It’s a picture worth a thousand ships

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minster Ayalon and Turkish ambassadorAt first the story read like diplomatic sensitivities ruffled by no more than your typical office power feng shui: the Turkish ambassador to Israel was not seated at a height commensurate with his host, the flag of his nation was not displayed, the Israeli deputy minister would not shake his hand. Rather it was Deputy Foreign Minister Danny Ayalon himself who called the reporters’ attentions to the intentional affronts, lest it was not obvious enough from the photograph. To what do the Turks owe Israel’s displeasure? Turkey’s PM has been criticizing Israel’s crimes in Gaza, to no greater degree than has been confirmed by the UN Goldstone Report. Here’s to hoping that Turkish pride will answer appropriately.

It’s been a traditional role of ambassadors to suffer their host’s anger at a perceived provocation. Didn’t Ivan the Terrible once send emissaries packing after he’d nailed their hats to their heads? Often in less diplomatic times, envoys were beheaded, to usually ruinous result. In modern times, suffering indignity to foreign dignitaries is enough to send your message. But today too, media images have come to have a greater reach across the world. I’m thinking in particular the Muslim populaces. Let’s see what kind of posture of subservience Israel can expect of Turkey.

Said one Turkish parliamentarian: “The word scandal is not enough to describe this move.” And it seems unlikely that Israel will apologize, Ayalon already responding: “In terms of the diplomatic tactics available, this was the minimum that was warranted given the repeated provocations by political and other players in Turkey.”

Perhaps Israel was emboldened by Egypt’s recent display of obedience to the mission of starving Gaza. Israel’s violent repression of the people of Gaza is meeting with growing criticism, and perhaps they expect Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to heel dutifully.

What might the minimum of responses be from Turkey, given the sway the US holds over its actions, in light too of its aspiration to rise through the EU?

With Egypt’s intention to fortify its Gaza border to curtail tunneling, and its announcement to permit no further aid from reaching the besieged Palestinians, the path remains only for someone to reach Gaza by sea. I’m hoping it will be the Turks.

Why couldn’t a Sea Shepherd Conservation Society type flotilla mount a seaborne rescue of Gaza? I’d bet televising such an adventure would find a bigger audience than Whale Wars.

Aid groups have been trying, with sporadic success, to breach Israel’s naval blockade of the Gaza coast. Perhaps it’s time for a nation to lend some military vessels to the task. Why not? The United Nations considers Israel’s embargo of Gaza to be illegal. Why shouldn’t a local power sail right before the Israeli warships to escort relief supplies to the Gazans? Let’s see whose ships will look down on whose.

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UPDATE: Here it is, the Free Gaza Movement is putting together a flotilla!

Eric Verlo

About Eric Verlo

On sabbatical
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4 Responses to It’s a picture worth a thousand ships

  1. Avatar Brother Jonah says:

    More than just sitting him lower, they photoshopped his part of the picture, scaled the image down by 20% assuming they were both the same size or nearly.

    It’s like the pictoglyphs in Egyptian Dynastic art where Rameses II is shown towering over kneeling miniature Hittites, when the reality was he made a quick treaty to prevent getting his Royal Highness lowered by approximately the distance between the top of his head and the middle of his neck. Tacky, that is.

    “say anything you want to make yourself look good while you’re backing down, just back it on down”.

  2. Avatar Brother Jonah says:

    50%. Unless the guy’s a dwarf. Or maybe Pharaoh Danny is actually a misshapen giant. I don’t think either of the latter two is true so it must be Photoshop.

  3. Avatar Emily says:

    Islam is the problem…they are raping our daughters and killing our children.

  4. Avatar Y says:

    Sitting him lower is the nicest thing they could have done after the amount of propaganda and lies spread from their current president.

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