The Gaza Confrontation: Where was Ehud Barak?

Ehud Barak is the responsible Israeli Cabinet minister in the Gaza confrontation. And he blew it.

Ehud Barak was one of the worst Prime Ministers Israel has ever had, and the absolute worst leader that the Labor Party has ever had.   Perhaps he’s going for the trifecta with the Gaza incident.

Barak is Israel’s Defence Minister.  He is the Cabinet officer with responsibility for the IDF.  The blindingly stupid decision to use commandos to storm the ships bound for Gaza was either made with his consent, in which case he’s an ignoramus, or was made without his consent, in which case he’s ineffective.

No one was surprised that the ship bound for Gaza was coming.  This was not an instantaneous crisis; indeed, it was in something close to slow motion by military standards.  What’s more, the Prime Minister was out of the country; the Defence Minister was the responsible political actor.  And he screwed up, big time.

I have heard that Barak is an extremely intelligent man.  One of these days, he might actually demonstrate some of it.  In the meantime, he might consider developing his intelligence in private life.

Author: Jonathan Zasloff

Jonathan Zasloff teaches Torts, Land Use, Environmental Law, Comparative Urban Planning Law, Legal History, and Public Policy Clinic - Land Use, the Environment and Local Government. He grew up and still lives in the San Fernando Valley, about which he remains immensely proud (to the mystification of his friends and colleagues). After graduating from Yale Law School, and while clerking for a federal appeals court judge in Boston, he decided to return to Los Angeles shortly after the January 1994 Northridge earthquake, reasoning that he would gladly risk tremors in order to avoid the average New England wind chill temperature of negative 55 degrees. Professor Zasloff has a keen interest in world politics; he holds a PhD in the history of American foreign policy from Harvard and an M.Phil. in International Relations from Cambridge University. Much of his recent work concerns the influence of lawyers and legalism in US external relations, and has published articles on these subjects in the New York University Law Review and the Yale Law Journal. More generally, his recent interests focus on the response of public institutions to social problems, and the role of ideology in framing policy responses. Professor Zasloff has long been active in state and local politics and policy. He recently co-authored an article discussing the relationship of Proposition 13 (California's landmark tax limitation initiative) and school finance reform, and served for several years as a senior policy advisor to the Speaker of California Assembly. His practice background reflects these interests: for two years, he represented welfare recipients attempting to obtain child care benefits and microbusinesses in low income areas. He then practiced for two more years at one of Los Angeles' leading public interest environmental and land use firms, challenging poorly planned development and working to expand the network of the city's urban park system. He currently serves as a member of the boards of the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (a state agency charged with purchasing and protecting open space), the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice (the leading legal service firm for low-income clients in east Los Angeles), and Friends of Israel's Environment. Professor Zasloff's other major activity consists in explaining the Triangle Offense to his very patient wife, Kathy.

4 thoughts on “The Gaza Confrontation: Where was Ehud Barak?”

  1. Jonathan, I think that you're judging things by normal standards. If you use Israeli standards ('STFU, we don't care what you think, and we've got the US on our side'), it's all in a day's work.

    Now, in the long run, it's just another brick in the wall. The world is growing generations who've seen nothing but petite imperialism from Israel, and has zero sympathy for it. This includes the USA.

  2. The whole thing would be funny, if only it didn't involve people suffering and dying and the long-term viability of the country being at stake, not to mention the money and waste.

    I think the Israeli government should retire en-masse and take the show on the road as a comedy troupe. The world would be a markedly better place.

  3. Calling all experts: What is the likely importance of the fact that Turkey is our NATO ally? If Turkey escorts the next flotilla with its navy, is the USA under any kind of obligation to give her aid if Israel attacks the escort? The international politics are getting rather complicated, it seems, but perhaps someone with some special knowledge of the NATO charter can shed light on this issue.

  4. If one had a tinfoil hat on, one might posit that Barak was heightening the contradictions of a policy he believes to be doomed. That would be callous and dishonest, but not necessarily stupid in the generally accepted sense.

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