The Flotilla Fall-Out

Sorry for those of you bored with this story, but this really is a diplomatic train-wreck and I really don’t think people understand how furious the Turks are and how we are getting caught in the crossfire:

With anger and sarcasm, Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu lashed out Tuesday at Israel’s attack on a Gaza aid flotilla and by extension the Obama administration’s reluctance to immediately condemn the assault that left at least nine civilians dead.

“Psychologically, this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey,” Davutoglu told reporters over breakfast in Washington before going to the State Department to meet with Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton. He referred to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, in which al-Qaeda hijackers used commandeered U.S. airliners to kill nearly 3,000 people.

Davutoglu displayed a map showing that the attack took place 72 nautical miles off the coast of Israel, far beyond the 12-mile sovereign border. He said that the “Israelis believe they are above any law” but that they would be held to account by Turkey and the international community. He likened the actions of the Israeli government to “pirates off the coast of Somalia,” not a civilized nation, and ridiculed Israeli claims that some in the flotilla were linked to al-Qaeda.

Members of the European Parliament were on board, he noted, adding archly that he didn’t know that “al-Qaeda had infiltrated the European Parliament.”

The Turkish English daily, the Hurriyet has a lot more in that vein:

Following Monday’s attack, Turkey is also calling on Israel to take steps to compensate the victims. In addition to an official apology, Ankara is asking Israel to punish the perpetrators of the brutality and compensate the families of the people who lost their lives.

Deputy Prime Minister Bülent Arınç said prosecutors have already started to look into whether the Israeli aggression against a Turkish ship would constitute a crime according to the Turkish Penal Code.

Turkey had earlier accused Israel of violating the international laws that prohibits countries from interfering in the navigation of ships on international waters. Some experts, however, argue, citing examples from the past, that not every instance of interference on international waters would necessarily mean a breach of the law.

“Countries could stop vessels at a reasonable distance in international waters if they believe that they could pose a security threat,” Hakan Hanlı, a senior attorney-at-law and an expert on international law, told the Hürriyet Daily News & Economic Review on Tuesday. The lawyer, however, also criticized the way Israeli security forces handled the situation.

“The first thing Israel had to do, according to law, was to show themselves to the boats and inform them that they’re ready to interfere. Next, according to the same laws, they should have fired at the front of the boats to slow them down or change their course,” he said. “If the boat doesn’t stop, they are not to fire, but to come abreast of the boat with their own boat in order to change its course.”

In addition, Hanlı said, “the Israeli government should have contacted other countries, especially Turkey, to ensure that the country whose flag is flown on the boat contacts the captain and orders a change of course.” Israel, he added, did none of these things.

And the mood in Turkey is bound to keep getting worse:

Israel’s attack Monday on the humanitarian aid flotilla traveling to Gaza dominates the headlines of the Turkish print media Tuesday, competing only with a PKK assault on Turkish soldiers in İskenderun. Every publication, from the extreme right to the extreme left, blames Israel for its unlawful act, while some posit a link between the two attacks.

A Monday raid by Israeli commandos against a Gaza aid flotilla in the Mediterranean that resulted in the deaths of many civilians onboard elicited universal condemnation from the Turkish print media Tuesday.

The headlines of Turkish dailies all focused on the flotilla deaths, with many of the newspapers using similar language to describe the incident and the reaction to it.

While daily Hürriyet wrote, “The world on its feet,” daily Zaman chose “The whole world at its feet.” Daily Radikal’s “Bullets at humanity” resembled daily Cumhuriyet’s “Israel shot humanity.” Dailies Milliyet, Habertürk, Türkiye and Bugün all ran the exact same headline: “Government terrorism.”

Conservative and Islamist dailies were more extreme in their headlines, with Yeni Şafak referring to the “The children of Hitler” and Vakit to “Zionist dogs.” Taraf, which is not conservative but is noted for its anti-military stance, wrote, “Make them regret it.”

Meanwhile, the Palin fluffer Matt Continetti at the Weekly Standard has this to offer about who is to fault:

The most ominous aspect of the flotilla incident is Turkey’s involvement. The flotilla bound for Gaza, in violation of the blockade, was allowed to leave a Turkish port. The main sponsor was a Turkish charity known for ties to jihadist groups. The Turkish diplomatic and governmental apparatus sprung into action at the first sign of trouble — which of course there was, since the “peace activists” onboard the flotilla were masked and armed with lead pipes and knives.

Why is this troubling? Because Turkey is a member of NATO. It’s sought to join the European Union for years. For decades, it’s been a key military ally of the United States. Now it’s at the forefront of a global movement to delegitimize America’s ally Israel.

Meanwhile, anonymous reports in the Jerusalem Post show that some in the IDF learned a different lesson:

Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

“We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war,” the officer said. “That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war.”

The anonymous comment came the day after the Israeli Navy raided a flotilla of international aid ships headed to the Strip. Nine activists were killed in the raid, and dozens were injured.

With more ships, including the Rachel Corrie, heading towards Gaza, this could rapidly escalate unless cooler heads win out. Meanwhile, Haaretz columnists are just having a complete field day bashing the Israeli government (according to the rules set forth by some of the Israel can do no wrong voices here in the comments, that must make them all self-hating anti-Semites). Just go to the Opinion page and keep scrolling.

I don’t see this ending any time soon, and if anyone has some answers to basic questions, I would love it:

1.) Why is the Israeli government simultaneously reporting that they knew all sorts of terrorists and unseemly types were on the ships but that their troops were unprepared for resistance? And since they have them all in custody, who exactly are the unseemly types?

2.) Why on earth did they send in commandos armed only with paintballs, as I have read somewhere. Does that make sense to anyone? Even on guard duty at the front gate of my barracks in Germany in the early 90’s, I carried live ammo, even if it had tape over it. But paintball guns on a commando raid? Seriously, wtf?

3.) Why did they attempt to go in at night via helicopter 70 miles out at sea, rather than use a more traditional manner of boarding during daylight hours and in Israeli water so there could be no questions about the legitimacy of the boarding?

If anything, I think the biggest hit to Israel is regarding the competence of her military and government. For the life of me, I do not understand why even rabidly pro-Israel supporters can not recognize what a disaster this is and will continue to be. The Netanyahu government has shot itself in the head, and now appears to be reloading. Has everyone gone mad?

I have a whole lot more questions like that, but I’ll save them for later.






132 replies
  1. 1
    geg6 says:

    Sadly, John, we deserve to be in the crossfire. We have enabled this rogue state and we will reap what we’ve sown. I have no sympathy for us. At. All.

  2. 2
    kormgar says:

    Turkey has been, and remains, a far more important and reliable ally than Israel.

    Sadly, I doubt that this will be reflected in our diplomatic responses to this crisis.

  3. 3

    Isn’t the relationship between allies supposed to be mutually beneficial? I’m just curious as to the benefits the US receives from Israel. This isn’t to suggest that Israel shouldn’t be there or that the US shouldn’t be friendly, even allied–I’m just seriously wondering what we’re getting out of the deal.

  4. 4
    ellaesther says:

    Can I just express, publicly, how little I enjoy being lectured by the Turks? I mean, Turkish Kurds have it just as bad or worse than the Palestinians in the occupied territories, and certainly worse than the Palestinians with Israeli citizenship living within Israel (and they’re second class citizens!). And then there’s that whole Armenian genocide thing!

    But no. Because we’re idiots and assholes and stupid fucks who cannot learn to act like people and fucking share, Israel gets to be lectured by the people who wouldn’t even let their Kurdish community speak Kurdish until 1991.

    Fucking hell.

  5. 5
    Nick says:

    @Incertus (Brian):

    I’m just curious as to the benefits the US receives from Israel.

    shutup, that’s what.

  6. 6
    ruemara says:

    I gotta go geg6 on this. We’ve always had Israel’s back, no matter how wrong they were. Now, they’re ginning up to go to war with peace activists and Turkey, the only moslem nation that has been willing to engage in even tepid acceptance of a jewish state. Ridiculous and self defeating.

  7. 7

    Israel will use more aggressive force in the future to prevent ships from breaking the sea blockade on the Gaza Strip, a top Navy commander told The Jerusalem Post on Tuesday.

    Your Netanayahu government: Stupid and Wrong.

    I have a worse than bad feeling about this…because I want Israel to make it to its first centennial.

  8. 8
    KXB says:

    Comparable to 2002, when the U.S. had to pull two of its allies, India and Pakistan, from going to war. Pakistani terrorists attacked the Indian Parliament in December 2001, and India moved half a million troops to the border. Over a tense six month period, the U.S. had to pressure and cajole each side to back down.

    But, the U.S. did not have the Indian or Pakistani equivalent of AIPAC threatening its politicians if they did not provide 100% support to whatever foolishness their compatriots pursued.

    Remember what Washington wrote in his Farewell Address:

    “So likewise, a passionate attachment of one nation for another produces a variety of evils. Sympathy for the favorite nation, facilitating the illusion of an imaginary common interest in cases where no real common interest exists, and infusing into one the enmities of the other, betrays the former into a participation in the quarrels and wars of the latter without adequate inducement or justification. It leads also to concessions to the favorite nation of privileges denied to others which is apt doubly to injure the nation making the concessions; by unnecessarily parting with what ought to have been retained, and by exciting jealousy, ill-will, and a disposition to retaliate, in the parties from whom equal privileges are withheld. And it gives to ambitious, corrupted, or deluded citizens (who devote themselves to the favorite nation), facility to betray or sacrifice the interests of their own country, without odium, sometimes even with popularity; gilding, with the appearances of a virtuous sense of obligation, a commendable deference for public opinion, or a laudable zeal for public good, the base or foolish compliances of ambition, corruption, or infatuation. ”

    http://avalon.law.yale.edu/18t.....ashing.asp

  9. 9
    ellaesther says:

    @kormgar: There’s a good book coming out this month about just this topic (well, he puts it a little more diplomatically, but it comes down to: Let’s move a bit away from Israel and the Saudis, shall we, and closer to Turkey and Iran?). It’s by Stephen Kinzer – Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America’s Future

  10. 10
    edmund dantes says:

    I’m pretty sure boarding a ship, in international waters, flying a flag of another country is considered an act of war.

    I still don’t get why Israeli didn’t wait for them to enter their sovereign waters. However, I’ve heard some details (which I don’t follow this closely as I should) which makes it sound like technically Gaza is not sovereign Israeli territory so they’d still be in an extremely gray area.

  11. 11
    GeorgeSalt says:

    I wonder if Israel is deliberately provoking Turkey in order to derail the nuclear fuel swap deal between Turkey, Brazil and Iran.

  12. 12
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Incertus (Brian): Apparently the benefit is that pasty, doughy nerds who were bullied as children get to see Israel as a kind of masculinity enhancement. It’s like neocon extenZe.

  13. 13
    frankdawg says:

    @geg6:
    Agreed!

    @kormgar:
    Yet we keep pissing on any opportunity to build allies in the region so that Israel can continue to toss Palestinians out of their homes & take their property. They have basically built an unruleable state for Palestine and are rapidly becoming a minority in the country they created as Israel. The outlook is very bleak & we are not helping them in the least by postponing the eventual reckoning that will occur if they cannot make a just peace.

    Meanwhile the very root cause of 9/11 is right there in our refusal to take an even approach when both sides have behaved equally badly.

  14. 14
    ellaesther says:

    @Incertus (Brian): I just recommended a book (Stephen Kinzer – Reset) which will actually tell you a lot about this. Beyond all the other reasons we hear regularly for the “special relationship” is the fact that for years, Israel did a lot of our dirty work for us on the world stage. The Saudis funded it, and Israel did it (think death squad training in 1980s Latin America, as but one example).

  15. 15
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @edmund dantes:

    I still don’t get why Israeli didn’t wait for them to enter their sovereign waters.

    I’ve been asking the same question. I think the answer is that they feel like they can do what they like because they have the biggest balls in the region if not the world.

  16. 16
    RP says:

    I am in no way defending Israel’s actions here, which I think were an unholy combination of moronic and immoral, but Turkey’s responses need to be taken with huge boulder of salt. There are almost certainly factions within the Turkish government who were hoping for this exact outcome and are now taking full advantage of it.

  17. 17
    El Cid says:

    Hopefully the U.S. will continue expressing its regrets for this fuzzily unattributed violence and to call for calm and restraint on ‘both’ sides and suggest that people stop trying to provoke little, itty, bitty, tiny defenseless Israel in enforcing its internationally-condemned illegal blockade of Gaza, which is not Israeli territory.

    I admit to being highly cynical, but I don’t expect much from Turkey besides outraged howls for a while. Maybe I’m wrong.

  18. 18
    zzyzx says:

    Has everyone gone mad?

    Yes. It’s called the Middle East…

  19. 19
    Waynski says:

    @FlipYrWhig: Just without smiling Bob.

  20. 20
    Dan says:

    Not to be flippant about this, but “Bullets at Humanity” would make a kick-ass band name.

  21. 21
    John Cole says:

    There are almost certainly factions within the Turkish government who were hoping for this exact outcome and are now taking full advantage of it.

    Oh, I agree completely. The thing is, why do the Israeli’s keep giving them exactly what they want?

  22. 22
    Nick says:

    @edmund dantes: It is an act of war and if Turkey really wanted to fuck with everyone, they’d invoke Article V of the NATO treaty, thus forcing the United States to go to war with Israel

    But they won’t do that, because the Turkish are not assholes. They may have been in 1917, but they’re not now.

  23. 23
    GambitRF says:

    What’s ridiculous is that we’re literally the only country really trying to protect Israel on this. We’ve gone out of the way to block an international UN investigation in favor of one helmed by Israel, and yet I still know that within days there’s going to be another volley of “Obama hates teh joos and loves the arabs” columns from the Charles Krauthammers of the world, because single-handedly trying to defend Israel from the entire rest of the UN isn’t sufficient penance for yelling at Netanyahu over settlements and suggesting that maybe Israel should try and comply with the NPT.

  24. 24
    licensed to kill time says:

    __

    I have a whole lot more questions like that, but

    but what?

  25. 25
    frankdawg says:

    @Nick:

    No no, no there is a GREAT benefit to the US from this relations ship – its holding the Soviet Union’s puppets in the Arab world at bay . . . er, ah . . . wait! I got it! It causes end time morons to vote Republican & donate money to the worst wingnuts we can find.

  26. 26
    RP says:

    I’ve been asking the same question. I think the answer is that they feel like they can so what they like because they have the biggest balls in the region if not the world.

    I think you’re giving them too much credit. Everyone is looking for the reasons why Israel did this or that, but the simplest explanation is that the current government is filled with irresponsible clowns who don’t really know what they’re doing. IOW, there’s at least as much incompetence as malice. Israel’s current government is their version of the Bush administration.

  27. 27
    Nick says:

    @frankdawg: I remember reading that one of the major reasons why the United States became Israel’s bitch in the 1950s was because the Eisenhower administration was afraid if they didn’t give Israel whatever they wanted, they’d go to the Soviet Union and become a Warsaw Pact state.

  28. 28
    blahblahblah says:

    I will say this again:

    The Israeli government conducted a military assault on the sovereign territory of Turkey, a NATO ally to the United States. That ship was in international waters and flying the Turkish flag. Turkey is rightly pissed. They have announced that any further “humanitarian aid” flotillas will be supported by a military escort. That could lead to a shooting war between Israel and Turkey.

    What if Turkey invokes Article V of the NATO charter? Both Turkey and Israel are allies of the United States. Who does the United States choose to support? Do we throw away an alliance throughout Europe in order to support this piss-ant little country in the Middle East? Or do we tell Israel to go screw?

    The Israeli government’s actions represent a real “existential threat” to the United States RIGHT NOW. They are forcing us into a diplomatic bind between them and our most trusted allies throughout the world. Israel is damaging a critical world peace alliance – and they appear to be doing so without any US involvement in their decision-making. In fact, one might regard their conduct as an affront to the President of the United States personally. And they’re doing this all while taking United States military and domestic aid, to the tune of billions of dollars.

    WHAT THE F*CK ARE THEY THINKING?

    It’s as if they believe they control the US government and its policy-making. I don’t think so. I think that if they seriously risk the United States’ security, we’ll drop them like lead balloon-juice. Cough.

    Israel can go screw. They are no friend to the United States of America. Never mind Gaza, the Palestinians, or the Israeli’s right to return. I don’t care about any of them. All I care about is untangling MY COUNTRY from this mess.

  29. 29
    Mark S. says:

    Is there any chance this causes Bibi’s coalition to fall apart?

  30. 30
    Emma says:

    EllaEsther: That was my first thought too. The Turks have very little to kvetch about when it comes to bad behavior towards minority populations. And then I realized… dam-mit.

  31. 31
    El Cid says:

    It’s always the case that nations react in international affairs based on the particular political factions which have power in those nation’s governments.

    It’s never not been that case. It’s no different in the Turkish case, it’s no different in the Israeli case, it’s no different in the U.S. case. It doesn’t make international affairs less real.

  32. 32
    Dr. Squid says:

    If an American reprinted one of the Ha’aretz columns in a US paper, Abe Foxman and the neocon outrage machine will work overtime about how anti-Semitic the columnist is.

  33. 33
    geg6 says:

    @RP:

    There are almost certainly factions within the Turkish government who were hoping for this exact outcome and are now taking full advantage of it.

    Of course there was. Which makes Israel exponentially more stupid for giving the worst elements of the Turkish government a big, fat, wet kiss like this.

  34. 34
    RP says:

    Oh, I agree completely. The thing is, why do the Israeli’s keep giving them exactly what they want?

    See my response in post 26. Why did we invade Iraq, torture people at Abu Graib, etc., giving Bin Laden an incredible strategic victory? Only the Shadow knows…

  35. 35
    Zifnab says:

    @Incertus (Brian):

    This isn’t to suggest that Israel shouldn’t be there or that the US shouldn’t be friendly, even allied—I’m just seriously wondering what we’re getting out of the deal.

    American politicians get Jewish votes and Jewish campaign donations. But more importantly, Israel buys our guns. Of the $3 billion / year we send over there, 90% goes to buying US-made weapons. And those weapons manufacturers funnel money to their local pols.

    It’s very inside baseball. We support Israel because it serves as a massive money laundering operation for US tax dollars. The entire system is set up to publicly fund reelection campaigns while making bank for the handful of wise guys running the show.

  36. 36

    @ellaesther: Yeah, I get that, and I understand that the relationship was once mutually beneficial (in a way–both nations would have probably been better off if we hadn’t done much of the crap we did), but I don’t see how it’s still beneficial. It feels very one-sided now.

  37. 37
    Hubertus Bigend says:

    Because Turkey sat out WWII, people tend to forget just how powerful a state it is. The Israeli army and navy aren’t that much in comparison to the Turks.

    But then there’s the nukes.

  38. 38
    Shade Tail says:

    @RP #16:

    You might be right. But there are at least two big problems with that perspective.

    First, Israel and Turkey are (at least officially) allies. So that gives their reaction a great deal of importance.

    Second, even if there really are factions hoping to take advantage of this, that doesn’t mitigate this in the slightest. Any way you look at this, the smart move would have been that Israel not do it. But they did, and it can’t be un-done.

  39. 39
    Mark S. says:

    @Nick:

    the Eisenhower administration was afraid if they didn’t give Israel whatever they wanted, they’d go to the Soviet Union and become a Warsaw Pact state.

    That would have been interesting.

  40. 40
    Cacti says:

    “Equal and exact justice to all men, of whatever state or persuasion, religious or political; peace, commerce, and honest friendship with all nations – entangling alliances with none”

    Thomas Jefferson
    First Innaugural Address

    Would that we had followed this advice.

  41. 41
    El Cid says:

    @RP: Also, there doesn’t appear to be much evidence that Israel would face any actual consequences no matter what its government did in either the illegally occupied territories or to neighboring nations – Lebanon, for example — so there aren’t too many limiting factors preventing them from doing so.

  42. 42

    @Zifnab: So we give them money, and they buy our guns with our money, and keep a little on the side for themselves. What are we getting out of this again?

  43. 43
    Robertdsc-iphone says:

    delegitimize America’s ally Israel

    Sorry to break it to you, Palin boy, but the apartheid the Israelis practice has already delegitimized them.

    Fuck Israel.

  44. 44
    Calouste says:

    @RP:

    Probably, but Israel hasn’t exactly been working on their relationship with Turkey recently. There was a public incident a few months back where Israel insulted the Turkish ambassador or foreign minister (can’t remember the exact details).

    And two of the ships in the flotilla are Greek, not really Turkey’s greatest allies until about yesterday.

    OT, but there is a nice wikipedianism in the article about the raid. Apparently one ship was suppossed to go with the convoy but couldn’t make it due to mechanical problems and is now undergoing repairs in Nicosia. Nicosia is about as far from the sea as it is possible to get in Cyprus.

  45. 45
    Cacti says:

    @Hubertus Bigend:

    Turkey is also a NATO member.

    Israel is not.

    And of course the United States is. Damn, aren’t we in quite the pickle.

  46. 46
    El Cid says:

    @Incertus (Brian): You seem to be thinking that ‘we’ as in ‘you and me’ has anything to do with the ‘we’ meaning various U.S.-based really powerful and wealthy people.

    Our government is happy to spend any amount of money from you & me in order to further the money interests of much wealthier people.

    In other words, ‘we’ aren’t ‘We’.

  47. 47
    RP says:

    @Shade Tail:

    Absolutely. I agree with both points. All I was saying is that we should approach every comment that comes from the Turkish government with an appropriate level of cynicism and skepticism.

  48. 48
    Crashman says:

    @Nick: Don’t look now, but Turkey is calling an emergency NATO meeting. Not that I think they’d actually invoke article V, but if they did… well, byebye NATO.

    I think I read somewhere else that they were going to send another ship guarded by the Turkish Navy.

    This is all kinda scary.

  49. 49
    Martin says:

    Bottom line – what’s the consequence to Israel? I’m not seeing one. It looks like our politicians have lined up as they were expected to. The UN issued a sternly worded letter.

    So what if Turkey is pissed. Next time they’ll send war ships along. Will Israel board? Will they simply threaten? Will they wait until the 12 mile line so they at least have a presumption of legitimacy?

    So far, there’s been no consequence. Let’s see what happens when someone is willing to shoot back and re-examine.

  50. 50
    J says:

    @John Cole:

    Want to second John on this point. Surely, it’s in Israel’s interest to go a little way–not infinitely far, but a little way–to maintain good relations with a powerful neighbor like Turkey, in a region that it views, with good reason, as pretty hostile. Instead it’s always my way or the highway. To repeat myself and echo what countless others have said, one really has to wonder if the Carte Blanche the US gives Israel is really a favor if it let’s the the Israeli govt behave, over and over again, in a way that is against Israel’s own long term best interests. (I take it back, the blank check Willhem II gave Austria-Hungary did it a world of good!)

  51. 51
    Nick says:

    @Crashman: Israel will back down, they won’t engage the Turkish Navy, it’s suicide for them to do it.

  52. 52
    Bob L says:

    Paint ball guns? WTF? If people weren’t dying this would read like some kind of comedy. This has to be Netanyahu trying to prove he can be both more stupid, evil and incompetent that Bush. Bond villain dumb as they say.

  53. 53
    MikeJ says:

    I’m just curious as to the benefits the US receives from Israel.

    When Jesus comes back and kills all the Jews, we get to watch. This is the basis for evangelical “support” for Israel.

  54. 54
    Zifnab says:

    @Incertus (Brian): It’s not “We, the People”, it’s Raytheon and Boeing and the like. The United States gives money to the state of Israel. The nation of Israel buys weapons from Raytheon. The executives of Raytheon pay themselves big fat bonuses. Part of those bonuses are spent on the various Senate, House, and National political party committees and to respective Senators, House Reps, and Presidential candidates that support increased military funding to Israel. The politicians vote to continue funding Israel.

    Lather, rinse, repeat.

    It benefits the Israels, the American weapons contractors, and the politicians in office voting for the funding.

    But what do we get? We get a budget deficit, a feckless “ally”, shitty politicians.

  55. 55
    DarrenG says:

    @Mark S.:

    Is there any chance this causes Bibi’s coalition to fall apart?

    Very little chance, sadly. His coalition is formed with parties even more insanely racist and aggressively militaristic than Likud.

  56. 56
    El Cid says:

    @Martin: Israeli policymakers may face an international commission of investigation whose work they reject in advance and denounce as an anti-Israel and probably anti-Semitic conspiracy, and this would be echoed and cheered by the uniformly pro-militarist stance of the U.S. foreign policy establishment and the punditariat.

  57. 57
    Nick says:

    @Martin: Liberal Hero Anthony Weiner came out this morning and staunchly defended Israel, even said the President wasn’t defending them enough.

    Consequences? Yeah, ok.

  58. 58
    Francis says:

    Here’s my question:

    What’s Israel’s endgame? Are they waiting for the world to focus on the World Cup before re-invading Gaza and deporting the occupants to the West Bank? Or waiting for their Orthodox communities to start out-breeding the occupants of Gaza (so that Jews don’t get outvoted following annexation)? Or hoping that Egypt (or Jordan) will take sovereignty over Gaza?

    Because it seems to me that just hoping that the Gazans will go away is a strategy that has run its course.

  59. 59
    Punchy says:

    “We boarded the ship and were attacked as if it was a war,” the officer said. “That will mean that we will have to come prepared in the future as if it was a war.”

    Translation: We attacked them unannounced, probably illegally, and we cant fucking believe they had the audacity to fight back! Next time we nuke them.

  60. 60
    liberal says:

    @Incertus (Brian):

    I’m just seriously wondering what we’re getting out of the deal.

    Very interesting question. Even among critics of the relationship (note that there’s no formal alliance), there are two conflicting schools of thought:
    (1) Dog wags tail: Israel is a pawn of US imperialism; Israel is the local “cop on the beat” (this is the view of Noam Chomsky, for example)
    (2) Tail wags dog: like any pair of states, Israel and the US have different strategic interests. Due to the efforts of the Israel lobby, however, the US typically puts aside its own interests in favor of Israel’s. (Roughly the Meerscheimer/Walt thesis.)

    IMHO (2) is correct.

  61. 61
    El Cid says:

    @Francis:

    Because it seems to me that just hoping that the Gazans will go away is a strategy that has run its course.

    Well, maybe the Israelis could just invade and blow the shit out of Gaza and slaughter several more thousand civilians, and likewise again face no real consequences, except for the aforementioned international commissions which they ignore and denounce.

  62. 62
    Martin says:

    @Incertus (Brian): Profits for the gunmaker shareholders that fund Congress.

    This corporate welfare stuff isn’t really that complicated.

  63. 63
    liberal says:

    @KXB:

    Remember what Washington wrote in his Farewell Address:

    Damn, it’s awesome that you quoted that. That’s one of the two most relevant speeches that should be governing our foreign policy. The other is John Quincy Adams’.

  64. 64
    liberal says:

    @Nick:

    I remember reading that one of the major reasons why the United States became Israel’s bitch in the 1950s…

    Is that really true? ISTR that Eisenhower forced Israel, France, and Britain to back down in the 1956 war.

  65. 65
    Fern says:

    @Crashman: I understand that the Rachael Cory is an Irish-registered ship and the other one is American. It’s going to be interesting, and not in a good way.

  66. 66
    liberal says:

    @blahblahblah:

    Both Turkey and Israel are allies of the United States.

    Actually, that’s thoroughly false, if by “ally” you mean an ally by treaty. Israel has no mutual defense treaty with the US.

  67. 67
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @kormgar:

    Turkey has been, and remains, a far more important and reliable ally than Israel.

    B-b-b-b-but Turkey wouldn’t let us conduct our eminently reasonable and fully justified illegal unprovoked war of aggression against Iraq via their border with Iraq. Clearly they are on the side of Evil Terrorizing Commie Homo Islamo-Fascist Terrorism. Also.

  68. 68

    If they had ‘paintball’ guns, they were probably something like these: http://www.rap4lesslethal.com/

    Among the ammo options are .68 cal ceramic balls for breaking windows, rubber ‘sting ball’ rounds, and balls filled with industrial-strength pepper powder. You can kill someone with the ceramic and hard rubber rounds.

  69. 69
    liberal says:

    @Emma:

    The Turks have very little to kvetch about when it comes to bad behavior towards minority populations.

    But they do have something to kvetch about when a Turkish-flagged civilian vessel is attacked on the high seas.

  70. 70
    Snarla says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Exactly. This piss poor showing by their commandos has got to be a letdown, though. Badass Israelis with their krav maga and the top-of-the-line US military gear getting thumped by civilians with sticks and plastic chairs? And this despite having the element of surprise and cover of darkness??

  71. 71
    liberal says:

    @El Cid:
    This.

  72. 72
    PaulW says:

    Has everyone gone mad?

    Yes. Yes they have.

    The Israelis have spent 60 years of being in a state of perpetual war with their neighbors. How would YOU feel if we were still at war with Canada for that long a period if we were still fighting over the Oregon Territories?

    The Palestinians have spent 60 or so years wondering why the hell they lost control of Palestine after the 1940s, and are currently led by a political group – Hamas – that for all intents is much like the New Jersey mob with better social programs.

    The Middle East has spent the last 100 years dealing with the poorly drawn maps that Europe imposed on their region after the dissolution of the Ottoman Empire post-World War I. Not only do they have to deal with the Palestinian/Israeli issue but also the Kurds nationalist movement, the Pan-Arabian movements, and inter-social conflicts with Islam extremists who want to form their very own Islamic Empire at the expense of every other Arab and Middle Easterner who don’t think the same as they do. Throw in the ticking time bombs that are Iraq (still) and Iran (still) along with the libertarian-ized non-regimes of Yemen and Somalia and you’ve got nations coping with a lot of serious shit.

    The United States has spent 50 plus years (since Truman) backing the state of Israel, originally for humane reasons but then as part of our Cold War vs. the Soviets. More saner heads hope to forge a two-state solution for Palestine and Israel. Problem is the media and good-sized swaths of Congress are under the sway of insane neocons who think ISRAEL CAN DO NO WRONG and worse yet have Christian End-Times fantasies that STARTING a holy war over the region will bring about everything foretold in the Book of Revelation (if only those bozos stuck to the Book of Ruth… sigh). Hence the constant cries of “Bomb Iran” and “Screw Palestine” and “Rapture HERE WE COME”.

    And the rest of the planet? They’re trying to watch the damn World Cup without all this goddamn racket. Tis the pity.

    So, yeah. Everyone is mad. Welcome to Florida.

  73. 73
    Jeff says:

    @John Cole: Short answer– because Bibi Netanyahu is a fool, the likes of which makes George W. Bush look like a Oxford don by comparison, and he has as his Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman, who is a thug and idiot to boot, who as a Russian thinks the Turks are dirt. and also they have the biggest swinging d@#ks in the middle east. too.
    I think that the Turks won’t make a Federal case of it , because Israel has all the military cards in their hand. But it didn’t have to happen this way. If the Israelis had thought it through a little more they would have realized what a set-up it was and avoided the trap.Now they have to live with the consequences.

  74. 74
    liberal says:

    @Shade Tail:

    First, Israel and Turkey are (at least officially) allies.

    Nope. Israel is not an official ally.

  75. 75
    Konrad says:

    Can we stop raising Article V of NATO as a possibility? Turkey does not want war with Israel. Israel does not want war with Turkey. Neither country has anything to gain by attacking the other. The other European countries aren’t about to send warships off Tel Aviv and the US isn’t going to make a choice one way or the other, because having a reasoned statement for peace and calm is much better than picking either side.

    The question is about which side will escalate. Will Turkey follow through in sending escorts to aid ships to Gaza? Israel has found weapons on several occasions in aid ships; what if they find some in a Turkish humanitarian vessel? The fight here is over who seems like the more responsible side to Europe and the US, and Israel seems to be the one messing up so far. It’s likely that they don’t care what Europe and the UN thinks of them, since, realistically, what will they do? But at the same time, there is no reason why they shouldn’t have followed the naval blockade rules outlined above.

  76. 76
    Dork says:

    All this talk of Turkey makes me Hungary.

  77. 77
    liberal says:

    @El Cid:
    Yes, but I don’t think our “special relationship” with Israel has to do with furthering the interests of wealthy people per se (e.g. oil companies’ shareholders).

  78. 78
    Calouste says:

    @Hubertus Bigend:

    Which nukes? The Israeli or the Turkish ones?

    Wikipedia:

    Turkey is one of five NATO member states which are part of the nuclear sharing policy of the alliance, together with Belgium, Germany, Italy, and the Netherlands. A total of 90 B61 nuclear bombs are hosted at the Incirlik Air Base, 40 of which are allocated for use by the Turkish Air Force.

  79. 79
    SRW1 says:

    The Netanyahu government has shot itself in the head, and now appears to be reloading.

    Using a paintball gun?

  80. 80
    brantl says:

    @blahblahblah: That’s what put the Israelis where they are: their own mirror-image version of your short-sightedness. Like it?

  81. 81
    Emma says:

    Liberal: Yes, and that was my point. Israel has handed them a massive public relations coup. To a country that should rightly be seen as continual violator of human rights.

  82. 82
    poledancer says:

    @John Cole:

    Because there are no consequences for their actions. Irregardless of how peeved we may be at their actions, we aren’t going to let someone nuke em. So they are playing with the house’s money at this point. It’s the neo-con style of politics writ large.

    The thing I don’t think they anticipate is the general sense of apathy and overall meh-ness that people in their 20’s and 30’s are starting to feel towards Israel in general. As a DC resident, I know a lot of people that work on the hill as LD’s/LA’s/Committee Staffers/etc and the general feeling is that once the current crop of 60 year old GOP/Democratic Israeli protectors retire or are voted out, Israel is going to be in for a cold, cold awakening. People my age aren’t going to give a shit about Israel, or more precisely its security – especially when we see picture after picture of some malnourished 8 year old Palestinian child with a 600 lb chunk of wall where its torso used to be.

  83. 83
    El Cid says:

    @liberal: Defense industry executives and investors are part of that group. It doesn’t have to be the entire capitalist class to drive a certain policy — U.S. steel producers probably never cared that much about U.S. policies to protect and subsidize U.S. sugar producers.

  84. 84
    wmd says:

    @Hubertus Bigend:

    I believe Turkey has operational control over 40 nuclear weapons as part of NATO nuclear sharing. 90 B61 bombs, 40 allocated for Turkish Airforce use…

    Article V of NATO looks very scary.

  85. 85
    liberal says:

    @Emma:

    To a country that should rightly be seen as continual violator of human rights.

    So? Israel should also rightly be seen as a continual violator of human rights. What’s the point here, again?

    [edit: unexplained blockquote fail]

  86. 86
    liberal says:

    @El Cid:
    If you’re implying that corporations producing military hardware are the number one influence on Congress re our relationship with Israel, then you’re sadly mistaken.

  87. 87

    @liberal: and after the past 8 years, America could be seen as a continual violator of human rights, as well.

  88. 88
    liberal says:

    @poledancer:

    Irregardless of how peeved we may be at their actions, we aren’t going to let someone nuke em.

    Oh, come on—we won’t even let the security council issue a non-mealy-mouthed condemnation.

  89. 89
    liberal says:

    @lonesomerobot:
    Absolutely.

  90. 90
    Nick says:

    @liberal:

    ISTR that Eisenhower forced Israel, France, and Britain to back down in the 1956 war.

    yeah and Reagan slammed Israel when it bombed the Iraqi nuclear power plant, doesn’t mean we weren’t secretly sending them all kinds of goodies to keep them from going to the Soviets like Egypt and Cuba did.

  91. 91
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Nick:

    your dates are wrong. America became Israel’s bitch after the 1967 war, not before.

  92. 92
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Calouste:

    Geez, the US isn’t going to allow Turkey to use those weapons. There would be much greater ramifications (i.e. nuclear war with the United States) if the Turkish military tried to grab those weapons.

    this is serious but not that serious.

    Edit: the nukes shared in turkey are under USAF control until a state of war exists. Turkey isn’t going to steal nukes from the USAF. And Obama isn’t stupid enough to let them use them.

  93. 93
    liberal says:

    @poledancer:

    …once the current crop of 60 year old GOP/Democratic Israeli protectors retire or are voted out…

    Not sure I buy that. The real question is rather what is happening to the core of the “Israel Lobby,” not Congress itself.

    It’s possible that younger age cohorts will be different (I didn’t read Beinart’s article in NYRB, but maybe he’s getting at that), but I don’t see an obvious trend in actual influence, partly because the number of people actually forcing policy here is pretty small. (Cf polling differences between American Jews on the whole and the leaders of Jewish organizations, for example.)

  94. 94
    DA says:

    People, READ ARTICLE V (easily accessible by Google) before talking about how NATO is going to be drawn into a war over this. Read it! It only applies to attacks in Europe and North America. Gaza is in neither of those.

  95. 95
  96. 96
    ellaesther says:

    Since it’s coming up, here’s a link to the NATO charter and here’s the relevant passage:

    Article 5

    The Parties agree that an armed attack against one or more of them in Europe or North America shall be considered an attack against them all and consequently they agree that, if such an armed attack occurs, each of them, in exercise of the right of individual or collective self-defence recognised by Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations, will assist the Party or Parties so attacked by taking forthwith, individually and in concert with the other Parties, such action as it deems necessary, including the use of armed force, to restore and maintain the security of the North Atlantic area.

    Any such armed attack and all measures taken as a result thereof shall immediately be reported to the Security Council. Such measures shall be terminated when the Security Council has taken the measures necessary to restore and maintain international peace and security .

  97. 97
    liberal says:

    @Nick:
    I’m sure we had connections, but nothing like we do now (see post #91).

    Forcing them to stand down in 1956 was a pretty big deal. Contrast that to the last major Israel attack on Lebanon, where the US response was to accelerate shipment of munitions to Israel as they were used up.

  98. 98

    BUT AL GORE IS GETTING SEPARATED!! THAT CAN’T BE CARBON NEUTRAL!

  99. 99
    ellaesther says:

    @ellaesther: I think that Turkey would have to really, really want to go to war with Israel (which Konrad rightly says is not the case) if only because no one is arguing that those vessels were sent by Turkey on a Turkish mission. Yes, they were flying the Turkish flag, but that’s different.

    Any hoo. As John rightly points out, a lot of intense shit might and likely will happen, but “invoking Article 5” is unlikely in the extreme.

  100. 100
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    3.) Why did they attempt to go in at night via helicopter 70 miles out at sea, rather than use a more traditional manner of boarding during daylight hours and in Israeli water so there could be no questions about the legitimacy of the boarding?

    Because they don’t give a fuck. SATSQ.

    It’s also a strategy which seems to indicate that they want people to know they don’t give a fuck. Like they intentionally selected an approach that guaranteed maximum worldwide outrage, just to prove how big their balls are or something. It’s like the conservative “we must do this thing because it pisses off the liberals” mindset times ten.

  101. 101
    SiubhanDuinne says:

    @Dork #76

    Are you Hungary?
    Yes, Siam.
    Come on then and I’ll Fiji.
    Don’t let me Russia, but I want Turkey served on the finest China.

    /a routine my mom used to do when I was little. Always made me giggle. Plus, *geography*!

  102. 102
    Michael says:

    Lets not forget about Israel’s stellar decisions a few years ago in Lebanon bombing around Beirut to destabilize a Western-friendly government to “teach a lesson”.

    As if a weak government with small security forces can do much of anything in the South.

  103. 103
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @liberal:

    Well, the 1956 war also involved France and Britain on the side of Israel, and a lot of Eisenhower’s anger wasn’t just directed at Israel, but those two countries. I don’t seriously think Israel would have invaded the Sinai on its own without great power help then.

  104. 104
    liberal says:

    The NATO treaty also states

    …on the forces, vessels, or aircraft of any of the Parties, when in or over these territories or any other area in Europe in which occupation forces of any of the Parties were stationed on the date when the Treaty entered into force or the Mediterranean Sea or the North Atlantic area north of the Tropic of Cancer.

    Of course, that said, not sure what they mean by “of the Parties”—e.g. is a civilian flagged vessel “of the parties”?

    That said, the idea that Turkey would actually go to war with Israel and try to invoke the NATO charter is pretty-far fetched, even if Article V did apply.

    OTOH, I’m disappointed no one has engaged my claim that we have no formal alliance with Israel. :-<

  105. 105
  106. 106
    SRW1 says:

    @DA:

    I don’t believe either that Nato will be drawn in, but I wouldn’t be surprised if for the purpose of article V Turkey is considered a part of Europe (wouldn’t you insist on that definition if you were Turkey?), and the location of the aggression wasn’t Gaza, but Turkish ships in international waters.

    Kind of might disarm your argument.

  107. 107
    El Cid says:

    @liberal: I did not imply they were the #1 influence. There was a specific point about the U.S. providing aid for Israel to purchase U.S. military hardware. That’s neither an accident or oversight by the U.S. — it’s a direct giveaway to U.S. defense industries, but the overall U.S. policy toward Israel would be the same if the U.S. provided the same amount of military assistance to build its own weapons. Except now U.S. defense industries are yet another force backing U.S.-Israel policies, nor is it some minor irrelevant factor that such a U.S.-based industry gets enriched out of the deal. Jeesus fucking Cripes.

  108. 108
    Martin says:

    The reason Turkey would raise Article V isn’t to start a war with Israel, but to question how binding and legitimate Article V actually is – if the US is treaty bound to defend Turkey, why the fuck are we sending arms and supporting the attacking country to whom we aren’t treaty-bound? Turkey, of all fucking countries, is forcing our hand on Israel, and they’re right to do it – and they’re not going to do it in front of the UN, where we can veto any outcome we don’t want, but in front of NATO who we generally consider to be the grown-up table.

    If Turkey brings it up, Obama is going to have to pick sides – NATO or Bibi.

  109. 109
  110. 110
    ksmiami says:

    Funny, I just read that book Gallipolli and I think the Israelis should not underestimate the Turks

  111. 111
    DA says:

    Well, that’s what I get for reading Article 5 but not Article 6 – the portion about the Mediterranean is indeed a bit ambiguous, as liberal points out. Obviously the other NATO countries would adopt a more restrictive view of Article 6, if called upon by Turkey to do something, but Turkey has more of a theoretical basis for doing so than I had thought.

  112. 112
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @ksmiami:

    Well, the Israeli’s aren’t going to launch an amphibious assault to capture Istanbul anytime soon, so I don’t think that exact scenario is going to come into play.

    Israel has been lucky, despite shitloads of Soviet aid, that its enemies have been incompetent. That is why the IDF has the reputation it has (plus tons of American aid). A shooting war with turkey (which I think is unlikely, but still) would be the first time ever that the IDF would have to attack a foe of comparable strength.

  113. 113
    Michael says:

    @Nick:

    It is an act of war and if Turkey really wanted to fuck with everyone, they’d invoke Article V of the NATO treaty, thus forcing the United States to go to war with Israel

    Unlike the Arab states in 1967 and 1973, Turkey has had decades of the benefit of strategic and tactical air training with NATO formations. Plus, I’m pretty sure that Syria will be more than happy to grant some overflights, and could augment Turkish air support of Turkish naval units.

    I was just checking, and it appears that Turkey has over 200 F-16s, 4 AWACS on 737 frames and several KC-135 refuelers. As to naval strength, it has a number of frigates and corvettes, and the largest collection of quiet-as-a-whisper German diesel-electric submarines in the world.

  114. 114
    Comrade Luke says:

    Is there any civilized nation on earth, where civilized in this context means they’re advanced enough to know about and acknowledge any human rights whatsoever, that upon close inspection doesn’t violate those rights?

    Whether a country has violated human rights is a red herring in all of this. Israel is completely in the wrong.

  115. 115
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @Michael:

    The IDF is highly overrated, but I don’t think it would be a push over for the Turks (though I think the Turkish Army would smash their Israeli counterpart, the IAF really is pretty good).

    And the Israeli Navy is a fucking joke.

  116. 116
    Calouste says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    First use of the nukes by Turkey is out of the question of course. But both sides having nukes makes Israel suppossed threat fairly irrellevant. And it’s not like the Turks would give one wit about what the USAF or Obama thinks if Israel throws the big one first.

  117. 117
    Michael says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    The IDF is highly overrated, but I don’t think it would be a push over for the Turks (though I think the Turkish Army would smash their Israeli counterpart, the IAF really is pretty good).

    Throw the Turkish F-16s in an action protecting the air over Syria’s big assed collection of Mig-23s and Mig-29s, and the IAF winds up overwhelmed in a hurry. If Syria gets its birds off the ground, Israel is upgefucht.

  118. 118
    Michael says:

    @Calouste:

    And it’s not like the Turks would give one wit about what the USAF or Obama thinks if Israel throws the big one first.

    Kinda hard to detonate them without the PAL enabled.

  119. 119
    ksmiami says:

    Amanda in the S.Bay – I know they won’t capture Constantinople, but by enraging the Turks, the Israelis have put us all in a terrible terrible situation and I will NOT support their actions and their horrible leadership.

  120. 120
    kdaug says:

    I can be a bit hyperbolic about this whole thing, so I’m going to try to keep an even keel here.

    Nations don’t have allies, they have interests. And those interests change over time.

    I no longer see how our alliance with Israel serves our national interest. At all.

    If someone can point to any benefits to our continued support and aide, I’m listening.

  121. 121
    Comrade Kevin says:

    3.) Why did they attempt to go in at night via helicopter 70 miles out at sea, rather than use a more traditional manner of boarding during daylight hours and in Israeli water so there could be no questions about the legitimacy of the boarding?

    because nighttime raids look cooler in YouTube videos?

  122. 122
    Robert Sneddon says:

    @Comrade Kevin:

    Militaries like attacking at night. It works especially well for operations where they have night-vision equipment and the opposition doesn’t. It’s one of those “force multiplier” things.

    Apart from that, the timing of the flotilla’s arrival at the actual blockade line twenty miles off the Gaza coast would have been in broad daylight where events would be a lot more visible to TV cameras etc. There was also the threat of a whole load of small boats coming out from Gaza to meet and escort the flotilla into port making stopping the ships a lot more troublesome at that point.

  123. 123
    celticdragonchick says:

    @ruemara:

    I gotta go geg6 on this. We’ve always had Israel’s back, no matter how wrong they were. Now, they’re ginning up to go to war with peace activists and Turkey, the only moslem nation that has been willing to engage in even tepid acceptance of a jewish state. Ridiculous and self defeating.

    That.

    Personally, I give it even odds that shots will be fired between the Turkish and Israeli navies.

    From what I can see on info over the web and in various blogs, public opinion in both countries has hardened into concrete.

  124. 124
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Michael:

    Throw the Turkish F-16s in an action protecting the air over Syria’s big assed collection of Mig-23s and Mig-29s, and the IAF winds up overwhelmed in a hurry. If Syria gets its birds off the ground, Israel is upgefucht.

    Do a little comparison shopping between the two navies.

    No contest in surface combatants or submarines. If Turkey gets real serious about this (and they have shown an awful lot of willingness to fight over the past 40 years), Israel has a major problem on her hands.

  125. 125
    Tsulagi says:

    But paintball guns on a commando raid? Seriously, wtf?

    No shit. I’m seriously guessing given the tard level and sheer arrogance in assumptions this mission had to have been planned by a civilian. What’s Hebrew for “stupidest fucker on Earth”?

  126. 126
    Kirk Spencer says:

    @celticdragonchick: Turkey has the eighth largest navy in the world.

    The cornerstone of both nations’ airforces are their F-16s. Israel has about 300, Turkey has about 200. Israel rounds out the combat aircraft with about 70 F-15s. Turkey rounds out the combat portion with about a hundred modernized F4s (Yes, Phantoms), and has another hundred aircraft it uses as trainers – a mix of F4s and F5s.

    If it stays Turkey vs Israel, Israel’s air defeats Turkey’s navy, and the numbers plus the range (~500 miles minimum) makes it wholly Israel’s game. On the other hand, if Syria allows the Turkish army to play through (and lets them use Syrian airfields) it’s a whole new ball game.

    Anyone really want to bet the Syrians would say no?

  127. 127
    Mark says:

    “Psychologically, this attack is like 9/11 for Turkey,” Davutoglu told reporters

    57 people (63 by some sources) were killed in the 2003 Al-Qaeda bombings in Istanbul, plus 700+ were wounded. Then in 2008, the PKK bombed Istanbul again, killing 17 people and injuring 154. The 1999 PKK Istanbul bombings killed 13.

    So bombings in public places that killed and injured a lot of people were not like 9/11. But a group of people seeking to break a military blockade invite a confrontation with psycho Israeli soldiers and it’s akin to a terrifying terrorist attack on your soil that kills thousands of civilians?

    Look – Netanyahu is a bastard. Most Israelis are crazy – the general public and the government. Obama (and Bush and Clinton) just won’t lay down the law here. Congress, particularly the senate, is in thrall to AIPAC and other right-wing nutjob groups that don’t represent most jews.

    This is a horrendous situation for us to be in. But…but! You can’t blame the Israelis because Turkish politicians are opportunistic and want to encourage voters to lose perspective on this event relative to the repeated deadly bombings of civilian areas of Istanbul.

    I inflame the passions of my wingnut neighbor when I tell him that we should have Medicare for all and we should regulate the banks. Surely inflaming the passions of someone who is disposed to hate what you have to say is not exactly your fault.

  128. 128
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    @celticdragonchick:

    In a very fucked up sense, its too bad the IDF has never lost a war to a competent, 1st world/NATO military. Of course their major wars (67 and 73) were fought for survival against less than stellar opponents. The IDF is dangerously overconfident, and quite frankly the entire country needs a healthy dose of humility, along with the realization that not every little engagement/incident/action (i.e. Gaza) constitutes an existential threat to Israel.

  129. 129
    Amanda in the South Bay says:

    Arrgh, Israel is pissing me off when I have a bunch of other things really, really stressing me off IRL.

    Fucking fuckers.

  130. 130
    maus says:

    @Amanda in the South Bay:

    In a very fucked up sense, its too bad the IDF has never lost a war to a competent, 1st world/NATO military. Of course their major wars (67 and 73) were fought for survival against less than stellar opponents. The IDF is dangerously overconfident, and quite frankly the entire country needs a healthy dose of humility, along with the realization that not every little engagement/incident/action (i.e. Gaza) constitutes an existential threat to Israel.

    The US is good enough proof that “losing” does fuck-all to increase the level of humility. Of course, we’re not right next door to the countries (and causes) we’ve lost to, so we can play pretend better than Israel could.

  131. 131
    Gian says:

    @Konrad:
    but the prospect of NATO getting involved against Israel is just too much fun not to play with. a reunited Germany following treaty obligations commits military force to the middle east to escort Turkish ships bringing aid to Gaza?

    I know it won’t happen, but the prospect of wingers blowing a blood vessel over the concept is, well entertaining.

    can’t we just pick one side and offer them zion national park as a new homeland? I mean I’d hate to turn the park into a city, but really it’d be better than what we have now, I bet you could get a decent society going there for only 1.5 billion a year and without bloodshed, or maybe west texas…

    Israel was founded by terrorists (see King David Hotel) and hasn’t lost a major war yet, they are run by nuts who think they can’t lose – not going back to Germany, but they do seem to have a Napoleon complex. Is Elba big enough to fit them all?

  132. 132

    i think after this accident israel will be more prpeared for different kinds of provocations, this time innocence of our country can be easily proved by video that was made during the accident

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