The false narrative of the supposedly innocent “aid flotilla” attacked by Israel (when in reality the only violence which took place occurred when IHH terrorists attacked Israeli commandos with the goal of creating this story) is lending fuel to an already-burgeoning global movement of boycotts and divestment that poses a very real risk to Israel’s survival. From the Wall Street Journal:
Israeli officials point to a significant toughening by many allies on important Israeli strategic issues, such as peace efforts with the Palestinians and the country’s nuclear program. But the fallout has ricocheted beyond diplomacy as well, they say. It is reflected in incidents including British grocery chains dropping products produced in Israeli settlements; Scandinavian pension funds divesting from an Israeli defense company; and the spread of an annual “Israel Apartheid Week,” backed by mostly left-leaning Western organizations, to 50 cities world-wide.
Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan told lawmakers in Parliament Tuesday that Israel’s boarding of the Mediterranean flotilla late Sunday was an attack “on international law, the conscience of humanity and world peace.”
The Swedish Football Association has appealed to UEFA, European soccer’s governing body, to cancel a Friday match in Israel between the two country’s under-21 squads, according to the Eurosport news channel and Swedish newspapers. The Swedish move couldn’t be independently confirmed.
The Israeli foreign ministry recently issued a quiet warning to diplomats to scale back public appearances overseas, after a string of incidents in which protesters disrupted speeches by Israeli diplomats. In February, protesters in the state of Vermont interrupted a performance of the Israeli ballet.
“There is a sense, a fear here, that the more extreme anti-Israel ideologies are seeping into more accepted mainstream discourse,” said a senior Israeli official responsible for tracking and combating efforts to delegitimize Israel. “It’s no longer some abstract intellectual debate,” he said. “It’s people pushing the debate into mobilizing others into thinking this is a totemic issue of human rights and right-versus-wrong — and it’s not.”
A recent report by the Reut Institute, a Tel Aviv-based think tank that provides strategic-thinking support to the Israeli government, warned the effort “has already gained strategic significance and may evolve into an existential threat.” It said that Israel’s freedom to act militarily against perceived threats has been limited as a result of the campaign.
I might add that when I reacted as I did to Elvis Costello’s cancellation of his gigs in Israel a couple of weeks ago, it was precisely with this in mind. The reality is that publicly joining a boycott of Israel amounts to a very direct aggressive act against the citizens of that country; the men, the women and the children who live there. For a nation surrounded by enemies who are constantly seeking weakness and constantly seeking the practical means to destroy it, isolation by the rest of the world, whether cultural, diplomatic or economic, constitutes an extraordinarily grave threat.
The WSJ article also comments on the increasingly visible global effect of the Obama administration’s stance towards Israel:
“It is clear that many countries feel they have more leeway, and that if America can afford to speak the way it does on Israel, then why should they stay behind,” another senior Israeli foreign ministry official said in an interview before Monday’s bloodshed. “America draws the line and they all align themselves on this.”
U.S. officials have rushed to assure Israel of continued American support amid the fallout of Monday’s clash. Washington has refrained from the blunt criticisms of Israel’s handling of the flotilla incident that allied governments, especially European ones, have issued in recent days.
Israeli officials have grown particularly concerned about what they view as the European Union’s increasingly aggressive stance over the Arab-Israeli conflict. These officials acknowledge that Europe has normally taken a more pro-Palestinian position than the U.S. But they say that the Obama administration’s public criticism of Mr. Netanyahu’s government has been seen as a green light by some European nations to press Israel further.
As I alluded to yesterday, refraining from “blunt criticisms” of Israel at the present time is utterly insufficient, if the U.S. administration truly wants to be a friend to Israel. What Israel needs right now is an actual ally in the United States, who will clearly state what also happens to be clearly true: The incident on board the Mavi Marmara was a set-up, and Israel has no culpability whatsoever in the deaths of those who planned all along to attack their soldiers and generate the current narrative.
Unfortunately that ally is currently AWOL.
Addendum: Much more on the execrable role that the Obama administration is playing at the U.N. with regard to Israel in this piece by Anne Bayefsky.