The Jewish Week: Israel’s Delegitimizers Are Gaining

Flotilla fiasco underscores Jewish state’s vulnerability; think tank urges dramatic change in diplomacy.

The Gaza flotilla episode pinpoints the weakness of an Israeli mindset that maintains that the greatest threat remains the military battlefield and is caught flat-footed in dealing with political assaults, resulting in major blows.

By sending a few boats toward Gaza, the anti-Israel activists had no intention or possibility of confronting Israel militarily. Rather they manipulated the Israelis into overreacting, and the diplomatic and public relations fallout was huge, with the loss of contact with Turkey, a longtime key Muslim ally, a strategic disaster.

Unfortunately, we should expect to see more such diplomatic forays aimed at piercing Israel’s sense of invincibility.

The Re’ut Institute, an independent think tank based in Tel Aviv, earlier this year issued a detailed “conceptual framework” for countering these types of danger, identifying the two separate forces driving the delegitimization campaign, and urging the Israeli government and pro-Israel community to become far more focused and sophisticated in combating the effort.

Gidi Grinstein, the founder and president of Re’ut, asserted in an interview that the “systematic and systemic assault” on Israel’s economic and political model has “potentially existential implications.”

The 92-page Re’ut report notes that in addition to the military resistance movement in the Mideast, composed primarily of Hezbollah in Lebanon and Hamas in Gaza, there is a relatively small group of networks, or hubs, that are loosely based but share a hatred of Israel and seek to disseminate information globally that challenges Israel’s moral and legal legitimacy.

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