Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Hypocritical outrage against IDF and Israel police

By now everyone has seen this video of IDF officer Shalom Eisner hitting a Danish protester with his rifle (at 0:15):

Even though Eisner's fingers were broken a short time earlier by these "peaceful" activists, the video is shocking because there was no apparent provocation that happens immediately before his assault, and Israeli security forces must be careful to uphold their own standards. Indeed, Israeli society and leadership is shocked by the video and Eisner has been suspended.

When something like this happens, it is important that all the facts are thoroughly investigated and the truth revealed. Videos can be edited and things are not always what they seem. In this case, though, it is hard to imagine that there is any justification for how Eisner acted, since there were no edits immediately before the incident as is so often the case with other videos we've seen of IDF clashes with protesters that are carefully edited to make it appear that the IDF fires tear gas before "peace" protesters pummel them with rocks.

Israeli soldiers and security personnel are human, but they are expected to act in a superhuman manner - and indeed that is what they must do. Outrage over this incident is justified, but the context is important as well.

What this incident reveals though is that the outrage over the incident on the part of the anti-Israel crowd is hypocritical. They pretend that they care about human rights and that this only reveals Israel's anti-democratic and authoritarian nature. In fact, they are only using it as an excuse to bash Israel under the fig leaf of human rights.

Because they have never, ever, said a word about these other scenes of apparent Israeli brutality against innocent people in the territories.

On the same day that the Danish activist was beaten, another incident occurred in the territories - an incident that is in many ways far worse, but that did not get any attention in the world media:
Israel Border Police detained and beat a nine-year-old Jewish resident of Hebron on Saturday, after he entered a closed military zone near the house that was recently occupied by settlers.

The event occurred around 7 A.M., after a group of Jewish children began playing in the lot between the house and a nearby closed military zone. According to eyewitnesses, at a certain point, the boy entered the closed military zone.

A Border Police officer choked the boy, and held him in the air for approximately 10 minutes. Residents who were praying at the nearby Tomb of the Patriarchs were able to release the child from the officer’s hands. Two were arrested on suspicion of attacking the officer. The child’s parents lodged a complaint with the Justice Ministry's department for the investigation of police officers on Sunday.

In the wake of the event, the child had difficulty breathing and suffered from pain in his back and chest. A children’s doctor confirmed the claims.

The doctor wrote that the child suffered wounds in the frontal area of his throat, as well as injuries and pressure wounds. He also found bruises in the back and chest.

Where are the anguished op-eds saying that this proves that Israeli society has become an immoral cesspool? You won't find them. Because many people seem to agree that such brutality is justified, when the victims aren't of their own political stripes.

Here's a video of many such incidents against Jews in Judea and Samaria.

This video also shows what appears to be unconscionable brutality against civilians. But in this case, the civilians are Jews. In this case, there are no outraged statements from human rights organizations or "peace activists."

The rules of how to handle incidents like these must be consistent no matter who the victims are. In all cases the incidents need to be investigated, the truth needs to be revealed and lessons need to be learned.

And the outrage should be consistent as well. That is where everyone seems to fall short.

It is easy to be self-righteous when the victims are on your side. But too often that is simply hypocrisy.

Israeli security forces must uphold their own standards and policies, no matter what. Those standards happen to be as well-thought out and moral as those of any other country. And they require an almost superhuman effort on the part of those on the front lines. When actions fall short of those standards, outrage is justified - no matter who the victims are.

(h/t Yoel)