It’s hard for me to express the degree of antipathy I feel toward Roger Cohen.
He is one reason that I wish for an afterlife, including a Hell in which Cohen could have his liver eaten by eagles with dull beaks, over and over for eternity.
Cohen wrote a tear-jerker about the 19-year-old Turkish-American, Furkan Dogan, who was one of the nine members of the Turkish IHH contingent aboard the Mavi Marmara who were killed in a confrontation with Israeli commandos on May 31. It appeared in the New York Times, a newspaper which downplayed WWII reports of the Holocaust because of its Jewish ownership — and if you can understand this perhaps you can understand Cohen.
How he was killed is disputed — as is just about everything concerning the Israeli naval takeover of the six-boat Gaza-bound flotilla — but his father suspects a video camera carried by his son may have provoked Israeli commandos.
Anyone can dispute anything. But in this case there was a careful investigation, by the IDF (those who think that all Israelis are demons, the videos are fake, and that an IDF investigation is worthless can stop reading now). There is also a great deal of other information available, including testimonies from the ship’s personnel.
Here are some facts: of the 718 passengers on the Mavi Marmara, some 40 of them (according to the ship’s Second Officer) took over the upper deck. They prepared for the arrival of the IDF boarding party by cutting up railings, etc. to make metal clubs.
The hard core boarded the ship in Istanbul without undergoing a security check, as opposed to the other passengers, who boarded in Antalya [Anatolia] after a full examination… As they boarded they were given walkie-talkies for communicating with one another. — ITIC
The IHH’s connections to Islamic terrorism are well-documented, and its core operatives on the ship were planning for a violent confrontation. Reportedly, half of those killed had made statements to friends or family that they were seeking martyrdom.
The first officer reported that this group did not allow passengers or crew members that they did not recognize on the deck in the hours before the confrontation. When the IDF soldiers landed on the top deck, they were viciously attacked with various ‘cold’ weapons — metal bars, slingshots, knives, etc. — and with live fire. Numerous Israelis were injured, three of them critically.
Some of the deaths of the IHH ‘activists’ occurred here. Somewhat later, in the process of taking over the ship, IDF personnel were met with live fire in several locations, and returned it. Some of the shooting came from weapons taken from wounded Israelis, and some from weapons that the passengers brought on board. The Israelis did not shoot to kill except in life-threatening situations.
It isn’t possible to determine exactly where Dogan was when he was shot. It was reported that he was shot five times, at least twice in the head. Cohen et al produce this as evidence of Israeli brutality, but in fact it indicates that Dogan was shot because he was perceived as a threat.
This implies that either he was involved in deadly violence or appeared to be. The suggestion that he may have ‘provoked’ the Israelis by holding a video camera is certainly reasonable — what would you expect to happen to someone who injects himself into the middle of a firefight and aims a small black object at a combatant?
Cohen is outraged that little has been written about Dogan:
I have little doubt that if the American killed on those ships had been Hedy Epstein, a St. Louis-based Holocaust survivor, or Edward Peck, a former U.S. ambassador to Mauritania, we would have heard a lot more…
I also have little doubt that if the incident had been different — say a 19-year-old American student called Michael Sandler killed by a Palestinian gunman in the West Bank when caught in a cross-fire between Palestinians and Israelis — we would have been deluged in stories about him.
But a chill descends when you have the combination of Israeli commandos doing the firing, an American with a foreign-sounding Muslim name, and the frenzied pre-emptive arguments of Israel and those among its U.S. supporters who will brook no criticism of the Jewish state.
Actually, Dogan has been written about far more than Michael Sandler. A Google search for “Furkan Dogan” brings up 3,600,000 results while “Michael Sandler” gets only 325,000 — and this includes numerous other people named Michael Sandler. A search for “Michael Sandler Palestinian” produces a mere 18,700. This is remarkable, because Dogan’s death is really not that interesting. It’s sort of like a guy that wanders out onto a busy freeway and gets hit by a truck.
What Cohen is really convulsing about is “the frenzied pre-emptive arguments of Israel and those among its U.S. supporters who will brook no criticism of the Jewish state.”
I don’t know what’s preemptive here. The Israelis were ambushed, and then the chorus of lies started: the commandos supposedly landed on the deck shooting; they targeted harmless ‘peace activists’. Turkey’s PM Erdoğan accused Israel of “murder” and “genocide” (I would be careful with that word, if I were him).
How did we get from refuting vicious lies to “brook[ing] no criticism?”
Cohen mentions in passing an incredibly stupid article by Peter Beinart, lately more or less the manifesto of the Jewish anti-Israel crowd. It has nothing at all to do with the Mavi Marmara affair, except insofar as a it suggests that American Jews shouldn’t support Israel.
Roger Cohen is a one-trick pony, and his trick is hating Israel while being Jewish. He should be put out to pasture.
Update [2049 PDT]: minor changes.