That Cohen chooses to side with Turkey’s Erdogan, the man who allowed the Mavi Marmara to set sail from Turkey and whose Islamist rhetoric inspired the doomed voyage, speaks volumes of his duplicitous nature. Cohen, the writer-intellectual, chooses to side with an Islamist thug, who, in typical authoritarian fashion, has all but managed to stifle any meaningful dissent in his country, assuming near total control over a once independent judiciary and press. It is almost comical that while Cohen demands an apology from Israel to Turkey for the killing of nine fundamentalist Islamists in self- defense, he issues no such demand on Turkey for committing genocide against Armenians, for denying its Kurdish citizens basic civil rights, for routinely violating Iraqi territorial sovereignty, nor for its occupation of northern Cyprus and the disappearance and presumed murder of Greek Cypriots during the 1974 Turk-Cypriot conflict.
Feigning concern for Israel, Cohen notes (as his article title suggests) that Israel’s failure to apologize will result in a “needless road to an isolation that weakens Israel[.]” Cohen should spare us his sanctimonious lecturing and crocodile tears, because he is dead wrong on this issue, as he is on nearly every other matter concerning the Middle East. In some respects, Israel’s diplomatic circumstances are better than they were in the 1970s and 1980s when the Eastern Bloc and so-called non-aligned countries were beholden to oil interests, liberation theology and Marxist dogma. Israel, of course, does not have diplomatic relations with countries like North Korea, Venezuela, Pakistan, Iran and Syria. If Turkey wants to join this ignominious group of rouge nations, so be it, but it’s certainly no badge of honor. In fact, Turkey’s downgrading of relations with Israel has produced surprisingly positive consequences for Israel’s relations with other countries, including Greece and Cyprus; nations with whom Israel had icy relations in the past. Israel now maintains good ties with both of these nations in all spheres.
But most troubling of all, beyond Cohen’s knee-jerk tendency to cozy up to petty autocrats and his penchant for providing misleading information, is his outrageous hypocrisy. Cohen is a man who could probably cite every single anti-Israel UN resolution, chapter and verse. In fact, he frequently refers to them when engaged in his Israel bashing. But true to form, he will not accept that rare, almost exceptional U.N. finding in Israel’s favor. He still calls on Israel to apologize when no such demand is made by the U.N. panel. But could we expect anything more from a person who gushes when it comes to Iran and even had the gall to characterize the 1979 Khomeini revolution as an act of liberation, under which “freedom has ebbed and flowed”?
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