One year has passed marking the Goldstone report’s release into the public, arriving on the bloodied heels of the flotilla incident, the NPT review’s demand (backed by the US to some extent) to inspect Israeli reactors and a string of economic and cultural boycotts representing a growing, alarmingly mainstreaming movement. Every time there is a new diplomatic crisis, which seems to come every other week, a set of talking points materialize, even before any facts which may be inconvenient to the party line surface, to serve the function of damage control, depending on the type of situation.
Goldstone? Unbalanced: international law is designed to make us look bad. What the NPT people, led in its current rotation by the Egyptians, are doing to an NPT non-signatory? Unfair: inspect Iran’s stockpiles to uncover their hidden weapons. The boycotts? Unreasonable: no one seemed to like Elvis Costello anyway. The flotilla melee? Unconscionable: what legal right did that convoy have to break into our sovereign waters and launch RPGs at our soldiers? Israel can simultaneously be the bad child of the world and do no wrong.
Professional nudnik Gidon Levy wrote that his country is “quickly becoming completely isolated. This is a place that turns away intellectuals, shoots peace activists, cuts off Gaza and now finds itself in an international blockade. Once more yesterday it seemed, and not for the first time, that Israel is increasingly breaking away from the mother ship, and losing touch with the world — which does not accept its actions and does not understand its motives.”
Or as Ari Shavit wrote, “The Turkish ship Mavi Marmara was no Exodus. It carried not Holocaust survivors but provocateurs, many of them extremists.”
[Ironically, one of the people who planned to take part was in fact a survivor, an 85-year-old woman named Hedy Epstein; according to the AP, she decided not to go and remains in Cyprus.]
Shavit, a sharp and combative interviewer, added that “a series of baseless decisions on the part of the prime minister and the ministers of defense and of strategic affairs turned the Marmara into a Palestinian Exodus. With a single foolish move, the Israeli cabinet cast the Muslim Brotherhood in the role of the victim and the Israel Navy as the villain and simultaneously opened European, Turkish, Arab, Palestinian and internal Israeli fronts. In so doing, Israel is serving Hamas’ interests better than Hamas itself has ever done.”
It ought to be noted that internal Israeli front is a euphemism for the Arab minority, of which its leadership, according to a report filed by Khaled Abu Toameh, is warning of a new uprising. “Protests erupted in various places, including Umm el-Fahm, Nazareth and Sakhnin, where demonstrators burned tires and chanted slogans condemning the IDF operation,” Toameh wrote.
There does not appear to be any consensus even within Israel except for the perception that the civilian leadership and military commanders seriously fucked up and, as a corollary, Israel is now in more hot water than ever before. Another theme is that the real perpetrators were the terrorist Jew-haters who wanted to give food and something called medicine to the pampered denizens of free Gaza.