We see no music bands, no parades, no film theaters, and no websites boycotting the Iranian people for their government’s nuclear research program or its months-long quarantining of foreigners (see Roxana Saberi and the current crisis with the three wayward U.S. hikers).
However, we do see them boycotting the Israelis almost every time their government takes action to defend itself, actions like the flotilla raid that are arguable at worst, morally imperative at best.
Where has the world been every time a Palestinian extremist bombed an Israeli nightclub or café? Where were they in March 2008 when a Palestinian shot his way into the Mercaz Yeshiva and slaughtered eight students and a security guard?
Nowhere. They were and still are nowhere to be found whenever the state of Israel or her people are under attack. The Mercaz shooting was in no way political or ambiguous, and yet it barely got any press coverage outside the global Jewish community. The IDF kills nine people with terrorist ties pretending to be peace activists in a struggle aboard a boat laden with swords, clubs, and slingshots, and the world screams its bloody head off.
Where is the balance here?
Where is the world whenever Hamas or the Arab world subjugates or wages war on the Palestinians (i.e., Black September) or when Hamas steals foreign aid to sell it to their Palestinian underlings at high prices? Why all this hypocrisy?
The answer: Terrorism is boring. It’s old news.
The Mavi Marmara fiasco garnered so much international attention because of the sheer uniqueness of the situation: a military organization boarding a boat full of people who call themselves humanitarian activists who only want to help a poor, impoverished people. It’s sensationalist. It’s new. It hasn’t been seen before. The IDF is not just impeding the actions of Palestinians, they’re now impeding the actions of other nationalities. Forget suicide bombings and mortar attacks on suburban homes. No one wants to see that any more. But a military blocking people of all nationalities from reaching an area steeped in poverty and in need of help? Now that is what sells!
The world has become lazy in its morality. It wants miniature moral sound bites for entertainment, which they will then find a way to justify. In this case, the world wanted to believe the IDF stormed the Mavi Marmara and shot nine peace activists without first trying a peaceful alternative. That narrative is entertaining because not only is it so easy to identify who is acting without morality (which means the common news watcher doesn’t need to do any further research), but it’s sensational!
A military that boarded a vessel from another nation and killed its aid-bearing passengers! Wow, is that horrifying … and easy to process! They must be really, really evil, giving us a sole entity that we can identify as pure evil in a world of moral ambiguity and political correctness, right?
We have become a people concerned only with entertainment. And in the news, shocking, unique, unambiguous stories grab the most attention.
It doesn’t matter that the IDF found tons and tons of weapons on the Mavi Marmara. It doesn’t matter that they have a video of their commandos being torn apart. It doesn’t matter that nearly everyone on that boat was discovered to have terrorist ties, that they recorded themselves shouting “Death to Jews” before the raid to psych themselves up, or that they brought babies and children on board.
None of that matters because it would just complicate the entertainment. Better to stick to the original perception — that the IDF acted way out of line — than muddy up the morality of each side with pesky details.