I arrived in Israel Sunday for two weeks (an add on to a conference at Tel Aviv University). I was in Nazareth and Tel Aviv with my dear wife the day the news broke about Israel’s action against the Flotilla. In Nazareth, a few hundred people gathered for an anti-government rally on the steps of the Church of the Annunciation; in Tel Aviv, a similar number formed to demonstrate against the Turks. In both cases, the demonstrations seemed civil, more or less what one would experience on a US college campus. There were extreme slogans on placards and coordinated chanting…nothing to see here. The contrast with what I was hearing on CNN was rather amazing. But then, when isn’t it?
I talked about the event this afternoon with some former IDF members (interview conducted at a bar on the shore of the Mediterranean, using the best social scientific methodologies). They were not very sympathetic, arguing that the IDF members who dropped onto the ship went on what amounted to a suicide mission. They also expressed their belief that the Palestinians in Gaza are used freely as useful idiots by the press and the Arabs. All express concern and “shock.” But no Arab nation is ever willing to provide a homeland. The saga continues in ways that no one finds particularly surprising.