01 June 2010

Thoughts on Tayyip's Flotilla

To my mind, the biggest hypocrite of all in the disastrous Gaza flotilla raid is Turkish Prime Minister Tayyip Erdogan, who said following the raid, "this bloody massacre by Israel on ships that were taking humanitarian aid to Gaza deserves every kind of curse and called the Israeli action an attack on international law, the conscience of humanity and world peace."  Erdogan, who days earlier inked a deal on trading nuclear material with Iran, knew exactly what he was doing in sending these ships, drawing Israel into a humanitarian nightmare and provocation that would only further isolate Israel and offer a veil of protection for Erdogan's increasingly radicalized, Muslim population.

To my mind, the greatest disappointment in the disastrous Gaza flotilla raid is that Ehud Barak and Bibi Netanyahu didn't see the trap that was set for them; or, they did see it and executed a plan that was doomed for failure anyway.  Either way, the strategic weakness exposed is bad for Israel, another source of joy for Erdogan and for Hamas.

Where do we go from here?  All the predictable groups are rallying around their predictable positions.  There is little solace in this.

Here are my concerns:

1.  The White House has very little credibility with the Israelis right now.  Despite his denials, Netanyahu really does feel like he "beat" Obama in the PR struggle and has taken away any potential advantage Obama had in reigning in Bibi.  A neutralized DC is left to make statements but fundamentally, Israel has proven yet again that it will do what it wants, particularly when recognizing that the existential threats to its existence will remain un-addressed in any substantive way by the other nations.  If Israel's strongest and oldest ally cannot convince Israel not to always behave as if every encounter is an existential one, then Israel truly will act alone in all matters.

2.  Things always get worse before they get better.  What now stands in the way of an Israeli attack on Iran?  Who stops it?  Who really has the power of persuasion in this conflict?  The fight for one's existence has no resolution until the existential threat is gone.  Hamas is not the existential threat.  It becomes, now, like Hezbollah, a conduit for the greater attacks on Israel from forces beyond Israel and Palestine.  And it comes down Israel v Iran.  Who has the power to "call off this threat?"  This is where things get very dark.

Certain people are going to think this is nuts but here goes: Israel waited too long to truly extricate itself from the territories.  The accumulated enmity toward Israel is so great, its allies in the Arab world are rapidly diminishing, and we are left with an Us v The World mindset--never good.  While waiting for the Palestinians to accept our right to exist (that we could hear their denials is proof of our existence!) more now deny our right to exist.  Where does the waiting get us, exactly?

The longer we wait for two states, the less chance we will ever have of achieving peace, and, as some have insidiously figured out, the less chance the Jewish state may have of ever existing again as we know it.

Too much is at stake to be drawn in to predictable attempts to make Israel the pariah so many want it to be.  Don't give the satisfaction.  Lead from the strength and power you earned and, when truly necessary, must sometimes kill to defend.  Tayyip (outrageous provocateur that he is) sent his flotilla to make a threat beyond the boats.  Barak and Bibi should have seen that, waited it out, and called his bluff.  Too much is at stake to make this mistake again.

1 comment:

Marco Siegel-Acevedo said...

As you told me, forging a relationship with and understanding Israel will be a process lasting past my conversion, my day at the mikvah, for the rest of my life. Right now, it feels as if "my" Israel has receded behind it's political consternation, even as I reach for it. But looking at it dispassionately the situation does provide a palpable reality, grim as it is, to anchor my efforts. Knowing Israel seems a very real, very vital goal now.