Zvi Bar'el / Israel is engaging in gangster diplomacy
Jews have endured the Holocaust, now no one, especially the Turks, can portray us as war criminals.
Now we have also shown the Turks who we are, because when it comes to the Jewish, Zionist honor of a nation that endured the Holocaust and the Goldstone report, no one will make a movie about us - certainly not the Turks - portraying us as war criminals. If Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan thinks he can reprimand us without a reaction, we'll show him and all the other countries of the world.
There's no choice because they only understand force. Britain wants to boycott Israeli goods? We'll summon the British ambassador and have him sit on a bed of nails. The United States handles the settlements unfairly? We'll point an unloaded gun at the American ambassador's head and pull the trigger, just to scare him. We're not murderers. We're just trying to frighten, which, as is well known, creates respect. Just ask the Godfather.
But if we're going to put on a performance like this, it's important to do it in style because it gets ridiculous when directors sit on high, uncomfortable chairs with their feet barely touching the ground just to achieve a superior level. Instead of arranging a professional humiliation room and ordering a low chair facing a real master with elevator shoes or barstools, and maintaining a supply of ripped national flags for each country (because who knows if tomorrow we'll have to humiliate the Swedish or Irish ambassador?), they threw everything together at the last minute last week. Proper lighting is an essential element of gangster diplomacy and not a job for amateurs. Our deputy foreign minister merely gave us second-rate humiliation.
The other aspect of the affair is a matter of honor and morals. The polished statement from the Foreign Ministry spokesman said that "the statement by Prime Minister Erdogan comes in addition to the anti-Turkish television program .... The State of Israel reserves its full right to defend its citizens from missile and terrorist attacks by Hamas and Hezbollah, and Turkey is the last one that can preach morals to the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces." This indictment featured three accusations: that Erdogan is cooperating with Turkish television, that he is undermining Israel's security, and especially that he is jumping to the head of the line in preaching morals instead of taking his place behind Europe and the United States.
No one bothered to say that the Turkish television series, in which actually the United States was attacked in the first episode, was produced back in 2003 and made into a film in 2006. They only decided to produce further episodes because of the project's huge commercial success. This time there was a mix of Mafia, Mossad, kidnapping of children and Turkish heroism. The series was distributed by Star TV, which is owned by Erdogan's bitter rival, Aydin Dogan. So Erdogan is innocent of the first accusation against him.
The two other accusations are much more serious. Turkey actually supports Israel's security. It buys unmanned aircraft from Israel to fight terrorism perpetrated by the PKK, the Kurdistan Workers' Party, both in Turkey and Iraq. By using Israeli technology, Turkey knows where to direct its bombing against the PKK, in which civilians are also killed. Turkey is doing in Iraq what Israel does in Gaza. The major question is who is more moral? The seller of the weapon who knows whom it will be used against or the one who uses it?
If Israel had wanted to behave morally, it would have demanded, as the United States has, that its technology not be used in a war against civilians. Maybe it would have lost a $200 million deal, but it would have won the right to say that Turkey is the last country that has the right to accuse others. Does anyone really think Defense Minister Ehud Barak will make a similar demand on the use of Israeli technology during his visit to Turkey today?
If Israel had wanted to behave morally, it would have recognized the Armenian genocide despite Turkish opposition, but it is afraid that taking a moral stance on that issue would cost it dearly. If Israel had wanted to behave morally, it would have lifted the siege on 1.5 million civilians in Gaza long ago - not for Erdogan, but for Israel itself.
So morals are not the issue, but rather Turkey's place in line among those preaching morals. But because this is a case of two friendly countries, and neither is so righteous, why should Turkey be the one to be pushed to the end of the line in the contest over self-righteousness?