Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Bam Bam

The same word popped up in both statements from Benjamin "Bam Bam" Netanyahu and Barrack "Bam Bam" Obama in response to the ISF massacre of the international flotilla in international waters; regrettable. A growing contingent of disparate voices have been throwing around more specific accusations on the matter. Kathryn Ryan's excellent Nine to Noon slot on NatRad covered the issues known at the time very well. Wikipedia has a thorough summary.

One legal opinion reckons the actions of the Israel Defense Force, backed by the political executive power of Netanyahu, has commited an act of war not piracy. Over at Kiwiblog, I said piracy. Approximately right but exactly wrong, eh. Either way it's serious. The Turkish Navy is intending to escort the next inevitable aid flotilla to Gaza.

This is what we in the Beltway call a "serious diplomatic incident". Flicking through my history files, there are a few faint parallels in the collective unconscious. The humanitarian aspect has echoes of the 1973 Mururoa Peace flotilla that Norm Kirk backed with a clutch of NZ Navy vessels and an Ozzie tanker. No, that anaolgy collapses pretty quickly. There was the Berlin Airlift of 1948 and 49, which resulted in an end to the Soviet blockade. But not quite. Maybe if the Soviets started shooting at the US airborne flotilla, it would have more in common.

Whatever the point of the military exercise was, this is a gargantuan fuck-up by the political and military leadership of Israel. Things have been tense between Israel and Turkey ever since Israel's Operation Cast Lead in Gaza. The dawn raid by the IDF; the murders of persons as yet unknown, the subsequent jailing of everyone in the flotilla (except the Irish, who were running late) and the communications jamming by Israel does not bode well for international relations for a very long time.

The capricious, fickle and illegal blockade of Gaza is a more wretched version of the ghettoes endured by Israel's not far dead relatives under Hitler. The US Jewish lobby circuit is finding it harder to recruit. Pro-Israel David Farrar is an NZ example of this change in generational thought. Israel can no longer get away with playing the Hitler card.

Just for once, I think the world has got sick of Israel getting away with murder. This is the 21st century. Godwin's Law will not save them this time.

Optional tangents:

There were quite a few Swedes aboard the flotilla. Will Bam Bam Obama be asked to return his Peace Prize?

Where were Israel's five Dolphin class submarines during the incident?