Monday, June 7, 2010

Flotilla Fiasco

The news coverage regarding Israel recently has been, in a word, horrible.

Yes, I'm biased. I have written blog posts before about my love for Israel. My viewpoint includes compassion for the plight of the Palestinian people - but it does not lay the blame for their situation at the feet of the Israelis.

I have been watching the news reports regarding the flotilla incident... regarding the recent deaths of the four divers... regarding the next "aid" convoy being offered Iranian escort... and I am troubled. Seriously, Israel has always gotten a bum rap from some. International expectations of them as a nation are completely unrealistic. But the anti-Israel rhetoric has been ratcheted up to new levels.

Sure, Helen Thomas spewed some vitriol their way... anybody seriously surprised by this hasn't been paying attention to her viewpoints. And she's well known for asking "tough questions" of certain people -- and cozying up with others. She's not a serious journalist... she's kind of the Sean Hannity of the left... with less drama and scarier looks.

And honestly, the fact that Obama refused to stand with Israel in the face of international condemnation isn't a huge surprise, either. I don't think anybody truly expects him to stand with Israel when push comes to shove regardless of what's going on. He tried to cloak his refusal to stand with them behind a wishy-washy, "We need to wait until we know the facts," but we pretty much knew what had happened already. It was all on film, after all.

The news organizations, in general, insist on reporting the flotilla incident as if Israel had "attacked" some peaceful ships with humanitarian aid. The language used continues to give this impression, regardless of any facts that surface to the contrary. Now there is some lip service paid to the fact that the people aboard the ship attacked the soldiers, but we are meant to believe that this is only because the mean, nasty Israelis scared them into doing so. One publishing made it sound as if these people were afraid for their lives and so they quickly sawed off pieces of the ship in order to protect themselves. What a joke!

Now the NYT has an article out there titled, "Washington Asks: What To Do About Israel?" According to this article, Israel has recently "ignored the national security concerns of its biggest benefactor, the United States, and instead have taken steps that damage American interests abroad." A Mr. Cordesman (with the Center for Strategic and International Studies) states, "It is time Israel realized that it has obligations to the United States, as well as the United States to Israel, and that it become far more careful about the extent to which it tests the limits of U.S. patience and exploits the support of American Jews."

... Seriously? The United States, while supporting Israel militarily and monetarily, has also consistently pushed Israel to make ridiculous concessions with their enemies - endangering her people and putting them in more and more awkward positions. Frankly, I think it's high time she stood up for herself and said, "No more!"

The very next paragraph of the article reads as:

The list of recent moves by the Netanyahu government that potentially threaten American interests has grown steadily, many foreign policy experts argue. The violence that broke out when Israeli commandos stormed aboard a Gaza flotilla last week chilled American relations with a key Muslim ally, Turkey.

Ummm... wait a minute. America's relations with Turkey should be chilled by the fact that Turkey played a key role in trying to break the blockade that has been in place for Israel's security for the last three years. I realize that this isn't the case... that our current administration is more intent on fostering cozy relationships with radical muslims (like Iran) than it is on continuing a long-standing friendship with the only beacon of freedom in the Middle East. But I think that trying to befriend the countries who are interested in seeing the West destroyed - at the expense of our friendship with Israel - is stupid.

The article goes on:

The Gaza fight also makes it more difficult for America to rally a coalition that includes Arab and Muslim states against Iran's nuclear ambitions. Mr. Netanyahu's refusal to stop Jewish housing construction in Arab East Jerusalem also strains American ties with Arab allies. It also makes reaching an eventual peace deal, which many administration officials believe is critical to America's broader interests in the Muslim world, even more difficult.

So wait a minute. The fact that Israel is protecting itself from Hamas is what is making it difficult to get other Arab states to join the West in its concern about a nuclear Iran? If only Israel would give in and allow Hamas to bomb its citizens, then the Arab world would be okay with the United States? Really? Two things... one, if this is true, then that tells us huge things about the Muslim world. And two, it's not true. If there's one thing we know, it's that the Muslim world - in general - despises the United States. Please understand that I'm not saying all Muslims despise the United States. But, in general, countries governed by Sharia law are not going to be on our side - even if we bomb Israel ourselves. They don't like us.

The article continues to talk about a statement made by General Petraeus in which he said that if progress toward peace wasn't made, it gives the extremists a "stick to beat us with." No word from Petraeus in the article on how one is to go about achieving "progress toward peace" with an entity that will not be satisfied until you are "wiped off the map."

Israeli officials are becoming alarmed at our current administration's lack of support - as well as people within our own national politics, both Republican and Democrat. Representative Steve Israel, a Democrat from New York, has spent hours with the President trying to impart his concerns.

Things are lining up in such a way that I believe the United States is going to desert Israel in her time of greatest need. I'm sorry to see it - I love Israel and I think that the United States can only be benefitted by befriending her, regardless of how the rest of the world sees it. However, due to various other beliefs I hold, I don't worry for Israel simply because the United States won't stand behind her. After all, with the God of the universe on one's side, who really needs the measly United States government for protection?

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