The Freedom Flotilla and the reasons for anti-Semitism

I’ve been reading, listening and discussing the confrontation between the activists on the Freedom Flotilla and the Israeli navy quite actively as of late.

There came a point where I realized that perhaps I was merely a product of my immediate environment and that my reaction to condemn Israel for the way they handled the flotilla may be biased and based on ignorance. So I decided to look into the Israeli version with some fervor.

It seemed hard to believe that the flotilla would even be there unless the activists believed that people were suffering in Gaza and that only by breaking the blockade would they be able to get essential materials and provisions to the people there.

The other possibility is that European nations are working together to defame Israel. If you take the pro-Israeli stand then Palestinians are being treated with respect and dignity, much more so than terrorists should, and are receiving all the aid they need to go about their lives. However, western nations regularly levy unfair criticism at Israel and accuse them of war crimes and excessive violence against innocents.

I discussed this with Israeli and non-Israeli Jews and they are just amazed at the level of anti-Semitism in the world. Not just today but through at least two thousand years of history. One wasn’t sure it could be explained through anything less than supernatural means.

While I have seen some arguments for why western nations might want to defame Israel, none of them have been terribly convincing. The strongest one is about access to oil. The Arabs have oil and by not defaming Israel we risk pissing them off and being barred access to the oil. Amongst other things mentioned were a strong Muslim population, but while the average Muslim population in EU countries is less than 4% in Israel it is 20% which makes this is hard to swallow.

Israelis describe the activists on the flotilla as violent militants with terrorists connections. It seems like a very odd plan to me to sail ships to provoke a military reprisals just so you can beat the soldiers with pipes, almost beyond belief. Some consider the international criticism this incident has attracted to be anti-Semitism because other nations would not have attracted the same criticism for the same actions. Their case in point seems to be North-Korea’s recent sinking of the ship Cheonan, which killed 46 people.

This is where it started to break apart for me. The Cheonan was a military ship, sunk by a nation it is officially at war with. The Freedom Flotilla was a number of civilian ships (armed with kitchen knifes and slingshots or not) and there were only civilians killed. Regardless of who shot first, it’s hard for me to imagine how someone would expect the same reaction from the international community for these two incidents.

In the end I must conclude that the freedom flotilla set out to make a high-profile confrontation against Israel to call attention to the Gaza blockade. I do believe their intent was non-violent, mostly on the grounds that this would be more effective in getting their point across than a violent confrontation would. Nevertheless Israel was put in a lose-lose situation and they seem to have chosen to lose while using excessive force.

Whether the Gaza blockade is legal and whether Palestinians are being treated humanely I’ll leave for others to decide but the information I get through all non-Jewish media indicates that this is not the case.

In conclusion I would just like to say that I feel sorry for the Israeli nation. Not because I think that they are being attacked unfairly on all sides but because they believe they are. It must be terrible to have to live in a perpetual state of fear of hate crimes and conspiracies against your people, whether those fears are founded in reality or not. This fear-mongering is a strong tool for the government and other power brokers to control the people and it is unlikely to be eased up on anytime soon.

I can only pray that the people of Israel one day see their paranoia for what it is and allow themselves to join the international community as equals, not as victims.

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