You Had No Idea They’d React That Way?

Really? Are we really supposed to believe that.

Upon waking up this morning, I flipped through the news channels and as I passed the BBC, I heard the discussion going about an “Israeli commando attack on a peaceful ship of civilians bringing aid to Gaza” last night, about 60km off of the coast of Gaza. The woman being interviewed claimed that the ship, which embarked from Turkey with the intention of breaking the Israeli naval blockade on Gaza, was a civilian ship, full of people who believed in non-violent protest. In fact, she claimed, they brought a baby on board. “They wouldn’t have had a baby there if they thought that there would be violence.” From this story, one would think that the Israeli Navy was bored and, being comprised of evil human beings, decided to go out and massacre a bunch of peace activists.

Yet, here in Israel, the media tells a different story. Channel two aired a clip of the IDF announcing on loud speakers that Gaza was off limits and under a naval blockade, but that the ship was invited to dock in the Ashdod harbor, and that any supplies they brought would be inspected and transferred to Gaza under their [the activists’] supervision. After the activist’s refusal, the Israelis boarded the vessel. According to an article in the Jerusalem Post, the passengers attacked the soldiers with knives, bats, and metal pipes, until one of the “peace activists” obtained control over a soldier’s weapon, and opened fire on the Israelis. The result was that ten of the activists were killed, more wounded, and two to six Israeli soldiers were wounded, depending upon the report. An IDF officer reportedly said that, “It was like a well-planned lynch. These people were anything but peace activists.”

I wasn’t there. I don’t know what actually happened. But, I do know that it is ridiculous for the Free Gaza movement to expect us to believe that the people on board the flotilla did not expect a reaction. They knew the were breaking a naval blockade. They knew that the every other ship, since Operation Cast Lead, which tried to enter Gaza had been stopped, boarded, and sent to Ashdod. They knew that the Egyptian government, too, supports the blockade. Every report in the Israeli media, at least, has noted that the activists attacked the IDF soldiers. It is truly inconceivable to think that they did not expect any reaction from the Israeli military.

To the Free Gaza Movement, I say, you don’t have to agree with the blockade. In fact, you even have the right to act against it. But do not belittle and insult us with this claim that you had no idea that you’d be met with resistance. Because either you are lying, or delusional and incompetent.

Latest posts by dahlia (see all)


  1. Avraham

    5/31/2010 at 1:38 am

    I’ve been following Jewslicious’ hasbarah inspired posts for a while. When people continued to talk about the Occupation of Gaza post-2005, you said there was a full withdrawl. But, now when the spin gets tough, you acknowledge that there’s a full military blockade controlled by the Israeli navy, forcing them into attacking unarmed boats. I’m just tired of these deceptions. They only hold up if you buy into the racist nationalist discourses of Israel and other nation-states that dehumanize Indigenous peoples and anyone in solidarity with them. I’m not on the Flotilla either, but I’m hoping that if/when non-IDF footage is released and your myopic defense of the Commandos is proven a sham, Jewlicious will acknowledge its role in promoting complacency in the Jewish community when it comes to the immoral Occupation in general and these sorts of murderous actions in particular.


    • themiddle

      5/31/2010 at 1:59 am

      Avraham, allow me to correct your numerous mistakes:

      None of the writers at Jewlicious are inspired by hasbara and neither are our posts.

      There was and is a full military withdrawal from Gaza.

      There is a blockade of Gaza, and it exists because Hamas likes to improve its military capabilities regularly. When they do, they have a penchant for attacking Israel’s civilians with their newly acquired arms. This leads the Israelis to attempt to control passageways into Gaza. Of course, if the Gazans and their leaders would seek peace instead of war, none of this would happen.

      The “racist, nationalist” discourse belongs to the flotilla members who shouted “khaybar, khabar al Yahud” yesterday morning. If you supported those recorded and broadcast yells, then you are indeed in solidarity with racists. Racists who have murderous intentions.

      There has already been non-Israeli footage broadcast from one of the boats which was attacked. In it, the Al Jazeera reporter claims they put up a white flag after there were injuries, but at no point did he report that his boat-mates attempted to engage Israeli soldiers in hand to hand combat. Which they did. If you knew you were going to encounter Israeli naval commandos, the equivalent of American SEALS, would you try hand to hand combat or grabbing one of their weapons?

      If Jewlicious has to answer for anything, it is our abject failure to encourage the Jewish community to be far more engaged regarding: Jewish education for young Jews; Jewish community engagement with younger Jews who are not already engaged in Jewish life; support of Jewish students on numerous campuses across this country who are hounded and vilified by people like you who will use any propaganda to support people who do not seek peace or compromise; and, especially our failure to bring together a larger number of people who would feel a closer link to their Jewish heritage and to Israel.

      Make no mistake, the people on that flotilla were there on a propaganda mission intended to humiliate Israel, encourage further international ostracizing of the country and to enable a group of people, namely Hamas, that has vowed not only to destroy Israel but also Jews around the world. Well, as you are noting, they will get their propaganda out there, because Israel is, sadly, full of morons in high places and they couldn’t figure out how to fight a PR war if it bit them on the ass. That is the extent of what you or anybody can learn from what happened to the Propaganda Flotilla. Certainly, we are not going to learn anything about the occupation or of “murderous actions.”

  2. Avraham

    5/31/2010 at 2:17 am

    Derailing is classic hasbarah actually so thanks for demonstrating that. You know that the military blockade is there, yet you say that there has been a withdrawl. You know that Israeli control of borders has an effect well beyond blocking smuggling at the Rafah crossing, yet you only focus on that particular area. You know that Zionist education is used to dehumanize Arabs and Palestinians, yet all you focus on is the screams of a few people on unarmed boats. You even acknowledge that Israel violently attacked a boat with a white flag up, but all you talk about is that people “engaged in hand-to-hand combat”.

    And above all else, you refuse to mention that human lives were lost in this attack on the Flotilla.

    I would suggest that your reflectiveness regarding Jewish engagement should include thoughts about how Jewish institutions denigrate diasporic Jewry while asserting connection to Israel as the primary way of feeling and being truly Jewish. And, how this, in the end, often leads Jews to become disaffected from a rich cultural and religious tradition that they would otherwise have great affinity with.

    It’s true, I don’t know everything about Jewlicious writers…I only know what they write. But, don’t assume you know me. I am constantly fighting anti-semitism wherever I encounter it, including within the free Palestine movement. I myself have been the target of anti-semitism for being a visibly observant Jew, so don’t you dare mischaracterize me just because I happen to think that building settlements, bombing civilians, and restricting freedom of movement is an affront to my sense of ethics, Jewish or otherwise.

    • themiddle

      5/31/2010 at 3:05 am

      “Classic hasbara tactic.”

      Dude, I don’t know what a fucking “hasbara tactic” is. You wrote something stupid and I responded.

      There was a complete withdrawal from Gaza, down to every last Jew. The fact that Israel is expected to provide food and goods for Gaza is a joke and it’s what allows you to speak of a blockade. The blockade is there to prevent arms from coming in, arms that target Israeli civilians and are used to plant traps for Israeli soldiers. It’s a war! And it’s not a war the Israelis wanted or asked for, especially when they left Gaza.

      Zionist education is NOT used to dehumanize Arabs and Palestinians, you liar, it actually focuses on the connection of Jews to their historic homeland. I focused on the murderous yells of the people (how many were there?) on these boats so that you would get off the bullshit of how their mission had anything to do with peace or humanity. If you click on the Islamic Thinkers Video post on the main page, you will see the same chant being sung on the streets of NY a couple of days ago by people holding up signs about exterminating Jews.

      Israel did not attack a boat with a white flag up. The white flag came up after the attack. And yes, there was hand to hand combat. Two commandos are in serious condition.

      As for your comment about Jewish institutions denigrating Diaspora Jewry while asserting some connection to Israel, please don’t make me laugh. I can’t remember the last time I was in a synagogue – and I am thinking of three that I’ve been to in the past several months – where the rabbi said anything about Israel at all. The only time Israel is discussed is when speakers are brought in, and even that is rare and rarely brings in a crowd. You are either not active in your community, or you belong to a community that is unusual. The reason for people being disaffected from their rich cultural heritage has nothing to do with this claim, although it does have a great deal to do with the demonization of Israel by people such as you.

      The fact that you have to fight anti-Semitism within the “free Palestine” movement should be sending a red flag to every nerve in your body, just as the shouts of Khaybar should make you understand the fact that this is a war, not some feel-good hippie thing. If you are affronted by the building of settlements, the bombing of civilians and the restrictions of movement, then I propose to you that you should talk to your anti-Semitic friends at the free Palestine movement and encourage them to get the Palestinians to support an Israeli peace proposal like Olmert’s or Barak’s. You see, if they do that, then maybe the Palestinian leadership will give up their dream of a greater Palestine and sign on the dotted line as they could have three times in the past decade. Then, Avraham, you wouldn’t have to hang around anti-Semitic activists because there will be no bombings, or restrictions of movement. There will be, instead, two nations in two states living side by side in peace. No war, no “apartheid,” no “Nazis,” no checkpoints, no anti-Israel propaganda, no anti-Jewish propaganda, etc.

      Your struggle only helps those who want war.

  3. zahava

    5/31/2010 at 2:50 am

    Dahlia/the middle: Thank you for being so articulate about these incredibly important issues!

    Avraham: You seem to have missed a very specific point regarding a very specific aspect of this nasty incident: peace activists BY DEFINITION do NOT bear arms and utilize them against others. FULL STOP.

    Civil disobedience is only civil when violence is not employed by the individuals engaging in the protest/demonstration.

    Remember “The Emperor’s New Clothes”?! The language used to describe the new clothes was wonderfully descriptive and luxurious. But, in the end, the dude was still naked.

    “Peace activists” aboard a ship who attack military personnel as they are boarding are not engaged in peaceful protest — they are engaged in offensive combat.

  4. Alex

    5/31/2010 at 3:04 am

    I’ve been living in Israel, and will not let a soul tell me I’m a lesser Jew for what I believe — and have a bit of a connection to this site — but I have to agree with many of the points made here by Avraham, although it does not seem at all clear to me that the people on this flotilla were “unarmed.” They expected a fight, they got one, and now people are dead.

    But whether by intent or not this kind of post is functioning as hasbara, let’s be honest. That’s not necessarily a bad thing either: there is a lot of damage control that needs to be done.

    Different media, different story. Hell, even in Israel — forget the Beeb — I read a different angle depending on where I look. It’s gotten to the point where unless I was there myself, I will take the Spokesperson’s statement and the media reports, left or right, with the proper grains of salt. That’s it.

  5. Alex

    5/31/2010 at 3:26 am

    You should be ashamed of yourself, mr. middle. He’s raising what I think are valid points, maybe some exaggeration & passion in it but same goes for you and me, but instead of engaging you’re insulting him and only validating his contention that “pro-Israel” means vicious attacks on critics. See?

    • themiddle

      5/31/2010 at 3:33 am

      Alex, with all due respect, and please don’t take this the wrong way because I really like you a lot, this was a propaganda mission from beginning to end. Its entire point, as Hania said a couple of days ago, was to embarrass Israel. If the ships got through, he said, it was a victory. If they didn’t get through, he said, it was a victory. Something happened today that was a tragedy for everybody who cares about finding a peaceful resolution to this conflict. As expected, the propaganda was going to flow, and indeed it is starting to flow – as Avraham is showing with his comments. I did not anticipate Dahlia’s post and would not have written it. You can see how I feel about what happened in the Morons post.

      However, Avraham came in here to do exactly what the plan had been all along and that is to spread propaganda related to this flotilla. He would have been here had they been stopped without violence, and he would have been here had they made it through. He would have been here, because he’s here to play the propaganda game. If I’m not sympathetic to that, that’s because I think that the objective of this propaganda is to make peace go away. The people behind it are the people who advocate for war, not peace, and who advocate for a single state, always couching what they say in terms that don’t qualify it as a Jewish state.

      Oh, and one more thing. You know me and you know ck and you know that we don’t have anything to do with “hasbara” or care about “hasbara” or anything of the sort. I don’t know Dahlia, but she also doesn’t strike me as somebody who knows much of anything about “hasbara.” If somebody comes on here and starts out with that claim, especially on a night like tonight, they are going to be responded to just as aggressively as they came on. Read his first comment again and tell me who is doing the “insulting.”

  6. Alex

    5/31/2010 at 4:37 am

    I like you too, man, which is why it is upsetting to see such a knee-jerk, dismissive reaction even without having all the facts come in. This happened last night and we’re supposed to have all of our talking points at the ready to fire at critics like Avrum? You don’t have to agree with someone to acknowledge their voice as valid, or at least not automatically invalid because it isn’t yours, or mine for that matter.

    I’ve become accustomed now to what we’re supposed to say to our critics: we are defending ourselves, they are extremists and therefore irrational and therefore we have nothing to learn about what may be doing, etc.

    • themiddle

      5/31/2010 at 5:02 am

      Alex, I don’t have talking points. I do know that there is nothing valid about Avraham’s stupid hasbara claims, or should I label them pernicious? I find what he says more than automatically invalid, I find it to be purposely false, malicious and manipulative. To review:

      According to Avraham’s comment, we write stuff that is: “hasbarah inspired;” full of “deceptions;” full of “deceptions” that “only hold up if you buy into the racist nationalist discourses of Israel and other nation-states that dehumanize Indigenous peoples and anyone in solidarity with them;” and, we “promote complacency in the Jewish community when it comes to the immoral Occupation in general and these sorts of murderous actions in particular.”

      Um, so we’re deceptive propagandists whose lies only work with those who buy the racist and nationalist views that dehumanize the real people of Palestine and their supporters, and our lies which are built on these racist views only promote the Jewish community’s general acquiescence with Israel’s “immoral” occupation and murderous actions.

      What exactly do you agree with there, Alex? What room do I have to “acknowledge his voice as valid, or at least not automatically invalid?”

      You’ve met me and you know ck well. What in those comments strikes you as something that’s either valid or at least not automatically invalid? Do we deceive? Do we write propaganda? Do we have racist views? Are Israel’s actions immoral and murderous? Do we excuse Israel’s actions when they deserve scrutiny? I seem to recall writing essays that are highly critical of the IDF, that are highly critical of Israel’s leadership, that espouse an exit from Yehuda and Shomron and that support a two state solution that even includes an internationalized Jerusalem. I am careful to provide links and evidence to the claims I make, so that the “deceptive” moniker also doesn’t fit. Oh, and I advocate for two states so that Palestinians can enjoy self-determination and thrive in their own country. Is that racist?

      If I called you a racist liar who supports murder in order to maintain a nationalist approach to a country and thereby undermine the very morality of your Jewish community, you might think to yourself “Hey, Alex, I should be listening to him.” Or, you could say to yourself, “Hey Alex, I know myself pretty darn well and this person who just showed up here has just thrown a little bomb at me that seeks to undermine anything that I say, so I am going to reject his lies forcefully.” I guess you would choose the former. I know what I am and what I’m not, so I choose the latter.

  7. Alex

    5/31/2010 at 5:58 am

    Why is he lying when he says what he believes, which he holds as strongly as you and I hold what we think to be true? I agree with Avrum on the basis that it does promote complacency to basically say, Okay folks nothing to see here, move along. Blockading Gaza, which by definition means keeping a tight leash on about 1.5 million people, is doing serious harm to Israel and its standing in the world. Is that in our interest?

    • themiddle

      5/31/2010 at 12:13 pm

      What he “believes,” Alex, is that the writers of Jewlicious are liars who support murder because our values are racist. That’s a lie.

      As for the question of complacency regarding Gaza, if you haven’t noticed, Israel is being targeted for boycott all over the world, with Reason #1 usually being Gaza; the UN and some world governments have continued to diplomatically attack Israel over Gaza; this is the ninth attempt to reach Gaza by ocean by people who seem to have endless support for a regime that bombed Israel for years; inside Israel the debate about what should be done about Shalit is furious and ongoing.

      The idea of complacency is ridiculous.

  8. Gil

    5/31/2010 at 6:03 am

    Here’s the part I’m having trouble with. She was presumably on the boat because she believed the women & children of Gaza were being tyrannized by the baby-killing IDF. So she decided to run a blockade by that same IDF, and she felt so safe that she took her baby for an encounter with these demons? Either this woman is a shameless liar or the world’s dumbest person. Or both.

  9. Broomer

    5/31/2010 at 6:06 am

    You forgot one thing – Gilad Shalit.

  10. Damien

    5/31/2010 at 8:38 am

    International waters is not a place Israel or any other countries have jurisdiction except for stopping pirates, Israel does not have any legality in what it is doing, the shipment had been checked by turkey before departure, Israel could have asked the UN to check upon arrival that there was only food and medicine for the people..
    Not so hard to see where your patriotism comes from..
    This just looks like another spin to say to everyone that Israel is such a peaceful place and it is never out to get anyone..
    I believe Israel is a country of deception, in coalition with the us, they are the only two countries that both want the wars in the world to continue..
    It`s shameful what Israel and the IDF has done so many times to the people of Palestine, you should be ashamed yourself for actually promoting their bullshit!

  11. dahlia

    5/31/2010 at 10:18 am

    It’s interesting, because in this article, I don’t believe I made a statement either for or against the naval blockade, or for or against the IDF’s policies with regards to Gaza. Yet, some would point out that this is a “hasbara” piece or a spin story. Thus, I suggest that one who sees this article as such reread it. I did not justify or even explain Israel’s actions. Rather, I called out the Free Gaza Movement for their ridiculous position that they had no idea that the IDF would react to their attempt to break the blockade. In reading today’s news, I found there were enough people calling Israel out on its actions, so I thought that I’d call out the free Gaza Movement for it’s.

  12. Jack

    5/31/2010 at 11:05 pm

    International waters is not a place Israel or any other countries have jurisdiction except for stopping pirates


    check out the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994


    Neutral merchant vessels

    67. Merchant vessels flying the flag of neutral States may not be attacked unless they:

    (a) are believed on reasonable grounds to be carrying contraband or breaching a blockade, and after prior warning they intentionally and clearly refuse to stop, or intentionally and clearly resist visit, search or capture;
    (b) engage in belligerent acts on behalf of the enemy;
    (c) act as auxiliaries to the enemy s armed forces;
    (d) are incorporated into or assist the enemy s intelligence system;
    (e) sail under convoy of enemy warships or military aircraft; or
    (f) otherwise make an effective contribution to the enemy s military action, e.g., by carrying military materials, and it is not feasible for the attacking forces to first place passengers and crew in a place of safety. Unless circumstances do not permit, they are to be given a warning, so that they can re-route, off-load, or take other precautions.

  13. anon

    5/31/2010 at 11:06 pm


    That is exactly what happened.

    A great swarm of pathological liars is trying to deceive the public into believing otherwise.

  14. uncle joe mccarthy

    6/1/2010 at 4:04 am


    you aint an observant jew…and i dont think you are a jew at all

    no frum jew calls the arabs living in israel, west bank or gaza “indigenous peoples”….what an absurd comment. unless you are a secular jew or an nk…which makes it just an idiotic comment said by an idiotic person.

    you fight anti semitism in the free palestine movement? if thats true, you are doing a crappy job and should just resign.

    it was a dumb thing that the israeli government did by publicizing the so called hasbara groups….turns the perception of every supporter into a paid op…thing is…im not paid, never have been, never will be (but if they wanna send me a check, i wont stop them)

    abraham, if that is your name…you are just another person with a revisionist view of history…and if you are frum, i suggest you go to your rav and ask him how you can do teshuva for saying the horrible lashon hora you just did about your own people

  15. uncle joe mccarthy

    6/1/2010 at 4:08 am

    let me add one thing

    this is the same crap that they pulled after the suicide of rachel corrie

    omg…we had no idea that the idf guy would run over rachel in the tractor

    these people cannot have it both ways…if israel is the monster they paint her to be, then of course they would wantonly murder people

    but they know that not to be the case…and they really did think that they could beat the ever lovin hell out of the commandos and nothing would happen

    which goes to prove that what happened in gaza to civilians was not done purposely but as a result of war and hamas using human shields

    and again….the terrorists on board the flotilla attempted to use internationals as human shields

    so who is the real monster?:

  16. Gene

    6/1/2010 at 11:19 am

    Sink the Damn Ships!

  17. DJStahl

    6/1/2010 at 11:30 pm

    The guys on the ship probably stuck to clubs and chairs because they knew they’d be on camera. The flotilla organizers made this the most high-tech-observed media event ever. And probably they also figured the IDF would be video’ing also. Thus they try to maintain the populist, slingshots-vs.-rifles mythology and imagery.

    The AP article, picked up in the Guardian, notes in the last paragraph that Israel’s conduct in stopping the ships in international waters probably was legal.


    The legal scholar consulted moots the “disproportionate response” topic. But that’s an especially hazy matter. In fact, as Colin Powell pointed out in what he called the “Powell Doctrine,” overwhelming force makes it safer for everybody, on both sides. And numerous critics of Rumsfeld’s invasion plan for Iraq said this when they said he was sending too few soldiers. Consider scenario 1, a cop corners a burglar. And scenario 2, six cops corner the one burglar, in the same place. In which scenario is the burglar more likely to try something, and people more likely to get hurt?

  18. SurDavid

    7/2/2010 at 4:00 pm

    Kill the mooslim savages…DEAD!

    • themiddle

      7/2/2010 at 5:11 pm

      No, no, no. If the third word in your sentence was “Jews,” you would consider the person who wrote it to be a barbaric savage.

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