:

    Alarmed by

    Reply

  136. Paul Norheim says:

    Steve, perhaps this is obvious to you, but I guess the most
    important things to watch after this event are (and not
    necessarily in this order):
    1) Turkish reactions (immediately very strong)
    2) US reactions (they seem to hesitate; maybe there will be more
    tomorrow, when the Israelis have released more details about
    the nationalities of those killed etc)
    3) Palestinian reactions (a new intifada?)
    4) Increasing world wide support for boycott of Israeli goods
    etc.
    5) Domestic reactions within Israel in the coming weeks
    6) NATO reactions (probably not so important; they will be in
    sync with US reactions)
    Of course there will be world wide demonstrations outside
    Israeli embassies etc. as well (perhaps also attempts of violent
    attacks), and some of those events may also develop in
    unpredictable ways.

    Reply

  137. PissedOffAmerican says:

    “I’ve missed a lot of detail — and nearly all of the early emotional tension — in the clash between a purported medical supplies/humanitarian flotilla heading for Gaza and the Israeli Defense Forces”
    “Purported”???
    Its fairly obvious what side you will come down on. Perhaps you can figure out some way to use this incident to be proof of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. Maybe your staff Fox News correspondent can coach you through the process.

    Reply

  138. samuelburke says:

    “In the eyes of much of the world, this was a massacre, the dead
    will be seen as martyrs, and the moral bankruptcy of the Jewish
    state revealed in sharper clarity than ever before.”
    http://mondoweiss.net/2010/05/facing-armed-attack-in-
    international-waters.html

    Reply

  139. ... says:

    you haven’t missed much steve.. same bs actions from israel…

    Reply

  140. Don Bacon says:

    We note with approval that while our own larry birnbaum says “I’m not remotely sympathetic” to the killing and injuring of humanitarian aid escorts, the rest of the world (non-US) thinks otherwise.
    The UN Security Council is holding an Emergency Session on the Aid Convoy Raid. Some comments from around the world:
    Turkey: President Abdullah Gul — It is impossible to ignore the lives of defenseless civilians who were trying to take humanitarian aid to Gazan people. Gazan blockade is not a matter between Turkey and Israel, but an international matter.
    Egypt: President Hosni Mubarak condemned Israel’s excessive use of force against the peaceful aid flotilla, and insisted on Egyptians’ solidarity with the people in Gaza
    China: “We were shocked by the Israeli attack which led to severe casualties and condemn it,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Ma Zhaoxu
    UK: The British government on Monday called on Israel to open all crossings to allow unfettered access for aid to Gaza.
    Russia: The Foreign Ministry — condemns and expresses its deep concern over the issue and the incident was “a confirmation that Israel’s blockade to the Gaza Strip must be lifted as soon as possible.”
    Germany: Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle has telephoned his Israeli counterpart Avigdor Lieberman and requested a comprehensive investigation, including demanding a quick clarification of the fate of five German nationals who were believed to be on board.
    France: Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner said that he was shocked and couldn’t understand Israel’s attack in the context that the initiative of the flotilla was known by international community already.
    Italy: Foreign Minister Franco Frattini said Israel’s attack was “absolutely serious” and he “absolutely deplored” the killing of civilians in the navy attack
    Spain: condemned Israel for the attack. “Both the Spanish government and in its role as current president of the EU wishes to express its utmost condemnation of this action,”
    UN: Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon said he was “shocked by reports of killing of people in boats carrying supply to Gaza” in international waters, and called for full investigations into the incident.
    Arab League: called on the international community to move as quickly as possible to stop Israel’s actions which it described as terrorism and causing unrest in the region. The pan-Arab body has decided to hold an emergency meeting Tuesday on the incident.
    and, last and least,
    US: White House spokesman Bill Burton said the United States “deeply regrets” the loss of life and injuries in the Israeli raid.

    Reply

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