The horizon is not so far as we can see, but as far as we can imagine

What would Turkey’s NATO allies do in the case of a Turkish/Israeli throwdown?

The general assumption has been that if push comes to shove between Israel and Turkey, that NATO allies will not support Turkey, and that the US will supply Israel, but not supply Turkey.

I wonder if those two things are both true.

It’s interesting to note that Britain, normally a staunch Israeli ally, in response to the attack on the aid flotilla in international waters called for an end to the Gaza blockade.  As with both Turkey and Israel’s actions, one imagines this may be driven by domestic political concerns.  To put it simply, Britain has a lot more Muslim citizens than Jewish ones, and England’s Jewish residents tend to be liberal and unlikely to become radicalized and blow things up.  Electorally, helping Palestinians may be a winner.

In the US, AIPAC and the Jewish lobby are generally considered amongst America’s strongest lobbies.  But it’s worth putting in perspective—when George Bush senior tackled AIPAC, he crushed them.  The vast majority of likely Democratic voters aren’t that sympathetic to Israel.  And to mess with Israel, all Obama has to do is stop protecting it at the UN, which is completely under his control, and not preferentially ship supplies to Israel in the case of a crisis, something which is also 100% inside the executive’s purview.

Obama has been snippy with the Israelis in the past, as when new settlements were announced during vice-President Biden’s visit.  While it’s hard to read Obama, I think it’s clear that he hasn’t appreciated the way Israel has taken the US’s support for granted.

And hey, changing the conversation from the BP oil spill can only be good.

I also don’t think it’s clear that Israel can use its nukes on Turkey without any other nuclear power threatening retaliation.  Glassing a major metropolis is not something likely to make Britain, the US or France happy.  In the US the idea of using nukes seems to occasion something of a yawn, but in the rest of the world it is the ultimate taboo.

Likewise, I’m not entirely sure that if Israel attacks Turkey’s military vessels in support of what may soon be considered an illegal blockade of Gaza, that other NATO nations won’t back Turkey up if it responds with a naval blockade of its own.  In particular, I’m not sure that the new British government comes in on Israel’s side, nor am I sure France does.  And either of those nations is more than capable of slapping Israel around if Israel gets too big for its britches.

Israel’s been pissing off its friends for a long time now.  This particular attack seems to have been done for domestic political reasons, and was a deliberate flouting of international law, a slap in the face “you won’t do anything about this, we can do whatever we want.”

Works, until it doesn’t.  I don’t know if Israel has crossed the line, but I think it may have.  For Britain, in particular, to come out with a statement calling for the end of the Gaza blockade is not a small thing.

All of which is a long way of saying, I’m not so sure the US, and particularly Britain, will automatically support Israel in any confrontation with Turkey.


Holy Sweet Lord, Turkey has announced they will send another flotilla to Gaza—escorted by the Turkish Navy!


The Jobs Report and the Future


  1. BDBlue

    There’s also the issue of salvaging NATO. Even assuming the US wouldn’t be willing to live up to its Article 5 responsibilities, I’m not so sure France and Britain wouldn’t. To fail to do so, puts Turkey outside of the nuclear umbrella, which means it would almost certainly have to develop its own nuclear capacity. And if it does so, other countries near it, will probably think they, too, need to do the same. One of the most remarkable historical accomplishments since WWII has been the relative peace in Europe, especially Western Europe. I don’t see France, in particular, as letting that go because of Israel, especially when Israel just essentially committed an act of war on Turkey. I would suspect the French and British attitude would be for Israel to clean up its mess. That is the sane response. France – unlike the US or Israel in the last decade – has been relatively sane in its foreign policy. I don’t see it sitting idly by while Israel or any other country starts creating internal problems within Europe.

  2. Celsius 233

    Throw Turkey to the vultures, that’s what they’d do. One can guess where and when the next major (and I mean MAJOR!) war will emanate; but do to the complexities of U.S. duplicities, it’s nigh on impossible to guess.
    But I’ll bet it’ll catch everyone by the short hairs. Fail!

  3. anonymous

    The fact that Bush I may have got away with something doesn’t mean any democrat could get away with it. And besides Bush I was a one-termer, so maybe he didn’t get away with it. And especially with president spineless in charge, I don’t see the dems standing up to Israel. Fact is, Israel dictates our Mideast policy, and I can’t see this incident changing that. But maybe there will be a small divergence.

  4. Disenfranchised

    Juan Cole wrote: “Historians may look back on the Marmara raid as the moment a new order began emerging in the Middle East, grouping Turkey with Iran, Syria, Iraq and Palestine rather than with Washington and Tel Aviv.”

  5. Danbones

    In Canada:
    Harper has let Isreal commit terrist murders using our passports, never investigated the deaths of Canadians at 911, did nothing after Canadians were murdered when Isreal flattened a UN observation post ( one of the Canadians there wrote home repeatedly anticipating that Isreal was going to do this)ETC…

    The evangelicals in Canada and the Jews are the Only ones that will back him on Support of Isreal no matter what Isreal does.

    When it looks like the Bible is comming true ala Revelations the evangelicals will switch to “destroy Isreal” Mode so thier “savior can have his 2nd coming…

    Otherwise the rank and file Canadians HATE the thought of wasting our
    Men and women for such a low cause…

    However more and more Canadians are waking up to who “Ownes” our political system and media here. At some point Canadians usually stop with the “benefit of the doubt” and that will be that.

  6. beowulf

    The Israelis are their own worst enemy, not only is the Turkey the most powerful Muslim state, its also the only one whose military cooperates with Israel’s with training exercises and overflights rights. This event reminds me of the Trent Affair, but clearly Bibi is no Lincoln (who backed down instead of risking war with Britain).

  7. harlequin115

    I am in some agreement with Mr. Welsh here–especially in light of what BDBlue has mentioned. Maintaining the integrity and relevance of NATO is of prime importance to many nations, especially Britain and France. I would also suggest it is of prime importance to the United States. It was only a couple of years ago that “W” (no fan of international relationships) noted that NATO was “THE vital relationship when it comes to US security.” ( That has not changed, and in fact, may even have gained importance since then. When push comes to shove, the US will always choose what is in the interests of its own security, and on the balance beam of NATO or Israel’s Gaza blockade, it’s no contest. And that’s what this really is–a weighting between the Gaza blockade and the continued existence of NATO, if Turkey decides to push. Regardless of AIPAC or any other lobby, that’s no contest, and the Obama administration knows it.

    If Turkey pushes on the blockade, expect to see Israel back down in short order, under pressure from the Obama administration. Bibi has to know that this is not a winning hand for him, and if he doesn’t, the US has plenty of ways to make him recognize it.

  8. David Kowalski

    True or false the assumption here in the U.S. is that Israel would kick the U.K.’s and France’s butt and do it rather quickly. After all, in 1956 a much weaker Israel and a much stronger UK and France tangled at the Suez Canal and Israel won easily, essentially ending the UK’s position as a great power.

    This is naval not land and Turkey has close to 20 times the population of Israel and an aggressive chip-on-its-shoulder mentality. A lot of people way over estimate Israel. It is not the second greatest military power in the world or even close to it. Israel is not built to fight prolonged wars. it failed in Lebanon and is failing in Palestine.

    Americans want Israel to exist, for sure. I don’t think that this is seen as a matter of existence. Reflexively, we will back Israel. I expect Obama will back Israel at the cost of NATO if it comes to that. That will probably extend to shipping conventional weapons and supplies and providing diplomatic cover. I am not sure if it will apply to providing active use of the army, navy and marines. That decision is probably up to the joint chiefs in this administration and they will tend to be cautious. The position of liberals will be ignored and maybe actively opposed whatever it tis. The position of corporations and the wealthy will be significant.

    The whole US-Israel relationship is certainly not unique. Hanover constantly dragged England into continental wars in the 1600s and 1700s much to the regret of France and the expense of England.

  9. jo6pac

    Israel starts a war against Iran and everyone picks a side. Game over and all the planets citizens lose.

  10. harlequin115

    @ David Kowalski

    I’m in the US too, and I’ve NEVER heard that assumption. The UK spends more than 5 times as much on its military as Israel does, and they could certainly ramp up spending if they started a conflict, whereas Israel pretty much constantly spends the most it can on its military.

    Additionally, where did you get THAT interpretation of the Suez crisis?? The UK, France, and Israel fought ON THE SAME SIDE against Egypt. They won, militarily, but were forced to pull back by the US and USSR. THAT’s why the UK’s status as a great power was diminished–they couldn’t face down the US or USSR. It certainly wasn’t due to any military defeat, and ESPECIALLY not at the hands of the Israelis.

    The Royal Navy would roll over the Israelis at sea, and they’d just squeeze Israel with a blockade until they capitulated.

  11. Ian Welsh

    What others have said. Israel is a regional power, even now Britain is far more powerful than it is. So is France. The Suez humiliation was when the US forced Britain and France to back down.

  12. Jack Crow

    FWIW, it may come down to Afghanistan. If the US wants NATO intact (in more than name only) for its Af/Pak adventure, Israel may have to back down.

    The question is – are Bibi and Avidgor constitutionally capable of it, right now?

    Perhaps a minor concern – but we may get a clue once the Rachel Corrie gets close enough to the Israeli Navy, over the next twenty four hours.

  13. harlequin115

    @Jack Crow
    I think you’ve sort of hit the nail on the head. While I don’t think Afghanistan would be the only consideration, it is exactly that sort of conflict, and the assistance provided by NATO, that the US will be considering. NATO provides a significant force multiplier to the US in most of the conflicts it engages in, and provides both local expertise/specific skills and geographical assistance throughout much of the world. Don’t forget the extent to which we used Turkish airbases to help with the bombing campaign against the Taliban in 2002-03. That sort of assistance is invaluable.

    More important, in the event of a future Great Power war, the existence of NATO is an additional deterrent to any possible existential threat to the United States (although, obviously, no such threat currently exists). There is no rational justification for valuing the Israeli blockade, or even an alliance with Israel, above NATO.

  14. Jack Crow


    I should probably have been a bit clearer. I don’t think it would only be about Afghanistan. It’s just that this occupation/black ops campaign (Af/Pak) is the current testing ground for American force projection, and it’s already going badly for those who run it, even on their own terms.

    Without NATO, the US cannot (a) hold Afghan territory currently under American suzerainty, especially isolated forward bases dependent upon NATO personnel, (b) without considerably increasing deployment of US official and mercenary soldiers.



  15. harlequin115


    Good call. I think we’re making similar points, but you express yourself better. I’m in similar discussions on other forums, would you mind if I quote you (and link back, obviously)?

    I think you’re right that the Af/Pak conflict is making the need for NATO all the more pressing and clear to US commanders. Israel’s playing a dangerous game if it forces the US to make a decision between which it will support.

    If Turkey requests assistance under article 5 (mutual defense) of the NATO charter, and the US doesn’t respond, it would mean the end of NATO, as its key benefit to non-US members is protection under the dual umbrellas of US nuclear and military deterrence. It’s a very concerning situation, and it seems to me that too many of the players involved are playing with fire. I imagine there will be some serious diplomatic maneuvering over the next couple of days, especially with NATO meeting in Brussels today.

    Best of luck to you.

  16. Jack Crow


    I don’t really need credit, but if you want to that’s fine with me. I’m just making low-information observations.

    I haven’t much of a clue about how this would turn out. I just called it “fluid,” elsewhere, and that’s about the nearest fact I have to add to the discussion.

    Some questions, I’ve been working up:

    1. Do the Turks (the gov’t, the major companies) really still want into the failing EU? If not, do the Germans have any carrots to offer them, other than better treatment of Turkish second class citizens, in Germany proper?

    2. Do the Israelis have tacit support from the US? If so, do we have to ask seriously if the Israeli state can survive a “bold move” by Netanyahu, Barak and Lieberman? How far will the US state go to preserve the Israeli state, as it is?

    3. How close will the Turkish state draw to Iran, Hizbollah and Hamas? As Ian notes above, to Syria? Is this, in part, a Turkish move to join Iran as a regional dominant couplet – especially as Europe’s economy unravels?

    4. Will the Russians involve themselves, especially since they already have effective control of the Black Sea?

    5. What about all those pipeline end points in Turkey? How much oil and natgas do the Israelis get from those sources? How much do they use to keep their still formidable ground and air wings fueled and battle ready?

    6. What about India?

  17. It looks to me like Israel is starting down a road it shouldn’t have taken. Turkey is one of its few friends in the Middle East, maybe its only one. By endangering the NATO alliance, they’ve made our government’s problems greater at a time we didn’t need them. This isn’t smart.

    The only thing that would be less smart is for the U.S. to support it.

  18. Pepe

    @David Kowalski

    That decision [to use US forces in support of Israel] is probably up to the joint chiefs in this administration

    No. The President is in charge of the armed forces (commander-in-chief, in fact). The military, for obvious reasons, does not get to decide when or where they get to be used. Which isn’t to say that they couldn’t make problems for Obama.

    I don’t see Obama sending US troops against Turkey. He might be politically tone deaf, but he’s not a grade A moron.

  19. Formerly T-Bear

    See someone has been turning over rocks again.

    It never ceases to amaze what turns up.

    A lifetime could be spent, setting *facts* to right.

    Heaven help some to survive the public opinions,

    formed in benighted delusions.

  20. paul

    I think it’s sheer folly to second guess what Obama thinks or feels, because he is a seething ball of narcissism, opportunism and ambition. HE DOESN’T THINK OR FEEL, not as most folks do.

    If the confrontation between Turkey and Israel grows, Obama will back Israel. He may try to pull of what he pulled off in Honduras (pretending to back Zelayas while actually backing the coupsters), or what Britain and the US pulled off during the Spanish Civil War (pretending neutrality but effectively supporting the fascists): Obama may overtly support Turkey while covertly supporting Israel. But be sure, he WILL support Israel no matter what.

    Regarding nukes, I believe Turkey effectively has nukes at its command. It holds Nato nukes, and I believe a country that holds Nato nukes has command over them.

  21. Mau Mau

    Anglo0-Saxons I.e.English people form largest ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS AND THE MOST VIOLENT
    Who game was to be VICTIMS look at history of what is called Australia,Canada,new Zealand USA
    What Israel is doing is exact with tacit approval and backing of these countries Nothing new

  22. Mau Mau

    With tacit approval of ruling elites of USA/Canada/European countries Israel has been stealing ideas/ R and D /research info from UNIVERSITIES and companies and causing billions of dollars worth damage to these countries
    Why nobody talks about!

  23. Jack Crow

    NATO SecGeneral adds his voice:

    “Today the North Atlantic Council (NAC) met for an extraordinary meeting to discuss the recent Israeli operation against ships bound for Gaza. There was an extensive exchange of views among Allies on all aspects of this tragic event.

    I would like to express my deep regret over the loss of lives and the other casualties resulting from the use of force during the incident involving the convoy sailing to Gaza. I offer sincere condolences to the families of all victims and condemn the acts which have led to this tragedy. I add my voice to the calls by the United Nations and the European Union for a prompt, impartial, credible and transparent investigation into the incident.

    As a matter of urgency, I also request the immediate release of the detained civilians and ships held by Israel.”

  24. David Kowalski

    Israel, the superpower? I heard it constantly between 1967 and 1973. During that time, at least where I was in the Northeast, Israel’s military capability was frequently claimed to be superior to the United States if the forces were anywhere close to equal. Israel’s reputation only began to falter when it was unable to continue its occupation of Lebanon much later.

    As for Obama, the list was laughable but the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs was listed higher on Time’s recent list than Obama. The chiefs announced the size of the Afghan increase before Obama did (and according to some stories against his ‘judgement). I really don’t think he’d commit troops to either Israel or Turkey without the public advance support of the military. IMO, the cart is dragging the horse here.

  25. Greg

    There is some ludicrous wishful thinking going here that any rational person should be ashamed of, and the bloodthirsty salivation over hurting Israel is really creepy as well coming from people who probably consider themselves pacifistic. So Europe should fight its first large war after ww2 not against Iran or any such power, but against Israel? THIS is what the “pacifistic” set thinks is what would be worth returning to bloodshed for? Really creepy!

    And good God, have you people even noticed what Europe has become over the past 50 years? Are we living on the same planet?

    So lets see here. Britain and France are so afraid of the possible bloodshed their internal Muslim populations will cause that they will take an anti-Israel stance, but WON’T be afraid of the thousands of dead soldiers and wrecked equipement a non-essential war with Israel would cause, a war where no vital British or French interest was at stake?

    Post-modern, hyper-pacifist Britain and France will agree to suffer God knows how many dead soldiers and damage for…what, exactly? Turkeys “right” to send cement to Hamas so it can fortify its positions?

    Lets assume for a moment that simply by dint of superior numbers and equipement, Britain and France could defeat Israel – an assumption that is by no means clear since wars depend on morale, and the Europeans countries would be suffering dead soldiers with no vital interests at stake, whereas Israel would be fighting with its back to the wall, and small armies with high morale regularly defeat larger ones with low motivation – but lets say the European powers could indeed win, you’re telling me modern Europe has the cajones to fight a war against a modern, highly effective army and endure horrendous casualties?

    Is this really your reading of the modern European pysche? Have you been completely unaware of the European pacifistic, casualty averse mentality that has been in existence, for oh, 60 years or so?

    As for Turkey, lets be realistic. Turkey does not have a chance in a conventional war against Israel, even if it has more people and more equipment. Turkey is essentially a third rate, third world power, and Israel has proven itself superb at conventional warfare. Israel has faltered only in asymmetric warfare where they cannot deploy their full power because of the constraints of international opinion. With the gloves off, a third world power like Turkey has no chance in a conventional format.

    How can such nonsense even be remotely considered SANE? Do you people realize how crazy your ideas of Europe suffering enormous casualties so that Turkey gets to re-arm Hamas sounds? Do you people realize how your blood-lust to hurt Israel at any cost makes you sound like absolute idiots? Do you realize how creepy it is to support Europe turn away from its newly minted pacifist tradition and return to bloodletting and war simply to hurt Israel, of all countries, for Christs sake?

    This is laughable.

    Britain and France ain’t going to war for Turkey. That’s drivel. Turkey might or might not start a war, but it would be kicked out of NATO, lose any chance of ever joining the EU, and downgrade its US ties, and be badly beaten as well in a conventional war. You think Turkey doesn’t know this? The Turks like to talk big but they aren’t as insane as you bloodsthirsty goons.

  26. beowulf

    What I haven’t seen mentioned is that Obama’s National Security Adviser, retired Marine General James Jones, was once Supreme Allied Commander, Europe. I find it hard to believe a a former SACEUR would ever advise a president to ignore our NATO treaty obligation or wouldn’t submit his resignation if a president ignored it anyway.

    Of course, I think Jones should have played the resignation card when he offered his fellow jarhead Anthony Zinni the Iraq ambassadorship but then called again a couple days later to rescind the offer for no logical reason (which leads one to suspect AIPAC of course). General Zinni, naturally was pissed and wasn’t shy to tell the press about it.

    Anyway, Jones should have dug his heels in with the President at that time and told Obama that Zinni stays or he goes. If its not automatically presumed by everyone that the National Security Adviser is talking, granting or demanding with full backing of the President, then he’s as useless as the Washington Times op-ed page. Everyone will assume then that NSA just takes messages and will go over his head for decisions on everything. It doesn’t help that this wasn’t a a big donor or even a career diplomat (that is, a stranger) Jones screwed out of an ambassadorship, but rather a friend he’d served with in the Marine Corps for decades.

    On the other hand, that Zinni call was probably good practice for Jones. Its only appropriate that the NATO Secretary General will be getting soon his own “just kidding” call from a former Supreme Allied Commander.

  27. harlequin115

    Greg, excuse me, but no one is calling for Israel to be invaded here. What we’re saying is that Israel has put itself in a very dangerous situation. It’s effectively declared war against arguably the largest regional power in the Middle East, and one which is a NATO member. That may not mean anything to you, but this has nothing to do with “defending Turkey’s right to arm Hamas,” and to suggest it is anything of the sort is delusional. The fact is, Israel attacked a civilian Turkish ship in international waters. If Turkey chooses not to interpret this as an act of war (and the signs are, given that they didn’t ask for communal action at the NATO meeting today, that they won’t) it means Israel has been very fortunate, and that cool heads are prevailing. I would point out to you that the justification for the US to enter Vietnam due to the Gulf of Tonkin incident was MUCH less clear than this, and yet it was considered an acceptable justification by Congress.

    The clear point here is the preservation of the NATO system if Turkey did ask for communal action. NATO was effective throughout the Cold War because there never was any doubt in the minds of the Warsaw Pact nations, or others, that all of NATO would react immediately to an attack on any one of them. The Cold War may be over, but NATO is still probably the most valuable tool in the national security policies of each member state, and I wouldn’t doubt for a moment that they would fight to protect it. Now, this incident is certainly too small to lead to war, but my point was that if Turkey claimed it had been attacked, there would be a series of very powerful nations which would certainly exert enormous pressure on Israel (perhaps even up to backing a Turkish blockade if more of their ships are attacked). Let’s not forget that the next ship to attempt to break the Israeli blockade is going to be flying the Irish flag–let’s see what happens if THAT ship is attacked violently.

    But what clearly shows you to be delusional here is your underestimation of Turkey. “As for Turkey, lets be realistic. Turkey does not have a chance in a conventional war against Israel, even if it has more people and more equipment. Turkey is essentially a third rate, third world power, and Israel has proven itself superb at conventional warfare.” This is a joke, and clearly shows you know nothing about Turkey. Turkey has an economy that is more than 4 times the size of Israels (at PPP, nominally, it’s just under 4 times the size), and military expenditures annually that are double that of Israel’s (even including US military assistance). As a NATO member, Turkey has access to the same equipment that the Israelis do, and there’s been a lively trade in military equipment between the two for some time now. Turkey is also licensed to build F-15s and F-16s by the United States, so their air force is on par with Israel’s, and significantly larger. Israel has maintained a reputation (and a deserved one) for a powerful and effective military, but they’ve been fighting what you refer to as ‘third world powers’ since the forties. Turkey is in the big leagues, whether you choose to admit it or not, and Israel’s playing with fire if they don’t acknowledge it.

    Again, my point is not that any of these nations would drive Israel into the sea, or some drivel. My point is that they have more than the necessary capacity to force Israel to back down, even without US support. And if Turkey asks, most of them will come running because the NATO system is too valuable to let erode away. Israel’s delusional if they think otherwise, and while delusions are enjoyable, when they run into reality, reality rarely is the one to budge. It’s in the best interests of all if the Israelis realize this in the near future.

  28. jawbone

    Isn’t Turkey a crucial part of Israel’s obtaining oil?

    I have a vague memory of that….

  29. harlequin115

    As an aside on Turkish military capabilities, read: The author argues that bringing Turkey into the EU would add a military capacity almost equal to that provided by the United Kingdom and France, and discusses Turkey’s capabilities in terms of regional force projection.

    Again, this is just to convince people that discounting Turkey as a “third rate, third world” power is ridiculous.

  30. b.

    “While it’s hard to read Obama, I think it’s clear that he hasn’t appreciated the way Israel has taken the US’s support for granted.”

    There is a lot that Bygones does not really appreciate. Let’s hope 2012 is among those miconceptions, for a change.

  31. Greg


    This is what I understand your point(s) to be. One, Israel is the aggressor against Turkey. But this is wrong. Turkey is the aggressor against Israel. Two, that regardless of who is right or who is wrong, it is dangerous for Israel to get on Turkeys bad side because it is a powerful country. But this is wrong. It is more dangerous for Israel to submit to Turkeys “conditions” for remaining “friendly”, as those conditions are seemingly that Israel cease defending itself. Further, it never seems to occur to you that it is extremely dangerous for Turkey to try and fight Israel, as even if it would win it would emerge heavily mauled, seriously weakened, possibly wrecked, and easy prey for its enemies Syria, the Kurds, etc. Would Turkey survive a war with Israel, even a victory, as a serious power? No. And third, you seem to think that again, regardless of the rights or wrongs, Turkey can marshall the full power of NATO, so again, Israel is the one who should be watching out regardless of wether it is justified or not. This is wrong, as NATO cannot be invoked when a member country attacks without provocation, as Turkey did when it sent a violent flotilla with the intention of arming Hamas and breaking Israel’s legal blockade. NATO is not a cover for one country initiating a war of aggression and then demanding all NATO members assist it. Furthermore, NATO is increasingly irrelevant in a world without the USSR and it is questionable if France or Britain would take any risks to sustain such a chimera, and Europe is far too pacifistic these days to fight any serious wars over anything less than vital interests, and even then maybe not.

    The problem with analyses such as yours is that you seem to think Turkey, France, Britain, or whoever, can simply do as they wish with Israel because they are stronger, in combination or alone, and that all the deterrence is on their side. By failing to give weight to Israel’s ability to do damage to these players you create a completely distorted picture; even granting all your (highly questionable) “suppositions”, Israel still has considerable detterence at its disposal, and all these countries would suffer terribly over things that simply aren’t vital interests for them whereas Israel IS dealing with something that is a vital interest to it.

    It’s similar to the fear of Iran that permeates some people in the US – sure, Iran can do some damage to us. But good God, we can do just a bit more damage to Iran, so the idea that we need fear any action on Iran because we are terrified of a few pinpricks is the result of a distorted image created in the brain where the menace of the other side looms grotesquely large, and the capabilities of the US and Israel seem to have no proportionate value in the equation.

    Ultimately, such scenarios are driven by wishful thinking. Since you WANT Israel to be humbled, you concot preposterous scenarios where it will be. Since many WANT the US to be humbled, they make Iran into a fearsome enemy. Since you WANT Israel to feel fear, you pretend that Turkey has no need to feel an equal or possibly even greater fear.

    If Israel had any balls at all, it would withdraw its ambassador from Turkey, jail all members of the flotilla who engaged in violence – with LONG jail terms – and warn Turkey of military consequences if it pulls this kind of crap again. But since Israel can’t even bring itself to punish Syria for arming Hezbollah, and Syria is a joke of a military power, and the US cravenly permits Syria and Iran to sponser attacks against American troops with nary a peep even though both Iran and Syria (or anyone, really) are laughably incapable of dealing with US military might, it seems unlikely that Israel, or any Western power, has the kind of common-sensical self-respect and fortitude to stand up for themselves.

    That kind of self-respect seems to be something only the Muslims have these days, sadly. Encouragingly, the over the top actions of Turkey, and the hostility of the EU, are slowly forcing Israelis, little by little, to man up and grow a bit of spine here and there.

    If Turkey goes a bit insane and goes even further, which is admittedly possible, I foresee an even greater stiffening of the spine in Israel, and a greater turn towards a proper self-regard and appropriate self-defense which has been so sorely lacking in Israel (and the US, and the West) lately, because it has no choice. It’s back is to the wall. If Turkey sends a naval escort, they will be sunk by Israel, because Turkey will be essentially declaring war on Israel. Israel cannot let it go through, because this will be a massive display of weakness and a provoke Hezbolla, Hamas, Syria, and God knows who else to attack it, as they do when Israel allows its detterence to be massively and ruinously degraded.

    Then what? Turkey fights a war with Israel after forcing it to the wall? OK, maybe Turkey is that insane. Maybe. Israel has nukes so Turkey CANNOT win utterly, even if Turkey has nukes as well. At best, mutual destruction. Is all this worth it to Turkey when no vital interests are at stake, when Israel does have vital interests at stake? I give great credit to Thucydian “honor” as a prod to war, but few nations are quite that suicidal for so little cause.

    And do you think the EU, the US, etc, won’t have any problems at all with Turkey if it acts like this? Who knows, we live in interesting times.

  32. Greg

    About Turkeys military power –

    Egypt and Saudi Arabia also has f-16s and American hardware. In the 67, 73 wars against Israel, the Arabs had often superior Soviet weaponry, vastly outnumbered Israel, and had much more material. Didn’t matter.

    Military power cannot be measured by numbers of men and material alone.

    I have been to Turkey, all over the country. It is a lovely place. Outside of some posh Istanbul enclaves, the place is a Third World backwater with extremely poor quality manpower. The Turks stand no chance, en masse, against a first world power, because they are essentially a backward peasantry. The handful of high quality personnel in the Istanbul region simply isn’t sufficient to change the character of the country.

  33. harlequin115


    I clearly won’t be writing to you again, because you appear to have no idea how international relations work. How can you POSSIBLY claim Turkey is the aggressor here? Even if you are so fully ready to buy into the Israeli delusion that those ships somehow were an act of aggression, they certainly are not instruments of the Turkish government. That would be like saying that if a US citizen attempts to smuggle goods into Israel, that’s an act of aggression by the United States against Israel. It’s absurd. The only relation those ships had to the Turkish government was that they were flying the Turkish flag (you do realize that ALL vessels, both military, government-owned, AND civilian, fly the flags of a nation, right?) and thus, while on international waters, were bound by Turkish law, and under Turkish protection.

    Israel flagrantly violated international law by attacking Turkish interests on the open sea and killing Turkish citizens, and you think you can spin that into Turkey acting as an aggressor? The mind boggles at the thought. And with regards to NATO, the original charter specifically mentions attacks on private shipping in the Mediterranean as being cause for communal response by the entire Organization as though each member state had been attacked–so yes, Turkey could have asked for the help of all nations today, and they would have been bound to respond. Turkey was attacked, it was certainly not the aggressor, and I don’t think even the Israeli government would argue that Turkey attacked them.

    The fact is, you think I’m coming in here with an agenda that wants to see Israel humbled, when what I really want to see is a return to rationality. Those people didn’t have to die. The Middle East peace process didn’t have to be deferred yet again, and the influence of the United States in the Middle East didn’t have to be weakened that much further, but all of those things happened because of massive stupidity on the part of all involved. Israel, as a nation-state, has greater obligations than individuals, and it failed to uphold them. If it gets out of this with nothing more than massive international condemnation, it will have been fortunate, but ultimately, that will only prolong this cycle and encourage more needless violence. That benefits no one in the long term.

    But to suggest that Turkey “pulled this crap” blows my mind. That’s factually incorrect on so many different levels, and makes a mockery of your entire argument.

    Remember, ultimately, force backs a nation’s capacity for action and pressure on the international stage. Israel is isolated already, and alienating its remaining allies is a poor way to move forward. And using Israel’s nuclear capacity as a deterrent may be effective against Syria, the Lebanon, and Egypt, but it’s not a concern to nation’s under NATO’s umbrella. NATO deterred the USSR for fifty years, you think Israel would risk its own annihilation to hurt Turkey? Please. This is a ridiculous conversation, and one far too filled with hypotheticals.

    Ultimately, the true question is what will the US do. My argument was that if Turkey invoked NATO’s self-defence doctrine, and demanded US assistance, the US would be forced to put pressure on Israel to back down. And there is no doubt that if that pressure materialized, either the Netanyahu government would back down, or the one that would shortly replace it would. And that’s why I said Israel was playing with fire. The rest is needless hypothetical, because you don’t get nuclear war from an incident like this. But rest assured, if Turkey wanted to push this badly enough, they’d get what they wanted. And Israel would have only themselves to blame.

  34. Ian Welsh

    the Israeli military isn’t what it was in 67 or 72, either. It’s been clearly weakened by occupation duty.

  35. Lex

    Hah, the big myth of the mighty IDF. Good stuff, Greg. It might be worth your time to look at the immigration pattern for Israel over the last couple of decades, the immigration pattern that’s created neo-Nazi groups in Israel proper. It’s a small nation with a conscription army; it may be well equipped, but that’s about it.

    Turkey isn’t going to invade Israel. It has no reason to invade Israel and i’m sure that Turkish leaders are capable of seeing how damaging such a war would be. Turkey has plenty of other ways to damage Israel if it wants and those are more likely.

    What this does do is push the question of Israel’s general behavior into the forefront of international relations. The elephant in the room has finally gone and pissed off another regional power (an ally even). Turkey now has good reason to push the breaking of the blockade. And Turkey has a lot to win by being the nation that breaks the blockade.

    You do know that Britain tabled a proposal at the UN in 2009 to force the end of the blockade, right? US abstention kept it from passing. Our unconditional relationship with Israel hurts us, Israel and the entire middle East far more than it helps.

    Perhaps the people of Gaza need some fortification if Israel continues to drop white phosphorus rounds on the civilian population. But more to your point of Turkey aiding Hamas, let’s not forget that Israel created Hamas as a counterbalance to the PLO. So Israel can just shut the fuck up about the problems it has with its personal Frankenstein.

    I don’t want to see a shooting war between Turkey and Israel or NATO and Israel. What i do want to see is a sane reaction to this situation that forces Israel to finally act like a grown up instead of a spoiled, violent child.

    And keep in mind that it wasn’t just dirty Muslims that were going to run that blockade. There were plenty of Europeans and even Israelis (including a Holocaust survivor). They were all rounded up and put in prison after being taken from international waters.

  36. Greg

    States are required by law to prevent their citizens from committing aggression against other states, and to prevent their soil from being used as launch pads for acts of aggression. Turkey knew this ship was using its soil as a launch pad to commit an illegal act of aggression against another country, trying to supply war material to a regime hostile to Israel and under legal blockade, and was prepared to use violence to accomplish it goal, as it ended up doing, and Turkey did nothing;even supported it. This is illegal.

    Israel is permitted to board ships who declare an intention to violate a blockade even in international waters. Every country is. The people on the ship attacked Israeli soldiers.

    Whatever anyones thoughts on the “morality” of the blockade, of the morality of Israeli soldiers defending their lives rather than letting themselves be lynched by jihadis, the legal question is an entirely separate one, and Turkey is the one who failed to live up to its international legal obligations.

    What I cannot understand is how you ascribe all agency to Israelis but none to the other side – it is as if their actions are all predetermined and inevitable, almost like a natural force, with no responsibility, while Israel alone has the choice to act one way or another, and alone can accumulate blame or avoid it. Blame, responsibility, or choice, never accrue to the other side, much like an earthquake or a hurricane or any natural force has no human agency or moral responsibility.

    Israel could have chosen to not intercept the blockade and can be blamed for whatever happens as the result of that intercept, but the other side could not have chosen not to send the blockade and thus cannot be blamed for the consequences of the intercept. They simply HAD to send the flotilla. It is like a natural force. Only Israel has choice and thus, moral responsibility. Israel could have chosen to not defend its soldiers lives, and thus can be blamed for deaths resulting from that, but the other side simply could not have chosen not to use metal rods to attack the soldiers and steal their guns. They simply HAD to, like a natural force, attack the Israeli soldiers, so they cannot possibly be blamed for anything. No, those people did not have to die – but the stupidity whose result it was is entirely their own, not Israel’s. No attacking soldiers, no deaths. They are not rocks or stones with no ability to choose, they are human beings, just like the Israelis, who choose to attack others, and are responsible for the consequences.

    It’s this kind of weird thinking that I don’t get. Or rather, I get it pretty well, but the dispensers of this thinking seem not realize what they reveal about their own psychology by using these kinds of arguments.

    Turkey did not HAVE to react with hostility to Israel’s self-defense, it has the CHOICE to be sane and measured and non-hostile. If Turkey acts aggressively, it has ITSELF to blame for that and all the consequences that accrue from that.

    Sure, Israel can predict how other players will likely react to its self-defense, just like I can predict the reaction of my neighborhood thug if I walk down the street at night with my wallet hanging out of my pocket, but that doesn’t mean I am to “blame” if my wallet gets stolen, however predictable – maybe staying at home, even if safe, is ultimately more dangerous, because I can’t buy food.

    If Turkey decides ultimately to mess with Israel if Israel does not allow Turkey to fortify Hamas, then Israel will not have itself to blame, it will have Turkey to blame, which would be sane. Wether Israel would rather back down and allow Turkey to arm hamas with naval escort to avoid war with Turkey, is another a calculation of prudence. Blame does not enter into it. Prudentially, though, Israel would be suicidal to not stop Turkey.

  37. Ian Welsh

    Wow, the Orwell award to Greg, for Newspeak. Delivering humanitarian supplies is now “aggression” and commandos who attack a vessel are victims rather than aggressors.

    How do you feel about the fact that the majority of babies in Gaza are anemic, Greg? Are they committing acts of aggression against Israel too?

    (Let me guess, that’s all the fault of the Palestinians and Israel is blameless and just defending itself by engaging in group punishment. (Which is, by the way, a war crime.))

    Fortunately, most folks don’t have your advanced training in newspeak, and when they see humanitarian vessels boarded by commandos, don’t see the humanitarian peaceniks as the aggressors.

    As for the commando raid, either the Israelis are incompetent, or they deliberately fucked it up. Every military man I’ve spoken too has pointed out that this is simply not how you do this sort of operation. At best it is embarassing, as the “best” of the Israeli military get their asses kicked by civilians (really!?), at worse it was designed to ensure an incident.

  38. Ian Welsh

    (I will add, that in my years as a blogger, my experience has been that NOTHING is more contentious than Israel/Palestine.)

  39. Jack Crow

    Designed to insure an incident.

  40. Greg

    @lex. Your dislike of Israel is forcing you into self-contradictory stances that are just plain bizarre.

    You say that now, because Israel is not letting its blockade be broken, Turkey has an incentive to break the blockade? Good God man, what kind of sense does this make? You are so eager to show that Israel is shooting itself in the foot that you claim Israel enforcing the blockade is making Turkey want to break the blockade. Well, la did da. I suppose if Israel DIDN’T enforce the blocakde, Turkey WOUDN’T want to now break it? But then if Israel didn’t enforce it, the blockade wouldn’t exist, and there would be no need for Turkey to break it!

    Why do peoples logical processes break down so completely when it comes to the subject of Israel? You sound like a smart guy, too.

    So basically, the only Israel can avoid making Turkey want to break the blockade is by not having a blockade. Well, I suppose I can’t argue with THAT stroke of brilliance.

    Truth is Turkey has always been against the blockade. It has no allowed its soil to be used to attempt to do so. If it now tries to use its navy to break the blockade, that is its choice, and it will reap the blame for it.

    Israel is always on the forefront of international attention. If Israel defending itself is what pisses off its “ally”, the “alliance” is pretty worthless, wouldn’t you say? Some ally.

  41. Greg

    Ian Walsh — CEMENT can be used to fortify positions. The flotilla was brining in cement. Why?

    Israel OFFERED all genuinely humanitarian supplies could go in to Gaza through Israel. Not cement. Not anything that can be used for military purposes, but baby formula, sure, bring it in. The organizers said no. Why? All that wonderful baby formula could have EASILY gone through, but the organizers didn’t want THAT. WHY???? If they cared about anemic babies, WHY?

    Why didn’t they want Israel to INSPECT the cargo but insisted they had the right to deliver anything they wished, and Israel had no right to deny military provisions, when ships used to supply arms to Hamas all the time?

    The flotilla organizers themselves said it was not about delivering supplies, it was making clear that they could deliver whatever they wished, whenever they wished, and that Israel had no right to either inspect cargo to make sure no weapons were being brought in.

    Yet it is I who am being Orwellian. Can you possibly be so ignorant of such basic facts regarding this incident that gets you so passionate?

    Finally, no one is starving in Gaza because food is regularly sent through.

  42. Greg

    Clearly, they were not humanitarian vessels, because they didn’t want the supplies to get through when the chance was offered them.

    I love how you one one hand blame Israel for being this terrible bully, and then gleefully crow about how pathetic its soldiers are for getting beaten up. I’m sure had they gone in gun blazing you would have been much more approving. Well, at least you couldn’t then pile on either from both sides of the coin, as you can now.

    That too is disturbing subtext here, the satisfaction and glee with which some of you seem to regard Israeli soldiers getting beaten up.

    The soldiers had orders not to use violence unless absolutely necessary, and in fact exhorted each other not to respond with violence even as they were pelted with blows, moreover, were attacked by half a dozen men singly as they came down one by one. Even Navy Seals can’t prevail under these conditions. But go, mock away, Israel is bloodthirsty tyrant and pathetic weakling, all rolled into one, so long as you can mock it.

    And yes, it was a poorly run operation. They should NOT have been told to not use violence until it became painfully clear they had to to save their lives. They should have gone in, en masse, expecting violence, not one by one, singly falling into the hands of half a dozen knife and club wielding men, and shot the first idiot who brandished a knife, instead of showing restraint when it was not yet clear the knives and clubs were seriously meant to kill. Now they know they are meant to kill.

    At least on the question of competence we can agree. Perhaps this is what will happen on the Rachel Corrie.

  43. It is worth looking at
    San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994


    Neutral merchant vessels

    67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:

    (a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;
    (b) engage in belligerent acts on behalf of the enemy;
    (c) act as auxiliaries to the enemy s armed forces;
    (d) are incorporated into or assist the enemy s intelligence system;
    (e) sail under convoy of enemy warships or military aircraft; or
    (f) otherwise make an effective contribution to the enemy s military action, e.g., by carrying military materials, and it is not feasible for the attacking forces to first place passengers and crew in a place of safety. Unless circumstances do not permit, they are to be given a warning, so that they can re-route, off-load, or take other precautions.

  44. Jack Crow


    I posted that my way.

    Under the Obama Admin’s current posture – this would allow Israel full discretion, and no other party or state any, in determining what constitutes the terms of the blockade, as well as what actions violate it.

    Which is really not unlike giving BP total discretion to handle the PR, clean up and management of the Gulf of Mexico/Deepwater spill…

    …oh, wait…

  45. Lex

    No, Greg, i said that because Israel boarded a Turkish flagged ship in international waters it set itself up for Turkey (the nation, not activist groups within the nation) to want to break the blockade.

    I’m not so sure that paintball guns with pepper ammunition can be considered “non-violent”. Or has “non-lethal” become the same as “non-violent”. (ever been hit with a paintball gun? It hurts, sometimes quite a lot.)

    The ships were not attempting to run the blockade when they were boarded. That’s how Israel fucked up the operation. If Israel had waited until the ships actually ran the blockade and were in Israeli waters (not blockade waters) then the reaction to the boardings might well have been different.

    See, Greg, a lot of people like seeing a bully stood up to and that’s pretty much what this was (premeditated or not). What makes me gleeful, because i have a dark sense of humor, is the way that Israel is complaining about its commandos getting beat up…as if it was some sort of unfair fight.

    Israeli commandos should be able to handle themselves pretty well, they’re commandos. The point people are making about the IDF is that it is not all top-notch commandos by a long shot.

    The greater point in all this is that a people who know all too well what violent persecution is like have come to behave as violent persecutors. I have no argument against Israel’s right to exist, but i’ll argue all day long that it has a responsibility to be a good neighbor and that the Palestinians have a right to a state too.

  46. The tail does not wag the dog.

    A nice little hot war this summer would do a lot to make sure no rational minds were heard regarding Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Wall Street, the economy, or the catastrophe in the Gulf.

    So nice for everyone with a stake in the action if tens, hundreds, even thousands of lives were lost, and the jingos went marching to the forefront of every political website on the Left and the Right.

    And really, pictures of Palestinean children starving and Israeli geriatrics cringing from feared rockets ought to drive every oily pelican and dead dolphin right off the pages of Pravda.

    It’s a win-win situation.

  47. the US will back Israel for one simple reason: the global ‘war on terror’ is based upon the same right of extraterritorial action that Israel’s suppression of Palestinian self-determination is

    the US cannot back Turkey without repudiating its own global national security policy

    will there be serious consequences, including the possible collapse of NATO? sure, but the US remains confident of cobbling together ‘coalitions of the willing’ as required, and, hence, will not be constrained by these concerns

  48. Jack Crow

    Especially, Richard, if the US can hold on to Britain and Germany.

  49. Tom Hickey

    There is zero possibility that the US will not back Israel. Zero.

  50. MS


    how was that again? Geroge Bush senior was defeated on his try for a second term. A US President has to be really lousy or unlucky to lose a bid for re-election. Bush senior stood up to AIPAC but not for long.

  51. Salvatore

    Dear Greg, maybe (just maybe) people in Gaza need some CEMENT for rebuild all the houses and the mosques that the IDF razed during the 2008/2009 Gaza War

  52. CIB is the most poisonous form of poseur.

    Cement is an absolutely legitimate thing for people to want. Israel barely keeps anyone fed in Gaza with an array of ridiculous rules intended to break the spirit of the people. It has no right to the blockade. If it has a dilemma, it’s one of its own making.

  53. Formerly T-Bear

    Second that nomination for the Orwell award.

    Greg has dug himself a mighty hole as far as credibility is concerned. Never again shall that commentator be given credence, rather the question of dissemblance, misdirection and motivation to divert attention will be associated with this person’s remarks. It is probably easy when either the commentator is a pathological liar or so ill educated and ill informed that the capability to discern fact from fiction is impaired, as is the case with mental illnesses. Because one holds an opinion, validity is not automatic, no matter the length of the presentation of that opinion.

    Reading Greg is like stepping in dog dirt, one wishes afterward it didn’t happen.

  54. Formerly T-Bear

    One niggle:

    The 1956 Suez crisis involved U.K., French and ISRAELI forces.

    History must be exacting!

  55. BDBlue


    It is ironic that it may be the US who cares least about NATO in all of this (which is not to say it cares little, especially in light of Af-Pak), given how hard the US worked to expand NATO. France and Germany and to some extent the UK have the most reason to care about keeping some sort of unifying defense of Europe together and to try to keep Turkey in the fold. Europe has enough problems right now with an economic meltdown, it does not need tension with a fellow NATO member.

    Which is not to say that I think any of this will end with war – although when you have a country behaving like a petulant 2-year-old, lashing out even at friends, it’s hard to be sure – just that I agree with those who think that, even if the US will not abandon Israel, Israel may still have taken on more than it can deal with if the Turks decide to push it.

    As Ian has pointed out, with its changing demographics, Israel has some very hard decisions to make about its future. Instead of making those, it seems intent on just pissing off its friends. Why it would want to alienate Turkey, a power in the region and one of its few Muslim allies, is baffling? Or perhaps its just human nature to avoid dealing with old problems by creating new ones.

  56. Jack Crow


    I respectfully submit that the Israelis don’t need local friends. Especially since those provided by the US (Jordan, Egypt and Saudi Arabia).

    And they don’t need to hold on to Gaza. The Turks do them a favor, breaking that blockade. The blockade is “legal,” from the Israeli stand point. The declared it openly, and an open violation could work in their favor, since it retroactively helps their US backed investigative case.

    And none of us are talking about the rapid expansion of settlements in Jerusalem and the West Bank anymore, are we?

  57. DancingOpossum

    I wonder if Greg is part of the Israeli govt.’s paid hasbara squad? I must say, he’s certainly an improvement over the usual ones who just scream “Anti-Semites! Haters!” at every comment critical of Israel, but have pity on him. Attempting to defend a psychopathic, murderous, apartheid settler state with a habit of murdering civilians…Well, it takes far more rhetorical twisting than any of us can imagine–thus the inevitable descent into Orwellian gobbledygook.

    Justin Raimondo says Israel has descended into madness:

    So does Norman Finkelstein, who says it’s become “a lunatic state”:

  58. I read most of these comments and tend to agree with all of them to varying degrees;

    Pres. George H Bush said “The rule of Law not the rule of the jungle” shall govern his administration and his son broke that rule;

    Israel is governed by the Rule of International Law and Israel broke that rule;

    My local police have a duty to protect and serve me as a citizen and yet they stole my van while I was on the way tyo job interview (long story);

    The Merchant Bankers have a duty to their shareholders;

    see the common thread here?? Wherever you look there are crimes being committed and Israel committed yet another crime to add to the catalog of other crimes they’ve committed as some of you illustrated above;

    The fact that the blokkade runnas were flying the international flag of tukey should have given them enough protection but didnt and Turkey itself (as someone suggested above) should take better care of the people under its’ flag and have promised to escort the next convoy with the turkish navy and that is cool;

    The US should live up to it’s treaty obligations but frequently doesnt; Israeli Zionist Fashism is the root cause in this area and should be disassembled and destroyed and the 95% of palestinian land should be given back to the original pre-Balfour Agreement of 1917 but isnt…

    Jewish Zionist Fashist control the world’s banks, media, resources and military industrial komplex and that’s a fact promoted by such as the ‘Ring of Power’ videos on youtube (start here: and elsewhere, so the fault clearly lies with the Zionist Fashist Puppetkings who allowed for this ‘Dystopian Nightmare’ of Israel and the blokkade of Gaza is clearly part of the fashist zionist agenda that it no longer surprises me that something like this could be thought of by a nation state like Israel…

    same game different players is the name of the game and if the Zionist Fashists decide to let turkey and israel box it out then that’s what will happen regardless of what any of us ‘unwashed barbarians’ say!!!

    boycott israel and take action to restore palestinian liberties immediately, period.

  59. Eddy

    Achille Lauro. Words that all American Jews 50 years of age know very well.
    What people don’t appear to know too well, are this;

    under article 3 of the Rome Convention for the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation of 1988, it is an international crime for any person to seize or exercise control over a ship by force, and also a crime to injure or kill any person in the process.

    The treaty necessarily adopts a strict approach. One cannot attack a ship and then claim self-defence if the people on board resist the unlawful use of violence.

    In other words, according to international law, the actions of the Israeli military were beyond the law and those involved should be treated no differently than, say, the Somali pirates who are also in the habit of boarding ships by force.

    Any rights to self defence in such dramatic circumstances rests purely with the passengers and crew on board. Under international maritime law you are legally entitled to resist unlawful capture, abduction and detention.

    What those on board the Freedom Flotilla did was perfectly legal. I believe they acted with great courage in the face of heavily armed IDF commandos, while others might have thought their actions reckless.

    Says it all IMHO.
    Moreover, can’t let the bit about Israel’s top notch Commando terrorist experts go unmentioned. This gave me one hell of a good laugh, that such a force would take on what they claimed were dangerous terrorists with…………………….wait for it………………………..PAINTBALL GUNS ????
    I mean seriously, do the Israeli officials who came up with this explanation really expect anyone to BELIEVE this shite ? LOL.

  60. djhenrya

    You have a lot of misconceptions in your post.
    1. the UN is not the one in charge of holding Israel’s border.
    2. The vast majority of likely Democratic voters aren’t that sympathetic to Israel – but they are not consience aware – hence they say nothing. The leaders will decide for them whatever the vote is.
    3. BP oil spill has nothing to do with the issue at hand.
    4. Israel does not have nukes. I know that for a FACT! (what can you say now?)
    5. You sure sound certain that if no war is going on (or will break in the near future) Gaza will stay in blockade. guess what? you are right! Gaza will stay in blockade because even if a turkish blockade is enforced over israel, israel will still make sure no ship can enter gaza’s ports.
    6. You know nothing about military powers.
    7. You smell of anticimeticism.

  61. Formerly T-Bear

    @ djhenrya

    I see the toads are still in chorus. Everything you propose has been disproved countless time before so addressing your delusions is a waste of effort and time. Go home, get an education, and do your wanking while you are at a mirror.

  62. BDBlue

    Jack Crow,

    Excellent points, all.

  63. DancingOpossum

    Ah there it is! I knew we wouldn’t have to wait long for the “antisemeticism” canard, not to mention the “Israel has no nukes” line. Whew! I thought the hasbara brigade was asleep…or maybe just too busy making up more excuses for killing innocent civilians.

    Hey, just heard that one of the people killed was an American citizen. Think this will penetrate the skulls of our fearless leaders?

  64. Formerly T-Bear

    @ DancingOpossum

    Saw some reference to injured Yank this morning in the peregrinations of the web but nothing since (probably BBC). I have not seen any accounting of fatalities or injuries out of Israel media. Mondoweiss has this – American shot four times in head:

    I doubt it will make much impact on MSM, humanitarian, maybe humanist even, definitely a librul whatever. /s That will be incredibly hard on their family and friends.

    Burial for 9 Turks killed today, not a happy country, Turkey. Would not want to be in their sights, targeted for payback.

    I have already started my boycott on all things Israeli. You see above the respect their minions will receive. One of the first reports I heard that morning, one of the first killed was an Israeli citizen of Palestinian persuasion. They put a bullet into the head of a poet. God does not forgive that crime.

  65. beowulf

    Well this just got more interesting…

    One of the nine people killed in the Israeli raid on an aid flotilla in the eastern Mediterranean was a 19-year-old man with dual U.S.-Turkish citizenship, the State Department said Thursday.

    Crowley said it was too early to say what action the U.S. might take in light of the death. He said Dogan died of a gunshot wound but he declined to confirm news reports that Dogan had been shot multiple times in the head…

    Asked whether the FBI was involved, Crowley replied, “At this point, no.”
    “Anytime an American is killed overseas we have the option of evaluating the circumstances and if we think a crime has been committed, then working with the host government we have the option of our own investigation,” Crowley added.

    Hmm, wonder if State realizes the “host government” here is Turkey and not Israel.

  66. The NATO treaty calls for ALL members of NATO to come to the aid of any member nation.
    Uh, that would be TURKEY. There are members of Congress that have forgotten or have never read the treaty and have diarrhea of the mouth.

    I and my command will go by the treaty. Congress can go to hell. It will be a short trip and they already know the way.

    Revelation 2:9 (New International Version)
    9I know your afflictions and your poverty—yet you are rich! I know the slander of those who say they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan.

  67. Erdogan + Ahmadinejad + Chavez

    Western terrorist states will always support their little terrorist brother; the illegal Zionist entity. However, they will eventually be defeated.

  68. Jock

    Read these posts with interest. Where do some of you get your information from – Friends of Israel or the CIA fictionbook? We seem to have missed the fact that the Gaza strip is not Israel and so therefore any country breaking the blockade is not entering Israeli territorial waters. Therefore they are not being belligerent to the IDF. Secondly the blockade has been declared illegal under international law.

    Boarding a ship at sea in reference to a blockade is not send in the commandos with guns blazing. The Royal Navy do it on a regular basis without killing anyone on the ship they are boarding as do many other navies around the world. Perhaps the IDF need some further training. I’m sure it could be arranged if they asked.

    Now we come to NATO. If the US was not to come to the aid of Turkey in this case I believe there would be an exit by most European NATO forces from Afghanistan in short order. Can the US afford that?

    Now re the IDF being able to stand up to UK and France both those countries submarine capabilities could easily blockade Israel if they wished. Now if you want to start to nuke Europe Israel would cease to exist probably before the first missile hit. France’s nukes are independent and don’t need Washington’s permission to fire. the other question is what damage could a bunch of conventionally armed cruise type missiles do. After all Israel is not that big.

    So I believe we have established that Israel is not daft enough to take on the some of the bigger boys on the block who can hit as hard as the next one.

    It has been noticed that Israel also kept the passports, credit cards, money of the UK citizens on board the Turkish ship and that is probably the case for the others countries citizens before they deported them. They planning on killing some other person or do they want some more diplomats expelled? My advice to Israel – when in hole stop digging!

    Anti-Semitic is not being anti-Jewish. A Semite is the general term for native population of the Middle East, North Africa and even parts of sub-Saharan Africa. Arabic is a Semitic language so is Hebrew so is Maltese. So an Anti-Semite is someone who doesn’t like Jews, Arabs, Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis, Libyans, Maltese, Tunisians, Algerians Moroccans, and Tuareg etc.

    If Europe was to put the financial screws on Israel just how much cash is the US taxpayer going to want to give to Israel? If the EU stops imports from Israel as a non-belligerent way of saying stop the blockade? I don’t have to buy Israeli produce nothing in WTO says I must. So if there are no exports to Europe where is the Israeli produce going to go?

    Israel is a spoiled brat who needs its bottom spanked and then put on the naughty step until it learns to behave in company. The mood in the UK from talking to friends and colleagues is that Israel needs a good seeing too to correct their ways. Somebody has to do it before we all end up without teeth and eyes.

  69. Jalaal

    The blockade will be broken soon (praise allah) by the turks or by iran. BUT THEY DO NOT GIVE A CRAP ABOUT PALESTINIANS! All they want to do is to look like they are the ones that decides what’s going on in the arab world. Arduan already stated that he wants turkey in her glory days (uttoman empire), and Iran already stated it is not a state, but an islam republic who will spread the word of islam at all costs (even at the cost of nuking europe?).

    The proposal is not enforced, for example, in the caribeans. you know why? because the ships there are hostile ships by definition.

    @Formerly T-Bear
    As a palestinian I can see that you flourish on hate and on the belief that a war is going on. The real picture is more complex. I can see why around the world people think of HAMAS as a terrorist group. I really do. They killed my family because they were PATAH officers the minute israel got out of the strip. They tell us what to think here.

    One more note: Do not credit the UN. They are a bunch on nobodys that can do nothing. You people already forgot why the UN was created in the first place.

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