28.9.10

Why did 'Irene' go to Gaza?

Is Israel right in not permitting an aid ship from reaching the Gaza Strip? ‘Irene’ carried Jewish anti-blockade activists and was stopped by the Israeli army because it was breaking both Israeli and international law.

The flotilla incident and its violence are fresh in memory. I understand that the activists were protesting, which is a valid manner in which to draw attention to the issue. However, this sounds a bit like hand-me-downs:

On board are 10 left-wing Jewish activists, including a Holocaust survivor and a man whose daughter was killed in a Hamas suicide bombing in 1997. Organisers say they are bringing “symbolic aid” to Palestinians in Gaza — textbooks, prosthetic limbs, toys, musical instruments and fishing nets.

Just look at the way in which some of the activists have been described.

- A Holocaust survivor – Read: man who knows about suffering. The Nazis and the Israelis are not comparable, from the historical as well as the ideological perspective.

- A man who lost his daughter to a Hamas bombing – Read: despite this, he is sympathetic to the Palestinian cause.

They are all left-wing, which immediately gives them a political nuance, and the ship was flying the British flag, which is neither here nor there…actually it is if we go back to the Balfour Declaration!

Do Palestinians need symbolic aid? It benefits mostly the givers, not even at the level of guilt but as symbolism. Palestinians have earlier said that what they need is building material for razed constructions. They have hospitals. Let us not forget we are talking about educated people.

Where the heck will they fish with those nets? And what toys? Do we recall that picture of a young boy playing with a donkey painted with black and white stripes because he has never seen a zebra in his life and may never do so?

5 comments:

  1. The only "left wing activists" in Israel were on the boat - they were saved for posterity. With all the untreated sewage being released into the sea, which has made all marine and human life unlivable - one can only guess what might be caught in those fishing nets.

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  2. Does anyone care, except some self-obsessed, crazy enthusiasts of the Ummah. They both deserve each other.

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  3. and except for your pseudonym, what does it make you?

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  4. Farzana,
    More often than not the gesture of protest - albeit token - carries importance. So what that certain stereotypes were resorted to by the protestors (or more appropriately, the reporting media) - that hardly diminishes the fact that a section (most likely micro minority) of Israeli citizens is questioning the government on its criminal bahvior towards palestinians.
    Why do you feel compelled to discredit them ?
    Cheers,
    Mahesh.

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  5. Mahesh:

    I do not feel compelled to discredit them, but I do feel the need to play devil's advocate. Because, for every one such well-meaning group, there will be tens who 'do' gestures. It has also been found that in the long run such symbolism can prove to be counter-productive. There have always been Israelis who have supported the Palestinian case; the problem is when it becomes a protest 'for oneself' rather than 'against the issue'. Why did the boat have British flag?

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