Monday, May 31, 2010

Flotilla reaction: Andrew Sullivan

Andrew Sullivan:

Another gripping video is here, showing the activists attacking the commandos boarding their ship.

A simple point. The violence by the activists is pretty abhorrent.[DB: It's worse that abhorrent. I don't think anyone is mistaking these peace activists for pacifists. Certianly no major newspaper is. All of them are reporting that Israel says they were "attacked first" which true, I suppose, but the attack was in response to having their boats raided. ] These are not followers of Gandhi or MLK Jr. But the violence is not fatal to anyone and it is in response to a dawn commando raid by armed soldiers. They are engaging in self-defense. More to the point: they are civilians confronting one of the best militaries in the world. They killed no soldiers; their weapons were improvised; the death toll in the fight is now deemed to be up to 19 - all civilians.

It staggers me to read defenses of what the Israelis have done. They attacked a civilian flotilla in international waters breaking no law. When they met fierce if asymmetric resistance, they opened fire. And we are now being asked to regard the Israelis as the victims.


[DB: I agree with what Sullivan is saying here. Israel doesn't own international waters, and supporting Hamas while on a boat in international waters, though a pretty ugly thing to do, is not a capital crime. You don't get to raid boats and shoot people just because you don't like the politics of the sailors.]

This is like a mini-Gaza all over again. The Israelis don't seem to grasp that Western militaries don't get to murder large numbers of civilians because they don't like them, or because they could, on a far tinier scale, hurt Israelis. [DB: The Israelis are tired and frustrated and sick of being bombed and attacked. This is an explanation, not a justification.] And you sure don't have a right to kill them because they resist having their ship commandeered, in international waters. The Israelis seem to be making decisions as if they can get away with anything. It's time the US reminded them in ways they cannot mistake that they cannot. [DB: I disagree with Sully. The US isn't the world's school marm. The US should do what's right for the US and not waste time, treasure and political capital reminding other countries that they have made mistakes. That job belongs to bloggers, the media, and civillians]

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