The 4.45pm Link 241


Today I link to something that I did not enjoy reading, just to illustrate a point. It is a truly poor article by one Niles Gardiner in the Telegraph.

http://blogs.telegraph.co.uk/news/nilegardiner/100041748/the-world-demonises-israel-once-again/

I point out merely in passing that the first few hundred overwhelmingly negative comments were deleted by the Telegraph. But the real reason I link is the significance of the strapline:

He appears frequently on American and British television and radio, including Fox News Channel, CNN, BBC, Sky News, and NPR.

I bet he does. He has no international diplomatic experience, no knowledge of international law and very little experience of the hotspots of the world. But he is fully armed with the set of opinions those news outlets want their readers to hear.

Absolutely anybody can write this rubbish. Just string these elements together:

Poor little Israel. Threatened from all sides. Nazi Germany. Islamic terrorism. Hamas. Anti-semitism. Brutal Jihadists. Self defence. The right to return. Only democracy in the Middle East. Self defence. Iranian President threat to wipe off map. 8,000 Hamas rockets. Alliance of liberals, commies and islamists. 9/11. Chopping off hands. Subjugation of women. Taliban. Clash of civilisations. Existential threat. Self defence.

I could churn this stuff out easily and be on Fox, Sky and BBC as often as I like. I could pick up a fat salary like Nick Cohen for a weekly column of this stuff, and pocket the Rupert Murdoch TV fees as an extra. I could sit in a think tank. I would certainly be a great deal more qualified, and a great deal more convincing, than Niles pisspoor Gardiner. I write a lot better too.

But then I am handicapped by morality.

Which reminds me. Having followed the media coverage of the Israeli action very carefully, have you noticed what seems a complete absence on TV of bona fide experts in maritime law?

Normally live news brings in “experts” at the drop of a hat to fill in the 24/7 broadcasting, but despite the fact that professors of international law specialising in the law of the sea are not exactly hard to find, no TV station has asked one about the legality of the Israeli action.

That is because the martime law community is unanimous that the Israeli action is illegal.


241 thoughts on “The 4.45pm Link

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  • Michael Petek

    I deny that the Qur’an is the word of God, anno, I beg to differ with Hamas’s religious beliefs and I find their campaign to impose them by the sword to be offensive, insulting and dangerous. If you think that’s an insult, then too bad. I’d do so even if I were a secular humanist.

    If you’re not a Muslim, then have the courage of your convictions and become one.

    As for you, Craig, the massacre of Srebrenica was an atrocity. On that occasion the Bosnian Muslims were innocent, as they hadn’t done anything wrong and certainly weren’t in jihad. Likewise Kosovo.

    The Serbs were in a jihad of their own, persecuting Catholics to death as well as Muslims, in furtherance of their religous heresy. During the 1990s I was saying similar things about them as I do about Hamas today.

    Last of all, Craig, it seems that you picked up the attitude of a dhimmi while you were our man in Uzbekistan. Human rights may be universal, but not where Islamic law is enforced.

    I’ll do as you say and leave now leave now. The issue between Israel and her enemies will be resolved by war, not by law, and to the winner will go the spoils.

  • Craig

    Larry,

    Actually I do object to people prattling on about their religious views, as Anno and Arsalan tend to. But where I draw the line is when people use religion to justify violemce, as Michael Petek was doing from the Christian Zionist perspective. Any Muslim who used Islam to justify violence would eqially get chucked out. Neither Arsalan nor Anno do that.

  • Apostate

    The “Holocaust” would be far too difficult a topic for a left-gatekeeper site to tackle.

    The Frankfurt conditioning/corporate media brain-washing re-“anti-semitism” just runs too deep.

    I can certainly understand Craig’s wish not to even dare go there.The Zio-shills and PC Left would lean on him heavily to delete any challenges to the official establishment narrative.

    All I was pointing out is that those who over this week became more aware of Zionist propaganda and Big Lies re-eternal Jewish victimhood might now have an inkling that the “Holocaust Industry” is but one of Israel’s many foundational myths.

    Given the prominent role played by Zionists in the events that led to the “Holocaust” they are hardly likely to admit to its having been their greatest psychological weapon.One which has proved efficacious in engendering both Jewish and Gentile sympathy for

    the “Jewish homeland”.

    After every Israeli atrocity many people begin to see how closely the Zionist state resembles the Nazi one.A little bit of research on your part will explain that there a good reasons why this has come about.

    They have a lot to do with the lies we have been told the two World Wars including the biggest one of all.

    Currently it is only in countries where the Zionist lobby and controlled corporate enjoys unduly disproportionate influence that Holocaust fundamentalism is enforced by law and researchers questioning the official narrative have been prosecuted.

    Doubtless this issue would see the PC Left and Zio-shills here united on the need to have the establishment narrative remain sacrosanct and beyond challenge.

    Some of us believe this is the most perverted form of human abasement to a state-established religion imaginable.

    If, like the PC Left and the Zionists, you are quite enamoured of totalitarianism Holocaust fundamentalism will hold no fears for you.

  • CheebaCow

    *backs away slowly from Apostate*

    Back in the real world, Israel has “apologised” for ‘We Are the World’ spoof video they circulated to journalists, which included the following line: “”There’s no people dying, so the best that we can do is create the biggest bluff of all.””

    “The Israeli government press office distributed the video link to foreign journalists at the weekend, but within hours emailed them an apology, saying it had been an error. Press office director Danny Seaman said the video did not reflect official state opinion, but in his personal capacity he thought it was “fantastic”.

    Government spokesman Mark Regev said the video reflected how Israelis felt about the incident. “I called my kids in to watch it because I thought it was funny,” he said. “It is what Israelis feel. But the government has nothing to do with it.””

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/jun/06/israel-youtube-gaza-flotilla

    We’re sorry we sent out this totally awesome video. We didn’t make it but we think our kids should watch it. I don’t think Israel understands what the word apology means.

    From the same article:

    “Last week, the Israel Defence Force had to issue a retraction over an audio clip it had claimed was a conversation between Israeli naval officials and people on the Mavi Marmara, in which an activist told soldiers to “go back to Auschwitz”. The clip was carried by Israeli and international press, but today the army released a “clarification/correction”, explaining that it had edited the footage and that it was not clear who had made the comment.

    The Israeli army also backed down last week from an earlier claim that soldiers were attacked by al-Qaida “mercenaries” aboard the Gaza flotilla. An article appearing on the IDF spokesperson’s website with the headline: “Attackers of the IDF soldiers found to be al-Qaida mercenaries”, was later changed to “Attackers of the IDF Soldiers found without identification papers,” with the information about al-Qaida removed from the main article. An army spokesperson told the Guardian there was no evidence proving such a link to the terror organisation.”

    And people take Israeli government proclamations seriously…….

  • ingo

    What have I missed here, rewriting of history, admonishing of destinguished writers and bending of facts.

    Michael peteks is trying desperately to assure us that the suffering of Germans was vastly larger than that of the 800.000 Palestininas who were living peacefully together with Jews in a british protectorate.

    next he will be telling us that english officers were not killed in cold blood in Haifa or that they were not swinging from olive trees after being murdered by ‘terrorists’.

    Justifying one’s brutish and violent behaviour, setting oneself above the world community for 65 years, unable to deal with the past, never having a peacefull relationship with any of its neighbours and making the other indigenous population in Palestine suffer the same violence that has been metted out to the Jews in Auschwitz and Bergen Belsen, is sadly something that should be re considered by the UN.

    Israel has not shown itself to be able to deal with multiculturalism, just as the Nazi’s, it has undertaken massacres like Sabra and Shatilla, just to name the bloodiest, just as it happened to them.

    I still believe in a one state solution, further the genetic links between two people who lived together for 2000 years are probably intermixed as well, making this farce stupid and pathetic.

    Iran is mooted to want to sent two ships now, Turkey is preparing to sent 30 ships past a onesided illegal and wastefull campaign.

    bernhard Kouchner has said that the EU would volunteer to open and control goods through Raffah, making sure that no weapons are smuggled in, so Israel has an option, it is not left on its own, howver many times they try and tell us.

    Unless the economic pressure on Israel increases, their trade is diminished and their sponsors think again, they feel no shame towards the world community for their brash, uncooperative and downright murderous behaviour.

    I see not difference between a rogue state of israel armed with a secret nuclear arsenal and a belligerent quarelling North Korea.

    Both are at their wits end and either, forced to negotiate, or smarting to take the flight forward out of the current problem, by creating a bigger one, war.

  • Freeborn

    People who flourish their lack of anti-semitism make me laugh.

    Since the “Jews” today,like most other people,are not a race or a pure bloodline at all but an admixture of the various peoples with whom they have come into contact since their time in Canaan three thousand years ago-the notion of “anti-semitism” particularly when applied to Jews in Israel or the diaspora is more than a little absurd!

    People who brandish their PC non-anti-semitic credentials have fallen for just another Big Lie.The overwhelming number of Ashkenazi Jews in Israel-descendants of eighth century Turk-Mongol Khazar converts-are not semites at all.Israel has always been an Ashkenazi supremacist state that discriminates against its Christian,muslim and sephardi minorities.

    In other words Israel is about as far away from the much propagandized “democracy” as it’s possible to get!

    Likewise the first Israeli Mapai establishment politicians and military leaders in the state’s early days were secular or Sabbatean apostates.The Israeli population were and still are by a large majority-Ashkenazi-i.e.they have not one drop of semitic blood in their veins!

    The Palestinians are the original semite inhabitants.

    “Anti-semitism” was a phenomenon used on the ground in Russia,France and Germany by Rothschild and affilliated banking and industrial cartels who wanted to destabilize and then control them.Thus the conditions in these countries were first made intolerable by pogroms and very public cases of anti-Jewish discrimination instigated by the destabilizing forces then set in motion. (Go to Cliff Shack’s site for details on the Rothschild plan to accelerate and control the flow of migrants to Palestine).

    “Anti-semitism” also worked effectively as a psychological weapon to instill a guilt complex among non-Jews.The feeling that only a Jewish state in Palestine would redress centuries of Gentile persecution would come to be shared by Gentile and Jew alike.

    The fact that people think being “anti-semitic” is worthy and sanctifies them because it means they’re not anti-Jewish is quite risible.

    Check out Koestler’s Thirteenth Tribe to find out who the people who like you to think they’re “Jews” really are.

    His account of how the Khazar empire was converted to Talmudism rather than Christianity or Islam includes the suggestion that what was passed on by the wandering priesthood to the Khazar Emperor was the gift of a political plan for World Dominion wrapped up neatly in a cloak of religion.

    This knowledge gives added poignancy to Moses Mendelsohnn’s infamous reference to Judaism’s being not so much a religion as “a law religionized”.

    Down the centuries the Ruling Elect have willingly sacrificed the “lesser brethren” as a burnt offering to forward this plan for World Domininion.

    The longer it takes those who have been so effectively brain-washed to wake up the closer the plan comes to fruition.

    Oh sorry-I forgot plans in history are taboo here.Koestler who many Jews regard as a reliable source would himself have been deleted from the comment board.

  • Apostate

    Koestler’s 13th Tribe still upsets Zionists today.

    There are conspiracy theories around his death as there are around that of his one-time mentor the Zionist militia leader previously involved with the Young Turks,Vladimir Jabotinsky.

    Whether you believe these conspiracy theories or not it seems inadvisable to become a whistle-blower on the Zionist scam against humanity!

    http://aangirfan.blogspot.com/2010/02/mysterious-arthur-koestler.html

  • Michael Petek

    Craig, I justify State violence from a moral, legal and political perspective, not a religious one.

    I use religion to evaluate Hamas’ use of religious justification for jihad to impose Islam as a public religion, and I say it is unjust because their religion is false.

    Since you evidently have no religious beliefs yourself, I don’t see what standing you have to moralise about anything. The Muslims act according to their morality, the Jews according to theirs. It’s all part of the beautiful tapestry of human diversity.

    Respec!

  • MJ

    “Since you evidently have no religious beliefs yourself, I don’t see what standing you have to moralise about anything”.

    This is an error common among religious zealots. They often assume that those without religious faith cannot have morals. Poppycock.

    Many atheists have a moral code that is not dissimilar to Christianity. It’s called humanism. That they hold it because they feel personally and intuitively that it is right – rather than because of a spurious reference to a mythical authority – is considered by many to be a strength, not a weakness.

  • Michael Petek

    “Many atheists do indeed have a moral code called humanism. They hold it because they feel personally and intuitively that it’s right.”

    Agreed.

    But, as atheists, they are free to change it according to convenience. If they are about to do an act which for them is unconscionable, they can change their morality so that it is conscionable.

    Alternatively, they can do what is unconscionable while it is unconscionable, confident that there is neither God nor anyone else to punish them.

    By the way, on the ICRC website there is the Declaration concerning the Laws of Naval War, London, 26 February 1909.

    There’s also a database showing which country is bound by which treaty.

    Israel isn’t a party to any treaty which could have determined its action last week as illegal.

  • MJ

    “But, as atheists, they are free to change it according to convenience. If they are about to do an act which for them is unconscionable, they can change their morality so that it is conscionable”.

    You’re describing what religious zealots do. They do what they want and what is expedient, then plough through scripture to find some obscure, out-of-context reference that appears to offer support. I suspect you spend all your waking hours doing this.

    “Though shalt not kill” seems clear enough. Nevertheless you have a whole web site dedicated to making the unconscionable conscionable.

  • derek

    I suspect Michael Petek has spent time studying the ‘Torat ha-Melekh’

    It is a book published in Israel that says when it is OK to kill a non Jew.

    Gilad Atzmon copies a review of it at

    http://www.gilad.co.uk/writings/the-complete-guide-to-killing-non-jews.html

    Apparently it is forbidden to kill a non Jew unless you really want to and then it is OK. It is even OK to kill babies if there is a danger they might grow up hating you.

    Is the review accurate Michael? Please do tell.

  • ingo

    Indeed derek, there is a history of the IDF killing children and of decimating a population by thousands by dehumanising them, taking their Heitmat, their villages and best wells land anything they held dearly and let them suffer hardship and poverty for decades for a despicable pseudo religious reasoning.

    I think its time to give a word to an ex Israeli PM.

    Try and read this dear Michael, it will open you eyes, it is is to be understood and read with Avi Shlaims excellent history books, ‘the iron wall’ is a good start for anybody, it explains the basics and gives you a good grounding on what happened, really.

    enjoy believer, and be baffled for all I care.

    http://www.chss.montclair.edu/english/furr/essays/rokach.html

  • Jon

    I’d have thought the non-religious moral code is mirrored by the biblical “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”. This is not subject to whim or convenience, as far as I can tell. It is pretty clear.

    And if all sides were to abide by it, it would render the Israeli position, by extension, as it being OK for Palestinians to shoot and murder a flotilla of Israeli aid-workers for sailing towards a Gazan port.

    Michael, you clearly are unhappy about Islamic religious extremism, which in the main I agree with, although people fall prey to crazy religious notions generally only under times of severe mental and emotional trauma. I contend that the occupation of Palestine is such a trauma, and that rocket attacks are a symbol of collective desperation and futility.

    Perhaps you don’t care when a pregnant Palestinian women dies at a checkpoint, because the Israelis won’t rush her through to a hospital. Perhaps you don’t care that some of the predictable resentment turns to terrorism, or – given your nuclear war taunts elsewhere – perhaps that’s what you want?

    But you don’t appear to see your blind spot, which is that you are using your mystical notions of a sky spook to justify senseless aggression against a suffering people. I am not a fan of religion in any form, and on both sides it is making matters worse. You appear to want to wipe out Muslims, because they don’t follow your Christ (“they should just change their religion”). Furthermore, you use the bible to “prove” what should happen politically in the region. To moderates who support peace for both sides, it surely looks like you have fallen prey to the religious extremism that you claim to abhor.

  • Malystryx

    Do onto others as you’d have them do onto you.

    A very simple phrase, and yet sums up all the moral values you need. Before taking any action, compare it to the rule.

    I don’t need a “God” to impose his rules. All the Abrahamic religions have these “Laws” they are to follow because “God” said so, and if you don’t follow these rules, then God will fry your ass in hell. But really he loves you. They are all peaceful religions. Strange how history is replete with atrocities in the name of God.

    Funny how the stupid talking monkeys came out of the trees and invented Religion as a means of community, of togetherness, only to turn it into a weapon to divide and justify murder and chaos.

    Apparently there be a Jewish organization in Germany that is now planning to send a boat to Gaza as well. They must be all self hating Jews, how dare they!

  • Fulano

    I have seen Niles Gardiner pop up on the BBC from time to time. He is based in some pro-Israel think tank in DC which just about says it all. His experience of the Middle East is probably limited to being cc-d list for Israeli press briefings. Another useful idiot for Netanyahu.

  • Mae

    Contrary to Michael Patek’s assertions that Israel is not party to any law under which last Monday’s actions were illegal, Lawyers for Palestinian Human Rights (a UK based organisations of lawyers) states there are two:

    “International law does provide that warships may interfere with the passage on the high seas of ships flying the flag of another State in limited circumstances. Article 22(1) of the 1958 Geneva High Seas Convention (which sets out customary international law, and to which Israel is a party):

    “Except where acts of interference derive from powers conferred by treaty, a warship which encounters a foreign merchant ship on the high seas is not justified in boarding her unless there is a reasonable ground for suspecting:

    a. that the ship is engaged in piracy; or

    b. that the ship is engaged in the slave trade; or

    c. that, though flying a foreign flag or refusing to show its flag, the ship is, in reality, of the same nationality as the warship.”

    This Article is repeated in Article 110(1) of the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, to which Israel is not a party.

    These exceptions were not relevant in this incident in that none of these grounds existed and there was no reasonable basis on which any of these grounds could be suspected.

    In addition, the 1988 IMO Convention on the Suppression of Unlawful Acts against the Safety of Maritime Navigation (to which Israel is a party) likely makes the actions of the Israeli navy unlawful. Article 3 provides:

    1. Any person commits an offence if that person unlawfully and intentionally:

    a. seizes or exercises control over a ship by force or threat thereof or any other form of intimidation; or

    b. performs an act of violence against a person on board a ship if that act is likely to endanger the safe navigation of that ship;

    g. injures or kills any person, in connection with the commission or attempted commission of any of the offences set forth in subparagraphs (a) to (f).

    Article 13 further provides:

    1. States Parties shall co-operate in the prevention of the offences set forth in Article 3, particularly by:

    a. Taking all practicable measures to prevent preparations in their respective territories for the commission of those offences within or outside their territories;.”

    http://www.lphr.org.uk/FlotilliaIL_QA/LPHR_FlotilliaIL_QA.pdf

  • Paul

    @Michael Petek

    Quoting Petek: “Look the dead were only Turks, killing them is not much different from killing Arabs!

    Are you going to attack Israel foor killing Arabs next you antisemites?”

    This has to be the most racist comment I’ve ever seen posted in response to one of Craig’s articles.

    Can I just clarify your true position on the grounds that, if it is what I think it is, I’m dumb-struck by your bigotry and racism? Are you claiming it’s okay for Israel to kill Arabs (or Turks) because they are ‘only Turks’ (or Arabs)?

    Quoting Petek: “If Israel isn’t allowed to kill Arabs why don’t you attack the UK and America for killing them?”

    If by ‘attack’, you mean get extremely angry and want to do what we can to stop them then who do you mean by ‘you’ exactly? Craig’s latest post on the drone killings 35 deaths of women and children in Yemen makes his position quite clear I think. 1,000,000 Britain’s all made their position on the killing of Arabs in Iraq by the US/UK governments quite clear too (I was there, in Trafalgar Square).

    Quoting Petek: “You people are acting like the dead were white.”

    No. I think you’ll find that we’re acting like they were people.

    I suspect that you’ll find many of Craig’s readers object to many or most of the following (subject to the vagaries of different peoples knowledge):

    – US/UK crimes against the civilian populations of Iraq, Afghanistan, and now Pakistan and Yemen. Also kidnapping, detention without trial, and denial of due process and basic human rights by both countries.

    – Britain’s crime against humanity in the force repatriation of the inhabitant’s of the Chagos Islands so the US could turn their main island (Diego Garcia) into an airbase.

    – Israel’s crimes against the Palestinians, including the occupation of the their lands, expropriate of land and property and the denial of the right of return.

    – Iraq’s crimes, under Saddam, against the Kurds and marsh Arabs.

    – Iran’s human rights violations against women and homosexuals.

    – China’s crimes against the Tibetans and Uyghurs.

    – Indonesia’s crimes against the people of Timor and West Papua.

    – Turkey’s denial of the Armenian genocide and criminalizing of free speech in this context.

    – Australia’s continuing treatment of its first people as second class citizens.

    – Russian’s war crimes in Chechnya.

    – Japanese racism against, and oppression of, the native Ainu inhabitant’s of the north of Japan.

    – Morocco’s occupation of Western Sahara and the expulsion of its people.

    – Nigeria’s treatment of the Ogoni and other delta peoples.

    – The treatment of Roma as second class citizens in parts of eastern Europe.

    – The expulsion of the Gana and Gwi (i.e. Bushmen) from their ancestral hunting lands in Botswana.

    – Human rights violations and suppression of all dissent in Saudi Arabia.

    – Uzbekistan’s awful human rights record (including the Andijan massacre).

    This list is only a sample.

    If I am anti-Israeli (or even, as you claim, anti-semitic) for objecting to Israeli actions, they I must be, by your logic and the list above: anti-American (so therefore also anti-Christian?); anti-British (I am British); anti-Iranian (therefore anti-Shia?); anti-Nigerian (therefore anti-Muslim and, I suppose, anti-Animist?); anti-Japanese (so, by your logic, anti-Buddhist and anti-Shinto?), anti-Botswanan, etc, etc. Looks like I don’t have many friends left, in fact.

    The truth is, of course, that most people who are against Israel actions are simply *for* justice and human rights. They are pro-people.

    By the way, it is not accidental that I primarily list states and governments as being in the wrong above. They have the greater responsibility to uphold justice and human rights than their opponents – in same way that a police officer has greater responsibility not to abuse the power granted to him then does a normal citizen. It is also objectively historically true that states have been and are responsible for more and greater crimes than are all the world’s terrorists put together.

  • Craig

    Paul –

    I don’t think the post you quote was Micheal Petek – it was I believe someone impersonating him. But I am afraid that it is not an unfair parody of his position.

  • ingo

    thanks for that link technicolour, that should be spread round a little, because our media does not elucidate on it at all.

  • Paul

    Craig,

    I did wonder about that very briefly. The fact that it was very briefly tells says something about what I take to be the implications of his other posts.

    A suggestion: how about moving the ‘Posted By’ line, per each post, to the top of the post? That way it would be easier to skip posts that aren’t worth reading (whether it’s Petek’s bigotry, or tony opmoc’s general irrelevance to the subject in question). Just a thought.

  • Paul

    Craig,

    I’ve emailed my PM with a strongly worded statement of my objection to Israeli actions. I’ve clearly stated that it is my understanding that, given the known facts at the moment, the Israeli forces acted illegally. (For example, that it was essentially an attack on a sovereign state, Turkey; or the Comoros as it may now be.)

    He responded by referring me to the Hansard record of the debate of the 2nd of June. I read all of the part relevant to the Mavi Marmara and Gaza.

    It seems the position of the coalition government is merely to request an impartial, but not an independent, investigation into the events that led to the ‘tragedy’. And further, to ask Israeli to lift the blockade – not on the grounds that it is an illegal crime of collective punishment – but based on the argument that it doesn’t actually aid Israel’s security. (Aside: the implications of what this would mean if the government *did* believe the blockade added to Israel’s security will not be lost on anyone, I think.) I suspect our government’s own experts already know the actions were illegal; so the position that we should wait for all the facts from an investigation seems disingenuous.

    I now want to respond to him pointing out both now pathetic and irresponsible the government’s current position on this is. I know from prior correspondence that he doesn’t do EDMs. However, he has offered to write to the Foreign Office.

    I want to point out to him some of the basic legal truths involved. For example, I understand that there *are* a very few circumstances under which boarding a vessel in international waters would be justified, but that these don’t apply in this case. Likewise the San Remo is not relevant. I’m no expert though so this is a bit tricky. I’ll request that he follows up these assertions himself to check their veracity.

    Is there any chance that you could blog a summary of the legal position to date, in so much as you understand it?

    I know the news coverage has been awful; I’ve seen no comment by any real maritime experts. Do you know of any? Or have any references to any that would be worth referring to?

    Regards.

  • Paul

    Craig,

    Should also have said: references to relevant agreements or treaties would be helpful.

    It could also be worth forwarding any summary you could provide to 38 Degrees. They are running a campaign relating to the Mavi Marmara and Gaza.

    http://www.38degrees.org.uk/

  • Michael Petek

    Some imposter has indeed been impersonating me again.

    Now, I’ve vaguely heard of the ‘Torat ha-Melekh’, and, yes, I’m vaguely aware of what it says about when it’s OK to kill a Gentile and when it isn’t.

    There’s only two ways to proceed from here.

    Either you chill out and let everyone define his own morality, and let Muslims wage jihad and Jews live by the Torat ha-Melekh and kill anyone they like according to the bag they’re into. It’s called moral relativism.

    Alternatively, you can judge according to some absolute moral standard which you impose on everyone else. If you do, you’re a religous nutjob.

    By the way, this discussion about customary international law is interesting.

    The 1958 High Seas Convention codifies customary law, which includes the following:

    The Plenipotentiaries who signed the Treaty of Paris of the thirtieth of March, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-six, assembled in Conference, —

    Considering:

    That maritime law, in time of war, has long been the subject of deplorable disputes;

    That the uncertainty of the law and of the duties in such a matter, gives rise to differences of opinion between neutrals and belligerents which may occasion serious difficulties, and even conflicts;

    That it is consequently advantageous to establish a uniform doctrine on so important a point;

    That the Plenipotentiaries assembled in Congress at Paris cannot better respond to the intentions by which their Governments are animated, than by seeking to introduce into international relations fixed principles in this respect;

    The above-mentioned Plenipotentiaries, being duly authorized, resolved to concert among themselves as to the means of attaining this object; and, having come to an agreement, have adopted the following solemn Declaration:

    1. Privateering is, and remains, abolished;

    2. The neutral flag covers enemy’s goods, with the exception of contraband of war;

    3. Neutral goods, with the exception of contraband of war, are not liable to capture under enemy’s flag;

    4. Blockades, in order to be binding, must be effective, that is to say, maintained by a force sufficient really to prevent access to the coast of the enemy.

    The Governments of the undersigned Plenipotentiaries engage to bring the present Declaration to the knowledge of the States which have not taken part in the Congress of Paris, and to invite them to accede to it.

    Convinced that the maxims which they now proclaim cannot but be received with gratitude by the whole world, the undersigned Plenipotentiaries doubt not that the efforts of their Governments to obtain the general adoption thereof, will be crowned with full success.

    The present Declaration is not and shall not be binding, except between those Powers who have acceded, or shall accede, to it.

    Done at Paris, the sixteenth of April, one thousand eight hundred and fifty-six.

    Custom consists of what states actually do, and it has always been accepted practice to impose blockades as acts of war.

  • mike cobley

    In other words might is right, and might is right to create facts on the ground. If a democracy is the rule of the demos, then what is the rule of the mighty?

    Ultimately, Mr P, I dont give a rancid donkey dropping for your historical exigeses – you’re an antidemocrat and thus an enemy of critical rationalism. Without criticism or reason, there is only the whim of the mighty. God help us when the mighty are mad.

  • Jon

    @Michael – unsurprisingly, you fail to answer my points.

    You appear to be unaware that many people in the Israeli regime do not want to recognise the current situation as a formally declared war. If they were to do so, the thousands of Palestinian prisoners in Israeli jails would have to receive PoW status, which the Israeli govt has long been opposed to.

    As previously stated, it is possible to have an absolute moral standard which is not religious – you appear only to have lawlessness or religious extremism as options available. To posit religious belief as justification for killing aid workers, blockade or none, does indeed make the speaker a “religious nutjob”.

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