26 comments on “The Mavi Marmara: Heroic Self-Defense

  1. On the (very) negative side: have comrades seen or read of the massive pro-IDF rallies being held across Israel as well? The treatment of Henin Zoabi, a sitting MK and the assault ion Uri Avnery (a former MK and in his 80s) are just some of the apparently dozens of examples of the increasing militancy and confidence of the far right. DN had a talk with Max Blumenthal about these increasing incidents this morning. I used to think that the talk of Israel’s fascist threat was, perhaps understandable, bluster. But I am beginning to feel it is a real and pressing danger. I watched those videos (the demos are NOT small) and I could not help but see the train going around the bend.


  2. Anarchists against the wall is an excellent jewish (but not exclusively) organization that have been imprisoned shot and harrassed by the Israeli state. EVERY WEEK in Na’lin and Bi’lin their are brave jewish activists that are putting their lives on the line along with their palestinian sisters and brothers in some of the most extrodinary acts of civil disobediance the world has seen in the last ten years. I would never count out the israeli jewish working class in this struggle. But as in The US they must break decisiviley with their own Ruling class and their ethnic privilages and side with those oppressed by israeli aparthied. And By the way shouldn’t we be boycotting the US for their flagrant violations of international law, and war crimes, and wars of aggression and illegal occupations?


  3. Reply 11 raises a valid point. There will be no successful (from the point of view of the oppressed, that is) resolution of the so-called “Middle East crisis” without the participation of the Israeli Jewish working class.

    As Ernest Mandel, a Belgian Jewish Trotskyist, pointed out during WWII in regards to the German workers, revolutionaries should never identify whole people with “their” governments and ruling classes; that’s for nationalists, not socialist internationalists. That’s why Mandel was able to escape from Nazi prisons; he appealed to his German jailers on working class grounds and got their help.

    Israeli Jewish workers are as oppressed by their Israeli Jewish bosses as American workers are by American bosses…and in both cases, the ruling class uses patriotism and chauvinism (one and the same thing in imperialist countries) to pull the wool over the eyes of the working class and keep it divided. Unlike the 1960s, few radicals today would write off the American workers as “bought off,” in spite of the low level of consciousness and activity that prevails today. The same attitude should apply to Israeli workers, who are being raked over the coals by a neo-liberal Tory-type regime.

    However, the Israeli Jewish workers need to show their Palestinian class comrades that they don’t condone their ongoing oppression by the Israeli ruling class. After all, contrary to all the Zionist hand-wringing we’ve seen here, it’s the Israeli state that’s doing the oppressing, not the Palestinians!


    • 20,000 marched this Saturday against the occupation and assault on the Gaza aid convoy…in Tel Aviv. From the reports I have read, that is as many as marched in London. Now, the consciousness and demands were surely different, but justice will never prevail without the active participation of those like the folks on the streets of TA. Mazel tov!


  4. Anti-Zionism is NOT anti-Semitism. I say this as an anti-Zionist Jew who has long struggled against anti-Jewish bigotry both within society at large and within the left.

    The oppressed have a right to defend themselves. The IDF fired upon the ship before boarding. Those people were right to resist with whatever they could lay their hands on.



  5. I would never accuse sincere activists working for justice in the Holy Land as anti-semites. I do worry about some of the comments above because they seem to dismiss the idea of winning Israelis and Jewish supporters of Israel to our just cause. Hard as that may be to do, without winning them to coexistence the conflict will continue. As a Jew I also worry that the zeal to deligitimize Israel crosses too quickly into deligitimizing any Jewish concerns.




  6. I used to get angry and defensive whenever I criticized the Israeli Apartheid Regime for being an anti-semtie. I would say, “you don’t know me, you don’t know my own struggle and threats and attacks by violent REAL jew haters!!!” now i just don’t care. you throw around “anti-semite” at the mere mention of Palestinian suffering. You have made the word meaningless, which is a shame, because there is real anti semitism in the world. It just doesn’t fly anymore, so throw the word around all you want. There are terrorist acts by palestinians, And a brutal state terrorism by Israel. there are also heroic acts of self sacrifice and dignified armed resistance. Palestinians will be free their struggle is an inspiration to us all. You can support the cowboys, i prefer the indians… 60 years of resistance! and still they are poets, artists, and cultured. A fist salute to you palestine. VIVA PALESTINA!


  7. Why is that those who have no state whatsoever (outside of the gnettoes and bantustans permitted them by their oppressors) are supposed to “recognize” the “right” of their oppressors to oppress them before there can be “real peace?” Were blacks in South Africa and Rhodesia supposed to recognize the right of white settlers to oppress them? What about Irish nationalists vis-a-vis Protestant Unionists?

    I would think that Israel’s possession of nuclear weapons alone already guarantees them “recognition” in the eyes of most people.

    The logic inmherent in reply no. 8 is even better illustrated by that other gem that since you supposedly haven’t written anything against anti-Semitism, therefore you must be in favor of it.

    By the way, in case all of you Zionist apologists may have forgotten, Arabs are also a Semitic people. That would make the US and Israel the world’s biggest purveyors of anti-Semitic violence since the Third Reich.


  8. Someone sent me this post and I was curious how someone could write such a thing so I checked out your blog and searched anti-semtism. Not once have you denounced it, but only defended people against the charge of it. It wouldn’t be the first time that a well meaning progressive fell into the trap of justifying anti-semitics by criticizing Israel (I am not one of those that says Israel can’t be criticized). Think about it.

    Real Peace Starts With Recognizing Israel’s Right To Exist!



    • OK, this stops here. Obviously some zionist list-serve has posted this piece. But I must take exception to the “well meaning progressive” statement. I am a communist, not a progressive. I could give you a list of essential jewish communists over the years, but I don’t have the bandwith.

      I really don’t feel the need to defend myself over this slur, but here’s a little defensiveness. I don’t have to say “some of my best friends are jews” I can say “I have scars on my body from physically fighting against neo-nazis”. If that’s not good enough, I can say “I have been arrested (more than once) demonstrating against fascists, spending months in court and facing time in prison.” If that’s not good enough, I can say “I have taken a baseball bat to the bodies of neo-nazis.” If that’s not good enough, I can say “I have had comrades DIE fighting neo-nazis (dan and spit in LV) and others badly beaten (as I have been), including some damaged for life.”

      I was a founding member of the Midwest Anti-Fascist Network and Anti-Racist Action, both notoriously anti-semitic outfits! While ARA fought anti-jewish bigots in working class neighborhoods and schools (to their peril), the ADL (supposedly set up to fight anti-semitism) fights….for Israel in the halls of power.

      OK. Enough with the macho pasturing, I won’t answer another charge or post another comment with the accusation. Fine to discuss the reality of anti-semtism (even (especially) in the solidarity movement), but let’s stick to reality.


      • You can accuse me of posturing here on this blog (it is a blog after all), but not in the struggle with the fascists. I can assure you that we were and are most serious. But you wouldn’t know that, since you don’t know me.

        Real Peace Starts With The Defeat Of Imperialism!
        Death To Zionism!
        Long Live Palestine!

        There, is that enough posturing for you? Too much? Not enough? How about:

        Palestine Will Be Free, From The Jordan To The Sea!



  9. The Mark Steel piece is brilliant. This is in no way a laughing matter but I think he exposes the sheer absurdity of the surreal discourse that’s been taking place in the media. Imagine if it had been pirates instead of the IDF. What would be said about those who defended themselves?

    Wilhelm et al. – is attaching the label of anti-semite to anyone and everyone who criticizes Israel really the best you can come up with?


    • Is joke, yes? Funny, this week I’ve trashed 3 comments because they were anti-semitic. And yet for some reason I am going to allow your comment accusing me of anti-semitism….because it can’t be serious. My guess is, Wlihelm, that I have put the boot to far more genuine anti-semites than all of the imaginary boots you have ever landed on your imaginary anti-semites. But, since what you write is simply ridiculous I am going to assume it’s just a stupid, slanderous, joke.


  10. Oh, you wrote “digress.” I guess I’m such a hard-core sectarian hair-splitter that I automatically saw “disagree.” I guess the joke is on me (and anyone who reads what I write).

    But, you’re right, we are digressing here. However, I seem to be missing something. Didn’t the Isreali military attack an unarmed, civilian vessel in international waters? Didn’t they kill 9 people in the process of doing so? So why is anyone in their right mind shedding tears over the injuries sustained by the agressors? If the Israeli government and its apologists are so concerned about having their soldiers assaulted then they should stop the wanton violence that they routinely practice against the Palestinians. The same thing apllies to the US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan. Get them out of there now and there won’t be any more body bags or amputees coming home. Seems simple enough to me. Unless, of course, “Perplexed” supports US imperialism and/or Israeli apartheid capitalism. Seems that way since he devotes all of his attention to the shortcomings of those actively opposing Israel and the U.S. Perhaps if more people on the so-called secular “left” in the middle east actively opposed Zionism and imperialism, political Islam wouldn’t have as big a following. But that’s another debate for another day.


    • Mark Steel has a great commentary in today’s Independent called “Of Course They Were Asking For It.”

      A quote: “the statement from the Israeli PM’s spokesman – “We made every possible effort to avoid this incident.” …. the one tiny thing they forgot to do to avoid this incident was not send in armed militia from helicopters in the middle of the night and shoot people. I must be a natural at this sort of technique because I often go all day without climbing off a helicopter and shooting people, and I’m not even making every possible effort.”


  11. We don’t really disagree. I just wanted to be provocative while exposing the double standard employed by the bouregois media and its liberal left satelites. If and when the Iranian workers take on Aj’ad (or any other Islamic capitalist despot) I won’t have to think twice about whose side I’d be on.


  12. It’s truly amazing that even amongst the ostensible “left” there is such a distorted view of “violence.” Or for that matter that anyone calling him or herself “progressive” accepts at face value the arguments of the Israeli government. The “moral” authority of the latter shoul;d be ssen on the same level as that of the Third Reich (or the US government). I recall reading that Dr. Goebells once said something to the effect that “does anyone really believe that the German government would lie?” Well, I’m sure “Bibi” will issue some similar sounding statement to justify this act of piracy on the high seas just as his predecessors did when they pummeled Gaza two years ago or Lebanon in 2006.

    Apparently, only those in power, providing they are either agencies of the US government or its buddies (like Israel) are allowed to resort to force. Then it is “legal” and “legitimate” even if sometimes a bit messy. And if it’s a case of the latter, there are always “impartial” bodies like the courts to remedy the situation.

    But if someone the US doesn’t like strikes a blow, then it’s a whole different ballgame. Especially, if they are working people or peasants not wearing uniforms. Then they become “terrorists.” The Nazis prefered to call them “bandits.” I’m sure the Brits had a similar sounding term for the victims of the Black and Tans in Ireland.

    Or take the way the press and the politicians view “mass” or “mob” violence and government responses to it. The US backed junta in Thailand can murder with impunity over 80 “Red Shirted” workers and farmers protesting, aomgst other things, the military’s toppling of a democratically-elected government. But when “axis of evil” Aj’ad in Iran employs mobs of his supporters to repress a bunch of Soros and CIA-funded yuppies supporting the pro-West candidate, then everyone from Obama down to the editors of Socialist Worker is up in arms.

    “Double standard?” Obviously but not only. Such standards are but reflections of the class struggle, a concept few, outside of the ruling rich, seem to understand. The bottom line remains which side are you on? As for me, I still agree with Malcolm X about “by any means necessary,” especially when the other side obviously continues to see things that way.


    • Mnroy, I agree with much of what you say. I do have to take exception with this “a bunch of Soros and CIA-funded yuppies supporting the pro-West candidate.” Even if that were true, (it’s way more complicated than that) is the bourgeois-nationalist-theocratic (that is what it is) regime preferable for workers because it is in conflict with the US (not even with ‘imperialism in general’)? Which side am I on in Iran? The workers and the oppressed and that means absolute hostility to the regime (and the leadership of the “opposition”). I’m no a third campist, I defend Iran against imperialism, but not by ignoring the interest of Iranian workers or exempting the Iranian regime from critique (or opposition) because of some special “anti-imperialist” status. But we digress.


  13. are you actually defending the shooting and stabbing of those soldiers as an advancement of justice?


    • if shooting or stabbing a few IDF goons could achieve justice for Palestine, they would have won it a long time a go. The outcome of Israeli’s folly, however, clearly is an advance for justice as evidenced by the mobilizations around the world and the shaking (in some parts more than others) of even Israel’s allies. If Israel thinks they have deterred with their violence the solidarity movement they are sadly mistaken. It will only grow.


      • a solidarity movement with Hamas will bring justice to Palestinians? Didn;t I just read your oh-so left denouncement of “bourgeois-nationalist-theocratic” Iran- the chief sponsor of Hamas?


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