[tweetmeme] The last few months have not been good ones for Netanyahu’s Rolodex. Predictably, the international calls made by the Israeli PM have been closer to damage control than friendly updates. Of course, many will call the growing isolation of Israel a result of resurgent anti-Semitism throughout the world; more likely, though, the international displeasure with Israel simply has to do with an impressive list of political blunders. I touched upon this earlier, but it is worth revisiting as the Israeli government continues to amaze.
- International pressure started to mount after the Operation Cast Lead in Gaza two years ago. The siege resulted in 1400 Palestinian deaths and nearly 5000 injuries. The result of Cast Lead was the disputed Goldstone report accusing Israel and Hamas of war crimes. After the report Israel conducted an internal investigation which was largely seen as inadequate (Hamas had an equally absurd ‘investigation’) around the world. Additionally, England put out an arrest warrant (since revoked) for Tzipi Livni – the Israeli FM during the Gaza war.
- In January, Israeli Deputy PM Danny Ayalon openly embarrassed the Turkish ambassador leading to a serious diplomatic spat between the two countries.
- Next for Israel came the assassination of Mahmoud al-Mabhouh in Dubai. The assassination was successful – in that Mabhouh was killed, but Dubai authorities discovered that the Israeli Mossad used British, French and Australian (among others) passports to enter the Emirates. The result? The UK kicked out the boss of Mossad in the country and warned is citizens about entering Israel. Additionally, the Israeli ambassadors were summoned in Australia, Britain, France and Ireland to discuss the anger surrounded the incident. Recently, Germany requested that Poland arrest a Mossad agent and extradite him for prosecution.
- Then, in March of this year, Israel announced more settlement construction on Palestinian land during a visit by US VP Joe Biden, leading to the biggest row between the US and Israel in decades. The criticism from Washington included General Petraeus suggesting that the US-Israel ties are harming US soldiers in the Middle East.
- In May of this year, Qatar twice offered normalized diplomatic relations with the Jewish state is exchange for the right to conduct several reconstruction projects in the Gaza strip. Israel refused the offer. The offers were rejected because Qatar would have needed to import cement and other construction materials into Gaza.
- Also in May, the UNSC backed a plan to create a nuclear free zone in the Middle East. The plan called into question Israel’s covert nuclear capacity. Importantly, the US signed onto the idea which called for Israel to sign the NPT and dismantle its nuclear program.
- Then, there was the much covered Flotilla disaster in which Israeli commandos boarded an aid convoy and killed 9 civilian aid workers. The fallout included the possible break of diplomatic ties with Turkey – Israel’s most strategically important ally in the Middle East. In Europe, Ehud Barak was forced to cancel a trip to France due to the possibility of arrest and in South America, Nicaragua broke diplomatic ties with the Jewish state.
- Furthermore, for the last few months, there have been discussion in the US about the support of American Jews for Israel. The normally Israeli-friendly Peter Beinart penned an important essay questioning the future of American support for Israel.
For those keeping score Israel: has diplomats who face possible arrest in England, France and Germany; had diplomats kicked out of England; almost completely destroyed relations with its most important regional ally (twice); had ambassadors summoned in several countries to discuss controversial Israeli policies; lost ties with one country and spurned ties with another; and picked a fight with the US that started a discussion of the strategic and social importance of the Jewish state.
There is always the possibility that the criticism of Israel is fueled by a rebirth of global anti-Semitism, but with a three-year resume like Israel’s it is pretty easy to see that the Israeli government is not doing itself any favors.