Sunday, February 1, 2009

The angelization of Israel

I don't think I'll ever be able to understand why Zionists insist on singling out Israel for angelization. They have nothing to win and a lot to lose.

By angelizing Israel, its apologists oblige themselves to prove not only that its actions are justified (already a daunting task), but also that the country's behavior is superior to that of "any other country in its position." This is due to a number of extraordinary claims the Zionists make: most notably, that Israel holds the moral high ground not only in relation to its Muslim neighbors, but also as compared to other developed democracies where its leftwing critics live.

A key ingredient of the angelization is the claim that the Israeli Defense Forces are the most moral army in the world, which is regularly repeated, most recently in relation to the Gaza op.

A case in point is the ineffable Alan Dershowitz. A writer notable not for the depth of his ideas, but for the influence (itself telling) he exerts on the lower echelons of the Hasbara troupe, a.k.a. Zionism's useful idiots. In his book The Case for Israel Dershowitz describes Israel's doctrine of "purity of arms," which "requires that soldiers put their own lives at stake in order to avoid harming non-combatants" (p. 145). He gives an example:

Recall that when Israel sought to protect itself against Beirut-based terrorism in 1982, it sent a team of soldiers --led by then Major General Ehud Barak, dressed as a woman-- to target the terrorists themselves in a building then being used as their base, instead of bombing the building from the air, which would have resulted in many more casualties. This is typical of the Israeli "retail," rather than "wholesale," approach to targetting terrorism (p. 151).

This is a puzzling example. I thought dressing like women was a very wrong thing for soldiers to do, and the only reason why so many Palestinian women died in Israeli attacks. Now it turns out it's commendable, if done by Jewish soldiers.

More importantly, the incident Dershowitz refers to is not illustrative that Israel does not perform wholesale murder; it only means that in some cases pinpoint operations may be more effective. It did not take place during the 1982 war, as Dershowitz suggests, but as part of Operation Springtime of Youth, carried out in 1973 to wipe out three PLO members alleged to have played a part in the Munich massacre. It was not a time of war and a discreet operation by a handful of men had a greater chance of success.

The doctrine of "purity of arms" must be tested in war conditions. And in the recent war on Gaza, I can't think of a single instance of an Israeli soldier's life being risked so that civilians won't die. In fact, only about 3 Israeli soldiers died from enemy fire, against at least 400 Palestinian women and children. This does definitely look a lot more like wholesale than retail, yet I haven't seen any comment on this imbalance from Israel's angelizers explaining how it can be reconciled with any notion of purity.

So why insist on the "most moral" thing? Why bring up a nonexistent spirit of self-sacrifice on the Israeli soldiers' part? Such preposterous claims only invite scrutiny -- and exposure when proved false.

But of course, the Zionists respond to this by playing the "double standards" card. "We say that we're morally superior, but if you try to check out if we're morally superior, then you're judging us by standards you don't expect any comparable country to meet." Why, of course, but that's because you claimed to meet higher standards in the first place. What you're doing is something only bad-behaved children do, and the name for it is wanting to have it both ways.


Ernie Halfdram said...

For some reason, the hasbarists and those who take them at their word don't appear to mind accusing others of double standards while insisting on applying them in the case of Israel. I used to think, 'My mind is made up, don't confuse me with the facts' was just a joke. Now I realise that for many, it's a philosophy of life. That's where Dershowitz and his ilk get their traction.

Anonymous said...

Good topic. I've been thinking about it a lot too, and done some writing on the topic. Please see

The Emotional Violence of Jewish Advocacy and other articles at

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your blog, which in my opinion is wonderful. Keep up the great work.

Marcel Dubois said...

I remember reading about Joe Lieberman saying "Israel is the perfect State", or something like that.

The Japanese samurais, as one of their rules, were not supposed to boast about their status. They had to conceal it when possible. That was a mark of humility.

Somehow, I feel that if someone should talk about 'purity of arms', that would be those who are targeted. Not those supposed to apply it. The best, most truthful praise is done by others, not by yourself.

When Israelis talk about purity of arms, they are as vulgar as someone exclaiming about his purity of faith. That might be convincing as some kind of empty political slogan. But to actual human beings, it is the proof of a deranged mind who needs to learn some humility.

Gert said...

I've gotta say that the thought of Ehud Barak dressing up as a woman nearly made me piss myself.

Surely the whole 'moral purity' thingy, apart from being deeply annoying to anyone who isn't Jewish, must be rooted in 'the chosen people' and 'light unto the nations' thingies? Sad when a people feel the need to convince themselves of their own moral superiority. If any other group did it we'd call them 'Supremacists', no doubt about that and rightly so.

A very enjoyable post indeed...

Anonymous said...

We don't have Freud around to offer his suggestive (tho not scientific, by any stretch of imagination) take on such matters, but we do have Joel Kovel who offers some interesting musings on the "Bad Conscience" entailed, of necessity, by Zionism...

Anonymous said...


I didn't want to post this in a comment as it is rather unrelated but I only have found out the role Israel played in Argentina's junta and its disaffection for the leftist anti-fascist Jews who were seeking refuge from the atrocities being committed. I wonder if you could direct myself to more information about the period and what your thoughts are on this topic.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

I can direct you here, but it's in Spanish. If you don't understand Spanish, maybe the automatic translation program will help you.

Israel did receive Jewish refugees from the dictatorship, most notably Jacobo Timerman. However, once there Timerman saw that what Israel did to the Palestinians was not very much unlike what he had been through under the military dictatorship. He wrote a book against Israel and is very much reviled by the Hasbara brigade.

My own view is that most Jews who were "disappeared" and killed by the dictatorship were not believing Jews, and did not feel any particular attachment to the Jewish people. They had universalist ideals. That's why they joined leftist organizations, and they were kidnapped because they were leftist, although they were given a particularly harsh treatment because they were Jewish.

Medical Blog said...

Now I realise that for many, it's a philosophy of life.

Compra Oro Plata said...

I wonder if you could direct myself to more information about the period and what your thoughts are on this topic.