Thursday, June 10, 2010

NGOs, International Law, and the Persistence of History

Two interesting articles sent in by readers, both sort of saying the same thing: The idea of having international norms of morality so powerful they trump national sovereignty was nice when it started, but now it has been hijacked by unexpected players. On the one hand there's the international guild of silly journalists who know almost nothing about international law or when and how it would be applicable yet swear by it to castigate Israel and Israel alone; on the other there are the NGOs who were supposed to batter thuggish repressive regimes when their own democratic governments held back for Realpolitik reasons, who have now spawned NGOs from thuggish repressive regimes who batter democracies for trying to defend themselves - the prime example being, of course, Israel.

The article about the silly journalists is by Prof. Eric Hinze, here (h/t Tamara). The one about the thuggish NGOs is by David Rieff, here (h/t Silke, I think).

There's nothing new or surprising about the fact that the Jews, ever one of civilizations' mine canaries, stand at the center of the onslaught on decency. Still, perhaps the most remarkable thing about the Mavi Marmara incident is how extremely crass it is. When Israel bungled a defensive war against Hezbollah-of-the-genocidal-ideology, one could at least castigate Israel for its bungling. When Israel mostly didn't bungle its defensive war against Hamas-of-the-genocidal-ideology, one could at least plausibly regret the price of a proportionate response to Hamas aggression, and bewail that so much damage had to be inflicted to convince Gaza's thugs to desist from attacking civilians.

In the Mavi Marmara incident, however, not one single innocent bystander was killed. The act of enforcing a blockade was legal. The whole event was carefully framed in advance by ideologically motivated Turks, not Palestinians, and they may well have been backed in some form or another by the government of Turkey. Although the IDF was seriously wrong-footed, at the end of the day no major action had happened at all, not a war, not an invasion, nothing. Yet the pernicious combination of thuggish NGOs, abysmally ignorant media, and malicious or cynical governments made it appear as if Israel was slaughtering innocent children by the thousands.

Not for the first time nor the last, the world is going crazy. History is mostly constant on that point. Fortunately, this time the Jews can take care of themselves.


Anonymous said...

... and I am getting more and more worked up on the fact that the NGOs aren't ratting on IHH.

If those NGOs which pride themselves to be good ones tell me that they know nothing, I won't believe it one nano-second.

Whoever is in the same business has access to the grapevine, sometimes via two or three steps but access there is, so if they are not ratting, even the best among them must have reasons to keep mum.

Only excuse/explanation I'd be willing to accept for their not ratting would be if they would "collude" with the government of Israel for a better response than public ratting might produce.


how about a betting pool whether IDF's Naomi will consent to comment on that?
My bet:
she will consider it to be beneath her.

Dave123 said...

The world is not going crazy (if by crazy you mean different than usual); it is just being brutally consistent in treating the Jews the same way it has for the past 2000 years.

Anonymous said...

Somewhat changing the topic, I found Michael Oren appearing a satiric "news" show, "The Colbert Report" I thought it was pretty funny bit. I hope it is available outside the US.

Anonymous said...

you made my day - thanks!!!

not only could I see it and other than Jon Stewart whom I considered facile and vacuous to the point that I had to admit that Glenn Beck did it better.
But this I liked and could enjoy

btw this was my first time I really looked at Michael Oren talking
- he even has a nice smile and more charme than is good for my heart beat rate ;-)

Anonymous said...

just remembered the name of that CIA Operation in Paris was not Partisan Review but

Congress for Cultural Freedom

Arthur Koestler was involved in the operation. To this day I stumble on people who find it terrible that a foreign state ran a thing like that and today "without borders" is all the rage - only when whoever writes about the "Congress" then borders are sacred.


Barry Meislin said...

There's nothing new or surprising about the fact that the Jews, ever one of civilizations' mine canaries, stand at the center of the onslaught on decency.

Nor is there anything new that certain Jews are among those who stand at the forefront of that onslaught on decency, all in the name of decency.

Perversity palpable.

Anonymous said...

whenever I came across bits of how Jews of Berlin and London talked about the ones they didn't want to be connected to (from street vendors on down to petty and not so petty criminals) I could understand them because, whoever is doing well at climbing the social ladder naturally wants his children to start from a higher more respected level.

But when today these high-brow pro-Israel-pundits (let alone the anti-Israel) talk about Israel as if it is in urgent need of some re-education I think that's at best stupid (and cruel!)

I suspect them of wanting Israel only as a kind of Disney-Land for sentimental purposes.

But what hits my fury nerve regularly is that on the one hand they talk about Israel as if it were a colony that needs some chastising for her own good. But when it comes to safety/self-defense then - surprise surprise - she is a sovereign country.

It is the age old wanna eat the cake and keep it.

Because if they consider Israel as a kind of colony then they should have an aircraft carrier patrolling its coast to make it clear to the next humanitarian flotilla that they've had enough of that murderous meddling crowd.
If they don't do that then they should let Israel do it in her way. If something doesn't go as well as envisaged, that has been inbuilt into military operations probably from the first stone throw on.

Instead they the elegant pundits demand that Israel act only the way Americans routinely do as Colbert described it so vividly and to the point to Michael Oren.


Anonymous said...

"In the Mavi Marmara incident, however, not one single innocent bystander was killed"

Is there a list of names somewhere of the nine who were killed, who they were, and what if any affiliation they had? Are we sure that all nine were hard-core activists who themselves attacked the IDF personnel? Or might some of them have been the sort of 'useful idiots' who accompanied the hard core only to find themselves caught in the crossfire when it all turned nasty?

Pressure of work means I can't investigate for myself! So if anyone can help, I'd be grateful.


JG Campbell

Yaacov said...


Our security forces seem to have all the names. Elder of Ziyon has even been showing pictures of some of them. Rumours swirling around here insist that at least some of the names are of fellows who have been on the American wanted list of Al-Qaeida members, but I haven't seen that officially anywhere.

Anonymous said...


Elder of Ziyon said that Flotilla Facts kept the currently most comprehensive collection of trustable links going


Anonymous said...

sorry I forgot - if you have time for more than just info-bits this site is a treasure chest with a reputation for as high as possible reliability (recommended by many but by who else Elder of Ziyon also ;-))

Anonymous said...

Thanks, everyone, that's really helpful!


Barry Meislin said...

...not one single innocent was killed.

I don't know if it's true or not. Maybe it is. Maybe it isn't.

Given the facts of the situation, though, I don't know why it matters.

This is not to say that one wishes innocent bystanders to be killed. One doesn't, obviously. And this is why the soldiers were able to be manhandled, taken hostages, and in some cases gravely injured.

By the "peace activists" on board

Within the context of what happened, I'm saying it doesn't and shouldn't matter.

(Though I'm sure there are those who argue: "Just because there were some violent people on board doesn't mean that innocent people had to suffer....", etc., etc.)

Anonymous said...

watch the Stephen Colbert rant towards Michael Oren on how soldiers are to behave during a raid
- right now I can't remember anybody having ever gotten it across better

and of course it is what happened to the soldiers that is the really important story that needs to be remembered every time one of these NGO-lers pipes up and whines

Have you come across anything indicating that one of the presumed decent NGOs/Charities is sharing gossip about IHH with the authorities?

If they don't they are into colluding