“afterwards I felt something here was not right”
Max Blumenthal has a good blog post up which sheds some light on some of the depraved behaviour and attitudes of soldiers in the IDF. Discussing the photo of an Israeli woman soldier posing mockingly in front of a group of blindfolded, handcuffed Palestinian men, Blumenthal makes the point that this incident is no aberration but “a typical product of Israel’s comprehensively militarized society”.
He also discusses the shocking, illuminating doco “To See if I’m Smiling”, produced by the Israeli human rights group “Breaking the Silence”. The film exposed so well the racism and dehumanisation in the IDF by interviewing women ex-soldiers, most of whom expressed regret and disgust about how they had acted towards Palestinians while in the army. I’ve posted an excerpt from one of the “Breaking the Silence” testimonies Blumenthal quotes and discusses here, which I think is pretty powerful:
I recall once, this was after we moved to Mevo Dotan, to the base there, some Palestinian was sitting on a chair and I passed by several times. Once I thought: Okay, why is he sitting here for an hour? I feel like spitting at him, at this Arab. And they tell me: Go one, spit at him. I don’t recall whether anyone did this before I did, but I remember spitting at him and feeling really, like at first I felt, wow, good for me, I just spat at some terrorist, that’s how I’d call them. And then I recall that afterwards I felt some thing here was not right.
Not too human. I mean, it sounds cool and all, but no, it’s not right.
You thought about later, or during the act?
Later. At the time you felt real cool.
Even when everyone was watching, you felt real cool.
Yes, and then sometimes you get to thinking, especially say on Holocaust Memorial Day, suddenly you’re thinking, hey, these thing were done to us, it’s a human being after all. Eventually as things turned out he was no terrorist anyway, it was a kid who’d hung around too long near the base, so he was caught or something.
Blindfolded and all?
Yes. I think that at some point no one even stood watch over him.