The Free Gaza flotilla incident seems to have pushed Israel and its supporters, including those in the US government, over the edge of reason (Original reporting Here). And you thought our neoconservative psychotic episodes had subsided once BushCo left office.
A Democratic member of the US House of Representatives says he wants to see US citizens aboard the Gaza flotilla prosecuted for providing aid to terrorists.
In a conference call organized by The Israel Project, Rep. Brad Sherman (D-CA) told reporters that activists participating in the flotilla were aiding Hamas and therefore breaking US law.
“The Antiterrorism and Effective Death Penalty Act of 1996 makes it absolutely illegal for any American to give food, money, school supplies, paper clips, concrete or weapons to Hamas or any of its officials,” Sherman said, as quoted at Jim Lobe’s foreign policy blog. “And so I will be asking the Attorney General to prosecute any American involved in what was clearly an effort to give items of value to a terrorist organization.”
Sherman also said that he plans on working with the Department of Homeland Security to make sure that any non-U.S. citizen involved with or aboard the Flotilla are excluded from entering the U.S.
Now, before I tee off on Brad Sherman or any other member of Congress contemplating the use of demented and Orwellian “anti-terrorism” laws to coerce free-thinking Americans into silence, or to bring them in line with crazy and criminal policies of Israel’s ever-worsening bunker mentality, over at TPM, M. J. Rosenberg makes an appropriate distinction worth acknowledging:
Brad Sherman (D-CA) is probably (possible exception Shelley Berkley of Nevada) the most pro-Likud Democratic member of Congress. (No, not pro-Israel. You can’t support policies that cause the whole world to turn against Israel and use that label).
But this is crazy even for Sherman.
Okay, caveat made. We’re not talking pro- or anti-Israel. We’re talking about insane pro-Likudnik policies. Now, cue the outrage.
You’re goddamned right Sherman’s proposal is crazy, on so many levels I don’t know where to begin.
First, Israel’s Gaza policy is exceedingly suspect both morally and legally, as acknowledged by the United Nations, humanitarian organizations, and even within significant segments of Israeli society. Calling Israeli policy into question is hardly a radical view, especially when WE PAY FOR IT, but prosecuting those defending human decency is hell-bent beyond words.
Second, by most accounts, Israel’s act of interdicting the flotilla in international waters and killing its passengers was illegal, either an act of war, a war crime, if conducted through Israeli command (which it was), in which case it falls under international law, or an act of murder by rogue commandos, in which case it falls under Turkish law. Either way, it was patently illegal. Acting otherwise is simply an ongoing embarrassment for both the Americans and Israelis. I suppose an admission of Israeli war crimes would be an admission of American war crimes.
Third, you (Brad Sherman) and Israel claim the flotilla’s goal was to aid Hamas, which is plainly bunk, a pile of confabulated garbage. They went to break the siege of a devastated, broken, and starving human population of innocents, a large number of which are children, existing in “the world’s largest open air prison.” The flotilla’s intentions were clearly announced for the entire world to hear, and we heard it. We know Hamas is a violent resistance group that has wreaked havoc against Israelis, but the flotilla was not about Hamas. If it were, it would have failed before it had begun, because Hamas is not sympathetic. The flotilla “worked” precisely because it was aimed at the sympathetic population. Now you desperately twist to the story to fit your goals. That was Dick Cheney’s schtick, one of the very people who counterproductively helped empower Hamas in the first place. Heckuva job.
Fourth, the law you propose to use to prosecute Americans on behalf of the racist, immoral, illegal and failing policies of a foreign government was just another repugnant development in our ever-eroding constitutional rights, being so broad as to constitute unaccountable, arbitrary executive power. I have no respect either for it or for you Constitutional quislings who have zero respect or understanding of our national values.
Fifth, we’re well aware of the ominous, post-9/11 trend of politically motivated and disreputable McCarthy-ite attacks on political opponents in this country, attacks coming from hate-media, from the White House and Congress, and being directed at attorneys, citizens, and other media outlets believing in core American Constitutional values, including the rights to due process and dissent. This legislation was once (falsely) motivated primarily by the bogus war on terror, but now we see it being motivated purely by the propaganda interests of a foreign fucking country. Every American should find this development intensely disgusting, not only as it directly harms our interests, but it harms the interests of other allies, such as Turkey. Attacking Americans does not help Brad Sherman’s foreign loyalties. The intense disgust it evokes has quite the opposite effect.
Just as Israeli politicians have become Israel’s worst nightmare, so have American politicians become our own worst nightmare. You have sold us out in class warfare to Wall Street, corporations have destroyed our electoral politics, unhinged partisans have warped our judicial system, your bogus war on terror has eviscerated our bill of rights and damaged out international interests, and now you want to prosecute free-thinking Americans, not for breaking any laws, but for crossing your loyalties to a disreputable foreign government.
You deign to act as representatives of the American people and the Constitution, and for your service, fuck you very much. Go ahead and carry out your Orwellian prosecutions against these humanitarians using “anti-terrorism” laws. I fucking dare you to do it.
Go ahead. Throw that switch.