You could waste a lifetime doing nothing but debunking Roger Cohen’s inanities, so I don’t usually bother. But this time, the star New York Times columnist ostensibly poses a reasonable question: why aren’t the official America and the media raising an outcry over the death of an American citizen in Israel’s May raid on a Gaza-bound flotilla?
Cohen’s answer is that Americans don’t care because Furkan Dogan was a Muslim. And to prove it, Cohen does his best to paint the 19-year-old as a secular saint whom Americans ought to care deeply about: Dogan “was proud of his American passport and dreamt of coming back [to America] after completing medical school. … [He] had just completed high school with excellent grades. … [He was] little interested in politics, but with an aspiring doctor’s concern for Palestinian suffering.”
Yet anyone who knows anything about the flotilla knows that Dogan was almost certainly nothing of the sort. The video footage of Turkish “humanitarians” aboard the Mavi Marmara – who carefully prepared their weapons and then brutally beat the commandos who rappelled from a chopper from the moment they landed — makes it clear that: a) the Turks attacked first with malice aforethought; and b) pretty much everyone on deck participated in the attack. Indeed, passengers and crew members later testified that the thugs had ordered all noncombatants below deck before the Israeli forces approached.
Moreover, photos of the battered, bloody Israeli commandos make it clear they had good reason to think their lives in danger and to open fire in self-defense.
And there’s another pesky fact Cohen should certainly know, as his own paper reported it: Dogan’s brother Mustafa was quoted by the Turkish daily Zaman afterward as saying that “we were not sorry to hear that he fell like a martyr.”
Americans have become all too familiar over the last decade with the kind of Muslims who laud “martyrdom.” They’re the ones who committed the 9/11 attacks and the Fort Hood Massacre; the ones who tried and failed to blow up an airliner last Christmas and to explode a bomb in Times Square this spring. And therefore, most Americans don’t have much use for the type.
In short, anyone who knows anything about the flotilla lacks sympathy for Dogan because of his behavior, not his religion.
But what about that vast majority of Americans who don’t know any of the above? Why don’t they care?
It’s very simple: they don’t care because Dogan moved back to Turkey with his family 17 years ago at the age of two. In other words, he’s primarily a Turk, not an American. It’s the same reason official America and the media have never shown any interest in the many American-Israelis killed by Palestinian suicide bombers: Americans tend to conclude that someone who has chosen to live outside America is primarily the responsibility of the country he (or, in this case, his parents) adopted, not the one he left.
It’s a perfectly reasonable conclusion. Only Roger Cohen could make it into evidence of anti-Muslim bias.