Is Israel a Terrorist State?
Earlier today, the Associated Press announced the names of the nine activists from the Free Gaza flotilla that were killed by Israeli soldiers on Monday. The names of the dead activists were not revealed until their bodies arrived back in Turkey. For four days the Israeli government withheld the names of the killed and wounded. Imagine the torment the families of the nearly 700 captive activists have had to deal with. Once again, the Israelis have shown little to no regard for human life.
Don’t get me wrong, before anyone calls me an anti-Semite, I’m all for Israel’s right to exist. I have no problems with Jews. In fact, I’ve been living with and supporting my Jewish girlfriend for the last five years. I love my Jewish friends and family and they seem to love me. I have also had the privilege to work with and befriend several Muslims. And I love them equally. I have talked openly and honestly about politics and religion with my Jewish and Muslim friends and none of them have had a problem with the fact that I am non-religious and am ideologically liberal.
As a lifelong human rights activist, I have been speaking out against Palestinian and Israeli violence and have been careful to lay the blame at the feet of both parties. Congruently, I speak out against the ideology of exceptionalism. It is exceptionalism that has kept the U.S. government half blindly supporting Israel. As blind as the American student who lost her eye two days ago by an Israeli police officer. Like the American activist killed on the flotilla, Emily Henochowicz was shot at a fairly close range.
Internationally, the condemnation of Israel assault on the flotilla has been universal. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon openly criticized that attack on the activists and called for an end to the Israeli imposed blockade of Gaza. International law scholars have called Israel’s actions piracy, kidnapping, murder, and state sponsored terrorism.
Israel has claimed that assault on the unarmed flotilla was an act of self defense. They assert that if the flotilla was not up to no good, they would have let the Israeli security forces inspect and deliver the humanitarian aid to Gaza. Of course, items like concrete and other construction material Israel does not allow into Gaza. Israel also claims that their soldiers killed the activists in self defense. They also claimed the flotilla had rockets, knives, and weapons onboard. So far, only knives from the dining room have been confirmed.
In contrast, the activist and their supporters have claimed that they were defending themselves from attacker out to brutalize and kill them. Even though Israel confiscated all of the electronic equipment from the flotilla, and has not returned most of it, there is enough evidence to prove Israel stormed the ships just before dawn. They began shooting stun grenades, quickly boarded most of the vessels and began assaulting the passengers. Several of the boats resisted that Israeli attack with water-canons and passive resistance. However, the activists, on the main ship the Mavi Marmara, began to fear for their lives and fought back.They used broken chairs, sticks as clubs, and perhaps some dinnerware knifes.
In the end of Monday's the assault on the flotilla, nine activists were killed. Worldwide protests erupted, including in Israel, where 21 year old American Emily Henochowicz lost her eye. Today we learn one of the murdered activists was American Furkan Dugan. The other eight killed were Turkish. As an anti-exceptionalist, when it comes to nationality, all the activists are equal. Or, as my Christian friends and family like to say, "All are equal in the eyes of the Lord." And so, with all due respect, here are the names of the eight other activists. The names that will most certainly be ignored by the "lame stream media," as Sarah Palin likes to say. The names of the eight others activists killed while attempting to provide humanitarian aid to Gaza, by the Israelis:
Ibrahim Bilgen - Siirt, Ali Haydar Bengi - Diyarbakir, Cevdet Kiliçlar - Istanbul, Çetin Topçuoilu - Adana, Necdet Yildirim - Malatya, Fahri Yaldiz - Adiyaman, Cengiz Songür - Izmir and Cengiz Akyüz - Hatay.
Is Israel a terrorist state? Does Israel terrorize civilians who try to come to the aid of the victims of war and collective punishment? Does Israel engage in piracy, kidnapping, murder, and state sponsored terrorism? These are the questions more and more Americans are beginning to ask. The question I keep asking is, what does the U.S gain by keeping a blind eye to Israel’s blatant and brutal human rights violations? Personally, I can’t see any benefit in America's blatant Israeli exceptionalism?
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.