Monday, July 26, 2010
Although few would say so publicly, every one of the handful of East Jerusalem Arabs I spoke with in the last two weeks said that he would rather live under Israeli sovereignty than under Mahmoud Abbas’s Palestinian Authority.
In the Arab market in the Old City of Jerusalem, I met Asem, who sells soccer jerseys and sports wear. In his shop, there is a soccer jersey with the name PALESTINE in big letters on a blue background. Asem tells me there is no national soccer team for PALESTINE, but "but we have the shirt.”
But, although he sells a soccer jersey saying PALESTINE, Asem is in no rush to have East Jerusalem become the capital of a Palestinian state under PA President Abbas. When I ask him if he would prefer to live under Abbas in a state of Palestine, rather than under Israeli sovereignty, he gives me the opposite answer of what I expected.
“No, I would rather live under Israelis than under Abbas. Abbas is a thief like Arafat was. But I would rather have Abbas than King Abdullah.”
When I ask him why he prefers to stay under Israeli rule than PA rule, he answers, “At least here I can say what I want. In Syria, if you say what you want, you can go missing forever. In Jordan too. And under Abbas, too. It is chaos there [under PA rule]. Abbas can stay in Ramallah, and stay out of Jerusalem.”
Asem’s Palestinian friend in the shop nodded in agreement. Asem did say that it’s not that he liked Israel per se, but that if given the choice, he prefers it to being ruled by the PA. He continued, “There are some nice homes in Ramallah. You know who lives in them. Abbas and his people. Not all of the other Palestinians. They are kept poor.”
Akram, a taxi driver living in Wadi Joz in East Jerusalem echoed Asam’s sentiments in wanting to remain under Israeli instead of Palestinian rule.
“Abbas, he should stay in Ramallah and not come to Jerusalem. We don’t need him here. We are different than Palestinians in Ramallah and elsewhere. They [the PA] are all “mamzerim’[bastards] and corrupt. I want to be Israeli. I have my Israeli identity card and I want to get my bituach leumi [national insurance benefit]. Who knows what it would be like to live under PA rule? But I don’t want to try it.”
Wadi Joz is a neighborhood where religious Jews have been trying to buy homes.
“There are Arabs who will sell for a lot of money but they do it quietly so no one will know. They make the deal but they make the possession date a long time away,” says Akram, who is pleased to tell me that his brother is entering the Israeli police force.
Moussa, a taxi driver waiting outside the Western wall tells me his name is “Moshey,” which is the Hebrew name for Moussa. Moussa is also definitive that he doesn’t want East Jerusalem to be a capital of a Palestinian state under Mahmoud Abbas. “It’s a balagan there in the West Bank [under Abbas]. I would keep my Israeli identity card...Baruch Hashem, I should live under the Israelis... It wouldn’t be better under Abbas.”
When Moussa says the words “ Baruch Hashem”, I can’t quite believe my ears. Did I hear you correctly saying Baruch Hashem, just like religious Jews do? Moussa smiles. “Yes, I speak like everyone else around here. I guess I picked up the expression.”
Firas, an Arab, who lives in Jerusalem’s Abu Tor neighborhood also says he isn’t in any rush to be under the PA, and is fine with the fact that there are “both Jews and Arabs who live in Abu Tor.”
“Who knows what kind of State there will be under Abbas. All my life I’ve lived under Israeli rule, so I don’t know anything else. But I don’t think my life would be better under the PA,” he says.
Sunday, July 25, 2010
Israeli hippos (‘blue and white’) are being exported by the Ramat Gan Safari Park whose herd has taken to heart the commandment in the bible to be fruitful and multiply very seriously indeed. The latest member to travel abroad had to go just down the road to Kalkilya in the Palestinian Territory, about 1.8kms [1 mile] from Kfar Saba.
The last news was that X [she’s still waiting for her Arabic name] had settled down beautifully. The herald of a new dawn of cooperation? It would be nice to think so and obviously the hippo agrees.
Talking about hippos, and who wouldn’t, given half a chance, these behemoths are responsible for more fatal attacks on human beings than any other large animal including the big cats. But if you’re looking for public enemy #1 in this department – and we’re sure you aren’t – then it’s the lowly mosquito, arch spreader of terrible diseases of which malaria is but one, that wins out every time.
So where’s the Good News? Let's tell you. Researchers at the University of Haifa have discovered that these mini-monsters chemically detect the presence of insects that prey on mosquito eggs and these clever Haifa scientists have isolated the chemicals. So, spray the chemicals where it all happens and you have millions of pregnant mozzies flying around looking for a safe place to lay their eggs. Seeing as how they only live for about five days most of them will [hopefully] die in transit. We’re not quite there yet but we’re on the way
Thursday, July 22, 2010
This week a cooperation agreement between the ITF (Task Force for International Cooperation on Holocaust Education, Remembrance, and Research) and the ODIHR (Office for Democratic Institutions and Human Rights) was signed at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Jerusalem. The ODIHR is an operative branch of the OSCE (Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe)
This year, Israel was chosen for the first time to head the ITF. Under the auspices of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, an agreement was signed today that boosts the strength of the forces in the global arena fighting against antisemitism and Holocaust denial.
This gives an enormous boost to the fight against the delegitimization of Israel and antisemitism in the world, bringing 87 states for the first time into cooperation. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs has acted, and will continue to act, against these manifestations of hate and will promote any initiative whose purpose is to eliminate them.
A spokesman for the Ministry of Foreign Affairs added that there are elements that deny the Holocaust and are preparing the next one. There is a need topreserve the memory of the Holocaust so that similar horrors and hatred will never be repeated and the world will become a safer place.
The ITF was founded about ten years ago at the initiative of the Swedish government
Sunday, July 18, 2010
According to Wikipedia, the expression weasel words is an informal term for words and phrases that while creating a vague or ambiguous claim, give an impression that something specific and meaningful has been said. It apparently derives from the egg-eating habit of weasels, who can suck out the contents of an egg leaving the empty shell looking intact.
Therefore, words or claims that turn out to be empty upon analysis are known by this term. Unfortunately, many of these deceiving words and expressions are now in common usage among Israel’s detractors in the media and are being skillfully employed to twist the truth and actually lie about current events here.
SO-CALLLED GAZA BLOCKADE
BLOCKADE has to be the first word on our list of weasel words, because of its constant use in connection with Gaza and the untruthful portrayal of Gazan citizens as starving, without fuel, medical equipment or treatment, that appear constantly in the media. It is largely this distorted view that is leading to so much overt animosity to Israel in the world’s media which in turn leads to boycotts such as the regrettable one recently approved by the Methodist Church in the U.K.
If only it was possible here to show you the many pictures we have received of Gaza shops bursting with goods and shoppers and market-stalls stacked high with fresh produce, comparable with that available in the Mahane Yehuda Market in Jerusalem. Also there are many advertisements, circulating on the internet, for luxury restaurants and wedding halls in the Strip, illustrated by mouthwatering pictures of Cordon-Bleu meals and buffets. Events are pictured and can be seen to be attended by superbly dressed guests. Not exactly what most of the world is being shown!
Goods of every kind apart from materials that could be used for arms manufacture or the creation of bunkers and rocket-launching pads, pour into Gaza from Israel daily, through the various crossing points.. We don’t have the latest figures of supplies but the details from between May 2nd and 8th when a total of 714 truckloads, consisting of 17,060 tons of humanitarian aid went into the Strip, are typical.
Additionally, 370 medical patients and accompanying individuals from the Gaza Strip crossed into Israel during this brief period and the Judea and Sumaria region for medical treatment and 93 Palestinians entered Israel for other, various reasons. 191 staff members of international organizations crossed into the Strip and 192 crossed into Israel.
Note that this was in one week only, does it sound like a blockade? We are not denying that there are people who are suffering from general shortages there because, Hamas steals most of the supplies to be sold to the wealthier Gazans on the black-market!
Wednesday, July 14, 2010
1. There is absolutely no need for another superfluous ship to the Gaza Strip. Gaza is open to all civilian goods, a fact known the Libyan government.
Restrictions are placed only on weapons, war materiel and items that can be used for military purposes. Still, it is important that all goods are checked to ensure that they are not on the restricted list of dangerous items.
Israel allows the transfer to the Gaza Strip of approximately 800 truckloads of supplies (15,000 tons) per week. The projected amount of supplies on the ship is less than the amount that Israel transfers to Gaza in a single day. This ship has nothing to do with humanitarian aid, and everything to do with creating a provocation and a public relations exercise.
2. The organizers of the ship have been offered the opportunity to avoid an unnecessary confrontation by delivering their supplies to Gaza via the Israeli port of Ashdod or the Egyptian port of El Arish
Israel allows boats to off-load their cargo at Ashdod port for transport to both the West Bank and Gaza after appropriate screening. Anyone truly interested in sending aid to residents of Gaza can use the existing overland channels, as do all the respectable international organizations.
Recognizing that “Israel has legitimate security concerns” the Quartet declared (21 June) that it “urges all those wishing to deliver goods to do so through established channels so that their cargo can be inspected and transferred via land crossings into Gaza. The Quartet emphasizes that there is no need
for unnecessary confrontations…”
The US State Department issued (13 June) a similar statement that refers directly to the Libyan ship:
“we are conscious of the fact that there is a Libyan aid ship en route to Gaza as we speak, and that we, along with our partners in the Quartet, urge all those wishing to deliver goods to do so through established channels so that their cargo can be inspected by the Government of Israel and transferred via land crossings into Gaza. We have urged the Libyan Government to avoid unnecessary confrontations. We call on all parties to act responsibly in meeting the needs of the people of Gaza.”
That is why there is absolutely no need for any “humanitarian flotillas” to Gaza. So said (21 June) Tony Blair, when referring to the Israel’s updated policy. He stated that “if we implement this policy so that the things that people are trying to bring in by flotilla you can bring in through the legitimate
existing crossings, do it that way. That is the more sensible way to do that.”
Just last Friday (9July), the EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy expressed her apprehension regarding more ships headed for Gaza: "I am concerned about reports of further ships carrying humanitarian aid to Gaza. I would like to call on all of those involved to exercise calm and restraint at this particular juncture…. An escalation of tensions and unnecessary confrontations should be avoided.”
3. The purpose of the ship is to create a provocation and to open a sea lane to Gaza that will allow the free entry of weapons and terrorists.
The ship is nothing more than an attempt by the radical axis in the region to cause the peace efforts currently being led by PM Netanyahu and President Obama to fail.
The organizers are attempting to do by creating a provocation that will embarrass Israel, as well as opening a new maritime route to Gaza for Hamas weapons and terrorists. This is not a humanitarian aspiration, but rather a hostile intent.
The proof of the fact that the goals of the organizers of the ship are political can be found in their own words. The Gaddafi Foundation published (11/6) on its website a notice reading: "Had our destination been the El Arish port, we would have spared ourselves the time and the effort, given money and sent a land convoy as we did last year."
A potential threat has already been conveyed in the words of a passenger. Atzam al-Sudani stated in an interview to al-Jazeera television that: “As Muslims, we are not afraid of death. On the contrary, we love shahada” [a martyr’s death for Allah’s sake].
4. Israel acts in accordance with international law.
The maritime blockade off the coast of Gaza was established in accordance with international law and conventions. It is designed to prevent the large-scale smuggling of weapons to be used against Israel by the Hamas terrorist organization. As Tony Blair noted (9 June) "There's no question that there are
rockets fired from Gaza and that there are people in Gaza who want to kill innocent Israelis. When it comes to security, I'm 100 percent on Israel's side. Israel has the right to inspect what goes into Gaza."
Tuesday, July 13, 2010
The following statement has been signed by Jose Maria Aznar, David Trimble, John R. Bolton, Alejandro Toledo, Marcello Pera, Andrew Roberts, Fiamma Nirenstein, George Weigel, Robert F. Agostinelli and Carlos Bustelo:
Hostility to the Jews has been a stain on the Western world's honor for centuries. Israel is a Western democracy and a normal country. Nonetheless, Israel has faced abnormal circumstances since its inception. In fact, Israel is the only Western democracy whose existence has been questioned by force, and whose legitimacy is still being questioned independently of its actions.
The recent flotilla crisis in the Mediterranean provided yet another occasion for Israel's detractors to renew their frenzied campaign. It was so even before the facts of that tragic incident had come to light. Eyes were blind to the reasons why Israel had to respond to the Gaza flotilla's clear provocation.
Because we believe Israel is subjected to unfair treatment, and are convinced that defending Israel means defending the values that made and sustain our Western civilization, we have decided to launch the Friends of Israel Initiative. Our goal is to bring reason and decency back to the discussion about Israel. We are an eclectic group, coming from different countries and holding different opinions on a range of issues. It goes without saying that we do not speak for the State of Israel and we do not defend every course of action that it decides upon. We are united, however, by the following beliefs, principles and aims:
First, Israel is a normal, Western democracy and should be treated as such. Its parliamentary system, legal traditions, education and scientific research facilities, and cultural achievements are as fundamental to it as to any other Western society. Indeed, in some of these areas, Israel is a world leader.
Second, attempts to question Israel's basic legitimacy as a Jewish state in the Middle East are unacceptable to people who support liberal democratic values. The State of Israel was founded in the wake of United Nations Resolution 181, passed in 1947. It also arose out of an unbroken Jewish connection to the land that stretches back thousands of years. Israel does not derive its legitimacy, as some claim, from sympathy over the Holocaust. Instead, it derives legitimacy from international law and from the same right to self-determination claimed by all nations.
Third, as a fully legitimate member of the international community, Israel's basic right to self-defense should not be questioned. Nor should it be forgotten that Israel faces unique security threats—from terror groups such as Hezbollah and Hamas, and from an Iran seeking nuclear weapons.
United Nations condemnations of Israel arising from last year's Goldstone Report on the recent war in Gaza, for example, ignore the security challenges that Israel faces. All democracies should oppose such campaigns, which ultimately undermine the legitimacy not merely of Israel but of the U.N. itself.
Fourth, we must never forget that Israel is on our side in the battle against Islamism and terror. Israel stands on the front line of that fight as a bulwark of Judeo-Christian values. The belief that the democratic world can sacrifice Israel in order to placate Islamism is profoundly wrong and dangerous. Appeasement failed in the 1930s and it will fail today.
Fifth, attempts by people of good faith to facilitate peace between Israel and the Palestinians are always to be supported. But outsiders should beware of attempting to impose their own solutions. Israelis and Palestinians should know how to build a viable peace on their own. We can help them, but we cannot force them.
Sixth, we must be alive to the dangers that the campaign against Israel poses in reawakening anti-Semitism. Hostility to the Jews has been a stain on the Western world's honor for centuries. It is a matter of basic self-respect that we actively confront and oppose new manifestations of an old and ugly problem.
The Friends of Israel Initiative has come together to encourage men and women of goodwill to reconsider their attitudes toward the Jewish state, and to relocate those attitudes inside the best of Western traditions rather than the worst. We urge them to recognize that it is in our own best interests that an increasingly jaded relationship between Israel and many of the world's other liberal democracies is rescued and reinvigorated before it is too late for us all.
Mr. Aznar is a former prime minister of Spain. Mr. Trimble is a former first minister of Northern Ireland. Mr. Bolton is a former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. Mr. Toledo is a former president of Peru. Mr. Pera is a former president of the Italian Senate. Mr. Roberts is a British historian. Ms. Nirenstein is vice-president of the Committee on Foreign Affairs in the Italian Chamber of Deputies. Mr. Weigel is a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center. Mr. Agostinelli is managing director of the Rhône Group. Mr. Bustelo is a former minister of industry in Spain.
Friday, July 9, 2010
Ichilov hospital in Tel Aviv treats up to 100 patients a month from Gaza, and often Hamas takes the role of middleman between Gaza residents and the Israeli hospital, Ichilov Director Professor Gabi Barabash said this week. Barabash spoke to Deputy Minister Ayoub Kara, a resident of the Druze village of Dalyat El Carmel near Haifa, who was touring the hospital and viewing its care for foreign Arab patients.
In addition to caring for patients from Gaza, the Ichilov staff treats many citizens of foreign Arab countries, including those that have no diplomatic ties with Israel. They all receive dedicated care, and the relatives who accompany them are provided with free food and a place to stay, Barabash said.
Kara praised the hospital's care at the end of the tour. Ichilov treats all of its patients equally, he said, but it is not the only one, and hospitals throughout the country send hundreds of people home to Gaza in good health each month after they arrived in Israel suffering from serious ailments.
He condemned Hamas for benefiting from the arrangement while giving nothing in return. “The time has come for Hamas to give us something small in return,” he said, “to release a single son of ours, who has been held for four years with no medical care, in exchange for the hundreds of people whose lives Israel saves every month.”
Kara called on Arab countries to take action: “I call on those Arab countries that are aware of how much we give them when it comes to medicine to call for Gilad Shalit's release as well.” Shalit's release would “make the peace talks much more meaningful,” he added.
Thursday, July 8, 2010
A worker at IDE's desalination plant in Ashdod, which has been operating since 2005 (Photo: - courtesy Israel 21c)
Champagne glasses containing the finest fresh water were raised in a toast last month to celebrate the opening of Israel's third desalination plant, this one in the northern city of Hadera. Lauded as the largest reverse osmosis desalination facility in the world, the plant that takes water from the Mediterranean Sea and makes it safe to drink is expected to produce 127 million cubic meters of water each year - enough to meet the water needs of one in every six Israelis.
Created with an investment of nearly half a billion dollars, the plant was built by IDE Technologies, an Israeli company that has already built two seawater desalination plants on the country's Mediterranean Sea coastline.
It was the government that put in place the plan to create the desalination plant, to meet the demands of a growing population and an imperiled water supply, dependent almost entirely on winter rainfall.
In a 25-year agreement with the government and with its full blessing, the water will be produced at just over 50 cents per cubic meter. IDE's first desalination plant, built on the coast in Ashkelon, has been performing well since 2005, according to company reports. There is a third plant at Palmahim, just south of Tel Aviv, and two more are planned along the coast, in Ashdod and Soreq.
A new era of cheap water?
"The success of the mega-desalination plant concept has ushered in a whole new era of plentiful, affordable water for a world facing severe water challenges," says IDE Technologies CEO, in a press statement. "With the launch of the Ashkelon plant in 2005, we pledged to continue pursuing further breakthroughs in plant capacity and water cost."
IDE boasts technological breakthroughs in the fields of thermal and membrane desalination, and also, perhaps surprisingly for a country in the Middle East, in snowmaking. In desalination, the salt is removed from seawater using a process called Reverse Osmosis (RO) one of two ways to use desalination membranes to process water. In RO, water from a highly pressurized salty solution is channeled through a water-permeable membrane to separate it from its salty component. The second approach is via a process called electrodialysis.
The new desalination plant at Hadera is the largest in the world, and is expected to produce enough water for one in six Israelis.
Shmulik Shai, general manager of H2ID, the Hadera desalination plant, told ISRAEL21c that for the past five years Israel has been facing a severe shortage in its three main sources of water: The Sea of Galilee, its mountain aquifer and its coastal aquifers. Below the red line in terms of volume and nitrates, if the country doesn't find a solution now, these sources could be damaged indefinitely, he warns.
"The balance of rainwater is not good enough," says Shai. If there's one short season of rain and a spike in population, Israel's semi-arid climate could find itself with a "chronic shortage problem," he continues. And while 70 percent of the country's water is supplied by rain that falls in the winter months, there are periods of drought in Israel when the rain does not come down at all. To make things worse, rainfall is not evenly distributed, he remarks.
The new plant will furnish a good portion of the 750 million cubic meters of water that Israelis require for personal use, he tells ISRAEL21c. And among the desalination technologies that the Hadera plant utilizes are those developed by IDE, including new processes and new mechanisms, such as how to pressurize the water. To date, IDE has constructed some 400 desalination plants in 40 countries, with a total water output of 2,000,000 cubic meters per day.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
The new Israeli government policy is going to allow everything except those materials associated with re-arming the Hamas terrorists.
And having persuaded the do-gooders around the world that this is justified, what do we see hear the leaders saying?
In an interview with the Egyptian opposition newspaper Al-Wafd on June 23, 2010, co-founder and leader of Hamas Mahmoud Al-Zahhar said that Hamas advocates the liberation of all Palestine, from the Lebanon border to Rafah and from the Dead Sea to the Mediterranean Sea. He said that Hamas' consent to a Palestinian state in the 1967 borders is part of a phased plan, the first phase of which is to liberate the West Bank and the Gaza Strip – and that Fatah believes, in contrast, that this is the final phase.
Read the following excerpts from another interview with Al-Zahhar, which aired on Future News TV on June 15, 2010:
Mahmoud Al-Zahhar: "We have liberated Gaza, but have we recognized Israel? Have we given up our lands occupied in 1948? We demand the liberation of the West Bank, and the establishment of a state in the West Bank and Gaza, with Jerusalem as its capital – but without recognizing [Israel]. This is the key – without recognizing the Israeli enemy on a single inch of land.
"This is our plan for this stage – to liberate the West Bank and Gaza, without recognizing Israel’s right to a single inch of land, and without giving up the Right of Return for a single Palestinian refugee.
"Our plan for this stage is to liberate any inch of Palestinian land, and to establish a state on it. Our ultimate plan is [to have] Palestine in its entirety. I say this loud and clear so that nobody will accuse me of employing political tactics. We will not recognize the Israeli enemy."
"As for the issue of a referendum – [the Palestinian Authority] is ready to impose its position on people by force. Whoever wants to hold a referendum, and believes that he can get all of Palestine for the Palestinians, can hold a referendum, but will not give up the platform of resistance, and the plan to liberate Palestine in its entirety. This is unequivocal.
"If we could liberate the Negev now, we would continue [our military activity], but our capabilities dictate that after we got rid of the Israeli presence in Gaza, we must finish off the remnants of that occupation, and move on to the West Bank."
And the world is saying that Israel must do more and more. Yet it ignores the plain speaking of Hamas.
Thursday, July 1, 2010
As the famous saying goes "Lies travel half way round the world before the tuth gets its pants on". The claims such as "The Jenin Massacre" and the "Mohammed Al Dura murder" gathered a lot of momentum before the were finally disproved. More recently the so-called humanitarian aid ship in the "Freedom flotilla" was eventually disproved when the documents seized and CTV footage were released.
So why is there an impression that Israel's PR is not up to scratch? One of my contacts has put it very succinctly. Read below the view of Ted Belman:-
When Israel loses yet another PR battle, many of her friends complain that Israel is partly to blame because she is woefully inept when it comes to PR. I am not one of them..
Glenn Jasper, Ruder Finn Israel, recently suggested that Israel should have all its spokesmen deliver the same message. After all, that’s what the Palestinians do. That might be a good idea except that Israel is a nation of presidents and each president will deliver his or her own message. They can’t be disciplined. Alex Fishman suggested that Israel should consider the PR battle as more important than the military battle and organize accordingly.
“Hence, the manager of this war on our side should not be the army via the IDF spokesman, but rather, someone on the highest national level, with the best professionals, who would have the knowledge and ability to write the “scripts” for the war and enforce them on all our executive arms, including the army.”
Good as these suggestions are, they don’t go to the heart of the matter. To start with there is a coalition of forces including antisemites, leftists and Islamists, that are dedicated to Israel’s destruction. They couldn’t care less about truth and justice so a better PR campaign would be irrelevant. Then there is the main stream media that presents news to support their agenda rather than the truth. The fact that they suppressed the flotilla videos, which made Israel’s case better than a thousand words could have, is testimony to this fact. They have constructed a narrative in support of their agenda and any facts that are not in keeping with it, are ignored.
But there is something more going on that is little noticed and much determinative. Governments lead by the US also construct a narrative depending on their agenda and they don’t let truth and justice get in the way.
Long before the Oslo accords, the US began to suppress negative information on Arafat and the PLO as she wished to build a peace process around them. After the signing of the Oslo Accords, the US made no issue of the violation of the accords by Arafat. She was not about to let such violations scuttle the peace process. In effect Arafat could do whatever he wanted, and this included killing American diplomats, so long as he gave lip service to the peace process. Caroline Glick of the Jerusalem Post called the “peace process” an “appeasement process” the goal of which was, not peace, but appeasement.
Iran and Syria also learned this lesson. They could keep killing Americans in Iraq as long as they denied their complicity. The US rarely called them on this because if she did, she would have to do something about it.
President Bush waged a campaign against Syria to hold them accountable for the assassination of Harari and to get them out of Lebanon. Syria put up a strong enough fight to get Bush to abandon his original agenda. Bush then started a process of accommodating Syria rather than attacking her. Pres Obama continued this process. Now Syria is openly arming Hezbollah in violation of Res 1701 and aligning with Iran. The US response is to embrace her, to engage her, to send envoys and generally make nice. Obviously pointing the finger at Syria is inconsistent with the present US goals.
Similarly the US has been attempting to engage Iran and to co-opt her into helping in Iraq and Afghanistan. Thus the US refrained from supporting the green movement when it challenged the government. For the same reason she is unwilling to verbally attack Iran or to apply effective sanctions. She is even prepared to live with a nuclear Iran if only Iran will cooperate and even, if not.
In the last year or so Turkey has entered centre stage in the Middle East and is throwing her rhetorical weight around especially since backing the flotilla. Not one critical word did Obama utter. To the contrary he believes “Turkey can have a positive voice in this whole process.”
Examples are legion but what has this to do with Israel’s efforts at public relations? Lots.
The flip side of this coin is that when the US wants to force someone to do something, either friend or foe, she must first demonize them. But the US can’t demonize a friend without a pretext so she first creates a crisis as her springboard.
In March of this year the US feigned outrage over Israel’s announcement of a housing project in Ramat Shlomo. This outrage legitimated the subsequent US attack on Israel.
Similarly, Israel’s legitimate self defense in the flotilla attack in which she killed nine violent “activists” was enough of a pretext for demonizing her and putting pressure on her. On May 31 after news of the deaths surfaced, Obama was a bit more restrained in his condemnation of Israel than his European allies and called for all the “facts and circumstances”. Had he been genuine in this, he would have, after the videos of the attack on the IDF went viral the next day, totally sided with Israel and nipped the demonization in the bud, but he didn’t. He had an agenda and he wanted to use this crisis to announce the blockade was “unsustainable”. He allowed the pressure to mount so he could achieve his ends.
Shelby Steele argues most convincingly that “the end game of this isolation effort is the nullification of Israel’s legitimacy as a nation”. He attributes this scape-goating of Israel to a “deficit of moral authority” in the West. While that is sadly true, it ignores the fact that realpolitik, which has taken hold of the Obama administration, dictates a similar result.
Yet I would argue that the pursuit of self interest by the US is assured greater success with Israel as a strong ally rather than without her.
This is not to say that Israel should cease its PR efforts. She shouldn’t. She should continue to provide her friends with the truth so that they maintain their friendship lest they be infected as well. Notwithstanding all the demonization she is subjected to and the realpolitik, she has managed to keep the goodwill of the American people and others who value truth and justice. Ultimately, this is her trump card.