Israel blocks flotilla, 'fly-in'' agitprop plans
Go back a week and recall how the media, including Israel's, were full of dire forecasts of an upcoming international flotilla with more than a dozen ships and hundreds of agitators set to sail toward Gaza and breach Israel's blockade of the Hamas-ruleld territory. This was going to be a big armada challenging Israel's ability to keep weapons from reaching Hamas by sea. The world was about to witness the mother of all flotillas.
It never happened. With Cyprus, Greece and Turkey barring Gaza-bound ships from leaving their ports, the flotilla got stuck before it could even sail toward Gaza.
Well, if not by sea, how about by air? The global club of anti-Israel agitators figured that, with the flotilla fizzing out, it could embarrass Israel by flying in hundreds of activists to Ben-Gurion Airport and use that as its base for some anti-Israel political theater and a waystation to hook up with Palestinians in the West Bank or Gaza.
It never happened. Israel -- with superior intelligence -- sent airlines the identites of hundreds of these would-be provocateurs along with a request to keep them grounded. European and American airlines cooperated by keeping them from even boarding their planes. Those who made it to Ben-Gurion were promptly arrested, interrogated and held in custody pending deporatation.
What lessons can we learn from Israel's smashing victories against the Gaza flotilla and the "fly-in" drive, which were orchestrated with much boastful fanare by an entire who's who of global anti-Israel crusaders?
The first one is that these events finally should give the lie to a favorite media assumption -- that Israel is isolated on the world stage. Au contraire. The flotilla and the fly-in fizzled into nothingness because Israel, by dint of deft diplomacy and clear evidence that it was prepared to use strong muscle to counter these provocations, managed to drum up lots of international support.
Far from Israel being isolated, it was the agitators who were left high and dry by the international community. Even UN Chief Ban Ki-Moon lined up against the flotilla -- as did President Obama and Secretary of State Clinton with their eyes on next year's reelection calendar. Prime Minister Netanyahu aslo worked tirelessly to get Greece on his side. Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan, disregarding his usual anti-Israel bluster and busy handling thousands of Syrians fleeing from Assad's barbarities, thought the better part of valor was not to foment trouble with Israel this time -- in contrast to his seminal role last year in spoiling for a fight with Israeli commandos by some of his Turkish radical neo-terrorists.
So, whatever the motives of the various global players, Israel ended up getting ample cooperation and collaboration to checkmate both the flotilla and the fly-in.
Worth remembering the next time the New York Times and the Washington Post bemoan Israel's supposed isolation on the world scene.