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Israel’s flotilla actions vindicate Goldstone report

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The flotilla is completely vindicating Goldstone. Note that the Israeli defense of its actions on the boat is exactly the same as its defense of its actions in Gaza: we had a right to inderdict their movements across international lines, we got severe provocation, we were being attacked by so-called civilians, no country could permit this to happen, we defended ourselves, just look at the video. And in Gaza the Israelis killed 1200-1400 with minimal loss of life on the Israeli side; and the numbers are similarly imbalanced for the Mavi Mamara.

And now the efforts to smear the activists on the boats as jihadists, which the Washington Post has taken up with zeal, reiterate the efforts to portray the Gazans as a crazed, extremist population.

The vindication for Goldstone is that anyone with eyes in her head knows that the flotilla action was wrong (as anyone with eyes knew that the Gaza action was wrong, though then the west was still in denial). And the Israeli-American dismissal of the Goldstone report is now exposed as defensiveness, covering up an atrocity. Who will question Goldstone’s conclusions now: that Israel targeted civilian infrastructure disproportionately, and without distinction between civilians and resisters? Israel has once again shown us the playbook. 

I said "resisters." The flotilla outrage pushes the discourse further left. It opens the door on the argument to the left of mine, Michael Neumann’s argument, and that of the International Association of Democratic Lawyers, that the people of Gaza have a right to resist occupation. For how many of us in a boat on the high seas, faced with commandoes descending from helicopters with guns, could resist not resisting them? I believe I would cower in a corner blithering about Partition and can’t we all get along, but as I saw in Egypt last year at the French Embassy sit-in, the Palestinian solidarity groups are not lily-livered, they include tough labor organizers and street-smart internationalists. These folks don’t always take an attack lying down. Norman Finkelstein explained a while back that nonviolent resistance doesn’t mean complete passivity– that even Gandhi said that courage and valor were required on the part of those pursuing nonviolent resistance. I’m not defending those who took up steel bars during the attack; but I believe that many onlookers who are new to this issue will find that behavior understandable, and begin to question the lies they have been told about the Gazans. 

And who knows, in the end, people may end up talking about how the Gazans ended up there in the first place, the Nakba of 1948. The scales are falling.

Philip Weiss

Philip Weiss is Founder and Co-Editor of

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