Those who are outside Israel
, and unfamiliar with Israeli society, who followed the the sensational allegations of Israeli "war crimes" in Operation Cast Lead
supposedly made by Israeli soldiers did not understand the context or contexts in which these accusations were made.
Predictably, the accusations are used by the hateful enemies of Israel
to discredit the state of Israel
. But that was neither the intent, nor the context in which the accusations were made, as hard as it may be to believe. Now that that IDF reservists are trying to undertake legal action against Haaretz newspaper
, which persisted in the allegations against all reason, perhaps the storm will slowly abate, but the damage is done,
Danny Zamir, the Israeli major who runs the Rabin preparatory school and caused all the fuss about the war crimes by leaking the stories of the soldiers to Ha'aretz, has recanted. Of course, the toothpaste is now out of the tube. None of the media and none of the blogs and Web sites such as stormfront.com, radioislam, Jewwatch, salon or any of the other paragons of progressive thought and anti-Racism who gleefully featured the "confessions" of Jew-Zionist blood sucking soldiers will mention either the legal action against Ha'aretz or Danny Zamir's belated retraction. The IDF findings that the alleged crimes never took place are already being branded a white wash. The accusation that your sister is a whore cannot be met by proving you have no sister. In 1946, there was a pogrom
Poland. It was alleged that the Jews killed Christian children and hid their bodies in the cellar of a Zionist building. A lot of Jew
s got killed. It didn't make any difference that the building had no cellar, and that no Christian children were killed. The blood libel
stuck. Lynch mobs never care about the truth.
Zamir ignores the storm that he himself created by leaking the "confessions" - rumors and hearsay - to Ha'aretz, and focuses for some reason on the New York Times, which was only basing itself on stories published in Israelo media. We can't expect outsiders to be fairer to Israel than we are ourselves.
Here are some choice "Zionist quotes" of Danny Zamir, taken from an article by Herb Keinon about Zamir and Zamir's own recantation of his war crimes allegations
Operation Cast Lead was completely justified, isolated acts of vandalism do not make the IDF an army of war criminals, and religious graduates of the military preparatory programs add to the morality of the IDF...
"From an internal discussion where soldiers talked about what was difficult and painful in the war, and which I took to the army because I expected them to deal with the issues raised, the international media turned the IDF into war criminals."
"It was as if the media were altogether so eager to find reason to criticize the IDF that they pounced on one discussion by nine soldiers who met after returning from the battlefield to share their experiences and subjective feelings with each other, using that one episode to draw conclusions that felt more like an indictment... "
"Dogma replaced balance and led to a dangerous misunderstanding of the depth and complexity of Israeli reality. The individual accounts were never intended to serve as a basis for broad generalizations and summary conclusions by the media; they were published internally, intended for program graduates and their parents as a tool to be used in the process of educating and guiding the next generation..."
"THE GUIDING principle that directs IDF combat soldiers, both in their planning and conduct in combat, encompasses a balance between two needs: to defend soldiers' lives and to minimize harm to the civilians behind whom terrorists try to hide...
"These guidelines [see The Ethical Code of the IDF - a.i. ] and the obligation to uphold them are an inseparable part of the Jewish-Zionist world of IDF soldiers, and deeply anchored in generations of Jewish heritage, particularly in the doctrine of military conduct renewed by the early socialist-Zionists a century ago. They called this principle by a name that's unlikely to have been given by any other nationalist movement fighting for its independence: "Purity of Arms" - that is, preventing harm to those not involved in or supporting the combat.
"This moral commandment remains a central motto of the IDF; it is the complete opposite of the code of conduct of Islamist terror organizations such as Hamas, whose judgment on every Israeli and Jew is death. "Purity of arms" is not part of their world, not even in theory.
"The outsider may not understand this, but we - the Jews of the State of Israel - live this every day, every hour.
"In order to appreciate this moral code, one must note the context in which it operates. The State of Israel is under a prolonged attack by the Hamas movement - a fundamentalist Islamic terror movement, based on a racist and ultra-nationalist ideology that seeks the killing of Jews for being Jews and the actual elimination of the State of Israel as its declared aspiration, and formally part of its foundation platform. And bear in mind that Hamas is not a marginal extremist underground, but a movement freely chosen by the Palestinians to head their elected government.
"Our war against an unrestrained terror organization that uses civilian populations as human shields in various ways, such as hospitals and masquerading as women and children, presents the IDF - an army obligated to an ethical code of combat based on humanism and international law - with almost impossible complexities. The nature of combat in complex conditions (such as in Gaza) brings with it difficulties and failures. The greatness of an army fighting under such conditions lies in its aspiring to "zero errors" and in its openness to examining its failures - finding them and fixing them.
How can Danny Zamir blame foreign media, when he himself said in the seminar discussion, and was quoted in Ha'aretz as saying, that these stories show an army on a low moral level?? How could an apparently intelligent person not have been aware that these allegations, true or not, would be used as part of the campaign to destroy Israel? Ironically, Danny Zamir's comment followed those of a soldier who said that his unit was forced to tidy up the house of Hamas activists in which they stayed.
How could Danny Zamir not be aware that what he was doing in publicizing these unfounded allegations seemingly amounted to betraying the state of Israel and the IDF? That it would inevitably produce an international lynch mob and blood libel, with cartoons of bloody Jew monsters devouring innocents? In what world could Danny Zamir and Amos Harel live, if they did not understand this and take it for granted?
Nonetheless, as difficult it is to believe, it is probably true that Zamir and even Ha'aretz, and many other such critics, may be acting out of the highest motives, and that in a way, the remarks were taken "out of context" just as Zamir claims. We are accustomed to believe that the Six Day War created a false sense of over confidence in Israel. That is certainly true. But the main result of this overconfidence was not militarism, though that existed too. The main result of our over-confidence was to create a few generations of Israelis for whom the existence of the Jewish state seems to be an ineradicable fact that is accepted by the world. Israelis who never met a non-Arab anti-Zionist or an anti-Semite face to face, not one who would admit it anyhow. Israelis who do not understand the depth of hate that still exists abroad, not only for Israel, but for Jews. Repelled by a society that was not going in the direction that they wanted, that many of us wanted, and secure in their belief that their homes were not threatened, they launched a campaign of "criticism" in which everything is allowed and everything is fair "for the sake of argument." This style of debate is an old Israeli and Zionist tradition, that was used by revisionists in their attempt to discredit Labor Zionism. It is not a monopoly of any political party. During the 1980s, the entire history of Israel was rewritten. Massacres were invented or exaggerated, the heroism of 1948 was trashed. The "payoff" was not long in coming. Instead of fueling reform of Israeli society, the "earnest" criticism of Professor Sternhell and other post Zionists and new historians helped fuel the movement to destroy Israel.
What sort of leaders, and what sort of leadership, is Danny Zamir preparing in the Rabin military academy? It doesn't take a great genius, after all, to understand that if the other side have their way, there will be no IDF, no state of Israel, no Zionism and no Ethical Code of the IDF.
It is time to end the circus of unrestrained criticism and enfants terribles who wish to gain a bit of notoriety by outraging and annoying Israeli public opinion with war atrocity tales. If there are real problems, they have to be corrected. But floating rumors and stories in the public media does not serve a constructive purpose. The stories are being used to destroy us, and the campaign they fuel is more deadly than RPGs and Hamas rockets.
The lost generations of Israelis have to see reality as it is. The reality is that Israel's existence has always hung by a fairly thin thread of public opinion, and that these "critics" are helping to cut the thread.
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Replies: 2 Comments
OK. Now I know how to do it.
Sorry I'm such a doofus.
Stanley H. Barkan, Wednesday, April 8th
All over the internet anti-Zionists are using the "new historians" to kick the crap out of Israel on a daily basis.
I'm a member of Daily Kos, which is the largest liberal political blog on the planet, and there is a small, but highly vocal, group of people who rely on Ilan Pappe for their understanding of '48.
Fortunately, Benny Morris has moved back toward the center and, with luck, the trend will begin to moderate itself.
In the mean time, incalculable damage has been done. Israel is vilified and demonized under the cloak of "criticism" and "human rights." I'm an American liberal, but there is no question that the anti-Zionist trend is gaining credence on the left, not just in Europe, but in the US, as well.
Karmafish, Tuesday, April 7th
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