Crocodile tears for Israel

A sign of the times.

Online newsletter Bitterlemons features a series on “Israeli’s growing international isolation“.

A combination of fear and arrogance permeates the collection, as Zionists either realise that Israel is on a path towards greater panic or more arrogance.

Then there is Ghada Karmi, leading Palestinian writer:

Can Israel survive its recent battering in public opinion? Many believe that this may be a defining moment in a long history of Israeli impunity. Hitherto, Israel’s record of recovery from international censure has been impressive. A string of past misdeeds–the 1982 Lebanon invasion and siege of Beirut, the Sabra and Shatila camp massacres, the 2006 Lebanon War, the interminable occupation of Arab land, even the 2008-9 war on Gaza that should have been decisive–failed to tarnish Israel’s reputation irreparably. Despite strong international condemnation each time, Israel was always able to shrug off its critics.

The Israeli attack on the Gaza freedom flotilla on May 31 is the current object of international censure. But, going by the past, there is no reason to suppose this time will be different. Speculation about a growing international isolation that will damage Israel may be just that. This May, Israel gained membership in the prestigious OECD, unprecedented for a state of its size. An upgrade of relations with Europe, already most favorable to Israel, is delayed but not cancelled. The fuss over the Gaza flotilla assault is already fading, and Israel may feel it has succeeded in facing down international condemnation yet again.

Yet it may not turn out so well this time. Bravado, the flaunting of Israeli power over the US Congress and the recent success in apparently restoring cordial relations with the US president cannot disguise a tide of rising panic among Israelis. For a state so wedded to the idea of itself as legitimate, reputable and a worthy member of the world community, the battering this image has received in recent months must be worrying. The international climate of opinion has never been so hostile toward Israel.

Text and images ©2024 Antony Loewenstein. All rights reserved.

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