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Friday, June 04, 2010

Comments

I want to believe. But, I have access to history.

It may be victory of a kind, but not one that I feel comfortable celebrating.

Belief doesn't enter into it, Jack; I wasn't suggesting that this might lead to a victory, I'm stating that it is a victory in all the ways I mentioned, few if any of which are even open to dispute. I'm surprised that the first response I'd get to this is an attempt to belittle (or outright deny) it, and I think what that mainly shows is how effective elites have been at beating the notion of futility and defeat into our minds.

Let it go, man--this is not a time for reflexive cynicism.

John, I'm not belittling your sentiments, or your outline of positions. I just don't think this is at all resolved, since the whole series of events has provided Israeli with a confirmation of US loyalty, and an excellent cover for the continued dispossession in the West Bank and Jerusalem.

And it's not reflexive cynicism, John. I've just heard and read these sort of declarations, before (esp. after Hizbollah unmanned the IDF, in 2006), and they amounted to naught.

I think caution is in order, because the US and Israel still have a number of moves, ahead.

And as much as breaking the blockade is a good in its own right, I don't trust the outcome. It's a pretext for war, and the Israelis aren't going find any States willing to stop them should they decide to "discover" terrorist activity after the breaking of the blockade.

With respect,

Jack

I've just heard and read these sort of declarations, before...

Sure, but I think you're reacting to those and not to what I actually wrote here. I didn't say anything that requires belief, and I'm not spinning a scenario of some ideal future in which the Israeli occupation comes to an end because of this one action. I'm outlining the very specific, concrete ways in which this action was a success, most of which are just statements of fact. What little speculation there was was relegated to clauses like "may well lead to a permanent fracture" and "may eventually cost the US the use of NATO"--both of which would be wonderful if they came to pass, but neither of which are necessary for the current situations to be considered major accomplishments.

I understand what you meant, John. I think all of the facts are in order. I really haven't disputed that.

I just think the word "victory" is premature, is all.

I would love to believe that this is a victory, but I don't. The Israeli garrison state is not going to surrender (the necessary counterpart to victory) over this incident.

It can't, so it won't.

In that light - all of the accomplishments you've listed are real, and really are accomplishments, but I don't think the outcome will be victory. I don't think it is victory.

Not now. Not yet.

I think it will get worse, because the US and Israel will make it worse, and no States have shown any capacity to oppose them.

I think, as I wrote my way, that while this is a profound moment, and one which ought not be dismissed, it will lead to war.

Maybe it's just temperament and perspective. I had absolutely no desire to pish-pah your post. I truthfully want to believe this is a victory. But I don't.

I think the Israeli garrison state has the means and wherewithal to turn this to its advantage, backed by the US.

And short of war with Iran, Syria, Turkey, Hizbollah and Hamas (and that's just damned awful to contemplate), the Israelis will come out of this with increased US support, a growing focus on settlements in the WB and EJ, the further extension of the apartheid Wall, and greater likelihood of going hot on Gaza.

With continued respect,

Jack

I would love to believe that this is a victory, but I don't. The Israeli garrison state is not going to surrender (the necessary counterpart to victory) over this incident.

Well, I'd say that's an impossibly high standard for applying the word (and that it doesn't distinguish between partial and total victory), but I don't want the larger point here to be overshadowed by a semantic difference. I'm glad we at least agree these were accomplishments. And thanks for the respect--it's mutual.

One thing:

...the Israelis will come out of this with increased US support...

The head of Mossad is now saying openly that "Israel is gradually turning from an asset to the United States to a burden" and Anthony Cordesman suggested that Israel is becoming a "strategic liability"--two examples of a theme I've seen all week in mainstream sources. Which is just another way in which the risk these people took is making a real difference.

this incident has brought a number of possibilities to the fore and exposed or widened fissures in the system, and is of course exemplary, yet:

"...an argument that impressed Israel's army of liars, its conservative loon fellow-travelers, and nobody else." your "fellow-travelers" include (almost?) everyone in the MSM and national political class. I have yet to see/hear the words "act of war, war crime, act of piracy," or the like in reference to Israeli actions.

You know sometimes your posts are a Godsend for a heavy heart and while I understand Jack's feelings all too well I guess I'm a naive idiot who can't stop hoping for this to result in genuine long term change.

- On another Slightly Off-topic note (bit of a damper really) I was reading some of the reviews on amazon about one of the books on Camp David and happened across a reference by one of the reviewers to another book he recommends... looked it up - Israel's Sacred Terrorism by Livia Rokach, not sure if it's out of print but I found a online version of it that looks somewhat short, but it's content is nonetheless... shocking

Foreword by Noam Chomsky

Here's the link - http://chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/essays/rokach.html

Anyway Keep on Writing
-Avid Fan

"fellow-travelers" include (almost?) everyone in the MSM and national political class.

I'd say they're more part of the "army of liars", but why split hairs?

Anon: Thanks for that. You're certainly not naive to feel that way, and you shouldn't feel the need to make the disclaimer. I put a high value on trying to see the world clearly, but I think it's too easy for people on the left to fall into the trap of "clear" = "negative". There are victories as well as defeats, and no victory is ever absolute or unalloyed; that doesn't mean we shouldn't recognize them for what they are.

This article is certainly an interesting thing to see in light of what you've said, John.

"I'd say they're more part of the "army of liars", but why split hairs?"

Definitely part of the army of liars. Ethan Bronner's piece in the NYT today was a classic in the genre--faced with evidence that Israel provoked the violence on the ship with flash grenades and with the evidence that the gunshot victims have wounds that seem suspiciously execution-style, he still puts out something that gives the impression the activists started the violence and the poor commandos, unprepared, just overreacted. Plus there's this "Israel fell into a trap" (I forget if that was in Bronner or elsewhere). Yeah, like Bull Connor.

It is a huge victory because all those people (again, the NYT is a fair representative) along with governments are being forced to admit that the blockade needs to be lifted. Yes, they will may try to twist things to allow a kinder gentler blockade, but for now, no. And you know they couldn't have cared less about Palestinian immiseration--if they were guaranteed that ten more years of Palestinian suffering would not cost Israel anything and would end with a defeated Palestinian movement and Israeli success, they'd go for it.

I gave it a second thought, John:

http://the-crows-eye.blogspot.com/2010/06/all-borders-serve-purpose-of-war.html

I'm still wary of "victory," but it might just be a hang up over a word, and nothing else.

Respect and thanks for the inspiration,

Jack

On Common Dreams today (Sunday) is piece that includes comments from a young U.S. activist (a videographer from Maine) who was on one of the Freedom Flotilla ships (sorry, I don't have the link).

Strangely, he complains that people on the ships failed to behave non-violently (as he was expecting and "signed-up for") and that this aggressive behavior set the IDF attack in motion.

Impossible to see that shooting peace activists in the back of the head could be a "defensive" act.

Donald: It is a huge victory because all those people (again, the NYT is a fair representative) along with governments are being forced to admit that the blockade needs to be lifted.

What amuses me about that is that outlets like the NYT will never admit it was this incident (and by extension, the Free Gaza movement) that was the catalyst for them saying so; no, they arrived at that conclusion independently, and it's just a huge coincidence that they're saying it right now.

Kitty: Strangely, he complains that people on the ships failed to behave non-violently (as he was expecting and "signed-up for") and that this aggressive behavior set the IDF attack in motion.

The link is here. I don't consider what he said that strange, though; the Free Gaza participants apparently went through ISM's standard non-violence training, and I doubt they'd have joined in with any violence, even defensively. I definitely don't condemn anyone for defending themselves or the ship from the Israeli assault, as was their right, but I can see what he's saying about it giving the Israelis an excuse to escalate their attack. At the same time, the irony is that it was the massacre that led to all of the things I outlined in this posting; had no one been killed, few people would even have heard about the interception of the flotilla (just as they barely heard about most of the previous attempts).

John, Thanks for this post. Here's another bit of anecdotal evidence [try to look past the breezy, above-it-all tone that's a "feature" of the Foreign Policy site:

Are Israelis critical, scandalized like Americans after Kent State, and demanding political change? Or are they going defensive against the international onslaught and scorning the specter of global excommunication?

Right away, both sides were out and both were angry. The "critical" crowd protested against the actions at the Tel Aviv defense compound; "defensive" citizens flocked to the Turkish Embassy to support the soldiers and shake fists at Turkish Premier Erdogan. Days later, fresh demonstrations brought greater numbers, roughly 2000 at the Turkish embassy, and roughly 6000 "critical" lefties calling for a new government, two states, two capitals in Jerusalem, and end to the closure. There are no recent precedents for a left demonstration outnumbering their counterparts by three-to-one.

The activity itself already signifies a watershed, so to speak. In recent years, Israeli society has been uncharacteristically unengaged, with the right in power, and the geriatric left in despair. Polls show that people support peace, but the streets attest to their silence; the numbers consistently show young people turning towards nationalist, hard-line attitudes.

The silence has been broken.

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