If Israel is interested in improving its standing in the world and its ties with other states, both near and far – including Turkey – it must not apologize for the flotilla incident.
For some years now, Israel had been conducting itself in the world like a typical weakling at school who conveys a sense of desperation, pleading with others: “Love me, even though I’m not worth it.” And just like a typical weakling, Israel is subjected to growing disparagement and sustains one slap in the face after another.
Israeli wise guys tell us that the state’s honor is a primitive, unimportant issue and that pride is a ridiculous notion. However, when it comes to the global political jungle, as is the case among prisoners at a violent jailhouse, honor is a substantive, top-priority interest; without it one can expect a cruel, exploitive attitude.
A state that sells off its honor in exchange for some short-term economic or diplomatic benefits will find itself disparaged, exploited and friendless in the long term.
Beautiful friendship not in cards
Turkey was a very important ally of ours up until recently, and I wish that it were possible to renew our friendly ties and cooperation. However, friendship is a mutual affair and can only exist if both sides are interested in it. The naïve belief that only a small apology stands in the way of the beginning of a beautiful friendship is very typical to the Israeli weakling syndrome.
The Turkish flotilla was not an unusual incident between friends. Turkey, for its own reasons, became blatantly anti-Israel much before that, with the flotilla affair merely being one of the prominent displays of this change. Erdogan is a barefaced Israel-hater, and Turkey under his leadership believes that bad ties with Israel serve its diplomatic interests and improve its standing in the Muslim world.
Hence, trampling Israel’s honor by forcing it to apologize serves precisely this abovementioned interest.
Turkey can still gain quite a few benefits from its ties with Israel. If there is a way to convince the Turks that they may wish to maintain a certain degree of cooperation with us after all, it won’t happen by apologizing and bowing down, but rather, by Israel being hard to get and not taken for granted.
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