The Amir Brothers – Heroes or Villains?


The answer to that question is very much in the eye of the beholder.

Isolation - D Block

Isolation cell – for over sixteen years! (Photo credit: Smath.)

With the release from prison of Haggai Amir, after sixteen and a half years of solitary confinement, the controversy over his actions, and those of his brother, Yigal, who was convicted of firing the shots that fatally wounded Yitzhak Rabin, has erupted again.

Most of the demonstrators protesting his release were children when the shooting occurred and have no direct knowledge of the circumstances. And, as far as the older protesters are concerned, everyone has an agenda.

It is certainly not politically correct to even try to understand what caused the brothers to act as they did, far less to attempt to justify their actions.

But, in order to start on the path of understanding, we need to examine the very structure of a democracy, and how it is supposed to function. In fact, there are multiple forms of democracy – and some are more democratic than others.

For example, The UK with its ” first past the post” electoral system, and only two major political parties, can lead to a situation is which the Prime Minister can find himself (or, indeed, herself) with such an overwhelming parliamentary majority that the government can pass any legislation it chooses without limitation.

Not so different from a dictatorship, in practical terms.

In America the situation is similar, but not identical. There are still only two major parties, but the differences between them are less than those in the UK. A combination of mid-term elections and a complicated machinery of checks and balances, tends to inhibit even the strongest President.

So one would imagine that Israel, with its proportional representation system, would guarantee that a dictatorial type Prime Minister simply could not exist. The permanent requirement for a coalition government would inhibit the total freedom of action of any Prime Minister.

Israeli Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin, U.S. pre...

A truly fateful handshake….. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

And so it was for Yitzhak Rabin when he was trying to persuade the Knesset to approve the agreement, known as the “Oslo Accords”.  The tortuous manner in which the agreement was secretly negotiated needs an article in itself. Suffice to say that Rabin, although initially opposed to the agreement, was eventually persuaded to accept it. The Americans, who were disturbed that they had not been party to the negotiations, eventually stopped sulking and put their support behind the accords.

Rabin’s problem was that he had to “sell” the whole concept not only to the Knesset, but also to the Israeli public and, of course, the media.  The media, with its inherent left wing slant was, more or less, a pushover. The public was very divided, and the media had to work overtime to present the situation as if the the majority were in favour.

Those Israeli citizens already living in Judea, Samaria and Gaza were, obviously, very vociferous in their objections. Their protests really got to Rabin, who was known to have a short temper when his authority was questioned. His widely reported remark that these protesters could ” spin like propellers” as far as he was concerned, and would not cause him to deviate from the course he was on, did nothing to improve his image with the general public.

And when it came to the fateful vote in the Knesset, which was actually a motion of no confidence in the government, he only succeeded in obtaining 61 votes out of a possible 120 – a majority of 1! There were 50 votes in favour of the motion, and 9 abstentions.

The manipulative manner in which he was able to secure 2 crucial votes from a tiny party that had splintered away from the Tsomet faction, gave rise to perceptions and accusations of bribery, which he ignored.   Many people were also incensed that the accords required Israel to relinquish almost all of the territory it had acquired in the 1967 war, with the Jerusalem question still unresolved, and that the 61 votes had included 5 votes from the Arab parties.

It may be understood that, as far as the general population was concerned, the combination of bought votes and Arab votes needed to achieve the single vote majority, removed any vestiges of legitimacy from the final decision.

Which brings me back to my previous point of defining a democracy. When the electorate feel betrayed, the next time that they can participate in an election can seem to them to be too far into the future. The possibility that the sense of frustration can become too strong to contain then arises.

It is true that we have all become cynical of politicians and their promises. Most broken pledges are simply greeted with a sense of resignation and a mental note of who to vote for next time.

Ariel Sharon 2001-03-19

Ariel Sharon – got away with Gaza…. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But some situations are simply too egregious to accept meekly. Rabin’s way of dealing with the Oslo Accords was one such act. Ariel Sharon got away with the evacuation of Gaza by the skin of his teeth. Had other circumstance not intervened, it is highly possible that any attempt by him to remove Jews from Judea and Samaria would have resulted in him meeting a similar fate.

Before anyone accuses me of trying to defend the indefensible, I must point out that throwing up the word ” democracy” is really usurping the concept to cover for, essentially, undemocratic acts; Rabin’s machinations to secure votes were widely criticised at the time.

I know the arguments about the imperfections of democracy, and that it’s still better than any other political system. But, when it comes to situations that could be interpreted as existential threats to the state, maybe the cloak of democracy is simply not a sufficient protection.

And, it is in such circumstances, that some people feel driven to take action.

Political assassination is a risk that all leaders take. Their ability to steer a course that does not lead to a sense of impotent rage by some part of the electorate is a measure of their success.

Failure in this essential element of leadership can have dire consequences.

It did for Yitzhak Rabin.

Andyboy – Telling it as it is!

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Oh My God – Blasphemy is Still a Capital Offence in the 21st Century!


Unbelievably, in this second decade of the 21st century, there are still countries that have a death penalty for blasphemy.

afghanistan

Dying to defend the faith in Afghanistan (Photo credit: The U.S. Army)

And in one of those countries, at least, American and British soldiers are fighting, and dying, to defend the option of a government to enforce that law.

I am referring to Afghanistan – specifically the clause in its Penal code, which states as follows:

Sharia permits the authorities to treat blasphemy as a capital crime. The authorities can punish blasphemy with death if the blasphemy is committed by a male of sound mind over age 18 or by a female of sound mind over age 16. Anyone accused of blasphemy has three days to recant. If an accused does not recant, death by hanging may follow.“(1)

Afghanistan is not unique: Saudi Arabia has a similar law.

But, most countries satisfy themselves with less drastic forms of punishment such as imprisonment and/or fines. Surprisingly, even some European countries still have anti-blasphemy laws, but these are rarely enforced.

Only as recently as March 2008, was the blasphemy law repealed in the UK; the last successful prosecution for blasphemy was in 1977 – only 35 years ago! Interestingly, the law only applied to Christianity.(2) The last execution for blasphemy actually took place in Scotland in 1697 with the hanging of the unfortunately named Mr Thomas Aikenhead. He must have had a real aching head after that experience. (sorry!)

In America, it’s a whole different ball game, (to use the local vernacular). Under the First and Fourteenth amendments to the constitution – pertaining to free expression – it is impossible to bring a Federal prosecution on the charge of blasphemy, as part of the legally defined separation of  “church” and state.  However, the situation regarding individual states is not so clear. (3)

And, I discovered much to my surprise and consternation, that there are laws protecting religion here in Israel:

In Israel, blasphemy is covered by Articles 170 and 173 of the penal code:

Insult to religion
170. If a person destroys, damages or desecrates a place of worship or any object which is held sacred by a group of persons, with the intention of reviling their religion, or in the knowledge that they are liable to deem that act an insult to their religion, then the one is liable to three years imprisonment.
Injury to religious sentiment
173. If a person does any of the following, then the one is liable to one year imprisonment:
(1) One publishes a publication that is liable to crudely offend the religious faith or sentiment of others;
(2) One voices in a public place and in the hearing of another person any word or sound that is liable to crudely offend the religious faith or sentiment of others.

The law is traced back to the British High Commission “The Abuse and Vilification (religious invective) Order No. 43 of 1929”, enacted in efforts to suppress the 1929 Palestine riots. The order contained the language: “Any person who utters a word or sound in public or within earshot of any other person that may be or is intended to offend his religious sensitivities or faith can expect to be found guilty and eligible for a one-year jail sentence.” (4)

CDC raspberry

Blowing one of these can get you into big trouble in Israel! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Article 170 says that the reviling or insulting of the religion is a separate crime from the specific act of destruction or vandalism, since it refers to intent.

Article 173 presumably includes, for example, “blowing a Raspberry” as a sign of comment or disagreement.

So – does any of this really matter?

Since few countries actually punish people for this “crime”, and even fewer execute convicted blasphemers, why should anyone be concerned?

To me, the concern should be obvious. All of the examples listed above, and, indeed, all laws relating to blasphemy, place religion in a different category from any, and every, other element of the fabric of society.

Discussion, debate and disagreement can be heated and/or offensive about any subject, other than religion and religious belief.

Why?

Expressing oneself passionately about anything else does not lead to imprisonment, or the threat of it. Demonstrations, and other political acts, are covered by different laws related to public order. So, again, why religion?

There can be only one logical reason.

Since religion, and the various form of God, were invented by man, those charged with the responsibility to nurture, protect and maintain it, understood from the beginning that fear was the greatest form of power enforcement.

History has proved them right.

Nothing will concentrate a man’s (or woman’s) mind more than the threat of being burned alive at the stake, or stoned to death.

Persecution of witches

Burning of witches - not good on YouTube!(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But, one must acknowledge that religion has moved with the times and adjusted to the 21st century. Realising that burning and stoning doesn’t play well on YouTube, and even hanging is seen by some as a bit gruesome, more and more regimes and governments have settled for imprisonment.

At least there, the transgressors can rot away out of the public eye!

As for me – I’m going to have a quick flip through some of my previous articles to check that I am not in contravention of the local laws. I hope that implied “Raspberries” don’t count.

And at least I can be thankful that I’m in Israel – not Afghanistan!

Andyboy – Telling it as it is!

Blasphemy set to music!

References

(1)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_Afghanistan

(2)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_the_United_Kingdom

(3)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law_in_the_United_States_of_America

(4)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blasphemy_law

“Will You Still Need Me, Will You Still Feed Me – When I’m 64?”


Well, food, for most Israelis is not a problem.

Being needed, on the other hand, is something else!

United Nations

United Nations (Photo credit: Ashitakka)

Firstly, to deal with the food and general quality of life issue.  Israel was ranked 15th out of 194 nations in, what is known as,  the Human Development Index.(1)  This index, which is part of the UN development programme, is based on the following criteria:

  • A long and healthy life: life expectancy at birth
  • Education index: Mean years of schooling and Expected year of schooling
  • A decent standard of living : Gross National Income per capita

This rating places Israel, only 64 years after its creation as  the Independent Nation State of the Jewish People (to give it the full title), in the category of “Very Highly Developed”.

Apart from this, a report recently published by Columbia University, on behalf of the UN Conference on Happiness, ranked Israel 14th out of almost 200 nations.. (2) ( much to the bewilderment of the average Israeli, who never ceases to complain)

Its suicide rate is half that of the USA or Canada, and in this index, 65 countries out of 107 had a higher rate. (3)

That is not to say that the proverbial land “flowing with milk and honey” is not without its social problems. As with all nations, developed or otherwise, there is always poverty. But this is, mainly, an academic judgment based on criteria, related to things like the “average national wage”.  Poverty is always relative. Those below the, so called, “poverty line” here, would be not be thought of as poor in many other societies. Unfortunately, the largest section of those below the line are there for self induced reasons.

Česky: Žid ve Vilniusu

Praying is a full time job - no time to work! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The ultra-Orthodox Jewish community has a very low proportion of working heads of households. Some of the women work, but earn the minimum wage.

The Arab section also has a low work rate, frequently in poorly paid jobs, and, for cultural reasons, women rarely work.

Both the ultra -Orthodox Jews and the Arabs have considerably larger families than the secular population. Six or seven children is about the average, and families of ten, or more, children, are not uncommon.

Both of these groups exist on a mixture of social welfare, charitable donations and family support.

And, of course, there was the famous “Middle Class Revolt” of last summer which saw hundreds of tents pitched in major cities, and thousands of people demonstrating against, what they considered, unjust food pricing.

For many, this was viewed positively, as a sign of a healthy and vibrant democracy. Well, we are unquestionably a democracy, but any country having 13 different political parties represented in a Knesset (parliament) of 120 members must have a special interpretation of what is a democracy.

It is ironic that, instead of being judged by achievements, which are incredible by any reasonably objective criteria, we have managed  to become almost a pariah state.

Which brings me to the question of “need”. 

Who “needs” Israel today? Well, the 7.9 million citizens that live here, for a start. And, contrary to popular belief, that includes the 1.6 million Arabs citizens who know upon which side their bread is buttered. It also happens to include around 200,000 illegal migrants, including tens of thousands of Black Africans who would have to be dragged, kicking and screaming, from their “paradise on Earth” back to their homelands.

It is truly extraordinary that these people literally risk life and limb to come to a country that is so vilified by most of the world. It is also true that they do not fit into Herzl’s dream of a homeland for the Jews, but, in a perverse way, it is a tribute to what became  the reality from that dream.

David Ben-Gurion (First Prime Minister of Isra...

David Ben Gurion declaring independence in 1948. Few thought that the state would survive..... (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The world sees a different reality – well, not so much a reality, as a perception. We live in a world that Herzl, and our “Founding Fathers” – the pioneering Zionists – could never have envisaged in their wildest nightmares. They believed that the very existence of a Jewish Homeland would, in one fell swoop, solve the eternal problem of “the wandering Jew”.

What they misjudged was that the world had become used to the Jew as a figure of persecution. 

The Jew was humble, the Jew was weak and subservient, the Jew was dependent on the goodwill, or not, of Gentile society. The support for the concept of a state for the Jews in Palestine was a mixture of biblical belief and, in later years,  guilt, for what the world had knowingly allowed to happen to the Jews of Europe.

And when it came to the political and military reality, the world did not expect the fledgling Jewish state to survive the Arab onslaught that followed Ben Gurion’s declaration of that state in 1948. And, truth be told, didn’t much care. They had assuaged their collective conscience with a vote, and now it was up to the Jews.

I don’t believe that the world has ever really come to terms with the fact that the Jewish state DID survive. Not only survive, but emerge from  the initial battles stronger, and with more territory than it had been willing to accept on the partition plan basis.

Even so, for as long as Israel was perceived as relatively weak, and always vulnerable to attack and annihilation from its neighbours, that part of the world that was not terribly well disposed towards Jews, metaphorically shrugged its shoulders and got on with its life.

Of course the events of June 1967 changed that perception for ever. And, in its own way, so did the war of October 1973.

Nevertheless Israel was still well regarded in some quarters, at least by those whose dislike of Jews was only superseded  by their dislike of Arabs. It also suited some countries, especially America, to regard Israel as a bastion of Western Democracy, in a sea of Arab and/or Muslim dictatorships.

As Ehud Barak described it, Israel was “the Villa in the jungle”.

It was not for nothing that some regarded Israel as a “land based aircraft carrier” for the protection of Western ideals against Arab Nationalism and Russian Communism.

But, with the passage of time, political realities and alliances changed. Economic needs dictated political alliances. The growing financial influence of the Gulf states, the security situations in Iraq, Iran and Afghanistan, to mention a few, have all contributed to a shift in world opinion about Israel.

Boycott Israel-poster

Boycott Israel-poster (Photo credit: Creap)

The Arab PR and propaganda machines have been working overtime, supported by Left wing organisations and NGO’s, heavily financed by European states who, despite their own desperate economic woes, manage to squeeze out a few tens of millions of Euros, to apply as much pressure as they can upon Israel.

And, it is against this background, that we celebrate our 64 years as a state.

So, who else “needs” us?

How about those Jews who choose NOT to live in Israel? The jury is still out on that one. There is no denying that Israel means something to some diaspora Jews. But it no longer seems to represent the “insurance policy” it once did. Of course, there are the “absentee landlord” Jews who are wealthy enough to purchase a property here, which they use for holidays, and as an emergency “bolt hole” in case they ever misjudge the level of anti-Semitism in their home countries.

But as for the rest, my sense is that with the passing of the years, their connection to Israel becomes more and more tenuous. Apart from the few motivated by religious conviction, the rest are happy enough to live as a minority among non-Jews.  And, in America, and the UK, for example, happy also to marry into that society, and slowly give up their Jewish identity.

Alternatively, those that DO maintain a Jewish life style, do so within a diaspora concept, only paying lip service to an Israeli connection. And, in the worse case scenario, blame Israel for any  actions which they feel are negative and reflect badly upon them and their “security”.

And, perhaps worse of all, those classical ” self hating Jews” who seem to have made it their mission in life to berate Israel at every possible opportunity, under the guise of  supporting “a different kind of Zionism”.  Indeed, some of them seem to have made a career out of Israel bashing.

I really DO mean a career!

Academics and others who go on the lecture circuit, publish books and receive all kinds of financial support in support of their views on how Israel should act. They really need us!

And, how about the rest of the world? Does it “need “us?

It would be hard pressed to find another punching bag, or whipping boy, or any other suitable metaphor that comes to mind. It isn’t so much that Israel is a soft target, but it has one benefit that is unique.

It’s full of Jews! All those Jews concentrated in a land that represents about one hundredth of one percent of the world’s land mass. What better target could there be – figuratively and literally.

The literal aspect is, of course, occupying the thoughts of most Israelis at this time. We know we made it to the 64th anniversary and, probably we’ll make it to the 65th.  After that……………….?

What would the world do without us? The country you love to hate.

Oh, didn’t I tell you before?

This is one survey I left till last.

A new poll commissioned by the European commission shows that Europeans in 15 countries believe that Israel is the greatest threat to world peace; greater even than North Korea, Iran or Afghanistan (4)

Now that’s a sobering thought after 64 years of Statehood

Happy Independence Day!

Andyboy – Telling it as it is!

References

 

(1) http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human_Development_Index

(2)http://www.timesofisrael.com/israel-is-ranked-as-the-14th-happiest-country-in-the-world/

(3)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_countries_by_suicide_rate

(4)http://www.jewishfederations.org/page.aspx?id=50080

Acknowledgement

To John Lennon and Paul McCartney for the lyrics of  “When I’m 64”
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Oh No! Not Another Article on the Holocaust. Enough Already!


Yellow badge Star of David called "Judens...

If that’s your reaction, it’s quite understandable.

I simply feel obliged not to ignore the subject on this, of all days. You see, in Israel this is Holocaust Remembrance Day. Last evening and today, there were ceremonies of remembrance taking place all over the country and, especially, in our capital, Jerusalem, where the Yad Vashem Holocaust Museum is located. A representative group from the dwindling numbers of survivors lit candles and made short speeches.

The politicians make whatever political capital they can out of the situation (after all, they ARE politicians). And when the sirens sound, the country comes to a completes standstill for two minutes. Traffic halts and people get out of their vehicles and stand with heads bowed. Thinking what? I don’t know, but I’m certain it depends on each person’s family history

Places of entertainment are closed, there is solemn or traditional music on every radio station, and the TV channels screen and re-screen almost every film that was ever made about the Holocaust in a never ending loop.

The Holocaust has truly been done to death – if you’ll forgive the pun!

But an entire industry has evolved from it. Millions have been spent in constructing museums and memorials. Thousands of people make a living out of the ongoing fascination with this unique historical event  Directly, by working in, or for, these establishments, or indirectly, through articles, books, films and plays having some connection to it.

Even Auschwitz is a sort of morbid tourist attraction.

Rows of bodies fill the yard of Lager Nordhaus...

Rows of bodies fill the yard of Lager Nordhausen, a Gestapo concentration camp. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

OK, I understand the argument that the world must not be allowed to forget this classic example of man’s inhumanity to man. But, given the way that Israel is now perceived by many people, I now sense a backlash; a growing reaction that tries to dismiss the Holocaust as an aberration, whilst, at the same time, accusing Israel of acting towards the Arabs in the same way that the Germans – and others –  acted towards the Jews.

To quote psychiatrist Zvi Rex: “Europe will never forgive the Jews for Auschwitz. Europe doesn’t want to live under the psychological burden of Auschwitz forever. The Jews are living reminders of the moral failure of Europe. This leads to the projection of guilt on Israel and the remaining European Jews”.

And what do our learned rabbis have to say about this seminal event in Jewish history?

Well, they say quite a lot, but nothing that makes sense to any rational individual. Their efforts to explain the inexplicable would be laughable if the subject matter were not so serious.

Listen, for example to the explanation of Rabbi Ovadia Yosef, regarded by his followers as one of the leaders of Halachic thought and interpretation:

the “six million who were killed in the Holocaust were reincarnations of people who had sinned in a previous life”.

And this gem:

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef

Rabbi Ovadia Yosef - never lost for words - and WHAT words! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

during his talk in the “Yechva Da’at” Beith Midrash (study center) in Har Nof, Jerusalem, he addressed the subject of the Holocaust again. This time he provided an even more controversial explanation, one that is anchored in both his tradition and that of his listeners. He placed the blame for the Holocaust on secular Jews and assimilation. He explained that when the Jewish people observe the Torah and its commandments it cannot be touched. “So what happened during the Holocaust?” he asked. “There were entire communities that were completely destroyed, without Torah and without commandments. They mixed with the gentiles, learned their languages. They thought that if there were close them, it would be good. However, it became their stumbling block… Because of their many sins, the Holy One’s fury was brought down upon them. That was the cause of everything that happened to us, all of the tribulations that we brought upon us.” 

Did you get that?

“The Holy One’s Fury”  because they spoke German or Polish and tried to integrate into their communities. Some God!

Rabbis have been leaning over backwards, tying themselves in knots,  jumping through hoops and any other suitable metaphor you can think of to try to explain what happened, and thus maintain their jobs as God’s messengers’

A few more attempts:

  • God is dead. If there were a God, He would surely have prevented the Holocaust. Since God did not prevent it, then God has for some reason turned away from the world, and left us to ourselves forever more. God is therefore no longer relevant to humanity.
  • Terrible events such as the Holocaust are the price we have to pay for having free will. In this view, God will not and cannot interfere with history, otherwise our free will would effectively cease to exist. The Holocaust only reflects poorly on humanity, not God. 
  • The Holocaust is a mystery beyond our comprehension. God has reason for what He does, but human understanding can’t begin to understand His reason.
  • God does exist, but God is not omnipotent. This view is similar to process theology. All of the above arguments are based on the assumption that God is omnipotent and, consequently, could have interfered to stop the Holocaust. What if this is not so? In this view, the Holocaust only reflects poorly on humanity, not on God. This is a view promoted by many liberal theologians, including Rabbi Harold Kushner.
  • God or any other supernatural deity might not exist. Some arguments are that there is a blind spot in the Human Eye; an all powerful being would not make this mistake.
  • Classical Rabbinical literature teaches that before something magnificent or great occurs, there must be a great tragedy. In this case, the Holocaust had to occur in order for the State of Israel to be founded. This theory supports the actual events, as many historians believe that without the Holocaust, Israel would never have existed

 The Lubavitcher Rebbe, Menachem Mendel Schneerson, said:

The main gate at the former Nazi death camp of...

The main gate at the former Nazi death camp of Birkenau.And God's explanation for this place is? (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“What greater conceit and what greater heartlessness, can there be than to give a ‘reason’ for the death and torture of millions of innocent men, women and children? Can we presume to assume that an explanation small enough to fit inside the finite bounds of human reason can explain a horror of such magnitude? We can only concede that there are things that lie beyond the finite ken of the human mind. It is not my task to justify God on this. Only God Himself can answer for what He allowed to happen

 It was the German people who epitomized culture, scientific advance and philosophic morality. And these very same people perpetrated the most vile atrocities known to human history! If nothing else, the Holocaust has taught us that a moral and civilized existence is possible only through the belief in and the acceptance of the Divine authority

Personally, I think that this statement from Professor Richard Rubenstein is that only way to view what happened . In a piece entitled “After Auschwitz” he said:

 the only intellectually honest response to the Holocaust is the rejection of God, and the recognition that all existence is ultimately meaningless. There is no divine plan or purpose, no God that reveals His will to mankind, and God does not care about the world. Man must assert and create his own value in life.”

I know that this might be hard to take on this special day – but nothing else comes even remotely close to explaining that bad things happen to good people – and that’s all there is to it!

Andyboy – Telling it as it is!

 

Reference

Trial by YouTube!


Español: Logo Vectorial de YouTube

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Israel now has Three Courts of Law:

  • The District Court

  • The Supreme Court

  • The YouTube Court

And, as the recent case of Lt.-Col Shalom Eisner sadly proves, it is the YouTube Court that reigns supreme over all other avenues of justice.

Israel supreme court, Jerusalem. עברית: בית המ...

Israel's used to be Supreme court - not any more! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Not for it, the strictures of “rules of evidence”: nor the supposed basis of all justice – ” innocent until proven guilty”. The  problem with the social media is the immediacy; the rush to judgment, based on perception only.

How many of those who saw the infamous video clip know enough about technology to understand that, in today’s world, the camera does, indeed, lie. The “photoshopping“of static images has become an international scandal – even leading to legislation forbidding, or seriously inhibiting the practice – including new laws here in Israel.

In the case of Lt.-Col Eisner, all that was necessary was to simply ignore the 2 hours of protest prior to the incident – as if it never happened. Then it was simple to give the impression that Eisner was only some mindless thug, determined to beat the shit out of anyone who stood in his way and struck this hapless Dane for no reason, and without provocation.

Nothing could be further from the truth.

But all of the evidence that has now come to light about what led up to this incident has been studiously ignored by most of the media. And, course, it is the media, with their insatiable appetite for violence and scandal, that are to blame for the travesty of justice that has been visited upon this poor officer.

They virtually ignored the fact that he, and his men, were attacked by this crowd of “peaceful” agitators with sticks, and other objects, (that resulted in his hand being broken), and concentrated all their venom on an incident that lasted all of 7 seconds.

Almost all newspapers and other media used the term “beating” with its connotations of a virtual bloodbath. Careful study of the video, doctored as it is, shows that Eisner simply pushed his weapon in front of him as a combination of shield and club, in much the same way that riot police do, all over the world.

Had the blow been 20cms lower, the agitator would have simply been pushed back with, maybe, a slightly bruised chest. Even the cut lip proved not to be serious, and I’m certain that this man, and the organisation he represents, view this as a small price to pay for the resulting publicity.

January 7, 2011. This picture captures only a ...

January 7, 2011. This picture captures only a few of the 300 rioters at Bil'in today. Rioters are seen here hurling rocks at security forces, who responded using riot dispersal means. Weekly demonstrations held at regular sites in the West Bank such as Bil'in and Ni'lin often escalate into violent riots, where rioters hurl rocks and firebombs at IDF and Border Police forces who respond using tear gas and similar means to disperse the rioters. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

This is why agitators deliberately place themselves in harm’s way. They beg for something to happen to them, preferably with as much blood as possible. in order to make prime time news.

The aphorism, attributed to the CBS newsroom, “if it bleeds, it leads” is as true today as the day it was coined. And with no need for any sort of editorial control or fact checking before it’s live in hundreds of millions of homes.

By the way, you note that I choose to use the term “agitator”, and not  “activist”, so favoured by the media. This sanitised description seems to have replaced the more appropriate “agitator”, “troublemaker”, “rioter”, ‘militant”, “useful idiot”, “fellow traveller”, etc. in an effort to describe the indescribable “great unwashed”. 

Left wing loonies, the lot of them!

We also need to address the issue of what was this particular agitator doing there at all. Whilst a democracy may permit its own citizens to demonstrate, under certain conditions and controls, where is that written that foreigners should have the right – the RIGHT, mind you, to enter Israel for the sole purpose of protesting the policies of the democratically elected government?

Citizens can always vote to change the political leadership and policies at an election. Any society that allows foreign troublemakers some form of extra territorial freedom to try to overthrow the government is on the road to Anarchy.  Israel is not yet there, but every incident like this one, every “Flotilla”or “Flytilla” that isn’t stopped at source, either by diplomacy or force – it doesn’t matter which – is just one step further along this road.

With all of the anger directed at this one officer, the REAL question of who are these agitators, who do they represent, and what is their true agenda, takes a back seat.

And what has been the reaction of our Military and Political leadership, on this occasion? Support for the IDF, and a career office caught in a thankless trap?

Of course not!

What we are witnessing, with the decision of the Chief of Staff and the Political echelon to make Eisner the scapegoat for their inability to formulate better methods of crowd control, is a shameful display of weakness in the face of the media madness. The enemies of Israel have been baying for blood, like wolves screaming at the full moon. Now they have their reward.

Eisner, effectively demoted, his career probably in ruins, and for what? A momentary loss of self control in a difficult situation, a push just 20 cms too high. And not even a Court Martial at which even the pretence of a modicum of justice might have taken place.

Deutsch: Polizei im unfriedlichen Ordnungsdien...

"Gentle riot Police"- from SWITZERLAND!! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Just look at what police and riot police do to crowds in other countries. The IDF deserve medals, not condemnation. In an army, officers have an obligation to support those under them, no matter what. That’s how it used to work, before political correctness and mobile phone cameras took over.

This whole incident is a disaster for army morale. Why should these soldiers be asked to do what they do, if they cannot depend on support from their officers and commanders. Just because the Americans instilled political correctness into their army is no reason for us to follow suit.

They are never fighting for survival.

We always are!

Andyboy – Telling it as it is