this exchange sums up my feelings re: the gaza flotilla massacre

On Facebook (Ken is someone with whom I went to public high school many many moons ago):

Me (regarding the attack on the flotilla): “Stupid. Incredibly stupid. And criminal. I’ll point to this the next time someone tells me Israel is acting in self-defense. As I’ve said many many times, the gravest threat to Israel is Israel itself.”

Ken: “Let’s see what the real story is. From an Israeli point of view there is a large population inside Gaza trying to bring in weapons to kill Israelis. Israel has blockaded the area to prevent this. A Flotilla attempts to thwart the blockade. Israeli commandos board the vessel. That’s what happens in a blockade. The commandos are attacked with knives and clubs. Pandemonium breaks out on these tiny boats. 15 Israeli soldiers are wounded, 12 activists are wounded and 2 are killed (early reports, could change). The area is under military blockade. Boats should not sail there unless they are looking for trouble. They got trouble and succeeded in their mission to make Israel look bad. Some paid with their lives and I guess it is worth it for them. This was a publicity stunt designed to put Israel in a NO-Win situation. Why are there so many videos and reports? Media outlets were called and sat. phones were on board. Don’t jump to such anti-Israel conclusions. We have enough people to do that, like Ahmadinejad. He condemned the attack”

Me: “Ken, with all due respect, that’s a ton of bullshit. Wake up already-stop being a zionist propagandist, you’re too intelligent for that, no? This is the same nonsense that was spewed when the Philly cops dropped a percussion bomb on the MOVE house and destroyed a neighborhood. Stuff like that isn’t justified. Imagine if the SS Exodus were fired upon by the British, which was violating the Mandate era laws in Palestine. Indeed, the British decided against storming the Exodus, precisely because it would have been met with violence and civilian deaths. There were any of a number of ways that Israel could have responded to the flotilla, none of which would have led to deaths. And Ahmedinejad is hardly the only person to condemn the Israeli attack-France, Germany, Turkey and other EU countries are also outraged. Are they all to be dismissed as “enemies of Israel?”

Israel is an occupying power, drunk on its military superiority and the most arrogant nation on earth. It makes life much more difficult for Jews outside Israel, since we’re viewed as sympathetic regardless of Israel’s actions. If Israel is a sovereign nation, as it is, then it has to take blame for its errors. Instead, Barak is blaming the people on the ship (blaming the victims is a tactic they use over and over again, in Gaza, in the West Bank, etc). This strikes me as having parallels with the Sharpsville Massacre, the Amritsar Massacre and any of a number of massacres against Jews during the Nazi era. Sorry Ken, but perhaps instead of reading AIPAC’s propaganda or the Jerusalem Post, you might consider the reporting in the Israeli paper Ha’aretz, which is at least honest about Israel’s misdeeds. Israel gets no sympathy or excuses from me any more than the US does when it commits crimes (just consider the US record in Latin America over the past 70 years).

Other than that, have a wonderful Memorial Day.”

Okay, I’m now braced for the usual retorts about me being a “turncoat” like Noam Chomsky, the ultimate perjorative among the “rah-rah Israel” and the “praise Israel first” crowd here in the US. Personally, Chomsky’s views are perhaps more moderate than mine in this regard. Well, I’m resigned to it. Bring it on.