In the closing act of a travesty foisted upon Israel by its military-intelligence apparatus and tacitly supported by a quiescent media, Anat Kamm was sentenced to four and a half years in prison for passing secret IDF documents to Haaretz journalist, Uri Blau. Now, Kamm becomes the Israeli version of Bradley Manning and Shamai Leibowitz, both of whom (Manning is imprisoned but not yet tried or convicted) were sentenced to jail sentences for obeying their conscience and revealing secrets that implicated their governments (or Israel in Leibowitz’s case) in acts that violated the law and drew the nation closer to war.
Long ago, an Israeli journalist pointed out that IDF generals and cabinet ministers all leak top-secret information to journalists. It’s called doing their job. They’re not imprisoned. Often they’re promoted as a result. As long as you leak in service to your commander and prime minister, no matter what the garbage you leak, you are in like Flynn. But obey your conscience and cross the political/military elite, and you’ll be destroyed.
A journalist once pointed out that an IDF soldier of similar rank to Kamm once leaked secret documents to a reporter and received a sentence of a few days confinement to base from her commander.
The Israeli far right has demonized Anat Kamm. They’ve vandalized her home where she served two years under house arrest. They’ve painted graffiti on it calling her “traitor.”
After eight months of negotiations and a prosecution offer of a nine year sentence, which Kamm rejected, the judge imposed this harsh penalty. Israeli media reports say that her attorneys plan to appeal it to the Supreme Court. Perhaps a judicial body that lacks any guts in most national security matters will see its way clear to undoing at least part of this injustice by substantially reducing her sentence. At the very least, the two years under house arrest should be included as time-served in computing the prison time she should serve.
This is sad day, a day of disgrace for Israel. A day in which military malfeasance was endorsed (Kamm’s materials revealed that IDF general Yair Naveh ordered unarmed Palestinian militants to be assassinated in contravention of Supreme Court rulings–rulings the Court of course has refused to enforce in this case out of deference to the IDF supreme role in society). A day in which a woman who should be a national heroine was made to grovel in the dirt.
Silverstein has published Tikun Olam since 2003, It exposes the secrets of the Israeli national security state. He lives in Seattle, but his heart is in the east. He publishes regularly at Middle East Eye, the New Arab, and Jacobin Magazine. His work has also appeared in Al Jazeera English, The Nation, Truthout and other outlets.