Tuesday, January 12, 2010

There Are Still Rules to Diplomacy

Aluff Benn in Haaretz says the Turks are honestly earning the animosity of Israel. He's right, of course. Still, I think it's long past time to recognize that Avigdor Lieberman and his crew are not serving Israel's best interests in their undiplomatic manners.

Last year when Lieberman was appointed Foreign Minster, the world press was all agog with excitement about how far right he was. He wasn't, and isn't. He is however a thuggish sort of politician, crude and clumsy. These attributes might be useful for a transportation minister who has to get railroad tracks laid, but they're the wrong ones for a diplomat.


NormanF said...

Yaacov, I disagree with you. His abrasiveness and candor are exactly what Israeli diplomacy needs today. Israeli diplomats have forgotten how to defend their own country instead of justifying the enemy's narrative. I'd rather take Lieberman over Clinton any day, who doesn't want to acknowledge the danger from Iran. The times call for Israel to have someone like Lieberman in charge of its foreign affairs. Your point would be a good one if these were more sedate times. They aren't and the world should get used to the truth instead of euphemisms where no one says what they really think. Even a diplomat can't always have the luxury of lying for his own country.

Darryl Dempsey said...

Pity it came to this, but Turkey has clearly ceased to be a diplomatic ally of Israel. And that's putting it mildly.
Time to deal with it, Jaacov. The government of Israel certainly seems to be.

Darryl Dempsey

AKUS said...

What would be more to the point, and more effective, is for Israel to realize how it is being demonized and the tools being used against it, and to start fighting back. GFor example, in Britain, going after appropriate targets using the law to go after those calling for the deaths of Jews and Israelis (such as CIF poster WilliamBapthorpe), slandering Israel with fictional stories of invented atrocities, etc.

marek said...

I tend to support NormanF's opinion. It has become tiresome to take the pontifications from "hollier than ayatollah" Turkey.

Geoff said...

It seems to me that Israel or, better yet, independent supporters of Israel should produce two documentaries: one about the Armenian genocide and one about Turkey's kind treatment of its Kurdish minority.

This Is Hell said...

Turkey got their UAVs finally delivered. This was their main sticking point. Now that they have them, and will probably sell or donate a few to Iran and Hezbollah, they are back on the path they were on before. It's axiomatic.

Victor said...

Lieberman is clumsy. Danny Ayalon is a senior diplomat, however. What makes all this intolerable is the Israeli media response, guided by the Kadima/Labor diplomat types who lost Turkey in the first place!

Thanks to all these "revelations" designed to embarrass Lieberman, instead of forcing Turkey to apologize, now Israel has to apologize. You can't make this stuff up.

As for Turkey, clearly Erdogan and certain elements within his party have used Israel as a low cost wedge issue to cement their domestic and international support. The response from Jerusalem has been dumbstruck senility.

Retaliating against the Turkish people is idiotic. That's precisely what Erdogan wants. He can then claim the mantle of Turkish nationalist honor. What is necessary is to undermine HIM, and that takes clever planning.

Anonymous said...

here is Erdogan not roaring but crooning at the beginning of 2008 in Germany and creating quite a bit of unease
- to me at least it seemed not OK for a foreign head of state to kind of tell his "brothers" how they could and should take over - so even if Lieberman should have gotten his theatricals wrong Erdogan is the last who has a right to teaching him delicacy and exemplary tactful behaviour.
rgds, Silke

Barry Meislin said...

You're essentially correct.

But Israel must understand that right now. Turkey, as it is currently led, is not Israel's friend. (It is actually far worse than that.)

As for Israel "undermining" Edrogan, I'm afraid that's not possible. Hands off should be the rule. even as Israel must be ready for inflammatory rhetoric to deteriorate into actual belligerency.

Eventually, Edrogan will undermine himself as it becomes clear that he is the enemy of the Turkish State and has nothing to offer the Turks except creeping religio-political authoritarianism and (part-and-parcel) the hatred of Israel and the west.

(But who knows? They, like so much of the region they aspire to rejoin, may be ripe to receive such a "liberating" message....)

Then again, the Turks---and the rest of us---may get lucky....

Gavin said...

I think Israel is just an innocent victim of internal Turkish politics. Erdogans mob have been pretty clear about their goals for many years now, they want to turn Turkey into an Islamic state. They've slowly but steadily removed most of the obstacles in their way, the military were the defenders of Ataturks secularism and they've quietly removed all the top officers who threatened them. Taking a stance against Israel is just another step on the path, it brings religion further to the forefront & paves the way for more religious laws to be introduced.... probably a precurser to sharia law.

Turkey is headed down a pretty worrying path, most purturbing is that the manner in which they've played the game is very Persian in style. I don't know the Turks, maybe they think the same as the Iranians, but there's a real Iranian signature in the strategy & tactics that Erdogans mob have used. They see a final objective as the culmination of overcoming numerous smaller obstacles... that's the Persian way of thinking.