May 31 2010

Beyond incredulity

 This headline in today’s supposedly-progressive Haaretz – “Israel Navy commandos: Gaza flotilla activists tried to lynch us” – makes me wonder if something was lost in translation.

 The irony of a lynching in Israel’s own Deep South is strange enough fruit (see postscript) for a crack PR operation, but for an Israeli newspaper to acknowledge that their also-crack commandos (“elite troops from Shayetet 13”) were forced to kill “activists” (they’re always “activists, n’est pas?) in self-defense after boarding their vessels in international waters – that, my friends, is tacit admission that the most feeble excuses imaginable are sufficient to justify anything Israel wishes to do, anywhere in the world.  Note these bizarre bits from the article:

 “The IDF confirmed that at least seven Navy commandos had been wounded, two of them seriously, in a fight which apparently broke out after activists tried to seize their weapons.”

 “The commandos … said they had encountered violent resistance from activists armed with sticks and knives. According to the commandos, the activists threw one of the soldiers from the upper deck to the lower after they boarded.”

 “One of the commandos said some of the soldiers were stripped of their helmets and equipment and a several were tossed from the top deck to a lower deck, forcing them to jump into the sea to escape.”

 “The soldiers said they were forced to open fire after the activists struck one of their comrades in the head and trampled on him. A senior IDF field commander ordered the soldiers then to respond with fire, a decision which the commandos said received full backing the military echelon.”

http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/israel-navy-commandos-gaza-flotilla-activists-tried-to-lynch-us-1.293089 or http://bit.ly/c5dlyP or http://tinyurl.com/25fc967.

The whole story smacks of a stupid mission that was badly botched from the moment it was hatched.  It’s also sadly reminiscent of the daily articles in Haaretz about Palestinians shot and killed for wandering too close to a mandated periphery, except that now the killing occurs in Dubai hotels and out in the Mediterranean, miles from Gaza.

 PS – to heap irony upon irony:  “Strange Fruit” (immortalized by Billie Holiday) began as a poem written by Abel Meeropol, a Jewish high-school teacher from the Bronx, about the lynching of two black men.  Meeropol and his wife later adopted Robert and Michael, sons of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, who were convicted of espionage and executed by the United States.

Permanent link to this article: http://levantium.com/2010/05/31/beyond-incredulity/

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