Sunday, July 26, 2009

Purity of arms, absurdity of claims

Zionism is like a multi-headed hydra. There, I'm again at it with my antisemitic imagery. But how else would you describe a community of people who make wildly contradictory claims, making you waste your time and energy addressing them all? It's not like, for instance, the communists, with whom you at least have a clear idea of what you've got to respond to.

I'd like to focus here on one particular claim and its opposite, which are both made by Zionists of different stripes (or of the same stripe at different times). On the one hand it is asserted that Israel adheres to exceptionally high standards, indeed the best in the world, when it fights the Palestinians. On the other hand it is claimed that it's antisemitic to scrutinize Israel's behavior, especially vis-à-vis the occupied territories, since Israel is just another member of the international community and there's no special reason to look into its human-rights abuses. In other words, Israel is said to behave better than all other states, but if you want to verify if it does, then you're charged with being infected with an antisemitic obsession.

One notable example is the Purity of Arms claim, which is closely related to the familiar phrase, "Israel has the most moral army in the world." In what ways is the country exceptionally moral? According to the Judeo-Christian Alliance:

Israeli soldiers risk their own lives to prevent Palestinian civilian deaths.

According to the Zionist Organization of America:

No other nation teaches its soldiers to risk their own lives for the purpose of avoiding deaths and injuries to the civilian population of its enemies.

The point is picked up by Alan Dershowitz, one of the leading Israel apologists:

A lead story in the "Ideas" section of the Boston Globe analyzed the ethical training received by Israeli soldiers and concluded, "The IDF army offers a model for us and other coalition forces." It described the Israeli concept of "purity of arms," which "requires that soldiers put their own lives at stake in order to avoid harming non-combatants."

Why would they make such an unbelievable claim? Soldiers are usually too busy staying alive themselves; it's not reasonable to even suggest that they would place other people's lives above their own. However, Israel defenders play on the gullibility of a large segment of the Gentile community. Because of the immense contribution of Jewish persons to the European and American societies, the public is prepared to believe anything good about Israel, just as it's perpared to believe anything bad about the Palestinians, courtesy of Exodus and numerous other anti-Arab movies.

But, is there even a grain of truth to the claim? Is it at least formally accurate, i.e., are Israeli sodiers taught what they're claimed to be taught, even if they don't practice it?

No, it's a lie. The Purity of Arms concept indeed exists, but it does not involve teaching soldiers self-sacrifice for the sake of others. It's part of the Ethical Code of the Israeli Defense Forces:

Purity of Arms

The IDF serviceman will use force of arms only for the purpose of subduing the enemy to the necessary extent and will limit his use of force so as to prevent unnecessary harm to human life and limb, dignity and property.

The IDF servicemen's purity of arms is their self-control in use of armed force. They will use their arms only for the purpose of achieving their mission, without inflicting unnecessary injury to human life or limb; dignity or property, of both soldiers and civilians, with special consideration for the defenseless, whether in wartime, or during routine security operations, or in the absence of combat, or times of peace.

As can be seen, nothing you won't find in the Ethical Codes of other armies, and of course no hint whatsoever that soldiers should risk their lives to avoid harming non-combatants.

Indeed, "The Ethical Fight Against Terror," a 2003 article written by Israeli philosopher Asa Kasher and Major General Amos Yadlin, now the head of Military Intelligence, argued that it was justifiable to kill civilians so that soldiers won't be lost. The article is considered to have provided the justification for Israel's recent disproportionate war on Gaza. In an interview with Haaretz, Kasher stated:

There is no army in the world that will endanger its soldiers in order to avoid hitting the neighbors of an enemy or terrorist. (...)

Sending a soldier there to fight terrorists is justified, but why should I force him to endanger himself much more than that so that the terrorist's neighbor isn't killed? I don't have an answer for that. From the standpoint of the state of Israel, the neighbor is much less important. I owe the soldier more. If it's between the soldier and the terrorist's neighbor, the priority is the soldier. Any country would do the same.

That comes a lot closer to Israel's observed behavior in Gaza.

So that you see: I've had to do some research to establish, apparently for the first time on the Internet, the Zionists' mendaciousness as regards the Purity of Arms concept. They'll call me an antisemite, because, who would spend so much time on the Ethical Code of the IDF when China is occupying Tibet? But I guess I can live with the antisemitic slur being hurled at me. It's a sacrifice that I'm prepared to make so that truth won't be hurt.


Gert said...

Today I'm sceptical as to whether the IDF could still win a major war: it's become enormously sensitive to having its conscripts and reservists returned in body bags, as witnessed during Lebanon 2006.

That problem, own casualties, had thus to be avoided at all cost in Gaza, to keep approval ratings high. Hence the typical heavy-handed approach from the air and the 'shoot at anything that moves' strategy on the ground. If protecting its own by means of massive and often indiscriminate fire makes an army 'moral' then the IDF does indeed win a prize.

Ernie Halfdram said...

With all due respect, Ibrahim, this is not exactly the first post to address the issue:

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Ernie, your first link does come close, but I think I'm the first blogger to quote Zionists saying that Israeli soldiers are taught to risk their own lives in order not to harm civilians, and that that's what Purity of Arms is about.

The notion that "Israel would never fire at a home with civilians in it," which is what you quote Dershowitz as saying, is hard to believe, but the notion that a soldier should die to spare a civilian is downright nonsensical. It is one thing when a lie is told; but it's quite another thing when the lie is patently absurd and the public buys into it all the same.

Ernie Halfdram said...

Fair enough. I guess I didn't recognise that the patently absurd notion that Israeli soldiers endanger themselves was more patently absurd than that they do 'not use their weapons and force to harm human beings who are not combatants or prisoners of war, and will do all in their power to avoid causing harm to their lives, bodies, dignity and property.' And I still don't. Most of the bullshit the hasbarists, and if truth be told, any other propagandists, enunciate is perfectly transparent. And yes, it is decidedly worrisome how many otherwise apparently sensible people will gobble it up.

Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf said...

Let's look at it from a different angle.

All Israel defenses belong to the realm of plausible deniability. They bring up this or that High Court ruling that banned torture, human shields or bad breath; or an Arab witness who, sixty years later, suddenly recalls that he was ordered to leave over the radio; or an obscure Ottoman Empire law that made it legal to build outposts on certain types of hilltops. It's a load of crap, but many people are impressed by legalistic arguments that manage to justify the unjustifiable, for much the same reason that they would be impressed by a magician pulling a rabbit out of a hat. Folks are stunned by good craftsmanship.

In those cases, the most effective way to demolish the defense is to prove that it involves a lie.

What I'm trying to say is that many people who would believe the "they risk their own lives" argument if it were indeed part of the IDF's ethical code will be disappointed, and even turned away from Zionism, upon learning that the code does not say what Dershowitz et al make it out to say.

Incredibly, the fact that the claim is not true is much more important to them than the fact that it would be patently absurd if it were true.

morris108 said...

You might want to post one or both of these videos:

Gilad Atzmon: The Enlightenment is nothing but self love

Gilad Atzmon: Judification and other forms of Choseness...

And re Gert's fist comment:
Gilad Atzmon on Hedonistic warriors

Tarig Musa said...

interesting that you touched on the anti-arab rehtoric in blockbuster movies. It's a far too common theme that in my opinion has a substantial sub-consious effect on people, yet it is not discussed openly. even when you do open the conversation in a forum, people will at first deny the claim profoundly, and then resort to attempts to change the subject completely when they realise that you have a point. But hey, I guess thats what all these gentile puppets do on all contraversial subjects that they have no answer to, regardless of the topic. whats that called?

Anonymous said...

At least the IDF espouses these admirable ideals. In contrast, Hamas' express policy is to deliberately target civilians and hide in mosques, hospitals, schools and homes.

Julia Riber Pitt said...

Anyone who uses arms believes in "purity of arms". That much is true.

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Anonymous said...

Dear Ibrahim Ibn Yusuf,
While you attempted to exhibit knowledge and language art, your level of education is severely limited as it is clouded by hate. See, when hate is one's drive, truth never surfaces. It is not IDF who hides behind lies, it is people like you who spread them and cause hatred to perpetuate. Not good.