The Flotilla Affair: The Ship of Fools

Listen to Dr. Harvey Jassem’s interview concerning the flotilla.

Jassem interview about flotilla

The radio interview above is worth
listening to because it gives good perspective on Israel and issues related to
Gaza. Some students at a campus radio station reported positively on the
flotilla incident, and Professor Jassem in the interview above provides a
little balance.

The flotilla spectacle seems to be
fading. The UN’s inquiry into the incident last year found that Israel’s
blockade was legal. But what’s even more important is that a crude attempt to
diminish Israel has been stopped. The flotilla activists, wrapped in their
symbolic kafiyehs, have had the wind taken from their sail as participants have
bailed out. It’s important to underscore that the flotilla was never about
human rights. It was about trying to embarrass Israel. Actually, I always
chuckled at the slogan referring to “liberating Gaza.” Liberating
Gaza from what? Hamas? Fine, have a good time. The organizers were also
embarrassed by the regular disclosures of the connections between Hamas and the
flotilla organizers. Some Dutch journalists reportedly pulled out after having
discovered the extent of Hamas’s involvement in the flotilla stunt.

This is another one of those situations
where some people end up defending barbarism. Moreover, many of them are
hopelessly uninformed. They actually believe Gaza is under Israeli occupation,
when Israel pulled out of Gaza in 2005. Others will claim that it is only the
blockade that they are protesting, and Israel is denying medical supplies and
humanitarian aid to the people of Gaza. Again, this is a simple falsehood because
Israel allows all sorts of aid and supplies into Gaza, but does have security
issues. Israel simply must be sure that only aid and humanitarian supplies are
finding their way into the hands of the Gazan leaders – namely, Hamas. If these
human rights activists really cared about helping the downtrodden, there are
numerous other places in the world they would be traveling.

The issues that define the conflict
between Israelis and the Palestinians are complex enough. It simply is not
helpful when one group tries to turn the Israeli-Palestinian conflict into a
world conflict, or a conflict between Israel and the world. Although any
thinking person realizes that the flotilla is designed to delegitimize Israel
rather than provide humanitarian aid, it is nice to know that various legal and
international groups have supported Israel on this matter. Israel remains in
the security dilemma; that is, it cannot ignore the rockets and violence aimed
toward Israel from the Gaza Strip. Yet, the more Israel responds by maintaining
its own security, the more it exacerbates the problem.

Benny Morris, writing in the National Interest, explains the origins of the relationship
between Israel and Turkey, and Turkey’s current role in the flotilla incident.
Ben-Gurion early in the history of Israel decided to reach out to the region’s
non-Arab and non-Islamic states such as Turkey. Hence, the relationship between
the State of Israel and Turkey over the decades began to mature and develop
into full diplomatic relations. But the recent rise of an Islamic government in
Turkey has changed all that. Turkey had become a source of support for the
flotilla. But the US is not happy with the turn of events in Turkey, and Turkey
would still like to appeal to US interests. There is some speculation that the
US has tried to cool Turkey’s involvement in the flotilla. Thus, the second
flotilla will not float.

About Donald Ellis

Professor Emeritus at the University of Hartford.

Posted on July 25, 2011, in Israel and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. Comments Off on The Flotilla Affair: The Ship of Fools.

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