Saturday, August 23, 2008

A Gut Vokh (A Good Week) – Welcome to Gaza, S.S. Liberty and S.S. Free Gaza

Nice news greeted me when I turned on my computer as soon as Shabbat was over in Israel – the S.S. Liberty and S.S. Free Gaza made it to Gaza. Israel decided not to stop the boats, lest that attract more publicity for the voyage. For Israel's reaction, see here. For the BBC account see here

So, welcome to Gaza, activists. I hope that others take up the idea. Yours was a small symbolic gesture, but such things are meaningful, especially for the Gazans.

I note, unsurprised, that virtually none of the US media have picked up the story yet. And I don't think it is because of the Joe Biden story, either. Mind you, the initiative came from the US, and US activists were behind getting the boats. So why are stories like this ignored in the US, despite the fact that there is clear human interest of breaking the Naval blockade of Israel?

Ask Walt and Mearsheimer.


Anonymous said...

Israeli blockade of Gaza breached: bottom of the first page of the search category "Unrest, Conflicts & War Associated Press". San Francisco Chronicle The Sacramento Bee seems to have jettisoned everything except local news...ah, no, there is a World link. A US battleship delivery of aid to Georgia is favored instead of the Gaza humanitarian effort. And the first page feature? Mickey Rooney heartbroken at racism charges leveled at 1961 film role
"One of the most beloved and enduring movie actors in American history, Rooney was shocked to hear his comic role as Mr. Yunioshi, Audrey Hepburn's cantankerous upstairs neighbor in "Breakfast at Tiffany's" had been branded racist by several Asian American activists in Sacramento..." Sacramento just isn't your ordinary town, even though it shares a regrettable insularity with most other towns. The issue arose because a local councilman uses his public grant to show movies in the park. Another film was substituted. I mention it because it illustrates the cultural perspective from which comes my difficulty in understanding how people capable of rational discourse, like bar_kochba132 and Bar Kochba, can voice prejudice, defend it's practice and seemingly never question themselves.

Anonymous said...


I feel it is important to point out that "progressives" in Israel don't look upon HAMAS the way you do. The fact that they came to power in "free elections" in and of itself doesn't make them kasher. After all, Hitler and the Nazis and Putin also came to power "democratically". So did the segregationists in the pre-Civil-Rights South. It is not enough to be elected "democratically", one must behave "democratically".

The "progressives" in Israel dislike HAMAS for the following reasons
(1) Indiscriminate rocket fire into Israel. Some may say that Israel has attacked and killed HAMAS people in Gaza, but those attacks are not indiscriminate, even if there is "collatoral damage". HAMAS seeks maximum civilian casualties.
(2) Gilad Shalit. Shalit is held incommunicado under unknown conditions. Some may say "Israel holds Palestinian prisoners so isn't it legimate for HAMAS to grab Jews, soldiers or civilians", but these prisoners are not held incommunicado and their conditions are subject to outside inspection.
(3) Deliberate terrorist attacks on cargo terminals and crossing points...Israeli drivers bringing fuel to the Gaza Strip were killed. So does HAMAS really have a legitimate gripe when Israel closes those terminals which are too dangerous for Israelis to operate in?
(4) Refusal to recognize Israel and unilateral abrogation of Oslo Agreements. Some say "Israel has not lived up to the agreements" but Israel has not abrogated them. Since HAMAS' official ideology is war to the death with Israel, do you really expect Israel to feel kindly to them?
(5) "Collective punishment" of Gazans may seem "unfair", but as you yourself pointed out, they voted them in, so why shouldn't they face the consequences of their actions?
(6) Brutal conduct with their own people. You certainly heard about the FATAH fighter who was handcuffed and then thrown off a multi-story building down to a raging mob below who tore his body apart. There were more similar incidents in the recent fighting. Things like this do not endear HAMAS to outsiders.

In the end, I do believe you will get what you want....Israel will recognize HAMAS and negotiage with them officially, for all the good it will do, but as long as they hold Shalit, I wouldn't expect much change in official attitudes towards them.