51 thoughts on “Israeli Right Has Knickers in a Twist Over New IDF Facebook Controversy – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. apparently the Israeli right forgot that Israelis, even those in the IDF, do have a right to express their opinions of political issues affecting them and Israel

    Actually, IDF soldiers are not allowed to participate in any political activities. The policy is supposed to maintain the IDF’s neutrality. Of course, in reality things are different and virtually everyone who wishes to keeps participating in such activities.

    1. It wasn’t “political activity.” It was a statement on a Facebook Wall. I don’t believe that soldiers give up the right to have political opinions & expressing them just because they are serving. I’ve never heard of such lunacy in other democracies. Or are you conceding that Israel isn’t one?

      Oh & if you’re not being hypocritical & disingenuous can you explain why the rightist IDF battalion that demonstrated publicly at the Wall declaring they would not remove settlers fr. their outposts–why were they not seriously disciplined? Their violation was far more egregious. What did they get? A slap on the wrist if that no doubt.

      1. Soldiers are not allowed to voice their political standings.
        they do participate in the democratic process and are allowed to and are voting during an elections.
        this soldier toileted military orders by voicing is opinion. he will be disciplined – just like to soldiers who demonstrated in the western wall. most likely he will be removed from his position and will spend a short period of time in military prison.

        1. The soldiers at the Wall were not disciplined & certainly were not sentenced to prison. Nor will this kid or Eden Aberjil imo. Soldiers certainly ARE allowed to voice their political views. Or isn’t it a democracy? Perhaps when they’re in uniform they don’t (or shouldn’t–the pro settler soldiers demonstrated in uniform at the Wall).

      2. Well, We’ve just seen what happened to a certain American general in Afghanistan who expressed a political opinion about Obama’s policy. He haven’t remained a general for long.

        So yes, in the IDF it is forbidden to express political opinion *as a soldier*. You can express any opinion as a private person, and certainly on Facebook.

        Note this: Besides some public uproar, no concrete actions were taken against said soldier and there’s definitely no basis for any.

        As for the right-wing soldiers in that battalion, what do you know, if anything, about their punishment or it’s severity? can you even tell what that punishment is?

        I’m not trying to defend them. They did a very wrong thing. They were punished, rather severely in my opinion. I, for one, would not like to be subjected to such punishment.

        My point is that you’re making a fuss out of nothing. A statement by some lunatic settler organization doesn’t lead to the conclusion

        “warrants the charge of “supporting terror organizations.” …

        anymore than me shouting “let’s end the occupation” from a rooftop would actually contribute.

  2. You know, I agree that as usual all this is being taken way out of proportion, but I wonder if you appreciate what an insensitive idiot this guy’s being (though the fact this is merely a post on his facebook profile probably makes this a moot point).

    I’m not a fan of the Hebron settlers. They deserve to be denounced for their mere presence there, even when they don’t engage in violent behaviour – but they don’t deserve to be killed. And they don’t deserve to have their murder justified. This story is mainly an example of petty rightist persecution, but it also gives us a glimpse at the too-common settler demonisation (I mean – justifying their deaths? Really?) that prevents many – at least in Israel – from taking the left seriously. When the moral compass is this skewed, it makes it easier to ignore the more sensible moral stands taken.

    By the way, you give the impression this story’s causing a big stir round here. I’m not disputing that yet, but where? Are there any online links to it? Not that I’ve looked particularly, but your post has been the first and only place where I’ve come across this story.

    1. Lighten up. As you said it’s a Facebook page. And he didn’t accompany his statements with incriminating pictures showing himself abusing settlers as Aberjil did do.

      Do you understand what the Hebron settlers do? Have you seen it? Have you witnessed it? If not, I suggest that you accompany a Taayush contingent on their visits to the region. Then you’ll get a real taste of the vicious hatred & homicidal rage they possess. I don’t support the killing of anyone even if they are wretched human beings. But let’s be clear about what class of person we’re dealing with & acknowledge that Chamish’s appraisal of them was correct, even if perhaps a tad lacking in derech eretz.

      you give the impression this story’s causing a big stir round here.

      That’s not what I wrote. I said it was causing a stir among the pro settler far right. And I meant that THEY were trying to make a stir about it. I hope they don’t succeed. But the job of this blog is to break stories that no one else is yet reporting, or else reporting thinly. That’s what I’ve done. I thought it was an interesting story. It may die. It may not.

      1. I don’t want to harp on too much about the same point, but when you take a geographic region and characterise the “class of person” inhabiting it, you remind me of the commonplace in Israel of talking about the “class of person” inhabiting Gaza and voting in Hamas – usually, again, in quasi-justification or minimalisation of them being killed. I think that going to live in a settlement is morally reprehensible just as voting for Hamas is reprehensible, and on an emotional level, the former actually offends me more – but I don’t see this just as a problem of derech eretz – when people show anything approaching indulgence towards the murder of settlers, they do the same thing that indulgence towards the “collateral” deaths of Gazans does – they legitimise it, and risk perpetuating the violence, just by not responding to it with the appropriate level of shock and aversion.

        I’m not trying to bludgeon you into agreeing with me – it’s just a point I felt I had to make and now I felt I had to make sure I made it clearly. I didn’t mean to accuse your blogging of anything. I’ve been reading it for a few weeks now and it’s very informative and it’s a very important job I think you’re doing. Thanks for all the effort.

        1. when you take a geographic region and characterise the “class of person” inhabiting it

          I’m sorry to tell you this but if you haven’t been to the Hebron Hills, nor know settlers living there you simply don’t know what you’re talking about. Virtually every Israeli knows the Hebron settlers are the hardest of the hard core. I didn’t make up the adjective I used to describe them. It was published in Haaretz before I used it. Every Israeli who wants to know (admittedly that’s not that many) knows the horrible violence, murders, maiming, shootings, burnings, slaughters of animals, etc. that these same settlers have perpetrated against the Palestinian farmers here. Do you? If not, why not?

          If Israelis want to make prejudicial statements about 1.5 million Gazans (& they do) be my guest. But they’re wrong because there is no way to justify prejudice on such a mass scale. But the Hebron settlers number at most a few thousand & it is perfectly legitimate to characterize their ideological fervor & racist hatred since there is evidence of it every day.

          just as voting for Hamas is reprehensible

          You think a settler is unjustified in living on a settlement but a Palestinian in a democratic election shouldn’t for Hamas? Why? Do you feel the same way about the Israeli far right which is well populated in the Knesset? Do you concede there is virtually no diff. bet. the Israeli far right & Hamas? But one thing’s clear, if voting for Hamas is ‘reprehensible’ then you don’t have much use for democracy because that’s what democracy is–allowing people to vote for a party you despise.

          when people show anything approaching indulgence towards the murder of settlers

          A really poor choice of words. I haven’t indulged anything or anyone. But the plain truth of the matter is that these settlers are the proximate cause of conflict. They are the racist vanguard of Occupation. They are the sticking pt. the knife in the back of peace. And they must go for there to be peace. I have no sympathy for them. None. I don’t wish them dead & don’t support killing them. But beyond that they have no sympathy from me. None.

          And thank you for being a reader. I appreciate yr perspective even if I don’t always agree w. it.

          1. I agree, Richard, double-standards suck and undermine the universal ethic of judaism such that it is, given the bitter apostasy political zionism has proven itself to be time and again.

            “Israelis seem to be haunted by a curse.
            It is the curse of the original sin against the native Arabs.

            How can Israel be discussed without recalling the dispossession and exclusion of non-Jews?

            This is the most basic fact about Israel, and no understanding of Israeli reality is possible without it.

            The original sin haunts and torments Israelis;
            it marks everything and taints everybody.

            Its memory poisons the blood and marks every moment of existence.” ~ Israeli author, Benjamin Beit-Hallahami,
            “Original Sins: Reflections on the History of Zionism and Israel.”

  3. while Eden Abergil commented on her facebook page, Ariel commented on the NIF page. by doing so he actively engaged in a political activity, which he his not allowed to do.

    The Radio Station, after realizing what a mess they were facing, was trying to claim that he was never a reporter but an administrative assistant, and in doing so they actually re-edited few of the articles he wrote or co-wrote and took his name off it. using google cache it was easy to find it.

    1. Ariel commented on the NIF page

      Stuff & nonsense. Both are Facebook pages. There is no distinction between what type of Facebook page he commented on. You’ve just created an artificial & meaningless one out of whole cloth.

      As usual you are passing off claims & info as proven when I know nothing of the sort about any subsequent developments in this case. We don’t take the word of people like you here.

      1. First, i do not facebook so if i was wrong big deal.
        second, as for the substance the soldier was engaging in a political conversation and that is prohibited, regarding of your believes, and for that alone he should be punished, and word is he will be removed from the station and probably will spend some time in military prison. very much like the right-wing soldiers who spend some time in military prison and were removed from their unit.

        1. Wow, you just illustrated the point perfectly – that Israel is a fascist state. Putting a young man in prison for voicing his opinions isn’t something a democracy does. If I’m wrong, enlighten me.

          1. Mary. the army isn’t a democracy it’s a dictatorship (and that goes to any army) to prevent a situation at which people would fulfill only orders associated with their political side, politics carried in the public domain is prohibited.

          2. the army isn’t a democracy it’s a dictatorship (and that goes to any army)

            The U.S. military allows soldiers to express their political views esp. if they are not in uniform. I imagine that most democratic countries have similar rules.

          3. Well, Elad, when you toss this into the big pile of other dubious and fascistic acts committed by israel lately (the treatment of Haneen Zoabi comes to mind, among other things), one cannot help wondering just what kind of “democracy” you think you’ve got there. And there’s nothing like a flotilla massacre to get everyone’s curiosity piqued. I see a right-wing dominated, desperate country, paranoid and scared of its own shadow, or just scared that it’s going to lose the innocent victim cover it’s been using for 62 years. The mask is slipping.

          4. @ Mary
            1. no one ever claimed the israeli democracy is perfect. however considering the unique situation we are facing i think we are doing great.
            2 despite what you think our military systems works quite well, and it has nothing to do with fascism far from it. same situation and even worse exist all over the globe.

          5. considering the unique situation we are facing i think we are doing great.

            Well, Pangloss I’m glad you’re handing out congratulations to yrself. But the rest of us will remain dubious about yr self serving pats on the back.

            our military systems works quite well,

            Yes, indeed. More hasbara. You’re so transparent it’s disgraceful. Who do you think you’re foolin’?? This kind of stuff doesn’t work here. I’m completely uninterested in puffery & self-congratulation. If that’s all you have to offer pls. go elsewhere.

          6. Elad, I don’t care about the military behaviors of other countries. They’re not the subject of this thread. I would, however, like to know just what “unique situation” you’re referring to, especially when all such “situations” are of Israel’s own making. After witnessing the reprehensible behavior of the Israeli “defense” forces on the Mavi Marmara, and during (among other things) Operation Cast Lead, I’d be interested in how you think stifling young soldiers on Facebook pages and on radio shows is going to help your “unique situation.”

          7. @ Mary
            since you don’t care about the facts, the only thing you care about is your propaganda, i don’t think there is a place for a real educated discussion here. if you do care about the facts please look at the BBC panorama piece about the events on the Mavi Marmara.
            [URL deleted per comment rules]
            after you’ll get youself educated on the facts, i will be more then happy to continue our discussion, till then there is really no point. i thought that the purpose of this blog was to educate people about finding a solution to the conflict between the Israelis and Palestinians, unfortunately , the subject of this blog is spreading extreme views that will lead to a dead end. excuse me but i choose not to participate in such.

          8. You’re the 8th rightist commentator to flack for the BBC documentary. No more links to it. And if you persist in your own flackery & promotion of hasbara your shelf life here will be short.

            i choose not to participate in such.

            Is that a promise??!

          9. Elad, I’m not discussing the Mavi Marmara with you. It’s been discussed here and other places ad infinitum.

            You don’t have to lecture me about what this blog is for, either. I’m perfectly entitled to post my “extremist views” as long as I don’t breach the comment rules. And my view is that Israel is a barbaric, lunatic state losing its grip on reality and slipping into an alternate universe of paranoia and perpetual victimhood, with the Palestinian people paying the price.

          10. @ Richard
            so you are saying that us soldiers can participate in a demonstration while wearing uniforms ?
            i should have enlisted in the us army.

          11. Can’t you read?? I said specifically “not in uniform.” But I have actually participated in some peace demonstrations joined by soldiers in uniform. At a few anti war rallies.

            You’re entirely wrong in yr interpretation of what I said & the link you offered to U.S. military regulations. First, the regulations agree with what I said that soldiers may attend political meetings & rallies out of uniform. Second, when I said soldiers can express political opinions publicly I meant that they can write letters to the editor, publish their views on a blog or Facebook page. I never said that a soldier could speak at a public rally. That is a far different form of public expression.

            Sometimes I think people like you have lost the ability to read.

          12. @ Richard
            please do not answer i found the answer myself, you are wrong.
            When not in uniform, soldiers may attend
            both partisan and nonpartisan political meetings
            or rallies as spectators. While soldiers may
            go to these rallies, they may not speak before a
            partisan political gathering of any kind to
            promote a partisan political party or candidate.
            The limitations on soldiers participating in
            public demonstrations also apply to participating
            in political meetings. That is, soldiers cannot
            do so when on duty, while in uniform, while on
            post, and so forth. Furthermore, soldiers may
            not attend partisan political events as representatives
            of the Army, even though they do not
            actively participate. (See AR 600-20, Appendix B.)

            i guess this is more hasbara on my part, same situation exist in both countries. what do you say now ?


        2. the soldier was engaging in a political conversation and that is prohibited

          That’s bullcrap. Do you mean to tell me that someone serving in the IDF but not in uniform nor on base is prohibited fr. ‘engaging in political conversation??’ On the face of it, this is preposterous. Eiether that or once again, Israel isn’t a democracy.

          1. This is exactly it.
            A solider can’t express his political opinion in public.
            plain and simple. the purpose of that as someone said above is to build unity.
            The Western wall soldiers, one of them was released from military service, the other was removed from a fighting unit, and is not serving in active fighting role any further.

            as a soldier you are always engage in conversation about the daily life in israel and that includes politics. but you can’t participate in any demonstration or political activities in public domains. facebook or the internet is considered public domain. he violated military rules, that’s simple.

          2. There were several hundred soldiers demonstrating at the Western Wall & you claim 2 were disciplined? What about the others? OR don’t they count.

            First, I simply don’t believe a soldier out of uniform can’t express a political opinion in public. I simply don’t believe it. But if it’s true this is yet another proof that Israel is far fr a democratic country. The fact that the country sacrifices freedom for the sake of a fake concept like “unity” is indeed telling.

          3. Again, you’re misinterpreting things. The U.S. military allows soldiers not on duty or in uniform to express their political views in a public setting. I don’t have the time to read the Israeli regulations. But if all they allow is a soldier to express him or herself privately, then this is much less freedom than in the U.S.

          4. It’s pointless to hammer down the same point over and over again. soldiers in the US CAN’T:
            1. publicly state their opinion,
            2. participate in a rally or demonstration,
            3. publicly speak in a rally or a partisan gathering
            4. promote a party or a candidate agenda
            they CAN:
            1. write letters to the editors as long as they will not identify themselves as soldiers

            same situation EXACTLY exist in Israel. Its funny how you and your choir here criticize the Israeli democracy for behaving like any other democracy in the world.

          5. You’re going to be moderated fr. here on since you haven’t read the comment rules which clearly state commenters are NOT to repeat themselves. W. this comment you’ve made the same argument 3 times & you were wrong all 3 times.

            U.S. service personnel CAN indeed publicly state their political opinions in letters to the editor, blogs, online forums, Facebook & other venues. You argued & still won’t concede yr error that an Israeli soldier cannot oppose settlements on Facebook. If this is true, which I’m not sure it is, then you’ve erred. And this is a regulation that a U.S. soldier would not face since posting to Facebook or in other online venues does not violate the rules.

            BTW, U.S. soldiers write letters to the editor all the time identifying themselves by rank & service. Just check the letters to the editor column of the NY Times or any major newspaper. Usually, though these are senior officers rather than grunts.

          6. Then indeed IDF soldiers have less freedom than US Army soldiers. But again, as I said, in reality, things are different and nobody is going to do anything about a soldier attending a political activity out of uniform.

            Or so I hope. I’d hate to be prosecuted now. 😛

  4. Credit to this young man for daring to think
    and expressing the Voice of his innate human conscience.
    The increasing number of refuseniks taken with the shministim state the obvious: the writing’s on the wall for israeli apartheid.

    There’s no room for a jews-only supremacist state in a post-colonial brave new world.

  5. Richard –
    “And what about the other 200 or so who were there in uniform??”

    a court-martial can’t read minds, yet. How do you purpose we distinguish between the guilty and the innocent?

    Had someone made such a suggestion about Palestinians you’d be screaming bloody collective punishment, wouldn’t you?

    1. 200 or so Israeli soldiers in uniform at the Wall displayed banners indicating they would refuse to follow a legal military order to remove settlers. Their pictures were plastered all over the Israeli media. Did you miss that? How do you find any of them ‘innocent?’ And why weren’t they all prosecuted?

        1. No, sorry. Not wrong at all. There are several hundred IDF soldiers standing besides a banner proclaiming their refusal to follow legitimate orders. All of them attended this rally clearly supporting this proposition. Yet only 2 of the hundreds were disciplined. Why?

          1. I apologize for quoting in Hebrew, from the original article:

            “בשיאו של טקס השבעה בכותל”

            this is no “rally”. Soldiers do not participate in “rallies” (under orders) . This is an official ceremony held at the end of basic training in which soldiers take their oath to army and state.

            Everybody who’s ever served in the IDF takes this oath, not necessarily at the Wall, an honor usually reserved for combat soldiers. You can find it’s text on the net.

            Just to make myself clear: it is an official ceremony organized by command authorities. During this ceremony, the soldiers repeat the oath and swear to uphold it.

            I strongly suggest you read up on the IDF and service in it before you make such claims, particularly since you’re fluent in Hebrew, if you’re not sure what “טקס השבעה” means.

          2. They turned this official IDF ceremony INTO a political demonstration which makes their actions even more offensive & egregious & the fact that only 2 out of hundreds were disciplined is even more scandalous.

          3. Richard, your interpretation of the event is wrong.
            there were only two soldiers that made a political statement during the ceremony by holding a sign stating that there unit will not allocated settlers.
            those soldiers were prosecuted, put in military prison for a period of 20 days and thrown out of the army and unit (1 and 1)
            the others simply respected the moment.

          4. You’re repeating a statement almost verbatim someone else has made in this thread. Pls. don’t repeat yrself or anyone else. I simply don’t buy yr version of the event & you present no evidence that yr claim is correct. Clearly the banner claimed the entire battalion supported them. This battalion is known for its viciousness toward Palestinians & support of settlers. You can’t pull the wool over our eyes no matter how hard you try.

          5. first this battalion being the one serving most of the time in the west bank and coming in daily contact with the Palestinians did have some nasty incidents with the Palestinian. each time an incident was reported the soldiers were investigated and if there were enough supporting evidence trailed, serve some time in prison and released from military service after.
            as far as the incident in the Kotel, the two soldiers took advantage of the unique situation, and during a ceremony pulled out this sign, you wish to tell me that the soldiers in the last row that didn’t even see the sign had anything to do with it ?
            the soldiers responsible were disciplined and with rather heavy consequences.

  6. Richard – you’re arguing this point for the sake of argument. Truth is , two soldiers picked up a banner. You can assume anything you want about the rest, but there’s no proof, no reason to court-martial anybody else.

    1. Are you trying to claim that no one at the ceremony standing amidst that huge banner knew about or supported the action? The banner specifically says that all those in the battalion refuse to obey military orders. YOu know as well as I why they singled out 2 & slapped them on the wrist. How could they discipline an entire battalion for insubordination? They should’ve, but of course couldn’t because they might have a mutiny fr. all the other military units who also despise uprooting settlers.

      1. They could have disciplined the entire battalion. Entire battalions were disciplined and even disbanded in the past. Mutinies happen over lesser issues and are dealt with accordingly. For example, about two years ago there was a mutiny in Golani over service conditions and allegations of unfair treatment, involving nearly 50 soldiers.

        The rest of the soldiers weren’t disciplined not due to fear of mutiny but due to lack of evidence.

        You’re right, perhaps some, even many, of these soldiers agree with this banner. But agreement is a privately held opinion, to which all are entitled. There’s a long way from an opinion to refusal to carry out an order.

        During the disengagement, many soldiers who were against it, including religious soldiers, bit the bullet and carried out orders anyway. Personal opinion isn’t reason for punishment.

        I don’t think it’s right to punish Palestinians in Gaza because they “agree” with Hamas, nor do I think it’s right to punish soldiers because they “agree” with a banner, unless they take an action on this opinion.

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