June 6, 2010 More Fallout From Turkey on Flotilla- Israel US Relations

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A Daily Analysis
By Marc Schulman

June 7, 2010 Erodwan Continues to Attack Israel- Beinhart and Israel- Internal Investigation of Flotilla

In a long planned conference, that brought together President Assad and Turkish Prime Minister Erodwan, the Turkish Prime Minster stated that Israel must be punished for what it has done. Assad agreed, stating he will go along and help in any way he can. The Iranian leadership joined in threatening to work with Turkey to break the blockade. Erodwan seems to be aligning himself ever more closely with the rejectionist camp, stating among other things, that Hamas is not a terrorist group. Israeli critics continue to get the story backwards. These critics contend it was not Israeli actions that caused the loss of Turkey as an ally, but rather Turkey's actions under Erodwan in the last few months that have turned Turkey into an enemy of Israel.

This brings me to a subject I had planned to write about in-depth, but other events have gotten ahead of me. In an article in the New York Review of Books, Peter Beinhart, (and to a lesser degree Gary Rosenblatt in the Jewish Week) this week (in an article entitled: Israel's Delegitimizers are Gaining) have put forth the view that if only the Jewish community embraced Israel's "Zionist " critics, we would have a bigger tent and Israel would be stronger. That, of course, extends to the question of the role of J street in the Jewish community. As someone who, on one hand in my youth opposed an organization called "Breira", (a Jewish leftist organization of the early 70’s who criticized Israel's policies) but, who when given the opportunity to vote in Israeli elections, voted for parties definitively to the left of the current government, the resurgence of these issues has been a distinct dilemmas for me.

That dilemma was partially resolved yesterday, while watching Fareed Zakaria's GPS. Zakaria's first guest was the Turkish Foreign Minister. He made some outrageous accusations against Israel and continued the claim that those on the boat were just peaceful peace activists, who were brutally attacked by Israel. Zakaria tried to get a representative of the Israeli government on to comment, but could not get anyone to appear. So, instead he did the next best thing. Zakaria had two Jews who are active in the Jewish community, with differing opinions: Elliot Abrams and Peter Beinhart. Abrams launched into a brilliant defense of Israel, accusing the Turks of laying in ambush. He refuted much of what the Turkish Foreign Minister said. Abrams asked the question: "Why is it only Turks who were killed"? and what was Turkey’s role? Zakaria then turned to Bienhart and asked: Armed Turkish Jihidists Peter? Beinharts resonse: "I am not here to defend the people on the boat" but then, he immediately turned to attacking Israel for having the blockade, and thus totally undermined Abrams attack on the Turks.

And here, in a nutshell, is the problem with the “leftist supporters” of Israel in the US who claim to be strong defenders of Israel. You can, in my opinion, oppose some of Israel actions (although I still believe the best way to change Israel is to go there, become a citizen and work to change the government). However, if you oppose some of the policies of Israel's government, you need to be very careful of the time and place you do so. I certainly do not support all the actions of the government, and have some question to the usefulness of their actions. That being said, if you claim to be a supporter of Israel, you should first show you support! When Israel is mercifully, and totally unfairly attacked and accused of things it is clearly not guilty of... and when you have a chance to effect global opinion of Israel... Do not use that moment to first attack Israel. First, vigorously defend Israel against a blood libel, then and only then go on to make any statement critical of its policies.

Prime Minister Netanyhu has decided on an internal Israeli investigation of the flotilla incident, with international participation. It would seem he has the American government's approval for this choice. The exact charge of the commission is yet to be worked out, with the Israeli government wanting the commission to deal most with the legality of the actions. There is a growing movement within Israel demanding a more extensive investigation into the government's decision-making and related actions, led by a group of reserve duty Naval officers. This movement may gain additional traction in coming days. The Kadima, opposition party, introduced a no confidence vote in the Knesset aimed at the government's actions. In a notable line, Israeli opposition leader Livni stated: "To avoid soldiers from being interviewed in English, the PM must be willing to be interviewed in Hebrew".

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