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Sobering Lessons From the Flotilla

Surprise: Flotilla raid was bungled behind the scenes.

Irin Carmon
June 14, 2012
Tel Aviv(JACK GUEZ/AFP/GettyImages))
Tel Aviv(JACK GUEZ/AFP/GettyImages))

The good news is that Israel still has strong internal oversight. The bad, if unsurprising, news is that the resulting report on the handling of the Gaza flotilla has little good to say on the topic. State Comptroller Micha Lindenstrauss’ report paints a picture of a cloistered, unprepared administration that acted in a haphazard fashion and had “substantive and significant shortcomings.” Nine Turkish and Turkish American activists died in the commando raid.

The prime minister office statement was unblinking: “Israel’s democratic process includes institutional mechanisms for independent oversight, and we thank the state comptroller for his work.” Meanwhile, Knesset member Hanin Zoabi, who was on the Mavi Marmarma, said the Lindenstrauss report failed by focusing on operational rather than moral failure. And an unnamed Turkish diplomatic official remains unimpressed.

If you’re not depressed enough this morning over incompetences of the past, get ready to worry about the ones of the future. Over at Haaretz, Amir Oren points out that the phenomenology of failure probably portends what is to come on Iran. Turkey, he writes, “is only a foretaste of the main course, the coming attraction for the Persian movie. The superficiality, complacence and carelessness that were the hallmarks of Netanyahu’s approach to the flotilla are enough to make one sick. There is no reason to think … [there will be a] better outcome for the Iranian affair.”

Irin Carmon is a senior correspondent at New York magazine and co-author of The Life and Times of Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Her Twitter feed is @irin.