Cornering Israel

This story reminded me of something I thought about writing for a while now. The idea that the best way to get change out of Israel is to be aggressive towards them, diplomatically in most cases.

It is something I find surprising about western attitudes towards Israel, that so many protestors and flotilla leaders and the like act the way they do towards the country.

It’s so maddingly counter-productive to their aims. I mean, they don’t seem capable of even the slightest comprehension of Israel’s historic position.

People here in Ireland have never had to live with an Israel style situation. They’ve never had to live with the threat of annihilation from all of their neighbours, from missiles streaking into their cities. They haven’t had to deal with an historical hate that has come to define Israeli citizens.

So, why do we do things like the flotillas and the boycotts? Why do people think that will get Israel to let up on Palestine?

Why do they look at a cornered animal, one with very big teeth, and think the best option is to poke it with a stick?

I mean, all this stuff, the challenging flotillas, the called for boycotts, that incident of an Irish citizen being abused for work experience in a non-combat role for the Israeli army (that story especially stuck in my mind, as a very ugly reaction from parts of the Irish populace), all it ever does is plant that awful idea is Israeli minds: It is us against everyone. And that thinking leads to bad things. Nobody likes us, so why should we care? Let’s blockade Gaza and ignore the UN because when the rockets rained down on Tel Aviv, the media didn’t spend weeks lambasting Hamas. Let’s shoot up that flotilla because when we repeatedly told them to stop, turn back, don’t do it, they ignored us. They sailed head on into us. The outside world thinks we’re the bad guy already, so why act any differently? What’s in it for us?

Peace in Palestine will not come from Israel being a media punching bag, from protest stunts with the primary aim being to politically blacken Israel, from idiotic music boycotts. You need to treat Israel like a country that has been walking the tightrope for its entire history. One that knows only to respond to force and baiting in whatever form with a hardened attitude.

Treat Israel nice, and better things will follow. Egypt did, and the two got along fine for ages.

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