Tuesday, June 1, 2010


Most of us recognize that Israel's boarding of the Hamas flotilla, accompanied as it was by loss of life was a wholly avoidable public relations disaster for the State of Israel. To characterize it as nothing more than an "incident" (JFNA's spin) in a sea of incidents rather than the fiasco that it was insults the intelligence. Like many of you, the parallels to the British attack on the Jews of the Exodus in 1947 are both obvious and painful and suggest that our brothers and sisters in Israel, so sensitive as they are to world opinion (while being dismissive of it) have learned far too little from our People's history when writing their own.

Sure, we'll argue for all the right reasons that Israel was in the right in boarding these ships when their leaders refused to turn into Ashdod to have the contents examined. We'll offer the rationale of a nation under constant threat. We'll be ignored and overwhelmed drowned out by a sea of negative publicity.

As Max Boot wrote in The Wall Street Journal: "Israel's actions in boarding the flotilla of ships bound for Gaza were entirely justified and perhaps even unavoidable. Unfortunately they turned into a tactical and strategic fiasco that does further damage to the Jewish State's battered international reputation." The fact remains that Turkey, once a key Israeli ally, has become a mouthpiece for Iran and terrorists -- yet, that government was able to organize the flotilla (the intent of which was clearly designed to embarrass Israel (and, to that extent, was successful beyond Erdogan's dreams) and further isolate our beloved Israel from those who support it.

If Israel had a credible Foreign Minister and a viable foreign policy, wouldn't logic have dictated that Israel would have organized sufficient pressure from friendly nations to cause it to reconsider its support of the flotilla (and, now, more "freedom boats") before it proceeded toward Gaza? Why was Israel unable to articulate in a coherent and planful manner the reasons it would have to turn the flotilla toward Ashdod to examine its cargo (we all remember, perhaps the world would have remembered the ship stocked by Iran with bombs and rockets destined for Hamas that Israel captured just a few years ago) so as to influence public opinion before the fiasco?

The Government of Israel should not have to apologize for doing the right thing, the lawful thing. It should understand, however, that doing the right thing in the wrong way produces only disasters...or fiascos....and, once again, it has.



paul jeser said...

I think that all those Americans who, sitting in their comfortable and relatively safe rocking chairs at home, think that Israel should have handled the flotilla differently should move to Israel, pay taxes, serve in the IDF, thus earning them the the moral right to pass judgement and suggest how the gov't shold act. Until then, such public criticism does nothing but give strength to those trying to destroy our homeland.

Anonymous said...

On this we can agree. great post.

RWEX said...

Dear Paul,

So you would dictate that only Israelis may offer comment on The Law of Return, but should be barred from their daily criticism of Obama and American policies toward Israel? Or is this a one-way street?

Anonymous said...


Not at all a one-way street. Criticism of Israel’s policy towards the US is fair game for Americans, and criticism of its policy towards Diaspora Jews (e.g. the Law of Return) fair game for Diaspora Jews. Both you and Max Boot, and most of Israel’s supporters, reject the world’s charge that launching ANY action against the flotilla constitutes moral guilt. You may believe that strategically Israel does not benefit by interdicting shipping to Gaza, or that tactically this operation was rife with blunders. Unfortunately, the distinction between moral and operational blame is glossed over by the media, so Israel’s well-meaning critics, and Israelis themselves in their internal debates, find themselves conscripted against their will into the army of Israel-bashers (not the ones with the metal bars). How do you criticize up to a point and not beyond, without becoming a tool of Israel’s real enemies? That’s the dilemma that I assume Paul Jeser is dealing with.

paul jeser said...

Richard - I'm talking about issues of security. Philosophic issues that deal with global Judaism (i.e., law of return) should be dealt with by all Jews....

Americans have the right to criticize our gov't; Israeli's do not -

RWEX said...

Friends, Anonymous and otherwise,

I can't understand why brilliant Comments -- like the Anonymous criticism above -- don't bear the name of their author.

Your points are well taken...but I suggest you read J.J. Goldberg's Forward Blog.

paul jeser said...

I've read JJ and 25+ others. The dilemma is. as anonymous wrote, not to cross the line.

I went to Israel a g'zillion years ago to protest when the Knesset was 1st considering changing hte 'law or return' - that is, I think, fair criticism.

The problem now is one of perception. When our enemies see PUBLIC critism from American Jewry (even if the criticism is warrented) it strengthens them.

If we r unhappy, we should be stating our views privately and personally, not through the media.

paul jeser said...

Flotilla Choir presents: We Con the World OUTSTANDING!!!!!