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Ed Koch And Jeremy Scahill’s MSNBC Debate On Gaza Aid Flotilla Gets Territorial

After Monday’s conflict over a Gaza-bound flotilla, the effects on the cable news world of having what is possibly the single most emotionally charged issue in international politics– the Israeli-Palestinian conflict– front and center in the news cycle, are pretty clear. Earlier today on MSNBC, Willie Geist had former New York mayor Ed Koch and author Jeremy Scahill on to talk about the flotilla incident, and the heated exchange inevitably growing from Israel’s right to self defense to its right to exist at all.

Koch argued that he believed the entire incident was a “set-up” and that “Turkey planned this long ago and financed a group that has ties to terrorism” with the intent of bringing down the blockade on weapons to Gaza. If that was the case, countered Scahill, why did the list of prohibited goods include things like sage, coriander, toys, and horses? He deemed the blockade an “act of collective punishment” towards the people of Gaza, “most of them children under the age of 18.”

The language made Koch call the claim that some of the products being banned were not dangerous “nonsense” and asked rhetorically, “you expect them to permit war material to enter and to be used against them? They’d have to be nuts!”

The two continue their conversation with only quiet interruption from Geist to go to break, and escalated when Koch suggests that the root of all the conflict between the Israelis and other Middle Eastern countries is that “they beat them on the battlefield [and] they never expected that,” to which Scahill countered that the real issue was the occupation of Palestinian land. Koch then replied “So your position is that Israel doesn’t have a right to exist?”

Video of this morning’s news segment below:

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