Evidently, the Israelis and Americans (and the French and Germans?) have succeeded in pressuring the failing Greek government into preventing the flotilla from sailing. As Medea Benjamin pointed out earlier, this likely has a lot to do with Greece’s sovereign debt crisis.
While many of us feel angry, it’s probably best not to direct our anger at the Greek government. After all, here is a coalition which has surrendered its sovereign decision-making process in order to secure a few more billion stopgap dollars. And for all its troubles – for the hot humiliation of being dictated to – the Papandreou government will likely still be “restructured.” The average Greek deserves our sympathy for the years of economic and social pain they’re in for (probably, the average EU citizen too).
Collectively, it’s important for activists to remember that the flotilla isn’t a goal unto itself. The main objective here is to draw attention to numerous Israeli violations of international law (chiefly, ghettoizing a people through collective punishment for racial difference). The dedicated activists on the Gaza-bound ships are risking their lives to publicize the human rights and needs of the Palestinians in Gaza. That’s where the focus ought to remain.
The main project at hand is working towards a just solution to the conflict, which I believe means overcoming Zionism. All indications suggest that we’re succeeding at an astonishing pace (remember, W&M and Carter’s book were published only five years ago).
The recent Michelle Goldberg review of Lisa Baron’s book is representative of the kind of progress that we’re making. Goldberg (and the post here which highlighted the review) both noted that Baron feels compelled to fellate the Republican Party because she’s a Zionist.
What’s more interesting, however, is that Goldberg (I’m guessing that she’s Jewish, but I may be wrong) locates Zionism as a distant phenomenon, something away from her.
She writes about the “the perversity of the Zionist alliance between hawkish Jews and the Christian right.” Her words and framing suggest that she herself is set apart from Zionism – that it’s something deviant Republicans are into.
I may be taking too much from words that are particularized and non-generalizable; I don’t know Goldberg personally. But she is a writer for the liberal(ish) Daily Beast who locates Zionism distally. More importantly, she doesn’t make any obvious attempt to reclaim Zionism for the left. I believe the trend will continue; Zionism is the hole where Shelly Adelson hunkers down with Rudy Giuliani to scare small children.
But back to the flotilla: It is far from a foregone conclusion that the flotilla has been successfully undermined by Obama and Netanyahu. I’m hopeful that it will still sail.
We must recognize however, that the flotilla may not sail.
It is easy to feel powerless, helpless and small when faced with the combined power of large states and supranational institutions, particularly when they’re subordinated to nefarious personal ambitions and special interests. But this is not the time lose heart.
The Palestinian struggle is a long one. The Palestinian people have experienced heartbreak after setback after shocking disappointment for generations now.
And yet, the struggle continues. Indeed, Palestinian resilience is a hallmark of the struggle. Our struggle will continue for the foreseeable future; this won’t get any easier.
In the nearer term, the Papandreou government will fail. The special-interest automatons occupying the dining rooms of the Four Seasons on both sides of the Atlantic will fail. That’s partly because activists will double, redouble, and treble their efforts. But it’s also because the Obamas of the world are hollow and cynical: shiny trinkets do not comprise a value system.
We are driven by the unyielding belief in justice, above all. We are unmovable. And we will prevail.