Neil Lazarus wrote a piece in response to Israel’s apology to Turkey. While I agree with his title I do NOT agree with what he wrote.
His post can be summed up to three apologies the state of Israel should make.
1) To the Israeli soldiers who were ill prepared because of a serious lack of intelligence on the ships
2) To the soldiers for stopping a ship beyond the borders of Israel because it’s against international law
3) To Israel for the PR fiasco that resulted from stopping the ships and the subsequent severing of ties by Turkey
He’s right about number 1, I’ll give him that, but for all the rest he is dead on wrong.
It is not against international law to stop a boat in international waters that is intending to break a blockade your country is enforcing. That’s first of all.
Second, if there is a single turning point in Israeli PR (and I believe there is) this is it. No matter how we look at it, the Mavi Marmara was a major success in Israeli PR.
It was a success for Israel when Latma created their wonderful video “We con the world” that got millions of views, was subsequently removed from YouTube by YouTube, was therefore mirrored many times by other users who also got a few thousand views, and then reposted by Latma with over 2 million views. You can watch it here (over and over again. I know)
But views don’t equal major PR successes. What makes this particular video a PR success was that for the first time the Israeli point of view was finally shown to the world and conversation was stimulated–not on the Anti-Israel crowd’s turf but on ours. No longer was the Israeli voice a tiny whisper in a loud room. Now everybody was paying close attention to what Israel had to say.
This was a major turning point for the IDF as well. Suddenly the IDF spokesperson was on the map as the only reliable news-source on the story as they published the real live footage of the event, showing the falsehoods the news stations were reporting.
As for Turkey: they wanted this. Nothing would have prevented the resulting fraying of relations. And the apology will change nothing if Turkey didn’t have what to gain.