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Failure To Sail

by on July 19, 2011

I’ve become tired about writing about a flotilla to Israel that might or might not happen, since I’ve been writing about it since March.  It’s like banging my head against a wall every few days, and the wall isn’t budging.  So what’s up with the flotilla?  The only ship to make it out of Greek harbors – nice political maneuvering, Israel – was stopped, and boarded, in international waters by Israel today.

Despite all my contemplations, and writings, about the matter, I cannot easily judge who was right in their actions.  Much like last year.  Israel stopped a ship in international waters (against international law), but the ship’s destination was clear.  The expectation of this has been building for months, and Israel worked well with Greece (not usually an Israeli friend) to use every means to prevent the arrival of several hundred people – many of them Jewish – making a statement about policy in Israel.  Perhaps the activists (which the media uses as a dirty word, though it is anything but) succeeded in their cause.  Did you notice that there was a flotilla trying to sail to Gaza?  It’s much more likely that you noticed, because all of months of expectation – the ‘flotilla’ ( now a single ship) that set sail was supposed to sail six weeks ago – led to more news coverage.

Why do I object to Israel’s policy?  It’s not because I’m anti-Israel; it’s because I’m pro-peace.  I don’t believe you create peace by perpetrating violence.  Were the activists, whom I have supported, perpetrating violence?  I think they were bringing attention to the oppression of Gaza – and oppression is a form of violence.  Does Israel believe the activists were violent?  Probably.  Does Israel believe it is creating peace through oppression and prevention of statement?  Probably.

However, Peace, like war, must be waged.  Although I support Israel – to paraphrase Shakespeare, I love Israel so much I would not part with a single inch of it – my conception of Israel is different from how Israel (the government) envisions itself, and is also different from your conception of Israel.  I think, and some retired commanders of the Israeli Defense Forces agree with me, that Israel legitimately exists, and the in 1948, 1956, and 1967 Israel had legitimacy.  There has not been a war since in which Israel has had legitimacy,which comes from the international community (not just the United States) and that includes the daily oppression and occasional bombing of Gaza.

Land, and the borders of countries which rest on land, are not immutable.  History works in such a way that one nation conquers another, and claims land, a claim which, over time, is sometimes validated and sometimes invalidated.  While Wales, and the requisite Gaelic, are returning as a culture, it is part of Great Britain.  Which, in turn, was founded because of marriage, not conquest of land.  In the United States, there are the Jamestown Indians, of Washington State, which were never an oppressed tribe (or a tribe at all), and are quite prosperous.  Then there are the Chumash Indians, or California, who were servants to the Spaniards and the white men, but now make a killing running a casino.  When South Sudan became the world’s newest country last week, were you disappointed, and thinking that continued oppression on the basis of religion was the right thing between the Sudanese?  Or did you feel joy for the South Sudanese, who felt hope?  It is reasonable on the basis of history to expect that land in Israel will not remain unaltered.

When we call for peace in the Middle East, which stems from the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, it is not a call for the end of Israel.  It is a call for peace, and the Germans were right that peace requires ‘living space;’ it’s equally clear that the Germans went the wrong way about that claim.  The creation of war does not bring about peace.  When activists, those dreaded people who use action to advocate peace, bring to our attention that the Palestinians, too, need ‘living space’ it is not without merit.  Room to live give us successful examples such as the Chumash and Jamestown Indians, peace in Ireland, and the hope the Republic of South Sudan is experiencing.

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