Respect, not understanding

Israel does not need enemies: it has itself. Or more precisely: it has its government. The Netanyahu-Barak government has somehow found a way to lose the moral high ground, the all-important war for symbols and meanings, to Hamas. That is quite an accomplishment. Operation Make the World Hate Us, it might have been called. — Leon Wieseltier

Many share his opinion. They say “If only intelligence had been better, if only the soldiers had been better prepared, if only the planning could have been more complete, etc.” Israelis and Jews are very good at beating themselves up.

Today they are doing a better job on themselves than the Turks did on Monday.

Certainly this operation could have gone more smoothly. Somebody screwed up, and somebody didn’t catch it. But the worldwide anti-Zionist hate machine is always primed and ready to go. It would have found something else, maybe next week or next month. Or lacking an actual incident, it would have invented one.

Consider Operation Cast Lead. As I and others (video here) have said, probably never in the history of urban warfare have so many precautions been taken and the actual civilian death toll been so low, especially given the deliberate use of schools, hospitals, mosques and other civilian structures by Hamas. But it didn’t matter — the hate machine ran 24/7 in overdrive and drowned out the truth.

The tender-minded say “We have to be better,” while the tougher prefer “we have to be smarter.” Both types miss the point:

It doesn’t matter what we do or say. We are not witnesses in some celestial court. We are fighting both physical and information wars here on earth with enemies who will do anything they can to get an advantage.

The truth has no importance in the information struggle. What counts is how many sign up on your side and how loud you can be. And yes, as we often see at our universities, how intimidating. The numbers are not on our side.

Sometimes when I hear Israeli officials or diaspora Jews explaining how Israel has a right to self-defense, etc., I am reminded of this scene in “Schindler’s list”:

Reiter: I’m a graduate of Civil Engineering from the University of Milan.
Amon Goeth: Ah, an educated Jew… like Karl Marx himself. Unterscharfuehrer!
Hujar: Jawohl?
Amon Goeth: Shoot her.
Reiter: Herr Kommandant! I’m only trying to do my job!
Amon Goeth: Ja, I’m doing mine.
(Hujar shoots, point blank. Reiter falls instantly)

You see, they are not listening. The UN ‘Human Rights’ Council, dominated by latter-day Goeths, cannot be expected to listen.

Wieseltier describes the PR failures, the slow reaction of the IDF in releasing the videos showing what actually happened, the amateurish way it was presented to the foreign press, etc. All of this is true and it should have been done differently.  But none of it will matter in the long run. Do you think the Turkish PM will call up Netanyahu and say “you know, I saw the videos and I’m sorry?” This is the guy who thinks Americans and Israelis conspired to steal organs from murdered Iraqis.

Yes, Israel should ‘get its act together’ where PR is concerned. And whoever was responsible for planning the boarding operation should be given a different job.

But we should not expect ‘understanding’ from the world. We should simply make sure we get respect.

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3 Responses to “Respect, not understanding”

  1. levari says:

    just so you know, i’ve been sending out your blogs to hundreds of people this past week. i actually think the insanity with which we were attacked over this coupled with the truth about what actually happened are conspiring to turn a lot of people. or maybe i’m just dreaming. but it’s immaterial, i agree. as someone who has always had trouble making friends, i can vouch for the superiority of respect over popularity.

    israelis must acknowledge that universal pro-semitism is a pipe dream, one that is simply not ever going to come to pass. give it up, stop fretting over it, and live your lives. to paraphrase malcolm x, if you’re still outraged, you’re not paying attention.

  2. Robman says:


    Well, I can tell you over here in the U.S., one major media figure on FOX, Glenn Beck (you might be able to get his stuff on-line) has come out squarely in your corner. His programs on June 2nd and 3rd – especially the 3rd – were fantastic.

    The raid could have gone better, but as a military veteran myself and a longtime student of military/national security-related affairs, I thought it was a successful operation overall. You stopped the ships, none of your guys got killed, and ten of theirs got killed. You ran into an unexpected situation and your troops handled it. And you got it on video. What more do you want?

    But “almost perfect’ is never good enough for Israel in the eyes of the petrodollar prostitute media. No matter how it was handled, pretty much, they would have found a way to make Israel look bad, convene a meeting of the UNSC, etc.

    Look, take heart from the fact that there are a lot of Gentiles out there who support you….trouble is, the bad guys – through similar whores in the universities – have a lock on the ones who choose to go into journalism, and then they go and buy shares in media outfits just to make sure, and so on. This isn’t about bad Israeli PR…it is about a very cunning and well-organized/funded anti-Israel PR effort. This is hard to combat. I’ve seen how Israeli leaders like Bibi try to get their message out…and then no one reports on it. You see on cable news all the time the pro-Palestinian demonstrations…but there are also a lot of pro-Israel demonstrations that never get any coverage. Gee, wonder why….

    I can tell you from my grassroots-level Israel advocacy activities that there is a lot of pro-Israel feeling out there, a kind of “silent majority” (or should I say, “muzzled majority”? I think I just coined a phrase!). I know that ain’t much to go on for now, but the tide is turning. I believe your instincts are correct. After a certain point, the lies just become so outrageous that they backfire. This may in fact be starting to happen.

    Let’s hope so. I know we’re in for a very rough summer.

  3. Shalom Freedman says:

    Those who hate us will neither understand us , or respect us. They may however fear us.
    But I think increasing understanding and increasing respect can go together. If we are firm in upholding the blockade while at the same time making it understood why there is such a blockade we strengthen ourselves.
    It is clear of course that for the Extreme Leftists, the Islamists, the ignorant haters wherever they are, nothing we do can be good.