Tuesday, June 01, 2010

Someone must pay for this.

I keep reading that the Israelis have engaged in a sophisticated PR exercise since the assault on the "freedom flotilla" heading for Gaza. If they have, I am afraid I have missed it. They don't sound remotely credible to me.

Indeed, as Reuven Pedatzur points out in today's Ha'aretz newspaper, this is "a failure any way you slice it."

Ha'aretz's own editorial amply demonstrates the impossibility of defending what the Israelis have done.

When a regular, well-armed, well-trained army goes to war against a "freedom flotilla" of civilian vessels laden with civilians, food and medication, the outcome is foretold - and it doesn't matter whether the confrontation achieved its goal and prevented the flotilla from reaching Gaza.
When one finds oneself attacking a "freedom flotilla" then the die is cast before the first shot is even fired. No amount of Hasbara is going to repair the serious damage which Israel has inflicted on her own reputation. So why do I keep reading about Israel's "sophisticated PR exercises"?

There is nothing "sophisticated" at all about what we are witnessing.
Nevertheless, it seemed no one could resist the temptation to show the Israel Defense Forces' strength in a place the IDF should not have been in the first place. Because the question was not who would win the confrontation, but who would win more public opinion points. In this test, Benjamin Netanyahu's government failed completely. Israel let its policy of maintaining the siege on Gaza become an existential matter. This policy boomeranged and cost Israel its international legitimacy.
It was an act of stupidity; an unforgivable attempt to defend an indefensible policy which starves innocent Palestinians.

It has resulted in international disapprobation for the Israelis, and deservedly so.

So, when am I going to stop reading about the Israeli "sophisticated" PR machine? This is a turd which it is simply impossible to shine.

The decision makers' negligence is threatening the security of Israelis, and Israel's global status. Someone must be held responsible for this disgraceful failure. There is no way to convince Israel's citizens and its friends around the world that Israel regrets the confrontation and its results, and is learning from its errors, other than setting up a state inquiry committee to investigate the decision-making process, and to decide who should pay for this dangerous policy.

I agree with the Ha'aretz editorial. Someone must pay for this.


George Friedman
points out the way in which Israel has ran into her own fist by reacting to this provocation.

The tougher Israel is, the more the flotilla’s narrative takes hold. As the Zionists knew in 1947 and the Palestinians are learning, controlling public opinion requires subtlety, a selective narrative and cynicism. As they also knew, losing the battle can be catastrophic. It cost Britain the Mandate and allowed Israel to survive. Israel’s enemies are now turning the tables. This manoeuvre was far more effective than suicide bombings or the Intifada in challenging Israel’s public perception and therefore its geopolitical position (though if the Palestinians return to some of their more distasteful tactics like suicide bombing, the Turkish strategy of portraying Israel as the instigator of violence will be undermined).

Israel is now in uncharted waters. It does not know how to respond. It is not clear that the Palestinians know how to take full advantage of the situation, either. But even so, this places the battle on a new field, far more fluid and uncontrollable than what went before. The next steps will involve calls for sanctions against Israel. The Israeli threats against Iran will be seen in a different context, and Israeli portrayal of Iran will hold less sway over the world.

And this will cause a political crisis in Israel. If this government survives, then Israel is locked into a course that gives it freedom of action but international isolation. If the government falls, then Israel enters a period of domestic uncertainty. In either case, the flotilla achieved its strategic mission. It got Israel to take violent action against it. In doing so, Israel ran into its own fist.

The point of provocation, as Gandhi rightly pointed out, is to force a reaction. The freedom flotilla succeeded because Israel reacted and the world was outraged by her reaction.

Ironically, this is the exact same tactic the Zionists used against the Brits.

Click here for full article.


Sophia said...

Irish aid boat Rachel Corrie is heading to Gaza as I write and the Irish government warned Israel in advance of any attempt to intercept the boat with dire consequences.
If all governments were behind the aid boats as this one seems to be tomorrow we will be able to lift the blockade of Gaza.

Kel said...


The irony of the boat being named the Rachel Corrie says everything.

The end of the siege is actually in sight. Ireland and Turkey are both saying enough is enough; and, after the horror story of Israel's latest intervention, I don't think she will dare risk attempting to stop them.