Gaza Boat 311.
(photo credit: ASSOCIATED PRESS)
Over the last week, in the aftermath of the Gaza flotilla incident, a scenario
that harks back to our distant past began playing itself out. Mustering all the
atavism at their disposal, various pundits and commentators took to the airwaves
and the opinion pages, wringing their hands and wracking their brains as they
tried to figure out just how we can maybe, possibly, hopefully, get the world to
like us again.
Tossing aside any pretense of rationally assessing the
country’s strategic or national security interests, this chorus of characters
instead sought to convince the public that our overriding policy consideration
must be what others might say about us.
Some, such as former Meretz
minister Ran Cohen, writing on Ynet, argued that the IDF needs to lift
blockade of Gaza, even though this would effectively allow an
of weapons to terrorists. Israel, Cohen asserted, simply has no choice,
otherwise “the world will end up endorsing Hamas.”
Others, such as Ze’ev
Segal of Haaretz
pleaded with the government to establish a
high-level committee of inquiry, with international observers, to
the flotilla affair. After all, Segal concluded, “It should be obvious
prime minister and his advisers that the world will not be against us if
real action to investigate what happened.”
I don’t know about
you, but all this pitiful pandering is like something straight out of a
soap opera. It is as if we have reverted back to the days when Jewish
policy was dictated first and foremost by the age-old lament: “What will
INDEED, THE most extreme and shocking example of the return of
this mentality was on display on Army Radio.
I could hardly believe my
ears when the host of a popular late-morning program actually toyed with
idea that in terms of Israel’s image, it might have been better had the
commandos, rather than the socalled “Turkish “peace activists,” been
aboard the Gaza flotilla. Does he really think that the life of even one
soldier is worth a slightly less critical headline on CNN?
To be sure, the
manner in which Israel and its actions are perceived around the globe
considered in the formulation of government policy. About this there is
dispute. For better or worse, we live in the information age, where
appearance are critical and must be borne in mind as part of any
initiative. But there is a world of difference between taking the
community’s reaction into account and allowing it to dictate Israel’s
The former is a sign of healthy common sense, while the latter
is nothing less than a recipe for disaster.
International relations is not
a high-school popularity contest. For Israel, it is a matter of
staving off threats to our existence and countering those who seek our
It was David Ben-Gurion who famously declared that “it
doesn’t matter what the gentiles say; what matters is what the Jews do.”
there is a great deal of truth in this, I think he may have overstated
By suggesting a dichotomy, Ben- Gurion made it sound as if we can only
or the other.
Yet reality suggests otherwise. Consider the following:
Despite a week of media malevolence in which Israel was roundly
nearly all quarters, a new poll suggests that most Americans continue to
by the Jewish state.
A survey conducted by Rasmussen found that 49% of US
voters believe that pro-Palestinian activists on the Gaza-bound ships
blame for the deaths, while just 19% said the fault lies with Israel.
32% said they weren’t sure.
Does this “matter”? Of course
it does. It is a
sign that support for Israel among the American public remains durable.
congressional elections just around the corner, this support has great
and diplomatic value, and undoubtedly serves as a brake on some of the
Israel-related instincts of President Barack Obama and his crew.
So by all
means, we must continue to make Israel’s case with vigor and resolve and
cultivate the friendship and understanding of the American people and
can and should care about what others may think of us, but at the end of
we must do what is necessary to ensure our security.
If these two goals
ever clash, there should be no question as to what takes
Saving Jewish lives must always come first.