On Thursday, a small "flotilla" of boats will make their way down the Hudson River and up the East River to the U.N. to call attention to the plight of Gilad Shalit, the Israeli soldier imprisoned by Hamas for what will soon be four years. What's the point, some people will ask. Is this the best way to help?
The Obama administration should probe whether the Turkish Humanitarian Relief Foundation — whose activists engaged in a violent clash with Israeli soldiers aboard a Gaza flotilla ship on May 31 — is tied to terrorist groups, 80 U.S. Senators said in a letter to the president this week.
A year and a half after the left side of his body was torn head-to-toe by shrapnel in the Gaza war, 23-year-old Ron Lichi was enjoying a relaxing tour of the Empire State Building, the White House and the Lubavitcher Rebbe’s gravesite, among other American tourist destinations.
Israel did what it was told, giving in on the blockade without getting anything back, not even a Red Cross visit for Shalit, so everyone can feel better about themselves -- particularly those leftist American Jews who have had such a hard time supporting Israel lately -- except Shalit and his family won't feel better about themselves, Shalit still is in his his fourth year of isolated suffering, getting nothing out of this.
We'll see how much pressure anyone keeps on Hamas to release Shalit. Everyone who wanted Israel to be "smart," well, this is what they asked for. Let's see how much the pro-Beinart bloggers will ever mention Shalit again. And now let's see if it works for Shalit or if this whole episode will be exposed as yet another scamming of Israel. The Palestinians see this for what it is, a sign that they can take even more chances -- with Israel increasingly being stripped of its right to self-defense.
Jeffrey Goldberg, the usually liberal Atlantic journalist and one-time IDF soldier, has increasingly been defending more conservative positions on Israel. So when he opened last night's discussion with Jeremy Ben-Ami, the J Street founder and former Clinton aide, with the interrogation-like question -- "Are you or have you ever been a Zionist?" -- you might have expected the night to end in a brawl.