Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Investigate. Yes.

There's ever more information, misinformation, disinformation, lies, and bad faith in the spinning of the Mavi Marmara story. Start from Elder of Ziyon and follow the links. This will keep you busy for an hour, easily. There are photos, cropped photos, recordings, edited recordings, insinuations, allegations, you name it.

Everything I can see reinforces my conviction that while the raid was planned wrong, the culprits are mostly not the IDF. But that's just me. Anyone who wishes to be convinced otherwise, will. This is inevitable and unalterable. Yet since the case seems to me ever more black and white, Israel should be demanding an investigation of the sort that reaches the truth. We should be clamoring for it, not trying to prevent it. Our efforts should be directed at having a commission of inquiry staffed by professionals clean of any obvious bias, so no law professors from London who have already publicly announced their opinion before the investigation, or board members of Human Rights Watch. Real professionals, not anti-Israeli activists chosen for their incidental professional credentials. And we should be clamouring for a full investigation. Who prepared the flotilla. Who chose the "activists", and is it possible there really were two separate groups of them. What roles wre played by all the relevant governments - Israel, Turkey, Cyprus (two), Hamas, PA, Egypt. What information was available as the United Nations began its various deliberations.

And so on. The full shebang. There's a war going on between people who believe truth, morality, and moral behavior are knowable, can be identified, acted upon and evaluated, and people who couldn't care less so long as their agenda progresses. The ones who think truth morality and moral behavior are recognizable, tend to behave accordingly, even if inevitably imperfectly. The ones who couldn't care less, don't, unless cynically when the appearance of morality happens to serve their purpose. Neither side will convince the other, but there's a large group in the middle who can, perhaps, be swayed. We need to use the tools of rational investigation to clarify for them what's going on, and which side they prefer.


Anonymous said...

as you put it now, I'm all for that investigation but not in the shape I encountered it first i.e. that Israel's own investigation is untrustworthy and needs to be supervised.

and to lighten the day below is a hilarious offering from CiFWatch which Israelis may be familiar with but which was for outsider me the delicious discovery of the day:

Question to the males amongst you, does an injury of that part of you have consequences for the little grey cells? Any information you can give me on that may assist me in dealing with Ibrahim the Impostor.
thanks and enjoy!!!


Anonymous said...


I would take it a step further and allow those "professors" from London in on the investigation as long as there is an official coming from the objective side as well.

You are right, we should and can bolster our sovereignty by standing firm with the facts and videos (and audio) by having an investigation committee chock full of Pro Israel, Anti Israel and folks who are truly objective. and have a lot of them involved. And have it audio and video recorded. There can be no misinterpretation as happens so often when it comes to Israel.

It brings me to another point that we should negotiate with the Arabs for peace, and put Barak's or Olmert's offer on the table and video record the entire incident.

This would put the ball firmly in the Arab's court. IT seems so obvious, but what the hell do I know, I am just a Zionist jew.


Anonymous said...

I wish with all my heart that you are right

- for me the last week has taught me once again that once the punditry has had their knee-jerk first impression, which invariably leads to pontificating against Israel they don't withdraw in one big "I've been an idiot"
- the more (wannabe?) decent ones among them withdraw millimeter by millimeter or if they make a big step they qualify no end like currently assigned to Yad Vashem German historian Götz Aly does here
IMO as a guest one doesn't meddle with one's hosts politics in this way - it is bad manners and from there on it gets worse.

What I hadn't known until last week though is, how much help they get from Israel's commentariat . At least from my far away googling experience not only kvetching is a national pastime but in my view a misconception like maybe "if I accuse myself first and harder than you'd dare to you have nothing left to say against me"

If I got it right Shmuel Rosner in the JPost whom I "know" as a sensible man from Slate approves of some to me mind bogglingly mean stuff Hitchens has uttered. Why? because Hitchens is a celebrity and thus can't be wrong?


Anonymous said...

here's a special for Gavin

hopefully all Australians are as clear headed as he sounds in this piece



found in the comment section at Elder of Ziyon

Anonymous said...

Prof. Landes often discusses how the western media fails to account for the diference between hyper-self-critical Israelis and the general lack of self-criticism amongst Palestinians.

NormanF said...

I am in favor of an Israeli investigation to find out why the government left its soldiers defenseless and did not prepare them properly for what is a war against Israel. The political and military leaders should be held to answer for this shortcoming.

4infidels said...

Off topic...but an issue I think we need to address:

Seemingly alone among pro-Israel American Jews, I believe it was a mistake for Ari Fliescher and Lanny Davis to call for Helen Thomas to be fired. Her resignation under fire will ultimately prove to be a pyrrhic victory for the Jews and the West.

We are living in a time when the Organization of Islamic Conference, CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood-affiliated groups are pushing to criminalize any criticism of Islam. Meanwhile, short of gaining legal backing for their efforts, campaigns of lawfare and physical and economic intimidation have made it hard for people with critical views of Islam to maintain their careers. Done in the name of sensitivity and understanding between peoples, this infringement on free speech serves to prevent Westerners from being able to recognize, discus and contest both the physical dangers and the threats to our freedoms from the increasing influence of the Islamic ideology in Europe and North America. Will Islamists and their leftist allies now be able to use the reaction to Helen Thomas' call for Jews to go back to Europe to silence legitimate discussion about the compatibility of Islamist immigrants, Imams and organizations like CAIR with American democracy and the need, perhaps, to decrease their financial, educational and demographic impact on our societies.

And no Lee, this is not my defending Helen Thomas' anti-Semitism so that I can feel free to indulge my own "anti-Muslim bigotry." Please spare me the moral equivalence. Helen Thomas was talking about Jews as Jews; I am addressing the theocratic-political ideology of Islam and the actions of those who act upon that ideology, just as you like to point out the religious motivation of some settlers and discuss how that impacts upon Israel and the Palestinians.

Indeed, Islamism is an enemy of the West and an inability to discuss it openly and without fear of reprisals is crucial to our self-defense and the preservation of our liberties. I am talking about not only terrorism, but the Muslim Brotherhood project, demographic conquest, the influence of Middle Eastern money on our politics and educational institutions, Dawa, radical mosques, inspired by a doctrine of Islamic supremacy which flows directly from the Koran, Hadith and Sira, and evidenced in 1400 years of history of Islamic conquest and suppression of unbelievers.

(to be continued)

4infidels said...

(continued from previous post)

Yes, Helen Thomas is an anti-semite; her comments about Jews going back to Germany and Poland was blatant racism; her denial of Jewish nationhood and her deliberately overlooking longtime Jewish ties to the Middle East is an affront to history; her diatribes against Israel over the years have been as illogical as they are hate-filled; her implicit minimization of the actual status (people killing Jews obviously didn't consider them equally German and Polish) and horrific experience of Jews in Europe hits a level of insensitivity she would likely not feel so at ease expressing toward any other ethnic group.

But Jews and supporters of Israel would have done better to counter the lies of Helen Thomas, to use this controversy as an opportunity to educate the media and general public on the history of the Jewish people and their legitimate rights in the land of Israel. The problem of disinformation and offensive opinions regarding Israel in the media goes far beyond Helen Thomas. In fact, because she is so cantankerous and unrefined in her hatred of Israel, her arguments have far less impact than the steady drip of slanted, taken-out-of-context, subtly inaccurate and quietly mendacious reporting, delivered under the guise of objectivity, that is regularly produced by "respectable" and seemingly inoffensive journalists on TV stations and in newspapers around the globe. It would have been better to expose her lies, raise the larger issue of bias against Israel in the media and the ease with which anti-Semites feel free to indulge their worst impulses publicly vs. how they treat other minority groups, than it was to call for her dismissal, giving ammunition to those hoping to eliminate all criticism of religious ideology (even though Thomas' racist comments about Jews had nothing to do with their religion or ideology--people don't make such fine distinctions these days).

Bailey Hill Bookshop said...

I totally agree that Israel should agree to an inquiry in which it can be assured of intelligent and considered examination by investigators who have gained respect in other conflicts.It seems to me Israel is in a very strong position at this time and yes there are those who have no wish to see the truth but many who are uncertain and who would be willing to consider the findings of an independent report valid. It also gives the world the message Israel is truly confident and has nothing to hide.

Barry Meislin said...

Indeed, another courageous person who defied the all-powerful "Israel Lobby" and spoke out against the insidious Zionist Entity and its pernicious influence on true American interests.

Speaking her mind fearlessly, exercising her God-given right of freedom of speech, only to be utterly crushed---this frail 90 year old---by the venomous Zionists and their vicious henchman....who don't waste a second to complain, lament, wail that they're freedoms are being trampled....

Um, does that sound about right?

Well, she may derive some solace when she gets a public square named after her in Tehran (or at this point, Istanbul).

A. Jay Adler said...

First, I think it is crucial that any investigation NOT include anyone with a known predisposition AND that it include investigation of how and by whom the flotilla was organized, including Muslim Brotherhood, IHH, and Turkish government involvement. There should not be an investigation conducted outside Israel without the latter component.

Next, a question. I've followed these events closely, but others have done so more closely, and I might have missed some important detail. I've not read any account of the specifics of the shooting of the dead. Now we know, I believe, that the events on the ship transpired for well over an hour. The photos released by the Turks clearly show that some IDF commandos had been captured. My own speculation at this point is that once the hostage situation became clearly established, the IDF took quick, decisive (lethal) action to free them.

Does anyone know if I have missed any information that would discount this speculation?

Anonymous said...

Elder of Ziyon had posted a link to this - I think the pictures therein give one a pretty good idea
... but of course I am prejudiced. http://thelede.blogs.nytimes.com/2010/06/07/photographs-of-battered-israeli-commandos-show-new-side-of-raid/

As to the investigation foremost in my mind is that it will not compromise/weaken or even touch in an unusual way Israel's sovereignty. No other state to the best of my knowledge has ever been asked to have himself "nannied" through a procedure like that.

I stem from the country of the peace of Westphalia and have been treated to its meaning and the 30 year war that preceded it from probably first school year on (maybe teachers way back then had to convulsively talk about war somehow and since WW2 was too close they chose the 30 year one).

As I perceive it there is a whole movement out there which gains more and more ground in dominating the Zeitgeist claiming that borders are of evil and there should be somebody "neutral" from outside having jurisdiction over governments. A lot of those NGOs and States alike clamouring for it would probably consider the HRC a great institution.

Just think of all the NGOs calling themselves "without borders" (I think the first of those was created by Kouchner). Borders may have terrible effects but when all is said and done I think the world is better off with borders secured by sovereign states than without them and that holds especially true for Israel.
The US with its benign geography can maybe afford to be cavalier about it. No state in our part of the earth let alone in the Mediterranean can do without.


Lee Ratner said...

4Infidels: Do you believe that Islam as a religion is immune from change? The way you present Islam is that it has been and always will be a religion set on conquest of the non-believers but the actually history is more complex. You also present Muslims as automatons, incapable of ever escaping the chains of Islam except in a few circumstances. To me this is like the anti-Communists of the Cold War who complained about how the Communist governments mistreated their citizens while at the same time viewing every citizen of a Communist state as a fanatic red so they could have hundreds of millions of people to wage their glorious crusade against. Also, it would mean that they didn't have to give asylum because everybody from their was a Communist anyway. Now that Communism is gone, Islam has stepped up to take its place in the minds of the conflict seekers.

The Muslim world is a place these days but to say that they will never get better is nothing more than a warrant for mass destruction. Communism disappeared because of its inconsistencies and so will political Islam. Patience is a virtue in this case.

4infidels said...


Do you believe that Islam as a religion is immune from change?

No, but I would not advise America, Europe, Israel, Thailand, India or any other country or community threatened by Islam to base their policies on the hope that sometime, someday Islam may change. We deal with the enemy we have in reality, not the one you imagine or wish for. On what evidence are you pinning your hopes for an Islamic reformation?

Even if one were to occur, there are no signs that it would take place before Iran develops nuclear weapons or Muslims become numerous enough in Europe to use the political system to erode basic freedoms essential to Western civilization. The Muslim Brotherhood project to destroy the West and sabotage our "miserable house from within" isn't some invention of my paranoia; it is a real document detailing a real plan, backed by Saudi and Gulf Arab billions that has been amazingly effective in a relatively short period of time in Europe and North America, setting up Islamist institutions, radicalizing second and third generation Muslim citizens, funding academic departments, buying off politicians and former ambassadors, using lawfare to intimidate authors and journalists and encouraging Muslims in the West that having lots of children is the key to demographic conquest.

The U.S. won't be defeated by a frontal military assault, though if Iran develops nuclear weapons, it could pull off an EMP attack that would essentially destroy the country. However, the U.S. could succumb to death by a thousand cuts with the patient and confident Islamists taking many small steps which we do not oppose out of fear of angering our combustible Muslim population, not wanting of offend or be called Islamophobes or believing that making special accommodations for the practice of Islam is simply showing tolerance. I would advise, Lee, that you wake up while there is still time.

4infidels said...


The way you present Islam is that it has been and always will be a religion set on conquest of the non-believers but the actually history is more complex.

As usual, you cite no examples and you fail to differentiate individual Muslims from the theocratic-political ideology of Islam.

There were periods (such as the first two-thirds of the 20th century) when due to the Muslim world's relative weakness in comparison to the West, aggressive jihad (not only military, but in all its applications) was put on the shelf for strategic purposes, so as not to bring about a destructive response from its enemies. That doesn't mean that Islamic doctrines were ever altered or the goals of Islamic supremacy were ever abandoned. Even the supposedly secular ideology of Arab nationalism, embraced by many Christian Arabs with the hope that it would provide an escape from their second-class treatment under Islam, was really nothing more than the supremacy and collectivism of the Islamic umma reconstituted with the emphasis on Arab identity.

1400 years of Islamic history paint a pretty convincing picture in support of my position. Other reasons, aside from weakness, for temporary pauses in the Islamic imperialist drive or relative tolerance toward minority populations had more to do with the nature of a specific Islamic ruler, who would likely have been accused of being an apostate (Ataturk in much of the Muslim world) and not remembered fondly by the majority of Muslims. Akbar (16th century), who ended the jizya and reportedly engaged in some Hindu rituals, was the exception to the otherwise brutal Muslim rule in India. He is most often recalled by Muslim apologists in the West attempting to portray Islam as compatible with tolerance rather than someone venerated by believing Muslims.

We are currently living in a period in which Islam is once again on the march. Not all Muslims or even the majority of Muslims are actively engaged in this effort. But enough Muslims are to require something more of us than simply hoping for a reinterpretation of the Koran or a the ascendency of the vast silent majority of "moderates." Those Muslims with an imperialist and supremacist view of their faith are backed up by an authoritative reading of their holiest texts and traditions and supported by billions of dollars from Saudi and Gulf Arabs. When that changes, then so will my assessment.

4infidels said...

You also present Muslims as automatons, incapable of ever escaping the chains of Islam except in a few circumstances.

There are wonderful former Muslims who escaped the chains of Islam and like defectors from the former Soviet Union, have much to tell us about life behind the Koranic curtain. You would do well to read some of the following courageous and thoughtful individuals: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Wafa Sultan, Ibn Warraq, Nonie Darwish, Ali Sina, Walid Shoebat, Amil Imani, Magdi Allam, Anwar Shaikh.

But yes, they are the exception not the rule. I don't think that enough of those who are attempting to impose sharia law in non-Muslim majority countries, funding these efforts or willing to kill innocents to advance their aims will escape from the chains of Islam in time--or soon adopt a personal, spiritual or lax approach to Islam--that infidels around the world can avoid dealing with the issues that I've raised. Western policies are currently enabling, legitimizing and endorsing Islamist organizations and Imams as the leaders of Western Muslim communities, sending the message to rank-and-file Muslims that being involved with CAIR and other Muslim Brotherhood organizations is the key to power and access in the West. Again, unless with can discuss these issues--which require identifying and dealing with reality--how do we change our policies so as not to help Islamists' continue to enslave Muslim communities and how do we protect ourselves against those committed to that ideology?

4infidels said...

To me this is like the anti-Communists of the Cold War who complained about how the Communist governments mistreated their citizens while at the same time viewing every citizen of a Communist state as a fanatic red so they could have hundreds of millions of people to wage their glorious crusade against. Also, it would mean that they didn't have to give asylum because everybody from their was a Communist anyway. Now that Communism is gone, Islam has stepped up to take its place in the minds of the conflict seekers.

Been reading Chomsky or Gore Vidal lately?

Muslims have waged an offensive jihad Jews in the land of Israel for a century and I am the "conflict seeker" for pointing that out?

Imams talk about re-conquering Spain, Sicily, and other areas of Europe and India, referring explicitly to the glory days of the Islamic Caliphate in which Islam dominated other religions, and I am the "conflict seeker" for listening and then telling others?

Saudi Arabia spends millions of dollars sending textbooks to Islamic school in the United States teaching children not to take Jews and Christians as friends and I am the hostile party for opining that this might not be compatible with a Western democracy?

Polling has indicated that majorities or significant minorities in Muslim countries throughout the Middle East, North Africa and Asia consider Osama bin Laden a hero, yet claim that Muslims had nothing to do with Sept. 11. Am I a bigot if I suggest that their immigration to the West might make life more unpleasant and unsafe for both native and (non-Muslim or "moderate" Muslim) immigrant populations?

Am I a warmonger if I suggest that the constant hatred and incitement in Arab media, mosques and schools and the 12ver ideology of the mullahs in Iran might actually reflect their beliefs or indicate how they intend to act in the future?

4infidels said...


The Muslim world is a place these days but to say that they will never get better is nothing more than a warrant for mass destruction.

Iranian leaders almost daily speak of the destruction of Israel. Hezbollah supporters in Lebanon march with pictures of mushroom clouds. Calls for jihad and death to America are ubiquitous throughout the Middle East. Meanwhile Muslims raised on Islamic supremacy and hostility to the West are pouring into Western Europe and bringing these peaceful and tolerant values with them. And they are supported in their assault on their host societies by billions in petrodollars.

Do you really think that things in the Muslim world will change rapidly enough to require nothing more of infidels than to sit and wait for that change to take place?

4infidels said...


Communism disappeared because of its inconsistencies and so will political Islam. Patience is a virtue in this case.

Communism lasted about 80 years. Islam has tormented humanity for 1400 years and proven itself to be remarkably resilient, not least because unlike Communism, its practitioners see death as desirable, their cause blessed by Allah and their willingness to endure poverty, oppression and "inconsistencies" as temporary hardships in the service and submission to an all knowing Allah, whose laws they are commanded to impose on non-believers, whose ways they are not to question and for whom this world is just a miserable stop on the way to paradise, where entrance is guaranteed to those who kill or are killed in jihad for the sake of Allah.

Good luck waiting for the theocratic-political ideology and its hold on believers to disappear. That doesn't mean that the proper response to understanding reality is an all-out war to the death, though war--or at least limited military operations-- may be necessary at certain times out of self-preservation. It does require that we enact sensible policies that don't encourage and enable the spread of a totalitarian, anti-democratic ideology within our communities, inviting in the intolerant in the name of tolerance, committing suicide so as not to confront, offend or reach uncomfortable conclusions.

Ignoring the situation will lead to just the type of tragic consequences that you hope to ignore by putting your head in the sand.

Lee Ratner said...

4infidels, well if you want an example of Islam at its best you always have the Caliphate of Cordoba. During the Caliphate of Cordoba, most of the Dhimmi law were not really enforced and Jews were able hold all sorts of government posts an still be Jews. One managed even to become the Commander-in-Chief of the armies and be Rabbi at the same time. Jews also enjoyed widespread prosperity in the Ottoman Empire during the 1500s. Saladin's era wasn't a bad time for Jews either in Islam.

You also really overestimate the demographic threat of Muslims in Europe. There are only twenty or so million Muslims through out Europe and hundreds of millions of non-Muslims. The Muslim birthrate in and outside of Muslim-majority countries is decreasing. In Tunisia, its bellow replacement rate already. The number of Muslims interesting imposing theocracy on Europe is few and its really a sort of "Black Power" thing rather than a serious project for most of them.

Finally, why would you have to say that Muslims have to leave Islam in order to stop being evil when Christians managed to turn Christianity away from Inquisition mode while still being Christian?

Anonymous said...

4infidels at 7:50
I would like to add the banking or financial "crisis" to your list:

For months and months from May 2009 on I have been reading and listening intently to every one comprehensible out there, trying to learn.

Never have I found enlightenment as to how much (muslim) sovereign funds are involved and/or hurt and how much the mode of bail-out may have been influenced by the wish not to anger them (Eliot Spitzer said recently in Slate that still nobody knows where the Fed's funding exactly went to).

Or to get really paranoid about it, have these funds fuelled the subprime bubble intending to happen what happened, after all it seems they have been clamouring to buy more and more of the stuff.

Would anybody who wants to live a while longer dare to publish any thorough probe?


Anonymous said...

4infidels at 9:39

I get the impression that a lot of communist teaching has been incorporated into current Islamist arguments (maybe most so in Persia ooops Iran). That's why I consider communism as idea far from dead.

For example there are serious British journalists who are ardently and uncompromisingly advocating free-market-mantras but manage to mix it successfully with their youthful Trotzkyist or whatever schooling. I haven't come across them lately so I don't know whether the "crisis" has caused some re-thinking in their corner.


Anonymous said...

Lee at 1:32

the Cordoba story is like so much what is accepted knowledge only very partly true:

- according to John Julius Norwich 3 volume history of the Byzantine empire or maybe his 1 volume The Middle Sea only the first conquest coming into Spain from North Africa truly deserved the label you affix to the whole period and which we continually get fed as being applicable to the whole period.

But there were two further waves of conquest Muslim on Muslim from North Africa, one was what we'd call very fundamentalist and the other less so, I forgot which was which.

We should always always beware of judging former societies by our current Weltbild. Tom Holland in his book Millenium tells that the ruler of Cordoba had his most private and holy prayer chamber in the mosque of Cordoba decorated by unsurpassable at the time Byzantine artists without seemingly any qualms that the hands of infidels had touched it. While today we may have riots upon us if an infidel's hand comes close to a Koran the ruler of Cordoba rested his personal book without any reservation on mosaics crafted by infidel hands.

As to the famous examples of high offices occupied by infidels - we had so called Hofjuden and esteemed Jewish financiers all through our history which never ever kept us from restricting Jews to sunless ghettos and occasionally having some pogrom "fun" with them.

Considerations in former times on whom to trust as a subaltern must have been radically different from ours today and thus are a proof of perfectly nothing.


AKUS said...

Not only does israel habe nothing to fear from an investigation provided it is not stacked with rabid anti0Israeli elements from the UNHRC, it is Israel that should be demanding an investigation into the events themselves and Turkey's complicty.

Netanyahu's refusal to do so is another in a string of missteps he has made.

I wrote about this here:
Israel should demand justice through an international investigation of the Marmara affair

Anonymous said...

for Lee and 4 infidels

I just found this - Google says the author is at a uni in Malaysia and seems to be bent on proving Islam's tolerance of others. I was struck by the piece though for the reason that it makes delightfully clear how murky power politics always turn out to be once one has a close look.
Funny though that the author doesn't seem to think that muslim complicity in or tolerance of the appalling slaughter performed by the first crusade in Jerusalem might not be read as proof of benignity these days.



Anonymous said...

I only wish I could share in your confidence that the panel you imagine may be foundable and yes Turkey should be asked for an investigation or investigated from outside but who is to do the asking and the investigation?
If Netanjahu i.e. Israel does the asking, all NATO members will be aghast: "how dare you be so uppity!"

To safeguard the Dardanelles is IMO more valuable to NATO than any longing for decency.

Also no panel will be acceptable to any "3rd worlders" without their ample participation. Maybe you could get them to accept the panel by naming Desmond Tutu?


Didi Remez said...

Bravo, Yaacov.