The Israeli government faces condemnation for its attack on a flotilla of ships carrying relief supplies to Gaza. Its excuses for the nighttime airborne assault show what the logic of state superiority looks like when taken to its deadly extreme.
Supposedly the raid had to be done, because the flotilla challenged Israel’s control of Gaza. When a mindset is adopted that the state must control everything within a certain area, then anything the state does not have a hand in is seen as a threat. But transporting medical supplies and “luxuries” like toys and unapproved foods really only threatens a government’s control.
Essentially, the activists on the ships were attacking Israel’s concept of the border by transporting supplies in violation of the rules made by those who drew the boundaries with force. Believing that a border must be defended from those who peaceably defy it leads to attacks on human beings. The preservation of power comes before the preservation of human life.
One can see parallels in United States border politics. Immigrants from a certain demographic are thought of as less-worthy humans and blamed for the harm that the ruling class has done. Those apprehended by Immigrations and Customs Enforcement are regularly treated worse than actual criminals. New Jersey Civil Rights Defense Committee and The Nation reporter Jacqueline Stevens have described routine abuse and secretive detention centers used to punish those who infringe on a statist concept.
Israeli officials have whined about a heavily armed boarding party getting struck with bludgeons and sharp objects. The ships’ crews and passengers had every right to repel boarders from their ships — even if they had used firearms, which there is no evidence of anyone on board possessing. And even if Israeli forces did not begin shooting before landing on the ships, as some allege.
The concepts of sovereignty and authority mean that some people are assigned higher worth than others. The king’s men may assault you, and resisting them automatically legitimizes any violence done against you, including the violence against you that began the exchange. It is like when cops batter and cage an individual for pushing them back, or shoot a person during a drug raid.
As Roderick Long notes in his aaeblog.com post The Logick of Kings: “The Israeli government explains that it had to kill innocent people because they defended themselves when attacked.”
Israeli officials have told the media that weapons had been found aboard the ships. Maybe they should present evidence of these weapons, unless we’re just to assume that the pipes and sharp pieces of metal used to defend against the raiders represent a significant threat to the Israeli military. Of course, since the ships are under control of the Israeli government, it probably wouldn’t be too hard for some government agents to plant a few crates of weapons on board.
Israeli forces, unlike the Free Gaza flotilla, are thoroughly equipped with the latest in military hardware. We are not supposed to question the massive amount of military aid the United States Government gives to the Israeli government, because it’s not considered criminal when certain armed gangs attack civilians to keep control of their turf.
One obvious bit of statist logic in the attempts to justify the Israeli attack is the “with us or against us” mindset. If you are not assisting the state expand its power, then you are an enemy, and you will be equated with all of the state’s rivals, whether they be Stalinists or Hamas. Those who acted against the interests of Israel’s ruling policy are automatically assigned to the same category as terrorists who fire rockets into cities.
The logic of the state is the logic of control. When we look for consistency, we find only attempts to institute total control. The antithesis of the state is the true liberty, equality, and solidarity advocated by anarchists.