Dreamy Foreign Policies

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The second thing we learn from Ashton’s anti-Israel mania is that when we engage in foreign policy, we need to base our judgments about our ability to influence the behavior of our foreign counterparts on a sober-minded assessment of two separate things: our interlocutor’s ideology and his interests. In Ashton’s case, both parameters make clear that there is no way to win her over to Israel’s side. She is ideologically opposed to Israel. And the citizens of Europe are becoming more and more hostile to Israel and to Jews.

These twin parameters for judging foreign leaders and representatives came to mind on Wednesday with the publication of State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss’s critical report on the government’s handling of the Turkish-government supported, pro-Hamas flotilla in May 2010. Perhaps the most remarkable revelation in the report is that up until a week before the flotilla set sail, led by the infamous Mavi Marmara, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was under the impression that he had reached a deal with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Netanyahu believed that through third parties, including the US government and then-Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak, he had convinced Erdogan to cancel the flotilla. He had a deal.

The fact that Netanyahu thought he had a deal with Erdogan is startling and unnerving. It means that Netanyahu was willing to ignore the basic facts of Erdogan’s nature and the way that Erdogan perceives his interests, in favor of a fiction.

By May 2010 it was abundantly clear that Erdogan was not a friend of Israel. He had been in power for eight years. He had already ended Turkey’s strategic alliance with Israel. In 2006, Erdogan was the first major international leader and NATO member to host Hamas terror chief Ismail Haniyeh. His embrace of Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood made clear that he was Israel’s enemy. It is a simple fact that you cannot be allied with Israel and with the Muslim Brotherhood at the same time. The same year he allowed Iran to use Turkish territory to transfer weaponry to Hezbollah during the Second Lebanon War.

In 2008, Erdogan openly sided with Hamas against Israel in Operation Cast Lead. In 2009, he called President Shimon Peres a murderer to his face.

By the time the flotilla was organized, Erdogan had used Turkey’s position as a NATO member to effectively end the US-led alliance’s cooperative relationship with Israel, by refusing to participate in military exercises with Israel.

THE NATURE OF the flotilla organizers was also known in the months ahead of its departure for Gaza. The IHH’s ties to al-Qaida had been documented. Netanyahu’s staff knew that the IHH was so extreme that the previous Turkish government had barred its operatives from participating in humanitarian relief efforts after the devastating 1999 earthquake. They feared the group would use its relief efforts to radicalize the local population.

In and of itself, the fact that Erdogan was openly supporting IHH’s leading role in the flotilla told Israel everything it needed to know about the Turkish leader’s intentions. And yet, up until a week before the flotilla set sail, Netanyahu was operating under the impression that he had struck a deal with Erdogan.

It is likely that Netanyahu was led to believe that a deal had been crafted by the Americans.

Obama is not the only American leader that has been seduced into believing that Erdogan and his Islamist AKP Party are trustworthy strategic partners for the US. Many key members of Congress share this delusional view.

According to a senior congressional source, Turkey’s success in winning over the US Congress is the result of a massive Turkish lobbying effort. Through two or three front groups, the Turkish government has become one of the most active lobbying bodies in Washington. It brings US lawmakers and their aides on luxury trips to Turkey and hosts glittering, glamorous receptions and parties in Washington on a regular basis. And these efforts have paid off.

Turkey’s bellicosity towards Israel as well as Greece and Cyprus has caused it no harm in Washington. Its request to purchase a hundred F-35 Joint Strike Fighters faced little serious opposition. The US continues to bow to its demands to disinvite Israel from international forum after international forum – most recently the upcoming US-hosted counter-terrorism summit in Istanbul.

Certainly Turkey’s strategic transformation under Erdogan’s leadership from a pro-Western democracy into an anti-Western Islamist police state has dire implications for American national interests. And the Americans would be well-served to look beyond the silken invitations to Turkish formal events at five-star hotels and see what is actually happening in the sole Muslim NATO member-state. But whether the US comes to its senses or not is its business.

Israel had no business buying into the fiction in 2010 that Erdogan could be reasoned with.

True, today no one in Israel operates under that delusion anymore. But the basic phenomenon of our leaders failing to distinguish between what they want to happen and what can happen continues to exist.

Ours is a dangerous world and an even more dangerous neighborhood. Everywhere we look we see cauldrons of radicalism and sophisticated weaponry waiting to explode. The threat environment Israel faces today is unprecedented.

At this time we cannot afford to be seduced by our dreams that things were different than they are. They are what they are.

We do have options in this contest. To maximize those options we need to ground our actions and assessments in clear-headed analyses and judgments of the people we are faced with. Their actions will be determined by their beliefs and their perception of their interests – not by our pretty face.

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  • Terry

    It's called antisemitism. Racism, if you like.

    Ashton would know that what she spouts today, *itler was saying in the 1930s.

    I hope to see the day when all Jews can visit ashton's grave and duly urinate over it. Since *itler didn't have the grace to have a grave, ashton will do nicely. And that's about the best thing I could think of to say about her.

  • Silver Scumbag

    I still believe that when the last european is wearing an orange jumpsuit about to be decapitated by muslims, he/she will blame the Jews for this until the knife does its job.

    Every day I hope that the euro finally implodes and the euro people ( the erudite, brilliant, cool people) are running around rambling, screaming to feed themselves and their children ( the few having any). Still blaming Jews for this.

    Tired of this eurozone kabuki play. Why is this still continuing? Everyone knows except the eurozone that they have a very limited scary future; no gold, no silver but I assume what keeps them going is North Sea oil and GAZPROM.

    • Arius

      Europe is on its death march. What is left of its civilization can be seen in its museums.

  • Wally

    Contrast between two women:
    1. Caroline a beautiful woman and a real woman in every sense, a woman of accomplishments.
    2. Catherine Ashton wow is she ever ugly even too ugly for a man. Ugly inside and outside, how could this troll ever get any role whatsoever let alone represent Europe in the world?

  • MikeWood

    This woman Ashton is so sickening. Unfortunately she is symptomatic of a wider European sickness. She rose to prominence in the Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament, an influential body advocating unilateral disarmament. The sight of a country willing to defend itself from annihilation must horrify her. Like most of the European Left she is marinated in anti-Zionism and has knee-jerk support for all things Palestinian and Muslim. She now heads EU foreign policy which, as Bat y'eor has clearly shown in her much under-read book, "Europe, Globalisation, and the Emerging Universal Caliphate", has been demonstrably hostile to Israel for over 40 years. Europe is increasingly the puppet of Arab masters to whom it began to surrender in the 1970s with pie-eyed ideas of a greater Europe encompassing North Africa. Muslim immigration during the last 40 years has only served to reinforce that fact. Ashton is a symptom of Eurabia.

    • Arius

      She should get it over with and convert to Islam.

  • Marty

    The despicable ashton is the newest poster child for european anti-semitism and Israel bashing. By the end of her obscene life she may get experience coerced conversion to islam, a required burka, and somehow acquire a muslim husband who will be compensated for marrying this hag by getting to slap her around from time to time. Perhaps it will somehow dawn on her that the only democracy in the middle east forbids all of the above. It's doubtful and by then it will be too late for europe and for her.

  • effemall

    Let's be fair for a moment. The poor woman got kicked in the ash by God who gave her a face even a mother couldn't love. She simply had to hate SOMEONE and so she settled on the Jews. But don't say that she represents Europe or even Europe's anti-Semites. A small minority of European anti-Semites (which is what Hitler had when he started) do not represent all of Europe, even though they stand out like sore thumbs. Let's have some charity for Ashton and help her while she scours the world looking for her missing chin.

  • Zionista

    This homely mofo has an uncanny resemblance to the cyclops in "Harold and Kumar escape Guantanamo".

  • watsa46

    Western Europe is antisemitic and anti Israel to the core.
    It is amazing to see so many movies in French and produced by France about what the French people did to the Jews before during and after the 2nd WW. They have no guilt feeling and still hate the Jews as if nothing had happened. The Jews of Western Europe love their dhimmi status. Recent statistics reveal that the Europeans consider Israel to be as dangerous as Iran, N-Korea and Syria!

    • Arius

      At the core of the West is self hatred which is driving its self destruction. Psychologically speaking, Israel, and Jerusalem, represent the foundational substructure of the West. By projecting evil on Israel, the West is projecting itself into Israel and reviling itself in Israel. The West, like morons, are on a death march.

  • Phil

    Adults want to have their parents' love and respect even when the parents are emotionally abusive and uncaring. In this respect, Israelis and Jews in general want to admired and appreciated by the European christians–even though the Europeans have been murderously abusive to them. Like the battered wife, Israelis blame themselves and believe that only if they behaved better, they would be loved. Obviously, this is a misguided fantasy as the Europeans don't even need to have Jews in order to be antisemitic. Instead of doing something rational, the abused wife and child continues to accept abuse and continues to be good so that they will be loved. It is sickand this sickness pervades the Jewish people–especially those on the left.

  • WilliamJamesWard

    Ashton will reside in a ton of ash soon enough. Europe is morphing back into it's 1930's mentality
    and Erdogan may be the new Hitler. With Europe becoming a new Islamist zone and the moral
    failure of their societies the evil stench of murderous intent is wafting from EU which is better
    understood as PU, I will never spend another dime in Europe and wish my family members
    buried there could be exhumed and returned, Europe has proven to be unworthy of American
    lives and treasure.

    Erdogan may be the greatest threat and if he met with and untimely accident it may be that
    Turkish Cities in the not so far future will be spared nuclear incineration, Erdogan or the
    worst outcome, what will it be?……When will the World learn that millions do not have to die
    in avoidable wars, just get the head of the snake……………………William

  • Matt

    This article is disgusting. Your blatant denial or outright ignorance of Israeli crimes discredits you as a writer and as a citizen. You suggest, furthermore, that a nation should respond more immediately to the status quo than to the reality they envision. Peace cannot exist just because Israel recognized the existence of Palestinians 60 years after Israelis started displacing and massacring them. Your assumptions are naiive and your conclusions Ill-Informed

    • Arius

      You are ignorant of basic facts and hardly worth even this reply.

  • Lan Astaslem

    I'm sure a dingbat like you looks the other way when the palestinian swine commit atrocity after atrocity – the soft bigotry of low expectations.