While Meretz USA opposes any one-sided and demonizing view of this incident, its statement deplores the tragic loss of life, questions the necessity of Israel boarding the ships in the first place and hopes that Israelis will soon decide to end the counterproductive blockade of Gaza.
Lilly Rivlin, a past president of Meretz USA, has passed along a most interesting analysis by George Friedman, a political and strategic analyst. He makes the point that the Turkish Islamist group that manned the ships, alongside international peace activists, was looking for a confrontation with Israel to win a propaganda victory. Similarly to Meretz USA, he blames Israel for having fallen into their trap by taking the bait and challenging the ships. Friedman goes on to draw an interesting historical parallel with the famous Haganah ship, the Exodus, which ran Jewish refugees directly into the British blockade of Palestine in 1947, and at the cost of their willingness to suffer a hunger fast, shamed the British in a crucial battle of agit-prop that helped persuade Britain to give up its Mandate over Palestine.
Another former officer of Meretz USA, Arieh Lebowitz, forwards this UK Guardian blogpost from Seth Freedman, “a progressive Israeli, relatively recent oleh from the UK.” Freedman contends (as indicated in his posting’s title and subhead) that “Israel had no choice over Gaza flotilla: Flotilla activists had ample opportunity to defuse the situation before the IDF arrived – instead they decided on violence.”
In another Weblog post at the UK Guardian (also passed along by Lilly Rivlin), the famed writer and dovish (and Meretz) activist David Grossman argues a more critical line. While holding no brief for Hamas, Grossman condemns the attack on the Gaza flotilla as showing “how far Israel has declined” and cites “The closure of Gaza [as] the consequence of a clumsy, calcified policy, which resorts by default to the use of massive force.”