I have been a friend of Israel all my life. I remember the Six Day War; Moshe Dayan was a hero of mine. One of the first full-length books that I ever read was Exodus. I read it all the way through in a day and a half, and twice more in a week. I remember the tragedy of Munich and the daring rescue at Entebbe.
And I remember the Sabra and Shatila camps in 1982. “If the Palestinians want to play rough, so this is rough too,” I thought, “Screw them.”
That’s been almost three decades. Since then, the occupation of the West Bank and Gaza has turned into a nightmare for Israel and its American friends. “American friends.” Can Israel survive without them? Can Israel survive without American support? Long term, I don’t see how. A nuclear-armed Israel can be a modern-day Sampson, and, if faced with its own destruction, can bring down the house on a good-sized portion of the Middle East. But that wasn’t Theodor Herzl’s dream, nor the dream of Auschwitz survivors.
My generation and I will remain friends of Israel as long as we live. But my children? What do they know of Moshe Dayan, of Entebbe, of the heroic Israel of my youth? Nothing. All they know is the wall, Rachel Corrie, struggling Palestinians, endlessly expanding Israeli settlements, and now this — the ultimate reversal of the Exodus story.
Whether the details of the Israeli raid on the Gaza relief flotilla are as its government says or not, is, in a practical sense, irrelevant. The occupation of territories with large Palestinian populations, or the attempted blockade of them, will create endless propaganda coups for the Palestinians. Everyone loves an underdog, people fighting for their home against a powerful military government.
And to really make this stupid and self-destructive, the ship was full of Turks, Israel’s last Muslim ally.
I hope I do not live long enough to see it, but Israel’s destruction was determined today. Israel has apparently concluded that it can survive without its American friends, or that with diplomacy, lobbying, PR, and the support of key American politicians in key states, it can keep the friendship of America, regardless of its actions. I don’t think it can.
Haaretz has a better analysis, than my incoherent rambling.
And this geopolitical analysis from Stratfor. It’s all about influencing the public narrative. He draws very precise parallels with the 1947 Exodus.