There is something unspeakable about the Israeli attempts to explain away their horrible attack on a peace ship at dawn Monday, something offensive and rotten about their claims that the soldiers, armed with “paint-ball guns,” suddenly had to switch to assault rifles or Uzis or sidearms and murder a bunch of innocent human beings on a ship loaded with supplies for a struggling people. The army has now published a video of what are supposed to be caches of arms secreted in the hold of the Mavi Marmara—one Molotov cocktail, a pile of metal pipes, a pile of wrenches, slingshots, gas-masks—justifying the violent takeover. A “lynch” armed with deadly weapons. Over in reality, the arguments about the presence of firearms have completely deteriorated. Almost no one will accept the claims. Does the Israeli government believe them? Some do, some don’t, although they’ll present a united front. Anyone in the commentariat? For sure. Seth Freedman does, and I think his defense must be a sanitized version of majority opinion within Israel—signs in Ashdod read col hacavod, Hebrew for well-done. Col hacavod, chaverim–assaulting peace activists and destroying the eye of an art student on the same day by squashing it with a propelled tear-gas grenade (Freedman, demonstrating close touch with reality, thinks Huwaida Arraf is male).
The latest video shows Israeli soldiers attacking the ship. They continued attacking after the activists ran up a white flag, surrendering. Every independent data-point—and I have to use ridiculous technical jargon because the observers’ video evidence is hidden or has been destroyed—suggests that Israel kept firing for a long time. Everyone knows that Netanyahu and Lieberman approved this assault. Everyone knows that some sort of approving signal came out of the Obama administration, perhaps—to ensure plausible deniability—through the State Department, perhaps a quiet huddle between under-secretaries accompanied by freighted vacuity like, “We understand the Israeli government’s position on this.” The government didn’t expect Israel to slaughter innocents on the high seas, though. Why didn’t they predict it? Simple. They don’t quite get that the Israeli government is run by thugs, perhaps seeking to see how far they can push their boundaries, perhaps simply because they are incompetent. Who knows. In a way, who cares. What matters is that American support will not waver–not yet. Ambassador Alejandro Wolff, Deputy Permanent U.S. Representative to the United Nations, said at the United Nations: “mechanisms exist for the transfer of humanitarian assistance to Gaza by member states and groups that want to do so. These non-provocative and non-confrontational mechanisms should be the ones used for the benefit of all those in Gaza. Direct delivery by sea is neither appropriate nor responsible, and certainly not effective, under the circumstances.”
Meanwhile, even Israeli Zionists are commenting, “The damage that Israel has caused itself internationally can hardly be exaggerated.” While the Lobby covers for it. That’s the Zionist lobby again? Odd thing, because it doesn’t seem to be doing much for Zionism nor for the Jews nor for Israel.