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 Anti-Israel sharks sniff O's weakness 
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Post Anti-Israel sharks sniff O's weakness
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Anti-Israel sharks sniff O's weakness
June 2, 2010
Michael Goodwin

In the aftermath of the Gaza flotilla fiasco, the air is thick with nonsense. Chief among the instant myths is that Israel has created a dilemma for President Obama.

Actually, it's the other way around.

The president's appeasement policies helped to create the incident. Israel took the bait, but the trap was set in Washington.

Weakness always begets aggression, and, like clockwork, Obama's repeated signals that he is weakening America's commitment to Israel are emboldening the Jewish state's enemies. From Syria to Iran to Lebanon, from Hezbollah to Hamas and the PLO, the wolves smell blood and are trying to gauge whether they can get close enough for the kill.

And whether the United States will stop them. That they even dare hope we won't reflects the danger of Obama's demented decisions.

The huge flotilla is the latest example of the open-season mania, with the result that Israel is under international siege -- for defending itself. And, not incidentally, for defending an embargo on Gaza that Washington supports.

Obama says he wants the facts of the incident, but let's hope he also wants the truth, even if it is inconvenient to his worldview.

The first fact is that the flotilla was not really a humanitarian effort. The compassion claim was a fig leaf for the political aim of busting the 3-year-old maritime blockade, as organizers admitted last week.

They knew they would not be allowed to dock in Gaza, but still rejected Israel's offer to unload the goods in Israeli ports and, after inspection, truck them overland. At least a few of the passengers were armed.

"We're trying to break the blockade of the Gaza Strip and tell the world that Israel has no right to starve 1.5 million Palestinians," Greta Berlin, the head of an organization called Free Gaza Movement, said in typical exaggeration to a British newspaper.

Her group's boats were turned away before, but they vowed not to be stopped this time. "The previous boats were making a statement -- these boats will be making a real impact," Berlin said four days before the launch.

Israel, of course, is not exempt from criticism for what was clearly a bungled effort. Incredibly, given what they knew beforehand about the intent of the activists, its military leaders sent in only a handful of lightly armed commandos who were easy targets as they slid down ropes from helicopters.

Yet it's also fair to ask where Obama was while the problem was building. Even if he was too busy with the oil disaster in the Gulf, where was the secretary of state? It was long clear the flotilla had the potential to cause a regional ruckus, but Washington watched it unfold like a spectator.


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