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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Andrew Sullivan is Entitled to His Opinion, But He is not Entitled to His Own Facts

Look, I get it, Andrew Sullivan is not a huge fan of Israel, he is very much entitled to his opinion, but in his column about the incident in the waters outside of Gaza, he makes up his own facts. Actually in the case of most of the posts Sullivan writes about the Middle East, Andrew is living in his own reality where facts do not matter.

The Atlantic columnist begins his latest example of creative writing begins with the first paragraph.

Maintaining the siege and blockade of Gaza (because its citizens elected a government Israeli abhors), and strafing it with military might over a year ago, is not exactly what one expects of a civilized Western state. To then go on the offensive against a flotilla of aid ships, trying to bypass the blockade, and killing at least ten people aboard is bordering on insanity. This meretricious act of violence - like the brutal assault on Gaza itself - has further isolated Israel from what friends and allies it still has.

There are at least three bold face lies in the first paragraph.
  1. The blockade was established as a first step to stem terrorism from GAZA. Maybe Sullivan forgot the five thousand quassams sent from Gaza into Israel from 2005-2009.
  2. "Strafing it with military might over a year ago is not what one expects of a civilized Western State." Sorry Mr. Sullivan, you are wrong, that it exactly what to expect from a western state. If 5,000 rockets landed in Andrew Sullivan's backyard, I guarantee you that he would expect Barack Obama to start "strafing" the offending party.  
  3. "To then go on the offensive against a flotilla of aid ships," Let’s give Andrew Sullivan the benefit of the doubt on this one. Perhaps he doesn't understand the difference between offensive and defensive or maybe the pressures of writing a column and making up the facts is harming his memory. The Guerrilla Flotilla stated their objective as breaking through the blockade, or becoming martyrs "two happy conclusions". That is known as an offensive action. Israel tried to stop them because they wanted to make sure that the Guerrilla Flotilla wasn't carrying weapons or supplies to enable the rebuilding of the weapons shipping tunnels.

Sullivan then goes on to quote the talk about the coverage he saw:
 You can see some early footage here. The white flag had allegedly been raised after two people had been killed. So, according to the eye-witness al Jazeera reporter on board, Israel's military killed perhaps a dozen civilians on an unarmed ship after a white flag had been raised. If this were not Netanyahu's government, I'd be more skeptical. But we know what his government is, what it believes, and what it is prepared to do. 
Understand what he is telling you, Andy believes the Arab based media, but not the Israeli media. And why doesn’t he believe the Israeli media?  He doesn't like Israeli Prime minister Binyamin Netanyahu. (maybe Bibi didn't send a birthday card). Hey Andy, I have a bit of news for you, the Israeli Media is not state controlled. But most of the media in the Arab states is.

And what about the Israeli soldiers actions only occurring after they were attacked? Andy belittles that, I guess Sullivan believes Israeli blood is cheap.
Protestors managed to grab two guns from Israeli soldiers? Really? And the result is possibly up to 16 dead, according to the LA Times? The Coalition government in Britain issued the following statement:
“Regardless of any reasoning, such actions against civilians engaged in only peaceful activities are unacceptable. Israel will be required to face the consequences of this act that involves violation of the international law.”
There are videos showing Israeli soldiers being beaten, stabbed and thrown overboard even before they reached the deck, below is just one sample:

Then Sullivan makes the erroneous claim that Israel was not allowed to go near the boat because it was in international waters....Wrong!

According to 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;...
NOTE: the San Remo Manual is not a treaty, but considered by the ICRC to be reflective of customary law.

Israel's boarding of the Gaza flotilla was certainly an example of #67 section A. The Captain of one of the boats told the IDF that they intended to "run the blockade" And the video evidence shows that Israel did indeed give the flotilla a warning and asked them to re-route to an Israeli port.

But of course, that it truth and when it come to writing about the truth, Sullivan likes to throw out the truth and use his own facts or just the facts that sell his tales.

For example, when Israel named the Cave of the Patriarchs a Heritage Site, Sullivan had a cow. He objected because of the horrible 1994 incident where one lone demented Israeli went to the Cave and began shooting, killing 29 Arab worshipers. He called a massacre (and it was).  But if Sullivan really wanted to use History to rationalize why Jews should keep their hands off of the Cave of the Patriarch, then he should have told the full story of Hebron, especially the massacre of Jews in 1929. After all the city was predominantly Jewish from biblical times till that  horrible Sabbath Day 81 years ago when Muslims from Jerusalem murdered every man woman and child they could find.

Then there was the column where Sullvivan lied about the history of Jerusalem that Jerusalem was 84 percent Arab in 1946 and well within Palestinian authority under the partition plan the Palestinian Arabs rejected. It is undoubtedly true that Palestinian and wider Arab refusal to recognize Israel's right to exist has been a huge part of this problem - arguably the central reason for this conflict. But it remains true to my mind that the current Israeli government needs an attitude adjustment, and soon.
Sullivan says Jerusalem was 84% Arab in 1946, that line belies the truth. The Chart below details the population of Israel from 1844-1948.

Source: Manashe Harrel, "The Jewish Presence in Jerusalem through the Ages" in Sinai and Oestericcher, eds., Jerusalem, John Day, 1974.

Jews were the majority of the Jerusalem Population from 1844 through the establishment of the State Of Israel.

Maybe Sullivan was confused when he used that 84% number.  Maybe he was looking at at a doctor's report detailing his IQ score, or maybe he was just lying.  As he does in his next charge that the UN Partition plan established Jerusalem as a Palestinian Arab city. 

UN General Assembly Resolution 181 [which divided Palestine into Jewish and Arab Countries] declared Jerusalem to be a corpus separatum - a separate body, to be run under an international UN administration. The area to be run in this way included all of Jerusalem, Bethlehem and Beit Sahour, to encompass the Christian holy sites. Jordan took over half the city during the 1948 for Israel's Independence, and it has been Israel's united capital since 1967.
Andrew Sullivan demonstrates that when it comes to the Middle East he is wrong about both the past and the present.  Its hard to understand what is wrong with the guy,  he is either suffering from some sort of dementia, is he biased, or just plain stupid. But whatever his problem is, its time for the Atlantic to take away his computer until the malady is figured out. He is embarrassing himself and the proud tradition of the Magazine.

1 comment:

Juniper in the Desert said...

Andrew Sullivan who also writes for the UK Sunday Times, is well known here as an out- and- out Jew-hater. Whatever subject is under discussion he manages to drag his ugly perversion into the matter.

He is a self-satisfied, gay,anti-semite who is certain that he is far enough away from trouble to never experience the islamic noose around his neck.

He is a nasty little nazi enabler.