Posted in Rants on June 7th, 2010 by Ed

Three related things about Israel and the Gaza blockade.

1. From The Economist:

I'm not sure it could be more painfully obvious that the sole purpose of this blockade is to be senselessly obstructionist – in essence, to fuck with people in Gaza and manufacture an excuse to slow the flow of supplies to a trickle. If there's a valid military or strategic purpose to more than a fraction of the stuff that is "banned" (by a country that totally isn't an occupying power, it just controls the borders and everything that passes through them) I'd be shocked. But what could be more pointless than trying to derive logic from Israeli foreign policy. Banning an item appears to require no more than a fertile imagination, raging paranoia, and balls the size of geodesic domes – see David Frum's matter-of-fact explanation of how concrete is banned because it "could be used to build bunkers." And food could be used to feed terrorists, so you should probably ban that too. I have a future in Israeli politics.

In any case, if there was any real strategic purpose to this blockade they wouldn't have goddamn fertilizer – star of such homemade explosive hits as The Oklahoma City Bombing and the first World Trade Center attack – on the Permitted list.

2. Not to get all stuff-you-don't-care-about on the average ginandtacos reader, but let's briefly scratch our heads at the blockade idea from a strategic perspective. Israel has one of the largest, most active, and most expensive militaries on the planet, but one thing they don't have is much of a navy. It would not be out of line to say that their navy is pretty pathetic. Their air force may be laden with 4th-generation fighter planes and their ground forces may be among the most formidable (esp. their mechanized infantry) but their navy is basically a bunch of lightweight patrol boats and three corvettes. This is about the lamest navy that has ever attempted to blockade something larger than a retention pond. If a real warship from a real navy sailed with a future "flotilla" heading to Gaza there wouldn't appear to be a whole hell of a lot that Israel could do about it except sink it (presumably from the air). Sinking a ship with a European, Russian, or Chinese flag would require a level of stupid that even the Israeli far-right can't reach. So this scenario merits a lot of attention if/when it happens. What are they going to do if confronted by a real vessel?

3. I am starting to understand why the pro-Israel lobby gets along so famously with neocons. Listen to Jennifer Rubin:

There is a single question that every individual, group, and nation must answer. To borrow from the most pro-Israel president since Harry Truman: if you are not with Israel, you are against her. And if you do not oppose with every fiber of your being and every instrument at your disposal that which intends the Jewish state harm, you are enabling her destroyers.

And what's more, if you don't send a monthly donation to AIPAC you personally murdered a dozen Jews in Buchenwald.

I struggle to recall a more fascist opinion expressed in print recently without resorting to links to fringe websites. This passes as not only mainstream opinion but a fairly widely held one – the kind of thing one can express at a cocktail party without being thought a tinfoil-hatted extremist or a potential truck bomber.

Oh, Israel. You're going to be entertaining for the next few months, aren't you?