In itself, the Israeli military’s raid on the “Free Gaza” aid flotilla was proof, as the astute thinker Forrest Gump put it, that “Stupid is as stupid does.” The flotilla was sponsored by a mishmash of Western lefty peaceniks and Turkish-backed Islamist groups that were trying, to use historian Daniel Boorstin’s term, to produce a “pseudo-event”—an activity that exists for the sole purpose of gaining media coverage.
To put it in national-security terms, the flotilla did not pose any clear and present danger to Israeli security interests or to the lives of Israeli civilians. It was more of a p.r. nuisance; even under the worst-case scenario, it would have created nothing more than an embarrassing media circus for the Israelis.
Trying to disrupt this mostly inconsequential “humanitarian” operation by launching a risky military operation did not make a lot of sense. In fact, it helped transform a pseudo-event into a military disaster that left nine Turkish civilians dead and created a major diplomatic crisis for Israel at a time when her relationship with Turkey has been deteriorating, when ties with the Obama administration have been under pressure, and when Israel has yet to recover from the devastating international condemnation of her earlier offensive in Gaza.
Indeed, on all these and other diplomatic fronts the Israelis have suffered major...