Meanwhile, the White House, which initially leaked that there would be "no daylight" between the U.S. and Israel over the flotilla, now wants to use the international furor to leverage Israel into loosening the blockade.
By all means let the Gazans have their chocolate. Though as William A. Jacobson, a Cornell law professor and legalinsurrection.com blogger, notes, claims that such items are banned should be taken with a grain of salt. But this is a terrible moment to consider abandoning the blockade.
Why? Because it would rightly be seen as giving the organizers and supporters of this seaborne propaganda stunt a victory. It would signal that America can be conned. It would reward Turkey's outrageous insult to us (a NATO ally) and to Israel, a longtime friend of Turkey. It would undermine Egypt and other Arab governments (including Fatah) that don't want Iran's clients in Hamas strengthened (their propaganda notwithstanding). And it would signal that Iran is the most important power in the Middle East.
Alas, it seems President Obama cannot think straight about Israel because he has so many preconceived notions about it and his role on the world stage. Like so many liberals, he claims to be "realistic," but he actually sees things through a literary prism, living in a world of symbolism and metaphors.
It's amazing to read news reports about how the blockade "serves as a symbol" of this or that. "You know what else the blockade serves as?" asks Commentary's Abe Greenwald. "A blockade. It separates Israel's sworn enemies from those who would help them arm and kill Israelis. Oh, and by the way, as a blockade, and not a symbol, the blockade works."
Alas, such realism has no place in this debate.