The spread of flotilla sickness

The reaction to Israel exercising its legal right is but the latest example of the West’s willingness to wallow in lies and hypocrisy


The flotilla episode provided the trigger for a frenzied demonstration of the world's collective loss of mind over Israel.

Israel did what it was entitled to do and what any other country at war would do: intercept boats that might be carrying weapons for an aggressor regime. Since six out of the seven intercepted boats then proceeded peacefully to Ashdod where their cargo was checked, this was demonstrably not an Israeli "attack".

Conversely, as everyone could see from the video evidence, on the main boat the attack took place against the Israelis - who then killed nine of their jihadi assailants solely to protect themselves from being lynched, kidnapped and murdered.

Yet, for this, Israel has been hysterically denounced across the world for an act of aggression and even piracy - an onslaught, in effect, upon Israel's right to defend itself, without which no country can exist.

How is it possible that so many - Jews included - believe all these lies?

The claim that Gaza is starving is the opposite of the truth: its markets are stacked with produce, and every week Israel allows in thousands of tons of aid across the border. As its organiser admitted, the flotilla was not about humanitarian aid at all but was designed to break the sea blockade - and thus open up a weapons channel for Hamas. This manipulative and mendacious exercise was but the latest attempt to weaken Israel ready for the slaughter through an ever tightening noose of lies, demonisation and delegitimisation.

We have endured the fabricated claims of Israeli massacres in Jenin, the 2006 Lebanon war and Cast Lead; the charge that Israel is an "apartheid" state, that it has committed genocide, ethnic cleansing and is starving the people of Gaza; that it is the aggressor in the Middle East.

How is it possible that so many believe all these lies? How can so many Jews believe them? As I have described in my new book, The World Turned Upside Down (please forgive the commercial) the witch-hunt against Israel is the pivotal example of the West's repudiation of reason itself, leading to a widespread inversion of truth and lies, justice and injustice, right and wrong.

The "progressive" left-wing intelligentsia now subscribes to a world-view that, over a wide range of issues, subordinates truth to ideology. This manifests itself in utopian creeds that hold that the world would attain a state of perfection if only it wasn't for capitalism/America/ industrialisation/men/the nation state/those damned Jews.

Since these creeds are axiomatically the embodiment of virtue, all who dissent must be treated as moral outcasts and their views stifled. From this Manichean mindset, which decrees that all who are not the left are a) the right, and b) intrinsically evil, it follows that anyone who challenges the lies generated by ideological dogma is by definition right-wing and evil. As a result of this knee-jerk name-calling, people dismiss such inconvenient truths even when they stare them in the face.

This terrifying mindset is the left's default position. That is why this madness towards Israel is not confined to gentiles. Indeed, even Jews who consider themselves to have the interests of Israel at heart sometimes tragically end up believing the lies and supporting positions that would destroy it.

Which partly explains why some communal leaders busily suck up to the enemies of Israel in the faith or political worlds, even telling them on occasion that "in private I agree with you".

So we find ourselves in this nightmare situation. The Great Flotilla Derangement has created the impression that, as Iran moves towards completing its genocide bomb, the rest of the world senses an endgame and is moving in on Israel for the kill.

Melanie Phillips is a Daily Mail columnist

    Last updated: 2:24pm, August 13 2010

    COMMENTS

    Jon_i_Cohen

    Thu, 06/10/2010 - 16:15

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    3 points

    Superb article! (as always)


    Yvetta

    Thu, 06/10/2010 - 16:34

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    1 point

    A gutsy gal!


    Blacklisted Dictator

    Thu, 06/10/2010 - 18:08

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    0 points

    Melanie,

    Miriam Shaviv has argued on her blog that Israel's military response to the flotilla was "botched". She even went to the trouble of quoting an editorial in the Times.

    Do you agree?


    steveabbott

    Thu, 06/10/2010 - 23:45

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    -2 points

    Another article from Ms Phillips - wrong again.

    Israel was not entitled to act the way it did re the flotilla. The assault was in international waters, the blockade itself is illegal - collective punishment of a population according to the UN. How then can enforcement of the blockade be legal? None of the boats proceeded 'peacefully' to Ashod. They were forced at gunpoint to divert, under apparent threat of death. Video evidence is partial (on both sides), unclear, and far from conclusive either way. Why not establish an international inquiry under the UN to establish the truth of the matter? Would Ms Phillips support that - if Israel's case is so strong, why not?

    Hamas, like it or not, is the democratically elected, legitimate Government of Gaza - perhaps it would not be if Fatah had been given something from Israel to show its people that talking to Israel leads to something better than yet more settlements. Israel does not claim Gaza. It may consider itself to be at war with Gaza, and is entitled therefore to act on that assumption, but how then can it deny Gazans the right of self defence it claims for itself? How can it logically deny the right of Gazans to obtain whatever weaponry they can to defend themselves with? Is that not what happens in a war situation? Why is the rest of the world always wrong, and Israel always right? State piracy seems about right in this instance - Israel's right of self defence should not depend on illegality. Ms Phillips confuses cause and effect. The blockade is itself an act of aggression. Hamas is bound to respond - how can they be denied the same right of defence that Israel claims for itself?

    Phillips repeats the claim that Gaza is not starving - why then does the UN say that there are severe shortages of foods, and many other materials required for normal civilian life to go on? Following the establishment of the Hamas Goverment in 2006, an Israeli spokesperson, rather charmingly boasted that Gazans will be put on a diet. That rather undermines Phillips claim. We have a choice - believe Israel, or believe the UN.

    Yes, obviuosly the flotilla was about breaking the blockade. A perfectly legitimate aim, and one now openly shared it seems by the US and the EU - both have said it should end. Ms Phillips sinks into hysterical and intemperate language, when she talks about 'preparing Israel for the slaughter', and 'tightening the noose of lies'. The noose is around the collective necks of the captive Palestinian population, and it is a real one rather than figurative. Talk of demonisation, and de-legitimisation is moot - Israel demonises itself through its actions, and while the state of Israel is entirely legitimate, its actions again are not.

    She goes on to list allegedly fabricated claims against Israel, but I have looked at them, and I dont think it was wise of her to raise the subjects here - they do not help her case. The massacre at Jenin has been well documented. The 2006 lebanon war resulted in 1400 deaths - mostly civilian by some margin/ against some 120 Israeli dead - almost all military. The cast lead massacre resulted in some 1300 palestinian dead - mostly civilian by some margin/against some 12 Israeli dead - almost all military. The term aparthied can be used to describe Israel's occupation of the west bank, and ethnic cleansing undoubtably took place during and immedietly after the 1948 war. Foreign minister Lieberman is on record as having called for more of it - palestinians and incredibly Israeli arab citizens into Jordan. As for Israel being the aggressor in the middle east – what else can one call invading Lebanon twice since 1982, occupying part of it between those invasions, brutally surpressing both intifadas, cast lead, bombing Syria? If that does not qualify as aggression, the word has no meaning.

    She asks – why do so many believe these lies about Israel? Well maybe they have credibility because they are truths. ‘We find ourselves in a nightmare situation’ she says. Indeed we do, but it is a nightmare of Israel’s making. Would that she would wake up – settle with the Palestinians in justice and peace, stop invading other countries, and become a more normal state.

    I met Melanie Phillips once. Coming down from my scaffold in Flanchford Road (for I am a roofer), we exchanged a few pleasantries – she seemed very nice. I wonder if she remembers me? I used to read her in the Guardian long ago, and liked her writing, especially on social matters. I fear she has lost her edge on this subject – a torturous defense of the indefensible. She would be much better directing her considerable abilities to campaigning for the Government of Israel to act with some purpose, humanity, and sense of strategic insight. Otherwise, what hope is there for the future of Israel and the middle east?

    Forgive the spelling - not spell-checked.


    jose (not verified)

    Sat, 06/19/2010 - 16:55

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    0 points

    Armies around the globe stop suspect ships in international waters. These ships declared their intention to violate a blockade. Israel was perfectly entitled to board it. Attacking the soldiers was thus self-defence. No amount of rhetoric will ever change this.
    The only misevaluation of Tsahal was to board the Mavi Marmara with paintball guns instead of real war weapons, forcing a second assault wave to liberate their comrades who were taken hostage. If someone has to be sacked, it is for this mistake and not for the number of attackers who were killed.

    A typical lie in Cast Lead is to count the 250 Hamas policeman who were killed in the first days as "civilians". No one in his own mind would count an armed policeman, member of a terrorist organization as a "civilian". But PCHR does and some other NGOs as well as some "useful idiots".
    Then minors of 18, armed or not, were counted as "children" by PCHR. Israel counted armed major of 15 as "activists".
    Easy to make a majority of "civilians" this way. Only the definition of a "civilian" changes. All it takes is some "useful idiots" to believe in such a biased definition.
    Belief in words can be deadly, when it leads to total disregard for facts.


    jose (not verified)

    Sat, 06/19/2010 - 17:12

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    0 points

    UN investigations are as biased against Israel as the members of UN-HRC, a Council that changed the Human Rights' dream into a nightmare. The UNHRC is an asylum where the inmates are in charge.
    And there is a precedent: the Goldstone vs Rights to Defend Its Own Citizens. It should be evident that Israel has no interest whatsoever in cooperating with as a prejudiced committee as was the Goldstone bandwagon (see the statements of some of them previous to the inquiry). The results of such an enquiry could be written in advance and without Israel bothering to present its defence, thus saving a lot of time.


    jose (not verified)

    Sat, 06/19/2010 - 17:18

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    0 points

    steveabott
    "Hamas, like it or not, is the democratically elected, legitimate Government of Gaza"

    That is false to facts: Hamas illegally seized government of the Gaza strip. Hamas is only the majority party after 2006 elections but only AP is entitled to name the government and it was NOT a Hamas one.
    But even though, NSDAP was the democratically elected government of the Germans in 1932. Should we, as new Chamberlains go to Munich/Gaza and accept the inacceptable for... what exactly? Do you remember what happened after Munich? Did we have "peace in our time"? My memory is failing me? Can you help me, please?


    amber

    Sat, 06/19/2010 - 18:22

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    -1 points

    abbott,

    1. The partial blockade is not illegal.
    2. Israel acted fully within its rights to stop the flotilla from breaking the partial blockade.

    Once you understand this, the rest of your post becomes irrelevant.


    steveabbott

    Sun, 06/20/2010 - 22:38

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    0 points

    amber. the UN says the blockade is 'collective punishment of a civilian population'. as such it is illegal. you only ever refer to israel's 'rights'? why is that? your posting is largely racist, often hysterical, and always wrong.


    amber

    Sun, 06/20/2010 - 23:27

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    0 points

    Abbott, back to your idol, the UN again. The UN with 37 block Muslim countries, the UN whose majority constitute despotic dictatorships, the UN which ignores 7 million deaths in DRC, 400,000 deaths in Darfur, the Chinese occupation and brutalization of Tibet, torture chambers in Libya (which is grotesquely head of the human rights council), Zimbabwe in charge of economic development (100,000% inflation), the Un which attacks the US 80% of the time (despite the US paying most of the bills), the UN which hates the Jews?

    What a moral bastion.

    "Racist"? Give me one example you ignorant moron. What utter crap.


    happygoldfish

    Mon, 06/21/2010 - 00:50

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    1 point

    steveabbott, so far as i know, the only un person to refer to "collective punishment" is john holmes, un undersecretary-general for humanitarian affairs, and even he does not claim that that makes it illegal

    indeed he clearly refrains from doing so, see http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSN18343083 (my italics) …

    "We all understand the security problems and the need to respond to that but collective punishment of the people of Gaza is not, we believe, the appropriate way to do that," said John Holmes

    holmes is doubtless aware (and you should be) that "collective punishment" is not prohibited by the fourth geneva convention, only "collective penalties" are …

    Art. 33. No protected person may be punished for an offence he or she has not personally committed. Collective penalties and likewise all measures of intimidation or of terrorism are prohibited.

    the difference, in international law, of course is that "penalties" deprive people of something that they have a right to (life, liberty, etc … deprivation of these is covered by the law of reprisal), while "punishment" deprives them of things which they might otherwise enjoy (eg, the opportunity to buy goods from abroad), but which they don't actually have a right to (deprivation of these is covered by the law of retortion … in armed conflict, reprisal is generally illegal, but retortion isn't)

    economic sanctions, including blockade (provided, of course, that sufficient food and medical supplies are allowed in) are retortion, not reprisal … punishment, not penalty … and are not illegal

    and the un has not said that they are illegal

    steveabbott, i challenged you in another blog ("here is the San Remo international law of blockade …") to provide a source or link confirming your statement that the un had described the israeli-egyptian blockade as "illegal", and you replied …

    steveabbott: your right goldfish - sources are vital. i will provide them from now on.
    i will locate sources this very day for UN statements on the illegality of the blockade …

    … but despite three reminders, and regular postings in other blogs, you have not done so

    instead, you have now reprised your theme, giving the impression that the un has described the blockade as illegal, but without actually saying so

    steveabbott: the UN says the blockade is 'collective punishment of a civilian population'. as such it is illegal.

    if you think that the un has described the israeli-egyptian blockade as illegal, please provide a source (as you promised); if it is merely your opinion that it is illegal, please provide some authority for saying that "collective penalties" in an armed conflict include economic sanctions (or blockade)


    happygoldfish

    Mon, 06/21/2010 - 11:10

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    -1 points

    jose, steveabbott (three t's) certainly knows what the issue is … he is perfectly correct when he says that the issue is whether the blockade is illegal

    steveabbott: Israel was not entitled to act the way it did re the flotilla. The assault was in international waters, the blockade itself is illegal - collective punishment of a population according to the UN. How then can enforcement of the blockade be legal?

    … and that in itself is deserving of attention

    just because you're not interested in seeing an analysis of the law doesn't necessarily mean that steveabbott isn't …
    and anyway surely the jewish view is that discussion of the law is a good thing for its own sake?

    why is there so much personal unpleasantness on these blogs?

    and who are "his betters"? and who are you to judge?

    and why were you telling me all that?


    Jon_i_Cohen

    Mon, 06/21/2010 - 11:16

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    0 points

    steveabbott
    We are still waiting to read your detailed, well thought out and insiteful analysis, supported by references, quotations, UN pronouncements, edicts and resolutions vis a vis the Naval blockade on Gaza.


    jose (not verified)

    Thu, 06/24/2010 - 16:19

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    0 points

    "he is perfectly correct when he says that the issue is whether the blockade is illegal …"

    Well, I didn't see at all the "whether" part of it, and if you did see that, it does not appear in the quote you made, ie:

    steveabbott: Israel was not entitled to act the way it did re the flotilla. The assault was in international waters, the blockade itself is illegal

    "just because you're not interested in seeing an analysis of the law"

    And how do you know I am not? It is not because I am not interested in steveabbott's inexistant analysis (it is just an uninformed opinion) that I wouldn't be interested in say, yours.

    "why is there so much personal unpleasantness on these blogs?"

    Probably, because you brought some with you, with some nose in the air contempt.


    jose (not verified)

    Thu, 06/24/2010 - 16:24

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    0 points

    "and why were you telling me all that?"

    That was indeed a mistake that I will not make anymore. :(


    jose (not verified)

    Tue, 06/29/2010 - 05:17

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    0 points

    The "flotilla sickness" will not, in my opinion, become an epidemic. The next 'volunteers' were Iran and Lebanon, not really countries who pretend to be friends of Israel, unlike Turkey. Egypt will probably block entrance of the Suez canal to the Iranians and let's hope that Lebanon will avoid provocations that could degenerate into a full-scale war.

    But even if these cover-up operations fail, the Iranians will develop their atomic bomb. There is no time really left and only a costly war could stop it, something USA won't do and Israel cannot do alone. The only hope would be a limited strike on Iranian atomic installations, to slow down the process. I doubt it will ever happen.
    I don't think Israel could ever be the target of an atomic attack, as Saudi Arabia is a much more likely one. But it will take more than one bomb to do it, especially since USA's answer would be automatic.


    jose (not verified)

    Tue, 06/29/2010 - 05:22

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    0 points

    The "flotilla sickness" will not, in my opinion, become an epidemic. The next 'volunteers' were Iran and Lebanon, not really countries who pretend to be friends of Israel, unlike Turkey. Egypt will probably block entrance of the Suez canal to the Iranians and let's hope that Lebanon will avoid provocations that could degenerate into a full-scale war.

    But even if these cover-up operations fail, the Iranians will develop their atomic bomb. There is no time really left and only a costly war could stop it, something USA won't do and Israel cannot do alone. The only hope would be a limited strike on Iranian atomic installations, to slow down the process. I doubt it will ever happen.
    I don't think Israel could ever be the target of an atomic attack, as Saudi Arabia is a much more likely one. But it will take more than one bomb to do it, especially since USA's answer would be automatic.

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