Morally Legit, Practically Insane: Israel and the Flotilla

Since it’s the talk of the day and I’ve had my chance to hear and be asked various opinions on the recent Israel-Turkey-Flotilla crisis, I’ve decided to sum it all up in text (and test posting via mail). So, here are my two bits.

1. Morally: just in case anyone forgot this, the very thing that makes us the good guys and the them the bad guys is not ‘being Jewish’ or ‘the chosen people’, but being moral, democratic, humane. So the very first question we should be asking ourselves is always: All things considered, have we done and are we doing the right thing?

The answer to this has to be, and is, a complete affirmative. Considering the known blockade (whose morality itself is arguable, but irrelevant to the issue), entering a military-quarantined area is not only forbidden, but certainly asking for trouble. Refusing said military’s requests to cease entry is further pushing the envelope. Most importantly: If while on a boat, you see commando soldiers zipping down on you from a helicopter, and if you decide to attack said commando soldiers with pipes and axes – dude, that’s a death wish if I’ve ever seen one. Just what did they think would happen?

Peace activists (and civilians) do not attack commandos, and those who do, lose any moral claim of innocence. No excuse can justify this, especially since by all accounts the soldiers did not intend to harm before being attacked.

2. Legally: This is an interesting issue, despite the fact that in today’s world nobody gives a rat’s ass about the law (this is especially true in Israel vs The World : We do whatever the hell we want, no matter legal or not; the world will slander us no matter what we do, legal or not). For any interested, I recommend Dershowitz’s excellent account of the matter.

3. Wheel of Morality: The excellent now-defunct show “Animaniacs” used to have a bit called ‘wheel of morality’ which would ‘turn, turn, turn… tell us the lesson that we should learn’. The best irony of it is nobody is really surprised this happened – it seems the flotilla folks pretty much expected this, and deep down inside, so did we. After all, this is the only way we know how to respond to anything, isn’t it? Force, force and more force. Sad, really, that we have become the biggest boy on the block, yet we still resort to solving every single problem by violence; that we’re still so scared. I guess that’s what you get, when a kid grows up in such a rough neighborhood as the Middle East, and coming right after the Holocaust, no less.

4. Practically: Well, obviously, this has been a practical disaster. The world is angry, Turkey is fuming, Egypt opened the Rafiah crossing (effectively negating the whole purpose of the blockade), and we look like the bad guys once again, not to mention our injured soldiers (I mourn no axe-wielding peace activists, see above). What should we have done? That’s a good question. I have my own issues, but I’m not sure I would have made better decisions had I been the one calling the shots (and certainly not if I had been the one in the line of fire, and a good thing our boys did what they did; see #1). Hindsight is always easier, but that’s no excuse. Many people get paid good money to avoid exactly these kinds of results. I’m just a poor blogger (nobody loves me) and I can plead ignorance, but this last incident proves that Israel’s attitude toward the whole Gaza issue is eventually wrong.

Having said that, it seems we should have just let the flotilla pass. Or maybe not. I don’t know, I heard a second flotilla is coming on, so instead of all this text, maybe I should go iron out my reserve fatigues.

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