I thought I was going to take a break from this now, but there is one more thing I need to state more clearly, and thanks to all who have reminded me of this (and I’m not being sarcastic here):
Everything I’ve said about truth, propaganda, and predetermined morals could and should be used against the Hamas, as well as against simplistic, populist slogan truths from the Left. I’ve always been uncomfortable — to say the least — with banners and flags, of any colour or political orientation, because they by nature simplify a message and transform it into the same kind of Truth as I polemicize against in my previous post. I prefer a reasoned discussion where arguments are allowed to meet, and in this respect, the Left in the west are just as culpable as anyone else. I happen to think that the underlying analysis is stronger on the left side, but when it comes to presenting it, there is still a lot to be desired.
If I appear to be insensitive to fact, or even to censor it through unfair moderation of comments, this is again for the same reason: I simply don’t have time to respond to all the comments in the way I would like (and I’ve learned over these past days that I have to weigh my words very carefully — more carefully than I’ve done so far — and weighing words takes a helluvalotof time). I don’t either have time to read all the links and watch all the youtube videos I’ve been sent. That doesn’t mean I don’t care. The character of the comments as a whole is still of such a kind that it requires moderation, and for the time being, it is on hold — my apologies to those who feel they have been silenced.
What I polemicize against is not fact and the willingness to work towards finding out what actually happened, but against the uncritical acceptance of one truth as the only possible. This was the overwhelming and unexpected impression I got from all the mails I received in the first few days, but my criticism goes just as much in the other direction.
I’m deeply concerned with the islamist elements in the IHH and the ties to the BBP. I’m also aware that the events are being used and abused in destructive ways e.g. in Turkey. I’m disillusioned by the uncritical willingness of the Left to embrace elements and actions that should have been opposed; just because they too are against the common Greater Enemy doesn’t make them more acceptable. This was the case in the events surrounding the Cartoon crisis, and I also think the various leftist and humanitarian organizations that took part in the flotilla ought to have chosen their friends more wisely. Even the Left — or rather: especially the left — should be more clear and outspoken against islamist tendencies: they are not just uneasy but bad bed-fellows.
All this weakens the efficaciousness of the Flotilla. However, it does not lessen the need to do something about the situation in Gaza and the responsibility of Israel in this matter. Lifting the naval blockade entirely may not be the solution at the moment; if Mahmoud Abbas says that this would play into the hands of Hamas and strengthen them, that’s an opinion I respect. What he is saying is not that everything is fine as it is, though. The siege should be eased, border crossings should be opened, more goods should be allowed in, etc., everyting in ways which can’t be construed as a victory for Hamas.
Edit: According to Chief PLO negotiator Saeb Ereket, who accompanied Abbas on his US visit, the report that Abbas was in favour of a continued blockade is “yet another disinformation attempt aimed at distorting facts and deflecting Israel’s responsibility to end the illegal and inhuman siege on Gaza.” I don’t know what game Abbas is playing; I don’t know what was actually said during that meeting.
This should be the main objective: to get to a situation where Gaza is controlled neither by Hamas nor by Israel, so that living conditions can be improved for the inhabitants of Gaza.
My stance still remains, that Israel, as the stronger power, has the greater responsibility, and that the current policy is not the way to honour that responsibility. As Desmond Tutu has said: “If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor.” This is equally true whether one sees Hamas or Israel in the oppressor’s position.
The comments to this post are being moderated. I will not let through posts with the sole or main purpose (1) to tell me that I’m an idiot (no need to restate the obvious), or (2) to duplicate any of the “facts” in the comments to the previous post.