Opinion Brief

Gaza flotilla: Should the U.S. condemn Israel?

The U.S. is one of the few countries not denouncing Israel for its bloody raid on a "humanitarian" Gaza-bound flotilla. Is that wrong?

Israel is facing strong global condemnation over its killing of nine Free Gaza activists in international waters early Monday morning. The U.S., however, issued a cautious response to the raid, deploring the "tragedy" and expressing "deep condolences" for the Turks killed, but refraining from assigning blame. Is President Obama putting the strained but special U.S.-Israeli relationship above our ties with Turkey and the Arab world — and, if so, is that a good idea? (Watch a Russia Today discussion about U.S. support for Israel)

The U.S. should support Israeli self-defense: The "bloody confrontation" with the Free Gaza provocateurs is "turning into a diplomatic debacle for Israel," says the Chicago Tribune in an editorial. "Pardon us, though, if we don't join the condemnation." Israel has every right to keep materials that could be used to build weapons from reaching Hamas-controlled Gaza — and that means enforcing its legitimate blockade.
"Israel and the flotilla"

For Israel's sake, the U.S. should condemn this: "Israel's reflexive defenders" should be "the most furious" about the "inexcusable," probably illegal raid, says Daniel Larison in The American Conservative. If Israel keeps up this self-destructive "recklessness and stupidity," it will become a North Korea–like pariah. The "outrage" may sting, but the worst thing Israel could hear is a Western "sigh of resignation, 'Well, really, what can you expect?'"
"Self-destructive 'self defense'"

Obama blew his chance to condemn Israel: The flotilla raid was "indefensible," says Jackson Diehl in The Washington Post, but Obama can't "join in the criticism." He's "already exhausted his margin for quarreling with Israel," by blundering into "gratuitous spats" with the "difficult" Netanyahu government. And politically and strategically, he needs to mend the "already strained alliance."
"Obama, Netanyahu, and the Free Gaza flotilla"

The U.S. should side with Israel, and Turkey: The U.S. "urgently" needs to convince Israel to come back from the brink, says Thomas Friedman in The New York Times. But the "disastrous" clash shows that flotilla-sponsor Turkey is "out of balance," too. Instead of taking sides, the U.S. should work diligently to convince its two "best friends" in the region that it's in everyone's interest for them to put the flotilla debacle behind them.
"When friends fall out"

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