The “world,” including the Obama administration, knows its mind when it comes to Israel. The important thing now is that Israel know its mind when it comes to the rest of the world. As long as Israel indulges in wishful thinking about how others, such as President Obama, view it, the government will be at a disadvantage when it comes to making good decisions about key matters like how to deal with Iran and Lebanon.
The good news is that, after a tough half year, Israel seems to have developed a good understanding of how Obama, French Presient Sarkozy, and other world leaders view Israel. This, I think, explains one of the emerging talking points in the aftermath of the Mavi Marmara incident, which is captured in the title a piece in today’s Washington Post by a former U.S. ambassador to Israel – “The world is angry; why doesn’t Israel care?”
The answer is “you don’t just read the book, the book reads you.” In other words, “the world” cannot, without consequence, continuously render verdicts about Israel that Israelis considered patently unjust. The world’s proclivity to do so seems finally to have produced the inevitable blowback.
Consider the demand that Israel submit to an “international investigation” of the Mavi Marmara incident, which Israel has rejected out of hand. As Alan Dershowitz explains:
In a world in which North Korea sinks a South Korean naval vessel killing dozens, Iran arms Islamic terrorists, who kill hundreds, Russia bombs Chechnya, killing thousands, and the United States and Great Britain, while targeting al Qaida and Taliban, kill an indeterminate number of civilians, only Israel is subjected to international “investigations” such as that conducted by Richard Goldstone and that being called for by the Security Council in the wake of the recent flotilla fiasco.
Why only Israel? Why is the United Nations silent about other situations that cry out for international investigations? Surely it’s not because what Israel did was worse than what other member nations have done. Certainly it’s not because Israel lacks self-criticism or mechanisms for internal investigation. Plainly it’s not because the other “offenders” were provoked, while Israel was unprovoked.
There is only one answer – because Israel has long been singled out for public scrutiny and opprobrium by the United Nations in particular and the international community in general.
Israel seems finally to internalized not just this answer, but its sources and meaning. If so, it may well be that this has happened just in the nick of time.