Blaming Turkey

Hoocoodanode:

WESTERN GOVERNMENTS have been right to be concerned about Israel’s poor judgment and botched execution in the raid against the Free Gaza flotilla. But they ought to be at least as worried about the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which since Monday has shown a sympathy toward Islamic militants and a penchant for grotesque demagoguery toward Israel that ought to be unacceptable for a member of NATO.

***

Mr. Erdogan’s crude attempt to exploit the incident comes only a couple of weeks after he joined Brazil’s president in linking arms with Mr. Ahmadinejad, whom he is assisting in an effort to block new U.N. sanctions. What’s remarkable about his turn toward extremism is that it comes after more than a year of assiduous courting by the Obama administration, which, among other things, has overlooked his antidemocratic behavior at home, helped him combat the Kurdish PKK and catered to Turkish sensitivities about the Armenian genocide. Israel is suffering the consequences of its misjudgments and disregard of U.S. interests. Will Mr. Erdogan’s behavior be without cost?

If nothing else, you have to admire the absolute chutzpah of the Washington Post and the pro-Israel lobby. Israeli commandos storm vessels in international waters, kill nine civilians and wound several dozen others, and the Washington Post wants… Turkey to pay a price. And I’m betting the Washington Post rejects an international investigation into the mess, preferring for an Israeli-led investigation (if that), and I’m reasonably sure we can forget about the WaPo calling for sanctions against Israel. But Turkey, on the other hand. Those guys need to pay for the people Israel killed.

I wish this hadn’t been so predictable, but if you just realize that much of the media, most of Congress, and the entire right-wing of the political spectrum are operating from the perspective that Israel can simply do no wrong, you would have known why I immediately expected a blame Turkey mantra to start. As Greenwald has noted multiple times, things are so screwed up and out of whack that there is far more debate about the appropriateness of Israel’s behavior in Israel than is allowed here in the United States.

And finally, as Larison has pointed out, what is remarkable about Erdogan’s statements is not how belligerent they are, but how restrained they have been. His population is in an absolute froth, but other than some mild rhetoric and withdrawing diplomats, has there been any real action on the part of Turkey? No. Look no farther than Israel’s response to a similar number of dead- the incursion into Gaza in which they killed 1500 for a dozen or so killed in rocket attacks. Now tell me Turkey and her officials have over-reacted by offering up some moderately heated rhetoric.

123 replies
  1. 1
    Cain says:

    I bet if we decided to send a ship with supplies to Gaza and they came in with guns blazing the right wing bastards would be blaming the organizers as well. Well their love of Israel trump their loyalty to this country?

    cain

  2. 2
    Jim, Foolish Literalist says:

    I saw Liz Cheney was pushing this ‘blame Turkey’ shite on ABC, and now we see Fred Hiatt (and Jackson Diehl and Charles Lane and I don’t know who else) are pushing it to. I wonder who wrote the first memo? Gaffney? Kristol? Wolfowitz? Lynn Cheney?

    Zombie Katharine Graham needs to come back and do a little house-cleaning.

  3. 3
    Mike G says:

    Israel is suffering the consequences of its misjudgments and disregard of U.S. interests.

    Exactly what consequence? A milquetoast statement from the White House regretting the deaths but placing no blame?
    Did we put a frowny face on Israel’s big fat check this month from the American taxpayer?

  4. 4
    Quiddity says:

    Key line: (orig emp)

    all of those who were killed [on the ship] were members or volunteers for the Islamic “charity” that owned the ship …

    So that makes it okay, no matter what those individuals were doing.

  5. 5
    Bob T says:

    This is the opening salvo in the right wing wurlitzer’s ramp-up of Turkey-hate for their citizens’ temerity in stopping Israeli Pirate Force bullets with their skulls.

    By November 26 this year we’ll all be sitting down to a delicious meal of Freedom Bird.

  6. 6
    wilfred says:

    Fred Hiatt is an Aipac stooge; he’s turned the WP editorial page into Jerusalem Post West. Back in March:

    A larger question concerns Mr. Obama’s quickness to bludgeon the Israeli government. He is not the first president to do so; in fact, he is not even the first to be hard on Mr. Netanyahu. But tough tactics don’t always work: Last year Israelis rallied behind Mr. Netanyahu, while Mr. Obama’s poll ratings in Israel plunged to the single digits. The president is perceived by many Israelis as making unprecedented demands on their government while overlooking the intransigence of Palestinian and Arab leaders. If this episode reinforces that image, Mr. Obama will accomplish the opposite of what he intends.

    Bludgeon. Obama’s poll numbers down in Israel – oh, dear.

  7. 7
    MikeBoyScout says:

    But they ought to be at least as worried about the Turkish government of Recep Tayyip Erdogan, which since Monday has shown a sympathy…

    OMG! Not sympathy!!

    Surely sympathy is as worrisome as execution on the high seas.

    All neo-confidence mens and teabagging patriots should demand an immediate cessation of sympathy in Turkey!

    The message brought to you by the sociopathic WaPo editorial board, where illegal unjustifed invasions and torture are A-OK!

  8. 8
    Alan in SF says:

    The results of the international investigation are hopelessly one-sided and biased against Israel; the lead investigator is a known anti-Semite (or self-hating Jew); and the investigation is part of a worldwide conspiracy to delegitimize the Jewish state.

    See? Now we don’t even need the investigation.

  9. 9
    beltane says:

    You just don’t get it, John. If Turkey did not exist, than the IDF would not have been forced to commandeer one of its vessels and kill some of its citizens. It is not Israel’s actions that are an issue here, it is the continued existence of the rogue state of Turkey that is the problem. Istanbul must be reclaimed for Christendom with a new emperor of the Eastern Empire installed into power. But not a Greek Orthodox emperor please, as they are not real Christians.

  10. 10
    El Cid says:

    Not just killing civilians, but shooting them repeatedly in the head and back, which of course just shows astounding Israeli forces’ restraint, as some more beastly authority would have assassinated many more civilians with close-range headshots.

  11. 11
    beltane says:

    @MikeBoyScout: Sympathy is like empathy, which has been ruled to be a Verybadthing by the powers that be. Sympathy is the new Hitler.

  12. 12
    El Cid says:

    If Turkey really wanted to be our ally, they’d shoot all those Turkish civilians protesting about Israel’s shooting of Turkish civilians. I mean, if they want to join Israel as the Middle East’s only two real democracies.

  13. 13
    beltane says:

    @wilfred: That’s too bad about Obama’s poll numbers in Israel. How many electoral votes does our 51st state have?

  14. 14
    ciotog says:

    What gets me is that Gaza is being punished for supporting Hamas, and the usual stated reason Hamas is bad is that it doesn’t recognize Israel’s right to exist.

    Leaving aside the question of whether any state–as opposed to a people–has the “right” to exist, the state of Israel was sold to the world on the basis that the Palestinians literally did not exist. That whole “land without people for a people without land” nonsense. And yet, with all the fulminating over the Arab world not recognizing the right to exist of the state of Israel, one never hears the question asked of whether or not the state of Israel thinks that the Palestinians have the right to exist. It seems to me that this denial is at the very heart of Israel’s founding.

  15. 15
    El Cid says:

    @Bob T:

    citizens’ temerity in stopping Israeli Pirate Force bullets with their skulls

    Clearly this was a sophisticated ring plotting to steal Israeli bullets with their heads and backs.

    On the BBC’s Friday Night Comedy podcast, one of the panelists joked that Somali pirates have been protesting Israeli actions in boarding the ship in international waters, mainly that Israel jumped in line in front of the Somali pirates.

  16. 16
    El Cid says:

    @ciotog: Hamas could recognize Israel’s right to exist, adopt the Israeli national anthem as their own, and then get completely thrown out of power and disbanded, and that would just mean that new excuses would be made for increasing settlements, cracking down on Palestinian civilians, and making sure that whatever two state solution finally becomes inevitable leaves Palestinians with worthless tiny Bantustan communities forming a joke of a nation.

  17. 17
    TruthOfAngels says:

    @Mike G:

    Did we put a frowny face on Israel’s big fat check this month from the American taxpayer?

    Totally. And no tongues, either, for their weekly snog.

    That’ll show ’em.

  18. 18
    MikeBoyScout says:

    No chance anybody is worried about this:

    Article 33 of the Geneva Convention. No protected person may be punished for an offense he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

    Hell, if your president and vice president can brag about torturing Muslims with impugnity, why can’t Israel punish Gaza and shoot some folks in the head on the high seas?

    Stop the spaghetti and concrete from entering the hands of Hamas to make spaghetti concrete WMD!

  19. 19
    Cacti says:

    Turkey is thoroughly capable of a military response, yet there’s been none.

    Turkey could really put the U.S. in a vise by invoking NATO Article V, but they haven’t.

    So how is Turkey the bad guy here?

  20. 20
    ciotog says:

    @El Cid: I think that’s exactly right. After all, that scenario describes pretty accurately what happened to American Indian tribes, who were also basically deemed not to exist by a colonizing power. That’s why they called it the wilderness.

  21. 21
    GregB says:

    Much of Israel has become so polluted by their endless war-mongering that they are now ready to reward the bullet to the temple assassins of the tool shed militia.

    The state of Israel has become the monster they once loathed.

    It’s sad.

  22. 22
    PeakVT says:

    It can’t be emphasized enough how extraordinarily dumb it would be for the US to antagonize Turkey. It has a number of internal issues that I’m not exactly amused by. But it’s also a middle income country of 72 million people that has been trending in the right direction both economically and politically for the past two decades. And it has been a stalwart US ally for decades, so much so that the US has positioned nukes there and has two large bases.

    I was never pleased how much the rhetoric of democracy and human rights was subsumed by realpolitik during the Cold War. But at least it made short-term sense. Now realpolitik is being subsumed by a bizarre mish-mash of tribalism and religion(s). In the long-run, the US needs to have good relations with Turkey, Egypt (beyond the military), and Iran. They will be the regional powers in the future. But the US can’t, because for now it is enabling Israel’s immoral and self-destructive behavior.

  23. 23
    PTirebiter says:

    What struck me was how reasonable the piece could appear to the average news consumer. The way this ” yea, but they do it too” quality enables a less-than-critical reader to just move along is pretty insidious.

  24. 24
    KXB says:

    Great allies in the War on Terror:

    Turkey – assists in counter-intelligence in Afghanistan, supports a Western-friendly government in Lebanon, monitors Hezbollah, allows Turkish territory to be used for transporting material into northern Iraq, acts as mediator between Israel & Syria, NATO ally with the second largest military in the alliance after the U.S.

    Israel – Super Ally Number 1. If you ask, “What do they do for America?”, well, you’re just a hijab-wearing Islamo-fascist sympathizing, anti-Semite.

  25. 25
    kdaug says:

    @KXB: Yup. Know how many IDF forces are in Afghanistan with us? Know how many went to Iraq with us? There’s a number, and it’s less than one.

    Stalwart allies, indeed.

  26. 26
    KXB says:

    BTW – the next time someone yaks about, “If Hamas stopped the violence, and accepted Israel’s right to exist, things would be OK.”, remind them of this. The West Bank Palestinians have created a peaceful area, are cooperating with the Israelis, and they are rewarded by having more settlements on their land, and their future capital of East Jerusalem being squeezed of Arab residents.

  27. 27
    Cacti says:

    @KXB:

    Turkey – assists in counter-intelligence in Afghanistan, supports a Western-friendly government in Lebanon, monitors Hezbollah, allows Turkish territory to be used for transporting material into northern Iraq, acts as mediator between Israel & Syria, NATO ally with the second largest military in the alliance after the U.S.

    Turkey – sent 5100 combat troops to assist the UN forces in the Korean War. The “Turkish Brigade” went on to win 2 Distinguished Unit citations for combat gallantry

    “The Turks are the hero of heroes. There is no impossibility for the Turkish Brigade.”

    General Douglas McArthur
    UN Forces CIC

    But they’ve never really had our back. Traitors!

  28. 28
    El Cid says:

    @kdaug: Somehow I don’t think it would have been an aid to U.S. forces to have Israelis beside them in invading and occupying Muslim nations. Would have made the already tough (and, honestly, ridiculously fake and impossible) job even tougher.

  29. 29
    wilfred says:

    The West Bank Palestinians have created a peaceful area, are cooperating with the Israelis, and they are rewarded by having more settlements on their land, and their future capital of East Jerusalem being squeezed of Arab residents.

    Funny that, eh?

  30. 30
    Cacti says:

    And AFAIK, no one has been caught committing espionage on the U.S. on behalf of the Turkish government.

    Only our super special allies do that.

  31. 31
    Gator90 says:

    @KXB: Seems like the West Bank is in much better shape than Gaza, as the West Bank is neither blockaded nor bombed. Could this have something to do with the West Bank Palestinians’ decision not to follow leaders who espouse demented anti-semitism, are openly dedicated to eternal war against Israel, and back up their rhetoric with rocket attacks on civilians?

  32. 32
  33. 33
    Cacti says:

    @Gator90:

    And yet, for all their good behavior, they’re still having their land appropriated for illegal settlements.

  34. 34
    kdaug says:

    @El Cid: Says something when you can’t bring your “allies” out in public with you when you have your glorious (read: moronic and self-defeating) wars.

    Kinda like the crazy uncle in the basement – you don’t want to let him out when you’re having a party.

  35. 35
    demo woman says:

    @Jim, Foolish Literalist: I really wanted Marcos or Arianna to ask Liz TSTFU or least politely say Liz please don’t interrupt me. Teasingly, they could have asked her if she was the new moderator and that might have caused Tapper to wake up.

  36. 36
    KXB says:

    @Gator90:

    A very selective reading of history – when Fatah was in charge of the West Bank & Gaza, the Israelis were constantly telling us that they were unreliable partners for peace. When Arafat was alive, I was inclined to agree with that viewpoint.

    Then, the Palestinians held an election, which the Israelis and Americans agree was relatively free and fair, and the Palestinians voted to throw the bums out, since Fatah had a notorious reputation for lining their pockets, and using gangs to enforce their rules. Now, Israel now loves Fatah, and arms it to start a Palestinian civil war, with Fatah being ejected from Gaza.

    You also didn’t comment on my main point – since the West Bank Palestinians are cooperating with Israel, why is Israel still expanding settlements?

  37. 37
    El Cid says:

    @Gator90:

    Could this have something to do with the West Bank Palestinians’ decision not to follow leaders who espouse demented anti-semitism, are openly dedicated to eternal war against Israel, and back up their rhetoric with rocket attacks on civilians?

    I think that’s not it. I think it’s more that Israeli policymakers actually want the West Bank’s land and its resources (it is the West Bank of the River Jordan), unlike Gaza which it just wants to seal off and have the Earth, or Egypt, swallow it. There ain’t no settlers desperate to take over parts of Gaza.

  38. 38
    Violet says:

    @GregB:

    The state of Israel has become the monster they once loathed.

    This seems somewhat obvious to me, but it’s impossible to say this in polite society in America. It follows a pretty predictable path: abused kids grow up to be abusers, bullied kids grow up to be bullies. So why can’t a state founded on a people who have historically been abused and bullied “grow up” to be an abusing and bullying state? Seems almost predictable.

  39. 39
    Rick Massimo says:

    @Cacti: Oh, but everybody does that. Just because I can’t think of any other countries right now doesn’t mean anything.

    Also too, it’s time for the Washington post to take the “What if this had happened to an American ship full of Americans (and was done by someone besides Israel, of course, because they can do no wrong)?” We’d have invaded Iran by now. Whether they did it or not.

  40. 40
    Svensker says:

    @Cacti:

    So how is Turkey the bad guy here?

    They are not thanking the Israelis for ridding them of troublesome citizens.

  41. 41
    mellowjohn says:

    that does it! now i’m really made. from now on, all my turkish towels are “FREEDOM TOWELS”!

  42. 42
    PTirebiter says:

    @El Cid: True enough, but Israel could probably support our efforts in some less confrontational manner. I think things like, not undermining our president’s outreach to Muslims could be done totally on the down-low. Then again, I think you nailed it on Israel’s perpetually moving goalposts.

  43. 43
    Svensker says:

    @Cacti:

    And AFAIK, no one has been caught committing espionage on the U.S. on behalf of the Turkish government.

    Actually, if Sibel Edmonds is to be believed, Turkey had a nest of spies at work before 9/11 but there was some reason that had to be/is still being hushed up. Don’t have a link, but if you google her, you’ll find the story.

  44. 44
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Gator90:

    I dunno. Seems like Israel follows leaders who espouse demented anti-Arab-ism, are openly dedicated to eternal war against Islam, and back up their rhetoric with commando raids, airstrikes, and heavy artillery, and it hasn’t harmed them too badly.

    @GregB:

    The state of Israel has become the monster they once loathed.

    When did they ever loathe it? I think “When all you have is a hammer, everything looks like a nail” is the national motto.

  45. 45
    Michael says:

    I’m looking forward to my Thanksgiving Freedom Fowl, even though I’m sure it’ll be off the menu in all too many neocon homes. I suppose they’ll probably go for some sort of beef roast as ham will undoubtedly be out as well (eating ham is insulting to Israel and displays ones’ anti-Semitism).

  46. 46
    wilfred says:

    It has been an article of faith amongst certain people that the more exposure given to American-Israeli relations and life in Gaza and the Occupied Territories that the essential fair-mindedness of Americans would emerge.

    Murdering nine people and calling it an act of self-defense is perhaps the first example of Israeli pretzel logic for some people.

    http://www.ifamericansknew.org/

  47. 47
    Gator90 says:

    @KXB: I thought your main point was that Israel’s actions toward Gaza have nothing to do with Hamas or anything the Gazans have done, which is patently absurd.

    As to why the Israelis are still “settling” the West Bank, it’s because Israel, like Gaza, is run by a gang of assholes.

  48. 48
    Svensker says:

    @wilfred:

    http://www.ifamericansknew.org/

    Wilfred, if you know the people who run that website, a suggestion: the “number of settlements” sounds like Israelis have only built 230-odd houses on Pal land, rather than 230-odd developments filled with hundreds of houses. You guys all know what “settlements” mean, but the average American doesn’t.

  49. 49
    wilfred says:

    @Svensker:

    will do, thanks.

  50. 50
    matoko_chan says:

    I continue to be gobsmacked by how intransigently stupid the right is.

    I’ve whined at you about Turkey all week so I’ll spare you anything further, especially since there are better writers than me weighing in today. See Ralph Peters for what Turkey’s drift towards Mecca potentially means for U.S. airmen stationed at Incirlik; Victor Davis Hanson on what it potentially means for traditional (and now weakened) Turkish enemies like Greece; and Mark Steyn on what it potentially means for the west generally (“what we’re witnessing is the most prominent example of Muslim reform being de-reformed, before our very eyes, in nothing flat.”). I’m sure they’re all worried over nothing and that this years-long trend towards radicalism in Ankara is but another product of the febrile wingnut imagination. It’s not like any secular-ish Muslim country has turned fundamentalist and become a major threat before, right?

    What poor stupid Allahpundit doesn’t understand……..is that democracy is causing the islamization of MENA.
    Democracy elected Hamas.
    Democracy made Iraq into an islamic state with shariah law in their constitution and religious political parties.
    Democracy is causing Turkey to evolve from a Kemalist military junta/dictatorship to a representative Islamic republic…..just like Iran.
    When allowed representative government, the people of MENA vote for Islam.
    The more democracy there is, the more Islam there will be.
    this ironing is delicious.

  51. 51
    4jkb4ia says:

    Do you realize that my husband may be practicing self-censorship, but ALL he has said is that “If Turkey wants Israel to apologize, they should apologize for letting the boat leave?”

    I have wondered what Hilzoy would make of all of this. This government seems to be signalling solidarity with the Muslim world by the messages they have given out such as calling the nine victims “martyrs”. That’s a different thing from being very upset because this is unprecedented in the history of modern Turkey.

  52. 52
    4jkb4ia says:

    @matoko_chan:

    Or, the repressive governments have used Islam to distract from their rule and the Islamic parties are positioned to take advantage when there are any sort of free elections. In Iraq the second time around the Sunnis were able to support Allawi rather than their homegrown Islamic parties because it was a pragmatic matter of any sort of rights for them. (Also.) Then there is the obvious issue of what would happen to Iran if they had democracy.

  53. 53
    matoko_chan says:

    @El Cid: lawl…the blockade is Hamas’ friend.
    And the Israelis are are stupid as Allahpundit.
    Hamas learned from the Summer War.
    Israel didn’t.
    All this bleating about freeing Shalit is just moronic.
    Hamas doesn’t WANT the blockade to end….its PR gold for them.
    the sssssstupid it burns.

  54. 54
    wilfred says:

    This government seems to be signalling solidarity with the Muslim world

    I assume you mean the Turkish government. If so, I certainly hope so.

    One sub-text of all this is Turkey’s future in Europe. I doubt there was ever a chance of Turkey being admitted into the EU, which would contradict European policy going back to Metternich, let alone the race memory of Vienna. Enough Turks got tired of turning white, waiting for a call that will NEVER come.

    Turkey’s natural position is as leader of the Muslim world, not the equivalent of forelock touching, foot scraping Muslim Uncle Tom. The Arabs are useless hypocrites, God curse them, and the Iranians are too problematic, too self-absorbed in their own history and tragedies. Pakistan? Hardly.

    No, it’s the Turks. I have some friends in the more non-secular parts of the Southeast. They’re looking to the future.

  55. 55
    matoko_chan says:

    @4jkb4ia: can’t you read?
    representation doesn’t lead to secularism in MENA.
    it leads to MORE islam.
    The Iraqi people VOTED to put shariah in their constitution.
    That makes them a representative Islamic State, just like Pakistan and Iran.
    When muslims can vote, they vote for shariah.

    bi la kayfah

  56. 56
    matoko_chan says:

    @wilfred: the CIA Factbook says Turkey is 98.9 percent muslim.

  57. 57
    4jkb4ia says:

    I will grant East Jerusalem, but how many of those settlements are on land that Israel will get in any kind of peace deal?

  58. 58
    wilfred says:

    @matoko_chan:

    Of course, but 80 some odd years of relentless secularization has created the Turkish Muslim equivalent of a newly minted Israeli from Minsk (note to self: write limerick), i.e. someone culturally, but not religiously Muslim.

    The relative degree of religious Islam and cultural Islam produces political Islam, which I believe is re-emerging in Turkey as the ultimate failure of secularization and forced interiorization of religion to achieve Euro trash status becomes apparent. Alhamdulillah, I might add.

  59. 59
    matoko_chan says:

    @4jkb4ia:

    Then there is the obvious issue of what would happen to Iran if they had democracy.

    Iran is a representative Islamic Republic. Their constitution allows the population to vote.
    The Green Wave was the result of the population percieving fraud in the counting of their representative votes.
    Do you understand what democracy means?
    it means the people get to vote.
    if muslims vote, they will vote for islamic government, not secular government.
    I think you meant “judeo-xian” democracy. That doesn’t work in MENA.
    They are almost all muslims.
    Can i mention that Bush tried to install a judeo-xian democracy in Iraq?
    Cost to America? 5000 dead soljahs from the finest military on the planet, a trillion dollars, and 100000+ dead muslim civilians.
    Net gain? the undying enmity of most of the planet and an infinite supply of spare parts for the reaver factories.

  60. 60
    4jkb4ia says:

    @matoko_chan:
    Yes, I can read. I was trying to say that Islamic parties are the ones that have the resources to win elections for now. The same thing would happen in Egypt. But if the populace gets used to seeing these people trying to govern or to expecting democratic values, Islamic parties may not be the only ones that have the resources in only a few years. Pakistan may be a “Muslim state” but they’re not governed by an explicitly Muslim party.

  61. 61
    matoko_chan says:

    @wilfred:

    Turkish Muslim equivalent of a newly minted Israeli

    wallah, i think you mistake the religious character of both Israelis and Jews.

  62. 62
    4jkb4ia says:

    @matoko_chan:
    OK, now we are talking about degree. I think we can say that if Iran had democracy the mullahs wouldn’t control who can run for office, even if Islam might be written into some of the laws.

  63. 63
    matoko_chan says:

    both Israelis and Turks i mean.
    ;)

  64. 64
    matoko_chan says:

    @4jkb4ia:

    if Iran had democracy the mullahs wouldn’t control who can run for office

    Iran is a representative islamic republic. America is a representative secular republic.
    there is no difference between religious law and secular law in Iran.
    The religious leadership is also the legal leadership and the political leadership.
    non-seperable.
    the “mullahs” as you call them don’t control who can run…legally established committees select the candidate according to islamic law.

    What do you mean by democracy?
    secular democracy?

  65. 65
    PTirebiter says:

    @wilfred: Some time ago, I watched a 60 Minutes segment that exposed some the realities of Palestinian life around a single settlement. I was shocked and a bit ashamed when my loosely held perceptions of settlements collided with the pictures. I was equally surprised by how little buzz the segment created. I think Svensker is absolutely right, to the average American, the word settlement evokes vague images of a frontier outpost.

  66. 66
    wilfred says:

    @matoko_chan:

    No, the analogy is correct. Many Turks retain some vestige of Muslimness but little religiosity. In the same way Israeli immigrants are somehow culturally Jewish but completely irreligious.

    @4jkb4ia:

    The term used is Din wa dawla – Islam is religion and state. This is the central political context of the Muslim Brotherhood, for example, as advanced by Hasan al-Banna. He did not invent the idea, which is as old as Islam, but re-introduced it as a benchmark for the Brotherhood’s form of religious nationalism; Iran’s is necessarily similar.

    Most non-Muslims have difficulty in understanding this essential and unavoidable conflation.

  67. 67
    matoko_chan says:

    @4jkb4ia:

    Yes, I can read.

    wallah, i do not see it.
    what is happening in Egypt is the same thing that happened in Iran.
    the people are going to overthrow a tyrant.
    and then they will have representative government, perhaps.
    But the people will vote for shariah if they can vote, and vote for the “Islamist” parties because al-Islam is what they want.

    In the US, if not for thom jefferson’s wall between church state, the christians would vote for christianity to be established as law.

  68. 68
    Gator90 says:

    @FlipYrWhig:

    Israel follows leaders who espouse demented anti-Arab-ism, are openly dedicated to eternal war against Islam,

    Israel is dedicated to eternal war against Islam? Against Indonesia, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, etc? Against Egypt, with which Israel signed a peace treaty? Israel wants to wipe out a faith with hundreds of millions of adherents around the world? Really? C’mon Flip, think harder.

  69. 69
    matoko_chan says:

    @wilfred: alright….nominally muslim then.
    ;)

  70. 70
    Emma says:

    Matoko_Chan, if your argument is that a religious state cannot be a democracy then Israel is not a democracy. Right? It applies to all religions, right?

  71. 71
    wilfred says:

    @PTirebiter:

    One thing we always believed was that when Americans actually saw and understood what all of this means they would apply their innate common sense to break through the propaganda.

  72. 72
    El Cid says:

    @matoko_chan: Yes. The blockade is Hamas’ friend. I have no idea if you think you’re making a point. I was doing sort of what philosophers call a reductio ad absurdum — not praising Hamas, which some people hear even in the sound of bats flying at night, but simply and clearly stating that were there no Hamas, or if Hamas became the angels they are preferred to be, it would make little difference in Israeli policymakers’ isolation of Palestinians and expansion of territory as much as possible. If you were trying snark, it still makes no sense.

  73. 73
    matoko_chan says:

    @ciotog: lawl, you get it.
    Hamas are assholes, but they are very smart.
    They don’t give a shit about the gazans.
    Starving children living in filth is great PR for them.
    The Israelis are stupid.
    They are letting Hamas run them like they let Hizb’ run them in the Summer War.
    Do you remember the Summer War?
    How it started?
    Hizb’ was trying to swap for Sameer Kuntar and the deal fell through, so Hizb’ grabbed 2 Israeli soljahs to sweeten the deal.
    1500 lebanese civilians died, and 2 weeks after the UN closed out hostilities, Hizb’ got Kuntar, and the Israelis got 2 bodies.
    Hamas believes….from the empirical evidence of the Summer War….that they will get what they want if they just wait.
    The blockade situation is a net negative for Israel, like bombing leb civilians and infrastucture was.
    The Gazans are held hostage to Hamas just like the Lebanese were held hostage to Hizb’. The longer the summer war went on, the better it was for Hizb’. The blockade is the same…there is no benefit for Hamas in ending the blockade. In the meme war, the side effect of the blockade is to demonize Israel….just like the side effect of the Summer War..pictures of undernourished big eyed Palestinian children will trump any PR effort Israel can muster. And eventually the Peace Camp and the Ashkenazai will take power from Shas and the Mizrahim. All Hamas has to do is wait…the blockade does the work of demonizing Israel for them.
    The clever gamespace move for Israel is to swap the child and female prisoners for Shalit RIGHT NOW….otherwise, Hamas may wind up with total prisoner release.

    And the right doesn’t want the blockade to end either. Because apparently if Erdogan ended the blockade that would be a victory for team liberal and Allahpundit and the JAFIs would be sad.

  74. 74
    Robert Waldmann says:

    To me the oddest thing about the WaPo line is how the rights and responsibilities of allies reverse at will. The standard pro-Israel line is that Israel should not be publicly criticized because they are a US ally. Turkey’s an ally too. Does that mean they get the same priviledges as Israel. No way. Since they are an ally we shouldn’t tolerate statements from them which we would tolerate from non allies “demagoguery toward Israel that ought to be unacceptable for a member of NATO.”

    Oh in the case of Israel, we weren’t expected to accept mere demogogery but also killing people and stuff.

  75. 75
    Alex S. says:

    Since Turkey cooperated with Brazil on the issue of Iran, shouldn’t we also smear Brazil? After all, President Lula is a lefty leftist hippie communist.
    It’s quite obvious that fundamentalist arabian (all the turks are arabs, it’s true, especially the persian turkish arabs) liberal communists want to overturn the judeo-christian capitalist freedom society.

  76. 76
    4jkb4ia says:

    I had to think, but part of what I mean by democracy is that the people have the power of making decisions. Our media define what kinds of decisions will be taken seriously, but they appeal to whether at least on its face the people will accept the decision. Even if the media exposes Rand Paul and his views on the Civil Rights Act, they leave it up to the voters to reject him. So the Islamic character of Iran is what the mullahs say it is rather than what the voters might say it is.

  77. 77
    El Cid says:

    @Alex S.: They already did start to smear Brazil. The pundit class began quoting insider sources wondering why stupid naive Brazil was being tricked and used by shifty Iran, and how come they’re so uppity as to think they can sit at the big boys’ table anyway, etc.

  78. 78
    matoko_chan says:

    @Emma: yup, you get a gold star.

  79. 79
    matoko_chan says:

    @4jkb4ia: read emma.
    then try again.

    So the Islamic character of Iran is what the mullahs say it is rather than what the voters might say it is.

    NO THE ISLAMIC CHARACTER OF IRAN IS WHAT THE ISLAMIC CONSTITUTION SAYS IT IS.
    sheesh

  80. 80
    matoko_chan says:

    @El Cid: i was just extending a pragmatic view of the situ.
    Hamas is not going to suddenly accept Israel’s right-to-exist because there is no benefit to them in it.

  81. 81
    El Cid says:

    This is kind of interesting. Things like this happen frequently, but don’t necessarily change the situation greatly. But still…

    A group of top Israel Navy reserves officers on Sunday publicly called on Israel to allow an external probe into its commando raid of a Gaza-bound humanitarian aid flotilla last week, which left nine people dead and several more wounded.
    __
    In a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Israel Defense Forces Chief of Staff Gabi Ashkenazi, the Navy officers denounced the commando raid as having “ended in tragedy both at the military and diplomatic levels.”
    __
    …”First and foremost, we protest the fact that responsibility for the tragic results was immediately thrust onto the organizers of the flotilla,” wrote the officers. “This demonstrates contempt for the responsibility that belongs principally to the hierarchy of commanders and those who approved the mission. This shows contempt for the values of professionalism, the purity of weapons and for human lives.”

    Also, Gideon Levy reminds readers that it’s absurd to just attribute violent right-wing militarist attitudes to “Likud”, as though there is any other major Israeli political party with a different approach.

    In relation to the asshole Knesset (parliament) bastards screaming at the Israeli Arab Knesset representative Hanin Zuabi, who was on the aid flotilla and trying to argue the subject and her experience there in the Knesset, he notes this:

    Under [Tzipi Livni’s] leadership Kadima has become a random bunch of nationalist, McCarthyist, militarist, chauvinist, loudmouthed bawlers, raising anti-democratic proposals in the Knesset as if it were the last radical right-wing party.
    __
    Who launched the most despicable attacks on Zuabi? Yulia Shamalov Berkovich, Yohanan Plesner and Israel Hasson were all in close competition for the most vulgar, gross abuse. Who raised the proposal to outlaw organizations that give information to foreign authorities? Ronit Tirosh and Otniel Schneller. And who initiated the bill to shut down a widely circulated Israeli newspaper? Marina Solodkin. What do they all have in common? They are all measly Knesset members, midget politicians, representatives of that centrist party Kadima.
    __
    Who needs far-right MKs like Yaakov Katz or Michael Ben-Ari when we have Tirosh and Plesner? Who needs National Union or Habayit Hayehudi when we have Kadima, a faction that deceives its voters…
    __
    Israel has no opposition. The last opposition died in 1977. Since Menachem Begin’s rise to power, the opposition has become mute. A democracy with no opposition is like a fish without water. If anyone still needed proof of this, the flotilla episode provided it – a proven military and political fiasco with worldwide shock waves. These shock waves are scarring Israel irrevocably, while her majesty Livni’s opposition continues to support and justify the operation. If anyone, either in Israel or the rest of the world, thought this bungling government had an alternative, they have been completely misled…
    __
    …Let it be known in Jerusalem and Washington, Ramallah, Paris and London, where some people are still pinning hopes on the attractive woman with the white suits and pseudo-moderate rhetoric – Israel has no alternative ruling party. None. Stop counting on Livni, she is a flimsy crutch. Netanyahu is wearing a mask, the right wing is in disguise.

    It’s pretty silly to always blame the “Likudniks” when their approach is the entire mainstream of Israeli lawmakers and policymakers.

  82. 82
    Cain says:

    @beltane:

    @wilfred: That’s too bad about Obama’s poll numbers in Israel. How many electoral votes does our 51st state have?

    51st? I’m sorry, but it is in fact more important than the 13 original colonies. It is the first state and the electoral votes are twice the others!

    cain

  83. 83
    El Cid says:

    @matoko_chan: I know. I was giving a hypothetical. They don’t have to be likely. Sometimes it’s better if they’re not, so as to give a clearer contrast the hypothetical is intended to highlight.

  84. 84
    4jkb4ia says:

    Part of the reason Israel doesn’t have a constitution is that they would have to define the place of religious law in the state. The place of religious law could be established by the minimum a minority will accept rather than “what the people want”.

  85. 85
    Alex S. says:

    @El Cid:

    Heh, have they already compared Lula to Chavez?

  86. 86
    4jkb4ia says:

    I didn’t say anywhere that democracy has to be secular. But inasmuch as Israel is democratic it is secular, because you can either have a king or rule by rabbis according to the most religious people. So then the most secular person in Tel Aviv helps to define what kind of Jewish character Israel has, at least culturally.

    I also didn’t say that if the mullahs had less power Iran would be automatically secular. I said that you didn’t know what would happen. You might not have the vetting, and the people might vote for the exact same people, but they don’t have the freedom to explicitly decide to vote for different people.

  87. 87
    El Cid says:

    @Alex S.: Not directly. He’s still part of the ‘good left’ of South America, but if Brazil keeps this sort of independent foreign policy up, I’m sure that the U.S. foreign policy establishment and the punditarians who orbit it will begin to complain about how rogue Lula etc. has gone, and how his turn to hard-line in his later administration is harming Brazil, etc. etc. Barking on command, in other words.

  88. 88
    FlipYrWhig says:

    @Gator90:

    Israel is dedicated to eternal war against Islam?

    Your formulation was that the Palestinians of Gaza should eschew “leaders who espouse” violence and bigotry. Israel has many prominent leaders who have done no such thing. See Lieberman, Avigdor. I was (clumsily) echoing your language to point out that Israel has elected leaders who would fail the test you wish to see the Palestinians meeting.

  89. 89
    4jkb4ia says:

    The concept is whether the religion itself is more or less democratic not how legitimate a secular state is. You might treat the Roman Catholic Church as one pole of not having democracy, and in Spain and Italy the Church had a powerful veto for decades even if the political system was democratic.

  90. 90
    someguy says:

    @Cacti:

    And AFAIK, no one has been caught committing espionage on the U.S. on behalf of the Turkish government.

    And nobody has been caught passing bags of AIPAC cash to members of Congress in the dark of night. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. I think it’s probably a mistake to consider Turkey more of a friend than they actually are.

  91. 91
    maus says:

    @someguy:

    And nobody has been caught passing bags of AIPAC cash to members of Congress in the dark of night. Doesn’t mean it doesn’t happen. I think it’s probably a mistake to consider Turkey more of a friend than they actually are.

    Are they not as much of a friend as anyone else in NATO?

  92. 92
    kdaug says:

    @someguy:
    Turks are and have been a critical ally of ours, and the western world’s, since the days of Constantine. They are the historic bridge between the Muslim and Christian worlds. They are among the world’s most skilled and accomplished diplomats, necessarily. And they’ve committed their military to fight and die on our side should we ever come under attack. (That’s why we have the Incirlic Airbase from which we resupply our troops in AfPak. As the saying goes, “Amateurs talk strategy, experts talk logistics.”)

    Israel?

  93. 93
    Svensker says:

    @someguy:

    And nobody has been caught passing bags of AIPAC cash to members of Congress in the dark of night.

    Oh, they do that in broad daylight.

  94. 94
    DPirate says:

    All theatre while they try to talk Britney Spears into dangling her baby out a window.

  95. 95
    fucen tarmal says:

    i suppose when a group of monotheists that has been getting its ass kicked for 4000 years finally starts to win and gets some some chance to be the power, its too much to ask for, for them to show benevolence.

    why the right wing in this country is so militant is confounding, the whole end of days prophesy just doesn’t cut it.

  96. 96
    Cacti says:

    @someguy:

    I think it’s probably a mistake to consider Turkey more of a friend than they actually are.

    I understand. We have always been at war with Turkey.

  97. 97
    Cacti says:

    @kdaug:

    Israel?

    They graciously accept our money?

    They’ve only attacked one of our Navy ships?

    They haven’t killed or maimed that many of our citizens?

    Israel is our bestest most specialest ally because…SHUT UP! That’s why.

  98. 98
    someguy says:

    @maus:

    Are they not as much of a friend as anyone else in NATO?

    No, they aren’t. You make a big mistake to consider Turkey as staunch an ally as Britain, or Belgium as solid as Norway. Greece, for another example, pretty much hates us and has since the early 1970’s or earlier. NATO is a loose coalition with some core members having relatively strong commitment to the NATO project, many having strong commitments to each other on a bilateral basis, and others having varying degrees of commitment and outright hostility to to other NATO nations as their interests wax and wane. You think Greece and Turkey are equally committed NATO members on all issues? What happens if Israel and Turkey fight – you think Greece is going to come to Turkey’s aid? Or if the shoe was on the other foot that Turkey would aid Greece?

  99. 99
    Phoenician in a time of Romans says:

    Do you understand what democracy means?
    it means the people get to vote.
    if muslims vote, they will vote for islamic government, not secular government.

    What you fail to understand is that in American official discourse, “democracy” means pro-American. A “President” who literally boils dissidents alive gets described as a “democrat” if he allows American bases to be set up in his country.

  100. 100
    celticdragonchick says:

    @Cain:
    I bet if we decided to send a ship with supplies to Gaza and they came in with guns blazing the right wing bastards would be blaming the organizers as well. Well their love of Israel trump their loyalty to this country?

    Yes.

    See USS LIberty.

  101. 101
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    In case nobody has posted this yet, turns out Israel has no idea where the “go back to Auschwitz” transmissions came from.

  102. 102
    matoko_chan says:

    @4jkb4ia: you’re just a closet colonial.

    @celticdragonchick: well you see…..Israel is just scared and stupid.
    Unlike the “christian right” in this country……..who don’t give a shit if little muslim girls get infibullation fgm or if small palestinian children are undernourished and stunted as long as they get to count coup on liberals and bash al-Islam.
    The “christian right” in America is basically evil.
    And so are their supporters.

  103. 103
    matoko_chan says:

    Please unmoderate my comment Cole.

  104. 104
    PaulW says:

    @Bruce (formerly Steve S.):

    In case nobody has posted this yet, turns out Israel has no idea where the “go back to Auschwitz” transmissions came from.

    Oh no. Pat Buchanan was monitoring communications for the NSA that night?

  105. 105
    jerry 101 says:

    @someguy:

    Ummm…you realize that Greece canceled joint military exercises with Israel in response to the Flotilla Attack, right?

    You think they did that because they don’t like the Turks, or because they support their NATO ally and next door neighbor when it’s citizens are attacked by another foreign power in international waters?

    The issue in Cyprus remains a sticky one (amongst others) between the Turks and Greeks, but to think that they aren’t allies is stupid.

    Greece is, in fact, one of Turkey’s strongest supporters in its bid for EU ascendency.

  106. 106
    liberal says:

    @ciotog:

    Leaving aside the question of whether any state—as opposed to a people—has the “right” to exist…one never hears the question asked of whether or not the state of Israel thinks that the Palestinians have the right to exist.

    This.

  107. 107
    kdaug says:

    @jerry 101: Hmm. Seems like that EU “ascendency” looks a bit more like a lateral motion at this point.

  108. 108
    liberal says:

    @4jkb4ia:

    Or, the repressive governments have used Islam to distract from their rule…

    True in some places, but not everywhere.

    Saudi Arabia: Definitely true.
    Egypt: doubt it.
    Syria: doubt it.
    Iran: not valid, because Islam is a defining feature of the government, not just a distraction.
    Iraq, pre-invasion: laughable.

  109. 109
    liberal says:

    @matoko_chan:

    Iran is a representative Islamic Republic. Their constitution allows the population to vote.

    Yes and no. I’d call Iran a quasi-democracy. Far, far more democratic than Saudi Arabia, e.g. But much of the real power is held by institutions which are not held to account in popular elections.

  110. 110
    liberal says:

    @matoko_chan:

    And eventually the Peace Camp and the Ashkenazai will take power from Shas and the Mizrahim.

    Doubt it. The trend in Israel over the past two or three decades has been to move further rightward.

  111. 111
    liberal says:

    @Robert Waldmann:

    The standard pro-Israel line is that Israel should not be publicly criticized because they are a US ally. Turkey’s an ally too. Does that mean they get the same priviledges as Israel.

    Your analogy fails. Israel is NOT AN ALLY, if by ally we mean a member of an alliance cemented by treaty. There is no treaty underlying the “special relationship.”

  112. 112
    Bruce (formerly Steve S.) says:

    @liberal:

    I’d call Iran a quasi-democracy.

    There are elections with candidates that are pre-approved by the mullahs. The spectrum of debate is strictly limited by the ruling class.

    So that’s America. Iran’s democracy is very similar.

  113. 113
    kdaug says:

    @liberal: Or the Kurds.

    Or, closer to home, the Arapaho, Cheorkee, Seminole, etc.

    This goes back to neanderthal v. cro-magnon. Haven’t found a nice way to handle it yet.

  114. 114
    PeakVT says:

    So that’s America. Iran’s democracy is very similar.

    LoL.

  115. 115
    justme says:

    …concerned about Israel’s poor judgment…

    Whattya expect from a nuclear-enabled nation, perspicacity?

    Bleahh

  116. 116
  117. 117
    TenguPhule says:

    The trend in Israel over the past two or three decades has been to move further rightward.

    For the last decade yes. Helped in large part by the Palestinians. There’s a reason why they have the nickname of “Never missing an opportunity to miss an opportunity”.

    Israel’s doves got their extended hand chopped off at the wrist by Arafat and company at the ending of the last millenium, the hawks have been in charge ever since.

  118. 118
    TenguPhule says:

    one never hears the question asked of whether or not the state of Israel thinks that the Palestinians have the right to exist.

    The most common answer would be that its the same one the Palestinians give when asked about Israelis.

    And so it goes, the snake continues to swallow its tail.

  119. 119
  120. 120
    KXB says:

    @TenguPhule:

    The differences are:

    1. The Israeli military attacked its ally the U.S. military. Iran and the U.S. were not military allies at the time of the airliner shoot-down. In fact, they were actively hostile.

    2. Oh, one more thing – the U.S. accepted responsibility for the attack, did not deny it, and paid compensation. That is mentioned in the Wikipedia entry, which you seem to ignore.

    Jeebus, it is too fucking early for this much stupid.

  121. 121
    matoko_chan says:

    @TenguPhule:

    Helped in large part by the Palestinians.

    you are mistaken.
    Neither Arafat or Hamas ever gave a shit about the palestinians, except as tools to exploit to amass power. Exactly like the low information base and conservatives in this country.
    Palestinians would just like jobs and a clean safe place to raise their kids. Hamas and Arafat want(ed) a global stage to air their grievences on. The two goals are oppositionary.
    The more miserable the palestinian people are, the better it is for Hamas.

  122. 122
    TenguPhule says:

    @KXB

    JFCNTZYM, you are generating 10,000 gigawatts of stupid.

    Iran and the U.S. were not military allies at the time of the airliner shoot-down. In fact, they were actively hostile

    Iran and IRAQ were at war and the US was protecting friendly shipping from being caught in the crossfire. We were not at fucking war with Iran. You want to nitpick, try doing so intelligently.

    Israel claims it accidently fired on the Liberty because it mistook it for a hostile Soviet vessel. 34 Americans died.

    The US claims it accidently destroyed an Iranian 747 civilian airliner because an Aegis cruiser mistook it for an F16. 290 people died.

    It’s not rocket science, you know.

    Oh, one more thing – the U.S. accepted responsibility for the attack, did not deny it, and paid compensation. That is mentioned in the Wikipedia entry, which you seem to ignore.

    From the entry.

    The government never admitted wrongdoing, and did not accept responsibility nor submit an apology to the Iranian government.

    The payment of compensation was explicitly characterized by the US as being on an ex gratia basis, and the U.S. denied having any responsibility or liability for what happened.

    And from the Liberty incident.

    In May 1968, the Israeli government paid US$3,323,500 as full payment to the families of the 34 men killed in the attack. In March 1969, Israel paid a further $3,566,457 in compensation to the men who had been wounded. On 18 December 1980, it agreed to pay $6 million as settlement for the U.S. claim of $7,644,146 for material damage to the Liberty itself

    Seeing a pattern yet?

  123. 123
    hilzoy says:

    “I have wondered what Hilzoy would make of all of this.”

    You rang?

    I think that Israel is being monumentally stupid, not just (obviously) in the prosecution of the raid on the ships, but in its entire strategy. I do not see any long-term solution to all of this that does not involve Israel making peace with (at least most of) its neighbors, and I cannot for the life of me imagine how its present policies are supposed to make that more likely.

    I have no idea how much control Turkey had over whether or not the flotilla sailed — I haven’t been following that part of the story. I’d hate to see anyone advocate, say, that the Turkish government forbid freedom of movement for its nationals, but if it had the power to persuade the flotilla not to sail, I think that in its place, I would have used it. This is because I don’t like provoking confrontations that might draw Iran and Israel into open conflict.

    Much more generally, I did not care for Turkey’s Kemalist government, especially in its military versions, and I think that increasing democratization in Turkey is a really good thing. I assume, obviously, that a fully democratic Turkey will not always do what we want, or even things we find remotely plausible, any more than we will always do what they want, etc. That’s the point of genuine self-determination, I’ve always thought, and a very good thing it is, however inconvenient we might find it at any given moment. (I tend to think of this as like personal relationships. Might I find myself thinking, at some particular moment, that I really wish my friend had not done some unwise, embarrassing, or incredibly inconvenient thing? Yes. Would I prefer that my friends be my slaves? Dear God, no. Is the fact that they sometimes do things I really don’t care for at all the price I pay for their not being my slaves? Yes. Is it worth it? So much so that I cannot imagine finding this even a tiny source of regret.)

    I think it’s especially important that there be credible democracies in the Muslim Middle East, so that there is, somewhere, an example of how this can work. I would not try to create them by force, a la Iraq, obviously, but where they spontaneously arise, I rejoice. As with friends, it goes with the territory that such a democracy will not always do what I think it should. I still rejoice. And if this is the silliest thing that happens as a result, I’ll be very happy, and think: I got my cake and ate it too.

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