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Flotilla not a Love Boat, it was a lynch, says Netanyahu, describing beating of IDF soldiers, not deaths of aid workers

What’s a lynch? I find it intriguing that Israel’s spin machine can drop an American pop culture reference like Love Boat, and simultaneously flub basic usage with “a lynch.” According to Israel, that describes what befell their crack-troop Mavi Marmara party-crashers. What does “a lynch” mean? Apparently someone feels at liberty to shorten Lynch Mob, or Lynching, to coin a new threat to Israel. But doesn’t it stretch credulity to imagine the IDF has never claimed to have been baited into an “ambush?”

Every modern military with a propaganda office, when it suffers a setback, attributes it to an ambush. When the US and Israel do it, it’s an attack; when our dastardly adversaries do it, it’s an ambush. Let’s set aside that the night watch on the Mavi Marmara’s deck might have been defending themselves. For the moment the IDF version of events is the only one Israel is allowing.

Ambush, trap, beating, getting jumped, wouldn’t these be appropriate descriptions for what Israel is asserting its night-vision video depicts? To lynch someone -it’s a verb- implies a hanging, extrajudicial, usually perpetrated by a crowd against a lone victim, unarmed. So where does the IDF get “lynch?”

To my mind, the Israeli-accented tender of “lynch” is feigned bad English, stuttered -I hope in shame- as perpetrator blames victim, but stuttered conveniently, to make the accusation less preposterous. Isn’t a rape victim who is too well versed in the crime perpetrated against her, less convincing than a victim who fumbles to comprehend the outrage she suffered? Poor Israel, its soldiers stepped into a, a, a lynch.

Emitted from military spokespeople however, one projects a reflexive followup “-that’s the ticket.”

I’m guessing grasping a straws like “lynch” is played for sympathy. And while I deconstruct the false unfamiliarity of otherwise precisely crafted English: PM Netanyahu’s mention of “Love Boat” had a bumbling Bush “the internets” ring to it. Anyone old enough to know the television show about the enchanted cruise ship knows there’s not “a Love Boat” but The Love Boat.

If the newly nouned “lynch” is intended to define a hate crime unique to anti-Semites, the motive fits with Israel’s insistence that first genocide, now holocaust, can only apply to Jews. Such an implication is aided by Netanyahu’s suggestion that the lynch was “plotted.” Because common understanding of mob misbehavior precludes a premeditated plot. This may reflect a naive dismissal of the responsibility of authorities who manipulated the lynch mobs and witch hunts, but dictionaries seldom chronicle the injustice of the victors who write the history. Conventional wisdom holds that lynchings were improvisational.

Perhaps the English speaking viewers are meant to associate the implicit racism of the term. Ambush after all doesn’t conjure the slightest whiff of antisemitism. But here’s where Israel’s liberal arts wordsmiths may have outsmarted themselves. While it’s true that thousands of African Americans were lynched through our nation’s history, to the average American who dwells not very often on shameful pasts, the definition of lynching encompasses simply an execution in lieu a trial. Even an unfair trial, or kangaroo court, can be called a lynching. A lynch mob is an enraged crowd meting vigilante justice, hanging high what to them is an indisputable wrongdoer. The overwhelming number of lynching victims in America’s lawless west were hunted criminals. While xenophobia may always have skewed the mob’s judgment against Indian, Chinese, Mexican, or Black, a lynching was not by definition about racial prejudice.

If the beating of the Israeli commandos illustrated a hatred, was it racist? One is meant to assume the motive was anti-Semitic, but I wonder if Arab-Israelies serving in the IDF, or foreign nationals or mercenaries, don’t garner antagonism as vociferous. The historic prejudice decried by ADL and holocaust remembrance stalwarts has been against Jews, but the world today reviles Israeli arrogance. The US has become universal despised, but American tourists are still assured the world hates America, not its people. It’s what we’re told, if even if it is untrue. I do not know of course if Israelis are proffered the same polite assurance.

Did Israel mean that the Freedom Flotilla was an attempted lynching of Israel’s international reputation? In that case, Israel’s predictable militant reaction made such a hanging a matter of assisted suicide. If the Israeli national character suffers irreparably, who’s going to be to bame?

Presuming to paint its soldiers into a lynching scene, which character does Israel assert they played? Were the IDF the horse thieves? Bandying about the connotations of lynchings makes for an interesting turning of the tables. Were the convoy defenders the ones pronouncing hasty judgment upon their dark-of-night assailants? Or were Israel’s commandos declaring themselves judge and jury on the alleged arms smugglers?

In cases of breaking and entering, the home field advantage is accorded the right to self-defense. A SWAT team might make the argument that identifying itself as law enforcement preempts a homeowner’s recourse to armed resistance, based on the principle that an arresting officer’s safety is inviolate. Israel may assert it was policing its border, but unfortunately last Monday it was operating beyond its border. What protection can a law enforcement function claim if outside its jurisdiction?

It might be well and good to say Israel reserves the right to protect itself from enemies anywhere in the world, but it can’t pretend its badge should command universal obeisance.

The Mavi Marmara had declared her intention to run Israel’s blockade, but hadn’t yet attempted the crossing. In fact the Freedom Flotilla was moving away from the contentious area at the time of Israel’s attack.

Who then was the victim of this “lynch?”

I’ll tell you why it’s lynch and not lynching. Because Israel’s soldiers weren’t killed, they were beaten. Not to diminish what might have been their adversaries’ worst intentions, but the gantlet the IDF commandoes received was not a hanging specifically, and not very effective in terms of proving fatal. On the other hand, the outcome was the killing of an as yet undisclosed multitude of civilians, unarmed to an extent that the killings can be defined as executions, the entire result already adjudged to have been a massacre.

Israel’s invention of “lynch” is an utterance which I believe betrays the sign of shame the world longs to see from Israel. Even as the public revels in watching the Israeli hubris on self-destruct, empathy has us hoping to see Israel grasp for its lost humanity. To describe the events on the Turkish passenger ship as a “lynch” is to fail to summon the chutzpah to bear false witness, to accuse the dead of capital murder. Neither does Israel dare to raise the specter that summary executions were committed that night at all.

There is a term to describe

a) Israel’s taking the law into its own hands by pirating a ship belonging to another nation while it sailed in international waters,

b) Israel’s soldiers not being a police force but an ideology-deputized posse,

c) opting in a confused fervor to punish outlaws thought to have been caught red handed,

d) issuing on the spot death sentences.

It’s called a mass lynching.

One thought on “Flotilla not a Love Boat, it was a lynch, says Netanyahu, describing beating of IDF soldiers, not deaths of aid workers

  1. Strikes me that if the Turks wanted a ploy to attack Israel they would have had their own helicopters, boats and commando squads nearby. International waters being international waters and all.

    I mean, if I were to jump somebody who’s got submachine guns I’d have my own ready. Wouldn’t do it with a stick unless it were absolutely unavoidable.

    Which is the other, other Nasty Little Hole in the IDF Nasty Little Story.. that the initial boarding party got their Gweat Big Wifles taken away. But not, you know, any report of any of the IDF being shot, with either the Vast Stash of weapons IDF says they were looking for, or their own guns which had been taken from them. Or the IDF First-Aboard Party being held hostage. Nothing like that.

    Suicide for “The Cause”? If that were the plan then why no (as Marvin the Martian used to say) Kaboom? There should have been an Earth-shattering Kaboom (and let IDF try to explain THAT away) Or have some NATO (Turkey is a NATO country) ships nearby. That would have been a whole 55 gallon drum of worms. In the Falklands War, the U.S. was in a similar Pickle-ment but sidestepped it. They had the NATO obligation with the U.K. and the OAS entanglement with Argentina. Supposed to be neutral in that action, yes? Like Grenada and El Salvador and Nicaragua being OAS states, so it had to be “rescue” operations.

    So Reagan simply allowed the Brits to refuel and resupply at Charleston Naval Station without publicizing it. Officially non-event. No Official Okey-Dokey from the Gipper so it didn’t actually happen, end of story.

    Trouble with Turkey, now, they’re actually In The Thick Of The Action, and in an area of the world that’s not like eleventy gazillion miles from anywhere. The Seven Seas were huge in myth and legend times, but compared to the rest of the world that’s a really small area. AND… the rest of NATO is watching.

    Also there’s a great deal more contempt for the OAS exhibited by the Pentagon in general and the Navy in particular than, say, there would be exhibited against NATO. Oh what a tangled web…

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