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But about those activists: a great deal of bathetic rubbish has been written about them. Insofar as they were bringing food and medicine to Gaza, they were humanitarians; but insofar as they were striking a blow for the government of Gaza, they were anti-humanitarians. A real “Freedom Flotilla” would have sailed for Gaza to liberate it from its rulers. For Hamas stifles Gaza from within even as Israel stifles it from without. It oppresses the Palestininans who live under its sway and has brought them ruin. When did it become progressive to support a theocracy? Consider the case of Henning Mankell, the Swedish writer of thrillers (and the son-in-law of Ingmar Bergman) who was a passenger on one of the boats in the “Freedom Flotilla.” In his youth he took part in anti-Vietnam and anti-apartheid demonstrations, presumably in the spirit of secular reason. For a while he lived in Norway and participated in the activities of a radical Maoist party: let us call that secular unreason. Now he does the work of Hamas and its mullahs. Last year Mankell attended the Palestine Festival of Literature in east Jerusalem—or would have attended it, if the Israeli authorities had not idiotically closed it down. When he returned to Sweden, he wrote that “there is a straight line between Soweto, Sharpeville, and what recently happened [I presume he was referring to the war] in Gaza.” And: “Is it strange that some [Palestinians] in pure desperation, when they cannot see any other way out, decide to become suicide bombers? Not really. Maybe it is strange that there are not more of them.” And: “The state of Israel in its current form has no future. Moreover, those who advocate a two-state solution have not got it right. … The question is whether it will be possible to talk sense into the Israelis in order for them to willingly accept the end of their own apartheid state.” This man has rights, at sea and on land, but he can hardly be lauded as a champion of peace and reconciliation. You are not for co-existence if you advocate the disappearance of one of the terms. (Consider, analogously, the recent adventures of Noam Chomsky in the region. It was widely noted that the Israelis, again idiotically, turned him away at the Allenby Bridge. It was less widely noted that a few days later a reporter for The New York Times accidentally discovered him in Lebanon at the home of Nabil Qaouk, the deputy head of Hezbollah, which is not what Voltaire had in mind.) http://www.tnr.com/article/politics/75287/operation-make-the-world-hate-us?page=0,0

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