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Why Israel ignores global criticism of Gaza flotilla raid

Israel's growing isolation – including the global outcry over the May 31 Gaza flotilla raid – strengthens a pessimistic world view, say analysts. Israelis see international criticism as hyperbole linked to centuries of anti-Jewish persecution – and something that can be ignored.

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu delivers a speech during a financial conference in Tel Aviv Wednesday. Netanyahu said today he was willing to testify in an inquiry Israel intends to hold into its deadly raid on a Gaza flotilla bound for the Israeli-blockaded Gaza Strip.

Jonathan Shaul/Reuters

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Five decades ago, while debating an offensive against Gaza militants, Israel's founding prime minister, David Ben Gurion, is said to have discounted United Nations intervention with a now famous Hebrew quip: "oom shmoom."

Rough translation: "UN is nothing."

In the face of an international uproar over the May 31 Israeli commando raid of a Gaza aid flotilla that left nine Turks dead, a similar disdain for the global community has resurfaced here.

IN PICTURES: The Gaza flotilla and the aftermath of the Israeli naval raid

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's complaint of an "international offensive of hypocrisy" against Israel has been echoed by political rivals and many ordinary Israelis.

"If it wasn't this ship, tomorrow it would be something else," says Dror Epstein, a Tel Aviv lawyer. "It doesn't matter what we do."

Indeed, Israel's recent growing isolation is strengthening the belief that international criticism is mostly hyperbole linked to centuries of anti-Jewish persecution – and something that can be discounted. Though it is unclear how prevalent the belief is among decision makers, analysts note that a feeling of isolation could boost support for provocative and unilateral policies.


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