Friday, January 15, 2010

A Spat's Post-Mortem

My Jerusalem-based Christian Science Monitor colleague Ilene Prusher has a very good piece up about Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman's new "national pride" foreign policy and how it factored into the recent "chair incident" between Israel and Turkey. From her piece:
Only a few weeks ago, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman gathered together Israeli ambassadors from their postings around the world and announced a new style of Israeli diplomacy, says Alon Liel, former director-general of the foreign ministry. This new “national pride foreign policy” was, in his view, a direct precursor to Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon’s condescending behavior toward his Turkish counterpart this week.

“Already when we heard it, we were quite shocked. He said Israeli diplomacy is too soft and it has lost its pride. Many in the community of retired Israeli diplomats feel very ashamed at this, and in particular on what’s happened over the past week,” Dr. Liel says.
You can read Prusher's full piece here.

Yavuz Baydar, a columnist with Today's Zaman, has a piece that also ties the recent spat to larger changes within Israel's political culture, finding similarities with what took place in Turkey during the 1990's. From Baydar's column:
More and more it appears clear that we are now watching an Israel that is falling into self-repeating pity and worship of loneliness. In many ways, it reminds me of a Turkey which, falling into an arrogant delirium, made itself believe in the '90s that the only language for solving its violent domestic conflict was the language of asymmetric violence. The complete loss of reason under denial led it to react to every external critique as “We do not care if the entire world is against us.” The price of the experience proved to be much higher than it thought.
The full column is here.

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