Max, I am relieved to know that you don’t consider Israel an apartheid state or the equivalent of apartheid South Africa, but I must take exception to much of your post.
First, you seem to give the Israel-hating international community a veto over Israel’s right of self-defense. The making of Israel into a pariah state will not be halted by Israel’s reticence or by withdrawal from territory or by treating activists masquerading as peace-loving souls with kid gloves. The terms of the debate — accept the international definition of proportionality or become like Burma — is wrong and inapplicable to any other nation. The notion that we can determine what is fair game (killing a Hamas “big shot”) and what is not (preserving a blockade critical to Israel’s security) is not one we are equipped to or have the right to determine. Do we let Turkey tell us: “Yes on an Afghan troop surge, but no on drones”?
Second, perhaps you know something we don’t, but I don’t see how interdicting a flotilla before it set out would have gotten Israel applause from the UN. “Israel Destroys Humanitarian Relief Effort!” the headlines would scream.
I recommend Leslie Gelb’s column in today’s Daily Beast. He cogently makes the case that Israel’s actions were fully justified, and any plan to conduct an international investigation is preposterous. He rightly scoffs at the howls from the international community, which recoils when Israeli commandos protect themselves. It is a model of clear-thinking that avoids the unwinnable debate that Israel’s enemies use to hobble the Jewish state.