Tuesday, June 1, 2010

I Have Hope for Israel

I feel really strange writing this, because most of today, I was feeling the lowest about Israel I've felt in years -- and believe me, I've been feeling really damn low about Israel lately. The nation that my parents left when they were my age is unrecognizable to them, and so far, not a single one of my fears has proven unfounded. There is no low expectation that they have not exceeded.

Two Turkish activists were reported to be among those killed in the flotilla. Ankara warned that further supply vessels will be sent to Gaza, escorted by the Turkish Navy, a development with unpredictable consequences.
Combined with this:
Note that the flag on that ship was Turkey, a NATO member. Will Turkey demand invocation of NATO's Article 5?
The reason I've had such incredibly low hopes for Israel is because there hasn't been anyone with any leverage over Israel. And the reason is because, for whatever reason, Israel has both the Democratic and Republican party establishments by the balls. It is debatable whether they control American popular opinion in the same way.

The United Nations, as toothless as it is, is also by extension neutered by the United States, and by its own irrelevance. So no help there.

Turkey, however, has its own special relationship with the United States. They can, for instance, wish away genocide when it feels like it. Why? Because of their key role in Iraq, where they have occasionally invaded. Previously in history, Turkey and Israel have had a cordial but distant relationship. But the Netenyahu government has gone out of its way to drive them away:
After summoning [Turkish] Ambassador Ahmet Oguz Cellikol for a tongue-lashing, [Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister] Ayalon put him in a low chair. He deliberately failed to display the flag of Turkey next to Israel’s flag on his desk. And — listen to this — he didn’t smile at the Turk, as required by diplomatic protocol.

People in the know tell me that you’ve got to tongue-lash ambassadors with a smile. If you don’t, you risk a diplomatic incident. Ayalon not only failed to smile at Cellikol but, in case the Turk missed it, he told the media. Look, Ma, no smile! No Turkish flag on my desk, either! The chair — well, the ambassador could hardly have missed sitting on a chair so low he needed a periscope to look up at Ayalon — but just in case, the Deputy mentioned it to the press, too. No point in humiliating ambassadors who don’t notice.
If it is true that Turkey is going to involve itself rather deliberately and personally in this conflict, then I think the game changes. If they bring the Turkish navy into it, then they carry the weight of the rest of NATO into it. Because if Israel comes into conflict with the Turkish navy, then it is automatically a war with NATO.

Now, the United States could try to weasel out of their obligations. But if they do, then the other NATO members are going to have great cause to no longer involve themselves in Afghanistan. If the US decides not to come to the aid of a NATO member, as its treaty requires, it will basically declare NATO null and void.

So suddenly, there's an involved player with actual leverage over Israel, via its leverage over the international community.

We'll see if it amounts to anything, but it gives me hope of a way out of this rabbit hole.