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Get Smart: A Reader Correctly Corrects Me

Get Smart: A Reader Correctly Corrects Me

Associate Editor

What follows is a letter sent by Alan Septimus that better illuminates the situation originally discussed in the Media column regarding the flotilla (June 9)

(The next three paragraphs are what Mr. Septimus is primarily referring to:)

"Yes, says Wiesel, Israel protecting “her citizens remains a legitimate priority,” but “serious questions need to be answered. Is a blockade the only solution to the problem? Were other alternatives examined? Who knew what, and when? Were the Israeli commandos informed of the ship’s prepared resistance? If not, why not? On what level were the decisions made? How will they impact peace negotiations with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas?”

With Wiesel as with Douthat, we’re seeing questions from Israel’s defenders that were once only asked by “anti-Israel” critics.

The papers owned by Rupert Murdoch have always been staunchly supportive of Israel. And yet, the top story in The Wall Street Journal (June 3), “Israel’s Isolation Deepens” (subtitled, “Netanyahu Decries ‘Offensive of Hypocrisy’”) soon detours into a smackdown: “Israel’s bungled attempt to stop the aid flotilla” only illustrates “how an increasingly forceful strategy by Palestinians and their supporters to turn to boycotts, international isolation, and relatively non-violent protests is confronting Israel with a challenge it appears ill-prepared to counter.”"

Mr. Septimus:

Wiesel questions Israel’s efficiency, effectiveness, preparation, thoroughness. Was this really an inevitable outcome? Sources quoted in major media a few days before said Israel was resigned to a PR hit over the flotilla. Did the Israeli higher ups know there would be bloodshed? If they did know that violent jihadists had been loaded onto the ship, why did they drop in combatants in that manner and allow them to be severely injured? For the photo-op? Why were the satellite/video capabilities of the Hamas supporters on board the flotilla better than Israel’s so that Israel delayed for hours getting out it’s video? And so on

It has been some time — years, decades — that the Israelis should have understood that the war with the Arabs is being fought in the media, not just the battle field. Israel is woefully unprepared for this war. It is still in denial.

None of this denies Israel’s non-negotable right to self-defense. I do not criticize Israel for killing nine so-called " peace activists" in self-defense. And my sympathies to any innocents who died that day for being duped by these "activists" — that sort of tragedy has been going on for decades, where violent activists cause the death of non violent activists. But Wiesel and all of us are free to criticize Israel’s tactics, not in the name of legality but, in the name of wisdom, judgement and effectiveness in winning the war, the PR war.

The WSJ is wrong to pussy-foot around on the issue of violence. You are certainly correct that the protestors are either violent/pregnant or not. And these guys were. It matters not that only 5% were; as Maxwell Smart would say, "All it takes is one wise guy." But the media doesn’t care. And Israel should care about the media. Not because everybody believes what they read. But enough do. And enough can read through the lies when Israel has done nothing wrong AND succeeds, as it did in Entebbe.

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