Friday, June 04, 2010


USS Liberty attack showed that the US will let Israel get away with anything

Prolific emailer Viviane Lerner selected this pull quote to start one of her emails today. I’m going to follow her lead and do the same.

Yet, the strength of international law is only as powerful as major world powers allow. As investigative reporter and human rights activist Allan Nairn said, “The problem is not just one of stopping Israel's crimes, but of stopping Washington from authorizing them and exporting worldwide a U.S. version of 'rule of law' that legalizes official killings of civilians.”

“In this attack on the civilian aid ship,” Nairn said, “Israel is not violating U.S. doctrine; Israel is implementing it. This is what the U.S. would have done, and what the U.S. does every day in places like Afghanistan and Iraq and Pakistan directly, and indirectly in dozens of other countries, where it backs armies and paramilitaries that use these procedures.”

by Larry Geller

That clip was from the Consortium News story, Gaza Boat Activists Deny Israeli Story (6/4/2010). There is much more meat in it. I could snip so much… but here is a little more:

The additional fact that Israel has an estimated 200 or more nuclear warheads worries author Norman Finkelstein.

“If this is the kind of decision-making that they make after a week of intensive deliberation against a humanitarian convoy, to launch an armed commando raid in the dead of night in international waters, then what kind of action  may they take in the midst of a full-fledged war, with missiles flying toward Tel Aviv, is very scary.

“I honestly don't believe that people are giving serious consideration to the fact that things are rapidly getting out of control.”

Please read the entire article. Ok, one more snip:

Arraf and the peace activists who were on Challenger 1 were beaten, tasered, hand-cuffed and locked in a room. They were also threatened with a muzzled guard dog and were searched to remove any telephones and cameras.

For Arraf, the harsh treatment didn't end with the violent seizure of the boat. The fact that she was an organizer with dual U.S.-Israeli citizenship made her an interesting target for multiple interrogations. After refusing to answer questions without legal or consul representation, she ended up being one of the first to be released.

The interrogators “forced me into a police van, literally, by pulling me up by my hair and my hands and feet and beating me,” she said. “They drove me out of the port, stopped the car at some point — I’m not sure where because I was a little bit disoriented after being punched in the face and the jaw — and then they just opened the door and threw me out of the van.”

These are our allies, remember. And yes, they implement US policies, they behave just like we do.

I was going through the New York Times archives for a story about the deadly Israeli attack on the USS Liberty, a US Navy ship, in 1967, but didn’t complete my article. Meanwhile, Democracy Now put together a segment for today’s show which is much better than anything I could have done anyway. Please see 43 Years After Surviving Israeli Attack on USS Liberty, US Veteran Joe Meadors Seized by Israeli Forces on Gaza Aid Flotilla (6/4/2010). Their website has a transcript as well as video and audio. Thirty-four Americans were killed and more than 170 were wounded in the attack on the Liberty.

For anyone who expects the US to actually take any action against Israel for the flotilla attack, here’s a snippet from the linked segment:

George Ball, the brilliant and courageous Undersecretary of State at the time of the '67 war, wrote about the attack on the Liberty subsequently. He said, "The ultimate lesson of the Liberty attack" was that it "had far more effect on policy in Israel than in America. Israel's leaders concluded that nothing they might do would offend the Americans to the point of reprisal. If America’s leaders did not have the courage to punish Israel for the blatant murder of American citizens, it seemed clear that their American friends would let them get away with almost anything."

And that’s what’s happening today, folks.


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