They’ve Harnessed the Power of Concrete and Are Now Using It Against Us

I’m speechless:

On Monday, Israeli ships stopped a flotilla carrying materials that could be used for war, including cement that Israel maintained could be used to build bunkers, to Hamas-ruled Gaza. The crew of one boat resisted violently, triggering a firefight in which nine people were killed, most of them Turkish nationals.

Cement! It is far worse than I thought! You all were probably worried about countries or terrorist groups getting nukes, but apparently there are nefarious uses for cement! That stuff is all over the place- I look outside and I see it everywhere. My porch is itself a Quran away from waging an insurgency on my pansies. Should I call homeland security?

That’s reasonable conservative David Frum, author of the axis of evil phrase, who apparently is dumb enough to write stuff like this for CNN, but not quite wingnutty enough to get a gig at the Washington Post.

(via)

*** Update ***

Via Sullivan, a graphic of banned and permitted items:

Click to embiggen, but for those too lazy, ginger and nutmeg are jihadist and banned, nutmeg cinnamon and pepper are allowed. Someone attempt to make sense of that list in any way.

*** Update #2 ***

As some of you have pointed out- how obvious. Anything that would allow them to make things, farm, or subsist on their own is banned. Anything that can be imported into Gaza for consumption only, leaving them wholly dependent is allowed. This isn’t about stopping weapons in the least.

362 replies
  1. 1
    NobodySpecial says:

    I also heard there was wood on those boats, which could be used to build catapults. Then the perfidious Mohammadeans could use those to wage biological warfare on Israel by launching dead bodies into Tel Aviv to spread the bubonic plague.

    Why do you anti-Semites hate Ismerica?

  2. 2
    Mike in NC says:

    I always suspected Frum’s fucking skull was filled with cement.

  3. 3
    Mike in NC says:

    I always suspected Frum’s fucking skull was filled with cement.

  4. 4
    Andre says:

    Don’t these people realise that Israel is the only country legally allowed to use concrete to deny people their fundamental human rights?

  5. 5
    El Cid says:

    With cement, the Gazan Palestinians could have build a giant bridge across the Atlantic and several states to Dearborn, Michigan, and no one would notice!

  6. 6
    MikeJ says:

    no musical instruments, so no protest songs.

    So we’ll march day and night by the big cooling tower
    They have the plant but we have the power

  7. 7
    SP says:

    Nutmeg, at least, contains an ingredient that is toxic when concentrated (remember the recipe in a UK cooking magazine that said to use something like a cup of nutmeg instead of a teaspoon and lots of people got sick?) Coriander is poisonous to cats. Ginger- wtf, I have no idea. It’s like this list was put together by Dick Cheney imagining how spices might be used for evil in some spy novel.

  8. 8
    Urza says:

    @NobodySpecial: Well that wood could be used to build chairs. And as we all know the IDF can legitimately claim that chairs and pipes are weapons when used against guys holding some sort of gun coming off a rope from a helicopter.

  9. 9
    scav says:

    It does rather sound like the list of things allowed and not allowed on airplane, only even more insane. Well, that and things banned by the Taliban. Are cute cat cards legit or no? And honestly, wouldn’t frozen meat hurt harder than fresh if you threw it at someone? They’re off their tiny gourds. Newspapers bad but fertilizer good?

  10. 10
    Jeff says:

    McGruber could totally make a bomb out of all that stuff

  11. 11
    jeffreyw says:

    True story: The practice bombs that were used by the crews that dropped the atomic bombs on Japan were made from concrete. I don’t find it odd at all that the Israelis have banned these weapons of mass destruction. It’s only logical. Can’t you see that?

  12. 12
    Citizen_X says:

    HOLY SHIT, THE ARABS HAVE CONCRETE? RUN FOR YOUR LIVES!

    And now, Cole, you want them to have zithers too? ANTI-SEMITE!

  13. 13
    mr. whipple says:

    No fishing rods? That’s really, really fucked up.

  14. 14
    beltane says:

    Coriander is an essential ingredient in falafal. Could banning it be just a dick move to make the Gazan’s food unpalatable?
    Likewise, most of the other restrictions have nothing to do with security and everything to do with making the residents of Gaza helpless, dependent, and uncomfortable.

  15. 15
    soonergrunt says:

    Err, something wrong with the formatting of the site?
    Wierd shit in IE8 that I’ve never seen before.
    Center (comments) section bleeds into right side margin field.

    Oh, and the technical term for what Israel did was
    Act of War.
    Board by force an unarmed civilian vessel in
    international waters and killing civilians.
    We fought the war of 1812 over that.

  16. 16
    scav says:

    @Urza: but wait, was it construction wood or window wood? Because you can have the windows and doors, just not the wood or concrete for the rest of the building. So, unless it’s a REALLY big chair, maybe you can pretend it’s an oddly shaped window.

  17. 17
    Ed Marshall says:

    If you want it to make sense, you have to understand that they are trying to keep from starving the people of Gaza to death or exposing them to the elements, the bare minimum of what will keep them alive and not be scandalous but forbid anything that would make them feel comfortable or able to grow an economy in any way. This policy has been articulated by the government.

    They think if they can make these people miserable enough they will turn on Hamas. I don’t understand why this school of thought hasn’t been entirely discredited, but that’s why the list looks the way it does.

  18. 18
    ellaesther says:

    Hold on, hold on, nutmeg can’t be both prohibited AND permitted! Indeed, it’s in the prohibited column. Phew. That at least makes sense!

    A reminder to those who may have forgotten: The blockade actually started in 2006, in response to the democratic and narrow election of Hamas, not in 2007, as everyone keeps saying. Dov Wiesglass, adviser to then-Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said that the plan was “to put the Palestinians on a diet.”

  19. 19
    freelancer says:

    @MikeJ:

    lol, can you do Classical Gas?

  20. 20
    ellaesther says:

    Oh, and am I the only one who’s noticed that we still don’t have names for the nine dead people?

  21. 21
    thalarctos says:

    I stayed at the Divine Tracey Hotel in Philadelphia a few years ago, while attending a conference as a broke grad student. The price was right, but the rules of the religious sect (led by Mother and Father Divine–ok, it was a cult) that ran the hotel were numerous and arbitrary. Men and women stayed on alternating floors, and a sentry on the women’s floors made sure our skirts were long enough and that we were wearing hose when we left (not since high school have I changed clothes after leaving home and changed back more modestly before returning). The cult members were polite enough to talk to, and the rooms were clean. I got my money’s worth, plus a trip down memory lane to high school and my parents.

    But the dietary rules in the rooms were what puzzled me the most. Apples permitted, but no melons? (ok, maybe my inner 10-year-old boy gets that one, but still…there were lots of arbitrary permitted and non-permitted fruits and other foods.) This list and its arbitrary taxonomy reminds me very much of my stay at the Divine Tracey Hotel.

  22. 22
    Andre says:

    Click to embiggen, but for those too lazy, ginger and nutmeg are jihadist and banned, nutmeg aniseed and pepper are allowed. Someone attempt to make sense of that list in any way.

    That’s just taking the “dual use” to a ridiculous extremes.

  23. 23
    beltane says:

    @mr. whipple: Chickens are not allowed either, which means that eggs are probably a rarity. It looks as though anything that would permit a degree of self-sufficiency is not allowed.

  24. 24
    soonergrunt says:

    @jeffreyw: We still make practice rounds out of concrete in many cases.
    The even add colored powder to the concrete
    to make it easier to see downrange.

  25. 25
    Rick Taylor says:

    There needs to be a full independent investigation to find out exactly what happened. As part of that, Israel would be expected to return the cel phones and computers it confiscated.
    __
    From what I can tell, the Israeli position is the soldiers boarded the boat, not expecting violence, and we’re attacked and defended themselves.
    __
    The other side claims that tear gas was fired and people were killed before anyone even boarded the boat.
    __
    Both sides have their own videos of events that support their position, and are viewing them to work up their anger.
    __
    For my part, when I hear about a confrontation between armed soldiers and unarmed civilians, I assume the fault lies mostly with the people with guns. But there needs to be an independent investigation that focuses on finding what really happened, the sequence of events. I’m not holding my breath of course, but that is what needs to happen.

  26. 26
    me says:

    Somewhere, I don’t remember where, I read that they allow fresh fruit but not canned fruit to prevent them from stocking up on food so to make them even more dependent on Israel.

  27. 27
    thalarctos says:

    Good Lord–in the time it took me to write that comment (distractedly, I’ll admit), this thread went from 0 comments to 20.

  28. 28
    mnpundit says:

    What? It’s fucking easy to explain. Stuff that is banned is stuff teh Israeli’s can sell them. They’ve essentially forced the Gazans into the classic position where the “colony” as it were, buys stuff from the “mother country” first.

  29. 29
    kay says:

    @Ed Marshall:

    or able to grow an economy in any way.

    They’re wholly dependent on outside sources for food, besides the livestock or saved seed that was there when the blockade was put in place.

    Fishing equipment, seeds, livestock, chickens and chicken hatcheries. That’s about the whole ballgame, if you’re planning on producing food.

    They can’t make their own clothing either. No fabric.

  30. 30
    ellaesther says:

    Actually, you know what? There’s a pretty damn big piece of me that is pissed off that it took nine dead foreign nationals for the world to finally fucking notice this bullshit.

    The blockade has been in place since 2006 — and before that, life in Gaza (and the West Bank, btw) was no picnic. As a result of Israel’s (my home’s) kind ministrations, this generation of Palestinians has the distinction of growing up to be smaller than their parents, according to UNRWA. Nine innocent people were killed on Sunday — what about the 27 Gazans who died in 2009 just waiting for permission to leave Gaza for medical treatment?

    The flotilla bullshit was terrible — the blockade is worse.

  31. 31
    Graeme says:

    I forget who said it, but Sully linked to it earlier & it’s just the perfect summary of the situation: Israel is to America as North Korea is to China.

    We each have a shitty little client state we protect from the full consequences of the messes they make.

    On the bright side: BP still doesn’t own as much of our Congress as Israel does.

  32. 32
    Hann1bal says:

    I’m…speechless. Wow. I don’t think I could have come up with a more arbitrary system if I started tossing my dice around. You can’t bring in animals! But you can bring in feed for that animals that you don’t have! What a concept!

    Also, I’m glad to find out that ginger is a vile jihadist weed, just as I suspected. Whereas pesticides, of course, are like the kiss of a baby on a soft spring morning. /snark

  33. 33
    Ed Marshall says:

    @mnpundit:

    It’s all been donated. There are tons of supplies sitting in Israel. Warehouses full of this stuff and they don’t sell it, they just keep the people of Gaza dependent on them to live in a minimal fashion.

  34. 34
    West of the Cascades says:

    Give the Gazans frozen fish, they’ll eat for a day. Give the Gazans fishing rods, they’ll eat for the rest of their lives. So of course Israel prohibits fishing rods.

    I hope this brings down the Netanyahu government. Good riddance.

  35. 35
    Steeplejack says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Not seeing the bad formatting in Firefox or Opera (with Win XP), but I think (someone said) that it is an artifact of one of the ads that went into rotation in the last few days.

    . . . Just checked, and I’m not seeing the problem in IE 8 either. Are you allowing it to use “compatibility view”? That might help.

  36. 36
    mr. whipple says:

    Israel has also apparently embargoed my margins. Again.

  37. 37
    Seebach says:

    Can an anti-Semite be anti-cement?

  38. 38
    Martin says:

    ginger and nutmeg are jihadist and banned, nutmeg and pepper are allowed. Someone attempt to make sense of that list in any way.

    Clearly they are members of United Pastry Jihad.

    Death to All Baked Infidels!

  39. 39
    New Yorker says:

    Forgive me if someone has made this comment already, but I wonder what it’s like to watch “Star Wars” with Benjamin Netanyahu, Charles Krauthammer, John Podhoretz, et al. I mean, the opening scene has the tiny rebel ship fleeing and shooting back at the imperial star destroyer. That makes them terrorist-sympathizers, right?

    Also, the rebels have the nerve to shoot back at the imperial boarding party. Some of the imperial storm troopers are killed! So much for the rebellion wanting “peace”.

    Obviously, the empire was acting in self-defense and was the victim of rebel aggression.

  40. 40
    JGabriel says:

    … ginger and nutmeg are jihadist and banned, nutmeg and pepper are allowed. Someone attempt to make sense of that list in any way.

    They’re allowed to make pepper spray, but not the exceedingly dangerous ginger spray.

    .

  41. 41
    scav says:

    @ellaesther: yeah, they really should have tried harder to keep this from coming to the attention of even more of the world. But no, they had to had to act tough. sick. Unforced error of the biggest kind.

  42. 42
    matoko_chan says:

    lawl.
    fast-roping 101 from Abu Muqawama.
    i think sapients that previously supported Israel are beginning to see the light.

  43. 43
    Mike says:

    a noble spirit embiggens the smallest man

  44. 44
    Graeme says:

    @Seebach

    I’m pretty sure they can. You can tell by the way they pronounce Cement.

  45. 45
    Josh says:

    @El Cid:

    I live near Dearborn, and I have to say, nice place. Good people.

    U of Michigan has a satellite campus there. I hear it is better than my beloved U of M Ann Arbor (which might be true if it wasn’t for the U of M Hospital System).

    There are a lot of Pakistani immigrants around the Lansing area, but I’ve noticed in Ann Arbor there seems to be a good mix of Indian and Pakistani people.

    One thing I love about Michigan is the diversity of the people. I mean, Hamtramck is a Polish community, Dearborn has the largest Muslim population in the country, and Ann Arbor is literally a melting pot of just about every ethnicity you can imagine.

    And the only crazies we have to worry about are the Hutaree jackasses. Kind of puts a dent into the big, bad scary Muslim idea, doesn’t it?

  46. 46
    gmf says:

    kay said what i came here to say – i’ll add to that and say much of this list is about making sure those in gaza can’t produce a meaningful income.

  47. 47
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    Judenhass fools! First it’s an unpleasant nutmeg high, then hand thrown projectiles made out of concrete, then a dirty bomb made out of fabric, seeds, nuts, and a musical instrument launched by a fishing rod.

  48. 48
    Ailuridae says:

    @mnpundit:

    Its a financial structure eerily similar to a company town, as well.

  49. 49
    fucen tarmal says:

    let them eat asphalt!

  50. 50
    Kevin Phillips Bong says:

    @Ed Marshall: I wonder if anyone’s ever done a comprehensive study of this tactic. The Germans thought that bombing the piss out of London would cause the Brits to run scared, instead it strengthened their resolve. Kicking down Iraqi doors somehow managed to increase support for the insurgency, etc. etc. Troops in the field become demoralized by focused attack (viz: Gulf War I) but it seems like civilians just get pissed off at their attackers.

  51. 51
    Gordon, The Big Express Engine says:

    47 comments and I am bored. This thread is too one-sided. “As a Jew” I ask where’s Dave?

  52. 52
    KXB says:

    @Josh:

    “Dearborn has the largest Muslim population in the country”

    Correction – Dearborn has the largest Arab population. The largest Muslim population would be NYC, but most of them are South Asian (Pakistani, Bangladeshi, etc.).

  53. 53
    freelancer says:

    @Gordon, The Big Express Engine:

    Zey kame fer Dave und I did nozingk.

  54. 54
    db says:

    Cartons for transporting chicks?! Hell yeah! I need to get me some of those cartons because the taxi cabs for the drunk chicks desperate enough to come home with me are getting too expensive.

  55. 55
    Just Some Fuckhead says:

    @freelancer: Hehe

  56. 56
    Mark S. says:

    Where the fuck are Dave, Phil, Tenguphule, and Procurante to defend this blockade as absolutely essential or all the Jews will die?

    This doesn’t have a fucking thing to do with security.

  57. 57
    Rick Taylor says:

    Fred Kaplan wrote an interesting piece that includes some comments on the blockade towards the end.
    __

    In sum, in order to keep one ship from delivering aid directly to Hamas—and, as Ha’aretz put it, choosing “the worst of all possible options” to do so—Israel has plunged itself into the deepest state of isolation that it’s experienced in years.
    __
    One way to begin extracting itself from this morass might be to reconsider the Gaza blockade. The logic of the policy is unassailable: The ruling party, Hamas, doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist and occasionally hurls mortar shells at Israeli territory. Israel is reasonable to make sure that goods coming in to Gaza don’t include weapons.
    __
    However, the execution of the policy has been unreasonably draconian. Israeli officials take so long to inspect the cargo that medicines often expire by the time they reach Palestinian patients. Construction materials, such as pipes and heavy metals, are confiscated on the grounds that they could be used to make weapons, and so the Gaza authorities are unable to rebuild destroyed neighborhoods.
    __
    According to some estimates, the flow of goods coming into Gaza—not just food and medical supplies but goods of all sorts—amounts to a mere one-quarter of pre-blockade levels.
    __
    The situation has not only spawned a humanitarian crisis, it has also played into the hands of militants who seek to exploit the genuine concern of international aid groups for their own advantage—and to further portray Israeli policy as savage while evading their own responsibility for the continued hostilities.
    __
    At the very least, Israel’s leaders need to rethink what (to some extent, legitimate) goals the blockade serves—and how those goals might be achieved without incurring such dreadful costs.

  58. 58
    Steeplejack says:

    @Kevin Phillips Bong:

    [. . .] it seems like civilians just get pissed off at their attackers.

    Well, what’s the alternative, really? The civilians aren’t doing anything, by and large, excepting the usual percentage of “bad apples”–almost always overestimated by the attacking force–so there’s nothing they can “stop doing” to get the attacks to stop. That’s got to be very frustrating, and, yes, it would tend to piss you off.

  59. 59
    beltane says:

    @Kevin Phillips Bong: This sounds like a cruel updating of an old-fashioned siege in that it appears there is a deliberate attempt to cause mass protein deficiency rather than outright starvation. I am angry that it is happening and I am angry that this is the first I have heard of it. We all knew there was a blockade, ostensibly to keep out weapons, but the horrific details of the siege are news to many of us.

  60. 60
    Mnemosyne says:

    @beltane:

    Could banning it be just a dick move to make the Gazan’s food unpalatable?

    Magic 8 Ball says …

  61. 61
    Mike Furlan says:

    I’m sure the reasoning on wood goes something like the following:

    Villager: (very slowly, with pauses between each word) If…she…weighs the same as a duck……she’s made of wood.

    B: and therefore…

    (pause)

    Villager: A Witch!
    All Villagers: A WITCH!

    http://wuzzle.org/cave/mpwit.html

  62. 62
    Tim O says:

    Once they get the concrete into Gaza, what the hell are they gonna build that Israel won’t see and destroy? I don’t think they’re allowed to build anything. I’m sure the IDF has satellites aimed at the strip and they patrol frequently.

    How the hell is a concrete bunker going to get built without anyone knowing about it?

  63. 63
    Josh says:

    @KXB:

    Ah, yes, thank you.

    I noticed that just after the timer on the edit option expired, and couldn’t fix it.

    Dearborn has the largest Arab population. Yes, yes.

    Interesting fact: when I lived in Lansing as a child, I lived really close to where Stevie Wonder went to school as a child. It was a very prestigious school for the blind.

    Also, I lived close to “THE ANTHRAX LAB!” (GASP). It’s the only lab in the U.S. that is allowed to manufacture the Anthrax vaccine and experiment with it.

  64. 64
    Fern says:

    @freelancer: Good decision.

  65. 65
    soonergrunt says:

    @Steeplejack:
    Viewing all sites in compatibility view.
    The formatting went away but now it’s back.
    Oh well. I can keep hitting the enter key at the end of every
    line. I remember typing class with actual typewriters in the
    8th grade. IBM Selectric IIIs.

  66. 66
    Hob says:

    @Gordon, The Big Express Engine: I’m guessing Dave got a wee bit embarrassed when someone noticed him mixing up his multiple identities on the other thread – he briefly lost track of whether he was supposed to be an right-wing Israeli or a liberal Brit. Then again, maybe he’s just about to post an explanation of why we’re all Nazis for having noticed that.

  67. 67
    ajr22 says:

    As a jew, I admit that I have become a little uncomfortable with the attitude towards Israel around here. I disagree with a lot of the government’s actions including the Blockade, but I get the feeling here that people think of Israel as the bad guys and that worries me. No i’m NOT calling anyone an anti semite. I’m just saying the last few days reading the comments have sort of made me uncomfortable like when I go to reddit and every post is bashing Israel.

  68. 68
    Chauncey Baker says:

    Let’s just assume, for the sake of argument, that Israeli intelligence was 100% correct in their information that thousands of very bad brown people were ready to funnel unlimited amounts of pop-rocks and coca-cola into Gaza to induce untold mayhem on its unsuspecting citizens. The execution of this raid, even in the face of unquestionable evidence, was so amateurish that it made a panty raid on the Omega Mu’s look like fucking D-Day.

    Was I surprised a month or so ago when North Korea allegedly sunk a South Korean naval vessel? Not really, in fact it’s about what I would expect from a foreign leader who recently suffered a stroke and has a penis the size of a cashew and who’s only diplomacy experience is brinksmanship. Not really someone who is mature enough to date your daughter.

    But Israel is a very serious, necessary, precious, mature, adult ally of the U.S. So I was pretty surprised when the raid was announced, and I was shocked at the lawlessness of the act. Just between you and me, I wouldn’t let Israel date my daughter either…not so mature.

  69. 69
    mr. whipple says:

    @Tim O:

    How the hell is a concrete bunker going to get built without anyone knowing about it?

    Ok, ok. In the interests of humane behavior, we’ll let the concrete in. But water? That’s right out.

  70. 70
    sherifffruitfly says:

    Wow. That’s pretty evil.

  71. 71
    sherifffruitfly says:

    @ajr22: Yes, because everybody knows that Israel is the *real* victim in all of this. Except the anti-Semites, of course.

  72. 72
    Chyron HR says:

    @ajr22:

    As a jew

    Oh no! Not that evil incantation that will bring doom to Israel!

  73. 73
    soonergrunt says:

    @ajr22:
    Well, the comments around here read that way right now
    because the nation of Israel just committed an act that could
    fairly be described as an atrocity. Or a war crime.
    An ACT OF WAR.
    Murder of unarmed civilians in international waters.
    On top of which, they’re not giving any indication that they
    understand what kind of a mess they are in. In fact, it seems
    as if they are doubling down.
    How the fuck did you think people would react?
    Israel’s biggest problem is that they think that they are above
    international law and custom and that they can do whatever
    they want, and that their claim to act in their own defense
    is all the justification they need.
    Kind of like the US under the Bush administration.
    I don’t remember many people claiming that to attack the
    Bush administration was to attack Christianity. I never saw
    or heard anything like “as a Christian, I’m concerned about the
    things that people are saying about the US.”
    If I had heard such, I’d tell that person the same thing
    that I am telling you:
    Bullshit. One nation state is bullying another weaker power
    and killing people without compunction or valid reason.
    It’s fucking wrong whether one prays on Sunday, Saturday or Friday.
    Religious motivations only make it more reprehensible, as do
    claims of religious persecution by the attacking party.
    And things like this have rightfully ruined Israel’s ability to use antisemitism
    as a club to shut down discussion and condemnation of her actions.
    This is actually bad because when actual antisemitism rears it’s ugly head
    as it inevitably will, no one will care or listen when Israel or jews complain
    about it because no one will believe that the complaint has any merit on
    its own and is only Israel and jews seeking to deflect criticism.

  74. 74
    Debbie says:

    There’s a name for all this: collective punishment.
    Israel does not deserve all the blame for Gaza’s impoverishment. Gaza’s other neighbor, Egypt, imposes an embargo of its own, though less effectively. And Hamas has been known to confiscate goods meant for Gaza’s poor. But none of that excuses Israel’s role in keeping Gaza destitute. Far from a well-crafted policy, the Gaza embargo has become something you might find in a University of Chicago seminar about the perversions inherent in interfering with free trade. As Haaretz detailed in a remarkable investigative report last summer, the embargo is not merely arbitrary (Gazans can import cinnamon, but not chocolate), it is corrupt. When Israeli farmers have surplus supply, they seek loopholes for the goods they wish to sell. Israeli officials allow Gazans to import Israeli products, but not the materials necessary to make those products themselves, since that would threaten Israel’s hold on the Gazan market. As the Israeli human-rights group Gisha has noted, Gazans can buy Israeli-made tomato paste, but cannot buy the empty cans necessary to preserve and market their own, which would compete with Israeli suppliers.

    From Peter Beinart in The Daily Beast
    http://www.thedailybeast.com/b.....cid=hp:exc

  75. 75
    micah616 says:

    @ajr22: Did you read that list? The Palestinians can’t have fresh meat. Or cattle. Or chicken. Or fishing poles.

    If one doesn’t want people to think that one’s an asshole, then one should stop doing assholish things.

  76. 76
    me says:

    @ajr22: Sorry, but if Israel is the bad guys, as they are in this case, they should be called on it.

  77. 77
    geg6 says:

    The Israeli government has been a criminally rogue state for years now and they have finally become so insane and caught up in their perpetual victimhood that they have put their very own W and Cheney in charge. It’s suicidal, especially after witnessing how that all worked out so well here.

    I have no doubt that this is just a preview for Bibi’s brave preemptive strike on Iran. None at all. He doesn’t give a fuck and I’m having deja vu vibes from 2003. Bibi is just as much a macho posturing idiot as W and Lieberman gives off a distinct Cheney vibe. Israel has lost it’s soul and become a monstrous parody of itself, much as we did. Sane people see it clearly but we are are all too few. Sad but true.

    Don’t know if either country will survive it intact. I’m not optimistic today and I’m not sure either of us deserve to as currently constituted. What a depressing day.

  78. 78
    Steeplejack says:

    @soonergrunt:

    In the early ’70s I bought a Selectric II or III (can’t remember which) for my personal use. Huge expense, but I was in hog heaven. I even got the special model with an extra gizmo that allowed you to do “foreign” punctuation–accent marks, tildes, etc. Nothing equaled it until years later when I got a NEC Pinwriter for my PC clone.

  79. 79
    Ailuridae says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Where do I get the template to make my ordinary prose take line breaks like Beowulf?

    All kidding aside, great post.

  80. 80
    me says:

    The Israelis should have been informed of this earlier.

  81. 81
    That's Master of Accountancy to You, Pal (JMN) says:

    @ajr22: Sorry, but I think the Israelis are the bad guys here. Not the only bad guys, certainly, but bad.

  82. 82
    Seebach says:

    The ironic thing about this all is that there is an organized, dedicated and fanatical group of American citizens who want to see Israel destroyed, and in fact they’re quite open about it.

    And they’re courted quite happily by a fanatical government in the Middle East, who, despite pronouncements to the contrary, is doing everything in its power to destroy Israel.

    Who are these Americans? The Christian Right.
    What is this government? Israel’s.

    I don’t know how it could be more obvious.

  83. 83
    ellaesther says:

    @Debbie: Article 33 of the Geneva Conventions has your back, sister:

    “No general penalty, pecuniary or otherwise, shall be inflicted upon the population on account of the acts of individuals for which they can not be regarded as jointly and severally responsible”.

  84. 84
  85. 85
    MattR says:

    My porch is itself a Quran away from waging an insurgency on my pansies.

    FTMFW, John.

  86. 86
    ajr22 says:

    I said in my post I don’t support the blockade, and don’t think the soldiers should have been dropped on the ships. However, they were attacked they didn’t just shoot people at random. People around here are acting like they are just savage murderers, and this makes me feel uncomfortable.

  87. 87
    miwome says:

    @ellaesther:
    The blockade began in 2006 but was much less restrictive–if I recall correctly, at that time it did have more to do with trying to keep weapons from being built than it did with collective punishment. It was then ramped up from Hamas’s 2006 victory until the 2007 coup that resulted in the territorial-political division we have today, when it really slammed down and has remained totally and completely awful and stupid until the present day.

    Now if you ask me, even if it had been only a response to Hamas’s taking over Gaza, that wouldn’t be an argument for its intelligence or legitimacy as a policy; in fact, that would be worse (just barely). Collective punishment does not work and never has (not to mention it’s a war crime, a fact that Israel also failed to respect with regard to Hizballah/Lebanon–though it at least responded to international censure in those cases), and locking all of Gaza in with only Hamas to provide services and keep the peace is just about the dumbest way to undermine the Hamas government I can think of.

  88. 88
    beltane says:

    @Seebach: The Christian right wants to see the whole world destroyed so that Jesus can return and give them all 80″ TVs as a reward for their efforts. That’s the level of crazy we’re dealing with here.

  89. 89
    freelancer says:

    @ajr22:

    I gotta say, since you came at this straight, that I think I can understand how you feel. As a Gentile, it’s kind of like being on the left in the run up to the Iraq War, when it just felt awful and embarrassing and the left was quite outspoken in its disdain for American policy, with the fringes blurring that into disdain for America itself. But then you’d go overseas or meet someone visiting who was like “Fuck America”, and suddenly your inner RW patriot would come out. “Fuck you, Eurotrash, you can’t just say ‘Fuck America’ and get away with it. This is our country we can do that.” But the more distance I have, the more I see international condemnation like that as something that was never personal.

    Israel is the only functioning democracy in the Middle East. We here are all aware of the contempt its neighbors have for the Jewish State, and much of that contempt is based on prejudice against religion itself.

    However, that does not relieve Israel from its duty to act as a moral and rational player in the world. When it gets its hair mussed, the country tends to lean towards a scorched earth response.

    When you board a ship in international waters, even a boat full of the Turkish equivalent of Cindy Sheehans, or the liberal jackasses from Whale Wars, as a military action, if you do that and you kill people, it doesn’t matter how many of your operators get injured or thrown around, you are establishing casus belli.

    Any claim to the contrary, or PR spin that doesn’t acknowledge that just digs the hole deeper.

    ETA: basically everything soonergrunt fucking already said.

  90. 90
    ksmiami says:

    Not to poke a stick, but I actually think there may be a silver lining to all this. I think the episode gives the US a chance to become an honest broker and really lay down the law to Israel with material conditions. The Israelis have been behaving badly for quite awhile now and need a serious time out. And we are the only nation that can do it.

  91. 91
    Violet says:

    @ajr22:
    As a non-Jew, I struggle with understanding why people can’t condemn the actions of the government of Israel without it somehow being construed as anti-Semitic. I get that the politics and religion are all tied up together, but even so, one does not equal the other.

    A lot of religions don’t have a “homeland.” I guess Muslims do, sort of, with Saudi Arabia and Mecca, but there are various branches of Islam and they don’t all agree. And where’s the Protestant Christian homeland? Martin Luther’s door?

    I know, I know…Jews have been treated terribly for eons and so forth. So maybe they deserve special treatment. But there are a lot of groups of people, not necessarily religious groups, who have also been treated very badly throughout history. Do they also deserve a homeland?

    I don’t know…it’s all very confusing. And it’s seriously dangerous territory because criticizing Israel can make one sound anti-Semitic. But if Israel weren’t a Jewish state, and did what they do, they’d be severely condemned. Yet if they weren’t Jewish, some of the antagonism wouldn’t exist…. Like I said, very confusing.

  92. 92
    soonergrunt says:

    @Ailuridae:
    Thanks! I think we can also get away with a line twice as long as this post will test, but I’m not sure. Let’s find out, shall we?
    Well, either I was right, or the problem solved itself. Anyway, I thought I’d add that I HAVE A NEW JOB!!!
    I Start next Monday unless something better comes along.

  93. 93
    Josh says:

    @ajr22:

    The thing is that they were commandos dropped in from a helicopter. This is an aggressive act. Therefore, it can be argued that this event precipitated the entire ordeal.

    There were a million ways Israel could have handled this that would have been perfectly reasonable, but they chose one of the stupidest ways possible.

    I don’t know about you, but that would make me feel rather uncomfortable.

  94. 94
    MattR says:

    @ajr22: I feel bad for those Israeli soldiers. Their government put them in an impossible situation. And I think that is what most people here are referring to. The issue is with the people issuing the orders, not the soldiers carrying them out.

  95. 95
    me says:

    @ajr22: Are you an American? If you are how did you feel when you saw the Abu Ghraib pictures?

  96. 96
    That's Master of Accountancy to You, Pal (JMN) says:

    @ksmiami: I’m kind of hoping that the NATO meeting is going to include some back room, quiet meetings, with the Americans asking the others to produce a tough statement because that would give them some cover with Congress to take a hard line. At least, parts of Congress. Surely there are some of them that would pick NATO over Israel.

    I have no idea whether why idea has any relationship with reality, but hopes don’t have to.

  97. 97
    Ben says:

    What, no tengaputa, professional jew extraordinaire to lick Bibi’s boots?

    A penis the size of a cashew… instant classic.

  98. 98
    max hats says:

    A lot of people do have issues with Jews, and at the same time, Israel is pretty shitty. I agree, it’s tough.

  99. 99
    Josh says:

    @Josh:

    And to be perfectly clear, lest I be called an anti-Semite, when I refer to Israel, I refer to the government. I refer to the hard-liners with power.

    Never the citizenry. It’s like when you criticize Russia you’re usually leveling your charges against Sadamir Poutin’ and not the citizens.

    That’s the same with how, I think, much of the criticism I’ve heard of the U.S. from my foreign friends goes. It’s directed at the government and not the people.

    Unless they’re teabaggers.

  100. 100
    Rick Taylor says:

    @ajr22:
    It’s pointless trying to judge events by dividing actors into good guys and bad guys. Every situation needs to be decided on the merits. A generally bad repressive country can on occasion be in the right; a generally good open democracy can do horrible things. It seems to me that currently conservatives generally decide on who the good and bad parties are in any conflict, and judge everything from that rather than from what actually happened.
    __
    I’ve never been to Israel unfortunately but from everything I’ve heard it sounds like a wonderful country; it sounds like they have more respect for open debate and argument than we in the United States do. But good countries can do bad or self destructive things, and if and when that happens, it doesn’t make any sense to pretend otherwise; it doesn’t do anyone any good.
    __
    Here in this U.S., we went crazy after one huge terrorist attack, eventually invading a country that had nothing to do with the attack under what turned out to be completely baseless causus belli, killing thousands, creating hundreds of thousands of refugees. Given how we behaved after that one act of terrorism on our soil, if we were experiencing the continual attacks Israeli’s have over the years I don’t want to think about what our response would be.
    __
    That said, of course people are horrified and upset. Under the kindliest interpretation, Israel botched this horribly, killing a number of unarmed people, alienating it’s friends, and putting the U.S. in an awful diplomatic bind. For the most part at least, the response isn’t because people think Israel is bad, it’s because we’re shocked by what happened. and nervous about what’s going to come.

  101. 101
    New Yorker says:

    @geg6:

    Bibi is just as much a macho posturing idiot as W and Lieberman gives off a distinct Milosevic vibe.

    Fix’d.

    @ajr22:

    What do you expect us to do? Israel is backed by the United States government no matter what it does, or how odious its government becomes. My tax dollars are funding the blockade of Gaza. I’ll be damned if I don’t express my displeasure with this situation, and I’ll be damned if I pretend that some very, very troubling things are going on in Israel, politically. I’m afraid Israel is on its way to becoming apartheid South Africa.

    The greatest moment in Peter Beinart’s New York Review of Books article is when he rhetorically asked what it would take for supporters of Israel to say, “enough!”

    I do wonder, what would Israel have to do in order to be condemned by its knee-jerk supporters?

  102. 102
    Violet says:

    @freelancer:

    I gotta say, since you came at this straight, that I think I can understand how you feel. As a Gentile, it’s kind of like being on the left in the run up to the Iraq War, when it just felt awful and embarrassing and the left was quite outspoken in its disdain for American policy, with the fringes blurring that into disdain for America itself. But then you’d go overseas or meet someone visiting who was like “Fuck America”, and suddenly your inner RW patriot would come out. “Fuck you, Eurotrash, you can’t just say ‘Fuck America’ and get away with it. This is our country we can do that.” But the more distance I have, the more I see international condemnation like that as something that was never personal.

    Yep. Had this very experience, visiting family in the UK at that time. It’s kind of like, I can beat up on my younger brother or sister, but if anyone else dares touch him or her….watch out.

  103. 103
    soonergrunt says:

    @ajr22: That’s what they have body armor for. It’s what they have less lethal weapon systems for.
    And the fact that they did this in international waters to a ship that was clearly unarmed and full of unarmed people–well.
    None of those Israeli soldiers had ANY legal right to be there. The people on that boat were 100% in compliance with international law to use lethal force if necessary to prevent or repel a boarding.
    The only functional difference between the Israeli commandos two days ago and the pirates off of Somalia is that the Israelis are agents of a functioning nation state that is responsible for their actions. That makes it an act of war instead of piracy.
    There’s a reason I never whined about the insurgents in Iraq or Afghanistan when I was in those places. Because whether or not I liked it, they had a right to do what they were doing and to pretend otherwise would, at best, fall on deaf ears and more likely would be rightly met with scorn.

  104. 104
    Silver says:

    This reminds me of the whole Louis Gates-gate.

    Remember that one? All of a sudden the cop was the victim.

    Same shit, except this time there are helicopters and dead people.

  105. 105

    boat-to-boat. that’s all i’m saying. why commandos? why the military shit?

  106. 106
    Violet says:

    @New Yorker:

    What do you expect us to do? Israel is backed by the United States government no matter what it does, or how odious its government becomes. My tax dollars are funding the blockade of Gaza. I’ll be damned if I don’t express my displeasure with this situation, and I’ll be damned if I pretend that some very, very troubling things are going on in Israel, politically. I’m afraid Israel is on its way to becoming apartheid South Africa.

    This is a good point. We are culpable for this situation, in part, because our tax dollars keep Israel afloat. What would happen to Israel if we stopped sending any money and other assistance? Really, what would happen?

    So just as in the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, it’s our tax dollars that make it possible. Whether we like it our not. Our only recourse is to vote in people who won’t make decisions like that. Until then, we’re all somewhat responsible.

  107. 107
    soonergrunt says:

    @soonergrunt:
    FYWP!

  108. 108
    MikeJ says:

    Is “chosen people” English for übermenschen ?

  109. 109
    freelancer says:

    @soonergrunt:

    At the very least, you could have inquired as to the Arabic cognate for “Wolverines!”, but I’m guessing we all know it.

  110. 110
    El Cid says:

    I would remind everyone here that the U.S. under Reagan once cited Central America’s role in producing bismuth as a reason why they were dangerous to our national security concerns that we were correct in paying them policy attention (i.e., hiring terrorists to kill civilians in order to topple a government which had toppled the dictatorship we had put in power for generations).

    As in, Pepto-Bismuth, and the vast majority of it not coming from Central America. But, you know, just fucking say anything.

  111. 111
    ellaesther says:

    @miwome: The only reason I keep bringing it up is because the difference is really only a matter of degree. In the aftermath of the (as I keep saying: democratic and narrow) election of Hamas, Israel, the US, the EU and Russia all agreed to isolate the PA until the Hamas-led government would meet three preconditions: recognize Israel, promise to abide by past agreements, and give up violence. (Never mind that no one ever asked that of Israel, re: the Hamas government. Never mind that no one ever asked Egypt or Jordan to “recognize Israel” before peace. Never mind that it was doomed to failure and all the parties knew it).

    My point is just that Gaza has been an open air prison since Israel left and slammed the door in August 2005, but the door got well and truly locked in 2006. When Fatah was forced to decamp to the West Bank in 2007 and then formed a break-away PA, and everyone could funnel money to them directly, it just became easier to make the already existing blockade on Gaza that much more onerous.

  112. 112
    Josh says:

    @Violet:

    You know, I don’t think I ever felt that whole defensive thing for America when someone criticized or condemned us. I mean, I do if they’re some radical cleric who completely mischaracterizes everything, or some despotic fucktard who has to keep his populace afraid of the great Satan to keep them in line.

    Generally I would be very open to listening to what they had to say because you can learn something from it—if they aren’t just sputtering nonsense. In the past, I always dismissed them as cranks and didn’t refute them because they hurt themselves.

    I don’t know. I think I’ve always seen it as a problem that people are too quick to dismiss or attack things they don’t want to hear. Especially if it is criticism from the outside.

  113. 113
    ajr22 says:

    @me: I am a proud American, my grandparents both survivors came to this country from Poland. They settled in Chicago and raised four kids sending them all to college. My Grandpa into his old age would look out his window and say “what a country.” So yes Abu Ghraib made me furious. This situation with Israel also angers me, like i said I don’t support the blockade. However, after Abu Ghraib i never questioned my love for America. I worry reading comments here that this has shaken peoples’ here core belief in the state of Israel. For a group of people I respect, that is something that worries me.

  114. 114
    MikeJ says:

    @soonergrunt:

    The only functional difference between the Israeli commandos two days ago and the pirates off of Somalia is that the Israelis are agents of a functioning nation state that is responsible for their actions.

    There was somebody here saying piracy was explicitly a non-state action. I didn’t see the comment until hours afterward, but I wanted to remind them that a few years ago there was no such thing as “state sponsored terrorism”. Once it happens, we name the thing.

  115. 115
    MikeJ says:

    @freelancer: ! حيوانات الولفيرين

    According to google.

    Edit: rtl seems to hosed on copy/paste. had to move the bang.

  116. 116
    Batocchio says:

    Musical instruments are banned? The arts are evil – evil I tell you!

  117. 117
    Violet says:

    @Josh:
    Well, it can be a little hard to take when you’re in another country, you’re the only American in the room, and people are shouting at you because of something that your government did, that you disagree with, and yet somehow they hold you responsible. And then the shouting is followed with a laundry list of every bad thing America has ever done, and boy are there a lot of things. It gets a bit tiresome.

    I’m with you in that I generally try to listen to others and engage them, but in some situations it’s futile because they’re not there to talk, they’re there to shout. And eventually I want to defend my country, not just speak ill of it. There are a lot of great things about America. We don’t always show them, though.

  118. 118
    freelancer says:

    @MikeJ:

    I was thinking “something something Ackbar!” is the common cry of the insurgencies, but I could be wrong.

  119. 119
    trollhattan says:

    What’s Hebrew for “jumped the shark?”

    Is there anything the current Israeli government–composed of pure fuckwits–can do to endanger our zillion dollars of aid and undying support? I guess we’re about to find out.

  120. 120
    scav says:

    @freelancer: well, my personal embarrassment at being an American abroad at that time was that my swearing skills in French simply weren’t up to the task demanded of them. I could manage innovation though and as those I talked with tended to be of the polite sort, I could usually lap them. Yes, it was embarrassing to be an American but damn it they have a valid point. I do admit arguing back with the guy that insisted each and every car in America only got 14 mpg though.

  121. 121
    Ailuridae says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Grats on the new job. Awesome news!

  122. 122
    Josh says:

    @ajr22:

    I would be much more worried if people’s faith in the state of Israel wasn’t shaken a bit with incidents like this.

    These actions are outrageous. These actions require a firm rebuke.

    For democratic societies to flourish, people need to be weary and skeptical to a degree. If I were to write this off as a necessary tactic that they begrudgingly performed for their defense, I think I would be doing them a disservice.

    People need to call out things like this for the bullshit that it is. My faith in Israel was never about whether or not I was being nice to them. I thought that if they could maintain a level of moral behavior in a sea of hostility, they could prove that democracies were better. They could prove that a people with a vested interest in equality and fairness would never stoop to such actions as Israel has taken.

    I feel it is necessary to question Israel’s intentions and behavior. If that makes some people uncomfortable, that’s the breaks.

  123. 123
    max hats says:

    @MikeJ:

    “Piracy” is really just a nice euphemism here. You are correct, the law of the sea defines piracy as action being undertaken for private ends.

    More properly, when a state actor illegally boards a ship flagged to another nation, it can be referred to as an “act of war.”

  124. 124
    Laertes says:

    @ajr22:

    I worry reading comments here that this has shaken peoples’ here core belief in the state of Israel.

    I’ll admit it: I’m rattled. I’ve long admired Israel. The story of its’ founding, the desperate struggle for survival against all the surrounding nations, and the way that, beset by enemies on all sides, they remain a proud and strong democracy.

    Smart, tough, badass, and decent. That’s the Israel I’d like to believe in.

    So yeah, I’m rattled. This was a cock-up of epic proportions, and it makes me wonder what kind of goofballs are running the place these days. And the more I learn about this blockade, the shittier it looks. At the core it serves a legitimate strategic interest, but it seems to have big elements of greed and simple cruelty. Pettiness ill becomes a great nation.

  125. 125
    Rick Taylor says:

    @ajr22:

    I said in my post I don’t support the blockade, and don’t think the soldiers should have been dropped on the ships. However, they were attacked they didn’t just shoot people at random.

    __
    I believe this is the case, but there’s ambiguity about what happened before the soldiers boarded the ship. There’s a video that claims the ship was fired upon and someone was killed before any soldiers were on board.
    __
    Now if that’s true or not, I don’t know; maybe the Israeli’s were using what they thought was non-lethal force and something went wrong, maybe those on board the vessel misinterpreted events and panicked. There needs to be a thorough investigation by a third party to find out what happened, the whole timeline of events. But just as I’d agree with you, that from what I know, the soldiers were attacked and didn’t shoot people at random, those on the vessel believed they were being attacked and didn’t attack the soldiers at random. The language used by some defending Israeli’s actions has been contemptuous (calling them “thugs”) and in my opinion unjustified until we find out what happened.

  126. 126
    Josh says:

    @Violet:

    Good point. I’ve never been overseas because college is killing my bank account.

    So I’ve never experienced that. I can imagine how frustrating that would be—I know that there are a lot of people who like to make these things personal for some crazy reason. I can’t imagine that I would abide a situation like that, either. Usually my talks are one on one.

    Recently I was forced to defend the U.S. Space Program, and I found in the end that I couldn’t because I knew it was a pile of shit.

    That was a sad time.

  127. 127
    geg6 says:

    As an atheist, I don’t understand why the Israel defenders can’t understand that I don’t give a shit about their religion enough to hate them for it and that I am somehow incapable of separating my disdain for ALL religion from my judgment of the Israeli government and it’s actions. I’d condemn this act of war and their appalling treatment of the Gazans if a Swede who practiced Wicca was the PM and did the same thing.

    And what galls me more than anything is that I am forced to support this shit both financially and expected to do the same morally because we’ve roped ourselves to these idiots because our Congress is bought and paid for by AIPAC.

    Gawd I’m so sick of all religion and rabid religionists. Can’t wait until they all die the death they so richly deserve.

  128. 128
    max hats says:

    @Rick Taylor:

    Why does it matter if the people on that ship fought back or not? If the boarding was illegal, which in a whole lot of people’s opinion it was, then they had every right and obligation to defend themselves and their property.

    edit to add: in the past few centuries of developed maritime law and tradition, there have been established practices on how a state can and cannot board the ships of another state in international waters. It’s not like this is the first time ever a ship has tried to run a blockade. It’s not like this is the first time a ship has tried to run that particular blockade.

  129. 129
    miwome says:

    Tacking onto Debbie‘s comment:

    Egypt does indeed have its role to play in the embargo, and it’s a pretty puzzling policy. If anybody tries to tell you Egypt is a democracy, remember that Egypt maintains Israel’s blockade for it and sells it energy–both policies that the Egyptian street is not a fan of. Only a regime that has no fear of being voted out could maintain those policies, and the US pays Egypt handsomely in military and economic aid for its service.

    As for goods meant for the poor being confiscated by Hamas: well, it all depends on what Hamas does with them afterward, no? The thing a lot of people don’t know about Hamas is that both before and after the 2006 election and 2007 coup, it has been a social organization that did more than the Palestinian Authority, the PLO, or Fatah (Yasser Arafat’s political party, until 2006 pretty much synonymous with the Palestinian Authority since they ran it exclusively) ever did to actually govern in terms of service provision and…assistance to the poor. We’re talking support (but not control) of NGOs, bus services, schools, clinics, distribution of food, and economic assistance.

    Did the families of martyrs get a better deal than others? In some aspects, absolutely. Not saying that practice isn’t reprehensible (i.e. bribing families), and not saying Hamas hasn’t done and doesn’t do plenty of awful shit. But the fact is that at least until recently, if you wanted to distribute goods to the Gazan population, your best bet was probably to give them to Hamas.

    Hamas has turned significantly more brutal and abusive since 2007; a great deal of that has to do with the much greater control they have over Gaza since no one can get in or out and democracy has been suspended since the political schism in that year. There’s no reason for them not to behave this way, and plenty of reason for them to do so–trying to maintain order in an open air prison and prevent Al-Qaeda and other groups from taking hold there are among the reasons that can be spun as reasonable, but the fact is that the blockade set up Gaza as a prison and Hamas as the guards, and we all know what happens in that situation.

    By the way, hardly anyone pays much attention to the role the ostensible good guys (the US, Fatah, Israel and the Quartet) played in precipitating that schism (the US was giving Fatah weapons to fight Hamas pretty much as soon as the election returns came in).

    I know this probably reads as a full-throated defense of Hamas. That’s not really my goal here, nor is it my goal to paper over the group’s history of suicide bombing and terrorism. I don’t actually know what happens to goods that pass through the blockade and are taken by Hamas; they might be despicably hoarded, or laudably distributed, or some of both. My point is that something being “taken by Hamas” doesn’t mean much of anything without knowing what happens next, based on their track record, and that the blockade is indeed much more about collective punishment than it is about weakening Hamas.

    At that, it definitely fails: before 2007, Hamas didn’t run its own courts, more or less monopolize who gets to own weapons, collect taxes, or run banks. Now it does. The schism and blockade have turned it from a political party with a military wing to a budding state apparatus. Not exactly a win for Israel.

  130. 130
    Seebach says:

    @ajr22: This is going to sound mean, and I don’t mean it to, honestly. But in a way, maybe you are right to be concerned.

    I hate anti-Semitism and it makes me sick, and I’ve had Jewish friends in the past, though none have been particularly observant. I’m secular, though, so I scoff at religious Jews as much as I do Christians and Muslims. But I’m also in the South, so there’s not really a big Jewish population for me to interact with. Some posts I’ve seen here have squicked me a little, too.

    But speaking as someone under 30, I don’t know if I have a “core belief in the state of Israel”. I don’t think it’s a motivating issue for young people who don’t really see themselves affected by it. Israel is pretty much another country. Like England, or Germany, or Italy. I have no connection to it. If England did something stupid, I would think it was stupid. If England does something good, I think it’s good.

    So, I think if Israel is running from this assumption that it’s being viewed as an extension of America and will always be… it’s not going to. I hold nothing against Israel, but I have no favor, either. I have no interest to visit, no particular interest in learning more about it outside of a geopolitical sphere. It’s kind of like… Uzbekistan. I don’t care, really.

    But I think my feelings are not particularly unique, and it might be good to be known, in general. Maybe this is a big, new thing that I don’t observe being in the center of it?

  131. 131
    soonergrunt says:

    @freelancer:
    Well, to be fair to me, they were shooting at me and I wasn’t particularly interested in a discussion of the finer points of arabic or dari cultural terms.

  132. 132
    Hunter Gathers says:

    @ajr22:

    I worry reading comments here that this has shaken peoples’ here core belief in the state of Israel. For a group of people I respect, that is something that worries me.

    I have no problem in any way, shape, or form with the state of Israel.
    My problem is with the stupid assholes that govern it.
    Bibi and his buddies are running the joint like a bunch of silver spoon fed pre-teens who can do whatever the fuck that they want because they know they won’t face consequences for their actions.
    Whoever green-lighted this is dumber than a bag of hammers.

  133. 133
    scav says:

    As though the fact of loving someone made them do nothing but intelligent and honorable things. Love is not love Which alters when it alteration finds, but that doesn’t mean Love doesn’t apply a quick well-deserved dopeslap once in a while.

  134. 134
    Josh says:

    @geg6:

    Yeah, see—this is extreme.

    I’ve celebrated many religious ceremonies–Jewish, Catholic, Islamic, etc., and have found them to be spectacular. Passover is an interesting celebration. I got to say a prayer I couldn’t fully understand on the fourth day–and I got to eat latkes.

    I sang in a choir once on a whim for a good ol’ fashioned black baptist church. THAT WAS A BLAST.

    “Every day…is a day of thanksgiving!”

    What I’m trying to say is that there is definitely good to be had in religion when the people practicing it really live up to their values.

    I chose to be a Diest after grappling with my religions beliefs for years. Floating between an agnostic and bull-headed atheist was one of the most difficult times for me.

    I find that there is a something good in all of them, and when you experience those—Jeez. Changed my life.

  135. 135
    New Yorker says:

    @ajr22:

    I worry reading comments here that this has shaken peoples’ here core belief in the state of Israel.

    Well, the problem is that Israel is a democracy, so it’s hard not to conclude that the Netanyahu government is doing what a good portion of the Israeli populace wants it to do. When a significant minority favors pardoning Yigal Amir, that’s troubling to say the least.

    Israel isn’t the only country like this. There are many Chileans who see Pinochet as a hero. There are many Serbians who see Milosevic and Karadzic as heroes. God knows how many Americans would favor expelling all Muslims from this country (I don’t think I want to know).

    Decent human beings everywhere need to fight back against such tendencies. Doing so requires pointing out when a country you love and support is wrong.

  136. 136
    micah616 says:

    @ajr22:

    I worry reading comments here that this has shaken peoples’ here core belief in the state of Israel. For a group of people I respect, that is something that worries me.

    This is your whole problem. I can’t and won’t speak for anyone else, but I don’t give a fuck about Israel either way. Never have. “A core belief?” In what?

    Understand, that the only country I have a core belief in is the US. Full stop. Israel puts itself first, as a nation should. When it comes to US policy towards Israel, we continue to put their interests above our own, even when their interests conflict with ours. Even when their interests are diametrically opposed to ours.

    It needs stop.

  137. 137
    miwome says:

    @ellaesther: Fair enough. I don’t think we have a real disagreement here, I was just being nitpicky. Carry on!

  138. 138
    soonergrunt says:

    @Josh:
    I spent four years in Europe during the Clinton administration.
    Even as they liked Clinton, a lot of Europeans who knew fuck-all about America were more than willing to take up my time
    to tell about all the things that were bad about the country.
    For something like the space program, my usual answer was “well, that’s what US taxpayers prefer to spend their
    money on, and not on things you want that don’t do them any good.
    The worst ones were the brits. They seemed to think that because they spoke the same language, more or less, and
    that they watched a few US TV shows on SKY1 that they knew
    anything useful about America. As if one can learn anything
    about the US from watching Baywatch, NCIS, and Star Trek.

  139. 139
    Lancelot Link says:

    And the fact that they did this in international waters to a ship that was clearly unarmed and full of unarmed people—well.

    But they were armed – with a couple wrenches, a screwdriver, some sticks and kitchen knives of mass destruction!

  140. 140
    SamR says:

    You probably think these cops overreacted too:

    http://www.theonion.com/articl.....ngsta,739/

    “Mr. Livingston attempted to resist, raising his remaining forearm and striking at the officers’ weapons with his face, teeth, knees and genitals,” McPhee told reporters. “Acting in accordance with standard police procedure, we countered by stabbing the suspect 59 times in the chest and throat.”

  141. 141
    miwome says:

    @MattR: Right fucking on. It was the command decision to handle it that way that beggars belief, not what the soldiers did once they found themselves in the middle of a clusterfuck in progress.

  142. 142
    soonergrunt says:

    @micah616:

    Understand, that the only country I have a core belief in is the US. Full stop.
    Israel puts itself first, as a nation should. When it comes to US policy towards Israel, we continue to
    put their interests above our own, even when their
    interests conflict with ours. Even when their interests are diametrically opposed to ours.
    It needs stop.

    This.

  143. 143
    MikeJ says:

    @Josh:

    I sang in a choir once on a whim for a good ol’ fashioned black baptist church. THAT WAS A BLAST.

    I’ve been to Al Green’s church in Memphis a dozen times. I’ve seen Al Green play in bars and casinos and county fairs. I didn’t feel any closer to god at the church.

  144. 144
    soonergrunt says:

    @soonergrunt:
    further to my last, Andrew Sullivan has lived here for years and still doesn’t seem to understand
    how the country works, what with all of his blather about what Obama should or shouldn’t do with
    respect to Congress or laws or what-have-you.

  145. 145
    Rick Taylor says:

    This situation with Israel also angers me, like i said I don’t support the blockade. However, after Abu Ghraib i never questioned my love for America.

    __
    This completely baffles me. My love for my country is not unconditional. I take less pride in being an American now that we’re a country that openly debates the use of torture for example; which is one of the primary reasons I am so deeply angry with the people who’ve brought us to this point.
    __
    Those who love a country the most should be the most angry when it does something that violates its ideals.

  146. 146
    Josh says:

    @soonergrunt:

    Thanks for setting me straight on that. Like I said, I’m used to dealing with people that have lived in America long enough to know a good deal about it. So I don’t have to deal with cocky people who don’t know anything about the U.S.

    Generally I ask questions when I meet people from other countries. I’m far more interested in learning than I am criticizing.

  147. 147
    Seebach says:

    @micah616: That’s the more succinct way of saying it, but yes. I don’t care about Israel. I care in the same way I care about all people, but there’s no special anything there.

    I’m guessing this is going to be more surprising that I expect.

  148. 148
    Joseph Nobles says:

    Chemical fertilizer and pesticides are permitted, and that would enable farming, John.

    I think there are a few factors in play here. One is the denial of rebuilding infrastructure. Two is limiting the ability to grow the roots of an economy (clothes are allowed, but not fabric for clothing – wood for doors and windows are allowed, but not wood for construction). Basically you could combine these into the statement, “You got what you got, and you can have the supplies to support that, but you don’t get to build any more.”

    And then there is just sheer fuckitude. Things like arbitrary lists of spices (unless I’m missing a cultural thing) sounds like something that can be jacked around at a moment’s notice. “No, sorry, my friend. Pepper and anise seed were yesterday. Today is only ginger and ground cumin. Please turn your car around.”

  149. 149
    J. A. Baker says:

    Wait, fertilizer is allowed? Weren’t these schmucks watching when Tim McVeigh worked his fertilizer magic 15 years ago?

  150. 150
    scav says:

    @soonergrunt: Actually, they rather sound like those Americans who know enough about Europe existing to go on and on about socializm and the fact that they’re all dying from having no functional health care systems at all.

    The French simply treated me as though I had come to learn about the joys of indoor plumbing and civilization and their point of reference tended to be Dallas (this was a while ago). But, random factoid of minor interest, let me tell you that first watching Magnum PI in France and then hearing that squeaky undubbed voice later . . .

  151. 151
    Josh says:

    @Seebach:

    You know, I’ve kind of always considered people to be more than the sum of their data. I’ve never really had a specific affinity for any specific place–by which I mean I don’t consider a person from Country A to be more interesting, important, or worthwhile than a person from Country B, C, D, or whatever.

    So I would have the same care and consideration for a person from China or Lesotho as I would a person from Alabama or Israel or Canada.

    And my respect for my own country hasn’t been unconditional either. That is, in my opinion, downright insane–unconditional love for a country.

    I have considered Israel’s history, its location, and its situation. I have decided that they are to be commended for much of what they have done, but condemned for some of what they have done. I don’t hold the actions of the government of Israel against any Israeli, much like I don’t hold the actions of the government of Iran against a friend of mine from Iran.

  152. 152
    Silver Owl says:

    I wish the U.S. would treat Israel like a sovereign nation with it’s own goals and agenda rather than as a golden conduit to get messed up in the head christians dead arses into heaven.

    Until the U.S. grows the f*ck up about Israel and sees it as a nation our constantly blindly kissing their asses for idiots here is going to be very very unhealthy.

  153. 153
    Mark S. says:

    @miwome:

    Egypt does indeed have its role to play in the embargo, and it’s a pretty puzzling policy.

    The Egyptian government likes the money we give them and they hate Hamas. They may be changing their policy after this incident, however.

  154. 154
    Rick Taylor says:

    in the past few centuries of developed maritime law and tradition, there have been established practices on how a state can and cannot board the ships of another state in international waters. It’s not like this is the first time ever a ship has tried to run a blockade. It’s not like this is the first time a ship has tried to run that particular blockade.

    __
    Being ignorant of these matters, this is something I’d appreciate a discussion of, if you happen to know of a link. The only thing I’ve found is Fred Kaplan’s piece here, which I quoted earlier.

  155. 155
    Andre says:

    @Rick Taylor:

    The language used by some defending Israeli’s actions has been contemptuous (calling them “thugs”) and in my opinion unjustified until we find out what happened.

    There’s our problem, though. (Italics mine.) We won’t ever find out what happened here, if by “find out what happened” you mean an independent third party agreed to by both sides goes in and investigates and finds out what objectively occurred, then publishes a report that both sides agree is fair and accurate. That simply won’t happen ever.

    Without fail, the current Israeli government and its major players have rejected any independent reports that cast their actions in a bad light. Every time. So either we throw up our hands and say, “Gee, there’s so much controversy here, we’ll never know the truth”, or we take eyewitness accounts (including the rumoured full length of the video mentioned above) and decide what reasonably can be deduced from those sources ourselves, which is what most people have been doing. And surprise, surprise, the result of that process is, more often than not, people quite reasonably referring to a military assault on civilians in international waters that resulted in the deaths of (possibly) 16 people as “thuggery”.

    You can’t sit back and pretend to be impartial when that supposed impartiality will, without fail, grant one side the benefit of the doubt over the other.

  156. 156
    miwome says:

    @Mark S.: Well, I didn’t literally mean I was puzzled–I did cite some of the same things you mentioned–but I hadn’t seen that Egypt opened the Rafah crossing. Thanks for the link!

    EDIT: Now that I’ve actually read the article, this bit about sums up the problem with the raid:

    “What went wrong was the assumption that it would be simple and straightforward,” Anshel Pfeffer, a military analyst for Israel’s Haaretz newspaper, told NPR.

    No shit.

  157. 157
    Seebach says:

    I’ve never really had a specific affinity for any specific place—by which I mean I don’t consider a person from Country A to be more interesting, important, or worthwhile than a person from Country B, C, D, or whatever.

    Right, I’m the same. So I really don’t have a “core belief in Israel” as such. Not out of spite, or out of protest, but out of… “meh.” It’s outdated to think in terms of nations on a personal level, I think.

  158. 158
    micah616 says:

    @Seebach: Like you, i care about all people. That’s regardless of religion, color, creed, or nationality. I hate to hear when Hamas assholes decide to shoot rockets at Israel. Mainly because innocents always suffer, and secondly because it does nothing to relieve any of the oppression they claim to be fighting against.

    However, a nation with functioning government institutions and infrastructure needs to be held to a higher standard than a terrorist group. When the collective we can’t agree on that, then I guess we’re all Mayans.

  159. 159
    Josh says:

    @Seebach:

    My experiences in college have clued me into a more global identity. It’s about finding common ground and being able to relate to people from very diverse situations and backgrounds, as well as beliefs.

    So thinking about people in terms of nationality isn’t something that usually occurs to me. I mean, I find it neat that I have friends from countries all over the world, and I ask them all about it, but it isn’t the most important part. It’s the person.

    That might be why I’m more critical of Israel in this circumstance. They’re trying to make this an “us vs. them” situation. I’m not convinced that this is actually what it is.

    This means I have more sympathy for the Palestinians because of the actions undertaken by Israel. It’s like the time I was studying World War 2 in depth, and I found myself so very angry with the government for the response (more like, lack of) with regard to the Japanese internment camps. I wouldn’t say what I felt was hatred–but it was extreme disdain.

    It’s like when you find yourself rooting for Vasily Zaitsev in Enemy at the Gates–or when you study history, you sympathize with the Soviets fighting for their city of Stalingrad.

  160. 160
    Josh says:

    @micah616:

    Right, this is a good way of putting it. Hamas is to be condemned for the rocket attacks on Tel Aviv and all of the innocents that were killed.

    Actually, I am of Mayan descent (Aztec as well). So when I hear of people talk of 2012, this is my response:

    “I’m descended from the Mayans. As you may be aware, I am full of shit. I make stuff up just to fuck with people. It runs in the family.”

  161. 161
    Andre says:

    I do get confused when people treat this as some sort of signal moment that will potentially change the way the world sees Israel, or the way Israel behaves. I hate being the resident cynic (since it doesn’t come naturally to me) but we were hearing exactly the same stuff during the not-so-recent war in Lebanon, where, quite frankly, the actions were that much more horrendous. I mean, Israel’s forces perpertated massive infrastructural damage on Lebanon in areas that had absolutely no relationship with the Hezbollah rocket attacks (seriously, Beiruit airport?) and domestic opinion in Israel turned pretty sharply against some of the actions in that war, but in the long run, there was an actual worsening of Israeli-Palestinian relations after the war.

    If 1,500 dead people didn’t change the world, another 16 won’t either.

    Don’t get me wrong, I would love to see changes to the situation here-it is far past time that Israel either gave up all claim to the occupied territories or went in and shifted every single person living in them to Egypt, Syria or Jordan. But that won’t happen because the current status quo is, horribly, sustainable for the people in power.

  162. 162
    geg6 says:

    @Josh:

    That’s nice for you. Let’s just say that after losing my native religion at about age 9 or so (if I ever had it), I did the whole exploration if others religions over a period of about 20 years. Never found anything redeeming about any of them. Yeah, some pretty ceremonies and exciting stories and magic and blah blah blah. But little that proved any of them are good or necessary or desirable in the same way that they they proved conclusively to me that they are bad in a much greater measure. Many more cons than any pros. In fact, no pros at all as far as I could see. Now past the half century mark and 20 years past any nostalgia for fairy tales and pretty costumes, I have never been happier to be free of any feelings of obligation to act as if I give a shit about it or any of it’s symbols or ceremonies. And every day, religions of the world provide evidence that I am correct to have that attitude. Nothing more than another method to enslave others, to posture as powerful, and permission to act in as morally reprehensible a fashion as possible in the name of god.

    I still go to weddings and christenings and bris ceremonies, but I admit to feeling contemptuous of them inside. I am not perfect for feeling that but I not the one whose deepest held convictions gets people killed or starved to death or shunned or demonized or slaughtered by the thousands because my magic and fairy tails are better than yours. I don’t subscribe to the idea that religion is good. I subscribe to the opposite contention.

  163. 163
    miwome says:

    @Andre: In my opinion, the thing that makes this important is what Turkey–until very recently, one of Israel’s best and most reliable allies in the Middle East–is doing. Is it world-changing? No. Game-changing in the stupid political campaign analysis (NOTHING WILL EVER BE THE SAME)? No. But game-changing in a more reasonable sense? I think it could be. If Turkey actually followed through on the threats to send its ship back, this time with a naval escort–which, to be fair, I don’t expect it to–it could be actually a very monumental event. But barring that, it still changes the regional balance a little more, which could have some potentially serious ramifications down the line. Remember, Turkey was one half of the negotiating team that got a non-negligible nuclear concession out of Iran just weeks ago. Don’t look for them to go to bat for anything Israel wants again anytime soon.

  164. 164
    Ed Marshall says:

    @Andre:

    Maybe, I don’t know. I was a cynic about the whole “Free Gaza Flotilla” in the first place. I thought it was a bunch of bullshit, grandstanding, and that there were only two ways it could play out: They brought a middling bunch of little crap to Gaza that doesn’t actually do anything or they get impounded, put through the Israeli immigration system and deported and no one will give a shit.

    What I *didn’t* think would happen was the IDF would put on this sort of shitshow and manage to kill a bunch of internationals and simultaneously look like pussies whining that someone tried to hit their elite commandos with a stick.

    I knew the details and purpose of the Gaza embargo, and I sort of assumed everyone else knew and didn’t care. I haven’t seen troll one poke his head up here and try and defend the sanctions regime. Maybe it does matter!

  165. 165
    Andre says:

    @Josh:

    It’s like when you find yourself rooting for Vasily Zaitsev in Enemy at the Gates—or when you study history, you sympathize with the Soviets fighting for their city of Stalingrad.

    If you haven’t already read it, I would thoroughly recommend Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. It’s a not-quite-finished epic dramatization of the siege and retaking of Stalingrad, and it’s a wonderfully human story. Also, bonus relevancy: it was written by the first journalist to report on the discovery of the Nazi concentration camps after WWII, who was also a Ukranian secular Jew (he included sections on the ghettos and concentration camps in the novel, as well as the later anti-Semitism on the rise in Russia post WWII.)

    The novel was suppressed by Stalin’s regime and smuggled out to Europe to be published after Grossman’s death.

  166. 166
    ellaesther says:

    @miwome: No worries, I didn’t think there was really a disagreement. I’ve just become kind of strident — shrill, if you will! — about the whole 2006 thingie.

    God in heaven its fucked up, isn’t it?

  167. 167
    Violet says:

    @Seebach:

    So, I think if Israel is running from this assumption that it’s being viewed as an extension of America and will always be… it’s not going to. I hold nothing against Israel, but I have no favor, either. I have no interest to visit, no particular interest in learning more about it outside of a geopolitical sphere. It’s kind of like… Uzbekistan. I don’t care, really.

    But I think my feelings are not particularly unique, and it might be good to be known, in general. Maybe this is a big, new thing that I don’t observe being in the center of it?

    I think this is really important. Younger Americans are not going to view Israel as special in the same way that people thirty years older do.

    Apparently, according to some stuff that Sully posted recently, younger Jewish Americans feel somewhat this way as well. They view Israel more as another country and feel fewer ties to it. Meanwhile, younger Israelis are more hardline conservative. I think this is an important split, and one that Israel may not be fully aware of.

  168. 168
    Tattoosydney says:

    @ajr22:

    core belief in the state of Israel

    I was going to respond and say that, as an Australian, I have no, and
    have never had, “core belief” in the state of Israel, any more than I
    have a “core belief” in the state of Russia or New Zealand.

    I believe they exist, and have a right to exist, and I’m quite happy for
    them to do so, provided they don’t behave like arseholes, but their
    existence or not doesn’t in any way form a vital part of my belief
    system.

    However, Seebach beat me to it, and said it better than me.

  169. 169
    Keith says:

    Textbook case of asymmetrical warfare.

  170. 170
    El Cid says:

    @Tattoosydney: No state has an abstract right to exist outside the deliberations and rights of the people living in it. If the EU finally became a single nation by the democratic consent of its people (no I don’t foresee this happening), then the prior states dissolve as nations, and no right has been violated.

  171. 171
    micah616 says:

    @geg6: The not-so-funny part is that if you remove religion from the I/P situation, the Israelis have no standing. Most Americans would laugh in your face if you told them that they had to give up their neighborhood for members of the Sioux. And let’s not even talk about a right of return for Mejicanos in Arizona.

    That’s probably why on pretty much every I/P thread, the first person to conflate the government of Israel with Judaism is also the first person to start screaming about how disagreeing with Israel’s actions makes you an anti-Semitic Nazi Stormfront appeaser.

  172. 172
    scav says:

    @Andre: well, not in the US necessarily, but in the UK, EU and Australia (NZ too?), the whole faked passport scandal weakened Israel’s image even prior to this. I wasn’t really paying keen attention to it at the time, but I certainly noticed it getting attention.

  173. 173
    Josh says:

    @geg6:

    I think you completely missed the point. I actually think I pity you as well. That doesn’t happen with me very often. Why so much…animosity?

    Sure, there are evils perpetrated by the people who adhere to a certain interpretation to a religion. But there are evils perpetrated by all sorts of people, regardless of religion.

    Many of the people I shared these experiences with weren’t celebrating these ceremonies about of a belief in magic. There was a much more real and personal connection to it. It went beyond mere mysticism and touched on something that I think is a striking characteristic of many people.

    I could talk candidly to these people about my misgivings, and I would not be chastised or criticized. They would work to enlighten me, and I would go in with an open mind. And I wouldn’t blame them for the horrible atrocities carried out in the name of Jesus, or Allah, or God, or hell, Zoroaster.

    I suggest you pick up a copy of the Oxford Annotated Bible and read it as if it is a collection of folktales or a collection of literary texts. Try to remove the religious slant and see that those stories have a very real value. It’s why they mean something. Many of the Jewish people I know look at the Tanakh as a collection of Jewish folklore–metaphors and stories that their people created to tell their story.

    I’m sorry your own exploration ended with such hatred and cynicism.

    Speaking in literary terms, besides the Oedipus myth, the core myth of Western Civilization is the story of The Fall. The expulsion from Paradise. It’s simply remarkable to think that many of our stories–much of our literature–so much of our art–is based on this story.

    Really, these stories speak of our nature. It’s an ugly, brutish nature, but it is true.

    Have you by chance read the Tao? Or maybe the book “Left Hand of Darkness” by Ursula K. Le Guin? I think those may provide some interesting insights.

    A lot of my journey was about disconnecting myself from the bad side of these religions. Not ignoring them–but not letting them interfere with what I experienced on a personal level. When you can gather a Jew, a Muslim, a Catholic, and a Buddhist together in a room and have a candid, open, and rather fun chat about religion and spirituality—it’s an amazing experience.

    It’s not about fairy tales and magic. It never was. For some people, that may be an excuse.

    It’s about human nature. It’s about setting a subjective framework for being able to understand the world. It isn’t perfect, no. But then, nothing is.

  174. 174
    Andre says:

    @Tattoosydney:

    I was going to respond and say that, as an Australian, I have no, and have never had, “core belief” in the state of Israel, any more than I have a “core belief” in the state of Russia or New Zealand.

    Is that why you guys keep claiming all our expatriates as your own? Crowded House, Split Enz, Sam Neill, Jane Campion, Russel Crowe, etc

  175. 175
    Seebach says:

    @Josh: Okay, now I am going to be a dick, on purpose.

    I suggest you pick up a copy of the Oxford Annotated Bible and read it as if it is a collection of folktales or a collection of literary texts. Try to remove the religious slant and see that those stories have a very real value.

    I have tried this. Boringest, lamest book ever. I’ve tried to read religious texts to outsmart fundamentalists with their literal readings. I can’t get more than a few pages in. It’s just dull, arbitrary insanity, with 1000 year old people getting eaten by fish. But somehow, less awesome than that sounds.

  176. 176
    Josh says:

    @Seebach:

    I guess the best response to this is to say that I’ve read, and enjoyed, Moby-Dick three times.

    Some of the stories are a bit dry, yes. But for me it wasn’t about outsmarting people. It was about looking beyond the years of interpretation and getting to something more real.

    The story of Sol, for instance.

    The Fall. You begin to see patterns in the narrative if you’re really paying attention.

  177. 177
    Andre says:

    @scav:

    well, not in the US necessarily, but in the UK, EU and Australia (NZ too?), the whole faked passport scandal weakened Israel’s image even prior to this. I wasn’t really paying keen attention to it at the time, but I certainly noticed it getting attention.

    Yeah, that was pretty big deal here in NZ, because it tied in to an earlier scandal where some of the same Israeli agents were caught effectively stealing/faking passport details a few years earlier. We caught them and held them briefly, but eventually let them go without so much as an apology in return.

  178. 178
    miwome says:

    @ellaesther: Oh, believe me, I’m with you. It was a major chunk of the BA thesis I just finished writing.

  179. 179
    Ecks says:

    Woo hoo, I’ve been front paged twice in one week! First the Emobama picture, and now the Frum / concrete find.

    I will now be an insufferable bastard for 15 minutes to celebrate.

    Ok, *more* insufferable.

  180. 180
    Violet says:

    This is pretty funny. So much for those crack Israeli commandos. Heh.

  181. 181
    Josh says:

    @Seebach:

    There is an unprinted Hebrew folktale that I think would fall in the Talmud called “gam’zeh ya’avor.” It’s about King Solomon, and it’s interesting.

    I actually think it was first told by Persian Sufis, but the Hebrews incorporated it into their folklore by making the central characters King Solomon and Benaiah Ben Yehoyada.

    “Gam’zeh ya’avor” is translated as “This too shall pass.”

    If you haven’t read about it, I encourage you to do so. Abraham Lincoln liked to reference it quite often.

  182. 182
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Violet:

    Younger Americans are not going to view Israel as special in the same way that people thirty years older do.

    That ship sailed long, long ago. Then it was boarded by commandos.

    I’m trying to figure out the nature of this purported feeling of Israel’s specialness. Like the way people thought it was kind of cool for the New Orleans Saints to win the Super Bowl?

    Maybe Special Israel can be laid to rest along with the bullshit about who did what in Vietnam. It’s a country. A county with a government dominated by belligerent jackasses. A country that starts shit because they think they’re badass. And it’s been that way since the 1980s.

  183. 183
    FormerSwingVoter says:

    Y’know, I’ve never been much for foreign policy. There’s too much going on that I know too little about for me to form strong opinions on.

    But damn. This is fucking ridiculous. Israel needs to start acting like human beings.

  184. 184
    scav says:

    @Josh: um, I’m finding that elevated bit about pity is a bit pretentious, by the by. Some people don’t like chocolate ice cream, some do. Some find their life enhanced by waterskiing, some don’t. Your judging religious experience simply by the best they can be is realistically no more valid than someone insisting religion being judged only by the worst of their excesses.

  185. 185
    Andre says:

    @Seebach:

    I have tried this. Boringest, lamest book ever. I’ve tried to read religious texts to outsmart fundamentalists with their literal readings. I can’t get more than a few pages in. It’s just dull, arbitrary insanity, with 1000 year old people getting eaten by fish. But somehow, less awesome than that sounds.

    I’ve read through it twice, and I agree, it’s a bad book, but it’s not the worst I’ve read by a long shot. Worser books include (in no particular order):

    The City at the End of Time by Greg Bear
    Hidden Empire by Kevin J Anderson
    The Ancient Future by Traci Harding
    Harshini by Jennifer Fallon
    The Gap into Ruin: This Day All Gods Die by Stephen R Donaldson
    Every Book He Ever Wrote After His First by Terry Brooks and Terry Goodkind and Robert Jordan

    You can choose to read into the fact that I am comparing the Bible to bad fantasy if you want.

    Edit: Woah there, talk about funky formatting.

  186. 186

    […] in Pakistan and Afghanistan every so often. Imagine these people load up a boat of supplies, cement and nutmeg and whatnot, and these Floaters for Christ set off in a little cargo ship armada to somewhere oppressed that […]

  187. 187

    @Andre: You missed any book by Jonah Goldberg.

  188. 188
    Mark S. says:

    @Ed Marshall:

    I haven’t seen troll one poke his head up here and try and defend the sanctions regime.

    I’ve been wondering where they are myself.

  189. 189
    Andre says:

    @arguingwithsignposts:

    Even I don’t hate my brain that much. I haven’t even read the one star Amazon reviews for his books (which I usually do for authors I don’t like.)

  190. 190
    Laertes says:

    I’m trying to figure out the nature of this purported feeling of Israel’s specialness.

    I don’t know exactly where it came from. I’m 40-something and I picked it up young. Don’t know from where.

    If I were to guess, I’d say that it’s because they kicked ass in two wars in which they were badly outnumbered. Everyone loves a scrappy underdog. Also, that second big win came at the height of the cold war against a bunch of Soviet client-states. That definitely figured into their popularity with my generation of Americans.

  191. 191
    Josh says:

    @scav:

    No, no. The point I’m making is that the personal experiences far outweighed the negative implications.

    I really am not a fan of organized religion, but I can’t stand it when people just dismiss it, and by extension, people, because of the evil that has been perpetrated by it.

    What I’m simply trying to say is that the personal experiences that I’ve had matter more to me than the extremists blowing people up in the name of a god that a person I know worships.

    The very deep and real bonds to a history and a story and an identity isn’t a bad thing.

    I recognize, and denounce the worst excesses of religion and the people behind it. But I don’t let that bitter me over the concept or the people who practice.

    I chose to be a Diest because I don’t recognize any hierarchical religious structure, because I don’t believe that they actually serve the people or the spirit of the faith.

    And I don’t know why pity is pretentious. I was just stating fact. Emotions are pesky things–not adherent to rational thought.

  192. 192
    miwome says:

    If anyone’s looking for further thoughts on Turkey’s reaction and how that might affect things going forward, Larison has a good post up. Upshot:

    Self-defeating hyperbole aside, when the foreign minister of one of Israel’s better allies likens one of its actions to 9/11 and the Turkish PM threatens serious consequences in retaliation, this is not evidence that Israel has won anything. It is proof that in four short years Turkey and Israel have gone from being on reasonably good terms to being practically at daggers drawn. That is the result of repeated Israeli strategic failures that have had a cumulative effect over the last several years.

    Oddly, it is continued uncritical, automatic U.S. backing that enables the worst instincts in Israel’s government, and it is this that allows it to persist in its self-destructive course long after it should have stopped and corrected its course. It is that very backing that will let Israel continue down this path until it will become impossible for the U.S. to balance its relationships with its other allies and its one-sided relationship with Israel.

  193. 193
    Michael says:

    @ajr22:

    I said in my post I don’t support the blockade, and don’t think the soldiers should have been dropped on the ships. However, they were attacked they didn’t just shoot people at random. People around here are acting like they are just savage murderers, and this makes me feel uncomfortable.

    They’re savage murderers. Get the fuck over it.

    Or are you the concern trolling attribute of Dave 3.0?

  194. 194
    TenguPhule says:

    Someone attempt to make sense of that list in any way.

    And idiot drew it up. That’s all I got.

    Fresh meat is prohibited but chemical pesticides/fertilizers allowed?

    Are you sure this wasn’t a Daily Show gag? At this point I can’t tell the difference.

  195. 195
    Josh says:

    @Andre:

    I can only imagine that it is better in the original Hebrew/Greek/Latin. In fact, I know several people who tell me that it is.

    I want to learn to speak and read Italian so I can read the original texts of Italo Calvino. I want to learn to speak and read French so I can read the original texts of Alexandre Dumas and Alain Robbe-Grillet.

    Translations never to a text justice. Never.

  196. 196
    TenguPhule says:

    They’re savage murderers. Get the fuck over it.

    Right, just like all Palestinians are savage terrorists.

    Go peace!

  197. 197
    TenguPhule says:

    A county with a government dominated by belligerent jackasses. A country that starts shit because they think they’re badass. And it’s been that way since the 1980s.

    Are we talking about Israel or the USA?

  198. 198
    miwome says:

    @miwome: Oops, the last paragraph in my last comment was Larison’s too. Not sure how that happened.

  199. 199
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Laertes:

    If I were to guess, I’d say that it’s because they kicked ass in two wars in which they were badly outnumbered. Everyone loves a scrappy underdog.

    OK, but that was forty years ago. It used to be kind of cute to hear from Red Sox fans about how nothing ever went their way. And then they won. And then they got relentlessly hyped and every series was treated like something uniquely fascinating. And at a certain point people started to think of them as, not a plucky underdog, but as a dominant team that got way too much attention and ass-kissing.

  200. 200
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @TenguPhule: Both. What’s your point?

  201. 201
    Laertes says:

    OK, but that was forty years ago.

    Well, like I said, I’m forty-something. I’m explaining why Americans of my vintage often have warm feelings for Israel that aren’t shared by younger folk. Not saying it makes a whole lot of sense.

  202. 202
    Michael says:

    @ajr22:

    I worry reading comments here that this has shaken peoples’ here core belief in the state of Israel.

    My core belief is that when presented with two courses of action, one decent and restrained, the other being a reckless demonstration of unwisely and indiscriminantly applied excessive force, the Israeli government will always choose the latter.

    Oddly enough, I was largely sympathetic up until the comic disaster that was the Lebanon misadventure in 2006.

  203. 203
    TenguPhule says:

    What’s your point?

    I just get the feeling that a lot of the hate and digust here seems to come from the fact that looking at Israel is like looking into a very warped mirror.

    I personally hope the current Likud control takes a one way trip off a plank. But too many people confuse Israel’s goverment with Israel the people. Have we already forgotten how we got judged by the rest of the world by the gold standard of George Fucking W Bush?

  204. 204
    scav says:

    @Josh: but geg6’s personal experiences lead her to her conclusions and “pitying” her for that is over the top. Because that implies in a weird way you’re dismissing the importance / reality / validity of her experiences. “Dear dear, that’s not what really happened. That’s not the lesson to be learned. Here, let me clear this all up for you. “It gets to be a complete and utter bore when people insist and insist and insist that you simply have to give religion another try — we tried it and found it wanting. Would you be equally a bore about chasing people down and insisting they enjoy rhubarb crumble because you do?

  205. 205
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Have we already forgotten how we got judged by the rest of the world by the gold standard of George Fucking W Bush?

    Hopefully not. And hopefully we haven’t already forgotten that when a government or a military says it’s doing whatever harsh thing it’s doing because it’s concerned about terrorism, we should be skeptical.

  206. 206
    MattR says:

    @TenguPhule:

    I just get the feeling that a lot of the hate and digust here seems to come from the fact that looking at Israel is like looking into a very warped mirror.

    I don’t think that is where the hate and distrust come from. but I do think it amplifies those feelings in many of us.

  207. 207
    Laertes says:

    @Michael:

    My core belief is that when presented with two courses of action, one decent and restrained, the other being a reckless demonstration of unwisely and indiscriminantly applied excessive force, the Israeli government will always choose the latter.

    Sure is starting to look that way, isn’t it? This thing has dragged on too long.

    “He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster.”

  208. 208

    I don’t know about you guys, but I’m gonna put in Munich and fall asleep to that.

  209. 209
    Tattoosydney says:

    @El Cid:

    No state has an abstract right to exist outside the deliberations and rights of the people living in it.

    True. I spoke inexactly.

  210. 210
    Josh says:

    @scav:

    When I use pity, I use it as a way to say that I am sorry that her experience has lead her to that conclusion. I empathize with the emotions, because I know how real they are. And I am sorry about them.

    So feelings sorry because someone came to that conclusion is over the top?

    What’s the point of having empathy if I can’t express it? What’s the point of having an opinion if I don’t think that I’m right and someone who disagrees with me is wrong? I mean, isn’t that inherent in the idea of an opinion? That there is a right side and a wrong side?

    I mean, if you don’t think your opinion is right then perhaps maybe you shouldn’t have them. Perhaps you should lock yourself up and never experience anything.

    From my perspective, I would rather have positive feelings than wallow in negative ones. I’ve gone through too much bullshit to just hate for no reason than to vindicate my anger for perceived injustices.

    So I guess it really comes down to trying to connect with a person by engaging them in a discussion about this–to the point where they express some very sincere and strong passions about this.

    I recall an episode of House, M.D. in which the good doctor stated, “If you don’t value your life above someone else’s, just go fill out the organ donor cards and kill yourself.”

    I think the same goes for opinions. Beliefs. Yes, I know–this can be taken to an extreme extent–the kind that people like geg find repulsive. I’m not advocating that. I am simply arguing that there is no point in having an opinion if you don’t think it’s valid.

  211. 211
    ellaesther says:

    You know the one thing worse than the flotilla raid? The occupation: http://emilylhauserinmyhead.wo.....im-pissed/

  212. 212
    Ed Marshall says:

    @Michael:

    I fell out at the start of the second intifada. I’m pretty sure, everyone American starts out as sympathetic to Israel or used to.

    In 2000, I was twenty-six years old, watched the news, probably well-above average in world events and I didn’t understand what a Palestinian was. I knew there used to be a country called Palestine and there was a war and that everyone piled on the Jews and it was bad and probably related to Hitler. I knew there were D.P. immigrants from WWII but I thought they were something like the internationals fighting Franco in the Spanish Civil War over an indigenous Jewish population that I hadn’t thought much about their origins.

    I knew that Israel was the only democracy in the middle east, I got told that a shitload of times so what I thought was that Palestinians were minority Arabs in an Israeli democracy fighting a separatist conflict like say the Basque. Didn’t make any sense to me, they should enjoy the benefits of Israeli citizenship!

    That’s embarrassing, but I don’t think I’d be totally alone in making the assumptions I had made about the nature of the conflict

  213. 213
    Kyle says:

    They were attacked they didn’t just shoot people at random.

    They strafed the ship with gunfire and fired tear gas grenades, killing two people before the commandos rappelled onto the deck – that’s pretty much the definition of shooting people at random.
    And it tends not to put the passengers in a ‘welcome aboard’ frame of mind.

  214. 214
    Laertes says:

    They strafed the ship with gunfire and fired tear gas grenades, killing two people before the commandos rappelled onto the deck

    Jesus I hope that doesn’t turn out to be true. I’m worried. So far, only the the one side has really gotten their story out. The fact that they’ve confiscated lots of cell phones and cameras from the people they’ve detained strongly suggests that there’s stuff they don’t want revealed. I’m afraid of what it might be.

  215. 215
    Ed Marshall says:

    That will never get settled, Kyle, they have their story and while it sucks it’s not going to be something anyone can prove in the differing accounts one way or another. It doesn’t really matter when their version of events is that an elite commando unit got “ambushed” in the middle of international waters by people with sticks. I can’t believe there are people still dumb enough not to just shut up. If they can’t be bothered to sit down and think about what a horrible mess they have made, at least be smart enough to know when to just shut up and quit digging.

  216. 216
    Jenn says:

    @scav:

    Yeah, well, I’m a fellow atheist, and I agreed with Josh, in pitying her. Being so anti-religion that you can’t go to weddings or christenings without feeling contemptuous of the participants? I found that deeply sad.
    .
    I agree that religion has inspired some of humanity’s most heinous acts — and I agree that religion has inspired some of its greatest. Judging a religion by the best it can be and judging it by its worst excesses both seem to me to be out of whack. They’re both, along with the entire spectrum in between. And take religion out of the equation, we’ll just find something else to fight about, because sadly, that’s what we do. Humanity: one part beautiful, one part totally fucked up (exactly how the rest of the recipe goes is debatable, but I’m pretty sure these are 2 of the major ingredients!).

  217. 217
    Cain says:

    @ajr22:

    As a jew, I admit that I have become a little uncomfortable with the attitude towards Israel around here. I disagree with a lot of the government’s actions including the Blockade, but I get the feeling here that people think of Israel as the bad guys and that worries me. No i’m

    I think we’re angry at the government of Israel not the people. It would be simplifying in the extreme to hate an entire sect of people because of their government. I hate the shit our government does in my name and I’m glad when people don’t hate me because of what my government does. I think on the gut level that is what we feel too about Israel..

    The other part of this is that our taxes are going to funding this stuff. That’s a bit more serious and makes it more personable. I felt the same when my damn money was going to fund Contras, or knocking out democratically elected people from power and putting in dictators.

    cain

  218. 218
    GambitRF says:

    You’re all going to look mighty stupid once the reports of donkey-powered violin rocket attacks start coming in.

  219. 219
    JC says:

    How does this list, and the understanding that this embargo, is ONLY about keeping Gaza from being, in any way, in any shape, or in any form, self-sufficient – how do we get this chart in the hands of the mainstream media, so that there is a Meet The Press ABOUT this chart, and what it obviously means?

    There is no way, no how, no possibility, that the majority of the items that are banned, can be rationalized away as necessary to ban.

    We can’t, as the United States, support this. For either Israel, or for Egypt, right?

    Collective punishment. COLLECTIVE PUNISHMENT. COLLECTIVE FRACKING PUNISHMENT!!!

    This goes against everything that this country stands for.

  220. 220
    Anoniminous says:

    So much for that blockade thing:

    Israel and Egypt signaled a temporary easing of the Gaza Strip blockade Tuesday following harsh international condemnation of the deadly Israeli raid on an aid flotilla en route to the sealed-off Palestinian territory.

    Israel committed causus belli to prevent the blockade from being broken … only to break the blockade through agreement with Egypt.

    This get more bizarre every passing moment.

  221. 221
    PeakVT says:

    Israel is the only functioning democracy in the Middle East.

    This is nonsense. First, Israel is hardly a model democracy for its citizens, given that there are two distinct classes of citizenship – one for Jews and one for everyone else (which consists mostly of Arabs). It should be noted that in the 60 or so years of Israel’s existence, there has been one Arab minister, despite the country being about 20% Arab, and the Arab parties have never been invited to participate in a government. Second, Israel is not a democracy at all when all of the territory it controls is considered. Frankly, Israel has no intention of giving up control of the West Bank (Judea and Samara, as it is referred to by Israel) and never has, despite what the bullshit peace process might lead you to think. It also has no plans to offer the Palestinians citizenship, unlike the relatively small populations of Palestinians in East Jerusalem and Druze in the Golan Heights. (It also has no plans to allow the return of the Arabs who fled the Golan Heights in 1967, an area which Israel has formally annexed, which would be hard anyway because Israel destroyed their villages and gave the land to settlers.) Third, one of the reasons Israel is the only functioning democracy is that America essentially maintains the relatively soft dictatorship of Mubarak in Egypt via foreign aid. The quid pro quo is good relations with Israel. Finally, Turkey is usually considered part of the Middle East, and is regarded as having a functioning democracy (though to me that claim looks as questionable as Israel’s).

  222. 222
    scav says:

    @Josh: So, maybe try some respect for the opinions of other too. Which often means shutting up a bit. Saying you “pity” someone does not exactly engage them. There’s this dicey little thing you get going underneath about how your experiences have lead to “better” outcomes — it elevates you vis a vis the person your supposedly having a conversation with. Hence my use of the word pretentious. You engaged and and got a strong response from geg6 and then you belittled her with your pity. My personal strong option? That religious belief is like fire: it can go either way. It can be a crutch, it can be like alcohol. It can make good people better and bad people worse. So yes, I view it with wary and skeptical eyes. That’s not a negative emotion: that’s the result of 40+ years of living and learning to look both ways before I cross the street. And I’ll be damned if I’m pitied for that opinion.

  223. 223
    Ecks says:

    FWIW Ezra has a good post a while back making the observation that when you talk to people about Israel, the big dividing line tends to be whether they see Israel as the plucky underdog defending itself against overwhelming odds, or whether they see it as the dominant over-dog with overwhielming strength, and the responsibilities that come with that.

    Old timers, he observers, remember Israel from the wars in the 60’s where it really was the miraculous underdog, and tend to still think of it that way… No holds barred makes a fair amount of sense in these circumstances. Young people these days don’t remember those wars, and have only ever known it as a dominant regional military power.

    Sounds from the crowd here like even some of our older members are flipping views though. Certainly the reality is currently much closer to Israel being the power.

  224. 224
    Tattoosydney says:

    @Andre:

    Is that why you guys keep claiming all our expatriates as your own? Crowded House, Split Enz, Sam Neill, Jane Campion etc

    No – that’s because our media are, for the most part, simplistic, unthinking dickheads.

  225. 225
    MikeJ says:

    @Ecks: How many nukes can you have before you’re no longer a plucky underdog? How many people can you massacre in concentration camps (and get elected PM) and still be a underdog?

  226. 226
    Mark S. says:

    @JC:

    how do we get this chart in the hands of the mainstream media, so that there is a Meet The Press ABOUT this chart, and what it obviously means

    It would be nice, but I’m sure David Gregory will have Joe Lieberman and John McCain talking about how Israel is our most important ally in the world, followed by a roundtable discussion on whether Obama hates Jews or not.

  227. 227
    Michael says:

    @Ecks:

    Old timers, he observers, remember Israel from the wars in the 60’s where it really was the miraculous underdog, and tend to still think of it that way.

    The older version of Israel was the better one – mostly socialist, fiercely neutral, prickly and nearly militantly secular in outlook.

    This Talibornagain corrupted mishmash that exists today? Not so much…..

  228. 228
    Ecks says:

    Can’t we all just get along. Religious types pitying the atheists who are missing out on the deep stuff, atheist types having contempt for religious ones… Yeesh.

    Religion at its best is about self-transcendence and a connection to something greater. Atheists still get that feeling and enjoy it too, but religion can be a very good way of evoking it. Some of us are lucky enough to find this, and for some it is a “dead option” (William James term), and just doesn’t work. Overall I score that a win for religion.

    On the flip side, sometimes religion gets corrupted to become about scoring goodies (corporal or not), or it can do a half-assed job and extend the feeling of greater-than-self-ness only to “my group,” which makes other people worth less. Then it can be a bad scene.

    But hey, we can all unite in bitching about our shitty media elites, amirite?

  229. 229
    Ecks says:

    @MikeJ: As I say, the reality is now that it’s an overdog. But perceptions are funny sticky things, especially when people get emotionally invested in them.

  230. 230
    Michael says:

    @Ecks:

    The older version of Israel was the better one – mostly soc!alist, fiercely neutral, prickly and nearly militantly secular in outlook.

    This Talibornagain corrupted mishmash that exists today? Not so much…..

  231. 231
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jenn:

    Being so anti-religion that you can’t go to weddings or christenings without feeling contemptuous of the participants? I found that deeply sad.

    In a weird way, it’s the mirror image of people who are so deeply enmeshed in a restrictive religion that they can’t go to, say, a Jewish wedding because that would be participating in the ceremonies of a different religion which of course would be blasphemous and evil.

  232. 232
    Michael says:

    @Anoniminous:

    Israel committed causus belli to prevent the blockade from being broken … only to break the blockade through agreement with Egypt.

    My guess is that the cabinet is having internal squabbles as they flounder around for a path out of what the generals are telling them is a really bad business. My suspicion is that those generals are hearing lots of private chatter out of Turkey, generated toward officers that were worked with and respected.

    It isn’t so much that the IDF guys are incompetent, it is that their political string pullers keep giving them missions under parameters that make no strategic, tactical or political sense – and they keep going along, engaging in the thuggery that the rightist politicians want. I’m wondering, frankly, what the chances are of a palace revolt.

    This is the danger that comes from using your troops not for security, but instead for politics.

  233. 233
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Ecks:

    Religion at its best is about self-transcendence and a connection to something greater. Atheists still get that feeling and enjoy it too, but religion can be a very good way of evoking it. Some of us are lucky enough to find this, and for some it is a “dead option” (William James term), and just doesn’t work.

    My theory is that most of the religious trouble in this world is caused by people for whom it actually is a “dead option” but who feel compelled to keep up a facade that they get it so they won’t feel left out. I’ve known very few people in my life who I would consider genuinely religious, and a whole lot more who aren’t but claim to be.

    That’s how you end up with so many “Christians” who seem to be completely ignorant of what the tenets of Christianity actually are and think that phrases like “turn the other cheek” are some kind of lie-beral commie talk.

  234. 234
    Jenn says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    Hey, on a totally different note — have you been hanging out on the twop boards?

  235. 235
    Mnemosyne says:

    @Jenn:

    Nope, not me. I am legion, however — Mnemosyne is a surprisingly popular handle, so it’s probably one of the many other Mnemosynes on the ‘net. We should probably have a reunion one of these days. :-)

  236. 236
    Calouste says:

    @TenguPhule:

    But too many people confuse Israel’s goverment with Israel the people. Have we already forgotten how we got judged by the rest of the world by the gold standard of George Fucking W Bush?

    Israel, like the US, is a democracy. The government is there because they were voted in by a majority of the voters. So, yes, the people, voters and lazy, uniformed non-voters alike bear responsibility for what their government does and should be judged by it. It’s not like there weren’t enough clues that Bush/Cheney and Bibi/Lieberman were incompetent psychopaths before they were elected.

    The only people in Israel who get a free pass are the disenfranchised Arabs.

  237. 237
    scav says:

    @Mnemosyne: There are about as many flavors of agostism / atheism as there are sub-sects of the Amish. Rather less organized and most can wear zippers — but like always, it’s the hardliners you should keep an eye out for.

    Well, those and the ones that alway ask you to tithe in unmarked bills.

  238. 238
    Jenn says:

    @Mnemosyne:

    It’s a great name (I’m a sucker for Greek mythology!). I’d just been flipping back and forth between twop and BJ, and had to ask :-). Re. reunions, I think all the posters here on BJ with some sort of “jen” in their name could damn near fill an auditorium — ok, slight hyperbole, but I’m always amused when I see TooManyJens’ handle!

  239. 239
    scav says:

    @Jenn: pity is all very well, it can nonetheless be rude when unnecessarily expressed. You can pity someone for their choice of a spouse — but would you run out and tell them that unless they asked for the sympathy?

    and the running after people insisting they try religion again one more time, just really really gets old after a while. Talk about requiting for lifestyles. Sorry, it just got to me.

  240. 240
    JC says:

    Cole, you’ve gotta link to this Jim Henley post.

    Stop mucking about with this ‘shocked and disgusted’ pose. What’s the realpolitik here?

    “The long view is that prior to 1947, Israel’s founding generation squabbled over whether to claim all of the territory that today comprises Israel, the West Bank including all of Jerusalem and Transjordan; claimed everything west of the Jordan River; settled for as much as it could get and since then . . .

    Israel is the only state in the region that has gotten larger. Considered as an institution, Israel has spent sixty-plus years adding and consolidating its control over the territory it wanted in the first place. Forget personalities and political factions for a minute. There were certainly people who were sincere about “land for peace,” just as there were certainly always people opposed to it. There are Israeli liberals even today, and G-d Bless ‘Em. But as a system, Israeli history is expansion into the territory the Founding generation considered part of Israel and incorporating it into Israel proper.”

    Israel is winning – and can pretty much, do whatever it wants. As Jim points out, the U.S. got Turkey, in one day, to agree to ISRAEL INVESTIGATING ITSELF.

    Lots of sound and fury, but the strategic goal endures.

  241. 241
    Anoniminous says:

    @Michael:

    The Israeli generals have to be pooping in their pants.

    The Turkish army is the second largest in NATO at about 4x the strength AND that army is NATO equipped, trained, and capable.

    Militarily the Israelis are completely outclassed except for their respective Air Forces which are fairly even-on.

    And I wouldn’t bet Turkey doesn’t have, or can quickly acquire, some nukes to offset the ones Israel has.

    So, yeah. I agree “… those generals are hearing lots of private chatter out of Turkey” and are trying to get their political leadership back to reality. Whether they succeed is another matter.

  242. 242
    Ecks says:

    @Mnemosyne: That I very much believe – though I don’t think it’s the case that genuine religion is rare, so much as it’s a continuum and some people just get more of it more often than others. Even the assholes can have their moments.

    BTW, kinda of sad that I had to google your name to find out why it was so common. Now that I do, I think it is amusing that erato is the muse of poetry. I know a bunch of poets (including some rather decorated ones), and “erato” is about right, give or take an “ic”.

  243. 243
    JC says:

    My mistake.

    Actually, Turkey didn’t agree – rather the United States brokered a U.N. agreement that Israel gets to investigate itself.

    Anonimous,

    I’m sure you are correct regarding talks between the militaries of Israel and Turkey.

    But really, is Turkey going to go to war over this?

    No.

    There really is only one solution to the realpolitik agenda that Jim Henly points out, and that is if and when the United States were to shift to sanctioning and isolating Israel. (And Egypt, come to think of it, since Egypt is supporting this collective punishment blockade.)

    We are so far from that being the case, it’s completely unthinkable at this juncture.

  244. 244
    Jenn says:

    @scav:

    running after people insisting they try religion again one more time, just really really gets old after a while

    No arguments! I guess I just hadn’t interpreted his post that way. My personal favorite is people informing me in anguished tones about how I’m going to end up in hell for my unbelieving ways. On the one hand, I appreciate their concern about my eternal well-being; on the other, when expressed too often … it just gets a tad much!

  245. 245
    Yutsano says:

    @Tattoosydney: Umm, not to be a nag or anything, but I thought you weren’t going to touch the Israel as thugs threads. You make a really good point however.

  246. 246
    Michael says:

    @Anoniminous:

    The Israeli generals have to be pooping in their pants.

    The Turkish army is the second largest in NATO at about 4x the strength AND that army is NATO equipped, trained, and capable.

    Militarily the Israelis are completely outclassed except for their respective Air Forces which are fairly even-on.

    The real danger for Israel would be if NATO trained Turkish pilots in their 200+ F-16s provided air cover over Syrian airfields while the Syrians got their clunkier birds airborne (mostly a mixture of MIG 23s and MIG 29s, with some other motley Cold War stragglers). Once aloft, those planes would make a good account of themselves. Turks have 4 AWACS on 737 frames, along with a number of KC-135s, and could direct the traffic spreads with ease from behind a place of relative safety. The combination of Turkish and Syrian planes would be enough to completely swamp the IAF, eliminating Israel’s most major asset in winning ground wars.

    At that point, Israel would have to sue for peace and make huge concessions – a two state solution, forced expulsion of the settlers, return of the Golan and an inspection regime of nuclear facilities.

  247. 247
    Ecks says:

    @Anoniminous: What you say may be true. Maybe in a head to head Turkey does come out ahead. But:

    a) It has nothing to gain by invading Israel. Nothing.
    b) It would get plenty hurt in the process
    c) The rest of NATO would be pulling every lever they could to make this fight not happen.

    So yeah, Turkey might win a straight up fight, and I could probably take my neighbours doberman, but ain’t neither of us going to try it any time soon.

    EDIT: Yeah, ok, Turkey backing up someone else’s war with air power… that would work great until the USA sent ITS airforce over to help Israel over the hump. Yeah, still not gonna happen. And then Turkey would have some answering to do. When the superpower has your back you can get away with an awful lot of dickishness.

  248. 248
    josephdietrich says:

    With all due respect to the “as a Jew” folks, I am starting to think that Israel is actively trying to turn me into an anti-semite.

  249. 249
    Michael says:

    @Ecks:

    Yeah, ok, Turkey backing up someone else’s war with air power… that would work great until the USA sent ITS airforce over to help Israel over the hump. Yeah, still not gonna happen. And then Turkey would have some answering to do. When the superpower has your back you can get away with an awful lot of dickishness.

    President Palin might be reckless enough to completely shatter NATO like that for the worthlessness that is Israel, but I’m having a hard time seeing Obama doing it, particularly since there would be some difficulties with basing all that air support. You’d get no help in the region at all, and the Europeans hate Israel anyway.

  250. 250
    Anoniminous says:

    @Michael:

    As you say, if Turkey and Syria get together it’s Game Over.

    With the IAF neutralized the Israeli’s don’t have enough heavy artillery (105s, 155s) to support their ground troops.

    Hell, they don’t have enough ground pounders to support their ground troops.

    Meanwhile the Turks and Syrians could pound the shit out of the Golan heights with artillery and air/ground strikes and then send upwards of 20 armor and 15 mechanized brigades in support of 4 or 5 infantry divisions into the attack.

    The question isn’t the capability it’s a question, as always, of political will and political calculation.

  251. 251
    Ecks says:

    @Michael: The USA probably wouldn’t have to be beligerant about it though. Turkey is emeshed in NATO now, and the USA holds all the cards in NATO. Turkey picks a shooting fight with Israel, and they may or may not get kicked out of NATO, but if they don’t, every single decision possible is going to go against their interests, equipment is going to get way more expensive to buy, it’s going to get a whole lot harder to get into the EU, the aid and loans Turkey uses to finance itself and its military are going to dry up in a hurry… When you are the dominant partner in an emeshed relationship, you can make life very VERY unpleasant for the junior without having to do anything as unseemly as open violence.

    plus Obama might not be sending in US fighter jets, it would certainly do some saber rattling and provide a bunch of hidden military support.

  252. 252
    o kanis says:

    Israel has its very own concentration camp to guard, so what’s a pogrom here and there.

    Psychos and moral degenerates.

  253. 253
    Yishai Kohen says:

    It doesn’t matter what they were carrying. Gaza isn’t open to them via the sea. If they really wanted to get the goods to Gaza, they could have done it through proper channels as Israel had offered them.

    They wanted confrontation. They started the confrontation.

    And Israel finished the confrontation.

    That’s how it works.

  254. 254
    Michael says:

    The risk/reward factor is the biggie. I’m noting today on right wing sites a disdain for NATO and the relationship with Turkey, along with the mantra of how our “real” ally is Israel. Were these unlikely events to come to pass, it would force a reevaluation of what that relationship brings to our national table.

    Up to now, the circlewank tautology has taken hold – Israel is our most valuable ally in the region, because Israel gives us valuable information and help in our role of protecting Israel.

    The question nobody asks is what we, as a nation, get for our role in protecting Israel. It certainly destabilizes the region and raises the global price on our most valuable imported commodity (I figure that, all by itself, translates to about a buck a gallon for every consumer of petroleum distillates). It increases the threat of violence faced by Westerners and helps to keep retrograde governments in the area entrenched, impoverishing the local folks.

  255. 255
    Michael says:

    @Yishai Kohen:

    They wanted confrontation. They started the confrontation.

    And Israel finished the confrontation.

    That’s how it works.

    Israel makes enemies of everyone, and mamas and papas will wail when its government gets crushed by a combined onslaught.

    And when Americans respond with a shrug, nu, you’ll have receive no lamentations from the world for a government that didn’t deserve to survive. Apartheid is like that – it makes no friends.

  256. 256
    Laertes says:

    @Yishai Kohen:

    You know what? That bullshit about “proper channels” would have worked a couple days ago, back before y’all had drawn attention to the nasty details of your shitty little blockade. Now that everyone’s paying attention though, we’ve all sort of figured out that the blockade is 1/4 keeping weapons out of Gaza, and 3/4 punishing the population there just for fun.

  257. 257
    Laertes says:

    @Michael:

    Israel makes enemies of everyone, and mamas and papas will wail when its government gets crushed by a combined onslaught.
    And when Americans respond with a shrug, nu, you’ll have receive no lamentations from the world for a government that didn’t deserve to survive. Apartheid is like that – it makes no friends.

    Fat chance. We’ve all seen, time and again, what the “combined onslaught” of the Arab world can do against Israel’s army.

    And we’re a looooong way from the point at which Americans will respond with a shrug to an Israel in danger. That’s some mighty poweful wishful thinking there.

  258. 258
    Michael says:

    @Anoniminous:

    With the IAF neutralized the Israeli’s don’t have enough heavy artillery (105s, 155s) to support their ground troops.

    Hell, they don’t have enough ground pounders to support their ground troops.

    Something else just dawned on me – the sloppification factor. For decades, they’ve not been forced to do “the big action” against people capable of actually fighting back. I’m thinking that if forced to face serious counterblows, gun crews can wilt, if all they’re used to is doing offense against untrained, lightly armed civilians.

  259. 259
    Anoniminous says:

    @Ecks:

    I don’t know what Turkey is going to do. I know bugger all about Turkey, their internal politics, and their wishes, hopes, dreams, and fantasies.

    I do know countries aren’t rational actors, in the strict sense of that term.

    I do know standard US intelligence procedure is to look at capabilities, not intentions. Turkey is capable of taking the IDF to the cleaners if they determine they really, really want to and are willing to pay the price.

    Re: Your Edit

    The only forces the US has in theater are in Iraq. And, yes, they could counter with US aircraft based in that country. They’d have to overfly Jordan to reach the combat area and there’s nothing the Jordanians could do to stop them.

    And then what happens if Iran starts attacking the supply lines from Kuwait into Iraq?

    This whole thing gets out of control Real Quick.

  260. 260
    Ecks says:

    @Yishai Kohen: Is that the proper channel in which Israel removes all of the yams and concrete and building wood and livestock and heaven knows what else? That’s real generous of you.

    What you are experiencing here is called a lack of trust. Your country has now done enough publicly heinous things that when they say “oh sure you can give us the materials and we’ll pass them right along as soon as we’ve checked for explosives, tout de suite we will,” people don’t really believe it any more. We would have once, but not so much any more.

    It’s a lesson Bush never learned either – the value of other people being able to trust you.

    And yes, we all realize that the ships were probably going to get intercepted and searched – countries with functioning civilized governments do exactly this every day without shooting up the unarmed civilians on board. And don’t give me “ooooh, some of them had sticks”. Fully armed elite troops vs. guys with sticks is like a bodybuilder vs. a 90 pound 17 year old girl – it doesn’t making him extra-tough if he gives her a really good punching.

  261. 261
    Michael says:

    @Laertes:

    Ah, but that was the neighbors without Turkey from across the way. This time, it could be a NATO doctrine trained Turkey, flying planes that aren’t export junk cribbed together from Soviet scrapyards.

  262. 262
    Michael says:

    @Anoniminous:

    The only forces the US has in theater are in Iraq. And, yes, they could counter with US aircraft based in that country. They’d have to overfly Jordan to reach the combat area and there’s nothing the Jordanians could do to stop them.

    There’s also the little side issue of how the Iraqi populace would react to using Iraqi airfileds to support Israel. They’d take it out on such forces as we have there.

    Once again, as for our troops, Israel would be the gift that keeps on giving.

  263. 263
    Laertes says:

    Sure, Mike. Every now and then, the Arabs manage to convince themselves that they’re really going to kick Israel’s ass this time.

    And every time, they end up looking like a bunch of rodeo clowns. My money’s on the guys who are, what, 5 and 0?

  264. 264
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @Michael:

    Apartheid is what the ARABS DO.

    * When the Muslims ruled OUR land, Jews were forbidden from entering the tomb where OUR ancestors are buried in Hebron.

    * When Muslims ruled OUR land, Jews were forbidden from visiting OUR holies site, the Temple Mount.

    * In fact, when the Arabs occupied Judea, samaria,and Gaza in 1948, they ethnically cleansed ALL Jews, and now claim that Jews can’t live here: THAT is apartheid.

    * Everywhere in their lands, we find mosques built on the ruins of synagogues and churches:

    The Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque are built on top of Judaism’s holiest sites on the Temple Mount.

    The mosque in Hebron is built on top of the burial site of Judaism’s forefathers and mothers, the Tomb of the Patriarchs, in Hebron.

    Just like the Umayyad Mosque in Damascus is built over a Byzantine church and to this day contains a shrine said to contain the head of John the Baptist.

    Just like the Hagia Sophia church in Istanbul, which was made into a mosque and now a museum.

    Just like the Arap Camii Mosque in Istanbul, which was originally the Dominican Church of Saint Paul.

    Just like the Fethiye Mosque, Mosque of the Conquest, which was originally the Church of the Blessed Virgin, and was the seat of the Greek Orthodox Patriarchate from 1455 to 1591 (after the church at St. Sophia had been converted into a mosque).

    Just like the Imrahor Mosque, originally a church built in 1264, which was turned into a mosque in 1500.

    Just like the Mosque of Roses, which was originally the Church of St. Theodosia.

    We won’t allow that apartheid fanaticism here in OUR land.

  265. 265
    JC says:

    Yishai,

    Not allowing over a million people, access to SEEDS, and FISHING EQUIPMENT, is a moral evil. Period.

  266. 266
    Laertes says:

    Michael? Yishai?

    You two deserve each other. Im’a go fix me a bacon sandwich. Ciao.

  267. 267
    Mark S. says:

    @Michael:

    The risk/reward factor is the biggie. I’m noting today on right wing sites a disdain for NATO and the relationship with Turkey, along with the mantra of how our “real” ally is Israel.

    Fuck yeah I called that!

    I bet the next neocon meme will be that we must get out of NATO: What have those Europussies ever done for us?

    What scares me is that I used to think this way. Then I hit puberty.

  268. 268
    Ecks says:

    @Anoniminous: Well by your math then (i.e., capabilities, not intentions), Canada should live in terror of its ever-loving life, because the USA has the capability of messing it up six ways to Sunday.

    Intentions matter more than a lot. Having something to gain isn’t incidental, it’s crucial. For decades the only thing that kept the Russians and USA from incinerating the world was that neither of them would have gained by it – it sure wasn’t a lack of capability.

    There’s a kind of luxury when you are strong enough that nobody else could possibly hurt you, because you can start to ignore other people’s intentions… But most of the world isn’t like that most of the time, and everyone else seems to get by find for the most part.

  269. 269
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @Laertes:

    You really should read a little bit. Not only is this what Israel said all along, but:

    After IDF raid, aid makes its way to Gaza

    Never let the truth get in the way of your ideology.

  270. 270
    Michael says:

    @Yishai Kohen:

    When the Muslims ruled OUR land, Jews were forbidden from entering the tomb where OUR ancestors are buried in Hebron.

    When Muslims ruled OUR land, Jews were forbidden from visiting OUR holies site, the Temple Mount.

    You act as if I give a fuck about your semiliterate bronze age racist mythmaking goatherd cult.

    I don’t.

    That filthy racist scroll that you roll out on Saturdays isn’t a deed to land. It is merely a collection of passed down oral myths about a tribe’s unjust claims to be “chosen” by a petulant sky monster who really needed to be in a straightjacket.

  271. 271
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @JC:

    They can have what they need via proper channels- not via pirates smuggling things to them with no oversight.

    PS Enjoy this:

    Probe reveals flotilla lynchers have ties to Global Jihad

  272. 272
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @Michael:

    You don’t care that the Arabs practice apartheid, but since I live here, I do. And since I live here, I won’t allow it here in MY land.

    Better get used to it.

  273. 273
    JC says:

    Yishai,

    If that ‘aid’ doesn’t allow seeds and fishing equipment, then again, you’ve missed the point of this post.

    So provide links that dispute John Cole’s original point.

    Why are the items that are on the ‘do not allow’ there? Why are those items all items that would allow the people in Gaza to have some form of farming, subsistence without dependence, not allowed?

  274. 274
    Tattoosydney says:

    Competing stories from the Sydney Morning Herald, posted without comment, in the interest of perhaps adding to what is passing for debate on this thread:

    A cynical and politically motivated media stunt – Yuval Rotem is the Israeli ambassador to Australia.

    A deadly act of state-sponsored terrorism – Moammar Mashni is the co-founder of Australians for Palestine.

  275. 275
    Mark S. says:

    @Yishai Kohen:

    I guess it all worked according to plan. Except for the dead people. And the four billion people you pissed off.

  276. 276
    JC says:

    Not answering the question, changin the topic, means that you agree with this evil.

    And it is evil.

  277. 277
    Anoniminous says:

    @Michael:

    Hezbullah did a pretty good job of stopping the IDF during the last mix-up using entrenched light infantry backed by portable ATGM teams considering they were only light infantry backed by portable ATGM teams :-) and they were, at best, trained to a B-Class reservist standard. (According to a War College analysis I read some time ago the Hezbullah ATGM kill rate was atrocious even when they got the IDF in their kill sacks.)

    Given the IDF failed in accomplishing their mission: getting those two soldiers back and vanquishing Hezbullah, one does have to question their effectiveness when confronted by trained soldiers.

  278. 278
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @JC:

    Cole quoted David Frum. So what?

  279. 279
    Ecks says:

    @Laertes: I assume you’re not counting the Lebanon cock-up in that 5-0 count. Israel lost a LOT of prestige, and a lot of its aura of invincibility after that. Urban asymmetric combat is just a bitch.

    @Yishai Kohen: Shorter: “well they staaaarted it! They totally did bad stuff too!!! Stop making me hit you!”.

    Nobody ever said they were saints. Just human. And should be treated as such. Civilization is a bitch is it not?

    EDIT: It’s late and I’m tired. Apparently everything is a bitch now :/

  280. 280
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @Mark S.:

    The dead people brought it on themselves. Nobody forced them to violently attack the soldiers with knives and rods, snatch weapons, etc.

    People on other boats didn’t dothat and consequently didn’t die.

    Cause—-> effect.

  281. 281
    Tattoosydney says:

    @Yutsano:

    I thought you weren’t going to touch the Israel as thugs threads

    Sometimes the stupid in the thread burns too much to resist.

  282. 282
    JC says:

    Yishai,

    Changing the point again. I am talking about the list of banned items, that does not get through as aid. Many of these items cannot be defended as banned, except as seen through the lens of collective punishment, and keeping these million plus Gazans dependent, weak, without dignity, and powerless, in any way shape or form, over their own ability to even take care of themselves.

  283. 283
    Ecks says:

    @Yishai Kohen: Yeah, at least some of it got there when everyone was looking and Israel was feeling the heat.

    You realize that you sound like a miffed 5 year old in this thread, right?

  284. 284
    Michael says:

    @Yishai Kohen:

    You don’t care that the Arabs practice apartheid, but since I live here, I do. And since I live here, I won’t allow it here in MY land.

    Better get used to it.

    Just like the PW Botha and the rest of the pigs you supported in South Africa, oppression is just fine when you’re benefitting from it, I see.

  285. 285
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @JC:

    Cole didn’t give a list of banned items and why they are banned. He just quoted Frum.

  286. 286
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @Ecks:

    Goods get through when they go through propr channels. They don’t when they don’t (withthe exception of the illegal smuggling tunnels).

    We won’t allow pirates to smuggle things illegally. That’s the way sovereign countries work.

  287. 287
    Tattoosydney says:

    @Yishai Kohen:

    Wow – I just looked at the sinkhole you call your website.

    I love how your “Right Road to Peace” apparently involves:

    * Israel declaring sovereignty over all the disputed lands;
    * Making all Palestinians into Jordanians against their will so
    that Israel doesn’t have to deal with them; and
    * shipping all Palestinian refugees to other countries so that
    Israel doesn’t have to deal with them.

    You, sir, are a cockhead of the highest order.

  288. 288
    JC says:

    Yishai,

    The graphic above – look at the graphic linked from Andrew Sullivan.

    And again – Egypt supports this ban – so as far as I’m concerned, Egypt is a junior conspirator in this collective punishment.

    This is simply a moral wrong. Seeds are not allowed. Fishing equipment is not allowed!

    You KNOW that is wrong, if correct. Keeping over a million people from planting seeds??

    You know it. I know you know it.

  289. 289
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @Michael:

    We already did this.

    If you want to talk about apartheid, then I’m game:

    * “Infidels” can’t even VISIT Mecca or Medina:

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/5.....514937245/

    And this is what the apartheid Muslims did here in Israel before we liberated the land.

    We won’t allow that.

  290. 290
    Ecks says:

    @Yishai Kohen: Well apparently they weren’t very good terrorists if they showed up to a known gunfight with nothing but sticks. That is beyond pathetic weak-sauce excuse making.

    Go to a British soccer game when the lads feel like rioting and you will find unarmed civilians itching for a fight with the police… You’ll notice that the British police manage to handle this every single season without shooting a single one of them. Is this because the British police have magical powers that the Israeli’s don’t? Is there some special part of the Israeli constitution that make them incapable of dealing with any form of violence without shooting people? Tell me is there? Or is this a botched and fucked up abuse of power. Pick one, those are your choices.

  291. 291
    Mark S. says:

    @Yishai Kohen:

    Click the fucking picture in the post and then explain why fishing poles are banned.

  292. 292
  293. 293
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @Tattoosydney:

    The Philistines were made Jordanian citizens by King Hussein decades ago.

    Those who want to remain here in OUR land can- if they choose peace.

    Just because they ethnically cleansed ALL Jews from the areas theyoccupied in 1948 doesn’t give them the “right” to keep the land Judenrein.

    Their apartheid has no place here.

  294. 294
    Tattoosydney says:

    @Yishai Kohen:

    I repeat – you are a cockhead of the highest order.

  295. 295
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @JC:

    Try taking the list from it’s original source and we can discuss.

    As is, it’s just an assertion.

  296. 296
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @Ecks:

    Lots of terrorists fail. We stop them daily.

    That doesn’t make them innocent.

    These terrorists used knives and sticks, and paid for their violence.

  297. 297
    Dave says:

    I’m guessing Dave got a wee bit embarrassed when someone noticed him mixing up his multiple identities on the other thread – he briefly lost track of whether he was supposed to be an right-wing Israeli or a liberal Brit.

    As John Cole can confirm, I’ve only ever posted here under one identity – this one. And he can also confirm from my IP details the veracity of my statements as to where I live.

    Of course, that you would assume that someone who supports Israel is an Israeli is symptomic of your own bigotry.

  298. 298
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @Tattoosydney:

    Repeating childishness doesn’t make it less childish.

  299. 299
    JC says:

    Yishai,

    So, if I verify that SEEDS and FISHING EQUIPMENT are not allowed in, you will agree with me that this is collective punishment, and needs to be stopped?

  300. 300
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @JC:

    You need to verify that they are really banned. Show us the original orders. That will let you know what really is and why.

  301. 301
    Tattoosydney says:

    @Yishai Kohen:

    Repeating childishness doesn’t make it less childish.

    Thus summing up five thousand years of Middle East history in one handy sentence.

    Your website is a privy of racial hatred and evil self entitlement, made even more horrible by the false veneer of humanitarian concern you have slathered over it like a film of oil over a lake of excrement. You are a vile, nasty person, and if calling you a cockhead, an arsehole and a nasty, vicious monster is childish, then so be it.

  302. 302
    Anoniminous says:

    @Ecks:

    Intentions do matter but it is rare that one can get high certainty to rely purely on intentions. Thus, General Staff Planning Officers plan for unlikely events.

    And Intentions change when you’re attacked or even when you think your attacked

    How much? I don’t know. I don’t know enough about Turkey to even begin to guess at their intentions or what they could gain or, even more fuzzy, what they think they could gain. Heck, as of my writing this THEY may not know either of those things either.

  303. 303
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @Tattoosydney:

    My web site is reality.

    The simple fact is that the Philistines could have had a state in peace, but chose war on MANY occasions- INSTEAD:

    The Philistines would have had a state IN PEACE in 1937 with the Peel Plan, but they violently rejected it.

    They would have had a state IN PEACE in 1939 with the MacDonald White Paper, but they violently rejected it (and Jews would have even been restricted from BUYING land from Arabs).

    They would have had a state IN PEACE in 1948 with UN 181, but they violently rejected it (and actually claimed that the UN had no such mandate!).

    They could have had a state IN PEACE in Judea, Samaria, and Gaza from 1948-1967 without any Jews- because the Arabs had ethnically cleansed every last one; but they violently rejected it. In fact, that’s exactly when they established Fatah (1959) and the PLO (1964).

    They could have had a state IN PEACE after 1967, but instead, the entire Arab world issued the Khartoum Resolutions:

    A. No peace with Israel
    B. No recognition of Israel
    C. No negotiations with Israel

    They would have had a state IN PEACE in 2000 with the Oslo Accords, but they violently rejected it- as always.

    The simple fact is that the Arabs are racists who aren’t willing to live with ANY Israel within ANY borders.

    So they suffer.

  304. 304
    JC says:

    Yishai,

    Any link that I’ll provide, of course, you’ll dismiss the veracity. I know how this game is played.

    Also, you need to show that this ISN’T the case.

    At any rate, here is what I found in 3 minutes of googling:

    “”We are facing the same problem [this year] with the Israeli authorities allowing the raw materials we need into Gaza. For over one month now, we have been waiting for seeds and other items [needed for cultivation], and we have received no response from the Israeli authorities when we inquire about their entry,” said Ahmed Sourani, the project co-ordinator”.

    Import of flowers and strawberry seeds, are very dangerous.

    As is the DISALLOWING of the export of the strawberries cultivated.

    Imagine you are a farmer, trying to create a life for your family. You know this is wrong.

  305. 305
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @JC:

    And here is what I found: Israel has never published a list of banned items.

    It’s all hearsay.

    Groups like Oxfam get their “info” from where?

  306. 306
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @JC:

    This list from the BBC is compild similarly- hearsay:

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/shared.....0_gaza.pdf

    And there is still a lot that is allowed.

    Note that it includes frozen meat and fish, among other things.

  307. 307
    JC says:

    Yishai,

    Isn’t that convenient then, that Israel publishes no list, while controlling what comes in and out?

    Oxfam is talking to actual farmers.

    This has gone on long enough. I’ve definitely proved my point here. You support evil, and turn a blind eye to this collective punishment, until and unless more information comes to light.

    Turn away from such evil.

  308. 308
    Mark S. says:

    @Yishai Kohen:

    The Philistines? What the fuck are you talking about? Can you at least make peace with the Moabites and the Ammonites first?

    And I like how you refer on your site to ethnically cleansing the West Bank as the “rehabilitation of the refugees.”

  309. 309
    Ecks says:

    So Yishai, you say that everything is allowed in if it isn’t a threat. Here’s a BBC report:

    The UN relief agency for Palestinian refugees Unrwa’s list of household items that have been refused entry at various times includes light bulbs, candles, matches, books, musical instruments, crayons, clothing, shoes, mattresses, sheets, blankets, pasta, tea, coffee, chocolate, nuts, shampoo and conditioner.
     
    Many other items – ranging from cars to fridges to computers – are generally refused entry.
     
    Building materials such as cement, concrete and wood were nearly always refused entry until early 2010, when some glass, wood, cement and aluminium were allowed in.
     
    During the six month truce between Israel and Hamas, which began in June 2008, and in early 2010, the volume and range of goods increased with trucks of shoes and clothes entering Gaza.

    the UN’s Food and Agriculture Organisation says 61% of Gazans are “food insecure”.
     
    According to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees, Unrwa, 80% of Gazan households rely on some kind of food aid.
     
    Unrwa provides food aid for 750,000 people, half the population.
     
    Its food distribution has been suspended several times since June 2007 as a result of border closures or fuel shortages.

    A UN survey in 2008 found more than half Gaza’s households had sold their disposable assets and were relying on credit to buy food, three-quarters of Gazans were buying less food than in the past, and almost all were eating less fresh fruit, vegetables and animal protein to save money.
     
    The Israeli military operation in December and January 2009 disrupted food aid transfer and distribution significantly, as well as causing what the UN FAO estimates at $180m of damage to the agricultural sector.
     
    According to the World Health Organization, one third of children under five and women of childbearing age are anaemic.

    The closures have devastated the private sector. Before 2007, up to about 750 trucks of furniture, food products, textiles and agricultural produce left Gaza each month, worth half a million US dollars a day.
     
    Under the blockade, the only exports allowed have been a small number of trucks of strawberries and flowers – although the situation improved slightly in early 2010, with 118 trucks leaving between December 2009 to April 2010.
     
    Even production for local needs has come to a virtual standstill because raw materials are usually refused entry
     
    According to Israeli rights organisation Gisha, small containers of margarine are allowed in for household consumption, but not large buckets, which might be used for industrial food manufacturing.

    The UN’s FAO says $180m of trees, fields, livestock, greenhouses and nurseries were destroyed during operation Cast Lead. The Palestinian Authority estimates 15% of agricultural land was destroyed.
     
    The FAO says the closed borders are a major obstacle to reconstruction, with fertilizer, livestock, seedlings and agricultural equipment in short supply.
     
    Israel says that in 2010 it has allowed potato seeds, eggs for reproduction, bees and fertiliser that could not be used to manufacture explosives into the Strip.

    Israel generally allows medicines into Gaza. The WHO says that shortages of drugs are a problem, with 15-30% of essential drugs out of stock over 2009. But it blames problems in the supply chain, including the rift between Fatah and Hamas.
     
    However it says the blockade is a major factor in the “dire state” of much of Gaza’s medical equipment, with delays in approval of machines and spare parts, and engineers denied access to fit them.
     
    The medical system has also struggled with lack of spare parts and, at times, fuel for back-up generators, and lack of building work because of the shortage of materials.

    On the upside, apparently in the first half of 2009 permission was granted to import wheat, figs and cooking oil.

    Yeah Yishai, sounds like a real fucking humanitarian operation to me. You couldn’t let the people in Gaza export anything, because… farmers markets that receive figs are a threat to Israel’s existence or something. This is collective punishment pure and simple Mr. moral high roller.

  310. 310
    TuiMel says:

    @ajr22:
    You will find no comfort in this, but I never had faith in the state of Israel. So, I have not lost that which I did not have. Speaking of faith, though, I do not believe Netanyahu is a good faith actor vis a vis reaching an agreement that results in any sort of viable Palestinian state. Israeli actions to expand and subsidize Jewish settlements in the west bank alienate me. The equation of criticism of Israeli policy or political leadership with anti-semitism will not change the course of my growing disapproval of US unconditional support for Israel. This raid on what they ridiculously refered to as a “hate armada” is simply adding indefensible insult to injury. I think Israel needs to take a long, hard look at what it flirts with becoming.

  311. 311
    JC says:

    Actually Yishai, that list proves my point. Nothing that isn’t dependency based.

  312. 312
    Yishai Kohen says:

    @JC:

    Your groups “interview” those who have an interest in making trouble- and who have been caught lying many times. Here are just a few examples:

    http://www.ynetnews.com/articl.....34,00.html

    http://www.israelnationalnews......e.aspx/416

    http://archives.tcm.ie/breakin.....y13494.asp

    I like this one:

    Video: Hamas MP Says ‘Jews Are Creating Artificial Earthquakes (Dec 14, 2007)

    Collective punishment is the jihadists in Gaza deliberately shooting thousands of missiles at Israeli civilians.

  313. 313
    MBSS says:

    good job on this topic, cole.

  314. 314
    Ecks says:

    @Yishai Kohen: This is a new one.

    “Terrorist. (noun): Any person the IDF shoots.”

    It must be awfully convenient living in your head.

    Over here in the real world, a terrorist is someone who attacks civilians. Please point me to at the civilians who were attacked in this confrontation. Free hint: the ones in body armor carrying military guns wearing military uniforms who rappelled out of a military helicopter… yeah, they aren’t civilians.

  315. 315
    Yishai Kohen says:

    How interesting that now my posts are being blocked- or someone here is trying.

    Trying to curtail freedom to express opposing views is always the hallmark of the extremists- left and right.

    Thank you for proving my point.

  316. 316

    @Yishai Kohen:

    You don’t care that the Arabs practice apartheid, but since I live here, I do. And since I live here, I won’t allow it here in MY land.

    Yeah, and Israel practices apartheid too, if you’re not Jewish you’re a second class citizen. Oh, and speaking of apartheid Israel was in the sack with South Africa in the 1970s and 1980s, but hey, fascist regimes are A-OK with Israel as long as they’re not oppressing Jews. And Gaza makes the South African townships look positively paradisiacal in comparison.

  317. 317
    Ecks says:

    @Yishai Kohen:

    And here is what I found: Israel has never published a list of banned items.

    You know, this is absolutely wonderful news. I’d previously been hearing all sorts of hearsay from news groups like the BBC and “eyewitnesses” that there had been massacres in Sudan, along with mass rapes, etc. However the government of Sudan has never released a list of people who are massacred and killed, therefore none of it ever happened! Such joy, such bliss!

    Don’t you think it’s time we let all those poor Serbians out of jail though for “massacring” Bosnians? The government of Serbia never released a list of people killed there either, so it’s clearly all hearsay and so can’t have happened.

    I must say you’ve taken a big load off my mind.

  318. 318
    Mark S. says:

    @Ecks:

    That is good news. I don’t know why I’ve been letting myself get depressed over these things.

  319. 319
    dave says:

    And as for the blockade…..Hamas declared eternal war against Israel, and continues to attack Israel.

    And it hijacks the aid that Israel sends to Gaza, skims off vast chunks for its own goons and *sells* the rest to the inhabitants.

    If the blockade were to drop tomorrow, they’d be 50 Karin-As heading for Gaza.

    But of course, you guys would want that, wouldn’t you. It would be more dead Jews for you to gloat over.

  320. 320
    dave says:

    Yeah, and Israel practices apartheid too, if you’re not Jewish you’re a second class citizen.

    Try being Turkish in Germany. Or anything in Russia. Or Jewish in any Arab country in the Middle East. Or Native American or Black or Hispanic in the United States.

    But its *always* Israel with you guys.

    I wonder why?

  321. 321
    Ecks says:

    @dave:

    But of course, you guys would want that, wouldn’t you. It would be more dead Jews for you to gloat over

    Oh REAAAALLLY. Please point to one single thing that any of us have said that would make even a relatively UNreasonable person think we want jews killed? Just one will do. One single solitary thing.

    It’s ok, I’ll wait while you retrieve it.
    [crickets].
    But… we were criticizing the Israeli government, that MUST mean we want to kill Jews. I mean, you never see us criticize the American government here, right, because heaven knows if we did that it would mean we wanted to kill Americans.

    I think you owe us an apology. It’s ok, I’ll wait for that too.

    And in the mean time, here’s a deal on the embargo: Why don’t you keep it to only searching for explosives and guns and rockets, and start letting the food and the electricity and the fridges in, and start letting them export the furniture they make for sale, and then they get a shot at a standard of living, AND you still don’t get shot at. Doesn’t that sound wonderful?

    p.s., Really am waiting for your apology here.

  322. 322
    Ecks says:

    @dave: No, we’re pretty down on racism against Blacks and Indians in the states too.

    And really, your best defense is “well at least we’re not as bad as…” I mean, this is how you really knew the Bush guys were starting to hit moral rock bottom, when they started saying “well sure we’re torturing people, but we’re still not as bad as…”

    Pathetic.

  323. 323
    Andy says:

    Ginger is banned so that those evil Muslims cannot engage in a bit of figging!
    The nice Israelis are protecting the people of Gaza from sexual deviancy. :-)

  324. 324
    Ecks says:

    @Andy: Ahh. I thought they were just trying to save them from Asian takeout. If the terrorists get sushi they win!

    Hm, seems the “When-you-eat-spring-rolls-it-means-you-want-to-kill-Jews!” crowd have disappeared in a hurry. Maybe they’re just not used to people calling them on their lousy sleights of hand bullshit tactics for defending the indefensible…

    Or… wait, if I gave cognitive dissonance to some Jewish people, does that mean *I’m* a terrorist too? Or would that only be if the IDF shot me for it.
    (Leon Festinger would be turning over in his grave if it did).

  325. 325
    Anne Laurie says:

    @Yishai Kohen: No, WordPress blocks any comment with more than two links. You are free to post as many comments as you care to, but limit your linkage per comment.

  326. 326
    debbie says:

    Charlie Rose had a roundtable on last night which included, among others, reporters from NYT and Haaratz, a member of the International Crisis Group, and an Israeli minister. It was really pretty instructive watching the minister understate some things (“No one mentions that there were no problems at 5 ships”) and exaggerate others (“Cement as weapon!”; “They threw a soldier overboard!”).

    The best part of the conversation was that the reporters did not let the minister get away with typical Israeli B.S.: When the minister pointed out that weapons had been found on the ship, one of the NYT reporters engaged in a back-and-forth as to the specific weapons found. The minister was forced to “downgrade” his characterization of the weapons bit by bit, going from “weapons” to “firearms” and finally to “some pistols and some bullets.”

    It was worth watching.

  327. 327
    soonergrunt says:

    @scav:
    In the early 1990s, when Yugoslavian civil war was going on, and the NATO countries kept going on about how somebody had to do something and then pointedly looking at the US to solve their problem for them…
    I was in an art gallery in a small town outside of Munich with my wife when I was confronted by a local person who started on this tirade about American imperialism (another rant of mine–if you know what imperialism is you know that the US doesn’t actually practice it these days) and how we were going to drag NATO into a war in the balkans. Leaving aside the astoundingly blatantly self serving interpretation of current events, I was struck by the irony that this was taking place in Dachau.

  328. 328
    Michael says:

    @Anne Laurie:

    No, WordPress blocks any comment with more than two links. You are free to post as many comments as you care to, but limit your linkage per comment.

    No, no – don’t listen to her, Yoshi. It is an anti-semitic plot, just like Hitler.

  329. 329
    Dave says:

    Nice chaps you’re defending:

    Arab Media Reports on Flotilla Participants: Writing Wills, Preparing for Martyrdom, Determined to Reach Gaza or Die:

    Egypt
    In Friday sermons, Muslim Brotherhood General Guide Muhammad Badi’ expressed support for Hamas, frequently reiterating harsh statements in favor of jihad and of the armed struggle in Palestine, Iraq, and Afghanistan.
    The Egyptian flotilla delegation included two members of the Muslim Brotherhood bloc in the Egyptian parliament: Muhammad Al-Baltaji and Hazem Farouq.

    Al-Baltaji, who is deputy secretary-general of the Muslim Brotherhood parliamentary bloc in Egypt, said at a March 2010 conference, “A nation that excels at dying will be blessed by Allah with a life of dignity and with eternal paradise.” He also said that his movement “will never recognize Israel and will never abandon the resistance,” and that “resistance is the only road map that can save Jerusalem, restore the Arab honor, and prevent Palestine from becoming a second Andalusia.[1]

    Lebanon
    The Lebanese flotilla delegation, with six members, was headed by attorney Dr. Hani Suleiman, who also participated in a February 2009 Gaza flotilla. He was pro-bono attorney to Japanese terrorist Kozo Okamoto.[2] In 2006, he signed a communiqué supporting armed resistance in Palestine, Lebanon, and Iraq.[3]

    Three other members of the Lebanese delegation are Al-Jazeera TV correspondents.[4] One, ‘Abbas Nasser, worked for Hizbullah’s Al-Manar TV from 1997 through 2003; he has said that he enjoyed working there because he felt like part of a family, and because the channel “embraced his religious and political orientation.” In 2003, he also worked for Iran’s Al-’Alam TV.[5]

    Another delegation member, Hussein Shaker, is known as “Abu Al-Shuhada” (“Father of the Martyrs”). He has reportedly expressed a desire to meet “his martyrs” (i.e. relatives killed during the 2006 Lebanon war), and has called his participation in the flotilla revenge for their deaths.[6]

    Jordan
    The Jordanian flotilla delegation included Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan activists such as delegation head Wael Al-Saka, a veteran Muslim Brotherhood member,[7] and Salam Al-Falahat, who was general guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan from 2006 to 2008.[8] In an interview last year, Al-Falahat said: “We in the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan see Palestine as part of the Islamic and Arab land that must not be relinquished – on the contrary, defending it is a national and jurisprudential obligation… We see Hamas movement in Palestine as standing at the head of the project of the Arab and Islamic liberation for which the Muslim Brotherhood calls… The Muslim Brotherhood supports Hamas and every Arab resistance movement in the region that works for liberation.”[9]

    Also in the delegation was Jordanian publicist and journalist Muhammad Abu Ghanima, a former head of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan’s information bureau and a member of the movement’s political bureau. Abu Ghanima writes frequent articles praising Hamas and condemning the Palestinian Authority. In one, he vehemently attacked Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak, calling on the Muslim Brotherhood in Egypt to topple his regime even at the cost of thousands of martyrs.[10]

    Journalist Saud Salam Abu Mahfouz, member of the Muslim Brotherhood in Jordan’s political party, the Islamic Action Front, is also director-general of the Jordanian Al-Sabil newspaper, which is identified with the Muslim Brotherhood. His son, Jordanian correspondent for Hamas’ Al-Aqsa TV, was arrested in Egypt in 2008.[11]

    Syria
    The only Syrian citizen of the flotilla’s 700 participants was Shadha Barakat. She was sent as a representative of the Civil Association for Resisting Zionism and Aid for Palestine, which supports armed resistance in Palestine and in Iraq. Her husband Ayman said that she had written a play on assassinated Hamas founder and leader Sheikh Ahmad Yassin, and had told him that when she reaches Gaza she “plans to visit [Yassin’s] home and inhale the scent of the place where he lived.”[12]

    Yemen
    Prominent activists in the Yemeni flotilla delegation were three MPs from the Al-Islah party, an Islamist party that is close to the Muslim Brotherhood. One, Sheikh Muhammad Al-Hazmi, was photographed on the deck of the Mavi Marmara brandishing his large curved dagger.[13]

    Another Yemeni MP in the flotilla, Hazza’ Al-Maswari, also from the Al-Islah party, previously expressed vehement anti-American sentiment. In 2004, he objected to a Yemeni program for dialogue with prisoners from Al-Qaeda aimed at tempering their views, declaring recently at Friday prayers: “We cannot tell militants ‘don’t terrorize Americans’ or ‘don’t attack their interests.’ Those who plant hatred will harvest hatred.”[14]

    Kuwait
    Among the prominent flotilla activists from Kuwait were Salafist MP Walid Al-Tabtabai, who is known to support armed resistance in Palestine and in Iraq. He said: “We think that the armed resistance in Iraq is legitimate resistance. Every resistance directed against anyone who occupies it is legitimate…”[16] Al-Tabtabai also expressed explicit support for Hamas and objected to the regime of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud ‘Abbas.[17]

    Another prominent Kuwaiti activist in the flotilla was Dr. Osama Al-Kandari, a Hadith lecturer at the College of Basic Education. In February 2009, he signed a communiqué expressing support for Hamas and for jihad in Palestine against the “Jewish enemies.”[18]

    Bahrain
    Sheikh Jalal Al-Sharqi, head of the Association of Islamic Scholars in the GCC Countries, was also on board. Previously, Al-Sharqi signed a clerics’ petition calling to acknowledge Hamas’s legitimacy, as recognized by shari’a, and not to prevent it from obtaining weapons. The petition justified the stance of the “fighters in Gaza” who cling to jihad “against the Jews” and to martyrdom.[19]

    Israeli Arabs
    The Monitoring Committee of the Israeli Arabs sent four of its members to the flotilla, including Sheikh Raed Salah, head of the northern branch of the Islamic Movement in Israel. He made statements in support of Hamas and against the legitimacy of the Palestinian Authority. Previously, Salah said at the Conference of the Palestinians in Europe: “We are very joyful over the Freedom Flotilla… that in another few days will break the siege on free Gaza, noble Gaza, heroic Gaza. At the same time, we emphasize to all the world that the Freedom Flotilla heralds another flotilla to come – do you know what that is? It is the flotilla returning the Palestinian refugees to our country, to our plains, to our sea and our land, to our fields and our groves.”[20]

    Another passenger on the Mavi Marmara was Bishop Hilarion Capucci, who in the 1970s was convicted and imprisoned in Israel for smuggling weapons from Lebanon to the PLO, but afterwards was freed at the request of the Vatican. According to Algerian flotilla participants, Hilarion said that he was “waiting for the day when he could return to Palestine and hear the church bells and the muezzins’ calls of ‘Allah Akbar,’ under the skies of a free Palestine.”[21]

    Anticipating Conflict, Willing to Die
    In their statements, flotilla participants raised the possibility that Israel would use force to prevent the ship from reaching the Gaza coast, and declared that this would not stop them. Many noted that they would break the siege even if it cost them their lives.

    Muhammad Al-Baltaji, of the Muslim Brotherhood faction in the Egyptian parliament, said: “The flotilla participants have two aims: to reach Gaza and break the siege, and to denounce Israel if it prevents the flotilla from entering Gaza, even at the cost of martyrdom or imprisonment.”[22]

    Algerian delegation head Dr. Abd Al Razzaq Maqri, who is the deputy head of the Algerian group Movement of Society for Peace, Algeria’s major Islamist party, said, “The Algerians on board will hear only the orders of their leaders, who seek to break the siege. [The options are] martyrdom, imprisonment, or breaking [the siege].”[23]

    Algerian delegation coordinator Ahmad Brahimi said about his delegation: “Algeria has been known for its support of the Palestinian cause since the days of Salah Al-Din Al-Ayyubi. Our fathers gave their blood and lives to defend Palestine… and we are the sons of those fathers.” He added that the delegation’s only purpose was to reach Gaza, and that Israel could not prevent it from doing so.[25]

    Another participant, Attorney Fathi Nassar of Jordan, said: “The Freedom Flotilla members are filled with determination to reach Gaza or die.”[26]
    Rami Abdou, representative of the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza, said that most of the participants were willing to lay down their lives to reach Gaza. He stressed that they would not allow the occupation forces to tow the ship to Ashdod.[27]

    Shadha Barakat’s husband Ayman said that his wife was likely to be harmed during the venture, adding that “she will make no truce with Zionism” and that “since she was a child, she has dreamed of attacking an Israeli.”[28]

    Participants Write Their Wills
    At a press conference in Antalya, Turkey, the flotilla organizers asked all the participants to “write their wills.”[29] Following the press conference, Kuwaiti Salafist MP Walid Al-Tabtabai reportedly “did not hesitate to write his will, in defiance of the Israeli threats.”[30]

    Kuwaiti MP Walid Al-Tabtabai wrote his will before boarding the Mavi Marmara

    The father of Kuwaiti activist Abd Al-Rahman Al-Filkawi told the Kuwaiti Al-Watan daily that his son had told him that the flotilla participants’ morale was high, and that they “would sacrifice themselves for the sake of Allah. He added that his son had “told them before embarking that he would be a martyr for the sake of Allah.”[31]

    Likewise, on the various Internet forums, it was reported that the mother of one of the Turkish participants had said that her son had bade her farewell and told her that he was going to lay down his life.[32]

  330. 330
    geg6 says:

    @Josh:

    I realize this is a dead thread, but I just have to reply to this.

    I think you completely missed the point. I actually think I pity you as well. That doesn’t happen with me very often. Why so much…animosity?

    No, I didn’t miss the point at all and your pity is the last thing I need. People who are happy with their choices don’t need anyone’s pity. As for animosity, I really think if you need to be told why religions and their adherents draw animosity from people like me, you haven’t been paying attention.

    I suggest you pick up a copy of the Oxford Annotated Bible and read it as if it is a collection of folktales or a collection of literary texts.

    LOL! You think I haven’t? When I explained I’d explored religion for at least 20 years? I’ve read multiple translations of the Bible, in addition to the Qur’an, the Five Classics of Confucianism, the Baghavad Gita, the Satanic Bible, Dianetics, and various writings from most of the major world religions. Big deal. None of them say anything all that original or that I couldn’t figure out without them. A lot of nice stories and some good life lessons, but I didn’t need those books to figure out those lessons.

    It’s not about fairy tales and magic. It never was. For some people, that may be an excuse.

    It’s always about the fairy tales and magic. The fairy tales and magic are all about fear, control, and creating an “other,” which is what religion is all about. At least, that is what my conclusion is and I’m perfectly content about my conclusion.

    I have no animosity to the people who choose to follow the fairy tales. And the contempt I feel when attending the ceremonies isn’t toward those who have been acculturated to value the ceremonies. My contempt is completely reserved for those who use the religion and the sincere, if mistaken, followers to control and gain power. Which is, in the end, the goal of every religion I’ve ever studied. Even the most benign of them are about control and power for a very few. Fuck that. I have no need for it and neither does anyone else. Some choose that and that’s their choice. But they don’t really need it and to condescend to pity someone who declares her freedom from that is just ridiculous. And if religions would stay in their place (private and out of the public arena), I’d never criticize them or even pay attention to them. Since they won’t, I will continue to publicly criticize all of them, equally.

  331. 331
    Michael says:

    Hands can kill. “Its just like Hitler!”

    Jonathan Peled: Weapons are weapons. Knives can kill, iron bars can kill, even hands can kill. We’ve seen in America the damage that simple boxcutters can cause. The issue was not the people onboard, but the need to ensure that no weapons or terrorists enter the Gaza Strip, reaching the hands of Hamas. This scenario would, in fact, pose a national security risk to Israel, and this is the reason for the blockade. Had they adhered to our offer to peacefully hand over their ships’ content, the confrontation would have been prevented. As a matter of fact, currently we are transferring the screened humanitarian aid directly to Gaza.

    I like how the bitch added in a 9-11 reference.

    Count me in with the “drive them into the sea” crowd. This government doesn’t deserve to survive, and I’d enjoy seeing this entire cabinet wearing rope neckties for their criminality.

  332. 332
    toujoursdan says:

    My understanding, at least according to a BBC World clip I watched, is that the reason Egypt enforced the blockade (until now) was out of a fear that if they didn’t, Israel would close its borders altogether and essentially dump Gaza onto Egypt’s lap. They would either be forced to occupy Gaza and/or somehow incorporate it (and Hamas) into the country.

    Since Egypt has its own growing problem with Muslim fundamentalist insurgents, the last thing they want to do is absorb or fight Hamas.

    So that is why they have cooperated, at least until now.

  333. 333
    Dave says:

    The hypocrisy of someone from the US complaining about Israel given the absolutely sub-human way you treat Blacks and Hispanics is absolutely astounding.

    You discriminate against Blacks and Hispanics at every level of your society and you killed millions of Native Americans and herded the rest into Camps.

    Yet you faux-progressives are quite happy to support any fascist or terrorist who mouths the appropriate “anti-imperialist” slogans, e.g. the IRA, Hamasm even the Khmer Rouge.

    Part of me, even someone who likes and admires the shining city on the Hill that America sometimes is and can be, I’m ashamed to say, looks at 9/11 and thinks “now you know what terrorism feels like”. Now you know what us Irish felt like whenever plastic paddies like the Sainted Ted Kennedy came over and feted gangsters who killed and maimed and butchered their way through all the people of Ireland.

    Terrorism that you want Jews to curl up and roll over and die to, just so *you* can feel good about yourselves.

    You so addicted to any ptopaganda put out by fascists like Hamas that it’s a fucking drug that feeds the ego, and you’re not at all picky about who is feeding your addiction or whether you’re being lied to or what the reality is… You just want to have the appearance of righteousness in fact, you’d probably far prefer to appear virtuous than to be virtuous if the reality of virtue wouldn’t give you any social rewards.

    So, yes, by all means, continue your nice little circle-jerk about how nasty those Jews are, and how this proves how nice you all are.

    In the real world, meanwhile, millions die because of your narcicism and your perversion and treachery of progressivism and liberalism.

  334. 334
    toujoursdan says:

    Shorter Dave: Two wrong make a right, don’t speak out against human rights violations unless you’re perfect, anti-Semite, Nazi!

  335. 335
    geg6 says:

    @toujoursdan:

    Dave obviously doesn’t read BJ very often.

    Yeah, we’re all imperialist dupes of the terrorist hoards who love us some war and dead Jews.

    Jeebus, what an ass.

  336. 336
    me says:

    @Dave: Israel, as good as slaveholders. Thank you for that.

  337. 337
    Michael says:

    @Dave:

    The hypocrisy of someone from the US complaining about Israel given the absolutely sub-human way you treat Blacks and Hispanics is absolutely astounding.

    I know that the gated community you live in somewhere in Virginia or Maryland is lily white, so please quit projecting your preferred associates’ prejudices on us.

    You discriminate against Blacks and Hispanics at every level of your society and you killed millions of Native Americans and herded the rest into Camps.

    You know who else talked about America’s treatment of its aboriginal populations? Hitler!

  338. 338
    me says:

    @Dave: Or maybe its, Israel, we’re doing a more humane job of ethnic cleansing then you evil Americans.

  339. 339
    geg6 says:

    @Michael:

    You know who else talked about America’s treatment of its aboriginal populations? Hitler!

    FTMFW. And an awesome accomplishment in a thread like this. My hat is off to you, sir.

  340. 340
    toujoursdan says:

    Hmmmmm…

    Black US president – check
    Arab Prime Minister in Israel – inconceivable

    Blacks and Hispanics on the US Supreme Court – check
    Arabs on the Israeli Supreme Court – Nope

    Blacks and Hispanic US governors – check
    Israel – nope

    Blacks and Hispanics in US Cabinet – check
    Israel – nope

    Blacks and Hispanics majors in large American cities – check
    Israel – nope

    Blacks and Hispanic governors – check
    Israel – nope

    Blacks and Hispanic citizens able to freely travel – check
    Arabs under Israeli control – nope

    U.S. Laws forbidding discrimination based on race and ethnicity in the States and diversity and affirmative action programs to enforce them – check

    In Israel for Arabs – nope

    and on and on and on…

    Yeah, gotta love those false equivalences.

  341. 341
    Svensker says:

    @ajr22:

    People around here are acting like they are just savage murderers, and this makes me feel uncomfortable.

    Kind of like how bad all the dead people on the ship feel, amirite?

  342. 342
    Svensker says:

    @ajr22:

    I worry reading comments here that this has shaken peoples’ here core belief in the state of Israel.

    Why do we have to have a “core belief in the state of Israel”? Do you have a “core belief” in the state of Sweden? Or the state of North Korea? Or the state of Venezuela?

  343. 343
    Svensker says:

    I know it’s a dead thread, but I thought Dave claimed to be an American citizen. Why is he calling Americans “You” and Israelis “We”?

  344. 344
    liberal says:

    @toujoursdan:

    U.S. Laws forbidding discrimination based on race and ethnicity in the States and diversity and affirmative action programs to enforce them – check

    This is the key thing. In many places (particularly the US), while the progress against ethnicity-based discrimination is rocky, at least the law itself is right.

    Israel? Not so much.

  345. 345
    liberal says:

    @toujoursdan:

    Two wrong make a right, don’t speak out against human rights violations unless you’re perfect…

    Yeah, that’s a common rhetorical ploy used when defending Israel’s actions. Good to see someone pointing it out explicitly.

  346. 346
    Hob says:

    @Dave: For the record, not because anything I say will make the slightest bit of difference to your vicious little game, but because truth matters to me:

    I, like others, was confused by your comment that contained references to “we in Israel”, etc., when previously you’d insisted you were British and in fact had taken great offense at people thinking you were an Israeli. (Which hadn’t actually crossed my mind, because there’s nothing in your English style to suggest that you’re not British or American. Quite a bit more American really, despite the occasional use of “chaps” etc.) Of course anyone who’s spent time talking politics on the Internet is familiar with the single-issue crusader with two or three sock puppets to back him up, who sometimes loses track of which one he’s supposed to be, so it wasn’t a huge stretch to think that was going on here.

    But reading your comment again, I see that it did start out saying you were quoting an Israeli; the quoted part simply ran on into the rest of it– the inconsistent use of italics, and the misplaced end quotation mark in the middle of a sentence, made this hard to see. So no, you weren’t claiming to be an Israeli after all; you were just claiming to be quoting one, and I say “claiming” because you didn’t provide any kind of link or citation, unlike others here who have provided many examples of real live Israelis who don’t agree with your far-right nonsense.

    As has been repeatedly pointed out to you to absolutely no effect, not only is it possible to detest the policies of the right wing in the Israeli government and their apologists while still loving Jews as people and respecting the Israeli national spirit, that is a much common publicly stated position in Israel than it is in the U.S. The 110% pure my-side-can-do-no-wrong bloodthirsty absolutists for any cause are usually converts (if sincere) or mercenary bullshitters (if not)– the more-Irish-than-the-Irish IRA fan, the more-Palestinian-than-the-Palestinians PLO fan, the Serbian supremacist who’s never seen Europe– I’ve known plenty like that here, and you’re one of them. It’s almost never the ones with real roots there, for whom life is neither a war nor a game.

    Those of us here who are Jewish, have Jewish families, know Israelis, have been to Israel, or read Israeli newspapers (and I think a lot of people here fall into some of those categories, certainly most of the ones who are bothering to argue with you)– we understand this. You’re a smart guy, you know this too and you know we’re not Nazis or fools; you just don’t care. And that’s why even if everything you’ve said about yourself is true, you’re dishonest, and what you’re doing is evil.

  347. 347
    Michael says:

    @Svensker:

    I know it’s a dead thread, but I thought Dave claimed to be an American citizen. Why is he calling Americans “You” and Israelis “We”?

    Despite his colloquially American English grammatical styles and spellings, he claims to be located in the UK and seems to pretend deep Irish connection. I’ve surmised that he’s actually posting from nice office space somewhere around Washington DC.

  348. 348
    ThatPirateGuy says:

    @Yishai Kohen:

    Here we go guys, the wonders of religion!

    Holy sites to fight over as far as the eye can see.

    Isreal should never have been created in the middle east. We should have given the Jewish people Florida as a homeland after ww2.

  349. 349
    kay says:

    @ThatPirateGuy:

    Everywhere in their lands, we find mosques built on the ruins of synagogues and churches:

    Why is that even objectionable? Once it’s a ruin, and all.

    I have a friend who bought an old Methodist church. He lives in it. No big deal.

    Once a church stakes a claim that’s a forever-bar to building?

    More and more, religious-inspired text looks like poorly-drafted municipal code.

  350. 350
    jake the snake says:

    Some might question whether you can find a functioning democracy anywhere in the world.

    Israel/Palestine is even more difficult to have a reasonable discussion about than race or class. There is always some rhetorical club that can be used to beat opponents into submission.

  351. 351
    Tax Analyst says:

    John Cole said:

    …but apparently there are nefarious uses for cement! That stuff is all over the place- I look outside and I see it everywhere. My porch is itself a Quran away from waging an insurgency on my pansies. Should I call homeland security?

    I think that depends on what your countertops are made of, John.

  352. 352
    twiffer says:

    @kay: not to mention that in the early days of christianity, it was policy to build churches on pagan holy sites. co-opting the holy places, turning local deities/legendary heros/etc. into saints and so on was seen as a way towards conversion.

  353. 353
    debbie says:

    @ajr22:

    I do have a core belief: I always have and continue to believe that Israel has a right to exist, but not at any cost or by any means.

    As a Jew (and I say that with pride), I’ve never believed in this “chosen people” nonsense, so I don’t believe Israel should be allowed to do things that no other country/state/entity could not get away with.

    The real crux of the issue is that Israel was envisioned as a haven and a place of safety for a people who had been persecuted and discriminated against for centuries. That Israel has fallen far short of this goal is a real tragedy.

    Oppressing others (even those who don’t share your goals) runs counter to Jewish teachings. Establishing an apartheid state is not the answer to peaceful coexistence. Creating what in effect is a rendition of the Warsaw Ghetto and insisting it’s everyone else’s fault is as mad and misguided as any N*zi protocol. How can any Jew be okay with this?

    So many opportunities have been missed. I don’t think the Middle East will ever know peace.

  354. 354
    fasteddie9318 says:

    @scav:

    Newspapers bad but fertilizer good?

    Apparently information is more dangerous to the Israelis than chemicals that could be used to make explosives.

  355. 355
    Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac says:

    @Dave’s 333 Comment:

    I just had to point back to that comment as maybe the most silly and wrong self-righteous rant on the internet, maybe anywhere. Seriously, bookmark that comment for the future.

    Amazing.

  356. 356
    maus says:

    @Michael:

    Despite his colloquially American English grammatical styles and spellings, he claims to be located in the UK and seems to pretend deep Irish connection. I’ve surmised that he’s actually posting from nice office space somewhere around Washington DC.

    I could see it. Out of curiosity, do any of his beliefs sync up with the average LibDem voter? I’m not familiar enough with their positions to guess.

    @Agoraphobic Kleptomaniac: Oh god.

    @Dave:

    The hypocrisy of someone from the US complaining about Israel given the absolutely sub-human way you treat Blacks and Hispanics is absolutely astounding.

    Man, you are just the trolliest troll we’ve seen here outside of BoB, bravo.

    A+ on your false dichotomy, for sounding almost intelligent while being completely and utterly wrong.

  357. 357

    […] Israelis as being in the clear) — but the fact is that the flotilla launched because of the crazy-quilt banning of items that might help the people in Gaza live some semblance of a normal life. Israel has decided to […]

  358. 358
    gman says:

    concrete is used in gaza to build hardened tunnels into egypt for the smuggling of weapons, explosives and other offensive materials used to kill innocent women and children. once the tunnels are built, they are far more difficult to destroy if they’re detected at all and they support the trafficking of larger items (things like katucha rockets) and higher volumes of small arms, ammunition, explosives, etc… because the earth is so lose in that region, smuggling tunnels routinely collapse on their own. so they use concrete from “humanitarian” shipments to reinforce them. if you would bother to do some research on what happens in gaza, you’d know that and some of you wouldn’t have to display your ignorance to the whole world.

  359. 359
    gman says:

    @NobodySpecial: concrete is used in gaza to build hardened tunnels into egypt for the smuggling of weapons, explosives and other offensive materials used to kill innocent women and children. once the tunnels are built, they are far more difficult to destroy if they’re detected at all and they support the trafficking of larger items (things like katucha rockets) and higher volumes of small arms, ammunition, explosives, etc… because the earth is so lose in that region, smuggling tunnels routinely collapse on their own. so they use concrete from “humanitarian” shipments to reinforce them. if you would bother to do some research on what happens in gaza, you’d know that and some of you wouldn’t have to display your ignorance to the whole world.

  360. 360
    debbie says:

    @gman:

    Meanwhile, you’ve got the image of people — innocent people — struggling to live their lives in nothing more than rubble. Brilliant.

    If the Israelis had any sense left to them, they’d go in there and build new housing and hospitals for the Palestinians. It’d be a great p.r. move and it would neutralize Hamas’s ability to build any tunnels.

    But no, they prefer to stand full-force on the throats of innocent people.

  361. 361
    Asshole says:

    @gman:

    Yes, and food shipped in there is used to feed terrorists who WANT TO DESTROY Israel. So maybe they should embargo all food, as well. I think that will soon solve the problem of human life existing in Gaza.

  362. 362
    gman says:

    To “Debbie” and “Asshole”:

    Well, when the israelis retreated from gaza they did leave behind new housing, schools, etc… then the gazans promptly elected a terrorist organization to run the strip, began launching rockets from the school grounds and medical facilities at densely populated areas in israel, and even ransacked green houses that could have been used to produce food. This all happened in less than 60 days after Israelis misguidedly acted on the thought that giving it up would buy some peace. The primary reason “innocent” civilians are in gaza, is because they believe in the martyr system and dead women and children that were deliberately put into harm’s way get a lot of attention from people like you who obviously have no frame of reference for how they view the world…. that is as long as they’re not dead jewish women and children trying to go to school. I wouldn’t be surprised if either or both of you have never been to that region as well. on another note, if the people in gaza so starved, why are almost all of them clearly overweight? as long as you insist on consuming the propaganda pumped out by hamas, you’ll continue to “have pity for the devil”, risk your very own future by giving audience and tacit support to international terrorist organizations, and subjecting other people to your ignorance. that is, other people who understand the full scope and gravity of the situation, but don’t have it backwards like you.

    no one forced the gazans to move in when the israelis moved out. they moved in on their own volition and immediately began running unlawful combat operations against innocent women and children of israel. they deliberately mix “innocent” bystanders with the unlawful combatants so when israel is force to defend itself, “innocent” bystanders that moved into gaza with their terrorist family members inevitably will get killed, maimed, etc… all so you can look at it and be outraged. in other words, you’re feeding the problem by giving them the attention they want. they know if they can create an outrageous enough report, some of you will become agents on their behalf.

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  2. […] in Pakistan and Afghanistan every so often. Imagine these people load up a boat of supplies, cement and nutmeg and whatnot, and these Floaters for Christ set off in a little cargo ship armada to somewhere oppressed that […]

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