Criticizing one racism – ignore another one

Posted: March 17, 2009 by Jonathan Boyko in Cast Lead, Gaza, IDF
IDF graffiti in Gaza

IDF graffiti in Gaza

In a recent op-ed, Amira Hass wrote for Haaretz about Israeli soldiers during Gaza operation and particularly about IDF soldiers leaving graffiti behind them on the walls of Palestinians. Hass is concerned about racial slurs written on the walls; how the Israeli media mostly ignores the acts of vandalism. Hass criticizes the behavior of IDF soldiers, some of whom left behind writings and litter, which returning Palestinians have discovered in their homes:

We came to annihilate you; Death to the Arabs; Kahane was right; No tolerance, we came to liquidate. This is a selection of graffiti Israeli soldiers left on the walls of Palestinians’ homes in Gaza, which they turned into bivouacs and firing positions during Operation Cast Lead. Here and there, a soldier scribbled a line of mock poetry or biblical quote in the same sentiment. There were also curses on the Prophet Mohammed and Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, along with shift schedules and favorite soccer teams.

When the homes’ owners returned, they usually found widespread devastation – whether from the first shells the Israel Defense Forces fired to chase away the inhabitants, or from break-ins and the destruction of furniture, clothing, walls, computers and appliances. Frequently the breached homes remained standing in a neighborhood whose other houses were turned into rubble by bulldozers. The residents also found the trash the soldiers left behind.

Apparently, Hass is loony enough to believe IDF shot Palestinian civilians at close range on purpose, as she considers army’s rebuttals as “tricks”:

The military spokespeople could dismiss the reports and testimony of the killing of many civilians at short or long range as fabricated or manipulative, or could answer generally that the terrorists were responsible because they were hiding nearby. Israeli society, from whose view Cast Lead has been buried in a closed archive, is always ready for any trick to explain how righteous and morally superior its army is.

Hass has one good point: the commanders and comrades of IDF troops in the Gaza strip should not have allowed the graffiti and purposeful destruction of property. This conduct is not worthy of intelligent humans, and it is a good thing the cases are relatively scarce (although those existing are quite enough).

There is another fact Hass misses, however, which is not being usually reported by the Israeli media: the Palestinian graffiti. Yes, the graffiti they write on their own walls, calling for extermination of Jews and an armed “freedom jihad” against Israel, with the subsequent result of driving the Jews into the sea. Surprisingly enough (I am shocked, shocked I tell you!) Hass ignores the hate and indoctrination in Palestinian society, preferring to blame everything on the Israelis. And no, this isn’t the case of “It is obvious to anyone Hamas are bad, we should concentrate on ourselves”! If you think Hamas is bad – say so. Without such a statement – you prefer Hamas to IDF.

Last – but not least – for some reason, Hass seems surprised that Jews count cases of anti-Semitism, while seemingly ignoring most cases of graffiti-based racial attacks against Palestinians. Why wouldn’t Jews do that? Do Palestinians think first and foremost about the adverse effects of hateful propaganda shown to their children in TV shows on relations with the Israelis? Do you actually think Haniyeh loses sleep over racism poured on Gazans daily by his genocidal minions? Yeah, right.

  1. You can’t really call an entire military system racist because of a few misbehaving soldiers. Besides, there are several major differences: in it’s core IDF is based on fighting for a country, not a base. You will probably never hear IDF officials using racial slurs. Also, the fact that IDF acts in a democratic country means that in IDF there are people of different outlooks on the issue, and many peace-process supporters serve in the IDF.

  2. Boulos says:

    Well you are attempting to hold them both to the same standard. I just wanted to confirm.

    If a terrorist group is racist then the IDF can be racist. Is that a proper summation?

  3. Well, exactly. Because IDF are an army, they don’t use children as bait, don’t round up people and shoot them in the head and wear uniforms which distinctly indicate they’re military personnel. Don’t see what this has to do with anything.

  4. Boulos says:

    To be clear, you are comparing the actions of an army with the actions of a terrorist group, yes?

  5. It’s a good point, although racial slurs are really pointless and useless, so I do think IDF soldiers should refrain from it. On the other hand, pointing one without pointing out the other is a lot worse.

  6. Soldier graffiti has been around as long as there have been soldiers. Hell “Kilroy was here” started if I am correct in early WWII and made it all the way through the present conflict in Iraq and afganistain, I even did that one during the first war in the Leb.
    (You might find it in the room we were in in the the hotel we were stationed in up in the shouf.
    or on the wall at the roadblock in bokata.
    I’ve seen examples of soldier Graffiti from the american civil war.. and the revolution. names dates claims threats etc. it never changes and the public shouldn’t get upset about a little stupid writting on the wall, just think it could have been worse and at least..

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