Tuesday, 1 June 2010

Late to the Party - The 'Exodus' Analogy

It had occurred to me that there were parallels between Leon Uris's 'Exodus' story and what has happened to the 'Peace Flotilla'. Googling around gave me this link:


Which makes the following point, amongst others:

"The tougher Israel is, the more the flotilla’s narrative takes hold. As the Zionists knew in 1947 and the Palestinians are learning, controlling public opinion requires subtlety, a selective narrative and cynicism. As they also knew, losing the battle can be catastrophic. It cost Britain the Mandate and allowed Israel to survive. Israel’s enemies are now turning the tables. This maneuver was far more effective than suicide bombings or the Intifada in challenging Israel’s public perception and therefore its geopolitical position (though if the Palestinians return to some of their more distasteful tactics like suicide bombing, the Turkish strategy of portraying Israel as the instigator of violence will be undermined)."

So, it is clear that others can see the analogy, or perhaps the derivative nature of the tactic. Here is a pretty reasonable summary of the PR battle that is going to surround this incident.

One highlight is this, referring to the original model for the latest atrocity:

"Captain Ahronovitch was 23 when he took the helm of the Exodus. On July 11, 1947, he picked up the refugees at Sète, in southern France. On July 18, as the ship neared the coast of Palestine, the British Navy intercepted it. Captain Ahronovitch tried to break through, but two British destroyers rammed the ship.
Several hours of fighting followed, with the ship’s passengers spraying fuel oil and throwing smoke bombs, life rafts and whatever else came to hand, down on the British sailors trying to board, The Times reported at the time. Soon the British opened fire. Two immigrants and a crewman on the Exodus were killed; scores more were wounded, many seriously. The ship was towed to Haifa, and from there its passengers were deported, first to France and eventually to Germany, where they were placed in camps near Lübeck."

Plus ca change? and all that.

Seems to me that this has been an enormous misjudgement on the part of Israel.

If you prefer your tea with a dash of whisky, I'd thoroughly recommend the Flying Rodent approach. Which includes the quite incredibly pithy summary:

"Shorter – there really is an urgent and perilous threat to Israel. It’s called “the Israeli government”."
Update:  It is difficult to feel much sympathy for this post in today's Telegraph.

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