It is by now unequivocally clear, except for those in the deepest trenches of denial, that Israel’s “special relationship” with the United States is deadly in its effects and consequences. The latest raid of the Gaza Freedom Flotilla on May 31st, 2010 left one Unite States aid worker dead, along with another eight Turkish activists aboard the Mavi Marmara. His name was Furkan Dogan, and he was only 19 years old (he also loved chess, and wanted to become a doctor in his adulthood). Despite being an American citizen (Furkan was a dual citizen, with Turkish citizenship as well), Barack Obama has not condemned the deadly raid.
Take sometime to think about that. Let it sink in for a little bit: what country, no matter how rotten or out of touch, does not get angry when their own national is executed with a bullet in his chest, and four in his head–all at close range? My God, even Cameron from the UK has condemned Israel’s actions, and asked for a lifting of the brutal, three year seige of Gaza. If the raid had been carried out by any other country, the coverage would have been different, the reactions would have been outrageous, and FOX or CNN or some other propagandistic outlet would be beating the drums of war against the perpetrators. But not this time. Israel, unlike any other country, enjoys full immunity from the most powerful country in the world, which provides it with all the diplomatic support it needs in the UN to go along with billions in economic and military aid.
Moreover, it is more and more apparent that Israel is becoming a liability for the United States diplomatically and geopolitically. Turkey’s anger at Israel, as expressed by Turkey’s Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogen, may have serious consequences for the United States. The US is still courting Turkey’s support for the new round of sanctions on Iran, while also pressing Turkey (as a NATO member) to increase its troop levels in Afghanistan. Turkey also acts as a facilitator/conduit for around 70% of the US’s weaponry for the war effort in Iraq. [May I also add here that it would not be 100% consistent or wise to give Erdogen or the Turkish government all the praise here, for the reasons I just mentioned. Also, it is Turkish and global civil society that deserves all the praise in this case.]
Despite still dealing arms with Israel, Turkey has pulled out its ambassador, and has cancelled (for now) a joint research program with Israel on issues of energy. Tension is definitely at an all-time-high between the two countries, putting the United States in an awkward position. Not to mention, it is exactly this type of murderousness and blood-thirstiness that induces a high recruitment rate for terrorist organizations around the world.
It is also absolutely unequivocal that Israel’s blockade of the Gaza Strip is 100% illegal according to the Geneva Conventions, and that Israel systematically blocks aid coming into Gaza and its densely packed 1.5 million residents. What meager aid that Israel does truck into the Strip, according to the UN, is not even enough to feed a quarter of Gaza’s starving residents.
Where will the United States go from here? Some say that “here” is so low that up is the only way possible; I say it’s up to global civil society to decide (advocacy, BDS, education, etc). The US coverage of the flotilla murders is nothing short of atrocious, and the Israel Lobby is still strong. As a new aids ship, the Rachel Corrie, sails across the ocean for Gaza, Israeli PM Netanyahu has again vowed to stop its delivery.
Israel has not only successfully transformed itself into an apartheid state, but also into a state of insane conduct in the face of the global community. With America’s patronage, it has gotten to the the point where its excuses are laughable to the fifth grader.
But one thing is clear. Whatever reputation Israel loses in the eyes of the world after this raid, the sacrifices made by those who were brutally murdered would have played an incredible part in. It literally took martyrdom for some in the world to notice, but it is of utmost importance and urgency that such martyrdom and sacrifice not pass in vain.