Shabbat flotilla reading (and viewing)


* Over at the Daily Beast, Peter Beinart — echoing Eitan Haber — wonders whether Free Gaza/Free Gilad Shalit might get better mileage for both causes:

Shalit’s fate, in a macabre way, echoes the fate of the people of Gaza. He is imprisoned; they are imprisoned. They are dependent on their jailors for food; he is dependent on his jailors for food. They die because they cannot leave Gaza to get sophisticated medical care; he may die because he cannot leave Gaza to get sophisticated medical care. So here’s my suggestion for the anti-blockade activists who have not heretofore expressed much concern for Shalit’s fate: Think of him as a Gazan—a caged, brutalized, Gazan Jew.

* At the Huffington Post, Stephen P. Cohen says the crisis presents an opportunity for President Obama to spur forward peace talks — through a speech and then an international conference:

In his public address, the President should tell the world that he sees the Middle East at a strategic crossroads of peace and war. He must explain the urgency of preventing further outbreaks of violence and the significance of the opportunity for cooperation in peace provided by the Israeli-Palestinian indirect talks.

Such a speech would not, by itself, impel the Israeli government to move forward as Obama might want. It would, however, demonstrate to Israelis and Palestinians that Obama wants to consolidate the US-Israel relationship while working towards a hoped-for rapprochement between the United States and the Islamic world — especially with the Arab states that were friendly towards America during the Cold War, but alienated by the invasion of Iraq in 2003. This speech should set the strategic framework for how the United States, the Arab states and Israel, together with America’s allies in NATO and Japan, can realize the opportunities for Middle East peacemaking.

Second, Obama needs to summon world leaders to an international peace conference on the Middle East. This collective meeting would inaugurate an era of peace and demonstrate that there is no room for an Iranian bomb or for further expansion of radical Islam. It would position the United States as a peaceful leader of the Free World, which would include Israel and Palestine on an equal footing with all other states in the Middle East and within the world political system.

Cohen, notably, wrote an early draft of the speech Obama delivered in Cairo a year ago, addressing the Muslim world.

* Glenn Beck gets a flotilla two-fer:

First, M.J. Rosenberg of Media Matters disabuses Beck of a number of outlooks the Fox talkshow maven attributed to Rosenberg:

Beck’s other "gotcha" moment is his suggestion that I would favor allowing weapons into Gaza.  I would not. Israel has every right to keep munitions out of Gaza.  But the ships the Israelis attacked were not bringing weapons into Gaza — not even the Israelis claim they were — but rather goods needed to restore normal life to Gaza.

Then, Jon Stewart takes on Beck’s assertion that video of passengers aboard the flotilla’s main ship appeared only on Fox:

The Daily Show With Jon Stewart Mon – Thurs 11p / 10c
Glenn Beck Airs Israeli Raid Footage
Daily Show Full Episodes Political Humor Tea Party

* And the most frustrating aspect for the Daily Mash is that "Israel is just making it easier for Guardian readers to look good":

Dr Martin Bishop, of the Institute for Studies, said: "Benjamin Netanyahu has to realise that his aggressive stance towards Hamas and Hezbollah is playing into the hands of some of the worst people in the world.

"I simply cannot sit through another dinner party with some speccie f—er spouting off about Israel while all the single, attractive women around the table stare at him like he was Martin Luther King.

Now that’s the kind of expert I wish I had on my speed dial.

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