48 thoughts on “Kamm Leaked Secret IDF Documents to Expose ‘War Crimes’ – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. I haven’t commented on any of this until now because, honestly, I find it all to be a big joke. You need an Israeli to steal documents from the IDF to convince you that war crimes were committed? Are you kidding?

    I find it sad that you need something from Israel to convince you that they’re thugs who need to be dealt with. As if the Palestinians’ word, and videos, and casualties weren’t enough.

    1. So, Mary,

      A 21-year-old sacrificed her freedom and career to get the truth out but for you it’s a joke.

      We also know that the Iraq invasion was a con job, we knew it all along. But still, I will kiss the hand of the person who leaks official US Administration documents that prove it. Same here.

      1. What I meant was, so many Palestinian voices ignored, all those casualties, dead and mutilated children, all of which were ignored until an Israeli “whistle blower” comes along. I think it’s pathetic that you only listen to Israeli journalists and not the thousands of Palestinians whose voices you like to squelch every damn day because they seem to always be saying what you don’t want to hear.

        There were one hell of a lot of people who already knew the truth, but no one would listen to us.

        1. Mary, she wasn’t trying to convince the world or anyone else per her own statments (the snippets of which we are getting).
          She stated she wanted to bring about a change in Israeli policy concerning what she stated she viewed as war crimes.

          There’s a big difference between that and believing Palestinian accounts. The two are apples and oranges.

          1. Mary, I agree with your point –that Palestinians have been ignored for decades. It takes a Benny Morris using Israeli government records to get Westerners to admit that Israel ethnically cleansed Palestinians in 1948, for instance.

            But given that the West is racist in this way, it’s still a big story that this young woman apparently was willing to take a big risk to present evidence from IDF records that they commit war crimes. It matters–look at how the NYT covers the conflict. They might (might) report crimes committed against Palestinians, but then they “balance” this with the official Israeli denials and while they should report what government liars say, they usually present their words as though they should be taken seriously. It would help a great deal with this kind of mindset if the Israeli government’s story could be undermined with their own classified documents.

          2. It takes a Benny Morris using Israeli government records to get Westerners to admit that Israel ethnically cleansed Palestinians in 1948…

            Except that Benny Morris refuses to acknowledge that what took place was ethnic cleansing, or that it was intentional. He cannot manage a realistic and honest analysis of the results of his own research.

          3. Not sure he doesn’t acknowledge it was some form of ethnic cleansing. But at any rate he does wish they’d done “more of the same” & says Israel would have fewer problems today if they had. A strange, strange man.

          4. Benny Morris’s analysis of his own work is confused. First, he reveals what is obviously a plan for ethnic cleansing – Plan Dalet – and then he denies it was really about ethnic cleansing. When Ilan Pappe calls it for what it is, and points out that ethnic cleansing was not a by-product of the war, but its main purpose, Benny Morris clings determinedly to his denial of the obvious. He cannot come fully to terms with the results of his own work.

            And yes, he does believe BG should have “finished the job”. People I know who have met him tell me he is not a nice person (he was OK with me when I corresponded with him briefly back in the ’80’s-’90’s, but of course I did not have body language, or vocal expression to go by either), and since then he has revealed himself to be an ardent racist who would like to see the ethnic cleansing finally completed today. And oddly to some people this makes me respect him all the more as an academice who despite his own unfortunate propensities apparently did not flinch at revealing facts that absolutely exploded some of Zionism’s most dearly held myths (aka lies) about its creation and its early days.

          5. oddly to some people this makes me respect him all the more as an academice who despite his own unfortunate propensities apparently did not flinch at revealing facts that absolutely exploded some of Zionism’s most dearly held myths

            Yes, that’s precisely why he’s such a strange creature. He has just enough academic rigor & consistency to stay true to the historical facts while his personal views are reprehensible. You just don’t meet many people like this who have such a disconnect bet. 2 realms of their life.

          6. In current psycho-jargon, that’s called cognitive dissonance. I still prefer the old term, schizophrenia. Though technically there is a slight difference, the latter has a more pejorative sound that applies well to Morris.

          7. Pardon me if I am being excessively pedantic, but Gene, that is not what cognitive dissonance is. More importantly, cognitive dissonance and schizophrenia are not even remotely the same thing. Cognitive dissonance is that uncomfortable feeling you have when you hold conflicting views or feelings about the same thing. Schizophrenia is a very serious illness that is chemically based, and completely beyond the character, ethics, intellect, or control of those who suffer from it. It should no more be treated as a pejorative or used to denigrate someone than should epilepsy or muscular distrophy.

            Schizophrenia is a very serious disabling mental disorder that has nothing to do with Benny Morris’s refusal to accept what his own research has clearly revealed. It has even less to do with his racist and inhumane attitudes. To the best of my knowledge Benny Morris has never shown any synptoms of schizophrenia. Benny Morris is simply in a state of denial. As far as I know he does not suffer from any mental illness, let alone schizophrenia.

            If you were making light of schizophrenia, please don’t. If you really believe that schizophrenia and cognitive dissonance are the same thing, let me assure you that they are not even in the same universe when it comes to mental health.

          8. Good example of collective cognitive dissonance is the catholic church’s behavior and reaction to the pedophiles in their priestly ranks. What they’d severely criticize – and punish – in the population at large, they tip-toe around when it’s in their own ranks. Imagine the dissonance a priest experiences giving a sermon against gay lifestyles, knowing what his buddy the priest next door is up to.

            I agree with you Shirin about the distinction from schizophrenia – which is often characterized in popular literature as “split personality”, quite erroniously – but it’s the terminology that sticks, not the the complexity of the condition. Cognitive dissonance can perhaps be viewed as a kind of “equivalent” of schizophrenia in the moral/spiritual sphere. But that’s kind of where the analogy ends.

          9. Touchè, to both Shirin and Dana. You’re absolutely correct and I apologize for using terms I should better than to throw around in a vernacular manner. I do know the definition of both. I’ll be more careful in the future.

          10. In this case it is not so much that an Israeli is believed more than Palestinians and their advocates. What Anat Kamm has done, as Daniel Ellsberg and a few others have done, is to produce documentary proof. There can be many different stories of how and why a particular incident occurred, but these documents are going to make it very much more difficult for the Israelis to spin the stories of what happened in Gaza. That is the value of it, not the fact that an Israeli is telling the story instead of a Palestinian.

          11. Morris is a racist, but that’s not quite right Shirin–the truth is worse. Morris acknowledges the ethnic cleansing, but regrets that it was not more thorough and complete. He actually said that Israel’s behavior was justified on the grounds that America did it to the Native Americans and we were right to do so.

          12. Donald, Benny Morris does admit now that there was (regrettably incomplete) ethnic cleansing in 1948, he does justify it, he is unhappy that it was not completed, and he would like to see it completed and the sooner the better. No question about his racism, either. But there is still an enormous disconnect between what his research revealed and what he is willing to see. He has looked right at the evidence he himself brought to light for the first time as well as the evidence and analysis of other scholars, and declared that ethnic cleansing was an accidental, if highly beneficial, by-product of the 1948 war. He cannot admit what the documents he himself uncovered and reported on; that the ethnic cleansing of 1948 was planned, intentional, and from Zionism’s earliest beginnings deemed necessary to the successful creation and maintenance of a Jewish state.

        2. I think it’s pathetic that you only listen to Israeli journalists and not the thousands of Palestinians whose voices you like to squelch every damn day because they seem to always be saying what you don’t want to hear.

          This is ENTIRELY OFFBASE and offensive. You’ve really gone off the deep end. No one here squelches Palestinians voices & if you think because someone here is Israeli that it means they’re your enemy or that they’re guilty of crimes against Palestinians because ipso fact they are Israeli, then you’re in the wrong place.

          I understand your anguish & the suffering that enrages you, but it gives you no excuse to write what you did.

          1. Richard, I was not meaning to offend you, and you should know me better than that. I’ve been watching this whole thing and what pisses me off is that it took an Israeli whistleblower to draw attention to what the rest of us knew a long time ago, that the IDF broke the rules of war and committee war crimes.

            I apologize for upsetting you, but this is ridiculous, that thousands of Palestinian voices are ignored and this one Israeli gets tons of media attention because she’s Israeli. The rest of us are blue in the face from shouting this stuff from the rooftops, only to be ignored.

        3. Mary, I recall a conversation with Hana Ashrawi in the late ’80’s or ’90’s after the Israeli “new historians” had had a decade or so to make their impact. We mused on the fact that after decades of hearing the same stories from Palestinians people finally believed them because they were hearing them from Israelis. Enraging, yes, but thank god for those Israelis.

          1. I know, Shirin, it’s the same thing as nobody noticing all the Palestinians who were shot and killed by bulldozers, but they make a point of remembering Rachel Corrie.

            I feel it is beyond outrageous that this young woman is taking a fall for the IDF’s stupidity.

        4. It’s so nice to hear from Mary again. Her comments have been missed. I understand her concern. Why is it that it takes a “spy” scandal to bring out what we’ve already known for a long time? I don’t believe Mary was attacking Richard for having done a good job of bringing it to the attention of us in the west. She’s just letting us know what we should have known all along. And she’s right.

          My take on this story is that Kamm did commit a crime by stealing this information, and she will punished for it. That is not to say her motives were not worthy, nor that her bravery for doing it should be minimized. She is indeed an Israeli Daniel Ellsworth and should be equally praised. Ellsworth was lucky he lived in the U.S. when it still had some semblance of a democracy. Kamm is unfortunate to be living in undemocratic Israel (witness the new order to deport Palestinians from the West Bank as reported by in Haaretz yesterday), who will take vengeance on her. Alas.

          1. Thanks, Gene. I certainly was not attacking Richard, I unfortunately went flying on a temper and didn’t go back and read what I’d written. He was perfectly justified in slapping me down as I was being rude.

            This chicken coming home to roost is a good one, I agree with that completely, but I really would like to see what she allegedly stole. It seems to be always true, that in dishonest endeavors one is always found out, and this is happening to the IDF. “The most moral army in the world” has been lying about itself for far too long.

            And it’s not even a matter of an Israeli blowing the whistle, really. “Breaking the Silence” has spoken out many, many times. But anecdotal evidence is one thing, and a “smoking gun” is definitely another.

            Israel is doing its damnedest right now to antagonize the Palestinians into a Third Intifada, but this incident is putting them uncomfortably in the public eye and so I am hoping they will back off.

          2. I certainly was not attacking Richard

            Sorry if I overreacted. I actually thought you were criticizing Assaf, not me. He btw is an IDF refuser/seruvnik who deserves much praise for his courage. I just want to be sure we correctly identify who the enemy is & who our friends are. Israelis are not all the enemy despite the depredations of their State. Neither are they at fault because they don’t suffer as terribly as Palestinians. As long as they act honorably as I believe Kamm & Blau have done, they deserve praise.

            Of course we know the quality & severity of Palestinian suffering & that it doesn’t compare to anything Israelis go through. But I just want to place things in context so that we realize we have allies on both sides of the fence.

      2. Wikileaks and Iraq Veterans Against the War’s Winter Soldier have done what they can as soldiers. Ehren Watada refused to deploy because he REFUSED to participate in war crimes, the war itself His court martial, had his witnesses been allowed, would have put the war itself on trial. Judge Head tossed out all his witnesses but one character witness who wasn’t even called because the judge ILLEGALLY called a mistrial. (proven illegal when the army tried to retry him and could not because the mistrial WAS called erroneously) So that in itself, a lone incident, was a crime which Ehen risked eight years in prison for, BECAUSE the war in Iraq is illegal.

        It will come Assaf, it will come. Until it does, there are those in IVAW and Courage to Resist who are doing all they can, and in some cases such as Ehrens, would have put the war on trial itself.

        There will eventually be a Deep Throat of our time. Justice is on our side. Furthermore, there are already documents proving the war was based on lies.

    2. I understand and sympathize with your frustration. It’s true that a hundred Palestinians telling the truth do not equal the truth spoken by one Israeli just like a hundred Palestinian lives will never equal one Israeli life in the eyes of Israelis and Americans. The death of one Israeli child will cause an uproar while the death of one Palestinian child barely registers a bleep with the media.

      It’s precisely because of this unjust and inhumane imbalance that Palestinians need Anat Kamm and Uri Blau who risked so much for the truth and justice. I’m thankful for small mercies as well and for Israeli and American journalists and bloggers who are speaking truth to power in Israel, and often they’re ridiculed and lambasted for speaking the truth.

      You want conviction and justice now but the wheels of justice grind slowly, and sometimes loyalties are torn, and the truth suffers a setback, but thanks to Kamm and Blau and others willing to risk so much…I’m very hopeful!

      I share your passion on this subject.

    3. I don’t think anybody here needs stolen documents to convince them of Israeli war crimes. What exactly is your point?

      I find it sad that you think you’ve made a convincing point with such a silly accusation.

      The issue here is the young Anat made a very tough decision risk her life to expose – on the record – war crimes in the W.Bank, AND the Israeli governments increasingly desperate attempts to silence the truth. Very big story and one worth drawing as much attention to as possible, IMO…

  2. Individuals like Anat Kamm and “the source” that gave WikiLaeaks the video, expose criminal activity by our govts. We need more like them and all the support they can get. For the govt to claim, this is a national security issue is outrageous and laughable. If a state has to indulge in War Crimes to keep itself secure, is it worth keeping secure?

      1. This story grew despite a wall of censorship and brought down the gag order. If we all fight to get the truth out, it will prevail over evil, eventually.

        Despair and cynicism will lead us nowhere, we must defend the truth always, no matter what.

        I have days where I throw my arms up in despair, then a couple of days later I’m back fighting this fight.

  3. “In the test of history, people who warned of war crimes were forgiven.”

    Excuse me, but this quote brought tears to my eyes, thinking of the HORRIBLE, truly HORRIBLE talkbacks I have read about this brave young woman on Israeli news sites.

    1. I saw some of the vile comments made on Israeli talkbacks as well, and Richard has highlighted the poisonous atmosphere in Israel with regards to Anat Kamm and Uri Blau. To me, it’s all part of the same pattern – Kamm brings up to the surface the incredible hatred and vitriol that’s taken hold right at the center of the country’s soul. Grossman said at last Friday Sheik jarrah demonstration that the occupation is like a carnvorous plant that eats every patch of green in its way (I am paraphrasing). We see the makings of that plant on talkbacks, in the unpleasant demeanor of meir dagan, the thuggish countenance of Lieberman, the FM who’s welcome nowhere, and we saw it among those who brought lawn chairs to better sit and cheer the gaza massacre from a safe distance. Beyond that, a casual visit to Israel, intemingling with the people and just listening in to casual snippets of conversation about, say, anything political or religious or demographic, will bring forth ample evidence of the malodorous whiff of souls corrupted from within.

      We often use nice sounding abstract expression like “cognitive disonance” to describe what can happen when intentions, beliefs and convictions are set at counter-purposes. What we see in Israel – and to some extent in the jewish establishment abroad – is an example of the abstract made concrete. Unfortunately, we all have front row seats to watch this sad decline of zionism itself, caught in a powerful undertow along with everything good it once embodied.

      I know of course there are many good people in Israel. We all see and hear from them every day. my heart goes out to them in a worthy fight and I wish them well and support them any way I can. But the observer in me can’t but notice the deepening nastiness that’s taken hold in the very center of Israeli society. It just does not bode well for the future, as much as the many well meaning people there and elsewhere wish.

      Today was a bad day – just couldn’t shake off that sinking feeling – like watching a killer meteor approach with nothing but arrows to avert from its collision course. May be tomorrow will be better.

  4. Replying to Mary above concerning apples and oranges.

    Anat said so herself if you read closely:

    Kam said that she didn’t think that transferring the documents would endanger the country, as she did not think “the journalist would focus on the details of the military actions, but rather on the principles and the policies that were behind the the top officers’ decisions.”

    That she herself thought it would result in policy change and she ALSO talks about war crimes. I don’t think any regulars here and certainly not Richard need to have an Anat Kam to make us believe anything. No one that I would care to associate with would need an Anat Kam.

    By Anat’s statement she thought she might be able to CHANGE policy in her country. Naive? In the short term, yes, and that’s where I think she is right on “History”. She’s not exactly getting a free vacation at the Ritz for what she has done.

    So I do think the two are apples and oranges Mary. We don’t need Shimitsin to tell us that what the Palestinians say is true either. But they also stand up (or stand down) in their own way BECAUSE of Palestinian truth, not to prove it, but BECAUSE of it.

    Does that make sense?

    1. For what it’s worth I’ll second your comment, Robin. And I do applaud kamm and Blau as well as Richard for spreading this story before it had wings.

      Of course, we all understand Mary’s anguish. But things are the way they are in this world – to the victor go the spoils of PR, which is why it’s often from among the strong that voices raised against injustice first move the world. For decades the voice of the palestinians was ignored, their testimonies discarded. But the same is true about Afganis and Iraqis. It takes a video from an american helicopter to prove conclusively that civilians belonging to a defeated people get shot up willy-nilly, their lives meaning next to nothing to the shooters, who see them as nothing but targets.

      the history of the human race is replete with atrocities where the perpetrators got away with it all, because they had the power to controll the means of communications and suppress the voices of those who were vanquished. This is exactly what’s burning up so many Israelis (and not just “right wingers”). They are furious that the world won’t allow them to get away with what the american settlers “got away” with (did they really in the end?), or the conquistadors before them or the English pretty much everywhere they were. Which is why it’s so important that a young person like Kamm pass on a some documents, and a journalist publishes a story about the implications, and a pilot somewhere gave a video to wikileaks. The israelis may hate it that bad deeds come to light before history had a chance to cover them with dust. But the civilized world applauds, even if it’s still a ramble in the distance.

      And though kamm affair may have garnered the attention, ultimately, it’ll be the voice of the palestinian victims and survivors who’ll reclaim the center stage. The process may be frustratingly slow, but in the end I am sure the voices of the dead and the disenfranchised will have their day in the sun.

      Alas, not before much more evil will have been done, and to mitigate at least some of that is what we should all focus on.

      1. If I could only believe that this incident will change anything for the Palestinian people, I would be encouraged. But I can’t. There has never been anything that the Israelis have not been able to whitewash, dissemble about, and sweep under the rug. This is how they’ve been able to maintain the filthy illegal occupation for 62 years, break a long list of international laws and flout the Geneva Conventions.

        Right now the IOF is busy deporting foreigners and tourists from the West Bank. I heard tonight that it’s very scary there now, a lot of hysteria, and Ben Gurion Airport is mass confusion, with people desperately trying to get on planes before they’re arrested. People entering Israel are being prevented from going to either the West Bank or the Gaza Strip.

        Remind you of anything? Interesting, how history repeats itself.

        1. I wonder whether we are going to get more information on what’s going on in the West Bank. I know that the people of Ta’ayush have reported more heavy handed tactics in last week’s demonstrations, and I read the same from a couple of others.

          I agree that long before we see much light at the end of this tunnel, it’ll get darker still for the Palestinians. I have every expectations that the Israelis will clamp down ever more forcefully on protests of any kind in the West bank, and probably inside Israel. The kamm-Blau affair demonstrates the signs of a desperate entity, that’s feeling under attack from within and from without. As BDS gains steam, they’ll go even crazier, and unfortunately the Palestinians will get the brunt of it.

          But some things are changing, and most israelis are not stupid. At some point they’ll wake up to what the score is. I can only hope there’ll be enough of them because their crazies make our tea-partiers look positively tame.

          In the meantime, advertising the continuing violations of their own laws is good. Getting more palestinian stories out is even better. And you must admit that though far from sufficient to turn the tide, we ARE hearing more from the Palestinian side with their voices given more credibility in the past few years than we have ever heard before. For their sake, if not for our own, we should not despair.

          1. I got an email from a friend there last night, and he said the mass deportations are starting. They’re kicking out foreigners first, and Ben Gurion airport was chaotic with people trying to book flights out of Israel.

  5. I think this young woman is heroic, and sure we don’t need documents to tell us what has been obvious for many decades, but she’s on the side of decency and her position should be applauded and disseminated widely. We need more like her.

  6. Any proof is good. We need proof to convince those people who refuse to listen to Palestinians.

    I am very, very glad Richard has been covering these things.

  7. I don’t care if she was idealistically-driven and naive or knowingly courageous, please someone, anyone in the Israeli government with a scintilla of integrity, give this woman a MEDAL!

    I’ll bet nothing she did as a soldier took this much courage or will make an impression like this action she took.

    I prefer her as a soldier for the truth any day! Someone clone this soldier, please.

  8. There’s an important difference between “convincing” and “proof”. Legal action requires the latter.

    The documents offer a level of proof that no amount of compelling testimony from Palestinians ever can. However, if this is to be an effective defence against any charges that she faces, she does need to have intended to use the proof and its exposure to prevent war crimes in the present and future, rather than simply exposing what was done in the past.

    This is indeed what it looks like to Medawar, but it is to be hoped that she can prove this and is not relying on people finding her story convincing.

    1. There’s an important difference between “convincing” and “proof”. Legal action requires the latter.

      The documents offer a level of proof that no amount of compelling testimony from Palestinians ever can.,/i>”

      Just the point I was trying to make above, but I think you said it a lot better.

  9. From reading an exchange between Morris and Norman Finkelstein in Journal of Palestine Studies, he seemed to believe acknowledging the reality of the nakba would help reconcile the two peoples who would go on to accept a two-state solution that would rubber stamp said nakba. With that motivation he couldn’t help but raise the bar for whitewashing. Now there was a military expulsion, okay, but it was not premeditated and the other side made it necessary.

  10. Please don’t clap for her. She is a disgrace to this country and a disgrace to journalism as well.

    Everyone seems to forget that the big story here is not that those documents were published but rather that she STOLE them.
    When u enrol in the IDF, u know that u are not a citizen. You’re 18, you do your job, but who are you to go and steal documents.

    If even the soldiers themselves act this way, this country has no future. We have enough people accusing us of war crimes here, what does a 23 year old think to herself doing that.

    Anat Kamm : History will not forgive you, this country has enough problems. WHO DO YOU THINK YOU ARE?
    My theory is that her motivations to do such a thing are purely ambition driven, selfish, and striving to just be talked about.
    A real supporter of this country woudn’t have STOLE classified documents.

    and when it comes to journalism: where the HECK are your ethics? she comes out of the army , steals, get it published and thinks she can be a reporter? dream on.

    1. the big story here is not that those documents were published but rather that she STOLE them.

      No, that’s not the big story or any story. Israeli soldiers, politicians and officers leak classified information to the press ALL THE TIME and are hardly ever admonished let alone prosecuted. And no one as far as I know has ever been given a life sentence for leaking documents to a reporter.

      When u enrol in the IDF, u know that u are not a citizen.

      Oh, I see. When you become a soldier you become a slave & lose yr rights as a citizen. Is that yr claim?? Whoa, that’s simply amazing. Are IDF soldiers drones? Androids? Mutants?

      who are you to go and steal documents.

      It’s done all the time. A diff. soldier leaked documents to Uri Blau & received a 45 day confined to base punishment. Big deal.

      If even the soldiers themselves act this way, this country has no future.

      Actually, the only way yr country has ANY future is if brave soldiers like her have the courage to uncover possible war crimes in the way she has done. A country that commits war crimes w. impunity has almost no hope of a future.

      Anat Kamm : History will not forgive you

      You are quite wrong & it is Kamm herself who told the court that history is filled with examples of those who committed an act & were vilified by their countrymen only to be lionized in the hindsight of history. That will be Anat Kamm’s fate.


      An Israeli patriot with the best interests of her nation at heart.

      where the HECK are your ethics?

      Amazing that amongst all this nonsense you express not a shred of concern for the absolute abandonment of ethics by your own senior IDF command which violated a Supreme Court ruling & then lied about the circumstances of the targeted killings they committed.

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