There were a couple of morons this past weekend comparing Israel’s raid on a relief boat to Gaza as “Israel’s Kent State.” As a former adoptive Kent townie, a graduate of Kent State University, a former member of the May 4 Task Force and a chronic student of that event, I can say somewhat authoritatively to those people, one of whom wrote for the Huffington Post, that they should fuck off, or at the very least, that they should be more precise with their historical comparisons.
What happened at Kent was unique and should not be compared to Israel’s botched raid this past weekend. Agree with it or not, Israel reacted in response to events regarding a decades-old to centuries-old violent political conflict. What happened in Kent, Ohio in 1970 had no such historical context. There were protests against the escalation of the Vietnam War, then an ignorant and short-sighted governor sent in the Guard with the permission of an ignorant and short-sighted mayor, then the protests stopped being about the war but about the occupation of the campus, and then a bunch of kids shot up a bunch of kids. There was no intifada in the heartland, you stupid assholes.
I am by no means justifying Israel’s bizarre stance on relief ships to Gaza, which it appears this morning will be an ongoing policy. But if you must compare this to a historic event, you’re better off picking a fictional one—the massacre aboard the heavy hauler transport ship, the Gideon on Battlestar Galactica. At least that event took place in the context of a longstanding foolish violent political conflict.