Flotilla to Gaza: Facts and Meditations

If you have been following Facebook, Twitter, or the news, you have probably heard of the flotilla that was captured by the Israel military sometime our Sunday night. Six boats filled with humanitarian aid deporting from several European countries were headed to Gaza. Organized by the umbrella organization Free Gaza, the ships were trying to break a blockade and bring much needed supplies.

The flotilla aimed to deliver aid to Gaza, to break an Israeli and Egyptian blockade on the territory. According to the UN, Gaza receives about one quarter of the supplies it used to receive in the years before the blockade was tightened in 2007. The ships were carrying 10,000 tonnes of goods, including school supplies, building materials and two large electricity generators. The activists also say they wanted to make the point that, in their view, the blockade is illegal under international law. (BBC).

I found this video rather helpful to explain who and what the mission was trying to do. But the flotilla had to abort the mission when the Israeli Defense Force boarded the ships in international waters, killing 10 people and wounding 30. The boats were captured and taken to Israel. Though there are two sides to the debate, the attack was brutal – no side can deny that. Upon boarding the ship (armed and w/ body protection), the military began shooting the civilians. The soldiers said they were being attacked, (though technically since the soldiers jumped on the boat in international waters, the soldiers were the attackers). The aid workers carried no ammunition on the boats; the video evidence (from the Israeli side) shows slingshots and sticks (link). Video evidence from Al Jazeera shows gunshots going off even after the boat raised the white flags.

There has been an international outcry about the attack and the disappearance of the 700 people on the boat. Yesterday, within 24 hours of the attacks, protests were happening all around the world. This interactive map shows just how many people hit the streets as soon as this happened. Here in Los Angeles, people rallied in front of the Israeli Consulate – I went to go see what it was all about and gather some interviews while at it.

Only just this afternoon has the Israeli government released information on the the well-being of the passengers. Though most of the people on the passenger list were European, there were also some Desis on board the ships.

“Islamabad has strongly condemned the attack on the humanitarian mission and it is seriously concerned over the well-being and whereabouts of Pakistani citizens and media personnel on board,” he said. Interior Minister Rehman Malik called upon Interpol to help recover TV anchor Talat Hussain and the other Pakistanis aboard Gaza aid ships. (Daily Times link)

Also see this:

The US and Interpol have assured Pakistan that three of its nationals on board a peace flotilla carrying aid for the Gaza Strip were safe and detained in Israel after the Israeli Navy attack. Interior Minister Rehman Malik separately said that the Interpol was making ‘personal efforts’ for the release of the three Pakistanis – journalists Talat Hussain and Raza Mehmood Agha of the Aaj TV channel and aid worker Nadeem Ahmed Khan of the Khubaib Foundation – who are currently detained in Israel. (Sify)

But that’s Pakistan some of you will say. What about the so-called Israel-India alliance? Well it seems the government India also has expressed outrage:

India joined several other governments around the world in condemning Israel for its use of disproportionate force leading to the death of 20 passengers on a flotilla carrying relief supplies to Gaza.

“India deplores the tragic loss of life and the reports of killings and injuries to the people on the boats carrying supplies for Gaza. There can be no justification for such indiscriminate use of force, which we condemn. We extend our sympathies to the families of the dead and wounded. It is our firm conviction that lasting peace and security in the region can be achieved only through peaceful dialogue and not through use of force,” said a Ministry of External Affairs statement. (The Hindu)

The discrepencies between stories on either side have been large. There were reporters on the boats reporting live, but their transmission was cut as soon as the boat was captured. The only news that the international community has been able to attain since the attack were those being spun from the IDF desks. And I do mean spin. All other accounts have been censored and media has not been able to get into the area to talk to activists. Arguments have been made from Israeli supporters to me, that we can’t jump to conclusions and respond hastily to what actually happened on the humanitarian boats. But to me, the fact that 1) the boats were attacked by IDF in international water 2) the activists on boats were without firearms 3) IDF detained all 700 passengers without allowing them contact with the outside world and 4) the outright media censorship of not allowing journalists in nor allowing journalists on the boats the right to report out clearly implies who the protagonists are in this situation. If IDF had nothing to hide, they clearly wouldn’t be hiding it and spinning it the way they have been.

+++

It’s no surprise to people on what side I am on this. I’ve written about the Gaza protest in Los Angeles before and was one of the organizers of an Art for Peace event in L.A. in support of Gaza last year. What may surprise you is that I usually do hate going to protests, especially here in Los Angeles. I think they can be nonstrategic and ineffective, unless you are targeting your message at a location where the power holders will hear it (like D.C.). But I attended the protest yesterday for a few reasons. The first reason is because it was an immediate worldwide action. Within 24 hours of the attack, people around the world were coordinating protests stating their disapproval of the action. I really feel it was due to interactive web tools like twitter and google maps that this happened so quickly. The second was that we were protesting in front of the Israeli Consulate – an access ‘perk’ that people in the Muslim world do not have. In Dhaka, Bangladesh, for example, though there is a Palestinian Embassy they do not recognize Israel as a nation state and thus, they are not allowed to have a embassy in Dhaka.

The third reason is this. As I was talking to my mother yesterday about the situation, my mom said something that really struck me. She said, ” I do feel bad that they died. But they were taking boats into a dangerous area. They should have known what was going to happen.” It surprised me she would say something like that, given our family history.

Recently, I was traveling in South Asia. I was there initially to collect personal family stories on revolution, though as the trip continued it started to get bigger. There was the story that my grandfather told me of how he went to college in Calcutta, and whenever he crossed the Ganges river, Hindus would throw rocks at him because he was Muslim. But it was due to the generosity of a Bengali man that his family able to escape under the cover of celebration of Holi. There was the story of an uncle who was a police officer in Bangladesh in 1971. He left the force when the Pakistan army took over, but decided to go into the office seven months later when they called police officer back to the force. It was only when he went back to his office, that he realized it was a ruse. A non-Bengali saved him. There was the Sinhalese activist woman I met in Sri Lanka who dedicated her life to support the Tamil and Muslim people still stuck in the IDP camps. There was the Hindu cabbie that got out of the cab to give me salaams as I got out of the cab in Calcutta. Muslims had helped him escape out of Bangladesh in the 70s when he was a baby.

My point is – that as South Asians, our roots are deeply intertwined with struggle and revolution. And despite the many sides to the political arguments we always hear coming out od the Desh, buried underneath it all are stories of humanity, of people helping each other to survive. Caste, race, religion no-bar. Our history as being American is also deeply entwined w/ revolution intertwined with humanity. The situation with the flotilla’s to me personally was not about Hamas or IDF, it was about peace activists who were doing humanitarian good. They were bringing much needed supplies to blockaded people, people of a land who are being used as pawns in an international power game.

We have to take that personal risk to save other people. The power I find in the people that were on the boat is that they went to provide aid despite knowing they were going to put themselves in a risky situation. People have been doing that for me since before I was alive. I think I need to honor that by paying it forward, and supporting the people that put helping other people ahead of themselves.

No matter what side of the Gaza argument you are on, I hope that we can all at least agree on that.

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About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates MutinousMindState.tumblr.com and blogs at TazzyStar.blogspot.com. Follow her at twitter.com/tazzystar

111 thoughts on “Flotilla to Gaza: Facts and Meditations

  1. On a note, all these anti-Israeli comments are pretty disturbing. We don’t know the facts in the case yet and already people are condemning Israel as a malevolent state equivalent to South Africa under apartheid.

  2. Perhaps so, but it was executed perfectly and exposed the IDF/Cheil Hayam for the war criminals that they are. Worldwide attention has been drawn to medinat Israel’s atrocities and the fact that they will commit any number of crimes in anyone’s front yard to remove their perceived enemies.

    So actually enforcing a blockade and trying to inspect goods entering a disputed area you’re at war with is a crime now? Or was the crime shooting people who charged them with improvised weapons and threatened to lynch them as they attempted to enforce their laws? Bear in mind, the Israelis didn’t say “No!” They said “Dock in Israel for inspection prior to proceeding.”

  3. Henry Barkey is a former State Department official who has received funding from neocons over the years. He is a joke, and like most career politicians on the pro-Israel/AIPAC feed

    which neocons funded him annd how do you now he recieves money from aipac?

  4. @Neha:

    Henry Barkey is a former State Department official. . .

    Was that supposed to undercut his credibility somehow?

  5. The fortilla was going to break the embargo. Why is Gaza under an embargo? Do Manju and Israel’s other useful idiots have an explanation of why Israel (the most awesome country in the Middle East, ever) prohibits citizens of Gaza from receiving these items. Is there any other explanation to it , apart from the fact that Israel wants to punish all Gazan men, women, children, and animals:

    List of items again which cannot go to Gaza because of the Israeli blockade:

    sage – cardamom – cumin – coriander – ginger – jam – halva – vinegar – nutmeg – chocolate – fruit preserves – seeds and nuts – biscuits – potato chips – dried fruit – fresh meat - plaster – tar – wood for construction – cement – iron – glucose – industrial salt – plastic/glass/metal containers – industrial margarine – tarpaulin sheets for huts – fabric (for clothing) – flavor and smell enhancers – fishing rods shampoo – various fishing nets soap – buoys – ropes for fishing – nylon nets for greenhouses – hatcheries and spare parts for hatcheries – spare parts for tractors – dairies for cowsheds – irrigation pipe – ropes to tie greenhouses – planters for saplings – heaters for chicken farms – musical instruments - size A4 paper – writing implements – notebooks – newspapers – toys – razors – sewing machines – heaters all canned food – horses – donkeys – goats – cattle – chicks

    http://gisha.org/UserFiles/File/HiddenMessages/ItemsGazaStrip060510.pdf

  6. Too bad sepia mutiny does not have the ability to do polling. I wonder how Indian and Indian Americans give a damn about the Israel Palestinian issue.

  7. Henry Barkey is a former State Department official who has received funding from neocons over the years. He is a joke, and like most career politicians on the pro-Israel/AIPAC feed is now moving into “education.”

    He’s a hack. Just like Richard Pearle and his ilk.

    Neha, slow down. Less name-calling and more substantive argument please. If you disagree with Henri Barkey, give evidence. Don’t start throwing around insults…

    In fact, many news sources, including the New York Times, agree with your premise — and have disputed the charge that IHH is an Islamist organization. That’s all that needs to be said, is it not?

  8. On a note, all these anti-Israeli comments are pretty disturbing. We don’t know the facts in the case yet and already people are condemning Israel as a malevolent state equivalent to South Africa under apartheid.

    Who doesn’t know the facts? The activists have been deported and have started speaking up. The facts are clear : Israel threatened, fired shots and boarded a humanitarian aid vessel in international waters. 9+ people are dead. The UN is still wearing bangles. Gaza remains illegally occupied. What other facts are there to know ?

    Most of the world has condemned Israel already, so should it surprise you if Israel is condemned here as well ? Even Clinton has moved from “this is unsustainable” (wtf?) and “caution” to clear condemnation http://beta.thehindu.com/news/international/article444799.ece (Or maybe the Hindu is spinning it and hence the post is under “beta.thehindu.com”?)

  9. Also, Isabel Kershner, the “journalist” reporting for the NYTimes piece (and what a well-researched piece it is — it’s like someone handed her a file with prefabricated info) is a Israeli “journalist” who has written for the The New Republic, an unabashedly pro-Israel mouthpiece. Kershner writes for Jerusalem Post as well — which is glorified Fox News.

    This is NYTimes at its best.

    Manju, do your own research. Henry Barkey’s positions are well-known in any circle familiar with Mideast policy makers and “think tanks.” If you believe pro-Israel spin, go for it. I am not here to persuade or dissuade you.

    Also, off topic, enjoy this for our future slice of propaganda: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZYIfcMTjQWU

  10. That list of yours Pagal is not an official list. It seems to be compiled based on reports from people trying to send things in. Given that customs officers will allow or not allow importation based on a variety of criteria, including the size of the shipment, the people doing the shipment, whether their paperwork is in order, etc. this really isn’t a reliable list of what is and isn’t sent through.

    prohibits citizens of Gaza from receiving these items. Is there any other explanation to it , apart from the fact that Israel wants to punish all Gazan men, women, children, and animals:

    Um. . . Israel doesn’t want guns or tools to improvise explosives or weapons from being smuggled in. . . obviously.

  11. @Amardeep,

    If you want to delete my comments on Barkey for lack of evidence, go ahead. I have read his books, and he is biased hack.

  12. Manju, do your own research. Henry Barkey’s positions are well-known in any circle familiar with Mideast policy makers and “think tanks.” If you believe pro-Israel spin, go for it. I am not here to persuade or dissuade you.

    Well, you made the charge. The AiPAC money accusation happens to overlap with a well-known antisemitic meme, which is not to say its anti semitic. after all, truth is a legitimate defense against liable.

    but your glib dismissal of anti-semitism “Human rights organizations (who ALL hate Israel and are anti-Semites and are all seekret Islamists and Al Quaida, we all know” while you traffic in those memes is creepy to say the least.

  13. The difference between Israel and the other nice regimes in the middle east that the left seems to love: In Israel, equally tough questions are being asked by their people and media about this incident. I don’t think you can see anything approaching that kind of openness in a Hamas ruled Palestine. While this incident needs investigation and punished as needed, condemning Israel as a whole just ignores the faults of the other side.

  14. @Brahmastra

    The difference between Israel and the other nice regimes in the middle east that the left seems to love ….

    You’re also jumping to conclusions that if someone condemns Israel, they must love the opposing regimes. You’re either with us, or you’re with the terrorists ? Too simplistic a deduction to make.

    I happen to be gay. I know that there are more gay-rights in Israel than in any other country in the middle east. But this is not about me, is it? I’m first a human being with a conscience, and everything else is secondary.

    So, stop with the binary black-white deductions please. I’m equally opposed to what Ahmedinejad is doing to his own people in Iran.

  15. Pagal – The blockade of Gaza has been a joint Israeli and Egyptian endeavor. Egypt opened their border only after this latest incident. Neither country (Egypt or Israel) or the powers in the west bank (PLO/Fatah) want Hamas in power and this is their way of showing that (not making a judgement on whether it is effective or not, but there is more to it than simply Israel).

  16. I’m first a human being with a conscience, and everything else is secondary.

    well said. this is the point i fail to understand with people. why should all subscribe to the binary view of the world? I am appalled by the brutality of the Israeli regime in the same way a hamas operative blows up people in a pizza parlor. they are not conflicting for me, a person with conscience should see both as infliction of violence on innocent people.

  17. Israel as a nation, has a psychological sickness, not unlike N. Korea. Its “need for recognition and approval” and paranoia is quite sad.

    Suede, are you condemning Iran for having a ” psychological sickness” ? What kind of a sick mind would say that Israelis have a “psychological sickness”? That is uncalled for and the worst case of projection I ever encountered.

  18. @nyx

    Suede, are you condemning Iran for having a ” psychological sickness” ? I haven’t seen Iran act paranoid or desperate for approval, so no, not Iran. It is still messed-up though. But North Korea, yes, it has a similar psychological sickness, a need for approval, constant attention-seeking, mischief, threats and almost childish behavior.

    say that Israelis have a “psychological sickness”? I said “Israel as a nation, has a psychological sickness, not unlike N. Korea.” Israelis are not Israel, and Israel is not Israelis. If you can understand that people can have an identity and opinion which is separate from the national identity and opinion, then maybe you will see what I’m saying. I can condemn China for being an opressive country but I can love the chinese people for being resilient and hard-working? See the difference?

  19. psychological sickness, a need for approval, constant attention-seeking, mischief, threats and almost childish behavior.

    Where has Israel been attention-seeking, mischief, threats?…and Israel’s actions are psychological sickness compared to what goes on in Iran, Saudi, Palestine who elected the terrorist group Hamas. Sorry with Iran’s leadership, their denial of basic civil rights to their citizens, b/c you will NEVER find the type of argument and discussion that is going on right now in Israel, in Iran, Israel’s problems don’t compare. And let’s not forget that “psychologically sick” Iranian leader’s denial of the holocaust.

    There’s a lot of govts that may be “psych sick”, however Israel wouldn’t be in the top in my list.

  20. Israelis are not Israel, and Israel is not Israelis.

    I think someone needs to review how the concept of a nation-state works.

  21. I have a lot of sympathy for Israel but all liberal (not in the American but classic sense) should be worried about this latest attack. Lieberman and Netanyahu have made Israel less sympathetic than before, which I thought was not possible. Prior sympathizers like Beinart have been talking about the radicalization of Israel for days. Even in America, where the sympathy for Israel is bottomless (with good reason) ,when your only supporters are fanatics (Weekly Standard and Commentary) and Sarah Palin (which should not count by any reasonable standards) you should take a second look at your policy.

    This is no way reflects that we should support the Islamists, Hamas, Hezbollah (Neha bait :) ) but restraint on part of Israel is warranted at this juncture.

    P.S. I find the widespread condemnation of Israel funny (not in a haha sense) considering the silence after the recent North Korean actions. There, I get my right-wing credentials back :) .

  22. @PS

    Where has Israel been attention-seeking, mischief, threats?

    Again you take my words out of context. The ones you mis-quote above were describing N.Korea which has a similar sickness.

    This conversation is going nowhere if you misquote me, to me, on the same webpage. Don’t waste my time.

  23. “Throw the jews down the well……so our country can be free!” But they are the chosen ones entitled to the promised land and you better watch out for Yahweh the terrible jealous bloodthirsty warrior god of the jews. It’s no accident they are into international finance – because the talmud or torah or whatever they read prohibits them from practising usury on their own people, but it’s ok to rip off gentiles, not that it stopped Bernie Madoff from ripping off fellow jews.

  24. but restraint on part of Israel is warranted at this juncture.

    I’m really curious of what the probe will find. I just watched some video on HF on the soldiers landing on the ship and the gang that came right on them, with pipes, metal chains, stun grenades…wtf?

    And I’m not sure if Israel acted wrongly in stopping the boat before it reached its territory. What is the country supposed to do? I understand we don’t know all the facts, but what restraint hasn’t Israel shown.

    Hamas is a terrorist group elected by the Palestinian people. i question though elections being held when there cannot be free debate on issues or freedom of expression…but supposedly this horrible group was elected by the people.

    Their charter directly states they want to annihilate Israel

    They’ve been firing weapons at civilians for so long.

    So Israel has forced a blockade and wants to check the ships to make sure that it doesn’t contain weapons.

    Makes sense to me.

    I wish these activists would muster up all these protest when minorities in these middle eastern countries are attacked. sigh…

  25. @Suede

    I’m not sure how I misquoted you. You do agree that your characterization of N. Korea as psych sick, threat, attention-seeking is similar to Israel. Okay…but I’m not to assume that means that you mean that Israel is pych sick, threat, attention-seeking.

    allright.

    But you also say: “Israel as a nation, has a psychological sickness, not unlike N. Korea. Its “need for recognition and approval” and paranoia is quite sad.”

    The conversation goes nowhere when you don’t own up to your own statements.

  26. considering the silence after the recent North Korean actions.

    lol. true. This may be because we expect N. Korea to act like a dictatorial regime, and somehow it isn’t so much of an outrage if, lets say, ” a wolf acts like a wolf”. I’m not saying it is right on our part, but “expected behavior” is somehow more palatable? On the other hand, Israel, a democracy, is expected to behave in a more civil way, and when it doesn’t meet expectations, there is an outrage. This is atleast partly to blame for the silence after the N. Korea actions.

    The other might just be ignore tactics to behaviorally train an attention-seeker ?

  27. @ps

    I agree with you mostly. But I will let an ex Israeli general say what I think. from Jeff Goldberg

    happen to be around a lot of Israeli generals lately, and one I bumped into today said something very smart and self-aware: “Does everybody in the world think we’re bananas?” He did not let me respond before he said, “Wait, I know the answer: The whole world thinks we’re bananas.” I asked this general if this was a good thing or a bad thing. After all, Nixon seemed bananas and he achieved great things internationally. So did Menachem Begin. This is what the general said, however: “It’s one thing for people to think that you’re crazy, but it’s bad when they think you’re incompetent and crazy, and that’s the way we look.”
  28. @Nara show restraint = don’t look incompetent and crazy. I can see that. except the countries and groups that we expect to act incompetent and crazy can do so blithely…maybe many on the left (and I still consider myself on the left) just realize no amount of protests can change these regimes (such as Iran or N. Korea) attitudes but democracies like Israel or the US are easy targets.

  29. no amount of protests can change these regimes (such as Iran or N. Korea) attitudes but democracies like Israel or the US are easy targets

    Agreed. As suede eloquently put it,”expected behavior” is somehow more palatable. Sad but true.

  30. But you also say: “Israel as a nation, has a psychological sickness, not unlike N. Korea. Its “need for recognition and approval” and paranoia is quite sad.”

    I will clarlify.

    Israel has always had a need for recognition as a nation, because it was built as a forced settlement by colonial powers, inspite of the outrage of the Arab world. Following that, it occupied further parts of Palestine and continues to build settlements illegally (as during the recent Biden visit).

    If you see Chomsky’s video (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YCtYecGbQz8) at 8:24 they discuss : Journalist : “…its rights to exist is questionable in many other states in the world” Chomsky : “The US doesn’t demand that Mexico accept the right that it exists…”

    Then there is also paranoia. The size of its military is proof. And its nukes. The constant over-reaction to events is also proof of this paranoia.

    And all of this is “quite sad” because you can see where this behavior comes from. They were persecuted, tortured and oppressed by Nazis, and almost wiped off the face of the Earth, and all of that is indirectly responsible for some of their actions today. It is as if a person were abused/oppressed as a child, and he grew up being fearful/paranoid and seeking approval. And that is sad.

    Forgive my liberal use of personification.

  31. I’m really curious of what the probe will find. I just watched some video on HF on the soldiers landing on the ship and the gang that came right on them, with pipes, metal chains, stun grenades…wtf? And I’m not sure if Israel acted wrongly in stopping the boat before it reached its territory. What is the country supposed to do? I understand we don’t know all the facts, but what restraint hasn’t Israel shown.

    The problem is, if you listen carefully to what the condemnations are saying, they’re really just irate about the idea of the blockade. This debacle on the ship is just a way get attention. The blood spilled was just a tool to do so. Israel’s problem was playing right into their hands. The people on the ship really did charge them and would have killed them if they could. That much is obvious from the footage. If you attack a soldier you can expect to get shot. That people died is not something Israel should be proud of, but it’s also not something that warrants the recriminations and the gnashing of teeth that have ensued. I suppose they could have tried to disable the ship from afar without sinking it, but that’s risky. If the ship actually was smuggling anything dangerous you risk blowing it up. Remember that time when the INS Tabar fired a warning shot at a Somali pirate ship, had the round fly a bit too close to a big supply of gasoline they had sitting open on the deck, and ended up accidentally lighting the boat up like Christmas? Yea, we wouldn’t have wanted that. Boarding the ship was probably the best move, but the lack of prep. for resistance makes Israel seem boneheaded. They should have been prepared for an eventuality like this. They should have had non-lethal methods of crowd suppression if they were going to raid a civilian ship filled with people who viscerally hate them. Especially given that they knew this flotilla was coming and what kinds of people were on it. This is the problem with hawkish policy in general. Even when force is warranted, those who are too big on bluster and bravado never apply it judiciously. They don’t fucking think things through. You can’t expect to just punch stuff and have it fall into place.

  32. show restraint = don’t look incompetent and crazy. I can see that. except the countries and groups that we expect to act incompetent and crazy can do so blithely…maybe many on the left (and I still consider myself on the left) just realize no amount of protests can change these regimes (such as Iran or N. Korea) attitudes but democracies like Israel or the US are easy targets.

    The problem is often the tone of these complaints. With the US it’s often respectful. But with Israel they’re really in a situation where no matter what they do they are cast as being demonic. Not mistaken, not misguided, not even an honorable enemy, but downright evil. You can’t fix things with an attitude like that neither by force nor by argument. When Gandhi protested against the British he did make a point of reasserting, again and again, that whatever our differences the British were still decent folks and resultantly, [i]satya[/i] would be all the [i]agraha[/i] we needed to make them do the right thing. Do you think India would have any amicable ties with England today if the animus behind our independence struggle was as unreservedly hateful as the campaigns by Hamas and Hezbollah have been?

  33. i think the first steps Israel have to take is to put an end to the blockade, then they need to be the leaders in providing aid for the area, and help as if they are helping their own people. this would be a brave thing to do.

  34. Egypt – a MUSLIM ARAB country – has a BLOCKADE against GAZA. An article from April 2010 http://www.csmonitor.com/World/Middle-East/2010/0402/Israel-Gaza-tensions-Why-Egypt-helps-maintain-the-blockade

    Arab Muslim Egypt does not condemn Israel’s blockade against Gaza even though is critizises what happened on the Turkish Islamist martyr seeking ship. Why don’t the Islamists plough through Egypt’s blockade. Let’s see how nicely they fair with the Egyptians. What humanitarian aid does Egypt allow compared to Israel? Both Egypt and Israel have a blockade against Hamas run Gaza.

    “[Egypt] considers Hamas’s takeover of Gaza illegal, and says it cannot open the border to regular traffic without the return of the Palestinian Authority (PA) officials and European monitors who operated the crossing, which was used for people and not goods, before the Hamas takeover. Hamas, by refusing to sign a reconciliation deal that would allow the PA back into Gaza – despite months of Egyptian-sponsored reconciliation talks – is also responsible for the border closure, says Mr. Zaki.” Christian Science Monitor Israel, Gaza tensions: Why Egypt helps maintain the blockade Simmering tensions – due in part to a long-standing blockade of the territory – are escalating toward another Israel Gaza standoff. Often overlooked is Egypt’s role in the blockade.

    The big story is actually Turkey. Gone is Ataturk’s Turkey. An Islamist party now rules. the US long ago listed IHH as terrorists. They are the one involved in this incident. IHH were involved in the attempted bombing of LA’s airport in 1999.

    46. During the April 2001 trial of would-be Millenium bomber Ahmed Ressam, federal prosecutors called French counter-terrorism magistrate Judge Jean-Louis Brugiere as an expert witness. The transcript of his testimony states that Brugiere testified that the Turkish group IHH had played “[a]n important role” in the Millenium bomb plot. When asked, he stated “[t]here’s a rather close relation.” According to Brugiere, the IHH is located in Istanbul,Turkey. He stated: The IHH is an NGO, but it was kind of a type of cover-up in order to obtain forged documents and also to obtain different forms of infiltration for Mujahideen in combat. And also to go and gather these Mujahideens. And finally, one of the last responsibilities that they had was also to be implicated or involved in weapons trafficking.http://www.investigativeproject.org/documents/case_docs/312.pdf

    So these are your “peace activists” on the Turkish ship looking to be shahids in a deliberate confrontation with the Israelis.

    Turkey with its own occupation problem in Cyprus, who still denies the Armenian genocide, and treats their fellow Muslims the Kurds not much differently than Saddam Hussain did. Turkey should go and first give the Kurds their own homeland, and quit occupying Cyprus, and after almost 100 years finally own up to the murder of 1.5 million Armenians.

    Egypt and PLO/Fatah, vs Turkey and Hamas – rivals in the region. This tension is what is rising while all the talk is about Israel.

  35. @ 43 Suki

    This article echos your point: Stop calling them ‘heretics’

    “There is one thing I’m waiting for, and that is to hear any Muslim sheik or imam in North America or the larger Muslim world openly condemn these attacks and denounce the “heretic” status of Ahmadis.

    I doubt I’ll hear much….

    It’s these Sunni sheikhs and Wahhabi scholars — with their blinkered, intolerant view of who is and who is not a Muslim — who have made the lives of Ahmadis (and other minority sects) a living hell not only in Pakistan, but across the entire Muslim world. And it’s a sentiment that receives indirect doctrinal support from Muslim organizations such as the Council on American-Islamic Relations and the Islamic Circle of North America.

    After all, these organizations continue to hold the view that Ahmadis are non-Muslims, the same belief held by the Pakistani Taliban who murdered my friends and family members. If that’s not enough, so-called moderate Islamic organizations continue to sympathize with extremist Islamic political parties such as the Muslim Brotherhood and Jamaat-e-Islami.” http://fullcomment.nationalpost.com/2010/06/01/stop-calling-them-heretics/

  36. 98 Ahmadis killed and counting in the mosque and later in the hospitals by Muslims who consider Ahmadis to be apostates not as big a deal as 9 Islamists killed in a deliberate confrontation that they set up with Israel. No international outcry for the Ahmadis killed going about their business unlike like for these Turkish Islamists provocateurs.

  37. The AiPAC money accusation happens to overlap with a well-known antisemitic meme, which is not to say its anti semitic. after all, truth is a legitimate defense against liable. but your glib dismissal of anti-semitism “Human rights organizations (who ALL hate Israel and are anti-Semites and are all seekret Islamists and Al Quaida, we all know” while you traffic in those memes is creepy to say the least.

    if you are going to accuse somebody of anti semitism just because they aren’t knee jerk pro israel like you are, at least have the balls to do it directly, otherwise stfu. disgusting.

  38. if you are going to accuse somebody of anti semitism just because they aren’t knee jerk pro israel like you are, at least have the balls to do it directly, otherwise stfu. disgusting.

    Oh, puh-leeze…you sound like a teabagger shocked (“shocked, i tell you!”) that anyone could interpret this as racist, when everyone knows its purely coincidental when your accusations just happen to parallel racist tropes.

    I didn’t accuse her directly of antisemitism because I allow for the possibility that the man does indeed receive money from AiPAC, in which case the “all-powerful jewish lobby” trope be damned. truth is a defense against charges of racism, as it is for lible. But short of that, she did indeed travel in an anti semitic meme, while interestingly being the first person on this thread to bring up anti-semitism in a sort of premeptive strike.

    I guess she get called that a lot.

  39. I think almost any sane person agrees that Israel is judged by a different standard compared to the Arab nations but we also have to ask

    was this attack justified ? if it was, was it proportionate? Was this an isolated incident or is this part of a recent pattern ?

    I have seen a radical trend that bothers me. Is the answer to extremism from the Arab nations extremism from Israel. if it is, is it dangerous for the region and the wrold at large

    I hope this government falls and Kadima takes over or at least Lieberman is no longer a major player in the government.

  40. “98 Ahmadis killed and counting in the mosque and later in the hospitals by Muslims who consider Ahmadis to be apostates not as big a deal as 9 Islamists killed in a deliberate confrontation”

    thx for the link; really sad.

    the egyptian journalist mona eltahawy has wriiten very well on how the govts of many in the middle east deliberately use isreal as an opiate, to quell their citizens from complaining about their own repressive regimes, filled with censorship and no religious freedom.

    Here is a great artcile she wrote http://www.monaeltahawy.com/blog/?p=144 – and from that article:

    “IF ONLY THE UIGHURS WERE BUDDHIST AND CHINA WAS ISRAEL” The Uighurs aren’t Buddhists but are instead Muslims and us Muslims don’t get much love these days. You’d think the U.S. at least would be paying a bit more attention to Uighurs after locking up four of their brethren at the prison camp at Guantanamo without charge for seven years. They were released earlier this year to Bermuda.

    If the West seems deaf to Uighur complaints, then where are their fellow Muslims? Surely this is a chance for Muslims across the world to march in protest at the stranglehold the godless Communist Chinese keep over the Uighurs?

    Think again.

    The Egyptian blogger Wael Abbas put it bluntly on the micro-blogging site Twitter – where thousands follow him – when he asked why no one was paying attention to the Uighur “intifada”, the Arabic word for uprising that is usually associated with Palestinians fighting back against Israeli occupation.

    That’s precisely the problem – the Uighurs are no Palestinians and the Chinese are not Israel. Many Muslims – Arab Muslims especially – pay attention only when the U.S. and Israel are behaving badly. Palestine followed by Iraq always take precedence leaving little room for other Muslim grievances.

    Look at Darfur, where the suffering goes ignored because those who are creating the misery are neither Americans nor Israelis but instead fellow Arab Muslim Sudanese.

    China is coincidentally one of Sudan’s biggest trade partners and sells Khartoum plenty of weapons which Darfuris complain are used against them. So it’s unlikely Sudanese President Omar Bashir, who declared himself the guardian of Islam in 2007 by putting on trial a British teacher for insulting Muslims when she named a class teddy bear “Mohammed”, will condemn Chinese oppression of Uighurs.

    Perhaps Israel can save the day and invade Xinjiang.”

  41. “I agree with your mother–activists zealous enough to put themselves in harms way should not be exalted over any other poor bugger who is unfortunate enough to die or be injured.”

    Not even if they accomplish something like helping to shift world opinion to the side of 1.5 million people being collectively punished in a bantustan? Without killing a single person (as far as I know)? Say what you want about them, but that’s pretty damn effective protest.

  42. This post and others about non South Asian matters make it clear how SM is being hijacked by our “fellow” South Asians.

    And deleting the comments of opposing voices (comments) is disgusting.

    Ah, screw you guys.

  43. I didn’t accuse her directly of antisemitism

    yes i already pointed that out. keep playin that coy sick game. you’ve destroyed your credibility entirely

  44. yes i already pointed that out. keep playin that coy sick game. you’ve destroyed your credibility entirely

    you say that as if i’m defending my accusation on the grounds that its indirect. I’m doing no such thing. Rather if you quote the entire sentence you’ll see I was providing the reason why i was “playin that coy sick game,” as opposed to having “the balls to do it directly” which you believe is the only alternative “stfu.” either a direct accusation or no accusation at all, is apparently your position. But this position fails to take into account the possibility that neha is factually correct.

    after all, if barack obama actually did sell drugs, or was in fact an Islamic Manchurian candidate, then Bob kerrey and the clinton campaign would not be wrong to bring it up, despite the fact that the former is racist stereotype and the latter xenophobic. Just because something is a stereotype, doesn’t mean its wrong.

    so I’m allowing you the ability to criticize the israel lobby without being charged with anti-semitism (at least by me). but instead you come here and whine about too much nuance.

  45. So what’s up with Turkey? Are they looking to flog the Islam meme again to rebuild their lost empire or what?

  46. Comment #15 (by Teri__Maa) seems like a pretty flagrant violation of the site’s supposed standards, as expressed below. I didn’t realize that trading in shopworn anti-semitism (those crazy money-grubbing Jooos!) was, ahem, kosher. On the other hand, I can see why Jews should be indicted for such shocking conduct — after all, no South Asians have or would ever leave their homeland in search of economic opportunity.

    Personally, I think comments such as #15 should be allowed to stand, so that they can be critiqued/ridiculed/applauded as the case may be. However, I hope the site administrators apply the same laissez-faire attitude to other comments of the same ilk. As just one example, there is more than one nation-state which justifies its existence on a theological basis and where the actions of its government could be easily used to justify a blanket condemnation of an entire religious group. It would be a shame if this site gained a reputation for “fair and balanced” coverage that appeared to tolerate only one particular perspective.

    To clarify, I do not think the state of Israel has a standalone, unquestionable right to exist. Nor do I think its actions are above scrutiny or condemnation where appropriate. However, that view holds for any nation state, including Pakistan, India, the US and the still conceptual “Palestine”. I personally would be leery of condemning Israel’s existence on the basis that “having a religion did not grant you a country on land that you did not own” on this site, as I suspect it could lead to some commentary and conclusions relating to other nation states that might be more, shall we say, directly pertinent or relevant to the interests of the South Asian/desi/brown community.

  47. SM has no credibility left. Anti-semitic comments are not deleted, but any anti-Pakistani world would be banned in a second.

    btw, this news has nothing to do with South Asians, a delibrate attempt to keep pakistani readers happy.

  48. last week several scores of ahmediya muslims were massacred by their own compatriots in pakistan, and you deem the flotilla incident more post worthy? no wonder people claim that muslims only cry out when muslims are killed by non-muslims.

  49. . but instead you come here and whine about too much nuance.

    i am not whining, just calling you on the bullshit. you could not respond to her claims so you inserted a red herring in the conversation while being too much of a pussy to actually make your allegation. disgusting.