Diplomatic crises are a dime a dozen these days, but the most recent one, orchestrated by Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon, has delivered a gut-wrenching blow to Israel's dignity.
The Turkish television show that enraged the Foreign Ministry is indeed insulting, and somewhat reminiscent of an earlier crisis involving Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet. In that case too, the Foreign Ministry came out with guns blazing. A silly and wholly unsubstantiated tabloid article that could have gone totally unnoticed was turned into a battle with the Swedish government.
Like the Swedish tabloid article, the Turkish television show was given more credibility by Israel's vehement response to it. However, the crisis with Turkey had far more devastating results, as it ended with an official apology to a state now widely viewed as biased against Israel – a state which Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu believes is inching closer to Iran every day.
For this reason the Israeli public and its leaders should be calling for Ayalon's resignation. His childish "reprimand" of the Turkish ambassador, aside from being wholly unnecessary, was so blatantly devoid of diplomatic nuance, not to mention human decency, that it ultimately forced Israel to plead for an apology from a country that has expressed nothing but denigration for our army and leaders since Operation Cast Lead.
Moreover, our enemies have been given more ammunition to use against us. They now possess further evidence that our government can be rattled by a tabloid article or a television series. Turkish radicals will also benefit from Ayalon's misconduct, as the worsening anti-Israeli sentiment in the Turkish government is likely to gain additional backwind.
But Ayalon is not a wayward child of Israeli diplomacy. He is part of a newly introduced aggressive approach led by Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman. The latter seems to have confused his role as diplomat with that of an army general, and has resorted to declaring war against anyone who dares utter an insult against his country, no matter how insignificant the source of the insult may be.
This overbearing brand of foreign policy, far from benefiting Israel, will only serve to provoke more displays of anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism, once our foes realize that every such display prompts an official Israeli response.
The time has come for the public to demand the abolishment of a foreign policy that has done nothing but alienate us from the world; a policy that prompts needless public relations wars we cannot win. The resignation of a diplomat responsible for one of our most disgraceful diplomatic crises in recent memory would be a good start.