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Glenn Greenwald Clobbers Eliot Spitzer in Debate on the Gaza Flotilla

One of the best cable news smackdowns ever recorded.

You don’t often get a piece of cable TV this good, so it’s worth transcribing and posting in its entirety.

Yesterday, two Netanyahu propagandists appeared on MSNBC prior to Glenn Greenwald, painting a picture of the flotilla raid that was so grossly distorted it was unrecognizable as the incident that is being rightfully condemned around the world.  Host Eliot Spitzer vigorously agreed with them, and then brought them back once again to counter Glenn after his appearance.

Spitzer was not nearly so conciliatory with Glenn, and during the interview, clips of the selectively edited IDF propaganda videos and their helpful English subtitles played continuously.  In a rare and contentious eight minute cable news segment, Glenn decided to set the record straight:

ELIOT SPITZER: Now let’s bring in Glenn Greenwald from who calls Israel’s actions quote, “heinous and repugnant” and, well let me just ask you, you have ships approaching Gaza, controlled by Hamas; Hamas is a terrorist organization, Israel did (I don’t think this is disputed) offer to have the ships inspected, if there was no contraband on board, let the ships continue on to Gaza.  Why was that not a reasonable offer, why should Israel not intercede to stop the flow of contraband?

GLENN GREENWALD: Well, first of all, international waters, which is where this ship was, is not owned by Israel.  It is a crime, a war crime, to attack a ship in international waters that has not engaged in any aggression, and no one claims that these ships were.  I mean, what you’re describing is absolute anarchy, that any country can just say, “no ships can go here, and if you disobey our order, we’re going to attack you, board your ship forcefully, and kill anybody who does resist.”

SPITZER: Well, let me interr…

GREENWALD:  No, let me just finish because you just had on 10 minutes of uninterrupted pro-Israeli propaganda filled with falsehoods.  The blockade is one of the most brutal and inhumane blockades that we’ve seen in the last generation.  Look at UN reports that are objective, not Netanyahu aides, that say that 60% of the babies in Palestine have anemia, 65% of the population is food insecure; the entire Palestinian economy has collapsed as a result of this blockade.  Israel routinely refuses to permit all sorts of imports including food, chocolate, french fries, anything but the barest necessities to keep those prisoners — which is what they are — alive…

SPITZER: Glenn, I hear you.  Hold on one second.  Let’s go back to Ruth Wedgewood, who is really a top-flight intellect and scholar of international law, said that nations that are a war are permitted in international water to enforce a blockade and to check to see if contraband is on board.  Now, nobody has said that Israel has prevented humanitarian materials to flow through to Gaza.  You may be saying there’s not enough…

GREENWALD: I just said that, the UN has said that, everybody says that.  Israel constantly prevents humanitarian aid from going through to Gaza, and that’s why the claim, “oh, you just give us the cargo and we’ll take care of it for you,” is an absolute absurd joke.

For the last three years, the Israeli prime minister’s aide –  top aide, when the blockade was first imposed  — said, “The purpose is to put the Palestinians on a diet.”  That’s what the Israeli prime minister’s top aide said about the reason this blockade was instituted. It is a completely inhumane blockade; that is that it starves the people of Palestine, as the UN says, not as I say, or as Hamas says, or as you say, or as Netanyahu aides say.  Look at the objective reporting about what’s happening to that population.

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