Thursday, June 3, 2010

An 'International Offensive of Hypocrisy'

An excellent analysis at WSJ, "Israel's Isolation Deepens." The key passage below is something you'll rarely understand unless you're reading Caroline Glick or Melanie Phillips.

From WSJ's report:

The international rebuke over this week's incident, from friend and foe alike, is stoking fears among officials here that increasing international moves to isolate Israel diplomatically—until recently confined to Israel's Arab enemies, a number of pariah states and the West's far-left political fringe—could gain broader traction.

Israel's bungled attempt to stop the aid flotilla from reaching Gaza also highlights how an increasingly forceful strategy by Palestinians and their supporters to turn to boycotts, international isolation, and relatively nonviolent protests is confronting Israel with a challenge it appears ill-prepared to counter.

Israel has faced rising international criticism since the 2006 Lebanon war, and last year's Gaza conflict fueled a new burst of condemnation. The 2009 election of Mr. Netanyahu and a less accommodative government fed doubts in the international community that Israel was committed to making compromises with the Palestinians that many outsiders thought necessary to the pursuit of peace.

Israeli officials point to a significant toughening by many allies on important Israeli strategic issues, including peace efforts with the Palestinians. The United Nations has intensified pressure for Israel to accept U.N. oversight of its nuclear program, and to agree to ban nuclear weapons from the region.

The fallout also has ricocheted beyond diplomacy, Israeli officials say. It is reflected in incidents including British grocery chains dropping products produced in Israeli settlements; Scandinavian pension funds divesting themselves from an Israeli defense company; and the spread of an annual "Israel Apartheid Week," backed by mostly left-leaning Western groups, to 50 cities world-wide.

The Swedish Football Association has appealed to UEFA, European soccer's governing body, to cancel a Friday match in Israel between the countries' under-21 squads, according to the Eurosport news channel and Swedish newspapers. The move couldn't be independently confirmed.

The Israeli foreign ministry recently issued a quiet warning to diplomats to scale back public appearances overseas, after a string of incidents in which protesters disrupted speeches by Israeli diplomats. In February, protesters in the state of Vermont interrupted a performance of the Israel Ballet.

"There is a sense, a fear here, that the more extreme anti-Israel ideologies are seeping into more accepted mainstream discourse," said a senior Israeli official responsible for tracking and combating efforts to delegitimize Israel. "It's no longer some abstract intellectual debate," he said. "It's people pushing the debate into mobilizing others into thinking this is a totemic issue of human rights and right-versus-wrong—and it's not."

A recent report by the Reut Institute, a Tel Aviv-based think tank that provides strategic-thinking support to the Israeli government, warned the deligitimization effort "has already gained strategic significance and may evolve into an existential threat." It said that Israel's freedom to act militarily against perceived threats has been limited as a result of the campaign.

The report criticized Israeli leaders for having "no coherent conceptual response" to push back against global critics. It panned an Israeli security doctrine that military might alone would ensure Israel's defense and has historically considered international opinion to be a peripheral security concern.
And don't miss Ambassador Michael Oren, "An Assault, Cloaked in Peace" (via Memeorandum).