In continuing to follow the facts as they trickle out, I am also reading about the pasting Israel is getting in the foreign press.
This is puzzling. First of all, before anyone had many details at all about the incident, there were already papers and people condemning Israel’s “act of piracy” (read more about that here) against a flotilla of “peaceful humanitarian aid workers” attempting to break the Gaza blockade.
My piece yesterday was based on extensive reading of reports, viewing of video footage taken of the boarding of the Mavi Marmara, and whatever eyewitness statements I could get. (Parents of the Israeli commandos have been circulating their sons’ accounts of what they encountered when they were lowered to the ship’s deck.) What were these vociferous condemnations based on? I would venture to guess that not a lot of thought or information was required in order for some people to assume conclude that Israel must have been in the wrong for intercepting the Gaza-bound flotilla. No need to verify details such as what was really on those ships, whether the activists aboard them kept their word to be boarded peacefully, whether there was an alternative, peaceful, non-confrontational way for those goods to have made it to Gaza without lives being lost, or to think about why the flotilla set sail in the first place. Any attempt by Israel to contact, warn, negotiate, or offer to assist was ignored; as soon as a Jew in a uniform descended and mayhem broke loose, THAT’S when the cameras started rolling and the journalists started paying attention.
Professor Richard Landes remarked that “When an army that is vastly superior, but neither wants to be killed nor kill, meets an vastly inferior enemy who wants to kill and be killed, it behooves both participants and observers to understand why things go awry.” It should be obvious that the situation was bizarre to begin with. It is the job of any person who truly cares about a situation to inform himself before reacting, and this should take days, not seconds, since there is lag-time between when events unfold and reports are published. Intelligent, free-thinking, discerning people should show a little more patience. (Those who don’t risk looking like fools whose mouths are bigger than their brains.)
I urge everyone who feels strongly (in whichever direction) about this incident to follow it closely, but wait for the facts and results before flying off the handle. Americans are always urging the parties concerned to “exercise restraint.” I don’t think that’s a bad policy here. After all, enough blood has been spilled for little benefit.
In the meantime, I encourage anyone interested in a (nearly) 20/20 hindsight assessment of the incident to read an interview with Joe Settler at the Muqata, which includes both praise for and critique of Israel’s performance in this operation.
And for a little chizuk, check out this YouTube video of a high school kid taking on a mob of hysterical, blood-thirsty Leftists and pro-terrorists in Los Angeles.
Compare his calm and understanding of the facts of what happened (“I’m an informed person”) with their rage and ignorance (“[The] Israeli state does not even exist!” And the Bible, and the Jewish presence from Biblical days? “I don’t know about that”). Personally, I’d rather be like the teenage kid than those adults.