(FinalCall.com) – Imagine ships loaded with wheelchairs, crutches and other humanitarian aid head toward Iran when Iranian commandos drop down from helicopters and take control. Fights ensue, early estimates say at least nine people are dead. Activists wanted to support Iran’s reform movement and say their main ship and smaller boats were attacked in international waters and Europeans and Americans–including members of Parliament and Congress onboard–were detained by the Iranians.
Now imagine the same scenario with the flotilla headed to South Korea when the North Korean military executes the same maneuvers.
Now substitute Israel and its blockade of Gaza in the above scenario and what changes? Plenty, at least inside the United States. Soon after the actual May 31 Israeli commando raid of peaceful vessels in international waters headed to Gaza, the Obama administration issued a statement expressing sorrow about the tragedy and saying more information was needed. The lukewarm U.S. position stands in stark contrast to Secretary of State Hilary Clinton’s recent declaration that the international community must move against North Korea for the socialist country’s reported sinking of a South Vietnamese ship.
But Israel’s attack on the seven vessel flotilla, which was trying to deliver needed materials to suffering Palestinians, hasn’t drawn and likely won’t draw a strong rebuke from Washington.
Though the United Nations, Turkey, several Arab states, Spain and France were among bodies and nations that made strong statements of condemnation or concern, the U.S. statement was as usual a weak one. Italy has asked the European Union to probe the incident while Greece and Sweden were among countries that summoned their Israeli ambassadors for explanations.
Meanwhile TV networks, like CNN, used measured words and prefaced nearly every report with talk of the need for context and hearing both sides. It would be great if such “fair and balanced” and nuanced reporting was part of every broadcast and every story. But somehow when it comes to Israel, whether it is the U.S. Congress or the American media, words are carefully chosen and the Israeli view is clearly articulated.
Besides the immoral and inhumane blockade of Gaza by Israel which has led to loss of life and the near decimation of the Palestinian people, every aggressive and illegal move made by Israel bodes ill for the United States. This country marches in such lock step with the Zionist state–with political leaders gagged and handcuffed to her powerful lobby–that Israel can do almost anything and the U.S. will stand beside her.
But standing with Israel right or wrong comes at a major cost. In addition to the lost lives and bitter seeds planted in the hearts of Palestinians, it costs the U.S. billions of dollars in aid and has helped guide America into wars in Iraq and Afghanistan–and a war of words with Iran. In Iraq, in particular, the problem wasn’t weapons of mass destruction but Iraqi proximity to Israel. Iran, which supports the Hamas liberation movement in Gaza, is also targeted because of her refusal to kow tow to accept the Jewish state and a refusal to ignore problems Israel has brought to the region.
This latest disaster has threatened Israeli relations with Turkey, its sole Muslim partner. Many Turkish nationals were killed in the commando raid, and while some Arab and Muslim states may be a little less vocal than others, the anger of the masses upset by Israel’s frequent violations of international law and human rights is white hot. Protests broke out in “secular” Turkey and in Afghanistan as well as in London and other places.
As long as America’s policy remains “we side with Israel right or wrong,” instead of legitimate, even-handed arbitration in the interest of justice and peace, every Israeli violation and provocation is seen as tied to the United States. This linkage makes America, American interests and American servicemen targets in what many see as an unjust war on Palestinians and Muslims. But it is a war the U.S. and Israel cannot win, and both would be better served by acting in the interests of peace. This refusal to stand and do what is right only brings more hatred, more strife, more tragedy and a greater cost in American treasure and lives. It’s been over 40 years now and Israel has not known peace. Isn’t it about time to try something different?