It warms the cockles of my heart that Moshe ‘Bogie’ Yaalon, deputy prime minister and former IDF chief of staff, found he couldn’t travel to Britain for fear of being arrested for war crimes for his role in the 2002 assassination of Salah Shehadeh, an act which took the lives of 14 civilians including children.
But what was especially interesting was Yaalon’s version of l’etat c’est moi, which posited that there is no difference between the interests of the IDF and those of the entire state of Israel. In other words, if you attack me, Bogie, you’re out for the destruction of Israel:
“This [efforts to arrest IDF officers] is a campaign whose goal is to delegitimize the state – first via the suits that have already been filed against senior officers over the Salah Shehadeh incident, and then in legal efforts to use the Goldstone report to harm those involved in Operation Cast Lead,” he said.
We ought to thank Yaalon for providing a perfect illustration of the dangers of national security states like Israel. The military essentially either runs the state or else dominates the levers of power and decision-making to such an extent that a threat against the military is seen as a threat to the very existence of the state. It then becomes that much easier for anti-Zionists to claim that all Israelis are culpable for the acts of the IDF. I don’t believe this. But I do believe firmly that the IDF must be made accountable for its behavior. I also believe that Israel has proven itself unable or unwilling to provide such accountability (the only punishment so far was meted out to one soldier who stole a Gazan credit card). That’s why the Goldstone Report was a huge emblem of hope and why the fact that the PA betrayed it is such a devastating blow.