Judy Mandelbaum

Judy Mandelbaum
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JUNE 3, 2010 7:08AM

The "Rachel Corrie" braces for Israeli interception off Gaza

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MV Rachel Corrie 
The MV Rachel Corrie
(Source: Wikipedia Commons)

On May 12 a converted merchant ship bearing the name of killed American peace activist Rachel Corrie set sail from Dundalk, Ireland bound for Gaza. On board are eight Malaysians, five Irish citizens and eight crew members. Its cargo: 1,200 tons of humanitarian supplies, including cement, paper, medical equipment, wheelchairs, school supplies, toys, and other materials for the people of Gaza.

Delayed by engine problems, it left Malta on Monday and is expected to reach the coast tomorrow – provided the IDF does not attack it the way it did the rest of the “Gaza Freedom Flotilla” on Monday. According to activist Derrick Graham, who is sailing along with his wife Jeanie, the passengers of the MV Rachel Corrie “come in peace.” “We don’t plan on resisting,” Graham told Israeli journalists. “In the event that your men are stupid enough to come and arrest us, we will sit down and not resist. It would not be wise for the government of Israel to direct its brutal violence towards us.” Graham, the veteran of several relief missions to Gaza, says that he has never been attacked in the past. “We object to violence,” he said, “which is why before we left we searched the ship to make sure there were no guns or weapons of any kind on board. The crew members were also checked by officials.” 

The activists include a group of Malaysians sponsored by former Malaysian prime minister Dato’ Mukhriz bin Tun Dr. Mahathir, along with former UN Assistant Secretary General Denis Halliday and 66-year old Northern Irish Nobel Peace Prize laureate Mairead Maguire, who was injured in an anti-fence protest in Bil’in in 2008.  They have all been trained in non-violent resistance. “We believe in a peaceful resolution of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, and believe it can be solved through negotiations,” Maguire said. When asked about the threat of violence on her current mission, Maguire replied: “If (the soldiers) come on board, I hope and believe it will be in a peaceful manner.” 

In a statement issued yesterday, Rachel Corrie’s parents, Cindy and Craig, said that they “are heart-sick and outraged about the brutal attack launched by the Israeli Military on the Free Gaza Movement’s flotilla of boats. (…)We grieve for those who have been killed and pray for the recovery of those who have been  injured.  We salute them for their sacrifice in solidarity with Gazans suffering under a prolonged and immoral siege, which is itself a despicable and illegal act of collective punishment upon a civilian population.” Along with demands for an investigation and lifting the Gaza blockade, the Corries said: “[T]he U.S. and other governments can and must insist that other boats from the flotilla, including the MV Rachel Corrie, named for our daughter, be permitted to sail through international waters to Gaza unobstructed.”  

Will Israel allow this new attempt at humanitarian relief to arrive at its destination without violence? As late as Tuesday, Deputy Defense Minister Matan Vilnai told Israeli public radio that “We will not let any ships reach Gaza and supply what has become a terrorist base threatening the heart of Israel.” But according to a report in Haaretz this morning, both Israeli and European diplomats have quietly arranged to allow the ship to dock at Ashdod port in Israel, from where the goods would be transported on to Gaza. In a statement issued on Tuesday, Irish Prime Minister Brian Cowen said: “If any harm comes to any of our citizens, it will have the most serious consequences.”

Will this compromise hold? We will know within hours. The Rachel Corrie is plodding ahead regardless of the risk. “We are nervous,” passenger Jenny Graham from Ballina, Ireland told the Belfast Telegraph. “We are scared. We are regular people. We don't want to be heroes or martyrs, but we have to keep going. People are anxious but we are not turning back unless we really, really have to.”

In an ironic turn of events that typifies the daily madness of the Israeli-Palestinian standoff, the Israeli government agreed to deliver at least some of the humanitarian items confiscated from the Turkish ships. In the meantime, Hamas officials told journalists that they would refuse to accept these items until all detainees from the IDF raid had been freed.

Turkish pathologists have confirmed that all nine activists killed during Monday’s raid died from bullets fired at close range. An additional three activists are still missing. But as tragic as the IDF attack on the Turkish fleet was, it appears to have brought movement into the seemingly endless Gaza stalemate. There is a growing international consensus that the blockade is neither ethical nor sustainable. Yesterday, the Egyptian government opened the Rafah border crossing to Gaza. The same day, the European Campaign to End the Siege on Gaza announced that it had received funding for an additional three ships that will form part of a new relief fleet to be called “Freedom 2”.  


Middle East expert Juan Cole published a remarkable analysis of the Gaza situation at Informed Consent today.

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Thank G-d for people like You, and Your courageous dedication to TRUTH and JUSTICE.



-R-
THANK YOU for finally answering my questions. It is a filthy mess there in the waters off Gaza and the fog is clearing on what is the truth of the confrontation. Israel appears to have stepped on themselves this time...
Thanks for posting this.
wonder what will come of there being a US citizen in the mix?
Since I can't embed the video here is the link that you should watch.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JaiMjAULWn0&feature=player_embedded

The fact that they were trying to get a reaction out of Israel doesn't bother you? Relief aid bound for Gaza has had a pathway to get there. Egypt has been off loading, inspecting and transporting the aid. This was nothing more than a stunt to put Israel in a bad light.

If you watch the video you will see your "peace activists" beating, stabbing, throwing fire bombs, and throwing overboard IDF soldiers. It was your "peace activists" who took IDF weapons and opened fire on people.

If the real goal was to get relief aid into Gaza then they would have taken the route that was set up, through 3rd party countries, to move what they wanted delivered. It's clear their mission was something different.
Catnlion,
The footage is censored all right. Or did someone forget to leave out the part where nine or more passengers were shot dead by the IDF at close range? As far as hitting the soldiers with sticks is concerned, if anyone ever dropped into my apartment from a helicopter, I'd at least have a broomstick waiting.
Thank you, Judy, for delivering news clearly and professionally as you have been. Also thanks for visiting my post on this topic. Rated.
Dear Judy,

I understand that you might resist an unknown intruder with the weapons at your command. But if you drove down a one-way street purposefully going the wrong way while announcing on a bull horn announcing that you're doing OK this way and have the right to do what you want, would you fight against a policeman who tried to stop you?

Don't be narrow sighted on this by looking only at the moment. Israel is trying to persist against a government whose stated aim for two decades is to eliminate the State of Israel. This may have been clumsily done but certainly understandable.

When a provocateur actually gets the response that he/she wants, it's intellectually dishonest to cry foul then.
This is an excellent piece. While I theoretically understand Israel's concern for its continued existance, there's a fine line between substantiated concern and outright paranoia. Not all but many members of Israel's leadership appear to have crossed the line some time ago.

And show me an example of a sustainable blockade that actually managed to accomplish any long-term gains. They don't work and are so inhumane as to provoke outrage.
Judy,

Your wrong.

Your sticks are pieces of pipe cut into club lengths. Pieces of pipe that length are not just laying around a ship for someone to just grab.

The fire bomb. Where did that come from? Are you going to tell me that in the mist of this someone thought of making one, got the stuff, made it and through it? How about it was pre-made with the intent of throwing it at someone?

How about the guy who pulled a knife and stabbed one of the IDF in the back several times? How many "peace" protests have you been to where one of the "peace demonstrators" knifed a cop in the back?

How about lets stomp and beat someone from the IDF then throw him overboard. Yes, there is peaceful resistance.

So where is your "peace protesters"? How about this was thugs hiding behind some people who were suckered into this thinking they were doing the right thing.

The right thing is for Israel to stop the flow of rockets into Gaza who is run by a terrorist group who has sworn to kill all the Jews. The right thing if you want to send in relief supplies to Gaza is to do it through proper channels to ensure it gets there in a timely fashion.

This is aid that will not help anyone because the terrorists in charge have said they will not allow it in at this time. They want to put strings on aid to their own people. They are more worried about how they look and what they want than they are about those living there.
Judy,

Since you have a forthright stance, I invite you to visit the site below and answer the questions, which I freely admit I couldn't do.

Lew

http://open.salon.com/blog/the_traveler/2010/06/03/test_questions_about_the_middle_east_situation
If someone comes at you with a stick and you know he's dying to poke you with the stick to see how you'll react and you can see this person coming at you with a stick, what are your options? Do you let him poke your eye out? Well, no, not if you can avoid it. So then do you charge him first before he's anywhere near you and grab it from him and beat him about the head and shoulders? And then follow that up with lots of kicking and clubbing? Probably also not a good move. Israel has a right to protect itself but when it allows itself to be so easily goaded into not just international incidents but what could only be public relations fiascoes, I can't help but wonder how wise its leadership really is when it comes to diplomacy. I know, Israel left Gaza and rockets still come from Gaza into Israel...a particularly egregious form of stick-throwing. But I still can't help wondering what it would take for Israel to grit its teeth and yet again offer a carrot.

As for the stated goals of the various Arab Republics to destroy or eliminate Israel: yes, these are wrong and worrisome but they are also a political bargaining chip, albeit one that will appear on the table only at the last minute. It was the same way between the United States and the old USSR, whose avowed mission, after all, was the destruction not only of the United States but of capitalism itself.
Catnlion,
I don't claim to know the full story of the Israeli assault, including what the images on the video mean. I'm surprised you believe you already know the full story, although an impartial investigation is unlikely to take place. What I DO know is that at least nine activists were shot dead at close range by IDF soldiers. I also read a report that at least one of them was killed AFTER he surrendered. I don't know if this is true, but I am certainly looking forward to some sort of confirmation. I may have to wait a long time. I am not reporting it AS true because I simply don't know.

"This is aid that will not help anyone because the terrorists in charge have said they will not allow it in at this time. They want to put strings on aid to their own people. They are more worried about how they look and what they want than they are about those living there."

Your standpoint essentially precludes any sort of civil disobedience. Those who practice it use whatever means they have at hand. Do you think the British were right to keep locking Gandhi up? Do you think Rosa Parks should have gone to the Big House? Do you believe Medgar Evers got what he deserved? Do you believe Nelson Mandela earned all those years he spent breaking rocks on Robben Island? More to the point, do you believe that unarmed Rachel Corrie was asking to be crushed by that Israeli bulldozer and got what was coming to her?

I'm not saying that you do believe all the things. I'm just suggesting that you may view your current stance on the Palestinians differently some day in the future. I hope you do.
What an amazing amount of hand-waving with no real solutions. There are two problems here - how to get the Palestinians to their own, viable state and how to assure Israel that they will be secure.

Considering the baggage that both sides carry, this blockage business is only a band-aid on a the outside skin of a cancer because perpetuating the blockade doesn't solve either of the problems and neither does lifting the blockade.

Assigning blame on who did the last atrocious act is just very short-sighted. This is looking for keys under a lamp-post.
I assume the Israeli government don't step in it again - at least not so soon after the last debacle. These demonstrators should also be easier to handle, so there's no excuse for pirate tactics this time.

I'm hoping something good may come out of this, after all. The Netanyahu administration clearly blundered when they ordered the attack. They may have considered world opinion to be lost anyway, but I don't think they were prepared to lose the support of their own people. They may be forced to reconsider their Gaza policy after this.
@Judy Mandelbaum: Your response to Catnlion is spot on. You can't make Israel look bad unless they allow themselves to be provoked into doing unacceptable things. That is what civil disobedience is all about: Exposing the violence your opponent relies on.
catnn"lion" has always had a blind spot when examining anything substantive.

How can you drive a truck with one eye closed?
Thanks for keeping an eye on this story.

Rated.
Thanks for the further elucidation.
Keep in mind that if any weapons ect would have been on the attacked ships it would have been all over the jew controlled media.
Like i wrote with miss Mandelbaum Jew might have a average high Iq they fail when it comes to Eq.
And that makes them eazy target for people to hate them.
btw i am still waiting for the reply to continue that discussion but atlease i live in freedom and not in the the Jew created getto/concentration camp calld Gaza strip.
"This was nothing more than a stunt to put Israel in a bad light."

One problem:

Your so-called "stunt" wouldn't work if the Israeli government couldn't be so reliably counted upon to commit casual atrocities secure in the knowledge that it will be shielded from any repercussions by the *real* Israel Defense Force--its dutiful, cringing enablers in the Executive and Legislative offices of the United States government.

Not even an American citizen with four IDF bullets in his head is enough for our political leaders to abandon their carte blanche endorsement of the Israeli government's every action.

Excellent piece, Judy, despite the trolling apologists it has and will attract. They might want to rest up, however; If the Israeli government follows through with their ghoulish threat to use increasing force in attacking these vessels, they'll have their work cut out for them.
Thank you for this post, I (for whatever it's worth) will keep a watchful eye myself on this ship's lawful progress through international waters and if the Israeli's are stupid enough this time to imagine that no one sees their crimes or that they can do no wrong they will be sorrowfully disappointed.
I personally don't believe in the existence of "race(s)" but I know racism when I see it.
Whether you believe that your family makes you better than or someone else's family makes them lesser than, yourself -
It's evil!
I've been watching the Rachel Corrie who already suspects that IDF agents have sabotaged her engines along the way. We'll see what happens. If the Rachel Corrie is attacked, will UK do more than cry in their soup as America did?
Stellaa

Neither of your points have any bearing on what happened.

If you check out the San Remo Manual on International Law Applicable to Armed Conflicts at Sea, 12 June 1994, Part IV, Section II you will see that what Israel did was in accordance with international law of the sea.
Thanks for this Judy.

Norwonk is accurate about how civil disobedience works by exploiting the moral weakness of ones opponents so that their methods are exposed to the clear light of day.

It takes tremendous courage when you can end up with bullets in your head.
The Free Gaza Movement has reported that the "Ashdod Detour" is a lie, and that no one one board has agreed to any such change.

" ' According to European diplomats and senior Foreign Ministry officials in Jerusalem, quiet messages have been exchanged over the past few days between Israel and the group operating the ship, to allow it to dock.'

This, too, is sabotage in writing. We called Haaretz and the reporter. He did not return our call."

http://www.freegaza.org/

It's their boat, so....
Catnlion - Given the same provacation, the Activists responded in the exact same way the Iranian Greens did last summer.

When the Basij threw tear gas at people, did you condemn the protestors for throwing it back?

When they shot people, did you condemn the protestors for picking up clubs?

There is no difference between Nadia and Furkan, other than who murdered them. The IDF has the moral standing of the Basij, and the appologists for each are identical in their excuses.
Marc,

This is apples and oranges.

The people of Iran are trying to get rid of a government that they want nothing to do with. This is an internal problem that I'm not able to discuss without more research that I don't have time to do.

The people of Gaza elected a terror organization, Hamas, to lead them. Their elected leaders decided to put rocket launchers around schools, hospitals, and other places where the people of Gaza live and fire rockets at the nation of Israel.

Israel, under the rules of international treaty, has a blockade to prevent more rockets to be supplied to those who have declared their mission as one to destroy Israel. This is the same treaty that we used when we had a blockade of Cuba during the missile crisis.

So here comes supply ships with "peace activists" with supplies for Gaza. That's fine. The only problem is the "peace activists" knew that they were not going to be allowed to dock. Somebody said they were going to sit until allowed to dock. That makes no sense. If it's aid why would you sit at sea while people who need aid are without? There are ways to get your aid to those in Gaza. People offered to help and plans were made for other aid to be delivered by 3rd party countries. The intent was not to deliver the aid, or it would have gone through the proper channels and been delivered.

So now you have ships heading to the blockade. Under international treaty Israel has the right to board and inspect the ships. Since the IDF was attacked when they boarded the ships and were attacked then those on the ships refused to be inspected.

I think the IDF had a large degree of restraint. Under the previsions of the treaty as soon as they refused to be boarded to be inspected they lost their standing as relief ships. At that point in time the IDF was allowed under international treaty was allowed to sink the ships. Instead the IDF had it's soldiers beaten, stabbed, thrown overboard, had fire bombs thrown at them, and had their side arms taken and turned on them. You don't like the way the IDF handled this. What would you have done if they had sunk the ships?

If you were in charge in Israel what would you do to stop the flow of rockets to a group who has made public statements that they are going to destroy you?
Marc,

BTW, you can't point at one wrong to justify another.

When you were a kid and you did something wrong did you get out of being punished by saying "well he did it too"? I didn't, and my kids didn't . All it did was get the other person in trouble too.
Correction:

This sentence "Since the IDF was attacked when they boarded the ships and were attacked then those on the ships refused to be inspected." should have been deleted.

Sorry for the bad editing. I shouldn't do it until after coffee.
@catnlion what you state is only valid inside there national waters not open sea/ international waters.
If the Jews had waited until the ships where inside the 3 mile zone then they would have had the right for inspection.
Thanks for this. Excellent reporting. R.
On the one hand, I think Jews' lives are over w.o Israel. On the other, Zionism does not mean supporting every particular Israeli government. I went to high school w Bibi (in the US). I knew him and his brother, Jonathan, who was killed at Entebbe in the hostage rescue in Uganda. He's a very bright guy but I cannot support his government's actions nor, so far, it's odd explanations for this act.
I expect better.
cmulder002

If you will go and read the treaty you will see where they are does not matter. Don't don't have to be inside any set limit.
Judy you wrote: "Your standpoint essentially precludes any sort of civil disobedience. Those who practice it use whatever means they have at hand. Do you think the British were right to keep locking Gandhi up? Do you think Rosa Parks should have gone to the Big House? Do you believe Medgar Evers got what he deserved?".

Except Gandhi, Rosa Parks and Medger Evers actually practiced civil disobedience. The folks on this boat clearly were not. Your either purposely being disingenuous in making that comparison or don't know what civil disobedience actually is.
Like the school bully who watches and waits for the teacher to turn away before flicking the ear lobe of his cat's-paw; Israel, mindful of the brouhaha that erupted earlier this week when they felt entitled to commit murder, assault, and piracy on the high seas, carefully avoided murder this time knowing that the world was paying attention, and left off at mere assault and piracy on the high seas.
I am not going to address the morality or the wisdom of the way that Israel handles the Gaza flotillas or the blockade. But your comments, in my view, consistently ignore the background of this story. Until 1967 Gaza was occupied by Egypt, and the Gazan people were almost prisoner, without citizenship in any country, hopeless and helpless while the Arab world, which had plenty of oil money, did nothing for them. They were satisfied to use the Palestinians as human ammunition in their conflict with Israel. Only after the Six Day War the residents of Gaza had the chance to work in Israel, and they came to work there in great numbers. Obviously, it was not an ideal situation, but that was better than what they had before. However, Israel had to shut this down because Gazans were coming into israel as suicide bombers along with the people who were coming to work. These suicide bombers ( who clearly ruined things for their fellow Gazans) killed hundreds of innocent civilians. Five years ago Israel gave up its foolish settlement s in Gaza and withdrew from there completely. Instead of leading to peace this resulted inthe brutaal and bloody Hamas takeover of Gaza from Fatah and launching of thousands of rockets at civilian targets in Israel. Because of this takeover by Hamas, which is committed to terror and whose repeatedly stated aim is the Destruction of Israel,Israel set up a blockade with the agreement of the US, European Union and Egypt. Iran, whose government denies the Holocaust and calls publicy for the destruction of Israel, gives weapons to Hamas and to Hezbollah on Israel's northern border. You need to understand this: the main purpose of the blockade is to interdict those weapons which are coming from Iran and other places.
It is hard to find a fair solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem, but a solution to the current situation is that Hamas must renounce terror, recognize Israel's right to exist in a secure way alongside a secure Palestinian state. They also must release Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped from Israeli and has been held for four years , against international law.
I am not going to address the morality or the wisdom of the way that Israel handles the Gaza flotillas or the blockade. But your comments, in my view, consistently ignore the background of this story. Until 1967 Gaza was occupied by Egypt, and the Gazan people were almost prisoner, without citizenship in any country, hopeless and helpless while the Arab world, which had plenty of oil money, did nothing for them. They were satisfied to use the Palestinians as human ammunition in their conflict with Israel. Only after the Six Day War the residents of Gaza had the chance to work in Israel, and they came to work there in great numbers. Obviously, it was not an ideal situation, but that was better than what they had before. However, Israel had to shut this down because Gazans were coming into israel as suicide bombers along with the people who were coming to work. These suicide bombers ( who clearly ruined things for their fellow Gazans) killed hundreds of innocent civilians. Five years ago Israel gave up its foolish settlement s in Gaza and withdrew from there completely. Instead of leading to peace this resulted inthe brutaal and bloody Hamas takeover of Gaza from Fatah and launching of thousands of rockets at civilian targets in Israel. Because of this takeover by Hamas, which is committed to terror and whose repeatedly stated aim is the Destruction of Israel,Israel set up a blockade with the agreement of the US, European Union and Egypt. Iran, whose government denies the Holocaust and calls publicy for the destruction of Israel, gives weapons to Hamas and to Hezbollah on Israel's northern border. You need to understand this: the main purpose of the blockade is to interdict those weapons which are coming from Iran and other places.
It is hard to find a fair solution to the Israeli-Palestinian problem, but a solution to the current situation is that Hamas must renounce terror, recognize Israel's right to exist in a secure way alongside a secure Palestinian state. They also must release Gilad Shalit who was kidnapped from Israeli and has been held for four years , against international law.