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Ships Of Fools, Part I

(Note: This is the first of a series on Hamas and the "activist" "relief" ships. I have no idea how long it will take me to say all I have to say.)

The Muslim world believes it has hit upon a new tactic in their ongoing war to destroy Israel, one they think might finally work. And it's getting closer to the one tactic I think might actually work: the non-violent resistance and confrontation tactics that worked for the civil rights movement in the United States, and the Indians who followed Gandhi. It's the one strategy that has been proven to work against a democracy that holds superior power.

Naturally, this being the Muslim world, they're screwing it up. There are plenty of reasons, but the most fundamental one is the psychological incompatibility of Islam with the mindset behind civil disobedience.

In order to be successful, civil disobedience requires many things. The first is an opposition democratic government that holds itself as morally superior, and concerned about its reputation in that area among its own citizens. That was true in the United States in the 1960's, in the United Kingdom in the 1940's, and it is true of Israel today. So that's covered.

The demands upon the anti-government forces, however, are exceptionally stringent. They must be completely committed to the non-violent approach, to the point of ignoring all forms of provocation and assault. They must be willing to suffer tremendous humiliations, indignities, and punishments without their dedication to non-violence wavering.

And that is utterly incompatible with the Muslim mindset. Because, at its core, Islam is a culture based on pride and shame. It is deeply concerned with its "honor," and demands that its followers take action -- violent action -- if their honor is impugned or if shame is brought upon them.

And the tactics of non-violence are built upon accepting shame and humiliation and insults and disrespect, upon bearing up under them, of taking them in stride, in not striking back against those casting the insults.

Here's a perfect example: the word "martyr." In the West, we even have a term called "martyr complex" that refers to someone who actually wants to be a victim, and collect sympathy for their suffering. But in the Islamic world, a "martyr" is someone who seeks to kill their supposed enemies at the cost of their own lives.

In brief, to the West, a martyr is someone who suffers or dies for the martyr's beliefs. In Islam, a martyr is someone who dies while killing others for the martyr's beliefs.

The "relief ships" and the "peace activists" are getting close to this practice, but they -- naturally -- have to put their own spin on it. What they are doing is militant pacifism, violent civil disobedience, forceful nonresistance.

And they are incapable of seeing the fundamental paradox in that.

They stock ships up with "relief supplies" -- including such essentials as expired medicines, heavily-used wheelchairs, and the like -- and set sail for Gaza, announcing their intention of running the Israeli blockade. They reject compromises, such as having the supplies unloaded in an Israeli port and turned over to the International Red Cross for transportation (after being inspected for contraband). When legally boarded, they mob and attempt to kill the Israeli soldiers. And when the cargo is taken to an Israeli port and transported to Gaza, they reject it at the border crossings.

Then they follow it up with declarations of more blockade-running, their peaceful intent to be reinforced, it appears, by Iranian warships. The Iranian Red Crescent (the Muslim affiliate of the Red Cross) is at the heart of it, and apparently sees no problem in accepting the use of threats of force to deliver their "humanitarian" aid.

The rejection of the compromise, coupled with the rejection of the actual supplies, reveals the true intent of the "peace activists." It isn't about getting humanitarian supplies into Gaza; there's absolutely no shortages of such things. No, what the whole thing is about is ending the Israeli blockade so more weapons can flow into Gaza -- weapons that will be used to further Hamas' goal of the destruction of Israel.

Sadly, this just might have some success. One of the keys to Israel's survival over the years has been American support -- military, financial, and political. But now we have the least Israel-friendly administration in history, one that seems eager to give Israel the back of its hand while kowtowing to the avowed enemies of Western democracy. Oh, they won't say such openly, but the actions of the Obama regime speak much louder than their empty words.

One of the unspoken truths of history is that American support for Israel has headed off countless wars, as Israel's enemies have looked at the United States' willingness to help Israel and decided that it wasn't worth the risk of incurring our wrath. Now, though, that stabilizing factor is considerably weakened, and those nations and quasi-nations are feeling emboldened. Not only is the American commitment to defending Israel significantly more questionable, so is the American resolve to act on its own interests.

That is a tremendously dangerous situation. When America is perceived as strong, other nations feeling aggressive tend to tread lightly. When America is seen as weak, the aggressors feel empowered and take risks they would not at other times.

Risks like sinking a South Korean warship. Risks like sending warships into the Mediterranean to confront Israeli warships. Risks like pursuing nuclear weapons.

So, on top of everything else, the Muslim world has another reason to less than fully adopt the non-violent approach they find so repugnant: they don't have to. All they have to do is put on a few of the airs of the movement, and their "useful idiots" will carry the water for them. They don't have to give up their pride, their need to express themselves violently -- they can count on others to downplay that aspect and talk mainly about the shallow similarities to the civil rights movements. And it will work.

Right up until it doesn't.

And the bloodbath that will follow will be horrific.


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Comments (23)

With Capt Barrack AHAB OBAM... (Below threshold)
retired military:

With Capt Barrack AHAB OBAMA at the helm with first mate Helen Thomas.

Boiled down, the whole situ... (Below threshold)

Boiled down, the whole situation is ridiculous. Israel has a perfectly legal right to inspect these ships for her well being. Everyone accepted this (well, except for the Palestinians) without making a lot of noise. Now that they have openly defied the blockade, there's a whole slew of people who are, in essence, saying, "They don't want to abide by this anymore so you have to stop it," without regard to its legality or Israel's security.

Two TRUTHS:(1) if ... (Below threshold)


(1) if tomorrow every Arab nation was suddenly disarmed, there would be peace in the region...and Israel would NOT attempt to wipe them out. FACT.

(2) if tomorrow Israel was suddenly disarmed, the Arab nations would fall upon Israel and finish the job the Nazis started. FACT.

Jay Tea, this is an insight... (Below threshold)
Edward Sisson:

Jay Tea, this is an insightful and excellent analysis.

The entry of Turkey into this conflict is very significant -- it is the first new open national ally that the proponents of violence have obtained since 1948 -- in 62 years. This has happened for two major reasons, the loss of the Russian "stick" and of the European "carrot":
(1) the weakness of Russia means that the Russian threat to Turkey, which is historical and based in geography (the Russian desire for warm-water ports) is the lowest it has been in about 150 years. Thus Turkey no longer feels the need to have a strong alliance with the US. This first manifested itself in the Iraq war when Turkey prevented transit of our planned northern invasion army. Russia no longer threatens Turkey with its "stick."
(2) the rejection by the European Union of Turkey as a member. Turkey has been trying for many years to become a member, and Europe has always dallied and then said no. I do not say whether Europe had or had not good reasons for this; but it has become obvious that it will not allow Turkey in, for a good many years to come. This is the loss of the European "carrot."

There is a third, more minor (at least I think more minor) reason, the loss of another "stick":
(3) Greece has for centuries (ever since the Byzantine Empire) been the historic enemy of Turkey. But Greece today is very weak, wracked as it is by its debt crisis and the evident refusal of Germany, France, et al., to help Greece out of it. This is the loss of the Greek "stick."

The Obama Administration's anti-Jewish (and I do mean anti-Jewish, not just anti-Israel) words and policies (I would like to see President Obama bow to the Prime Minister of Israel to balance-out his bow to the King of Saudi Arabia) has given the religiously-oriented government of Turkey the opening that has released it to pursue openly a state anti-Israel policy. Had the Obama opening not been given, Turkey would not have acted, despite all the other changes (items 1, 2, and 3 above) that made it easier for Turkey to act.

I have been following the Israel-Palestine issue since 1974 when as a student at Pomona College, I participated in the "Model United Nations - Far West" program. In 1973 the PLO had made a big push to be admitted to the UN as a member state, and the organizers of the Model UN Far West decided that to reflect this, a college participating in the Model UN Far West would be asked to "represent" the PLO. Pomona was the college chosen, and I volunteered to be a member of the PLO delegation, and was assigned as the PLO representative on the Special Committee for Refugees. It was in this context that I undertook to research the political and sociological and legal and religious history of this dispute.

In my opinion we are now on the verge of the most dangerous threat of war in that region since 1948. Turkey's open entry, combined with the development of nuclear weapons by Iran and with Iran under a violence-oriented government as it is, present a far greater threat than ever before, even if Egypt sits on the sidelines -- and it probably will not just sit, as things heat up.

If war happens, it will be disastrous not only for the world's Jews, but also for the world's Muslims, because it will trigger the entire billion-plus worldwide population of Muslims to take an open religious stand in favor of armed conquest of territory (the land now governed by Israel) and thus cement in the eyes of all non-Muslims of the world that Islam, as a religion, believes in the use of government military power to impose religious power. The non-Muslim world, all over the world, will react against that in a very pronounced way, which will make it very difficult for adherents of the Muslim faith to persuade non-Muslims to adopt their religion.

"one tactic I think migh... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"one tactic I think might actually work: the non-violent resistance and confrontation tactics that worked for the civil rights movement in the United States, and the Indians who followed Gandhi"

Of course the enormous difference and the reason it won't "actually work" is because the primary object of the US civil rights movement and of the Idians who followed Gandhi WAS NOT genocide. That is the primary objective of the Islamic terrorists who govern Gaza and are supported by the "Muslim world", the U.N., the Obama administration/MSM, and most of the left.

That is why the non-violent resistance confrontation tactics (that are in fact not at all non-voilent no matter how much the press wants to lie about it) will not work. The goal of the US civil rights movement and the Indian civil rights movement was equal justice-- a just and noble cause. The goal of the "Muslim world" is genocide -- and evil cause.

The democratic governments of the US and England were not destroyed or even harmed by granting the wishes of the protesters whereas were the Isralies to grant the wishes of the Muslim "protesters" they would be committing suicide.

"It behooves the Jews and t... (Below threshold)
James H:

"It behooves the Jews and the Arabs to settle their dispute in a Christian manner."

-- Best Little Whorehouse in Texas

Fine, insightful post.... (Below threshold)
gary gulrud:

Fine, insightful post.

RE: Muslims screwing it up. Turkey not long ago arrested a group of "conspirators" in openly secularist military. Let's see what happens when Turkey loses a warship to an 'Exocet'. With Iran in the mix this could mean a devolution inot the old Ottoman/Sassanid battles that raged for a millenium.

"...(the Russian desire ... (Below threshold)

"...(the Russian desire for warm-water ports)..."

This is essentially the conversation my husband and I had the other day. Many wars are fought because the aggressor wants waterfront property.

"...(the Russian desire ... (Below threshold)
P. Bunyan:

"...(the Russian desire for warm-water ports)..."

Don't they listen to Algore? In a few years everybody will have multiple warm water ports. Another problem solved by "global climate change".

Jay, you have missed the wh... (Below threshold)
Steve Crickmore:

Jay, you have missed the whole point of what is going on in Gaza. Your premise that the blockade is only a nuisance to the civilans of Gaza is not buttressed by facts. Israel is literally trying to starve out Gaza. See Amnesty report on what they are trying to prevent.

Sink the "terror flotilla"... (Below threshold)

Sink the "terror flotilla". And if Helen trys to run the blockade. "sink the goatilla".

Steve:Your "starve... (Below threshold)
James H:


Your "starve" link is more than a year old, and the headline is a punnish reference to macaroni going into Gaza. I find it out of date and therefore noncredible.

Your Amnesty link is somewhat more persuasive. However, Amnesty does not adequately address the situation between Israel and Hamas, Gaza's de facto government. Amnesty offers pro forma condemnations of rockets from Gaza going into Israeli territory, but accuses Israel of engaging in "collective punishment" of Gaza for the deeds of a few.

This depiction deliberately ignores the reality of international diplomacy. Qassam rockets were fired into Israel with the approval, either tacit or explicit, of Hamas. Hamas, in turn, is the legitimately, duly elected government of the Gaza Strip. And Hamas has not resolved the issue of Qassam rockets satisfactorily.

When two governments cannot resolve such conflicts diplomatically, they resort to war. Make no mistake, the situation in Gaza is a war. A low-grade war, but a war all the same. And in a war, tragically, the civilian populace suffers. A form of collective punishment? Yes, but no different than punishment inflicted though any war in which a government refuses to accede to another. Tragic? Yes. Shameful? Yes. But not unique.

To address the situation, Amnesty calls on Israel to meet its obligations as an occupying power. But this argument is misplaced.

Admittedly, I do not know international law well. But it strikes me that a victorious state only becomes and occupying power (and takes on the attendant obligations) when its opponent has either surrendered officially or when the opponent government has collapsed.

In this case, neither has happened. And so the state of war exists ... and the blockade continues.

Make no mistake. One can argue regarding the wisdom of Israel's policy toward Gaza. One can criticize Israeli settlements. One can criticize Israel's execution of its blockade.

But all of this ignores one sure, legitimate path that would ease the Gazan people's suffering: Hamas could surrender to Israel and make amends for the Qassam rockets. But, somehow, I doubt this will happen.

I continue to wonder that t... (Below threshold)
James H:

I continue to wonder that the Palestinians don't take the guaranteed, sure route to victory:

1) End the intifadah and accept Israeli sovereignty over the occupied territories.

2) Demand citizenship in the state of Israel and equal rights under Israeli law.

3) Vote and run for seats in the Knesset.

I guarantee that within two generations, ethnic Palestinians would gain de facto control of Israeli government via the ballot box.

Sorry to triple-post, but h... (Below threshold)
James H:

Sorry to triple-post, but here's a final nugget, and one that's a real head-scratcher for anybody trying to make sense of the Middle East.

In an op-ed in the New York Times, former Reagan adviser Richard Allen recounts the US response to Israel bombing Iraq's Osirak nuclear reactor in the 1980s. Thie line jumped out at me:

The vigorous discussion provided some surprises, including the opinions presented by Vice President George H. W. Bush; the chief of staff, James Baker; and the president's omnipresent aide, Michael Deaver. They argued strongly for punitive actions against Israel, including taking back aircraft and delaying or canceling scheduled deliveries. There also came the unexpected news that several important Middle East countries, while publicly professing outrage and dismay, were privately pleased. (emphasis added)

Think about that for a moment.

Steve, McClatchy and AI? R... (Below threshold)

Steve, McClatchy and AI? Really?

Jay Tea:Before you... (Below threshold)
James H:

Jay Tea:

Before you go too far into part II, look into this guy. I'm not going to comment on his use of settlement boycotts, but it looks like he's trying to do precisely what the Palestinians need: Build trustworthy institutions and run his country. Remain carefully neutral on the question of Israel and the build your country to the point where it needs to be taken seriously as a nation-state, not just as a rump political movement.

# 14,Of course they ... (Below threshold)

# 14,
Of course they were pleased. A nuclear Saddam was avoided and they got to condemn those pesky jews. To Iraq's neighbors it was a win-win.

If war happens, it... (Below threshold)
Mac Lorry:
If war happens, it will be disastrous not only for the world's Jews, but also for the world's Muslims, because it will trigger the entire billion-plus worldwide population of Muslims to take an open religious stand in favor of armed conquest of territory (the land now governed by Israel). . .

That's one scenario. Another is that when Iran and Israel go to war the world will discover that Israel is far more advanced in nuclear weapons than even Russia and the U.S. Iran will cease to exist as a power in the world and Islamic nations that have peace treaties with Israel will be glad they chose that path. With the main Islamic antagonist severally wounded Israel will finally have peace with its neighbors. That doesn't mean Islam won't rise up again to threaten Israel, but there will be an interlude just as there was after the Crusades.

As long as we're speculating about future events I figured I'd put mine out there.

In response to James H and ... (Below threshold)

In response to James H and a guaranteed path to Palestinian victory: the Israelis ought to instead give Arab Israelis permanent residence in Israel and voting rights in Palestinian elections. Then lest see what happens.

"... one tactic ... might .... (Below threshold)

"... one tactic ... might ... work: the non-violent resistance and confrontation tactics that worked for the .... Indians who followed Gandhi."

Followed him, please note, against the World Champion Appeasers of All Time, the British. (Who quit, packed up -- and, despite that their concluding screw-up cost around a million Indians their lives, went home)

Not against the Soviet Union and not against China's Peking-based predators.

And not against the Israelis.

Why is that non-Muslim insi... (Below threshold)

Why is that non-Muslim insist on projecting the tenets of their politics and religion to the Muslim adherents? IMO this is the most dangerous aspect of the Muslim threat- the ignorance of the western world.

Churches are places where love of fellow man is preached, and are considered sanctuaries. They are supposed to be places of safety and we have separated them from the political process as best we can. Truth, honesty, love of fellow man, and tolerance is taught.

Mosques are training academies for hate of non-muslim, justification of hate, lying, the killing and torture of non-believers. They shelter the radical terrorists in the belief that westerners will not target them (and, stupidly we do not). The mosques are used for storage of arms, ammunition, explosives etc. This is a "religion" dedicated to the complete domination of the entire world. If you are not a muslim, you are not considered even human, so it is perfectably acceptable for them to do whatever, say whatever they desire to a nonmuslim because Mohammed says its ok, we are infidels.
The political leaders of Muslim countries are NOT the leaders of their countries. While they may present the "official" responses to the public, the ayatollahs are the power behind the thrones. No political leader in a muslim country would dare make a decision of action or nonaction without the full support of the RELIGIOUS LEADERS. These are not politically run governments,they are run by RELIGION dedicated to FORCING THAT RELIGION DOWN OUR THROATS.
Will we ever wake up?

ol:That's a broad ... (Below threshold)
James H:


That's a broad brush you're wielding there. Would you include Shaikh Muhammad Tahir-ul-Qadri among their number? From the same article:

Thousands of clerics have spoken out against terror since 9/11, but Qadri, a highly respected, Pakistan-born scholar with hundreds of books to his name and millions of followers everywhere from Syria to Fiji, has issued a fatwa that just might have traction. Quilliam, the U.K.-based antiextremist think tank, declared it a "highly significant step towards eradicating Islamist terrorism."

Or perhaps Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani is covered by your screed? You know ... the prominent Iraqi cleric who counseled his fellow Shiites to become part of the new Iraqi government?

I don't argue that every mosque or every cleric is a beacon of hope and light and love. But you're tarring some good people with a very dirty brush.

And that is utter... (Below threshold)
And that is utterly incompatible with the Muslim mindset. Because, at its core, Islam is a culture based on pride and shame. It is deeply concerned with its "honor," and demands that its followers take action -- violent action -- if their honor is impugned or if shame is brought upon them.

There is some cultural truth to this, however, history belies the notion that Muslims can't do the civil disobedience thing.

You mentioned Ghandi. India, under British colonial rule, was a combination of modern India AND Pakistan. Many many many of Gandhi's followers were Muslims.






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