Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Late-Night Notes

Numerous other people (including me) have quoted this line from Glenn Greenwald's May 31 post, but it's so on-target that I want to spread it a little farther:
Just ponder what we'd be hearing if Iran had raided a humanitarian ship in international waters and killed 15 or so civilians aboard.
And the only President we've got seems to be deliberately seeking to prove once again that reality outruns satire (via):
A compromise statement instead calls for an impartial investigation which Washington indicated could be carried out by Israel.
Yes, really: Israel can be trusted to carry out an "impartial" investigation of the incident, just as Saddam Hussein could have carried out an "impartial" investigation of his invasion of Kuwait. Or the burglar who broke into your house could "impartially" preside over the police investigation, if not his own trial.

Meanwhile, Israel has begun releasing the people they kidnapped from the Flotilla, and sending them home. Isn't it telling that this article repeatedly uses the word "deport"?
Israel moved swiftly on Wednesday to deport hundreds of activists detained during a deadly raid on a Gaza-bound aid flotilla, as world pressure mounted for a full investigation of the fiasco.
I don't know, maybe that's the correct technical term for sending people home after you've kidnapped them. It just rings oddly to my ear. (But now I see that Democracy Now! also used "deport." It still sounds odd to me.) Towards the end of the same article:
Speaking to his security cabinet late on Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu defended the blockade and said it would remain in place in order to prevent Gaza's Hamas rulers from bolstering their arsenal.
No doubt that's a good idea, but shouldn't something be done to prevent Israel's leaders from bolstering their arsenal, much of which is shipped in openly from the United States? Contrary to much of the Israeli propaganda propaganda I've been reading today, it is usually Israel that breaks the peace.

I've just spent over an hour trying to find where she posted this (presumably in comments, but no go), so I'll just quote aimai's alicublog comment (no permalink -- fie on JS-kit!):
As I posted over at Balloon Juice my grandfather wrote "Underground to Palestine" after travelling with displaced jews on a wonky boat--the Jews themselves were contraband, btw--in 1946. The Israelis should die of shame over this act. Literally. Die.In.Shame.
Her grandfather being the great dissident journalist I. F. Stone. I read Underground to Palestine a long time ago, and remember how it tugged my heartstrings, which was its aim: to outrage the reader with the effects of an internationally-approved British blockade of Palestine. Even if the Israeli blockade were legal, there's no reason to respect it, as once again Israel embraces, repeats, and amplifies the crimes of its past persecutors.

(Though it's not directly relevant to the attack on the Freedom Flotilla, Michael Neumann's latest article at Counterpunch bears on the European Jewish refugees trying to get into Palestine after World War II.
Finally it is worth remembering that not only Canada but other democracies were very attentive to the wishes of the alleged spokesmen for the Jewish people. If those democracies didn't make greater efforts to admit Jewish refugees, it was in no small part because Jewish Zionists, deeply influential on those governments, cared far more about getting Jews to Palestine than about saving Jews from agonizing death in the camps. Ben Gurion's explicit remarks on the subject are a matter of record. Less well known but equally telling is the reaction of The Jewish Chronicle to Roosevelt's implementation of a no-questions-asked refugee camp for Jews very close to Canada, in Fort Ontario, New York:

"Why transport hapless Jews all the way across the Atlantic when a country - Palestine - in the very area where they are now located can find room for them not only in the proposed insignificant numbers but in the tens and scores of thousands?" (Quoted in Ronald Sanders, Shores of Refuge: A Hundred Years of Jewish Emigration, New York (Schocken) 1988, 556.)

Thus spoke those who had successfully arrogated to themselves the right to speak for a 'Jewish people'. They showed no interest whatever in getting more Jews admitted to the US, nor any sense that traumatized refugees might prefer a long sea voyage to being placed in the middle of an ethnic war. Should we be surprised if the US government could not muster more enthusiasm for their project?
Oh, and one last thought. Several of the online hasbaristas keep harping on Israel's status as a democratic state in the Middle East. But Hamas was democratically elected -- too democratically, many feel -- as were Ahmadinejad, and Chavez, and Morales; which shows the limitations of assuming that democratic elections confer moral superiority on a state.