Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Anti-Semitism and the Gaza Flotilla Incident - Part Two

The following is a transcript of a conversation I had on Facebook.

Jacqueline Moss
I'm exceedingly proud of my own ability to piss people off.

Jacqueline Moss
This instance epitomizes what is wrong with the Israeli-Palestine relationship in the clash of free Palestine activists and the Israeli state. I myself am conflicted, because as a Jew, I cherish Judaism because it is a religion of compassion and charity, but when the Israeli state persecutes Arabs and Palestinians in much the same way they themselves were persecuted, I am overwhelmed with disgust and sorrow. As Jews, we are no better than our own persecutors in our treatment of the Palestinians. And while the actions of some who were a part of the Freedom Flotilla were provocative, the actions of the Israeli military are akin to swatting a fly with an Uzi. Both parties are at fault, but Israel shares more of that burden because it is such a powerful military force. I find the actions of the Israeli state deeply disturbing, and it only confirms my own anti-Israel feelings.

Matthew Rozsa
I couldn't agree more.

Ariel Assaraf
Your both totally wrong ,your understanding of the situation basiclyl comes from the media , which makes both of your opinions the same level of a 10 year old boy watching the news, if you lived here in israel and not judge from your comfortable seat at NY you would maybe have a clue of what its like being surounded by 500 milion people that want to practically destroy you . and as americans i'm sure you know [but may steel lie to yourself] that the american army would have killed atlist 200 people on the same situation . and i'm not exaggerating .each of the wars in iraq and afganistan killed more people than israel killed at all its wars! stop being so affected by the media. if somthing is similar to dark times in history than its the media supporting the hate of jews and we all saw it with not less than the official white house journalist ! why when the US desides to put a blockade on cuba its legitimate but israel cant after 5000 !!!! missiles shot over her desides on a blockade on gaza people which democraticlly ! chose hamas to be thier leader. hamas whos not ashamed to say he wants israel eradication .
dont let propaganda get to you, at list not you the jews .

Jacqueline Moss
Ariel, you are right in that we have never lived in Israel and do not know what it is like to be surrounded by people who want to destroy us. But I don't think most Arabs want to destroy Jews. I think most Palestinians want to just live their lives and support their families, and to live in their ancestral home (one shared by Jews). There is no denying that Hamas is a terrorist organization, but their is also no denying the suffering of the Palestinian people. And you know what, YOU need to stop being brainwashed by the media and try to see things from the Palestinians' point of view. And just because I am an American, does not mean I support the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq, as I am sure there are Israelis who do not support wars in its sphere of influence. I would also like to point out that the US has been Israel's greatest ally since the formation of the Israeli state, and that most of the "propaganda" as you put it, is very much pro-Israel. And neither you nor I can say what would have happened if something similar to this had happened in US territory. Also, insulting our intelligence because you disagree with our opinion doesn't make your point any stronger. Israel has the right to protect itself and its people, but that does justify Israel valuing the life of Jews over the lives of Palestinians? Because from here, that is what it looks like, and it does nothing to make me more sympathetic to the serious issues Israel does face, it only solidifies the image of Israel as bully, and discredits the legitimate need for security.

Matthew Rozsa
To Ariel:

1) My understanding of this situation does not come predominantly from the media, but rather from my own independent research. You assume that, because Jackie and I disagree with you, we must by default be imbibing the propaganda of others rather than thinking for ourselves. This assumption is not only inaccurate (especially since you fail to substantiate it with a single piece of evidence), but highly condescending (which you more or less confirm by comparing us to "a 10 year old boy").

2) I do not deny that Israel is in constant peril for its very existence, and that it has half a billion neighbors who would revel in its destruction. That doesn't mean that the country is morally justified in doing whatever it wishes, or that it can use the cause of "self-defense" as an excuse for its actions when they are wrong. Indeed, you are walking down a slippery slope the instant you use security as a rationalization for the use of force that, increasingly, doesn't really seem warranted.

3) Your mentioning of America is logically flawed for two reasons:
i. It isn't relevant - what America has or hasn't done, or would or wouldn't do, isn't related to what Israel actually did.
ii. You assume that Jackie and I support both of America's wars. While I can't speak for Jackie, I do not support our presence in Iraq. I do support the war in Afghanistan, at least in principle, although I feel our focus (which should be on capturing bin Laden and bringing him, and the other perpetrators of 9/11, to justice) has become muddled.

4) Helen Thomas is not the "official" White House journalist. She is a reporter who has covered the American president since the last year of the Eisenhower administration - and, incidentally, she was fired for her remarks.

5) I don't support America's economic blockade of Cuba.

6) Once again, I do not support Hamas, but that doesn't mean that Israel was justified in economically punishing Palestinian civilians in Gaza via a blockade OR that Israel was right for shooting those protesters. You seem to believe that, by pointing out the various areas in which Arabs in this conflict are wrong, you can exonerate just about anything Israel does. Once again, a slippery slope.

By the way, neither Jackie nor I live in New York. I am in Pennsylvania and, the last time I checked, she is in Maine.

Matthew Rozsa
Jackie, I'm sorry that I didn't acknowledge your reply in my last post; Weborah (as I have named my computer) is being slow as hell today, so I didn't even receive notice that you had written anything until just now.

I agree with what you wrote.

Ariel Assaraf
some facts :
ahmadinejad - chosen democraticlly even after saying many times hes opinion on destroying israel
hamas -chosen democraticlly even after saying many times hes opinion on destroying israel,and commiting terror and suicide attacks
hizzballa - the second biggest party in lebanon and an equal member of the government there even after saying many times hes opinion on destroying israel,and commiting terror and suicide attacks
this are the only three democrat countries in the region .. is it suprising that those countries are the most extrimist ageinst israel ? or maybe i'm just a bit right about saying most arabs want to destroy us

by the way.. syria isent saying israel should be destroyed but thier too.. hate us .

and its not a matter of thinking that jews lives are more important.. its just that we dont intend to kill cevilians . and they do. so agein . after 5000(!!) missiles shot on israeli cities and cevilians. israel puted a blockade only on the gaza strip .. where hamas you should know.. is considered too pragmatic .

And trust me. i probeblly know more than anyone you know , i do not get my point of view from the media.

Matthew Rozsa
Once again, I am not denying (a) that virulent Jew-baiting is a serious problem in the Muslim world or (b) that Israel's very existence is in constant jeopardy. The problem is that you keep using those two facts to justify ANY human rights violation that is committed by Israel against the Palestinians or anti-Israel protesters. While I hate to resort to cliches, you leave me with no choice; two wrongs, Ariel, do not make a right. The fact that millions of Muslims perpetuate noxious anti-Jewish propaganda and want to destroy Israel - and are aided in both these goals by Jew-haters eveywhere, who use humanitarian criticism of Israel as a cover - is morally reprehensible, as are (obviously) Palestinian acts of terrorism. None of that adds righteousness to Israel's bulldozing of Palestinian homes, building of Jewish residential complexes in Arab neighborhoods, expansion of settlements in Arab territory, political oppression of Palestinians, and high-casualty military campaigns.

In your last post, you also trotted out a third argument - that Israel's military doesn't target civilians (not entirely true, given their retaliatory bombing campaigns, which inevitably kill civilians) and, by extension, that Israel could be much worse in its treatment of Palestinians than it actually is. That's a bit like defending South Africa's apartheid regime by pointing out that it wasn't as bad as Nazi Germany's Holocaust; while the statement is true, it kind of misses the larger point.

Once again, I do not receive all of my information from the media. You may remember that the two of us met while I was in Israel for a ten-day trip, during which time I frequently learned a great deal about this conflict from the Israeli perspective. It isn't that I am unaware of your point-of-view; it is that I disagree with it.

Ariel Assaraf
Well. . i thing that beliving 10 days makes you see the israeli prespective is very naive

in addition .israel did not kill "protesters" !



those pictures where taken before the soldiers used fire. noticed that soldiers are not armed!
and notice at the first pic your "protester" is holdin a knife! you know that if the comando would have used its full force no way you could have seen pictures like this .
Do not .call those terrorists protesters . their familly's said they allways wanted to be "shahids"
and telling me your not really from NY ? give me a break . you know its not the point

Matthew Rozsa
1) I never said that my Birthright Israel trip made me an expert on the Israeli perspective. That said, it did teach me a lot about how Israelis view the world, and particularly this conflict. At least, I hope it did, particularly since that was one of the main goals articulated by our tour guide and the various other people we met along the way. If I left your country WITHOUT acquiring a great knowledge and understanding of how Israelis view the world, then I'd say about 40% of the purpose of that trip - not just from my perspective, but from the perspective of the people who run Birthright Israel - was a failure.

2) The Israeli soldiers were clearly armed, even if the ones in that picture were not. After all, how exactly did protesters wind up with bullets in their bodies? Did the soldiers throw them?

3) I can't even make sense of the context in which the knife picture was taken. Regardless, the idea that a picture of a protester holding a knife proves that commandos hadn't used full force seems a bit silly. Wouldn't they be MORE likely to brandish knives if the commandos were posing a serious threat?

Oh, and I agree that whether or not I'm from New York isn't the point. Why did you bring it up?

Jacqueline Moss

Ariel Assaraf
those picturs were taken from turkish paper. they are in the perfect c is not enoughontext. and the first soldiers to get on the boat werent armed. only after two were sevirelly wounded the armed comando got on the boat. if you dident even know that those are not protesters then im sorry, your knowladge is not enougth for us to argue. go study

Jacqueline Moss
Your dismissiveness and condescension of those whose opinions are not the same as yours is insulting and only further illustrates your ignorance, lack of intellectual curiosity, and outright hate of those who do not share your position. Instead of engaging in respectful discussion, you chose to insult and accuse.

Matthew Rozsa
I'm not quite comfortable criticizing someone for intellectual condescension, since I am guilty of that particular shortcoming myself. However, I am PERFECTLY comfortable MATCHING his condescension huffalump for huffalump, which I am going to do below:

Ariel... have you ever heard of a dictionary? Maybe spell-check? Do you know how to write complete words without unintentionally inserting other words in between them (see: "c is not enoughontext")? I know that English grammar is considered to be among the most complex in the world, but could you at least give its proper usage the old "scout's try"?

Oh, and your comment, "if you dident even know that those are not protesters..."

What the hell are you talking about?

A continuation of the dialogue from the next day...

Idan Chesler
British Naval analyst on Flotilla lynch of Israelis

Matthew Rozsa
This video does go a long way toward suggesting that the protesters on board the ship contributed to the violence. At the same time, the British interviewer asks a question which even the military analyst - whose position, ostensibly, defends the Israeli reaction - is unable to effectively answer: Why, if the Israelis only used non-lethal tactics, were ten people killed?

To me, the fact that this question isn't answered by the footage on the tape suggests that events transpired which were not captured on video - events that, it stands to reason, would not support the position of innocence being espoused by the Israelis.


idan said...

The Israelis did not know that there would be a violent gang on one of the ships, the rest of the ships were controlled peacefully.
The Commandos landed one by one with paint guns and when attacked viciously with clubs and long knives they had to shoot'em (It was severe beating and life threatening).
The Israeli Intellegence was not sufficient in this case. If they'd known about this gang they'd find a better way to control the ship.

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