Ashamed to be an Israeli

Martin van Creveld has some VERY strong words for his fellow countrymen:

I am ashamed to be an Israeli.

And not because the IDF killed some fifteen residents of Gaza during the demonstrations that took place on the 30th of April. I was not there, and neither was any of my acquaintances. So I cannot say whether the killing was “justified”—whether, in other words, the soldiers who opened fire really were in danger of their lives. Although I must say that, since the demonstrators did not carry weapons and since a great many of them were women and children, the number seems quite high. The more so because not a single Israeli was killed or injured.

Most of my readers not being Israelis, I cannot blame them for never having heard the name of Kobi Meidan. I myself hardly open my radio except to listen to classical music; hence I cannot say I am terribly familiar with the name either. I think I once talked to him over the phone, but that is all.

Mr. Meidan is a journalist. He works for Galei Zahal, the military broadcasting station that is one of the most popular in Israel. Referring to the demonstrations, he wrote that he was ashamed to be an Israeli. Please note that he did not say so while on the air. He did so on Facebook, in his capacity as a private individual in a free country.

No sooner had he done so than all hell broke loose. All over the country people demanded that he be fired.

While I certainly admire Martin’s characteristic courage in standing up for Kobi Meidan’s right to express his feelings about the most recent Gaza massacre, I think he is perhaps being a little hard on his country here. Or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I think his expectations of it are perhaps a little higher than I would expect of Israel, the USA, or pretty much anywhere else.

The short-lived age of free speech, such as it is, is observably over. I am considerably less outraged by Israelis attempting to speech police one of their own who is criticizing their country than I am by Judeo-Christians in the United States launching a direct assault on the First Amendment rights of Americans by successfully criminalizing private and corporate speech that advocates the anti-Israel boycott, divest, and sanction movement.

But these are the new rules of the game, apparently. And we don’t make the rules. So, lament them if you are so inclined, but also learn them, master them, and begin enforcing those blasphemy and obscenity laws that are still on the books from more civilized, more Christian times.