Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Stop Beating a Dead Flotilla

An open letter to the Jewish Community and to Israel Advocates regarding the Flotilla

Dear All,

Your candor, investigative skills and commitment to the truth are nothing short of impressive. In almost a day's time, you found overwhelming evidence proving, once again, that Israel's actions in defense of its sovereignty is not only necessary but infinitely more moral, humane and above the standards of international law and practice. You have carefully and completely dissected the competing enemies against Israel in this specific regard (Turkey, the boat passengers and the corrupt, international media) and proved them to be unworthy causes, victimizing faux-victims, imposters to the claims of innocence. Even more impressively, you have shared this information with utmost haste, circulating it widely and employing every possible form of media, both traditional and cutting-edge, to refute the preposterous claims against Israel and to prove that Israel is, as usual, a just defender of freedom.

Unfortunately, these efforts have only served to harm your cause.

The oft-repeated justifications and defenses of Israel's actions reinforce the erroneous notion that there is something to defend or justify. For the small audience that is somewhat aware and attuned to international politics, you appear as Shakespeare's Queen Gertrude, protesting too much. For the majority of individuals, who receive their news from headlines and sound-bites, the constant discussion places this story ever further in their limited attention. It is not, as you hope, attention based on your correction. To refute a story, one must reiterate it and when something this scandalous is reiterated, particularly to an audience of limited capacity or concern, what is repeated and re-learned is only the mistruth. Especially when that mistruth is shaped and promoted by a knowingly biased media loathe to reject its own original assertions, your corrections do nothing more then re-assert the false claims. Finally, for the largest audience who only receive their information via memes, we have already lost this publicity war every time we agree to calling the "terrorist armada" a "peace flotilla."

Stop now. Stop providing this band of boaters, baiters and bandits a stage upon which to sell their snake oil. Stop now.

Of course, there are the intellectual Jews who will debate this. If you are researching and writing thesis-style defenses of the actions against the terrorist armada because you believe it will sway public opinion - stop now. Immediately disabuse yourself of the notion that Israel can receive a fair shake in the court of public opinion or that that court is anything more than a mock trial anyway. If you are yelling your assertions of Israel's innocence because your support for Israel only runs as deeply as her morality - stop now. Israel will face many tough decisions in the near future and your support should be more comprehensive then that and certainly less personal. And, finally, if you are promoting your opinion because you believe it will reach the ears and minds of a few readers - stop now. Put down the e-mail listserve and go out outside. Speak to someone. Educate them. Then, speak to the next one. Repeat. Ad nauseum.

Until then, we are left with a vomitous volume of information. I have received and read everything I can. From both sides. From the wanna-be hip, "young," Jewish organization that believes cursing equals cool and states "Peaceful Protest, My Ass" to the older organizations with their endless lists of facts. I have read the competing takes on the issue and the anti-Israel rhetoric. Unfortunately, the anti-Israel rhetoric, although misinformed, wholly inaccurate and, sometimes, downright silly, is far more compelling. Lacking facts, they find their proof in conviction and machismo posturing. We, supporters of Israel, already have the facts. Let us begin supplementing them with belief and assertion and not undermining them by constant repetition.

Let us put down the mantle of proof and the burden of evidence and raise Israel up in support and love.

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