Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Club, A Knife, A Metal Bar, And Thou...

We’re a millennium beyond the great Persian poet Omar Khayyam extolling “A Jug of wine, a loaf of bread, and thou beside me singing in the wilderness.”

The last time I sailed the Mediterranean I didn’t say to my wife at 4 a.m., “Let’s go up on deck to look at the moon, or wait for sunrise… and bring a club and a knife with you—and a metal bar, if you have one handy."

The last time I joined a protest, I was armed with a candle. That, and what feels like a millennium of separating the wheat from the chaff since then, brings me to grapple with the grand flotilla “peace” movement.

The Israelis were mugged. Their commandos may well have turned the wrong cloud at the wrong time, but as misguided, unwarranted, over-the-top or downright foolish as their method may have been, they dropped into a trap. The do-gooders were lying-in-wait for them with open armament. As a shipboard bard might have versified wistfully after the drubbing and retaliatory fire, “A club, a knife, a metal bar, and thou beside me swinging in the wilderness.”

Let’s deal with this summarily. The Israelis blundered, hugely. But the flotilla of 546 “peaceful” activists knew what they were sailing into and what they were inviting by doing so. There’s history!—a three-year blockade; accordance with maritime law; previous flotillas intercepted; and Egypt’s co-existing blockade and independent use of force, lethal and conveniently overlooked.

Anyone desiring to stage a world-wide attention-getting event couldn’t do better. And that’s what the “humanitarians” of the six-ship flotilla wanted. According to a prior statement from their Gaza Freedom March, “A violent response from Israel will breathe new life into the Palestine solidarity movement….”

So, let’s think about this. Why does Israel have to justify inspecting the goods of six ships, or even one, from a foreign country entering its waters and bound for its shores? What country does less? What country today doesn’t have customs officers or the equivalent? What country allows anyone entry without a valid passport? What country in this day and age doesn’t have a responsibility to its citizens to protect them from harm, external or internal? The United States has a Coast Guard. And a Border Patrol. China built a Great Wall to thwart intruders from the north. Imperial Russia chose a wider gauge for its railroad tracks to prevent invasion via rail from Europe.

In 2008, a United Nations provision called for ships belonging to Iran’s state–owned Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, known as Irisl, "to be boarded and inspected at sea or in port if," according to this morning’s New York Times, “there are ‘reasonable grounds to believe’ they are carrying contraband forbidden by Security Council resolutions on Iran.” The Times’ report continues, “In three boardings, two by the United States Navy and one by Israeli commandos, authorities said they had discovered a virtual arms bazaar, including thousands of Katyusha rockets, grenades and mortar shells, believed to be intended for Hezbollah.” A virtual arms bazaar! How much evidence do Israelis, or their even-handed critics, need?

In New York City, a new Jewish Community Center deems it necessary to block its entrance with concrete posts to protect the lives and limbs of all those on its premises. I’ve yet to see a Manhattan church or mosque that has had to resort to such measures—upright reminders, sadly in particular to children attending to learn “Thou shalt love…” by Commandment and social ethics, that they are hated and randomly in danger for being what they are. Try to tell me Jews have no right to protect themselves and their children—and then, that the Israelis have no right to intercept a flotilla that may carry ill to them or to blockade an area that dispatches, by air and land, missiles, mines or suicide bombs of death, disfigurement, dismemberment and destruction.


  1. Ray, this is brilliant and accurate and needed. Your best and most important column yet! Thank you for making this entire horrific happening clear and understandable.

    Your biggest fan,

  2. Standing to applaud.

    alix cohen

  3. Magnificently put, sir. This piece offers something which I have found to be lacking on every news network: humanity.

  4. Ray,
    (please feel free to edit my long-winded commentary as to not distract from your outstanding and poignant account of events)
    With your permission, I would like to add the following:
    Israel wants nothing more than to co-exist peacefully, protecting its own citizens; and, the lives of innocent victims that terrorists use as pawns to destroy Israel.
    Israel could have very easily torpedoed and destroyed that ship killing everyone on board.
    After the Israelis gave several warnings, the Israeli soldiers risked their lives to board the ship and seize any non-humanitarian aid that would have been smuggled in to be used as weapons, including terrorists themselves.
    As videos clearly showed, there were indeed weapons as well as other means to use against Israel. Israeli soldiers were attacked and seriously injured.
    Israel is surrounded by countries that refuse to recognize its right to exist. Israel has every right to prevent terrorists from smuggling in weapons of destruction. Israel supplies the lifeblood to the Palestinians: food, water, electricity, jobs, etc. while the Hamas promises a slice of bread so they can use a roof top and launch missiles at Israel.
    There are many terrifying events events unfolding in the Middle East that involve the total destruction of Israel.

    The U.S. cannot let a political diversion of mis-direction prevent a serious threat from being carried out by the combined efforts of Iran, Syria, and their supporters. This event on the Flotilla is just another excuse to allow Turkey to detach itself from Israeli support. Over the past few years, Turkey has undergone a transformation of leadership and direction. Turkey is vulnerable to become another supporter of these countries that want to destroy Israel.

    In conclusion, the players in the Middle East are moving to coordinate an all-out offensive
    against Israel. The political atmosphere has been growing more toxic regarding Israel.
    These countries are trying desperately to sway the American people from supporting Israel. We, Americans, can not allow them to divert our attention away from their real intent of destroying our only ally of democracy in the Middle East, Israel.

  5. Bravo Monsieur Le Rendard! Bravo!! So supportive is the current administration of Israel, that it's immediate reaction was to send $400 million American dollars in support. Pardon Monsieur! Apparently the $400 million was meant in support of Monsieur Obama's Muslim brethren. How long will American Jews keep making excuses for this enemy of the state of Israel? It is no longer politically expedient to treat this mockery of a the presidency with kid gloves. American Jews (et Le Francais comme moi) had better open their eyes to the fraud in the White House before he destroys not only this country but Israel as well.

    Madame Elsie La Vache