While we don’t yet know all the facts, the apparent killing ofat least 10 people aboard a ship bound for Gaza with humanitarian aid already has all the hallmarks of a massive public-relations disaster.
It does sound like there might have been some kind of violent response
from the activists on the boat, and the Israeli military is claiming
its forces encountered “live fire and light weaponry including knives
But the international response has been swift. Turkey hasrecalled its ambassador and warned of “consequences,”
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon has called for an investigation,
European governments have expressed shock, and I imagine thousands of
outside observers like me are wondering just what possessed the Israeli
government to risk such an outcome when it sent naval commandoes to
board the vessel.
AsHaaretz‘s Amos Harelputs it,
“The damage that Israel has caused itself internationally can hardly be
exaggerated.” Harel warns that the rumored presence of an Israeli Arab
activist among the victims could lead to riots and perhaps even “a
Another liberal Haaretz commentator, Bradley Burston, comments, “We are no longer
defending Israel. We are now defending the siege. The siege itself is
becoming Israel’s Vietnam.”
A public relations disaster. It’s also an actual disaster for, you know, the DEAD PEOPLE.
And while I’m not of the school of thought that nobody should move for fear of pissing somebody else off, you do get to a certain point where you say, okay, we’re now in a place where we can talk about if rocks and kitchen knives are really enough of a threat that we’re gonna isolate ourselves from the entire world by engaging in piracy. Because you look up the definition of NOT HELPING YOUR OWN CAUSE in the dictionary and this sort of shit is right there in color.
Can it be long before a flood of stories about why Palestinians hate everyone so much?
Our commentary, natch, is catastrophically fucked, and we are all anti-Semites now:
Hanging over the administration’s deliberations are thegratuitous spats with Netanyahu
that Obama has blundered into. Twice the president chose to launch
pointless and unwinable battles to freeze Israeli settlement
construction in Jerusalem. These served only to complicate his Middle
East diplomacy, while alienating Israel’s supporters in Congress and
the Democratic Party.
Just last week, Obama chose to side against Israel
in the final deliberations of the Non-Proliferation Treaty review
conference. In pursuit of one of the president’s most cherished causes,
the United States accepted language calling on Israel to join the NPT
and supporting a conference in 2013 on a nuclear-free Middle East.
Netanyahu’s government was left alone in its opposition.
Gratuitous spats. Yes. Pointless. Unwinnable. And why are they pointless and unwinnable? Because the Washington Post says so, and its editors know that Israel is gonna do whatever the fuck it wants to do, as, really, is its right, but the majority of Congress will either yawn because hey, that’s how it works, or cower in fear from the Washington Post calling them anti-Semitic.
The majority of the American public will be confused because peoplemistakenly thought they were allowed to disagree about this shit, yet the diversity of opinion at the top is nonexistent. And so it goes.