Home > Gaza, Hasbara > Yediot’s Kadmon: How Israel managed to ‘both eat the stinking fish and be expelled from the city’

Yediot’s Kadmon: How Israel managed to ‘both eat the stinking fish and be expelled from the city’

UPDATE The source of the fable is the Talmud (Mechilata Derabi Ishmael) where it describes how the Egyptians managed to enact a their worst case scenario: Suffered the Ten Plagues, Let Israel go and lost all their wealth. Thanks, Shlomit Yarkoni.

A Hasidic fable tells of a Jew given the choice of three punishments by a Polish noble: Forty lashes, eating a putrid fish or expulsion from the city. After enduring thirty-five lashes he asks for the fish. He manages only three-quarters of the fish and is expelled from the city.

In a front-page commentary on the decision to lift the blockade of Gaza, Yediot’s Sima Kadmon alludes to this fable (full translated text at bottom):

And as if all this were not enough — the Quartet announced yesterday that the relief measures were not enough. The expression about eating the stinking fish and also being kicked out of the city would be true, if we were talking about fish. The problem is that we’re talking about sharks, and sadly — they were the ones who ate us.

Netanyahu tried yesterday to blame the siege on the Olmert government. He was not the only one: suddenly everyone is distancing themselves from what, until now, was considered to be the required policy. Netanyahu dumped it on Olmert, Olmert on Barak, Barak back to Olmert and even claims that he has long since thought that it should be lifted. Is this not disgraceful? The government has been in power for a year and a half, and is still tied to the policy of is predecessor. The defense minister, who was also defense minister when it was decided on the siege, now talks like a commentator, and not as the man who decided on it. What is going on here? Is there no one in this country who will take responsibility?

I agree with Kadmon that Israel has maneuvered itself in the worst of all possible worlds; I disagree with her assertion that the blockade served a logical purpose. One can understand, however, why many journalists would adopt such a position. After all, for over three years, they’ve toed the government line: The blockade is weakening Hamas. It’s easier to call the Prime Minister a liar now than to admit that you’ve served for so long as an uncritical stenographer.

Some journalists are not falling into this cognitive dissonance. On Channel Ten TV News yesterday evening, for example, both Yaron London and Raviv Drucker were livid with anger.

Both reactions have a constructive alternative: Journalists can simply stop regurgitating government talking points and begin asking questions. They can start with this one: Since the logic that applies to civilian imports also applies to exports, why are they still prohibited? Why not allow them as well so Gaza has a chance at economic recovery and does become a permanent welfare case funded by other people’s taxes?

We’ve become a joke

Analysis, Sima Kadmon, Yediot, June 22 2010 [front-page; Hebrew original here and at bottom of post]

Even in Gaza they began yesterday to eat coriander and halva, pasta and jam, while we are the only ones continuing to eat dirt. That’s how it is when there is a right-wing government with two left hands, a bumbling leadership that leads us from bad to worse, whose every action, which is meant to fix the previous crisis, only bring us to a new low in terms of our public image and deterrence.

Why deny it? We’ve become a joke. There is no country in the world today that doesn’t know that Israel only understands force, and that its prime minister — the man who invented “they’ll give, they’ll get” and developed an entire credo on the war on terror — is the first who capitulated to terror and his government’s decisions strengthen Hamas’s control.

Yesterday the prime minister tried to explain why it was decided to lift the siege on Gaza. He had two ways of doing this. One, to say forthrightly and courageously that he was acceding to the decision of the European Union to lift the siege and he therefore is asking the Europeans to announce that there is no longer any need for protest flotillas and no legitimacy to the ships trying to reach Gaza. That way, at least, we would have gotten something out of this whole story.

Instead, Netanyahu chose to explain to the Israeli public why lifting the siege was the most correct thing to do, and that this “pulled the rug out from under the propaganda claim that there is a humanitarian crisis in Gaza.” After all, any idiot then immediately asks: if this is such a correct thing to do, why didn’t we do it a year ago? Why did this siege go on for three years, with a need for failed campaign such as stopping the flotilla and massive international pressure in order to drag Israel into making a decision that it actually doesn’t want.

And the opposite: if the siege was necessary, what suddenly made it unnecessary if not for our failed action with the flotilla and after it. Netanyahu can tell stories, but he can’t dodge the facts: the decision to lift the siege is not part of some strategy, it strengthens the extremists and weakens the pragmatics and it evades a solution to the problem of Gilad Shalit.

And as if all this were not enough — the Quartet announced yesterday that the relief measures were not enough. The expression about eating the stinking fish and also being kicked out of the city would be true, if we were talking about fish. The problem is that we’re talking about sharks, and sadly — they were the ones who ate us.

Netanyahu tried yesterday to blame the siege on the Olmert government. He was not the only one: suddenly everyone is distancing themselves from what, until now, was considered to be the required policy. Netanyahu dumped it on Olmert, Olmert on Barak, Barak back to Olmert and even claims that he has long since thought that it should be lifted. Is this not disgraceful? The government has been in power for a year and a half, and is still tied to the policy of is predecessor. The defense minister, who was also defense minister when it was decided on the siege, now talks like a commentator, and not as the man who decided on it. What is going on here? Is there no one in this country who will take responsibility?

But the most infuriating thing is Netanyahu’s statement relating to the captive soldier. With Noam and Aviva Shalit hearing from an adjoining room that the government is lifting the siege, which until now was considered the chief means of pressure to reaching a deal for his release, Netanyahu announced: “We are examining other ways to effect Gilad Shalit’s release.” What does this mean “examining other ways?” Was the siege the only way that had been examined until now, by means of which they hoped to bring Shalit home? Over the course of four years of captivity, did the Israeli government not examine any other means?

Advertisements
Categories: Gaza, Hasbara

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: