A lot of people have asked me when I am going to write something about the flotilla incident. I suppose it’s nice that people want to know what I think about it, but I’ll be honest and say that I’ve been way too upset by it to write anything. So I’ve been posting other people’s thoughts which were all far more eloquent and important than anything I could have mustered up the will to write.
I’m still not feeling up to commenting at any real length but a few people have started asking whether my personal quietness on the issue is because I’m angry with Israel about what happened. So I feel I need to write and say clearly that I am 100 per cent with Israel on this.
Of course I am. The flotilla incident represents in microcosm so much of the narrative of what Israel has faced throughout its history.
1) A gang of murderous savages hid behind a humanitarian mission statement, while setting out on a mission not to build but to demonise and destroy. (cf. Successive Palestinian terror and ‘resistance’ groups and their backers.)
2) Israel calmly explained what the flotilla needed to do only to have its clear and fair offer flatly rejected by one of the boats. (cf. Arafat’s rejection of Barak’s offer at Camp David.)
3) The commandos arrived on the boat peacefully and with optimism but were immediately and savagely attacked. (cf. The attacks from five neighbouring armies on the state of Israel on its first day of existence.)
4) Even with this savage attack underway on the commandos they waited an astonishing length of time before finally responding. (cf. The years of thousands of rockets fired into southern Israel before it finally responded in 2008/09.)
5) In response to the incident the world immediately created and followed a demonstrably untrue narrative, all the better to demonise Israel. (cf. Where to start?)
I’m not sure why this incident has shaken me so much. I suppose it is partly because the videos of what those commandos went through were so painfully, horribly upsetting to watch. I know of the savagery that Israel has faced throughout its existence but rarely do those of us outside the country witness such savagery so starkly.
I think the other reason I’ve been so upset is that I’ve lost a part of my innocence when it comes to my view of Israel’s opponents and critics around the world. I was always loathed to jump to extreme interpretations of what motivated people to be so strong, blindly and uniquely hostile to Israel. I liked to believe people were usually not antisemitic or even nasty. I believed they were simply misguided and ill-informed. That they were a quick lesson away from a more fair approach.
But people around the world have seen the videos of what the commandos faced on those boats and still many are refusing to accept what happened. They are still angrily, aggressively rounding on Israel in astonishing defiance of absolutely clear-cut evidence. I fear for these people and I fear these people.
My valued readers are always so generous with their encouragement and praise. People say they enjoy that I often manage to be upbeat, optimistic or witty, even when tackling difficult issues. I can’t be any of those things at the moment. I’m full of pessimism and exasperation. I don’t think I’ve ever been so unhappy.
But, most importantly, my thoughts and prayers remain with the injured commandos and their families.