One of the seminars I give to groups is called “You Be Prime Minister!” (click here for more information on my seminars). The idea behind the seminars is very simple: By putting the participant in the shoes of the prime minister, I am able to give him a taste of the complexity of the issues Israel has to deal with in a way that would be impossible to describe with words. The participant can then understand the complexity of the religious/secular divide in Israel, the complexity of the security situation, the complexity of the Sephardic minority’s needs, the complexity of the diplomatic challenges Israel has etc…
As I looked back at the unveiling of the Flotilla incident, I asked myself a question that I now want to ask you, my readers, and that I want you to ask everyone you know. I ask that question because, on the one hand, it will help us learn about Israel’s mistakes in order not to repeat them. However, I also ask it because I do believe that if we ask that question to our opponents, their answers will either be minor and meaningless, or extreme… By asking them that question, we can make the world understand that Israel had no other choice but to defend itself! Sure, some details could have been handled differently, but the basic fact of self defence was unavoidable. Therefore, the deaths are the responsibility of the attackers (the so called “activists”) and not the defenders (the Israeli soldiers).
Now, I ask you, in all honesty: What would you have done different if you were Prime Minister? Please answer on the comments section of this post!
My Answer: Israel was put in a situation where it had no choice but to defend itself and we should never ask sorry for that. Still, I would have started the public diplomacy campaign in defence of Israel’s actions right after the announcement of the deaths and not a few hours later. Our enemies had already given their lies to the media who had been running them for hours before we came out with a response. I would have also ensured better intelligence before sending the brave soldiers because it would have let me give them more appropriate weapons, and also maybe made me find a way to bring the boat to shore without going in it and then sending the border police who is experienced with rioting.
Please note that I do realize that it is much easier to criticize in hindsight and that I do not intend to criticize the way the situation was handled because I do not know all the variables of the situation.
My name is Dan Illouz. I am a lawyer and policy analyst. You can read more about me by clicking on this link. I hope to use the broad and diverse knowledge I have acquired through my education and experience in order to help shape public policy in Israel.