the video definitely changed my opinion on the 'threat they posed' - that's a pretty blood-thirsty mob
― iatee, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 00:18 (2 years ago) Permalink
I spelled rappel correctly the first time and incorrectly the second time. Weird.
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 00:20 (2 years ago) Permalink
xp haha sorry i'm going on a tangent here
mordy our duty isn't to just throw up our hands and say "what else can be done?" - it's to demand that those in power figure out new ways to solve problems like these without taking away basic rights and necessities of unpopular people. Maybe we're different but my first concern is the living conditions of the people being oppressed (and not much research has to be done to know exact metrics reflecting the horrible conditions and laws they're subject to, something like 2/3 of children in gaza are born with anemia), it's not a secondary concern. but i'm a touchy feely type like that
― k3vin k., Tuesday, 1 June 2010 00:27 (2 years ago) Permalink
not to suggest that you're not - i'm just saying i can't for a second rationalize a lot of policies of a lot of countries!
― k3vin k., Tuesday, 1 June 2010 00:30 (2 years ago) Permalink
Yeah, I hear you. Generally I feel totally alienated from locations of power + politics. I don't even vote in Israeli elections, and in the elections I do vote, I feel powerless. So how am I going to hold Israel accountable for finding better solutions? I'm much more interested in what I can do on a ground level, which requires that I take contradictory positions into account and try to think through ways of mediating them. If you ignore Israel's concern with security you're basically going to have as little intelligible input into the process as if you ignore Palestinian concern with health/education (also with security!). There are two parties involved. I just don't see the value of picking a side. I'd rather try and figure out what might work. But I get that you have a different agenda here. (Btw, if I'm misrepresenting you, I'm totally sorry. This is how I understand what you're saying, but I admit, I could be wrong.)
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 00:34 (2 years ago) Permalink
yeah i think that as a good bleeding librul, i'm always gonna instinctively side with the weak or oppressed against the strong - not that I condone any of the politics or actions of theirs, i of course despise and condemn violence from either side. i just feel it's especially important to call out israel when it does things i don't agree with, not because i'm "against" them, but because as the ones with actual power and leverage, change has to come from them. so i want them to figure out ways to reslove the conflict without killing innocent people, without denying food and medicine, and without blocking access to important roads. i wish i knew what the answer was, but i can't support a solution it if it involves any of the above
― k3vin k., Tuesday, 1 June 2010 00:50 (2 years ago) Permalink
and sorry if i came off a little curt - i appreciate that we're coming at this with different perspectives and investments
― k3vin k., Tuesday, 1 June 2010 00:55 (2 years ago) Permalink
It seems to me that Israel has this myopic view of all conflict: them or us. I can understand that to an extent, but every decision seems completely dominated by that dichotomy.
Israel's view on flotilla issue:1. do nothing, let arms into Gaza, Jews get killed2. take out flotilla, no Jews get killed
There must be a third way. Negotiations? Including a basically neutral third party in the resolution? Inspectors?
Clearly the flotilla organizers wanted confrontation, but it's just remarkable how Israel plays right into that design. Israel seems to consider any kind of strategic thinking or maneuvering as a sign of mortal weakness. It's only kill or be killed.
Can someone be an adult here???
― Super Cub, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 00:57 (2 years ago) Permalink
so were they smuggling weapons or did mordy just pull that out of his ass
― J0rdan S., Tuesday, 1 June 2010 00:58 (2 years ago) Permalink
^I realize numerous wars aimed to destroy you will create this mentality, but with Israel in a dominate position in the region, it seems like a chance for Israel to rethink its basic approach to security.
xpost to myself
― Super Cub, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 00:59 (2 years ago) Permalink
― J0rdan S., Tuesday, June 1, 2010 12:58 AM (47 seconds ago
I think weapon smuggling into Gaza is a reality, but most of it is through tunnels from Egypt. There are a HUGE smuggling operations along that border.
― Super Cub, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:01 (2 years ago) Permalink
J0rdan, the question isn't whether they were in this particular vessel (tho they had at least knives + molotov cocktails) but that weapons are constantly being smuggled into Gaza. Where do you think the rockets come from? (You are aware that they fire rockets into Israel consistently, correct?)
Super Cub: Israel + Egypt both agreed to let the flotilla dock in their countries, be searched, and then allowed to continue into Gaza. That seems like an attempt at compromise + negotiation. They probably should've pursued that more, I agree, but it's not like they're 100% myopic.
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:01 (2 years ago) Permalink
I don't think this is posted yet. No idea whether it's propaganda or true, but if true, they were definitely bringing shit into Gaza.
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:03 (2 years ago) Permalink
personally i think that video puts the situation into a bit of a grayer area -- still by watching that video (as grainy as it is) i can't imagine why 12 of these people needed to be killed, that's a really excessive number compared to the amount of israeli soldiers that were injured -- that said, i would sympathize on a soldier-by-soldier basis with the specific soldiers who were being beaten with metal poles (or w/e) and being thrown overboard, in the dark no less, which i'm sure really complicated matters -- it's a pretty fucked up situation in general, in which both the people on the floatilla & the specific soldiers are at fault -- who was more at fault is a bit up in the air to me, but like i said, i can't see how the force didn't quickly move from "self-defense" to "extremely excessive"
i have a more of a problem with israel's post-attack response as outlined by nabisco, as well as the whole notion of a blockade & on top of that the whole notion of defending the blockade by storming civilian aid boats.
― J0rdan S., Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:04 (2 years ago) Permalink
maybe a bit late here but
but n ireland was in less of a completely shitty situation in 1990 than in 1979
Wasn't the Provisional Wing of the IRA actually supposedly fairly limited memberwise until the hunger strikes where Thatcher let them starve to death, which lead to anger in nationalist communities and a huge propaganda boost to the Provisional IRA and membership increased in great numbers. The Brighton bombing was a response to the hunger strike deaths.
At least that's how it was always as perceived as being. maybe someone more in the know can correct this if it's wrong.
Was the ceasefire in effect by 1990?
― pfunkboy (Herman G. Neuname), Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:06 (2 years ago) Permalink
― k3vin k., Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:07 (2 years ago) Permalink
to the point - no guns in that confiscation video
like i think we can argue to the death about what happened on this specific flotilla without really getting very far because it has, in my mind, clearly emerged as a pretty complicated situation where this very regrettable outcome for both sides was exacerbated greatly by each side
i think the underlying issues regrading israel's strategies & feelings towards gaza and the public statements made by their officials are much more interesting & worrisome
― J0rdan S., Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:08 (2 years ago) Permalink
btw the video i'm referring to in my post is not that one that mordy posted, but the night vision one that amon posted, haven't watched mordy's yet tho
My first post here after reading reaction all day, so tell me if this is out of line: the Israeli military, often considered the best in the world, surely had more...reasonable ways of dealing with belligerents than shooting them. Couldn't they have restrained the attackers?
― Filmmaker, Author, Radio Host Stephen Baldwin (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:12 (2 years ago) Permalink
or "immobilized" them or whatever
mordy's video hasn't really convinced me of anything besides the fact that maybe the people on the flotilla were too overly ready & eager for a confrontation -- if that video's trying to convince me that these people were smuggling molotov cocktails, wooden poles and power strips into gaza with which to "attack" israel, i wouldn't really have much sympathy for the country with the capabilities to rappel its soldiers onto boats via helicopter
― J0rdan S., Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:12 (2 years ago) Permalink
they were definitely bringing shit into Gaza.
You mean knives and bats? I have that shit lying around my house. I thought we were talking about real arms, like explosives and rockets. I don't think that collection of household items will do much against M1A1 tanks, F-16s, and Apache gunships.
― Super Cub, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:13 (2 years ago) Permalink
My point way above is that if you're bringing supplies into Gaza, and Israel has already accused you of smuggling weapons, why make it easy for them by actually having frightening fucking knives and molotov cocktails? And if you need them for whatever reason, why would you use them on the army? Anyway, the real point about smuggling isn't about whether this ship had it or not. Smuggling weapons into Gaza is a legit problem. I don't know the percentages of smuggled stuff through tunnels v. through ships, though most ships don't get through. (I do remember a huge weapon cache was recovered being smuggled on a ship to Gaza a few years ago.) That's why the blockade is up. Not because Israel hates Palestinians and wants to torture them for their own sadistic pleasure. Any answer to the matzif is going to involve figuring out a way to keep weapons from being smuggled in while still allowing aid and stuff to come in. I think k3v is right that inspections through a third party neutral might be the way to go.
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:16 (2 years ago) Permalink
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:17 (2 years ago) Permalink
I think Israel has legitimate concerns about weapons being brought it on boats.
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:18 (2 years ago) Permalink
it is about whether this ship had them or not, because clearly israel needs a better way of determining such things then to just assume that every single humanitarian aid ship is smuggling weapons in & with according force
― J0rdan S., Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:20 (2 years ago) Permalink
& ACT with according force
― J0rdan S., Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:21 (2 years ago) Permalink
They asked the boat to dock at Ashkelon so that they could inspect the stuff. The flotilla refused. I guess they could've gotten a third neutral party to inspect it, maybe the flotilla would've agreed to that (they might have done that, I know Egypt invited them to dock, so that was sorta a third party). Or brought a bigger force when they decided to inspect it themselves, that might've resulted in a more successful mission without unnecessary deaths.
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:24 (2 years ago) Permalink
This was published on the 27th. It basically predicts everything that was about to happen.
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:28 (2 years ago) Permalink
I imagine more than just predicting it, the information being out there helped create the situation (a boat filled w/ people who were expecting that israelis were going to board?)
― iatee, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:38 (2 years ago) Permalink
I don't understand why, upon hearing that the IDF are going to board their humanitarian aid ship to inspect for weapons, the people on the flotilla would decide to get weapons and attack the soldiers.
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:47 (2 years ago) Permalink
that is certainly a question that needs to be answered
― J0rdan S., Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:54 (2 years ago) Permalink
Sort of a side-note, but to be honest, the types of weapons mentioned here sound more likely to be used on Palestinians than Israelis.
Mordy, I understand a lot of what you're saying here, but ... you mention that Trolley Problem. But the whole basis of the Trolley Problem is that the person it's being posed to has control of a switch. And it's not like I'm so positive I'm right about anything, but can I suggest that a lot of your thinking here starts from the position I was talking about earlier -- this position where maybe the Israeli government feels like it has a complete moral right to the switch? And I know we want to be pragmatic and all, but don't you think that might be a fundamental problem? A lot of statements you're making seem to proceed via this logic that Israeli lives and safety are important, therefore Israel has the moral authority to make trade-offs with other people's lives and safety to protect it. But I'm guessing this is not a moral authority you would remotely cede to someone who was mostly concerned with, say, Palestinian lives and safety.
In other words, we could talk a lot (and probably agree a lot!) about what are defensible or productive ways for Israel to operate the switch, but there's this bigger question of claiming the switch in the first place. Maybe it's necessary and, for the time being, unchangeable, but I feel like if you work from the logic that Israel just naturally OWNS that claim from the get-go, there are going to places where you're reasoning from a flawed start. For instance, it's how we get a lot of this "stop hitting yourself" defense mentality -- it's only by assuming ownership of fate, ownership of the switch, that you start saying "you did this to yourself! you knew what the rules were! the rules we made!"
(Does that make sense, or is it too abstract?)
― oɔsıqɐu (nabisco), Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:57 (2 years ago) Permalink
(Sorry, I should be clearer about that first part -- what I mean is I'd guess that blunt/crude weapons that make it into Gaza are probably more likely to be used for internal violence or intimidation than things affecting Israeli security, wouldn't they? I'm NOT saying this is relevant, just noticing it.)
― oɔsıqɐu (nabisco), Tuesday, 1 June 2010 01:59 (2 years ago) Permalink
UPDATE VI: Among the countries condemning Israel for its attack are Russia, Turkey, India, China, Brazil, France, Spain and many more. By stark contrast, the White House issued a statement which conspicuously refused to condemn the Israelis (Obama "expressed deep regret at the loss of life in today’s incident, and concern for the wounded"), while the U.S. State Department actually hinted at condemning the civilians delivering the aid ("we support expanding the flow of goods to the people of Gaza. But this must be done in a spirit of cooperation, not confrontation").
Obama's call for "learning all the facts and circumstances" is reasonable enough, but all these other countries made clear that this attack could never be justified based on what is already indisputably known: namely, that the ship attacked by Israel was in international waters and it resulted in the deaths and injuries to dozens of civilians, but no Israeli soldiers were killed and a tiny handful injured. In any event, Obama's neutrality will have to give way to a definitive statement one way or the other, and soon.
― Filmmaker, Author, Radio Host Stephen Baldwin (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Tuesday, 1 June 2010 02:00 (2 years ago) Permalink
nabisco, I typed something longer, but let me try to clarify something first: You're saying that instead of being able to make a decision of flipping the switch or not flipping the switch, they shouldn't have access to the switch at all? How is that functionally different from not flipping the switch?
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 02:02 (2 years ago) Permalink
Mordy, I don't mean it like a logic problem. (And I hope it's clear that I don't mean it argumentatively, either!)
I'm saying that a lot of logic here follows a certain path: "we need to protect Israeli citizens, and in order to do so, we may have to make decisions that harm many other people."
But there's a huge assumption in that logic -- it just assumes the authority to make those decisions. That authority isn't given to other people. For instance, you and I would probably agree that it would NOT be okay for everyone in the Gaza strip to collectively say "we need to protect our civilians, and in order to do so, we need to kill ever IDF soldier who crosses the border." Right?
So I know what you're asking me: "what, is Israel supposed to do nothing?" No, I'm not saying that. I realize this is no longer an issue of logic or ideals; it's an issue of getting results where people die less often. And sometimes having the force (or the claim on the land) puts those decisions in your hands whether it's fair or not.
But I think that when Israel is making these decisions -- or when we're talking about them -- we kind of need to remember that the authority to make them is not a given. The authority is totally borrowed and imposed on people and in no sense "fair." I think that needs to be remembered, because if we ignore it, we wind up with this "stop hitting yourself" mentality, where the Israel is saying "we set up oppressive, self-serving rules for our own protection, and what are we supposed to do if you keep testing them?"
― oɔsıqɐu (nabisco), Tuesday, 1 June 2010 02:18 (2 years ago) Permalink
* the IDF/Israel is saying etc.
And for the record, I don't mean "oppressive" and "self-serving" as some huge criticism, just as a fact -- an act like blockading a population to ensure your security is "self-serving" in that it's pretty obviously for your benefit, not theirs
― oɔsıqɐu (nabisco), Tuesday, 1 June 2010 02:21 (2 years ago) Permalink
Okay, I see what you're trying to say. At least I think I see what you're trying to say, but I'd suggest we're coming at this from different perspectives. In contemporary political philosophy, one of the major issues at hand is one of legitimacy -- Pippin describes it as "the legitimacy of the state's claim to a monopoly on the use of legitimate coercive force." So certainly the legitimacy of that claim is at issue, and if that's your question, I think it's fair, though I think it's a question on all states. Israel happens to deploy it in particularly obvious ways, but this is really the condition of state action. Part of that appears to be legitimacy conferred by presence -- ie: It's legitimate to have that monopoly because you technically do have that monopoly. Which was the context that I was bringing up the Trolly Problem. Israel presumes the legitimacy to make decisions for their citizens and for the people of Gaza. While the state exists, this is the paradigm I think we have to work with. How best can that decision be executed to help both actors in the event. You're questioning the legitimacy of that monopoly in the first place, but one reason I like the Trolly Problem is that the question of the legitimacy is built into the problem. You don't have to flip the switch and accept culpability for the crime of killing one person instead of five. That's why I asked why Israel not having access to the switch isn't equivalent to Israel not flipping the switch -- which is to say, it clearly has access to the switch. Now, is it legitimate to flip it.
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 02:26 (2 years ago) Permalink
I hope that makes sense.
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 02:28 (2 years ago) Permalink
I'm totally sympathetic to you vis-a-vis state power btw. I always rooted for Antigone over Creon. But this goes back to something else I've discussed on ILX -- the complete alienation I personally have in the face of state power. I'd always rather contest state power in domains that it doesn't seem to fully extend (places like art, myth, literature, music, which is why I write about what I write), or contest it from within state power itself -- ie through organizing, voting, discourse. But I'm very cynical of my ability to contest the state's monopoly on coercive force.
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 02:31 (2 years ago) Permalink
Assuming the legitimacy of that boarding video, I'm really at a loss as to why the soldiers are immediately set upon so violently. Not excusing the shooting, which seems OTT, but the dudes on the boat didn't even wait for an escalation. They (according to the video) treated the boarding party almost as an act of violence in and of itself, and reciprocated. Which is messed up. I wonder what they thought was going to happen when they one-by-one attacked a descending series of armed Israeli soldiers? IDF bullies or not, why pick a fight with a bully? Even as a PR victory this is dubious. I'm waiting to see the video clip of all the humanitarian aid the boat was carrying rather than a handful of knives and blunt weapons, since the latter seems to slight to fight for and the former would make for a much more symbolic/indignant photo op.
― Josh in Chicago, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 02:33 (2 years ago) Permalink
I have to admit, Mordy, I am amazed by that answer, because if you are constituting places like Gaza as part of "the state," aren't you kinda raising way bigger issues? (It's not exactly simpler to reduce people's participation in "the state" down to, like, just the monopoly on violence and the taxation.)
― oɔsıqɐu (nabisco), Tuesday, 1 June 2010 02:49 (2 years ago) Permalink
you surely accept that the trolley problem doesn't quite empirically mesh with the situation at hand, though? in the classical problem, we assume that both the group of five and the individual down path B are unrelated to the switch opearator, and to each other. with israel it's different - here you have two distinct groups, the israelis and the palestinians. one group quite clearly does not accept the authority of the operator of the switch, and it's very reasonable to expect the switch operator to be biased by the identity of the two groups between which he's choosing, rather than some ideal utilitarian desire to simply minimize suffering.
this assumes groups A & B are different - if you mean that the israeli govt (or whoever operates the 'switch') simply wants to minimize casualties of its own (if we don't do anything, x number of israelis dies, but if we do this horrible thing to a separate group of people, a lesser number dies), then you just get into the murky ethical questions of whether the lives of the other group (palestinians) are presumably worth less, thus making it okay to sacrifice their lives or liberties, or if it's the obligation of a government to protect its "own" (using that term carefully here) before it considers the needs of its outsiders, or even its enemies (or more to the point, the civilians of its enemies)
anyway i think we can mostly agree that there's hardly a healthy correlation b/w doing bad things to other people and making your own people safer, cf half of america's problems
― k3vin k., Tuesday, 1 June 2010 02:56 (2 years ago) Permalink
that's an xpost
― k3vin k., Tuesday, 1 June 2010 02:57 (2 years ago) Permalink
Sorry to have even derailed in the direction of that question -- I just feel like you can say a lot of sensible-sounding things from a faulty premise if you really think it's all up to your switch-flipping.
― oɔsıqɐu (nabisco), Tuesday, 1 June 2010 02:59 (2 years ago) Permalink
Hold on. I'm not constituting Gaza as part of 'the state.' I'm saying that at this historical moment Israel has a monopoly on certain kinds of power to use against Gaza. I think we all agree that one of the biggest issues of the conflict is that the Gaza state (as it may or may not exist) doesn't have enough of its own power to contest Israel's power. That's why I wrote above that in my eyes the biggest problem with the blockade isn't even that aid can't get through. It's that you can't be a state without being able to deal with other states through things like trade, diplomacy, etc. And if Gaza can't be a state, there really isn't a partner for Israel to negotiate with. (This speaks directly to a history of leftists in Israel trying to find people in Gaza who might be enough of a leader to somehow create this really weird kind of implicit coercive power -- which actually goes back to your first posts on this thread: How could Arafat negotiate for Palestinians if he didn't have this monopoly on power?)
But I'm speaking personally. Personally I may find the states monopoly on power illegitimate, but my venues to challenging it are severely limited. I can vote in the elections of the state that I live in, though the potency of that vote is at question often. I can resist peacefully or violently, and those methods have their various ways that they cede and retake power from the state, obv very complicated grounds that span Antigone to Gandhi. I can retreat into venues that I don't think the state completely touches (tho someone like Adorno would obviously call me a fool for doing that). I can participate in the political system to try to make changes, but that's a form of flipping the switch, not removing the state's monopoly on power.
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 02:59 (2 years ago) Permalink
k3v, I think you're right about the nationality bias in this case. But your second concern, about the valuation of human life, is built into the original problem.
― Mordy, Tuesday, 1 June 2010 03:01 (2 years ago) Permalink
i don't think it is, though - in the second part of my post, both group A & B are israeli - it's like sacrificing the one guy but using the mad scientist's face to smash the switch down
― k3vin k., Tuesday, 1 June 2010 03:13 (2 years ago) Permalink