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Breaking the Silence: IDF Women Soldiers Testify to Abuse

IDF soldiers beat Palestinian

Breaking the Silence has regularly released eyewitness accounts by IDF soldiers of abuse they either perpetrated or witnessed in their service in the Occupied Territories.  The last round of testimonies concerned Operation Cast Lead.  The latest round concerns female soldiers who recount their own peculiar set of experiences regarding such mistreatment.  Ynetnews features a summary of key accounts.  You can hear them and read the original Hebrew article here.  Here are a few of the more shocking passages:

‘Child’s hand broken on the chair’

A female soldier in Sachlav Military Police unit, stationed in Hebron, recalled a Palestinian child that would systematically provoke the soldiers by hurling stones at them…One time he even managed to scare a soldier who fell from his post and broke his leg.

Retaliation came soon after: “I don’t know who or how, but I know that two of our soldiers put him in a jeep, and that two weeks later the kid was walking around with casts on both arms and legs…they talked about it in the unit quite a lot – about how they sat him down and put his hand on the chair and simply broke it right there on the chair.”

Even small children did not escape arbitrary acts of violence, said a Border Guard female officer serving near the separation fence: “We caught a five-year-old…can’t remember what he did…we were taking him back to the territories or something, and the officers just picked him up, slapped him around and put him in the jeep. The kid was crying and the officer next to me said ‘don’t cry’ and started laughing at him. Finally the kid cracked a smile – and suddenly the officer gave him a punch in the stomach. Why? ‘Don’t laugh in my face’ he said.”

*   *

“Crossing the checkpoint, it’s like another world… Palestinians walk with trolleys on the side of the road, with wagons, donkeys… so the Border Guards take a truck with the remains of food and start throwing it at them… cottage cheese, rotten vegetables… it was the most appalling thing I experienced in the territories.”

The soldier said she tried to protest, but was silenced by the commanding officers. When she tried to go around them to higher authorities, she found a solution. “Almost immediately I got into an officers’ course.”

*   *

Settler children harassing Palestinians

This is perhaps the most disturbing of the stories recounted. As you read it, remember that the Hebron Fund raises millions of American Jewish dollars to support precisely this type of behavior by settler children against innocent Palestinian civilians. It simply breaks my heart for the victims to face such violence perpetrated by Jews, who do so out of some perverted notion that their religion somehow justifies, nay demands such treatment. This literally makes me sick to my stomach not just as a human being, but as a Jew. In fact, I would dare even someone supporting the settlers to try to explain, defend or justify this:

Another female Sachlav soldier told the story of the time an eight-year-old settler girl in Hebron decided to bash a stone into the head of a Palestinian adult crossing her passing by her in the street. “Boom! She jumped on him, and gave it to him right here in the head… then she started screaming ‘Yuck, yuck, his blood is on me'”.

The soldier said the Palestinian then turned in the girl’s direction – a move that was interpreted as a threat by one of the soldiers in the area, who added a punch of his own: “And I stood there horrified… an innocent little girl in her Shabbat dress… the Arab covered the wound with his hand and ran.” She recalled another incident with the same child: “I remember she had her brother in the stroller, a baby. She was giving him stones and telling him: ‘Throw them at the Arab‘.”

Where does such hate come from? How can it be justified? Even by settlers themselves? And does anyone who seeks to explain this behavior believe that this hate is in the minority in this movement?

And how can any American Jew, even the most extreme, justify giving a dime to support such people. Doing so is a hillul hashem, a desecration of God’s name.  Further, how can the U.S. government allow such donations to be tax-deductible?  Not in my name.  That’s what I say.  Barack Obama: this is what your and my taxpayer dollars indirectly subsidize.  Stop this now!  Repeal the non-profit status of all U.S. funders supporting settler groups.

*   *

The account below describes how easy it is to kill Palestinian children and cover up the crime:

A female Border Guard officer in Jenin spoke of an incident in which a nine-year-old Palestinian, who tried to climb the fence, failed, and fled – was shot to death: “They fired… when he was already in the territories and posed no danger. The hit was in the abdomen area, they claimed he was on a bicycle and so they were unable to hit him in the legs.”

But the soldier was most bewildered by what happened next between the four soldiers present: “They immediately got their stories straight… An investigation was carried out, at first they said it was an unjustified killing… In the end they claimed that he was checking out escape routes for terrorists or something… and they closed the case.”

*   *

I find the following story especially intriguing because it details the complexity of the gender relationships at work for a female soldier goaded into abusing Palestinian victims by a male superior officer.  She deals with her own vulnerability as a minority female in a male bastion, the IDF, by out-doing her male counterparts for violence.  The fact that she’s abusing a Palestinian man, for whom such degradation at the hands of a woman is an especial cultural badge of shame, adds to the strangeness of the entire incident:

‘They don’t know how to accept the women’

The female soldiers repeatedly mention the particular difficulties they had as women, who had to prove that to were “fighters” in the midst of the goading male soldiers on the one hand, and the Palestinians, who have a hard time handling women in uniform on the other hand. The following story of a female Border Guard officer sums the matter up.

When the interviewer asked her if the Palestinians “suffer even more from the women in the Border Guard”, she said: “Yes. Yes. Because they don’t know how to accept the women. The moment a girl slaps a man, he is so humiliated, he is so humiliated he doesn’t know what to do with himself… I am a strong and well-built girl, and this is even harder for them to handle. So one of their ways of coping is to laugh. They really just started to laugh at me. The commander looks at me and tells me, ‘What? Are you going to let that slide? Look how he’s laughing at you’.

“And you, as someone who has to salvage your self-respect… I told them to sit down and I told him to come…I told him to come close, I really approached him, as if I was about to kiss him. I told him, ‘Come, come, what are you afraid of? Come to me!’ And I hit him in the balls. I told him, ‘Why aren’t you laughing?’ He was in shock, and then he realized that… not to laugh. It shouldn’t reach such a situation.”

You hit him with your knee?

“I hit him in the balls. I took my foot, with my military show, and hit him in the balls. I don’t know if you’ve ever been hit in the balls, but it looks like it hurts. He stopped laughing in my face because it hurt him. We then took him to a police station and I said to myself, ‘Wow, I’m really going to get in trouble now.’ He could complain about me and I could receive a complaint at the Military police’s criminal investigation division.

“He didn’t say a word…I was afraid about myself, not about him. But he didn’t say a word. ‘What should I say, that a girl hit me?’ And he could have said, but thank God, three years later I didn’t get anything and no one knows about it.”

What did it feel like that moment?

“Power, strength that I should not have achieved this way. But I didn’t brag about it. That’s why I did it that way, one on one. I told them to sit on the side, I saw that he wasn’t looking. I said to myself that it doesn’t make sense that as a girl who gives above and beyond and is worth more than some boys – they should laugh at me like that because I am a girl. Because you think I can’t do it…”

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  • Andrew January 30, 2010, 2:01 AM

    Where does such hate come from? How can it be justified? Even by settlers themselves? And does anyone who seeks to explain this behavior believe that this hate is in the minority in this movement?

    They are fanatics and land invaders (“settlers” is far too kind of words), and a common attribute of both is that they tend to be oblivious and/or immune to noticing hypocrisy and cruelty on their parts.

    I suspect they also do not see the Palestinians as truly human. That picture you have, of the boy and girl settlers harassing the Palestinian woman, is heart-breaking.

    • Richard Silverstein January 30, 2010, 3:25 PM

      There are unfortunately many such images. One I didn’t use showed another settler girl actually spitting on a Palestinian & cursing him. Yet another shows a teenage boy with payot throwing a cup of win directly in the face of a Palestinian woman.

  • mary January 30, 2010, 10:15 AM

    The Most Moral Army in the World, breaking the bones of children. I would be ashamed to be an Israeli.

    • Shirin January 30, 2010, 12:10 PM

      Ah, but so few Israelis know how to feel any shame!

      • mary January 30, 2010, 12:45 PM

        It is the depersonalization of Arabs as a result of the deeply rooted racism. If you don’t see the “other” as a fellow human being, it is easy to commit atrocious acts against them and feel no remorse. State-sanctioned terrorism such as what is outlined in Richard’s excellent essay succeeds and perpetuates because people transfer their moral conscience to the state and no longer believe they are responsible for themselves as individuals.

        • Shirin January 31, 2010, 12:53 AM

          What you say is certainly true, Mary. I had not thought about people transferring their moral conscience to the state, but it makes a lot of sense, not only for Israelis, but for most Americans too, especially when it comes to certain uncomfortable aspects of policy, particularly foreign policy. And at the same time, the behaviour we are talking about fits perfectly with the Narcissistic Personality Disorder model I am so fond of. Every time I look there is more evidence that the Israeli state, and the population at large suffers from collective narcissism. Of course, that is not to say that every individual Israeli is a narcissist, or that there are not individual Israelis who are outside the norm in this aspect, but it sure looks to me as if narcissism is an aspect of the character of the state, not to mention the population.

          • mary January 31, 2010, 7:56 AM

            It’s probably a fitting explanation not only for soldiers who commit atrocities but also for the people who sit idly by and do nothing. The “good Germans” living downwind of the Nazi death camps is another excellent example. But in Palestine I think it goes a step further in that it is much older and relies on not only Zionism, but racism as a part of its essential function.

            Yes, there may be a collective narcissism (a good synonym for jingoism or exceptionalism). Of course, Israel isn’t the only country suffering from this personality disorder. The US is, in my humble opinion, the poster child for collective neurosis and personality disorders.

          • Elisabeth January 31, 2010, 8:45 AM

            Your idea is starting to grow on me, I must say.

          • Shirin January 31, 2010, 10:35 AM

            Mary, I agree with you about the U.S. and collective neuroses and personality disorders! If it wasn’t clear before, it has certainly been crystal clear since 9/11.

            American exceptionalism, which is so embedded that it is even part of most progressive thinking, is very typical of NPD, and look how deep is Israelis’ sense of Israeli – and Jewish – exceptionalism. There is also a very strong sociopathic thread in both populations.

            I wonder what the scholarly thinking is about my hypothesis. I have never tried looking into it, but I imagine others more qualified than I have at least entertained the same ideas.

  • Bessan January 30, 2010, 1:08 PM

    I have no knowledge at all, but wonder if the “Sachlav” unit is composed of Russian Jews? I understand Russians in Israel experience Israeli life differently from what Avigail Abarbenal calls “Jewish Israelis.” Tom Trier calls it “reverse diaspora.” http://condor.depaul.edu/~rrotenbe/aeer/aeer14_1/trier.html
    It appears that in addition to what Abarbenal calls Israel’s psychosis, and Israel’s top-down political problems — Bibi is a thug who is making life harrowing for most Jews, as well as Israel’s serious bout of predatory international economic activity (Israel bullies Merkel into terminating German contracts with Iran, against Germany’s national interests)– there are internal fissures among Israel’s many, conflicting Jewish ethnic communities.

    • Shirin January 30, 2010, 8:47 PM

      Bessan, “internal fissures” among Israel’s Jewish ethnic communities date from the first minute of the first hour of the first day. The racism expressed and practiced against Arab Jews at all levels was beyond appalling, and continues to this day, though thankfully things have improved quite a bit generally. There is a growing literature by Arab Jews who immigrated to Israel, most of them in the ’50’s. Most recently I have read the 2006 autobiographical book Outsider in the Promised Land by Nissim Rejwan, an Iraqi intellectual who arrived in Israel in 1951. It is largely an account of various arguments that he was involved in in newspapers and magazines regarding attitudes toward and treatment of “oriental” Jews by the mostly Eastern European establishment. The racism was appallingly open.

      • David February 1, 2010, 11:46 AM

        I agree that there has and is prejudice and discrimination among the Ashkenzic and “Oriental” Jews… it is disturbing.

        Yet it pales in comparison to the life as “Dhimis” under Moslem and Arab rule. The “successes” Jews had in Arab and Moslem culture were present, but never far behind was the threat of Arab pogroms; harsh and discriminatory laws; forced conversions and expulsions, among other “fair” Moslem play against the detested Jew.

        There are other writers besides Rejwan who recount the unfair feeling and treatment in Israel and yearned for the “better days” in Arab Lands, who upon visiting their country of origin (I am refering specifically to Morocco as a case I know), were woken up to reality that life their was truly fearful and dangerous for the Jews still living their (as it was for their parents before them).

        Their nostolgia was replaced with the reality of a shaky life under Moselm rule. The discomforts of a fledgling state were quickly forgiven for the freedom and safety they enjoyed in Israel.

        • Richard Silverstein February 1, 2010, 12:58 PM

          life as “Dhimis”

          I strongly object to this prejudicial term which violates my comment rules. Read them if you wish to continue commenting here.

          the threat of Arab pogroms

          Name one. And pls compare the number of dead Jews under Christianity to the number dead under Islam. This is simply anti-Muslim grandstanding whether you recognize it or not. This is not a site for a debate between Islam haters & Israel haters. If you want that there must be other places to find it.

          There are many Jews who remain in some Muslim countries, among them Morocco and Iran, despite their ability to leave and make aliyah if they wished. This disproves yr claims.

          • David February 1, 2010, 2:59 PM

            It’s your website… you can make the rules as you see fit…. I shall respect that… but please be fair about it.

            “Dhimi” is not prejudical, nor slanderous or insulting to any Moslem. It is a phrase they coined. This is a statement about Moslem treatment of non-Muslims…not just Jews, in their countries. I apologize if you find it offensive… but it isn’t a prejudical term.

            As for Pogroms… “Name one”, you say, well, besides the more well-know ones in Hebron of 1929 and in Jerusalem in 1934. There are many. In Yemen in 1933-34, the “Farhud” in Iraq in 1941. Then there were the larger ones that took place after the UN Partion Plan vote in Nov. 1947.

            Please don’t bring the Christian Crusades into it… that’s a whole other ball of wax. I won’t deny the Christian cruelty to Jew AND Muslim (maybe worse to them). But let’s not go there.

            I’m not anti-Muslim (nor anti-Christian). But you cannot deny there are anti-non-Muslim aspects of Islam. I am not trying to “grandstand”. But when you or your readers make comments, do I not have the right to respond in addressing claims made?

            As for the Jews (left) in Muslim countries…. of those who stay behind they do not have the abiity you claim to so freely make Aliyah, it isn’t that simple. Part of it is indeed economic- perhaps too difficult for them to leave. But it is also very poltical and anti-Israel. I believe my claim still stands. Just ask the Iranian Jews who want to make Aliyah… the Syrian Jews who want to make Aliyah. Since there are only six Jews left in Iraq, all way over retirement age, I won’t claim they can make Aliyah. Now they probably can, if they were a generation or two younger.

            If I continue to reply to comments made here I will abide by your rules. I’ve only just discovered your site and there are many issues you claim (on your various posts) that I feel need to be clarified. I hope you allow me that ability.

          • Richard Silverstein February 1, 2010, 4:04 PM

            “Dhimi” is not prejudical, nor slanderous or insulting to any Moslem. It is a phrase they coined.

            The way in which anti-jihadists & other Islamophobes use the term is most certainly prejudicial to Islam. If you don’t recognize this then you’re either fooling yrself or have so bought into the propaganda line you can’t see the forest for the trees. btw, would you mind offering us yr bona fides in terms of yr expertise on Islam. Take any courses? Read any major source texts on Islam (anti Muslim propaganda not included)?

            You’ve claimed that Muslim “pogroms” against Jews were religiously based. The Hebron massacre was a political/nationalist massacre & not religion based. It had to do w. competition bet. Muslims & Jews for who would control the community. You’ve mentioned a mere 2 violent attacks against Jews in Muslim lands. You haven’t offered any proof nor have you told us what happened, how many died. Would you care to compare these incidents with the multiple Crusades, Spanish Inquisition, etc. in terms of whether Islam or Christianity are more inimical to Judaism??

            I’m not anti-Muslim

            Sure you are. The first step in conquering an addiction to anti Muslim prejudice is admitting your problem. Too bad you can’t yet.

            those who stay behind they do not have the abiity you claim to so freely make Aliyah

            Again, either ignroance or a lie. If it isn’t prove it w. credible evidence. Jews in both countries I mentioned may leave when they wish. But very few do.

            Just ask the Iranian Jews who want to make Aliyah

            Those Iranian Jews who wish to make aliyah have done so already. 25,000 remain. Why would that be? Can you tell me where you derive yr expertise on the attitudes of Jews in Muslim lands? Know any? Been to visit any? Taken any courses on any? Read any primary sources (unbiased) on any? I didn’t think so.

            there are many issues you claim (on your various posts) that I feel need to be clarified

            It’s not yr job here to clarify anything or educate the untutored masses about anything. Many of us here know more in our pinkies than you do in yr entire body. So be respectful, stay on topic, follow the rules, comment but don’t monopolize the threads & you will be welcome. If not, you won’t be.

          • Shirin February 2, 2010, 12:41 AM

            Oh, good grief, not the old dhimmi canard again, please!

            Dhimi” [sic]…is a phrase [sic] they coined.

            1. The word is not Dhimi, it is Dhimmi.
            2. Dhimmi is not a phrase, it is a word.
            3. “They” did not coin the term. The ِArabic word Dhimmi (ذمي) means literally “one who is protected”. It is derived from the word ذمة which means protection, care, immunity, safeguard, etc. It is an archaic term used centuries ago to refer to free non-Muslims living under Muslim rule. Among the groups designated as free were Jews, Christians, Mandaeans, and Zoroastrians. The term has been out of use for centuries now except by ignorant Islamophobes who have latched onto it as a way of demonizing Muslims without having the slightest clue as to its meaning or significance, let alone that most Muslims are unfamiliar with it.

        • mary February 1, 2010, 3:01 PM

          You’re way off topic, and you’re not going to get away with portraying Jews under Muslim rule as being abused and “2nd or 3rd class citizens” unless you can come up with some documentation for it. You can also write something explaining how this is relevant to the subject of this thread. Also include how half of the Jews in Israel were “forced out of their centuries old residence” when the majority of the population comes from Europe post World War II.

          From Wikipedia:
          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pogrom

          “During the Golden age of Jewish culture in Spain, beginning in the ninth century, Islamic Spain was very welcoming towards Jews.[5] The eleventh century, however, saw several Muslim pogroms against Jews; those that occurred in Cordoba in 1011 and in Granada in 1066.[6] In the 1066 Granada massacre, a Muslim mob crucified the Jewish vizier Joseph ibn Naghrela and massacred about 4,000 Jews.[7] In 1033 about 6,000 Jews were killed in Fez, Morocco by Muslim mobs.[8][9] Mobs in Fez murdered thousands of Jews, leaving only 11 alive, in 1465.[10][citation needed]”

          Do you want to explain why you saw the need to mention events from the 9th century, or were you trying to mislead us? We can google as well as anyone, so be careful.

          I know that Richard has a comment rule pertaining to the subject of dhimmis, and I do not see the purpose of bringing up the subject here. I will leave it up to him as to whether he will allow it or not.

          • David February 1, 2010, 3:50 PM

            I’m not trying to get away with anything. The documentation exists and I have heard interviews from top Middle Eastern professors discussing the range and abuse of the cast system on non-Muslims. Please do google the topic and see what comes up.

            Briefly, it is not 9th century. It is 21st century, the law still applies… whether enforced or not is up to the Moslem leaders of the day.

            But I agree… it seems I have pulled away from the thread of the topic… don’t want to continue doing so. This isn’t my website, nor the proper thread. I am relatively new to blogging and want to abide by blog site rules. I was alluding to this in trying to put some perspective in the Israeli/Palestinian (Muslim/Jew) perspective.

            I’m more than happy to discuss the topic, but will look for the proper thread.

          • Richard Silverstein February 1, 2010, 4:38 PM

            I have heard interviews from top Middle Eastern professors discussing the range and abuse of the cast system on non-Muslims. Please do google the topic and see what comes up.

            No, not the way we work here. The rules are: you make a claim, you support it. You don’t support it, you don’t make it. Understand? That’s how legitimate debate works.

          • David February 1, 2010, 4:09 PM

            One quick reply about the population, in response to your question.

            I do believe my facts are correct. Around 600,000 Jews from Arab/Muslim lands fled to Israel. Granted, many immigrants came from Europe in the form of Holocaust survivors from DP camps. Not sure of their figure.

            Today those Jews from Arab lands make up around 60% of the Israeli (Jewish) poplulation. There food and culture abound in Israel.

          • mary February 1, 2010, 5:05 PM

            “I do believe my facts are correct.” You’ll have to do better than that.

            “I’m not anti-Muslim (nor anti-Christian). But you cannot deny there are anti-non-Muslim aspects of Islam.”

            Yes, I can deny it. But I am not going to discuss Islam with you. This is not the place for that, and it has absolutely nothing to do with Richard’s article.

          • mary February 2, 2010, 7:18 AM

            My bad, I meant 11th century. Regardless, there has not been a pogrom committed by Muslims against Jews since that time.

            In reading your other comments you seem determined to drag out every old canard and stereotype you can think of. As I said, I’m waiting for you to introduce suicide bombers into the thread.

            The point is, none of it has a damned thing to do with Richard’s poignant and disturbing article, and there is so much about it that needs to be discussed. It seems that your insistence on introducing other topics is a way of avoiding this.

            What I find so unbearably sad is that the instances of abuse are not rare; from my many communications with Palestinians, I find that they are fairly common. I frankly don’t think even Hamas would break the bones of a child.

        • Shirin February 2, 2010, 6:46 AM

          It has been centuries since anyone has lived as “Dhimis” (sic) “under Moslem (sic) and Arab rule”. Both the word and the concept have been out of use for hundreds of years. How quaint and cute that ignoramuses like you are trying to revive it.

    • Shirin January 31, 2010, 10:54 AM

      PS You will often hear Israelis insist that Israeli culture is “very Middle Eastern”, blahblahblah. Well, eating hummus and felafel while mispronouncing it huhmuss and fullawful, and using Arabic rhythms and tonalities in your music does not constitute being culturally Middle Eastern.

      • mary January 31, 2010, 11:18 AM

        I’ve seen Lebanese cuisine touted as “Israeli.” Israeli culture is more western and European than middle eastern. Also, taking over Arab buildings and homes doesn’t constitute being culturally middle eastern, either.

        • David February 1, 2010, 11:36 AM

          To Shirin and Mary

          Since over half of Israel’s population is made up of Jews who were forced out of their centuries-old residence (albeit as 2nd and 3rd class citizens) under Moslem and Arab rule, and they brought with them their own Middle Eastern dishes, language, dress and customs, that certainly qualifies it as a culture developed over the past 60 years as “Israel Middle Eastern culture.

          • Shirin February 2, 2010, 6:54 AM

            Once again, David, eating hummus and felafel while mispronouncing it huhmuss and fullawful, and using Arabic rhythms and tonalities in some of your music does not constitute being culturally Middle Eastern. If it did, then San Franscisco, too, would legitimately be considered “culturally Middle Eastern”.

            No, Israel does not qualify as Middle Eastern except geographically, and your claims that it does based on superficial things like food is not only silly, but deeply ironic given the history and treatment of real Middle Eastern people and the ugly racist resistance against any infusion of real Middle Eastern culture in Israel.

  • David Lewis February 1, 2010, 8:14 AM

    No question improper behavior by any soldier should be corrected. But you should report that these are exceptions, not the rule.

    Now I know this is a left wing blog, so these reports are sure to make top news in your report Why don’t you report when the IDF shows more moral fortitude than expected of any army… I know it’s against your grain, but if you want to make the world a better place your reports should be put into perspective.

    You boldly use the term Tikkun Olam as your blog name. Well, part of that Tikkun is to balance these exceptions by what is the rule, so it seems by Palestnians.

    Where is your report of the hundreds of cases of Palestinians hurling stones at innocent civilians, resulting in some cases death, not just damage and “harmless” protesting? Where is the report of the countless acts of terrorism by civilian Palestinians on defenceless children such as in the barbaric and subhuman murder by a Palestini of the young boy Koby Mandel and Yosef Ishran.

    Where is your reporting of the constant anti-Israeli, anti-Jewish hatred and incitement spewing forth from Palestninan schools, mosques, and television.

    It kinda puts things in a more understandable perspective.
    It is lacking in all your reports

    If you want Tikkun Olam, you have to fix both sides.

    • Richard Silverstein February 1, 2010, 12:52 PM

      If you want Tikkun Olam, you have to fix both sides.

      You’ve shown no inclination to fix the Israeli side except yr admission of “improper behavior” which in the face of 1,400 Gazans dead during the last war seems laughably inapt.

      • mary February 1, 2010, 2:47 PM

        I also don’t think one can equate stone throwing and, although tragic, random acts of violence with the systematic and state sponsored rampage resulting in the deaths of 1,400 Gazans.

        There is hatred spewing from both sides, and a deeply rooted racism.

        Finally, I don’t think F16’s dropping bombs from the safety of the air constitutes any kind of fortitude, do you? And the use of the term “improper behavior” is a joke, isn’t it?

        • David February 1, 2010, 3:32 PM

          Well, I don’t think it’s any act of fortiude or nationalism to launch rockets blindly at a civilian population not knowing who you are going to kill… just that you hopefully do kill.

          And as for those “random acts”- they are not random. Many are inspired by someone or some group. They are planned. They are also the result of a constant barrage of anti-Israel propoganda.

          And yes I do equate these constant, non-cessating,acts of intentful violence against Israelis with the army’s response.

          It is THE reason the Israeli Army does what it does. The IDF does not plan terrorist attacks against innocent civilians. They are trying to prevent attacks on their population

          Why were there so many dead in Gaza? Rules of this website won’t allow me to address it, but it wasn’t because Israelis were targeting bottle-drinking babies, or old shesh-besh playing men.

          The thousands of rockets fired upon Israel didn’t appear out of thin air.

          • mary February 1, 2010, 3:57 PM

            As I said, this is not the proper thread to address these issues. What you are saying has been said over and over in the past. Your next subject will no doubt be suicide bombers.

            Kindly make comments about the subject of Richard’s article and join this discussion instead of rehashing the same old hasbara.

          • Richard Silverstein February 1, 2010, 4:37 PM

            I don’t think it’s any act of fortiude [sic] or nationalism to launch rockets blindly at a civilian population not knowing who you are going to kill

            That’s amusing though you didn’t mean to be. You’ve decided to become an arbiter of how Palestinians should behave to protect their national rights. And on what basis have you done that? By what right? Have you ever done or said anything on behalf of said rights?

            as for those “random acts”- they are not random. Many are inspired by someone or some group. They are planned.

            Yes, it’s called the IDF senior command.

            The IDF does not plan terrorist attacks against innocent civilians.

            You must be joking. Have you heard of Salah Shehadeh? That’s why several Israeli generals will be answering calls to the ICC in not too many yrs. How about the assassination of civilian Hamas cabinet ministers in their homes during the Gaza war?

            You’re starting to try my patience. If your object is to refight the last Gaza war on behalf of Israel this really isn’t the place to do so. Do you understand?

      • David February 1, 2010, 3:17 PM

        No, I do feel strongly that improper behavior by soldiers need to be addressed.

        Don’t compare the individual acts of soldiers to that of Israel’s on-going battle against Palestinian terror againsts it’s civlians. That is not a fair comparison.

        I find it laughably inapt to ignore and dismiss without comment the thousands of rockets launched by the Palestinians on a civilian population. Where are the cries for justice at this? Where is the inclination to rectify the Palestinian acts of aggression and acts of terror. Where is the critizism of Palestinian propoganda on their television, in their mosques and in their schools against Israel and against Jews?

        Yes let’s rectify both sides. I’m with you on that…just don’t ignore the Palestinian responsibility to answer for these actions.

        I get a glimmer of hope when I hear of the acts of humanity that come between Palestinian and Israeli ( doctor to patient; soldier to child-YES it happens; and good ole Palestinian to good ole Israeli) it doesn’t happen often. Most of the time the fanatics on both side get the most news.

        • Richard Silverstein February 1, 2010, 4:31 PM

          Don’t compare the individual acts of soldiers to that of Israel’s on-going battle against Palestinian terror againsts it’s civlians. That is not a fair comparison.

          You poor soul. You’re just beginning yr post-Zionist education it appears. No one is comparing here. We most of us anyway are flat out saying that these are NOT the acts of individual soldiers but rather that these individual soldiers are carrying out precisely the orders provided to them by the IDF senior command & political class as well. These are not individual improper acts but the systematic acts of a nation, at least as represented by the leadership I mentioned above.

          We (or at least I) don’t dismiss rockets fired on civilians whether they’re Israeli or Palestinian. However, unlike you we weight the relative lethality of the respective weaponry & note that something like 20 Israelis have been killed during yrs of such rocket fire while thousands of Palestinians have been killed by the IDF–& I’m talking about Palestinian civilians.

          You clearly haven’t read my comment rules. Do so. Again, this isn’t a site which delves into Palestinian anti-Semitism or Jewish anti-Islamism to determine which side is worse or better. So you won’t be doing that either. Again, if that’s what you need to do you’ll have to do it elsewhere.

          the acts of humanity that come between Palestinian and Israeli ( doctor to patient; soldier to child-YES it happens; and good ole Palestinian to good ole Israeli

          You poor sorry soul. Where have you come from? And where have you dredged up such quaint notions??

          • David February 1, 2010, 5:12 PM

            The “quaint notions” are from the Israel news.

            I won’t go off the thread but there are plenty of examples of these events… mostly on israeli soil, some in Palestinian villages where the politics and hate are put on hold and the Israeli and Palestinian relate as two human beings… it happens more than you think, but not nearly enough.

            Am I a leftist… no, but I do appreciate human life. I especiallly appreciate human life when that other person appreciates it as well.

            Certainly not part of your thread here… no IDF bashing nor Palestinian bashing…

            Yet I’ve seen it happen. Mutual respect goes a long way.
            When the reality of politics comes back into the picture respect usually goes out the back door.

          • mary February 1, 2010, 5:48 PM

            David, although it is nice that individual Israelis and Arabs can and do relate to each other, there needs to be a concerted effort by Israelis to push for an end to the occupation. Until that happens, the nice anecdotes will be nothing more than that. I sure do wish more Israelis were sorry they elected Netanyahu. And I also wonder why the majority in Israel think Operation Cast Lead “didn’t go far enough.” If that is the mentality of the Israeli society, all the anecdotal instances of friendship are meaningless and smack of hypocrisy.

  • David February 1, 2010, 5:00 PM

    Pro and con:

    1) I agree I have got off thread… believe it or not this is the first blog I’ve every commented on. If I do continue to comment I shall do my best to keep to the rules of the game… if I have broken them I apologize. Although I stand by my statments which may not fit in line with yours… which leads me to the next comment.

    2) You don’t know anything about me. . Why do you feel you have to attack me? If you wish to disput about what I comment… you have every right and it’s welcome. You don’t have the right to make judgement calls on who I am- or tell me what you think I believe or don’t believe… that is a character attack, which I think is part of your rules you want us to avoid.

    Please keep to you own sense of ethical standards sir…. You don’t have the right to personally insult me, or claim a superior knowledge base. I don’t care what knowledge your pinky holds (there are no brain cells in a pinky).

    By the comments you and other commentors have made it appears I know a significant amount on information and history on this topic. Some topics you have answered with one side of an argument or accessment of an incidient. Not every event is clear-cut and dry. Either you choose to ignore other facts because they do not fit in with your agenda, or you may be uninformed of some facts… I (unlike someone) will hold judgement. Nobody likes to be insulted,sir. It gains you no advantage.

    On one hand you want me to keep to the thread… not to monopolize…. I agree. But then don’t go asking me for a CV about what I know, what I’ve read or where I’ve been. As one of your commenters said. we can all google. The sources exist… people may not want to accept them or believe them.

    YES I have been and visited Muslim lands. I have talked to Muslims and discussed issues with them (No not at any rally or demonstration… but one-on-one or group discussions). I have read about Islam, but no I have no degree in Islam… does that mean I cannot comment.

    Didn’t you say not to post articles etc… am I to quote all my sources (that’s a serious question)? Shall I go into detail every comment I make?

    I’m sorry if I’ve said things you don’t agree with, perhaps this isn’t the best forum to discuss things honestly… that is if it isn’t something you want to hear, or backs up what you have to say.

    Lastly… I’m beginning to realize why I didn’t comment on blogs before… it is a real effort to express any opposing opinions and my time is a bit too crowded and prescious to spend it all on a blog.

    I do give you credit… you have to have real energy to constantly keep up and make comments on a blog. It is a bit much of a time stealer for me.

    If you don’t throw me off… here’s to continued discussions.

    • Richard Silverstein February 1, 2010, 5:08 PM

      You don’t have the right to…claim a superior knowledge base.

      I base my judgment of yr knowledge on what you write and what I know. So yes, I do have a right to make such a claim based on the egregious errors in yr thinking & stated views. If you read my posts & the comments of other readers here even if you disagree you may learn things you do not know.

      it appears I know a significant amount on information and history on this topic.

      Funny that many of us have drawn the opposite conclusion about you & your knowledge. I strongly urge you to respect the knowledge of others here & not presume that you know more or better. Because you don’t.

      we can all google. The sources exist

      Consider this the most important thing you can do if you wish to express yr opinions here. Support them with evidence, credible evidence. Links, sources, quotes, etc. Don’t direct anyone to Google, that’s a cop out.

      I have no degree in Islam… does that mean I cannot comment.

      It means you know less than you think you know.

      Quote relevant passages needed to prove a pt., not entire articles.

  • B.BarNavi February 2, 2010, 10:32 PM

    At first, when I saw the blogpost title, I thought this was about a shocking new revelation regarding sexual abuse of women soldiers in the IDF. Then I read the post, and it was just about soldier beating civilians. Nothing new or particularly shocking here.

    • Richard Silverstein February 3, 2010, 12:33 AM

      It’s much less known among Israelis that women soldiers commit acts of violence than that males do.

  • B.BarNavi February 2, 2010, 10:37 PM

    “Dhimmi” means “protected”. Simple. Pay jizya and you get protection.

    “Just ask the Iranian Jews who want to make Aliyah”

    To where? Beverly Hills?! Westwood?! Great Neck?! Many Persian olim actually went BACK to Iran (Post-revolution, might I add) because life (i.e. business) was just too hard in Israel. Many Jews opted to stay in Iran for many practical reasons.

  • Shirin February 3, 2010, 12:25 AM

    “Dhimmi” means “protected”.”

    Not exactly. It means someone who is protected, and specifically it refers to a free non-Muslim living under Muslim rule during a particular historical period that ended several centuries ago.

    Simple. Pay jizya and you get protection.

    I am afraid you have been misinformed about that part of history in general, and specifically about jizya. جزية (jizya) simply means a tax, and does not refer to any particular type of tax on any particular type of person. Second, the tax, or jizya paid by dhimmi was not protection money as you would apparently like to believe. Dhimmi, unlike Muslims, were exempt from certain obligations to the State, such as military duty. In place of those obligations they paid a special jizya. The concept of dhimmi status, including the payment of a special tax in place of certain obligations, was in fact quite progressive for that period in history.

    There is considerably more I could say on this subject, but this will do for now.