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Sunday, June 06, 2010

Where we are and where we need to go

Caroline Glick does a brilliant job of taking stock of where Israel finds itself today and what strategies it ought to adopt to cope with the next two and a half years (at least) of dealing with a hostile government in Washington.
For decades two things limited the salience of Jew hatred as a political force in the Muslim world. First, Israel's reputation as a regional power deterred Arab states from attacking it. And second, the US's Middle East policy of rewarding states that lived at peace with Israel and spurning those that did not made attacking Israel a less attractive option for most Muslim states. The likes of Iran and Syria were punished for their support for terrorism and their refusal to make peace with Israel. Then too, Turkey's rise in prominence in the US in the 1990s owed a great deal to its close strategic ties with Israel.

Israel's reputation as a regional power was diminished by its 2000 withdrawal from south Lebanon and its less than stellar performances in the 2006 war.

As for the US, in the year and a half since Obama took office he has fundamentally restructured US foreign policy in a manner that rewards US enemies at the expense of US allies. From Honduras and Colombia to Britain, Poland, and the Czech Republic, to Japan and India to Israel, Iraq and Afghanistan, Obama has treated US allies with contempt and hostility. At the same time, his repeated bids to woo US adversaries have rewarded the leaders of Iran, Venezuela, Russia and others for their aggression.


THIS BRINGS US to Israel's current quandary about how to respond to the international campaign against it. Israel of course can do nothing to change the potency of Jew hatred in the Islamic world. It can also do nothing to change American behavior. For as long as Obama is president, US foreign policy can be expected to remain on its current trajectory. That is, for at least the next two and a half years, the US will continue to play a destabilizing and hostile role in the region.

What this means is that Israel should adopt a strategy that minimizes the international lynch mob's ability to get close to it and maximizes Israel's ability to knock the mob off balance.

Take for instance the UN Security Council call for an independent investigation of the Mavi Marmara incident. Israel rightly rejected such a UN inquiry understanding that its aim is to diminish Israel's sovereign right to self defense. On the other hand, on Thursday morning Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman offered that Israel could establish its own judicial inquiry and that there was no reason for international investigators not to be members of the Israeli committee.

This idea is ill-advised for two reasons. First by its very nature, a judicial inquiry would place Israel in the role of criminal defendant. And second, given the nature of the international assault on Israel, no international observers or investigators can be given any role in investigating the Mavi Marmara episode.

In contrast, Israel could benefit from a domestic investigation of the operational and diplomatic aspects of its handling of the Turkish-Hamas flotilla. It is in these areas - rather than the legal areas - that Israel has failed and must learn the lessons of those failures. Moreover, appointing a committee would buy Israel time in the face of the anti-Israel campaign now sweeping the globe.

And as to that campaign, it is time for Israel to launch a counter-offensive. Its representatives at the UN should demand an investigation into Turkey's illegal sponsorship of the pro-Hamas flotilla. They should raise such protests at every UN forum and continue to protest until they are thrown out of the meetings and then return, the next day to relaunch their protests.

The Justice Ministry should issue international arrest warrants against the flotilla's organizers and participants and prepare indictments against them for trial in Israeli courts. Israel's embassies throughout the world should call for their host governments to outlaw organizations involved in the Gaza flotilla movement.

No, these Israeli efforts will not change anyone's vote in any UN forum. But they will place these wholly corrupt institutions on the defensive. For decades Israel has taken for granted that the UN is hopelessly hostile and left things at that. Israel's willingness to declare defeat has emboldened UN officials. By putting them on the defensive, Israel will force them to devote time to staving off Israeli attacks and so have less time available for initiating new assaults against Israel.
Read the whole thing.


At 2:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

More self-defeat:

Welfare Minister Yitzchak Hertzog: 'We need to reconsider Gaza embargo'.

I wish his grandfather's Neshama would be a Meilitz Yosher to protect us from his namesake.

At 2:50 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Israel should take the offensive and turn the table on its critics. Putting the pressure back where it belongs. That's what Israel needs to do in the future.

At 7:02 PM, Blogger Stuart said...

I have always believed that the only strategy is military victory. So long as Israel allows Hamas to exist as the power in Gaza and there is a resulting siege, the standing of Israel will just keep declining at the present rate. But since all Israeli incursions into Gaza generate only criticism of Israel, take the PR lumps but end it. The current situation with Hamas ruling and Gaza under siege is not a long term answer. Get Fatah in there AND physically occupy until it can be stabilized like Yehuda and Shomron. The economic improvements seen by the latter must be giving the Arabs there a reason to question their past strategies.


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