Thursday, June 3, 2010

The Great Jeremy Scahill Destroys Ed Koch

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If you haven't heard of Jeremy Scahill, he's an excellent investigative journalist that works to expose the injustice of American militarism and imperialism. He began his career as a correspondent for Catholic Worker and Democracy Now!. Scahill wrote the excellent expose of private security contractors, Blackwater: The Rise of the World's Most Powerful Mercenary Army. Currently he writes for The Nation magazine (as well as a blog on the magazine's site).

What I enjoy about Scahill's work is that, much like Bill Moyers, he combines a journalist's attention to fact with the aim of working for a more just society. It's rare in these times of talk-format "news" shows and regurgitated talking points to see real journalism, especially when it professes a political goal. Political journalism lately has devolved into blogosphere hysterics on all sides (I'm going to hurl if I hear another reporter say both sides, as if our Democrat-Republican dichotomy encapsulates all possibilities of political opinion).

Not surprisingly he's been all over Israel's violent assault of the Mavi Marmara in international waters. He posted on his blog the video (I posted it above) of his appearance on MSNBC debating Ed Koch about the incident. His rigor for facts partially explains why he destroys the hell out of Koch.

I'll mostly let Scahill's words speak for themselves (he adds to them in this post on his blog). I just want to highlight two things. First, the list of goods banned from Gaza is really ridiculous, both in length and the inclusion of certain individual items (it includes goats and common culinary spices like cumin). It's clear the blockade is intended to do much more than prevent rocket attacks, as Scahill drives home when he asks Koch how goats could be used to launch a rocket.

Secondly, links to the US are crucial here. Israel gets away with human rights violations and violent aggression because the US unconditionally backs it at the UN and provides generous military aid, no matter what party is in power here. Even now the Obama administration is working to thwart an independent international investigation of the massacre. Until we condition our support for Israel upon respect for international law and human rights, these injustices will continue and the matter of Palestinian statehood will remain unresolved.

I hope to have more later on the legal aspect of the assault, so stay tuned.

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