Sometimes it’s possible to do this, but at other times motivations are so complex and hidden factors so compelling, that it’s near impossible. Especially is this the case when the truth is ugly.
I wrote yesterday about Netanyahu’s decision to participate in the UN investigation of the flotilla incident. Now we have two different explanations about why he made the decision he did.
The JPost reported today, on the front page, that a key factor for the prime minister was the hope of reducing tensions with Turkey. This made me more than a little queasy, and I want to be certain I have things straight:
A ship came from Turkey carrying Turks associated with a Turkish terror organization. Ostensibly intending to deliver “humanitarian supplies” by sea, even though we offered to deliver them by land, the ship attempted to break the legal blockade of Gaza — with at least implicit Turkish approval. We maintain that blockade because we are at war with Hamas, which seeks to import weapons to be used against us. When ordered to stop, the ship refused and persons on board shouted vile anti-Semitic comments. When our people attempted to board the ship, to stop it, they were viciously attacked. In the course of defending themselves, our soldiers killed some nine of the ruffians/terrorists on the ship. And so now, the world points a finger at us, accusing us of all sorts of illegal acts and demands an “investigation.” This in spite of the filmed documentation available that gives evidence that some on the ship expressed a desire to be “martyrs,” which has precious little to do with delivering humanitarian supplies and a great deal to do with Islamist ideology.
If so, how can an honest query help us improve our relationship with Turkey? Are the Turks going to own up to the impropriety of their actions and beg our pardon? Rhetorical question.
If the query is less than honest, then the Turks might be happy, but what we will have gained?
Besides which, there is another point here: The Turks were badly out of line — infringing on our legal right to defend ourselves via that blockade and provoking us. So, is it up to US to work to improve the situation? What shall we say? “Oh, this wasn’t right, but we realize you didn’t mean it”? The need to “make nice” smells to me like what I refer to as “galut mentality.” This is the sickness exhibited by many Jews because of 2,000 years of being powerless and under the thumb of others. Even native born Israelis are not always immune.
But making nice with Turkey may be the least of it: Netanyahu may be floating this rather silly reason for agreeing to the investigation because he needs a cover for the real reason he agreed, which is to appease Obama. The implications here are far worse than if he were simply stroking Turkey.
Anne Bayefsky, of Eye on the UN, has written a piece for FoxNews in which she addresses this issue.
“President Obama has now blackmailed the government of Israel into submitting its defense forces to the toxic oversight of the United Nations…
“Despite the fact that Israel has already launched an inquiry with international participants, the Obama administration insists that the Israel Defense Forces, and the Israeli legal and political establishment governing their actions, must be subject to UN supervision. U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice welcomed Ban’s announcement.
“Obama’s move is a far cry from claims of a recent rapprochement with Israel. Instead of pressuring Israel in front of the cameras, the administration is now using the U.N. as its foil. The sword of Damocles that hung over Prime Minister Netanyahu’s head was withdrawal of American veto protection in the Security Council, a United States sitting on the sidelines in the General Assembly and the other U.N. bodies where new forms of anti-Israel censure are always percolating, and a firm U.S. no to any Israeli military effort to stop an Iranian nuclear weapon.” (emphasis added)
Our prime minister walks a tight rope. Whatever the threats leveled at us by Obama, the implications of agreeing to participate with the probe are themselves exceedingly serious. One longs for Ben Gurion and his attitude of “Oom Shmoom” (“oom” meaning UN in Hebrew).
This is how Evelyn Gordon, writing in Commentary, put it:
“…this would be an atrocious precedent. As Haaretz noted, it would be the first time Israel has ever agreed to a UN probe of an Israel Defense Forces operation. As such, it would legitimize the UN’s insane obsession with Israel. (emphasis added)
“After all, I haven’t noticed Ban suggesting UN probes of any other country’s military operations — say, Turkish operations against the Kurds, Iran’s attacks on its own citizens…to name just a few of the dozens of armies engaged in combat worldwide every single day. Many of these operations result in far more civilian casualties than Israel’s flotilla raid did — even if you deny the evidence provided by video footage of the raid and assume these casualties actually were civilians rather than combatants.
“But aside from setting a terrible precedent, this probe clearly has one, and only one, purpose: to excoriate Israel.”
Gordon says that it is US Ambassador to the UN, Susan Rice, who promoted this idea of pushing Israel to agree to the probe. Rice says that it is “critical to U.S. interests at the UN.” whatever that means.
“But whatever this alleged interest is, if furthering it requires investigating Israel alone, of all the countries engaged in military activity worldwide, it clearly also requires the probe to conclude that Israel was guilty of some heinous crime. Any goal that requires singling Israel out as uniquely suspect clearly can’t be served by ultimately acquitting it.” (emphasis added)
By Gordon’s calculations, the way Ban will appoint people to the investigation, Israel is being set up.
(Thank you, Stephanie: I had missed the Gordon piece.)
And so, once again, my friends, I am seeking your assistance if you are a US citizen. Your elected representatives in Congress need to know about this, and Obama himself must hear — in large numbers! — how unacceptable this is.
Please! short and to-the-point messages work best.
For your Congresspersons:
For your Senators:
For the president:
Fax: 202-456-2461 White House Comment line: 202-456-1111
e-mail form via: http://www.whitehouse.gov/contact/
And for everyone, but in particular Israelis:
Tell Prime Minister Netanyahu that he must stand strong in the face of extortion, and that involvement of the UN in Israeli military affairs can only weaken us.
Fax: 02-670-5369 (From the US: 011-972-2-670-5369)
War looms closer. Things are heating up in Gaza. Hezbollah is making threats with regard to gas fields we’ve uncovered. It’s only a question of when and where.
For us to be weakened before the fact by UN probes that make us timid about acting is a terrible prospect.
Yesterday there was a Grad Katyusha rocket barrage coming from the Sinai, and aimed at Eilat and nearby Aqaba in Jordan. One Jordanian was killed, and several wounded.