(Non?)Violent Civil Disobedience

Chris Dierkes

Chris Dierkes (aka CJ Smith). 29 years old, happily married, adroit purveyor and voracious student of all kinds of information, theories, methods of inquiry, and forms of practice. Studying to be a priest in the Anglican Church in Canada. Main interests: military theory, diplomacy, foreign affairs, medieval history, religion & politics (esp. Islam and Christianity), and political grand bargains of all shapes and sizes.

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76 Responses

  1. Katherine says:

    I just returned from a three-week trip to Israel and the Palestinian Territories with a Christian group interested in Biblical history and in the political situation. It would be interesting if my trip had lasted a week longer, to see what the internal fallout from this will be.

    One of the things I learned from my trip is how much we aren’t hearing of the Palestinian side. We met with a lot of non-violent Palestinian activists – from the typical media report, you would barely know such people exist. When any Palestinian so much as throws a rock, we hear about it, but we hear nothing about settlers burning down the fields and houses of Palestinians, cutting their electric and water lines to try to drive them out of their homes, throwing stones at Palestinian children on the way to school. If I lived in Palestine, I doubt I’d be able to act in a non-violent manner.

    Gandhian non-violence is effective, and is the highest standard of protest behaviour in favour of a just cause, but I don’t think failure to abide by it when attacked is a reason for a group to lose all sympathy. It’s not an easy thing to do. One of the activists on the ships is from BC – he went as a human shield to defend journalists from Israeli forces by getting in the way long enough for the journalists to issue reports. He gave an interview before the convoy left. The people on board had training in non-violent resistant methods and were expecting an Israeli attack. They had the courage to risk their lives to break the blockade and I respect that even if some of them failed to stick to the agreed-on peaceful methods. Nothing justifies the use of lethal force against people whose weapons were metal rods and bags of marbles, especially not when Israel had no right to attack or board the ships in the first place.

    I would like to do what these activists are doing, without using violence, though I can’t know if I have the moral courage to stick to that until I put myself in the same position they are in. My trip has convinced me that ending the occupation of Palestine is akin to the US Civil Rights or anti-Apartheid movement – the great moral issue of our generation. I wish I could believe the attack on the aid convoy would wake people up, but I doubt it. There are too many who support Israel’s actions unquestioningly and unconditionally, and many more who oppose them in words only.Report

  2. Jaybird says:

    I’ve long thought that a massive movement of peaceful protest would do *HUGE* wonders for the Palestinians… for example, the Avatar thing? That was freakin’ *AWESOME*. They need to do much, much more of that.

    The problem is that they have to overcome the fact that a lot of the first impressions they made were impressions from the Second Infatada (and the the aftermath of the Gaza Withdrawal).

    A concerted effort to say “seriously, we want peace” (or, in the case of the Avatar protest, “absurdly, we want peace”), would do wonders.

    An acknowledgment that the Second Infatada was not merely bad tactically timing-wise (pity that 9/11 had to happen right in the middle of all of that suicide bombing, no? Pity all of the Afghanistan protests had to have at least one Pro-Palestinian group, no? Pity that most of the Iraqi protests had to have even more of them, no?) but, maybe, was also morally wrong would make a lot of the folks in the US on the fence say something to the effect of “Come on, Israel! Give them one more chance!!!”

    That’s my take on the whole US side of things.

    When it comes to what it’ll take to get Israel to change their minds… eh. Probably nothing. Their hearts have been hardened.Report

    • Bob Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

      @Jaybird, Every time the Jews give land or accommodate the Pals, rockets end up being launched…we’re dealing with (primarily Muslims here), consequently the Jew (and the Christian) should spend some time reading the Koran…either we kill them or they kill us and we are not required to be stupid about it. BTW, it’s all in the history books!Report

      • Jaybird in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

        @Bob Cheeks, Oh, Bob. I wasn’t saying what was likely to happen if they did.

        I am sure that if they dropped the blockade, went for a 3-state solution, then pulled out completely…

        Well, we’d see rockets fired from the West Bank into Jerusalem and we’d see a whole bunch of people who normally use their *FIRE* and *BRIMSTONE* voices for when Israel sets up a blockade turn into Kissingeresque realists who sigh sadly and start explaining, as to a slow child, that you have to understand that these rockets being fired are inevitable consequences of blowback and, yes, any loss of life is regrettable, surely one must understand that, to be sure, certainly, and so on.

        And if Israel does something in response, we’ll get lovely little speeches about International Opinion, Morality, and The Legacy Of Occupation.

        Pull out, stop giving them money, say “we wash our hands, we just want to buy oil from the victors” and see what happens. That’s what’s most likely to result in a “lasting peace”.Report

        • Katherine in reply to Jaybird says:

          If the US would just cut off funds to Israel, it would be more productive than anything else they have done in the region for decades. I’m good with your solution. Better by far than pretending to be an “honest broker” while pouring money into the military of one side.Report

          • Jaybird in reply to Katherine says:

            @Katherine, we also pour money into the militaries of Egypt, Lebanon, and Jordan.

            I mean, just saying.

            Let’s cut off funds to everybody.

            (Personally, I think that individual donations ought still be allowed… so if someone in Texas wants to send money to Israel they can and if someone in San Francisco wants to send money to Hamas (for schools! Not for bombs or guns or bullets but for SCHOOLS!!!) they can. Just don’t have the government do it.)Report

            • Bob Cheeks in reply to Jaybird says:

              @Jaybird, So, let’s see if I have this right. The Pals can collect money from, say for example, Saudi sheiks but USA tax dollars for Jew defense is wrong?
              As much as I oppose ‘foreign’ interventionism it’s difficult for me not to approve tax dollars going to Israel who are de facto, fighting our fight and a fight we are already engaged in if we had our head’s outta our butts, and a real president and sec State.
              Like I said, Know your enemy!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Bob Cheeks, USA Federal tax dollars for X is pretty much wrong for any value of X, Bob.

                The Saudis can send as much money to the Palestinians as they want, as far as I’m concerned. Hell, Texas can send as much money to Israel as it wants, as far as I’m concerned.

                I don’t think it’s appropriate to use Federal Tax dollars to give money to folks.

                Let private charity pick up the slack and I think you’ll be amazed at how little slack there was and how much private charity picks up.Report

              • Cascadian in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Bob Cheeks, I’m all for small government, except when……Report

              • Bob Cheeks in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Bob Cheeks, Jaybird and Cas…..ouch, ouch!!!
                It’s a bitch violating my own tenants. Again, the fight the Jews are engaged in as people of the book, is the same fight we’re engaged in as people of the book and a nation that was attacked by Islam. Financially the Jews will survive without our tax dollars and they do manufacture superior weaponry, and of course, there’s not going to be another holocaust.Report

              • Cascadian in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Bob Cheeks, People of the Book? I come from the godless coast where pseudo Americans dwell. Let the Bible Belt fund them if they want. Besides, as you point out, it’s not as if the Israelis can’t fund and arm themselves.Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Bob Cheeks, I come from the People of the Video Game myself.

                I am inclined to root for the Israelis for Enlightenment kinda reasons. Who, in the Middle East, supports something analogous to the First Amendment? Who, in the Middle East, supports something analogous to Civil Unions? Who, in the Middle East, supports something analogous to Rights for Chicks? Who, in the Middle East, will serve bacon and eggs to me despite the fact that I asked for cream in my coffee? Even if I do have to yell at someone to get it?

                Oh, it’s Israel? I support them, then.

                The folks who support Palestine? I have no idea what motivates them…Report

              • Simon K in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Jaybird, Personally I say why pick a team? Its not my fight and having a perfectly good ethnic conflict of my own to worry about and not really needing another I know that these things are endlessly, fractally complex and invincible to quick judgements by outsiders. But its an interesting question – why do people support the Palestinians given that I think everyone would agree the Israelis are more generally likely to serve you milky coffee with your bacon and let you marry whoever you want?

                I think you’ve already really put your finger on the key issue – Americans and Europeans I think almost universally identify with the Israelis as being “more like us”. The difference is how they react to that perception. Those who support the Palestinians (who tend overwhelmingly to be European) see the conflict as one of a long list of acts of Western Imperialist Oppression and the Palestinians as Victims and see the solution in terms of Ending Imperialism. Those who support the Israelis see Israel as an Outpost of Civilisation and Enlightenment Values and the Palestinians and a generic Oriental Horde who only really want to smash stuff up.

                To me both viewpoints are straightforward projection and have little or nothing to do with the reality. I may be projecting off my own experience here, but I don’t think so – there are plenty of uncivilised things about Israel than we should remember alongside their general liberalism: bulldozing people’s houses, ignoring legitimiate Palestinian property claims, the fact it is in the end an ethnically particularist state, the undue influence of the Rabbinate, and so on. And just to be fair, the Palestinians are not really victims – they’ve turned down very opportunity for peace, often in enormously self-destructive ways, many of their groups really do seem to want to obliterate Israel and their quasi-states are at least as bad for Palestinian individuals as Israel has been.Report

              • Bob Cheeks in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Bob Cheeks, Ah, yes, mental masturbation, always a reliable alternative…!Report

              • Jaybird in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Simon K, if pressed to pick a side, why *NOT* pick the side more like “us”?

                That’s the argument I seriously don’t understand. I can understand picking the Israelis over the Palestinians. I can understand saying “fuggit” and not picking a side at all. I can’t understand saying “I choose Hamas!”

                I suppose I can understand why the Mohammedans might choose Hamas over Israel, mind… but that goes back to the whole “if pressed to pick a side, why *NOT* pick the side more like “us”?” question.

                I don’t understand why a Liberal American with a Classical Education would pick anything but Israel if forced to pick a side. Well, maybe based on the whole “who has everyone who has picked a side before I showed up?” question.

                “Oh, Sarah Palin likes Israel? I BETTER PICK HAMAS THEN!!!!”

                Besides that, deliberately picking the Palestinians strikes me as ignorant beyond belief. Hell, even picking the Palestinians because of that strikes me as fairly ignorant but, hey, teams is teams.Report

              • Simon K in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Bob Cheeks, Its preferable to bigotry. You should try it.Report

              • Simon K in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Jaybird, Well, yes. I agree. I failed to make that point clearly. Very few Westerners directly support Hamas. Lots of Europeans and some left-leaning Americans don’t so much “support the Palestinian cause” in the way most Arabs do, but rather oppose the actions of Israel with regard to the Palestinians. As I said its about Opposing Imperialist Oppression.

                I’m 90% certain that this view is misguided – certainly those people who tool similar views of another conflict I understand much better were wrong – but that seems to be what they’re thinking.Report

  3. North says:

    *sigh* yeah it’s a bloody mess and a cosmic joke besides. If Israel had had these Palestinians to negotiate with in the late 90’s to mid 2000’s there likely would have been an end to their occupation. But alas the Israeli’s had to deal with Arafat and his coterie of crooks and kooks and said bastards went and politically killed the Israeli peace movement. Couple that with the phenomena of the left wing and even left-center politicians being rather corrupt or choleric and that compounds the difficulty. I hope that there’s a resurgence and a new election soon but the Israeli political situation is grim. I hope the Palestinians continue to attempt non-violent demonstrations and continue to get better at making it truly non-violent. I can’t think of anything that’d bring the Israeli polity back around.
    The American factor in this is confusing as hell. On one hand if Obama cracks down hard perhaps the Israeli’s will actually start worrying about American support and re-assess. On the other hand we’ve seen the Israeli’s rally even to Netanyahu when it looks like America is putting pressure on him. It’s oddly parallel to Iran only of course political and diplomatic rather than diplomatic and military.
    How to thread that needle I don’t know.Report

  4. Mike Schilling says:

    Suppose you were responsible for Israeli security. Explain how you’d let ships get through to Gaza unless you knew for a fact that they didn’t contain missile parts. Now explain how you would know that without boarding them and searching them yourself.Report

    • Katherine in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      The Turks, an allied government, searched the ships ahead of time. It’s a convoy managed by humanitarian groups, to a population which has suffered numerous deaths due to being under blockade, and the convoy was in international waters and which Israel had no right to stop or to search. If Israel had not imposed the blockade, there would be no need for the convoy. And if they felt the necessity, there’s such a thing as tear gas. They had armed and trained commandos against civilians, and the “weapons” they cite were along the lines of bags of marbles. They had no need to shoot anyone. They chose to do so anyway.

      And all that is if we accept as true everything the Israeli government has said. Even by their own spin, it looks bad. If, as is more likely, what they’re saying is a mix of truth and falsehood and they went on board shooting…Report

    • greginak in reply to Mike Schilling says:

      @Mike Schilling, if you were going to smuggle missile parts in to Gaza why the heck would you do it in a high profile ship full of people from around the world who are on your side, using a Turkish NGO that is certain to, at the very least, draw a huge reaction if not actually being boarded. Think strategy not tactics. Think public reactions, international support and diplomacy not crates.

      This ship is , at least in part, an attempt to twist the narrative from the book and (really boring) movie Exodus. This is about drawing attention and gathering support. They were making an analogy between the significant suffering and injustice in Gaza today with the circumstances that lead to the the birth of Israel.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to greginak says:

        @greginak, The you wouldn’t worry about missiles, which you know are being smuggled in in other ways and being fired at your own population, because you’d reason that Hamas doesn’t want to embarrass its supporters? Smuggling bombs in ambulances actively endangers every single person who needs their ambulance to get through a checkpoint quickly, and we know they’re happy to do that. Sorry, if I’m responsible for people’s lives, I need more.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to greginak says:

            @greginak, Are you arguing that every Hamas member is rational and takes the long view?Report

            • gregiank in reply to Mike Schilling says:

              @Mike Schilling, No. But what are the costs and benefits involved in this raid by the Israelis. Seems pretty much like some sort of failure was guaranteed. And the flotilla seemed like a clear publicity action aimed at breaking the blokade, increasinng international support for Hamas in Gaza and hurting Israels international support. So Israel is 0 for 3 on that.

              I would also argue the blockade on Gaza is a terrible counterproductive move.Report

        • North in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          @Mike Schilling, Mike, right now it looks like the blockade is becoming a liability. Does it impede the ability of the Gazans to get missile parts? Sure. But it’s doing huge damage to Israeli position both narratively and substantively.
          Personally I’d lift the entire blockade, end the border control and then announce that any missile attacks from Gaza on Israeli civilians would be first documented and protested about and then responded to violently and disproportionately.Report

          • Michael Drew in reply to North says:

            @North, That was the right policy before they allowed the blockade to be tested. Now they have no choice but to hold firm with it (humanitarian outrage and militarily irrelevancy that it is.) I suppose they could attempt to save face by saying they will lift the blockade for humanitarian vessels, but they would still be allowing themselves to be openly forced into such a change. They’re in a tight spot now. But it’s looking like Obama might be getting ready to get them out of it, though in exchange for what we can only pray. (Definitive movement toward a settlement being an outside possibility perhaps? Restoration of Democratic campaign coffers being a depressing other.)Report

            • North in reply to Michael Drew says:

              @Michael Drew, Michael, I agree on your analysis and I hope your predictions are correct. Personally I think that Bibi’s government is long past due to be taken out back to the woodshed but then again I was saying that the day after the election too so I’m biased.Report

          • lukas in reply to North says:

            @North, Well, Operation Cast Lead didn’t work out so great for the Israelis either.Report

            • North in reply to lukas says:

              @lukas, The rocket fire was considerably reduced and never really reached their former heights again. Sure the Israelis had a lot of cavailing about their attack but in terms of American public opinion they made out pretty well and really since virtually no one had any suggestions for how to stop the rocket fire otherwise not much bad came of it.
              If Israel were out of the west bank and had lifted the blockade on Gaza I dare say they’d be able to pretty much respond as heavy handedly as they wanted to rocketry because what justification could the Palestinians dredge up for it at that point?Report

              • lukas in reply to North says:

                @North, how much of the success is due to strict enforcement of the blockade rather than shock and awe?

                Also, Hamas’ stated goal is the destruction of the state of Israel and the reoccupation of the Palestinians’ ancestral homeland by those who were driven out in ’48 and their offspring. That’s plenty justification for continuing attacks on Israel, since Israel’s very existence is a provocation to them.Report

              • ThatPirateGuy in reply to North says:

                @lukas ,

                Serious question. What is Isreal’s stated goal?

                This whole conflict has been going on for my entire life and I simply can’t care about either side anymore. I just wish they would stop dragging my country into it.Report

              • North in reply to North says:

                @Lukas, Hamas? Who the hell cares what those retrograde durka-durkas think? The people who’s opinions matter are the Israeli left and center and the Americans (And to a lesser degree the Europeans). Sure Hamas will want to keep attacking Israel but it will always want to attack Israel.
                The important element here is that Israel, without international interference, and free of the albatross of the territories, would be completely impervious to Hamas’s pathetic efforts. If Israel was out of the West Bank (with land swaps for the biggest populated section on the border and some accommodation on east Jerusalem) then every time Hamas or a group tried to pop off an attack into Israel the IDF could hit them so hard that their ancestors would feel it and the world would not have any solid reason to protest. Look at Gaza for instance. It wasn’t until serious allegations of misbehavior surfaced that American opinion nudged against the Israelis at all. Sure the commentariate was whiny but what do ya expect?
                Get Israel out of the West Bank and end the Gazan blockade and the narrative becomes very simple. People don’t like Hamas, they really don’t. Israel will be able to defend itself and the Palestinians in the West Bank at finally have some leadership that looks like it maybe could (and would) try to get on with the business of living next door to Israel.

                And when some kook fires a rocket or stages an attack the IDF blows them to skittles. The Palestinians fuss a little. The world journalists tsk and the worlds nations yawn and life would go on. Israel would be secure and free of the deadweight of the territories.Report

              • lukas in reply to North says:

                @North, Why are Israelis and Americans the only people who matter? The people who fund Hamas are just as important. As long as they keep the money flowing, Hamas will be able keep going. Sure, Israel can hit back, but Hamas has already proven that it doesn’t mind stepping over a few dead Palestinians here or there in order to get back at Israel.

                Side note: I live in a heavily Muslim neighborhood in a European city. Most of these guys are perfectly peaceful people, but every Muslim shopkeeper has a little “Free Gaza” collection jar on the counter, and you and I both know where that money’s going.Report

              • North in reply to North says:

                @Lukas, Hamas can point at an Israeli blockade on Gaza and Israeli checkpoints in the West Bank and can use that as a recruiting tool. Absent those it’ll be harder for them to recruit. Not even the Palestinians will be content to be miserable forever, especially if their West Bank neighbors start prospering.
                More importantly, however, is Israel. Hamas is no threat to them, ever. What Hamas thinks is irrelevant. They can make themselves pains in the asses but beyond that they can offer no existential threat to the Jewish state. Really Israel faces only 3 existential threats. I’ll rank them in order from least likely to most likely. 1: The danger of Iran actually getting a nuclear weapon and choosing to commit suicide attacking Israel with it. I’d say the least likely but it’s not impossible. 2: Israel under Bibi and similar idiot leaders alienates the world to the point where the nations of the world actually begin cutting off ties. Result: Israel dies, period. 3: Demographic suicide; the Israeli right with their land fetish insists on keeping control of the territory they hold now and or retake Gaza. If Israel were to actually embrace the abomination of ethnic cleansing go straight to option #2. If they don’t then inevitably they’re outnumbered by the Muslims and they must then either become non-democratic (go to option #2) or they become Muslim controlled and who knows what happens then?Report

              • lukas in reply to North says:

                @North, Hamas has other recruiting/fundraising tools. For example, there’s those Palestinians that still have the keys to the houses their families left in ’48 (and that are now inhabited by Israelis).

                For as long as Israel exists, Hamas will be able to point to it as a reason for Gaza’s misery (or “misery” as the case may be). Sure, Hamas will never be an existential threat to Israel, but they are a major annoyance, and one that Israel would rather do without. Just ask the people of Sderot.Report

              • North in reply to North says:

                @Lukas, Those are significantly less effective than having Israeli soldiers impeding your day to day life. And again, irrelevant. Hamas cannot be appeased and it can’t be destroyed without exterminating the embittered millions who support it. The point is to eliminate existential threats and fundamental goads. Israel’s demographic bomb is inevitable at current growth rates and the odds of their suffering damaging isolation from the world grows every day that they settle and blockade. There is no benefit from those two activities that outweighs their long term costs. It’s just a matter of them getting over their peace initiative hangover and electing a government not packed with right wing jingo idiots to extricate them from this mess.Report

              • lukas in reply to North says:

                @North, The right of return works just fine as a fundraising tool (again, in my experience.)

                Lifting the blockade can only make Hamas more powerful. In short order, Iranian or Syrian missiles would be raining on Israeli cities from Gaza, and then what?

                It’s high time Egypt grew a pair of balls and reannexed Gaza already.Report

              • North in reply to North says:

                @lukas , Again with the Hamas obsession Lukas. The turban wearing douches of Hamas are bit players. They’re a bunch of religious mad idiots (much like the settlers). If Israel, having ended the blockade and pulled out of the West Bank, were to come under any serious rocket fire from those territories they would have the backing from the people who matter: The USA, the world governments of consequence (but not the UN morons or the some segments of the die hard left) to respond with very strict measure up to threatening to re-invade if the attacks didn’t stop. Also, with Israel withdrawn and the blockade lifted who exactly would Hamas be able to credibly blame their inability to govern on? Elves? Mordor?

                Entangled as they now Israel gets all the “Yes, but you’re sitting on their front lawns” arguments when they’re attacked. And again the demographic clock is ticking. How exactly, from your right wing perspective, does this end? Israel continues to prop up Hamas by the blockade and occupation. The population of non-jews under Israeli control continues to grow. Someday, sooner or later, they’re going to wholesale abandon the separate state idea and start lobbying for citizenship and voting rights in Israel. What the hell would the Israelis do then? Apartheid?Report

              • lukas in reply to North says:

                @North, Sure, Israel can invade Gaza again, but they don’t want to keep this territory, so they’d have to pull out, sooner or later. The threat of invasion didn’t make the rockets stop in the past, and it’s not going to work now.

                All the international backing in the world is not going to help you when you have a guerrilla war on your hands, especially if the guerrillas are bankrolled by private charities and governments all over the Islamic world.

                Hamas can always blame their ineptitude on the overpopulation of Gaza (1.5 million people in an area twice the size of DC), caused by Israel’s refusal to let the refugees return.

                The demographic clock is up: Arabs already outnumber Jews in the whole of Israel/Palestine, which is why many Israelis want a two state solution now, and why Hamas and other radical Arabs do not want it.Report

              • North in reply to North says:

                @Lukas, It is patently obvious that the blockade on Gaza isn’t working. And what on earth is the justification for the settlements and continuing presence in the West Bank? The answer; that withdrawal would be hard hard and the non-idealistic Israelis want to get something in return for withdrawing to cover their asses and the idealistic ones don’t want to withdraw at all.

                Hamas can try and blame that, but it’s a pretty lame excuse compared to economic strangulation or checkpoints.

                Hopefully Bibi’s imbecilic government will be gone in short order and some pragmatist can take over and do what needs to be done re: the west bank at least. Sooner or later the Palestinians at large will notice that they can get the whole enchilada be dropping their desire for an independant state and lobbying for voting rights inside Israel.Report

              • lukas in reply to North says:

                @North, the Gaza blockade has disrupted weapons production in the Gaza strip and drastically reduced the number of Qassam rockets falling on Israeli border towns, so in that sense, it’s working. It hasn’t weakened Hamas’ hold on power, but that is a secondary concern for Israel.

                I agree that the West Bank situation is much more complicated and would best be addressed by a complete withdrawal from the settlements, but we were talking about Gaza, where all Israeli colonies were evacuated a few years ago.

                The Palestinians at large never had much of a desire for an independent state. They just want to return home, and that is the crux of the problem.Report

              • North in reply to North says:

                @North, Well they should at the very least loosen the blockade. It’s common knowledge they’re attempting to “punish” the Palestinians for voting in Hamas by restricting non-quassam related goods. That’s not only not working but is also allowing Hamas and the Gazans to rack up global sympathy.

                Personally I think the blockade overall does more harm than good. I’m glad you agree about the west bank at least.Report

        • Plinko in reply to Mike Schilling says:

          @Mike Schilling, Well, if I were in charge of Israeli security and was primarily interested in ensuring the boat was loaded with supplies and not missiles, I’d block it with a few naval ships, advise her she would be boarded and hold them until they agreed rather than drop a night-time raid of commandos on them. Mostly because I’d be pretty darned concerned about the international fallout from a violent raid – which is what they got.Report

          • Mike Schilling in reply to Plinko says:

            @Plinko, Agreed that the tactics are indefensible. The blockade is not.Report

            • @Mike Schilling, I’m going to likely sound naive to anyone who actually follows this issue. Nevertheless, wouldn’t one compromise be to allow all goods to be imported, with the requirement that the ships go through Israeli customs to be searched?Report

              • North in reply to Rufus F. says:

                @Rufus F., That’s kindof what was happening before Rufus, but the Palestinians decided that border crossings were excellent bomb targets and the Israeli’s decided “Well we tried peace initiatives and got our asses blown up so lets try collective punishments.” and closed the crossings.Report

              • Mike Schilling in reply to Rufus F. says:

                @Rufus F., That’s the standard treatment of foreign aid to Gaza. The Israelis offered it to this flotilla and were refused.Report

              • Plinko in reply to Rufus F. says:

                @Rufus F., Some of the goods on the ship are the kind of items Israel is explicitly forbidding to enter, namely construction materials. I think that was part of the point the activists wanted to make, by bringing in stuff that’s not allowed but aren’t weapons.Report

    • @Mike Schilling,
      On the other hand…

      Suppose you were in charge of Israeli regional security policy.

      Why in god’s name would alienate one of your most reliable allies whom you’ve had a massive defense industry related relationship with for the last several decades and who offers the US the necessary air bases to help you conduct training missions? More importantly why alienate such an ally when they’re also a rising regional power, potential counter-weight to help keep Iran away from nuclear capability, and a power that has the capability to basically tell you to fuck off and not be intimidated by your conventional forces?

      Worse still, why would you want this after you just spent the last 18 months doing everything in your power to piss them off with diplomatic slights?Report

      • North in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        @Nob Akimoto, Because Netanyahu couldn’t govern his way out of a wet paper bag. He’s flailing around like a Jewish Bush Minor without the superpower status and with even more immediate problems. Meanwhile his lunatic ministers think that foreign relations are optional while looking tough to the Palestinians (I’m sure they’re impressed) is non-negotiable damn the real world consequences.Report

        • Bob Cheeks in reply to North says:

          @North, Geez Northie, I always kinda liked Bibi. A Jew with the knuts to defend his homeland…makes me feel warm and gooey!Report

          • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

            @Bob Cheeks, Israel is a hobby of mine, I have several friends who live there. I have no problem with Jews who want to defend themselves… competently. Bibi is incompetent and incoherent. He has no vision for the safety and integrity of Israel, he’s merely a jingoist rightwing idiot beholden to a posse of religious extremist settlers groups who’re the single greatest existing threat to the Jewish character of that state today. Ariel Sharon could probably govern Israel, stroke and all, better than Bibi and his coterie of Likud and Shas clowns can.Report

            • Bob Cheeks in reply to North says:

              @North, Yeah, I gotta friend lives south of the Lebonese border…she’s really not fond of Hezbolla/Hamas rockets.
              Wars are bad, they only work when you have a clear victor. Driving out the Pals would solve the whole thing and, say, that fence, the one that violated ‘human rights’ has worked pretty well.
              Mrs. sends her regards.Report

              • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Bob Cheeks, My affection to the Mrs. in return. I hope her weather has been as pleasant as mine has been and we got the rain I asked for!

                I have no issue with the idea of a fence (and I’ll note that Bibi’s precious settlements are mainly on the wrong side of it, significant? I think so). Ethnic cleansing would work but personally I’d prefer that Israel no loose its soul in retaining its’ Jewish character. Here’s a radical suggestion; leave the Israeli-Arabs alone; drag the idiot Talmud fondling settlers out of the territories, recognize the Palestinians their state, let them fester under their inept UN sponsored regime and get on with the business of having Israel be Israel. For some reason this is too complicated for Bibi and his clown brigade.Report

              • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Bob Cheeks, Indeed the Palestinians do Bob… for a while. But after the Israeli’s kicked Gaza good and hard the rocket fire died down and the West Bank could be treated similarly (with better hope of success since they’re being administered much more sanely when compared to Hamas).

                Now in your bland phrase “Push’em into Jordan” you are alluding to state sanctioned ethnic cleansing which amounts to seizure of property, forcible population transfer and state sanctioned killing of civilians. Now I am scratching my head and, please don’t take this personally, but how is it that you can levy the charge of someone else being a “commie-dem” when endorsing this kind of behavior? Seizure of property, transfer of populations, ethnic cleansing. I do believe these were favored pastimes of ol’ Uncle Joe Stalin. Should I start calling you a “Soviet-con”?

                Now goodness knows the Israeli’s were pretty left wing back in the day but they’ve moved to the sensible center on economics at the very least. I wouldn’t think that you, Bob, would want them to “go native”. Also I suspect that the Israeli’s and Jews in general might feel some uncomfortable emotions if they found seeing uniformed Jewish soldiers herding hundreds of thousands of weeping civilians, women and children into camps and shipping them off on rail cars to be “relocated”? The shadow of a smokestack lies heavy on their collective imagination. Surely their religion-mad land idolizers haven’t degraded their polity so much that they would ever countenance such a thing? But of course if the Palestinians aren’t moved and Israel continues to rule over them the apartheid question becomes more and more salient.

                Nor for that matter would the Hashemite King Hussein be very charmed if the Israeli’s started dumping millions of angry Palestinians into his sandbox. Wars have been started over less. Additionally of course when you talk about the non-Gazan Palestinians their recent affairs have been singularly quiet. They haven’t been lobbing rockets or blowing up busses for the most part. It would be a cosmic joke of the tallest order that when they sponsored terror bombing ten years ago they got negotiations and peace offers and now that they’re actually moderating they be threatened with ethnic cleansing.

                But what it boils down to is that the Israeli can’t embrace that option; they’re better than that. An Israel that ethnically cleansed their neighbors wouldn’t be worthy of the name. And all the old ancient foes of the Jews would probably smile and rest a little easier in their assorted burning hells if they knew that their victims were emulating the behavior of their old oppressors.Report

              • Bob Cheeks in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Bob Cheeks, North, “..state sanctioned killing of civilians,” is not moving the Pals to Palestine (Trans-Jordan) where they belong…If I remember that’s where they started (Intifada?). But, these are two peoples who don’t get along and its apparent that no amount of “discussion” or treaties is going to change things..so, that leaves either moving the Pals away from the Jews or a war. Now I’ll concede that moving the Pals probably won’t work for a number of reasons but war will, if done properly it leaves one winner and settles the issues in dispute. War is one reason why so many of our native Americans live on reservations, why the Germans are so polite and industrious, etc. War’s a nasty business but sometimes in the course of human relations its the only viable answer and please keep in mind that here we are, again, talking about war with Muslims….that should ring a bell.
                If there’s an alternative between moving the Muslim-Pals away from the Jews or a war between these disparate peoples please let me know what it is.Report

              • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Bob Cheeks, Well Bob, how about we remove the small minority of Jewish settlers who live among the large populations of Palestinians and move em back into Israel proper. Then draw a line between the Israel population centers and the Palestinian population centers with something complicated and vague for Jerusalem and tadaa, you’ve got separation. Sortof bringing the mountain to Muhammad or in this case Palestine to the Palestinians. It produces the same result as before only without the war, moral atrocities etc…

                But of course doing that requires extracting some really vehement religious people while Palestinians be normal bratty Palestians and there are legitimate concerns about security. But neither of those issues are as hard for the Israelis to deal with as a war’d be. Not to mention the whole selling of the proverbial soul of the state.Report

              • Bob Cheeks in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Bob Cheeks,
                I think that’s the dominate idea being put forth by the elite Left. The problem is that the Jews have fairly won this land in combat/war, which means, if I follow my history properly, they get to dictate…yes/no?
                For me, and feel free to point out my miscues, the problem is a religious one in that we’re talking about Israel’s confrontation with Islam..yes/no. Now, the Muslims know that war is the only reality available. And, some of the Jews know, for example, Bibi, but a large number of Jews are much like our SWP.
                For me this has a apocalyptic tinge to it…whata you think. And, thanks North, for your comments and your work on this issue.Report

              • Cascadian in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Bob Cheeks, Bob, I don’t really know or understand this area, but, correct me if I’m wrong, one war doesn’t seem to be the end of the matter. Aren’t these conflicts as old Abraham? What does history show us is the end of the conflict? If we don’t care for apocalyptic fantasies, why would we want to get involved in the area at all? Wouldn’t containment and a hands off approach be the appropriate secular response?Report

              • North in reply to Bob Cheeks says:

                @Bob Cheeks, A century and a quarter or so ago Bob I’d say you’d be right. But we’ve evolved a bit. Israel won the wars, they won the territory and under modern war theory they also won the people. If Israel wanted the land they could annex it into Israel and extend citizenship to the Palestinians and all would proceed normally. The problem of course is that the Israeli’s want the land but don’t want the people. There’s no modern theory of just war that gives the Israeli’s the right as conquerors to either drive the Palestinians forth or put them to the sword. Especially considering that the Palestinians specifically were not really on the other side of Israel’s various wars.

                Now under the old ways of war, brutal, viscous and crude, they can do what they want. But you and I both know Bob that the people of Israel are better than that.Report

      • Mike Schilling in reply to Nob Akimoto says:

        @Nob Akimoto, Because you’re a moron. But I think you knew that answer. It doesn’t alter the fact that Hamas is going to bomb Israelis with anything it can get its hands on that’s in any way weaponizeable.Report

  5. Mike Farmer says:

    If only tigers were lambs.Report

  6. Scott says:

    If true, an American citizen is among the dead so this may mess may be a bit stickier than first thought.