And suddenly a flash of lightning. For a fraction of a second, the landscape is lit up. For this split second, the terrain surrounding us can be seen. It is not the way it used to be.
OUR GOVERNMENT's action against the Gaza aid flotilla was such a lightning flash.
Israelis normally live in darkness as far as seeing the world is concerned. But for that instant, the real landscape around us could be seen, and it looked frightening. Then the darkness settled down over us, Israel returned to its bubble, the world disappeared from view.
The flotilla and the attack on it did not create this landscape. It has been there since our present government was set up. But the deterioration did not start even then. It began a long time before.
The action of Ehud Barak & Co. only lit up the situation as it is now, and gave it yet another push in the wrong direction.
THE LIST is headed by a fact that nobody seems to have noticed until now: the death of the Holocaust.
In all the tumult this affair has caused throughout the world, the Holocaust was not even mentioned. True, in Israel there were some who called Recep Tayyip Erdogan "a new Hitler", and some Israel-haters talked about the "Nazi attack", but the Holocaust has practically disappeared.
For two generations, our foreign policy used the Holocaust as its main instrument. The bad conscience of the world determined its attitude towards Israel. The (justified) guilt feelings either for atrocities committed or for looking the other way caused Europe and America to treat Israel differently than any other nation from nuclear armaments to the settlements. All criticism of our governments' actions was branded automatically as anti-Semitism and silenced.
But time does its work. New tragedies have blunted the world's senses. For a new generation, the Holocaust is a thing of the remote past, a chapter of history. The sense of guilt has disappeared in all countries, except Germany.
The Israeli public did not notice this, because in Israel itself the Shoah is alive and present. Many Israelis are children or grandchildren of Holocaust survivors, and the Holocaust has been imprinted on their childhood. Moreover, a huge apparatus ensures that the Holocaust will not disappear from our memory, starting from kindergarten, through ceremonies and memorial days, to organized tours "there".
Therefore, the Israeli public is shocked to see that the Holocaust has lost its power as a political instrument. Our most valuable weapon has become blunt.
THE CENTRAL pillar of our policy is our alliance with the United States. To use a phrase dear to Binyamin Netanyahu (in another context): it's "the rock of our existence".
For many years, this alliance has kept us safe from all trouble. We knew that we could always get from the US all we needed: advanced arms to retain our superiority over all Arab armies combined, munitions in times of war, money for our economy, the veto on all UN Security Council resolutions against us, automatic support for all the actions of our successive governments. Every small and medium country in the world knew that in order to gain entrance to the palaces of Washington, the Israeli doorkeeper had to be bribed.
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