Cast Lead Veterans Receive Hate Mail
The recent internet publication of a list of the names, photos, ID numbers, and addresses of 200 IDF veterans of Operation Cast Lead enabled activists, apparently from Spain, to send what Yediot Achronot calls “hate mail” to the homes of a score or more of the officers. Apparently, one of the reasons it is labelled hate mail is that at least one of the envelopes contained the photo of a girl killed by the IDF (if I recall correctly this image was from the 2006 Lebanon war) along with the caption: “How will you explain this to God?”
This development is causing a certain level of consternation within the military and intelligence communities, which are used to being treated with great deference within Israeli society. They are wondering what further surprises may await them in the international arena.
The officer who received the envelope containing the photo of the dead child was Col. (res.) Ben Zion (“Bentzi”) Gruber, a deputy armored division commander and number 32 on the Dirty 200 list. He lives in the settlement of Efrata. Gruber’s wife was in shock when she opened the letter:
It’s an unpleasant feeling [to receive such mail]. I’m very troubled that there are elements in our midst [the IDF] which collect such material, including ID numbers and exact addresses. It’s necessary to act against them.
I’m at peace with what I did in Gaza. We acted according to the principles of international law. The ethical code was designed precisely for us so we wouldn’t kill anyone who was innocent.
A senior IDF officer living in a settlement tells us that he lives according to international law. What’s wrong with this picture?
Since Cast Lead, Yediot marvels that Gruber has given more than 150 lectures about the moral purity of operations during this massacre and the IDF’s adherence to its “ethical code.” The senior officer said he’d grown accustomed to signs displayed at such talks bearing the words “Wanted.” But he said that the hate mail is much harder to bear:
I’m about the leave for the U.S. to give a series of lectures. This is something you can’t ignore. It’s very troubling.
A senior IDF officer said about the hate mail and publication of the Cast Lead list:
The publication calling IDF officers “war criminals” is utterly out of bounds. It’s even seventy times more troubling that their homes and family members have to receive garbage like this. We must do everything to honor these officers and limit the impact of this incident.
How ya gonna put the genie back in the bottle?
15 thoughts on “Cast Lead Veterans Receive Hate Mail – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم”
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We should regard this not as a problem but as an opportunity: First, double check that we’re fighting legitimately and humanly, as we should. Second, this should encourage us to fight the public opinion war, motivate us to convince people that justice is on our side.
In a world in which state murder of civilians goes unpunished, this is a fitting response to the publication of the perpetrators’ names.
“How ya gonna put the genie back in the bottle?”
Good question. For starters irresponsible listing of unsubstantiated “lists” should stopped.
I don’t know who on this list was actually involved or not in Cast Lead, what their role might have been or if they are guilty of ANY crime. It is still an anonymous post, with only the details of these people’s rank, addresses and position.
The problem here is that UNLIKE a real journalist, this list is posted and has all sorts of things attributed to it without any corresponding EVIDENCE.
My objection is not any investigation into any possible war crimes, but is almost like the McCarthy Era “black list” having these ALL these people “tried and hung” without any proof.
You have a name of someone you think committed a war crime, do your homework before you start libeling perhaps innocent people.
The difference between a journalist and a blogger is that a journalist has to be responsible and stand behind “facts” with a source and proof BEFORE they print anything.
Anybody with access to certain information can publish an anonymous list of “accurate looking” names and include perhaps people they have a grudge against as well.
Hey, I could be a member of a certain professional trade assocation, have access to a list of members, with perhaps some of them involved in something questionable. So I go ahead and print their names and make accusations and, for good measure I throw in the name of a few “associates” I don’t particularily like… Presto Chango… they ALL become suspect.
Are there people on this list who served with the IDF duirng Cast Lead… I’m sure of it, and their is proof to it… Did they all serve? No idea, until proved. Are ANY of them guilty of war crimes? Don’t know until there is a proper accussation made, based on proof, and after they stand trial and receive a verdict.
All this list does is spread Loshon Harah (slander/libel and gossip that is intended to hurt someone, or “imporve” the position and standing of the person who spreads it).
Judaism frowns on this to the point where it states those who spread Loshon Harah are guilty of killing three people (metaphorically at the very least). The one who tells it, the one who listens to it and the one of whom it is told about. So far no physical harm has come to any one as a result.
So, now starts the hate mail, the unfounded association to something unproven. Any vigilante action or damage that comes to any of these 200, based on this list alone, can be attributed to the irresponible and smack-full of libel that this list promotes.
Well, then you’ll have to criminalize precisely the type of reporting I do. If I ever visit Israel do you want me immediately deported or imprisoned for my perfectly legitimate reporting. The lists actually are substantiated by the IDF. Every major story in the Israeli media that quotes IDF sources acknowledges the info is likely leaked internally.
We know that they all were involved since by IDF admission the information in the list was secured fr. internal IDF documents.
Cast Lead itself fr. top to bottom was a crime. So there are levels of guilt for those who participated. I wouldn’t blame a lower level soldier. But a commanders or senior officer, sure. Just because Yehuda HaCohen ordered the killing of the al Samounis (he’s on the list btw) & is currently being investigated by the IDF, doesn’t mean he’s the only officer guilty of crimes. There are many, many others.
Precisely what the U.S. is currently saying about Wikileaks. But it’s a funny thing they’re finding out–that most of the material is authentic & quite damaging as is the Cast Lead list.
What a lie. You hated Goldstone which was precisely this. So pls. don’t lie.
I’m using it to incriminate very specific individuals on the list for whom I can find confirming evidence of their acts during or after Cast Lead which impeach their credibility.
Israeli journalists often publish reports with no source whatsoever. I almost never do this. I am transparent unless I can’t be for very specific reasons related to protecting a source. All my evidence about specific individuals is laid out in my posts which you no doubt never bothered to read.
Non sequitur. Even the IDF acknowledges that this info is genuine & accurate. If you have a problem on this score take it up w. them. They contradict virtually every claim you’re making here. Haven’t you bothered to read the Israeli media on this? No one has come up w. a single name of someone who denies they served in Cast Lead. If you can do so, pls do.
At least one who I used the list to identify. Even the IDF is investigating him.
What stupid shtus. DOn’t use this bogus argument ever again here. It’s been used so many times it stinks to high heaven. It’s a ploy used by frumeh Yidd’n to preclude honest debate. Cast Lead was a massacre & in & of itself a violation of international war. So again, everyone who served bears some guilt–some more, some less. But as MLK said about Vietnam & racism, everyone is guilty. Those who stand by & do nothing are also guilty.
“…you’ll have to criminalize precisely the type of reporting I do”
I never said it was criminal, I said it was irresponsible. You yourself expressed questions as to the accuracy of the list in your first post about it. Yet you published the link anyway.
I think it’s a dangerous precedent to take as fact posts like the “200 list” without some evidence. The IDF said the literal information was accurate, but this came out after the list was posted.
It was already assumed to be accurate w/o evidence. Everyone was so quick to jump on the band wagon w/o considering how accurate these items are.
Regarding Wikileaks. Your absolutely wrong. ALL the media reports I’ve seen this morning say there is no doubt about the accuracy of the evidence leaked here. It may be embarrassing, or even dangerous, but nobody questions it’s authenticity.
Don’t call me a liar… you have NO IDEA what I think about justice and war crimes…
I don’t remember posting anything about Goldstone, but I do believe in justice when the case calls for it. That includes IDF officers who are first properly accused, put on trial and found guilty, as Israel is doing in certain cases. I would include HAMAS terrorists as well. I haven’t seen ANY reports showing them taking any responsibility or prosecuting ANY of their personnel for the war crimes they have been accused of as well (Perhaps somebody will find their names and make a list so they can also be “counted”).
“All my evidence about specific individuals is laid out in my posts which you no doubt never bothered to read.”
I wasn’t referring to you (unless you are really the one who posted the “200 lists”).
And you have absolutely NO idea what I do or don’t read so stick to the facts.
Regarding Loshon Hara… your off base. It is a basic tenet of Judaism. It certainly doesn’t preclude honest debate, if anything, just the OPPOSITE! Adhering to the principles of LH tries to keep people in line to address the facts and issues without resorting to using disparaging remarks, name calling etc.! Why do you dismiss it so quickly and easily?
It’s good civil (and blog) society society practice, which is hard to follow, but a good goal to strive for in talking to or about people and events (no preaching, just stating my opinion).
I did publish the link because I determined on balance it made more sense to do so than not. And my hunch has proven right.
And that’s precisely my job as a blogger. I, based on experience & instinct make judgments on behalf of my readers about what information I value and what I don’t, and what info I trust & what I don’t. That’s why people read this blog. They on balance think that my judgments are more right than wrong. I looked at the information & believed that it would likely be proven valuable in some significant way–& it has.
I presumed you would be opposed to Goldstone as almost all ardent supporters of Israel are. You still haven’t made clear yr views on the subject. If you favor accountability as you claim, Goldstone should be a reasonable starting point toward that end. You should also know that there would be absolutely no IDF investigations or charges against its officers were it not for the pressure Goldstone brought to bear on Israel.
I am with you regarding Hamas as well. I think Palestinian militants who target civilians or harm them are culpable in the same way IDF soldiers are.
Read my post about Yehuda HaCohen & I think you’ll find that at least in his case, exposure of his name on this list was justified.
This list is absolutely not an example of lashon hara. In fact, all the individuals on the list served in Cast Lead. In fact, we know right now that at least some of them engaged in acts that could be construed as war crimes. Undoubtedly, there will be others on this list we may find about later engaging in similar behavior. Further, there are those on this list who have justified Israel’s behavior during Cast Lead as morally exemplary. This list plays a valuable role in pointing out that their statements are self-serving & therefore of little value.
“I presumed you would be opposed to Goldstone as almost all ardent supporters of Israel are.”
Well, your judgment is somewhat off. It is this type of presuming that leads to Lashon Hara (I also see why you may have put me in the “Frumme” camp, as I wrote it as Loshon Hara… I agree with your spelling, being more grammatically correct-and I am Dati… just don’t like the “Frum” connotation as closed-minded some people put on that word) and unfair accusations.
I don’t rule out Goldstone completely, yet I do take his report with a grain of salt. It was not an easy task for him to undertake and determining what was a war crime and who committed what act. It certainly should not be taken lightly or superficially (I do not claim you do). I feel there were many factors involved and pressures to bear (from both sides of the argument). Politics had a role to play with this report.
To “carte blanche” accuse every soldier who served in a battle as guilty of a war crime is absurd. Unfortunately there is no such thing as a moral war… even the “last great war” (WWII) had the US and her allies committing “war crimes”,I’m sure (I won’t even discuss what Germany did). It happens… it shouldn’t but it does. I agree in punishing war crimes. It is the definition of a war crime that split us. I do not take life… Palestinian or Israeli… Jewish or Muslim life for granted.
But in a war situation it seems (not a war expert) things happen very fast, sometimes very confusing and not always “black and white”. Innocents get mixed up in business they may not have intended to get involved in… again on both sides! You can’t call every innocent (and sometimes the “guilty” too) that gets killed in a war situation a war crime.
I agree there are acts that are committed by armies that are war crimes and need to be addressed! I remember being a child when Mi Lai happened… I was too young to really understand that “soldiers”… US soldiers could do such a thing. That was a massacre.
I don’t call Cast Lead a massacre (was the whole Vietnam War a massacre?). I don’t think as a whole, it fits the definition and though there may have been cases of bad judgment, and improper behavior, certainly loss of innocent lives… and perhaps-war crimes (I wait for a trial and a jury to decide this, not the cries of anger and accusations alone), it was not a total act of indiscriminate murder.
The actions of some do not necessarily reflect on the actions or intentions of the whole. As you noted there are those who feel the IDF acted properly on all accounts, others certainly disagree.
So, to stay in line with this thread… if all the people mentioned on the list were involved with Cast Lead. You can’t fairly judge them all as a group of “one”. Present the case for each one of them as committing an actual war crime, have them tried and convicted by an impartial jury and I’ll be among those praising their arrest. Can’t prove it’s a war crime, I’ll be among those demanding an apology (or more).
“(if I recall correctly this image was from the 2006 Lebanon war)”
Are you sure? I first saw that picture during Cast Lead. Besides there are many horrific images available from Cast Lead, for instance, the picture of a father holding up the charred body of his baby.
Those criminals belong at the Hague or worse.
Last night I was reading an article in Ha’aretz that stated that the soldier who took out Emily Henochowicz’s eye with a tear gas canister has been cleared of charges and I was sickened to learn this, until I read the comments section and then I really felt sick. Someone even referred to Emily’s “appalling behavior”.
There were many examples there of Zionist depraved indifference.
Israeli justice is abhorrent.
It took several comment deletions/rejections (heavy censorship), 2 account suspensions by misbehaving employees, and lots of headache to get this comment published on Marty Kaplan’s HuffingtonPost Blog:
“The Palestinian account of history, its assignment of right and wrong, is a mirror image of the Israeli version; just about everything is flipped.”
This is incorrect. It’s impossible to “flip” that I can Google Image search for the term “Gaza” and count MORE UNIQUE pictures of DEAD PALESTINIAN BABIES than there were EVER Israeli deaths from rocket fire. Not women, not men, not boys or girls, but infants — just babies. That’s universal, isn’t it?
Rocket fire was a prevailing reason for invading Gaza and initiating Operation Cast Lead. Indeed, this is the reason the government of Israel maintains today for their incursion.
Mind you, the above statement is fully compliant with HuffingtonPost.com policy. I even made sure to keep the message as P.C. and polite as possible considering the guy is a bigot, and they would not let me have a voice.
Indeed, I believe that point to be damning. You don’t even have to go beyond the Google.com domain (just look at the results from an Image search) to see that Israel and the AIPAC kowtowing Congress and State Dept. are lying about Operating Cast Lead.
an additional addendum. I find it additionally shocking, in the vein of this IDF soldier thinking that he’s compliant with international law while living on a settlement (and then further thinking that Cast Lead was not violative of any laws), that many hasbarists are now trying to simply pretend there’s no such thing as the Geneva Conventions.
As a lawyer, I couldn’t believe my eyes when Israel went 100 miles out to international water to execute those people. Literally, all they had to do was wait for the boat to come within some reasonable exclusion zone within Israel’s recognized territory. I found myself, almost at times, trying to teach the pro-pirate massacre how to defend themselves correctly.
There was even a blog post on HuffPost by Dershowitz and another lawyer who were trying to convince everyone St. Remo Manual is international law (it’s a mini-pamphlet used by captains of merchant vessels and just a summary of outdated, 1996 conventions — not even specific laws, treatises, etc.). I replied to them publicly. Dershowitz took his blog down, the other guy didn’t even answer me. I pointed out that they even omitted the parts of the manual that were damning to them. Indeed, that manual itself incriminates Israel.
Poor Mrs Gruber ! I warmly recommend this documentary, and there are no ‘decapitated’ children.
“GAZA-strophe – the day after” is a 50 minute documentary (english subtitles) filmed in the immediate aftermath of CAST LEAD by two French filmmakers, Samir Abdallah and Kheiridine Mabrouk. It has already received various prizes in film festivals across Europe.
It was shown on French public television in February 2010, after heavy pressure from the Israeli ambassy to cancel the programme. In vain.
Lots of heartbreaking scenes and reflexions on human conditions in Palestine. Humour too.
I particularly love the Elder Abou Enad from Beit Lahia who at 15:40 speaks directly to the Israelis, and at 49:50 talks about ‘the clash of civilization’, the UN and the recent election of Obama.
Highly recommendable, and the rushes too (though not translated). It’s comming out across the world in January 2011 in a long 100 minute version:
[If you’re puerile comment was meant to make fun of an Arab child whose head was decapitated by the IDF then that’s good enough for permanent banning. You’re a sick, twisted soul. You should live & be well…far away fr this blog’s comment threads].
It is very easy for soldiers, in this case those who took part in the killing of hundreds of civilians including women and children, to persuade themselves that the taking of human life, particularly that of unarmed civilians, is authorized by law.
In fact, of course, it is specifically forbidden by international law and is designated by the Geneva Conventions to be a war crime and/or a crime against humanity.
Such persons who kill will always seek refuge from their guilt in maintaining their actions were lawful, or necessary or in self-defense, although they know full well that to be untrue.
That they do not sleep well at night and never will is a measure of their criminality.
Bearing in mind that there were almost no rules of engagement in Operation Cast Lead, the whole bloody lot of them should be charged with war crimes.
I can only hope they do not sleep well at night, but given the mental gymnastics necessary to live on stolen land, brutalize a defenseless people, use white phophorus in a city, all while clutching victimhood and talking about legality and the most moral army in the world, blah blah, I doubt it.