However chaotic Israel’s propaganda campaign has been, there is one way in which has been resolutely focused: in portraying the mission of the Freedom Flotilla as one of provocation.
By saying that the Mavi Marmara massacre resulted from a provocative act, Israel is saying: they made us do it. They are responsible for our actions.
Provocation also connotes disobedience and a disrespect of power.
In all these senses, the Palestinian-Israeli member of the Knesset, Hanin Zoabi, in the eyes of many Israelis is now seen as the face of Israel’s presumptuous enemy — an enemy that could only be perceived as such by a nation that wallows in fear.
Unapologetic for defying Israel’s Gaza blockade and being on board the boat where activists clashed with Israeli commandos during last week’s raid on the flotilla, Hanin Zoabi has received death threats, was nearly assaulted in parliament and faces high-level calls to strip her of Israeli citizenship.
In an interview, Zoabi said she has no regrets. She says she was on a different part of the ship, far away from the violence that left nine activists dead and dozens wounded after the naval troops rappelled onto the boats in international waters and clashed with knife and club-wielding Turkish activists. She further enraged Israelis by accusing the military of sparking the bloodshed.
“The Israeli military is like a rapist that gets scratched and then blames the victim,” she told the Associated Press. “Israel acts like a bully. Its barbaric behavior violates international laws.”
A bully is afraid of his equals. He can only feel strong by overpowering the weak.
Israel, a nation whose per capita military spending is surpassed only by that of the world’s military behemoth, the United States, has just shown that it is mighty enough to overcome a threat posed by a group of men armed with nothing more than a few pre-historic weapons.
Where’s the next existential threat to Israel going to come from? Boys armed with peashooters?