An American Dilemma


Israeli patrol boat stopping relief ship in International waters


After the blood Bath…what now?

The horrific slaughter of unarmed relief workers in international waters, who were bringing much needed supplies to the besieged Palestinians of Gaza, has the world in an uproar and threatens to become a major foreign policy crisis for President Obama. After killing nine workers and wounding dozens of others on the Mavi Marmara – a Turkish ship that was a part of the “Free Gaza Flotilla” – the Israelis are unrepentant. This has already resulted in the Turkish government calling the Israeli actions “murder by a state,” recalling their ambassador home and canceling a scheduled joint military operation.  Turkey’s actions amount to a diplomatic disaster for Israel, since Turkey has been the Jewish state’s staunchest ally among Islamic states.

Already we can gage the outrage around the world by the swelling protests, which have come from every quarter of the globe. The European Union, which has distinguished citizens including members of parliament on board the relief boats, has roundly condemned the slaughter and is calling for it’s own investigation. The moral and legal issues are clear; all that remains is to establish the facts about what actually happened. 

What we know for sure is that this incident was inspired by the fact that Israel decided to ignore the democratically elected government in GAZA, which is headed by the dreaded HAMAS, and starve the Palestinians into submission through an economic blockade.  The Israeli plan was to make life so difficult under HAMAS’ rule that they Palestinian people would regret their decision to elect HAMAS and throw them out of office.

We Also know that the US has acquiesced in this anti-democratic policy, just as successive American governments – Republicans and Democrats – have turned a blind eye to the fact that the Israeli’s have already amassed a nuclear arsenal, even as we insist on a “nuclear free zone” in the Mid-East and threaten the Iranians who may be approaching the capacity to build one bomb sometime in the future.  And we know that no matter what crimes the Israeli government commits against the Palestinians the US government will either endorse Israeli actions or say nothing.  The Israelis know it too, that’s why so small a state has been able to ignore United Nations condemnations and thumb its nose at the world!

While all this may or may not be good for Israel, the question remains: Is this good for the USA?  This is the question President Obama must now answer. Although this incident would be disastrous for any president at any time, it is very bad news for this President at this time.  Aside from the fact that he is despised by the majority of Israelis – who don’t trust him because they suspect he is pro-Arab – militant Muslims believe he is a Zionist pawn!  Here at home the left wants him to condemn the Israeli slaughter and put this renegade ruling clique in check, but the Republican right will yell “betrayal if he does so. Hence Barack is the object of suspicions and hostilities from all sides.

It is also an unpropitious time for a crisis in the Middle East because the President is already consumed with multiple crises – the massive oil spill in the gulf Of Mexico, widespread structural unemployment and the threat of war on the Korean Peninsula among them. And he is also conducting two wars in Muslim countries who are Israel’s neighbors and supporters of the Palestinian struggle. 

As Israel’s foremost ally and sponsor, the US is automatically drawn into any conflict Israel enters into in the Middle East, and is blamed for any acts of aggression by our client state.  Hence an anxious world wonders how long the tail will continue to wag the dog while waiting for the US to denounce Israel’s actions and take the lead in seeking redress for the injured parties.  But the President says he is weighting the claims and counter claims of all parties in an effort to ascertain the facts. Yet to the rest of the world, this writer included, it appears the Middle East is burning while Barack fiddles.

By any objective analysis of the Israel/Palestinian relationship, and its effect on America’s relations with the Islamic world, it is clearly not in the US interest to swim against the tide of world opinion and give the Israeli government a pass on their decision to slaughter unarmed people on a humanitarian mission to the beleaguered Palestinians. Under any circumstances this would be a bad decision because it exposes American foreign policy as an amoral doctrine based on the concept that “might makes right,” but silent acquiescence would be disastrous for America just now, when the Obama Administration is crowing about their assassination of Shiek Sa’id Al Masri, a hero to the Jihadists who founded Al Qaeda with Osama bin Laden and is said to be third in command. 

Hence slavish US support for the Israel slaughter of innocents on a humanitarian mission to Palestine would be the best recruiting material Al Qaeda could possibly wish for; they couldn’t do better if they wrote the script themselves and spent a billion dollars in advertising! Yet if the President does the right thing for our country it might well insure him a one term presidency due to the power of the Israel Lobby.  This is the fundamental choice President Obama must make: will he stand on principle and protect American interests come what may? or will Barack bend to the pressure of special interests and inspire yet another generation of Jihadists dedicated to destroying America.




Playthell Benjamin

Harlem, New York

June 2, 2010


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