This post was prompted by the recent flotilla bullshit in Israel. Before this incident, I thought a flotilla was something that came with rice, beans, sour cream, and guacamole. Please watch these videos first for what I deem some much-needed perspective, and then I'll explain my thoughts in more depth:
Let me begin by saying that I am often a self-loathing Jew. As a whole, the Jewish people do not do ourselves many favors in the way of PR. From Madoff, to organ-thieving rabbis in New Jersey, to the Orthodox in minivans driving worse than Short Round in The Temple of Doom, sometimes the wrath we incur is of our own doing.
And regarding Israel, I fully acknowledge that Israel has made many mistakes with its handling of the Palestinian situation, one of the most infuriating of which was razing perfectly functional infrastructure that was on the land that Israel returned to the Palestinians a few years back, right before returning it. I, like the overwhelming majority of Israelis, want a two-state solution. I'm saying all this to provide context, and to make it clear that when I get pissed about the biased coverage, that means it's getting pretty ridiculous.
Bill Maher accurately provided some important perspective: the land in which the Palestinians in question reside, is land that was taken by Israel in 1967 as a direct result of Israel being attacked by the surrounding Arab nations that wished to wipe the Jews in Israel off the face of the Earth. Maher also explained that when Israel recently returned this land, taken after a direct attack, and gave the Palestinians the autonomy to elect their own leaders, which is a right they certainly should have, the Palestinians elected Hamas, a group that openly strives for the destruction of Israel. So given this context, how can Israel possibly allow ANY shipments, peace mission or not, to come into Gaza without first inspecting them?! No one's saying don't let Gaza receive much-needed aid, but to allow deliveries to freely enter Gaza is absurd by any standards. Neutral U.N. officials should oversee the inspections if people are actually concerned with Israel stealing goods meant for the Palestinians, but the passengers on board these ships don't get a free pass just because they claim to be on a peace mission. Israel, since its inception, has had its civilians murdered by Hamas-backed attackers pretending to be peaceful bystanders.
With specific regard to the flotilla incident, I don't know exactly what happened on the ship, so I can't speak definitively either way about the actions of the Israeli soldiers who boarded it. It seems that they used excessive force, especially if all the passengers were, indeed, on a peace mission, and if that proves to be the case, then it's fucked up. No doubt. Those soldiers should be punished. But bottom line, the amount of international outrage resulting from this incident is so clearly disproportionate to the level of wrongdoing, that it becomes difficult to deny that it reflects some specifically targeted hatred of Israel and/or Jews.
Let's be honest here, what empire throughout history was not built on the backs and blood of others? God knows we did that here in America. Israel can hardly be called an empire, of course; it's a tiny sliver of land sandwiched between the sea and much-larger countries that pray for its destruction. But Israel wasn't built on the blood of others; it was built on the blood of its own people, six million of them, to be more specific. There were already Jews (and Arabs, for sure) in the land that is now Israel before the influx of Eastern European Jewry in the immediate wake of the Holocaust that nearly wiped them out (my grandparents included). There are plenty of Christian countries, there are plenty of Muslim countries, and, essentially as an apology from the world, tiny Israel was given as a Jewish state, where the survivors whose families were obliterated could feel safe. (Personally, I'd be just fine with zero religious states, but in the interest of fairness...) Side note: Great Britain did a masterful job of stepping out of what they knew would be a messy situation and keeping their hands clean. Bravo, chaps!
Israel has been relentlessly attacked throughout its short history, yet still remains the lone beacon of free, Western civilization in that entire region of the world. If the world wants to criticize Israel for its transgressions, I'm all for that; no one is above reproach, and everyone should be held accountable for his/her actions. But please maintain perspective when doing so, because the current level of overreaction looks an awful lot like antisemitism, and that is not something we should be comfortable with...