Re: Bad News for Dems

The Gallup poll that Doug pointed to not only gives Republicans a 6-point advantage in the generic ballot (which is 13 points among independents), but it also finds that Republicans are more enthusiastic about voting by a 15 point margin. As Gallup points out in its analysis of the results, typically Republicans do better in turnout in midterm elections than polling models predict, so a even a tie in the generic ballot would normally suggest Republicans winning a higher percentage of the actual vote. So a six-point lead, if it holds up, could mean an overwhelming victory by the GOP in November. Yet Gallup notes that, “it is not clear whether the recent shift marks the beginning of a lasting change in the structure of the race or perhaps a short-term response to political events such as the Obama administration’s handling of the BP oil spill. The latter appeared to be the case earlier this year as Republicans built a small lead after the healthcare bill’s passage into law, but the slight bump for the GOP among registered voters did not last.”

Time for Israel to Go on Offense

Noah Pollak has a strong post elaborating on how Israel’s public relations effort in the wake of the flotilla incident is insufficient because it focuses on beating down lies that are being spread by the anti-Israel media, rather than going on the offense.

Among his suggestions for what such an offensive strategy may look like:

1. Expel the Turkish ambassador and declare his return contingent on a full, credible, and public Turkish investigation of the terrorist organization that planned and funded the “aid flotilla.”

2. Publicly demand reparations from Turkey for the costs of the operation, including the medical bills of the thugs and Jew-haters who have been given such lovely medical care in Israeli hospitals.

3. Demand a UN investigation of why Turkey is funding terrorist organizations that are involved in attacks on Israel.

4. Fund a Kurdish human-rights NGO in Israel — there are lots of Kurdish Jews who I’m sure would be happy to help — that raises awareness of the plight of Kurds in Turkey. (Short answer: they are treated horribly.) This organization must publicize the apartheid conditions of Kurdish life in Turkey and churn out op-eds, studies, videos, and press releases denouncing Turkey’s brutal and racist treatment of its own minorities.

5. Fund a Turkish-language documentary on the Armenian genocide, upload it to YouTube, and promote it heavily in Turkey. If Erdogan wants to call Israel a criminal and a murderer, there’s no reason why Israel shouldn’t return the favor on this most sensitive of issues.

I’d just add another observation. Following the incident, Israel and many of its defenders have been trying to respond to criticism of conditions in Gaza, by either emphasizing the humanitarian aid Israel provides and lets in, or arguing that conditions in Gaza aren’t as bad as advertised. But this strikes me as largely irrelevant. The reason why there’s a blockade in place in Gaza is that the area is run by a terrorist group dedicated to Israel’s destruction that is stockpiling weapons to further its goal. And the reason why Hamas is running the show is that it was popularly elected by the Palestinian people. So it’s very hard to view Palestinians as a whole as innocent victims in this. If they don’t want to encounter problems importing the supplies they want, then they shouldn’t vote terrorists into power. And if they choose to elect terrorists, then it’s pretty outrageous to suggest that anybody other than Palestinians themselves are responsible for their plight.

This is What Happens When Israel Plays Nice

Following up on John’s excellent post on the Israeli flotilla incident, I’d just like to add that this is yet another example of how Israel gets itself into trouble when it tries to play nice and goes out of its way to appease the international community. In this case, terrorist-linked extremists posing as a human rights workers were seeking to prevent Israel from enforcing a Naval blockade that is in place to stop a terrorist group dedicated to Israel’s destruction from importing weapons. Yet instead of preparing to confront violent extremists, Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak was more concerned with world opinion, so he sent commandoes into a situation in which they were being beaten by a mob, and only authorized to use paint guns.

Had Israelis actually planned for how to deal with violent passengers and shown from the get go that they meant business, it’s less likely they would have ended up needing to use lethal force. But once the IDF was forced to choose between letting its soldiers get beaten to death or opening fire, lethal force was the obvious consequence.

In a strong piece, Caroline Glick documents the all the warning signs that the flotilla would be filled with suicide protesters who were part of a Turkish terrorist group posing as a human rights organization, and explains why Israel lost the information war:

(I)t is clear that Israel’s information strategy for contending with the flotilla was ill-conceived. Rather than attack Turkey for its facilitation of terrorism, and openly prepare charge sheets against the flotilla’s organizers, crew and passengers for their facilitation of terrorism in breach of both Israeli domestic law and international law, Israel’s information efforts were largely concentrated on irrelevancies. Israeli officials detailed all the humanitarian assistance Israel has provided Hamas-controlled Gaza. They spoke of the Navy’s commitment to use non-lethal force to take over the ships. 

And now, in the aftermath of the lethal takeover of the flotilla, Israel’s leaders stammer. Rather than demand an apology from the Turkish government for its support for these terrorists, Defense Minister Ehud Barak called his Turkish counterpart to talk over what happened. Rather than demand restitution for the terrorist assault against Israeli troops, Israel has defended its troops’ moral training in non-violent crowd control. 
These efforts are worse than worthless. They make Israel appear whiny rather than indignant. And more depressingly, they expose a dangerous lack of basic comprehension about what has just occurred and a concomitant inability to prepare for what will most certainly follow.

In the wake of the flotilla incident, Israel has managed to look weak and confused, while still earning the condemnation of the world. We saw this on a much larger scale in the 2006 Lebanon War, as then Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s indecisiveness hindered the operation against Hezbollah, and triggered the fury of the international community anyway. With Obama in the White House, Israel has lost its one reliable ally. Israeli leaders would be better off simply concentrating on getting the job done right, rather then attempt to win over a world that is consumed with hatred for the Jewish state.