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My deep condolences go to the family, friends, and comrades of those who were killed or injured by this latest unjustifiable atrocity.  

There was a demonstration here in Boston yesterday, one of many around the world against Israel's act of piracy.  I learned about it too late to go, and haven't yet heard anything about how it went.  But when I was thinking about if I could go, a chant came to me, bearing the message I would have wanted to say there.  I doubt it would have been welcome.  I was thinking:

<i>No more pirates; no more knives -
No more games with human lives!</i>

It's been awhile since I've participated in the kind of non-violent direct action (not the same as protest) that the Free Gaza flotillas have brilliantly exemplified.  But I have done so, and I know that its success depends on the firm commitment of participants to maintain a non-violent approach, even when resisting unjust violence by armed authorities.  

As much as I am repulsed by Israel's unnecessary and self-destructive brutality, and knowing that they are fully responsible for the assault and the murders they committed, I must say that I am also disgusted with what I see as the betrayal committed by those participants in the Free Gaza flotilla who took up arms against the invading Israeli commandos.  Not because I think self-defense is illegitimate; I don't.  But let those who want that kind confrontation organize their own effort, train themselves in hand-to-hand combat if they wish, and then go out to provoke an attack so they can be glorious martyrs all by themselves.  I will grieve for them and for their choice.  

Instead, for their hour of exhilaration, they brought down the fury of Israel's enraged and frightened special combat forces also on their nonviolent partners to whose path they had made, or feigned, a commitment.  Do you think the commandos retaliated so precisely that the casualties of their attack were all and only the ones who beat them?  Neither do I.  

Videos show some of the passengers gathered to receive the rappelling commandos with iron blows, and hurling bodies over the side (reminiscent of Hamas's treatment of Fateh supporters during the civil conflict in Gaza after the Palestinian election).  These videos will be broadcast as widely and frequently as the Israeli government and its defenders can manage.  Naturally, Free Gaza spokespeople are downplaying this as an almost instinctive and understandable, if regrettable, lapse into self-defense.  But what will be the effect on FG's image and prospects in the coming year?  On their ability to recruit the necessary support from various governments, prestigious international leaders, and other participants commited to nonviolence?  On the prospects for their, or anyone's future challenges to the blockade?

Israel's response to the violent defense they encountered on the Turkish boat was so ugly (and Free Gaza so European and non-Palestinian) that they are taking quite a hit in the international arena.  Is this a propaganda victory for those who risked both their own and their nonviolent comrade's lives to provoke that response?  What if they had exercised the passive resistance for which Free Gaza (they say) had trained them?  No carnage, no international criticism?  I don't think so.  I think we've all experienced enough images of the massively armed Israeli David defending itself against the feeble brutality of the antizionist Goliath to know that whatever criticism of Israeli aggression it engenders is undercut by the perception of two comparably nasty antagonists endlessly slugging it out. 

Much of Palestinian gains have come through nonviolent means.  Minimal as those gains are, they still make a significant difference in both the lives of Palestinians under occupation and in the political prospects of the Palestinian people as a whole.  In the West Bank, for example, there is now a rapid rate of economic growth and job creation in the West Bank, where the leadership has also, with the support of the Obama administration, more or less forced a reluctant right-wing Israeli government to enter into final status negotiations and give lip service at the outset to a two-state solution.  This coincides with the most extensive network of internationally supported (including support from much of the Israeli left, as in Sheikh Jarrah) nonviolent Palestinian resistance to occupation there has ever been, laying the groundwork for the international campaign of "anti-apartheid" boycott, divestment and sanctions that would likely emerge as the next phase of struggle if a two-state solution is taken off the table by another failure of negotiations.  How much of this could have been accomplished by, or even during, the Al-Aqsa intifada?  None.  Compare this to the bleak situation in Gaza, for which Hamas proudly claims violent "victory," where the economy and public health are tatters and the ability of ordinary Palestinians to engage in independent political resistance is extremely limited.  

Participants in the Free Gaza movement cannot afford to "make Israel look bad" at the cost of crawling down into the mud with them.  The power and beauty of passive resistance is that the passengers could just as well have exposed Israeli aggressiveness without losing the moral high ground and, more importantly, without loss of life - all while growing the pool of credible and influential future participants.  I hope Free Gaza's internal response to this tragedy will be as incisive and clear-minded as what I've seen so far of their public response.  

But supporters of Palestinian rights must examine our own motivating impulse at a deeper level than a strategic cost-benefit analysis.  Are we confronting zionism as an irredeemable evil that we must reveal (or goad the zionists themselves into revealing) to a world that stubbornly refuses to adequately recognize it?  Or do we want to model - and thereby invite from those who, in fear, stand against us - the kind of compassion, humility, and repentance that are ultimately essential for reconciliation to occur?  Because that is the underlying spiritual vision of nonviolent action.  

Love and blessings,
-Hayyim

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Basil, I hadn't heard about their tossing guns overboard or about organizers telling people during the incident to die if necessary rather than shoot. Can you please refer me to your source(s)? Thanks!
Here are you non-jihadists
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eb-G1PlFGIs

As for the not "Unlike you, I'm not interested in constituting a comfortable narrative. I will not go to pro-Palestinian sites and get some footage..." because you are so non-bias yet funny how "Don't forget that we are in international waters" the word we is used when referring to one side. If your comfortable narrative is ignoring the facts - I am not talking about interviews with bias members from either side but the footage available......

Unfortunately, so called human rights activist protect the biggest dictators and violators of human rights in the world... While Israel is often criticized in the UN human rights counsel - countries and dictatorships like Hamas Iran, Syria, Egypt, Lebanon, Congo, Sudan, Burma....... who are committing horrible atrocities on a regular basis are ignored. Does this really make sense to you?

Funny that the fact that Fatah members in Gaza were shot in the kneecaps, thrown out of building so they can never walk, or just lined up against houses and shot by Hamas never got anyone excited.

Why is this not an issue for you while the killing of 9 activist in a violent protest is headline news? Remember Gaza had a working airport and seaport with borders that were open. Then they started to shell cities and towns with rockets - purely civilian areas praying they would hit a kindergarten, the least Israel can do is try to check everything that goes into this rouge entity to make sure no more munitions are brought in.....

As for blockade, this was a ship that was bound towards Gaza that was its stated intention, you make it sound like an ship that just happened to be passing by and Israel stopped it... So when the Karin A headed towards Hizballah with thousands of Tons of weapons from Iran was stopped in international waters no one said peep strange how the works is it now... Just out of curiosity if the same thing happened in non-international water such as off Israel/Gaza would that be OK?

By the way do you not have issues with Turkey long blockade on Armenia (http://hetq.am/en/politics/a-papyan-17/) they seem to be quite OK with that...
Semiotics 101
Dan Smith
If you willingly choose to miss my point, that's your problem.

Do you honestly think that footage is "objective"? Have you heard of something called framing, editing and interpreting. These are three subjective operations that one goes through to give meaning to something that is filmed.
As for my "bias", I wasn't defending a specific narrative. I was just showing how you were constituting a narrative in which you could comfortably be seated in. In this reconstitution, one does find "facts", but also inaccuracies (as I pointed out), interpretations (that's when a fact is given a specific meaning) and a specific selection of "facts" (some are left out because they do not fit the narrative).

The rest of your post is both irrelevant to the discussion (we are not talking about Turkey's human rights record, nor Hamas' for that matters) and distorted. Your resort implicitly to the "singling out" doctrine and then you indulge in "character assassination". I was trained as a lawyer, and I do recognise smear and distraction tactics when I see them.

And please, don't put words in my mouth and distort what I said. If you bothered to read my other posts in this discussion, you would have noticed that I do not make it sound like "a ship that just happened to be passing by". The Flotilla's expressed intention was to BREAK THE BLOCKADE, and yes, this was provocation. All these are well accepted as legitimate tactics in "non-violent direct action". We are not discussing these things in this discussion. No one is denying them.
And it's not even about the IDF's actions that Hayyim Feldman condemns because of the means it used and its bloody consequences.

The subject in this discussion opened by Hayyim Feldman is how to judge the departures from "non-violent direct action": in this case sequestrating soldiers and fighting two commandos. Some believe it was inevitable (and part of legitimate self-defense), others consider it as a betrayal to non-violent protest.
We "single out" every time we order from a menu, or choose a career or a mate, or decide what issue we will address, at the "opportunity cost" of missing out on all those other potentially valuable alternatives. Such is life.

One such choice I must make now: Tomorrow I leave for three weeks of travel with little if any computer access. Thanks to all for a fruitful discussion. I look forward to discovering how it continues to unfold from here, when I next have a chance to check in.

Love and blessings,
-Hayyim
Six ships of the flotilla submitted to interception and docking at Ashdod without similar incident.

From the Mavi Marmara, the following constitute June 6 IDF claims:

The following passengers on board the Mavi Marmara are known to be involved in terrorist activity. The Mavi Marmara attempted to break the maritime closure on the Gaza Strip on Monday, May 31st 2010, and was boarded by Israel Navy forces. Fatimah Mahmadi (born 1979), is a United States resident of Iranian origin, and an active member of the organization “Viva Palestine”, she attempted to smuggle forbidden electronic components into the Gaza Strip.
Ken O’Keefe (Born 1969), an American and British citizen, is a radical anti-Israel activist and operative of the Hamas Terror organization. He attempted to enter the Gaza Strip in order to form and train a commando unit for the Palestinian terror organization.

Hassan Iynasi (born 1982), a Turkish citizen and activist in a Turkish charity organization, is known of providing financial support to the Palestinian Islamic Jihad Terror organization.

Hussein Urosh, a Turkish citizen and activist in the IHH organization, was on his way to the Gaza Strip in order to assist in smuggling Al-Qaeda operatives via Turkey into the Strip.

Ahmad Umimon (born 1959), is a French citizen of Moroccan origin, and an operative of the Hamas Terrorist organization.

I will stop here, now, because fear and hate have no want of argument, evidence, depth in research, or reason. Those emotions have aims and ends generally having to do with power only.
How about the soldier that was shot twice in the stomach from a weapon not belonging to the IDF? Is that self defense of a humanitarian activists?
I understand what you are saying - you believe all the current proof is tainted... Based on the fact that you believe that you are creating a new narrative...but based on what?

Any way you show it, the activists on this ship were not non-violent.... in all other cases when they were non-violent nothing happened. This ship was a provocation not just to break the blockade but for violence. As one women from the ship said clearly " There can be two happy endings we reach Gaza or Martyrdom"..... I guess people should be careful what they wish for..

If this was a provocation to break the blockade they obviously the ship would be stopped.... Usually when you blockade a country you dont shop ships in your own territories. I was just commenting on the term piracy some act as if this was an innocent ship that Israel pirated for new real reason....

If Israel really wanted to massacre the people on the ship, why not sink it or at least through a few grenades? Why land a few commandos in the middle of a crowd of a hundred people, ever think of that?
I hear a group of Israeli students want to join a Flotilla to break Turkey blockade on Armenia, how do you you think they would respond...
Um, btw. :

Jewish Boat to Gaza

http://jfjfp.com/?p=14120

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