Reading an Arutz Sheva Editorial by Dr. Martin Sherman titled, INTO THE FRAY: Like manna from heaven – for Israel’s detractors we would like to copy any number of quotes from the start and recommend the remainder of the editorial to our readers as well as respond ourselves.
Former Prime Minister and former Defense Minister, Ehud Barak stated on Channel 10 program from May 20, 2016 stated, “Israel has been infected by the seeds of fascism …There are no serious leaders left in the world who believe the Israeli government.”
Head of opposition, Yitzhak Herzog, Knesset, May 23, 2016, proclaimed, “Today we have a country afflicted with ultra-nationalistic extremism, infected with the seeds of fascism and chauvinism.”
Nabil al-Arabi Secretary-General of the Arab League, Cairo May 28, 2016, observed, “Israel has truly become today the last bastion of fascism, colonialism and racial discrimination in the world.”
Former defense minister Moshe “Bogie” Yaalon, Resignation speech, May 20, 2016, retorted, “I fought with all my might against the phenomena of extremism, violence and racism in Israeli society that are threatening our national resilience and are seeping into the Israel Defense Forces; in fact already harming it… But to my great regret, extremist and dangerous forces have taken over Israel and the Likud party.”
Mahmoud Abbas, Head of the Palestinian Authority, Cairo, May 28, 2016, accused, “Today Israel is suffering a process of ongoing radicalization and increasing extremism, which has brought criticism from senior Israelis against their government. They all say that Israel behaves in a fascist and racist manner. They say so. Like the deputy chief of staff of the IDF said ‘Our behavior is reminiscent of the behavior of the Nazis prior to WW II’”.
These are a few examples all of which have followed Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Deputy Chief of Staff General Yair Golan who stated in a speech given on Wednesday evening, May 4, 2016, at the start of Yom Hashoah, or Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day, at a kibbutz in central Israel near Netanya where he stated, “If there’s something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance, it’s the recognition of the horrifying processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then; seventy, eighty, and ninety years ago; and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016. There is nothing easier than hating the other. There is nothing easier than raising fears and sowing terror. There is nothing easier than becoming callous, morally corrupt and hypocritical.”
This original commentary drew the ire of a number of people both public and private and led to a rift in the halls of power as the Prime Minister found the comments repulsive while then Defense Minister not only condoned the Generals’ right to freedom of speech but encouraged other military brass to freely speak out against the government they serve if they have any doubts or contrary opinions. This quickly led to replacing Moshe Ya’alon as Defense Minister. Where military personnel do possess freedom to express themselves in private settings and not in their capacity as an officer, when appearing representing their position in the military they may not speak against the government elected by the people that they serve under. Generals and other military brass do not make policy nor do they have the right of criticism against the government and the policies they make, their job is to carry out the policies and commands which come from that government. Theirs is duty and country before all else and they are to appear loyal and dutiful whether they agree with the elected governing coalition or not. If generals in the military are speaking against the government, then what is to prevent lesser ranks from speaking out against the general and on and on down the command chain as once that chain is broken at one point, it weakens every other point in the chain below potentially leading to chaos within the ranks. Generals need to act with the same deference to the elected governance as they expect from those serving under them as they serve under the civilian government, not coequal. The Prime Minister was well within his rights and acted properly when facing blatant insubordination and IDF Deputy Chief of Staff General Yair Golan also should have been punished and forced to retire or face a general courts martial for gross insubordination and disrespect for the chain of command.
Unfortunately, in a democratic and free society there are no measures by which retired leaders of the military, intelligence community and other areas of government where while in service insubordination is punishable, no such restraints exist. The same can be said of those politicians who sit in the opposition. As long as those challenging the sitting government are retired from service and not in any manner a member of the active or call-up reserves, they are free to speak their minds and oppose any government but should be restrained to mitigate their comments by adding a disclaimer that these are personal views and are not in any means to be considered officially supported by their former military, intelligence or other enforcement community which is by its nature subordinate to the government while they remain in service under any means including ready reserves as such position still bestows upon them the privilege and responsibilities of their rank. Still, there is a seeming preponderance of retired military and intelligence as well as law and border enforcement personnel who are more than ready to denounce and otherwise protest vociferously any Zionist or nationalist governments and position while seemingly there are none who take an opposite view ever quoted or mentioned in the media coverage. One would have to believe that the entirety of military, enforcement and intelligence personnel are diametrically opposed to the current government and have always held views which could only have made their ability to serve with full belief, trust, confidence and command authority under any Zionist, nationalist or right leaning government during their time of service. One can only wonder why more command officers have not retired in protest if they find the nation, society and government to be such an anathema to their strongly held views. How are the people to have faith that these officers would follow orders if their personal feelings are that the government is wrong in all its views and is destroying their nation? Such officers should be weeded from service as they would be ineffective at commanding with conviction.
Military discipline within the ranks is of paramount importance which any Commissioned Officer or even Non-Commissioned Officer will attest. There is not functional military if a soldier can disregard their responsibilities simply because they disagree with some politics. That goes just as much for the soldiers who claim their politics prevents them from operating beyond the Green Line as it does for especially the Generals at the highest levels of command that they support their commands as they are presented by the civilian government without any dissenting or questioning of these commands as long as they are legal commands. Legal commands have absolutely nothing to do with an officer’s political beliefs; they simply need not be outside of those limitations in place by war crimes laws or constitutional restraints. An officer has every right to refuse an order to cleanse a town, village or other area of life as that constitutes a war crime. On the other hand, being ordered to quell a riot in a location which includes people with whom the officer had strong feeling of sympathy protesting a political view the officer concurs with does not mean that they can refuse to carry out the order. Sure they could request not to be placed in such a situation and may explain their discomfort but discomfort be damned, if they are still given such an order they are to carry the order out to the best of their abilities. They may have been given the order expressly because they sympathize with the protesters as the officer giving the order chose them in order to assure that minimal force and largely coercion and discourse be used and force as an absolute last resort. This is further why the officer in such a case even without further explanation should carry out the order as another officer might take such an order and use force as their first option as they disagreed with the protest and had a visceral contempt for the protestors. Such also would be a reasonable reason not to give the assignment to the second officer and why the first officer would be preferred for the task.
Often military orders when they reach the lower rank individuals make little sense and it is not until well up the chain of command that a general pattern and potentially a feel for the reasoning and the goals becomes intelligible but even that is often nowhere near the whole picture. For the whole picture one may have to go well beyond even the theater commanding general to the Pentagon, the Joint Chiefs of Staff or even the President in the United States military. With separate commands for the Air Force, Marines, Army and Navy it is possible that no one branch of the service understands the entirety of the mission. The nice thing is that one need not know everything for the entire mission to succeed; all one need know is what exactly is their part in the bigger picture and doing what they were told, preferably without undue questions. After all, how many questions can one have when told to hold both sides of a bridge until relieved? Eventually, when ammunition and hopes running equally low it may come to mind to call headquarters and inquire as to when one might expect to be relieved. They likely will not like their answer.
There will be some who may ask what about initiative and taking additional tasks onto oneself and their individual unit. That may or may not work to one’s advantage. Let’s take a hypothetical situation using that bridge example. While holding the bridge the Sergeant or Lieutenant notice another bridge about half a mile upstream and decide to hold both bridges. What these brilliant tacticians were unaware of was that there would be a train transiting that very bridge they took upon themselves to also hold and Command has a massive bombing and artillery barrage planned to take out the bridge with the train in transit. Their men would probably not enjoy being on the wrong end of such an assault which is why you hold the bridge you were ordered to hold and nothing more.
This is also why military personnel in their official capacity are not to express their ideas on policies; even those which may not initially appear to have any military consequence. Everything stated by a high ranking military officer has a political slant whether intended or not. Where things like it is raining or what a nice sunny day may appear innocent enough, once again they should clear such statements all the way up their chain of command if that is what is required to have their wording properly approved, and that means every word, even reciting the first three lines of a poem, in French, the poem “Chanson d’Automne,” which means “Autumn song.”
“When a sighing begins
In the violins
Of the autumn-song”
This would have been a disastrous poem for an allied officer to have recited on the BBC anytime too far in advance of the D-Day invasion of France as it was also the trigger signal that the invasion was imminent and the individual French Underground units were to prepare to destroy their assigned rail lines and bridges. We would not have wanted them reacting to key words too far in advance.
Military personnel of all ranks are to be subordinate to the civilian government and should show support despite any misgivings they may have simply as a deference to the will of the public and to keep morale within the ranks. Probably part of the reason there exist enlistees who express conflicting desires such as serving in an elite unit but only if it is not in certain sensitive areas. Where do they honestly think that elite units spend most of their time, Tel Aviv beaches? With some high ranking military officers speaking out against the government or being overtly critical of certain public views and equating these views with the views of pre-Nazi Germany right before Hitler came to power has ramifications beyond disregard for the people and the government. Such outlandish, and likely false equivalence, makes for bait and ammunition for those who are opposed of the government and wish to use such quotes in support of the BDS movement or for United Nations condemnation of Israel. It should be noted that amongst the quotes at the beginning of the article is one by Mahmoud Abbas which is so similar in content and slant that one could be excused for believing he was another high ranking Israeli and not the leader of a terrorist group operating within the Palestinian Authority, as Abbas still heads Fatah and the PLO, both designated terror entities at some time in the past and present (the PLO still is considered a terror group) and used a direct quote from the Deputy Chief of Staff of the IDF who was credited with the quote, “Our behavior is reminiscent of the behavior of the Nazis prior to WW II.” His direct quote from his speech on the evening at the start of Yom Hashoah, or Israel’s Holocaust Remembrance Day was, “If there’s something that frightens me about Holocaust remembrance, it’s the recognition of the horrifying processes that occurred in Europe in general, and particularly in Germany, back then; seventy, eighty, and ninety years ago; and finding signs of them here among us today in 2016. There is nothing easier than hating the other.” True, Abbas did not quote him directly but used his words to make the tie in that the Israelis are acting like Nazis and there is nothing that can refute his misquote of carrying a similar message as stated by Deputy Chief of Staff General Yair Golan. His words were the dissenting and condemnation of Israel used this time. Who wishes to step forward and give the next anti-Semite the golden quotes with which to hang us all? If Israelis allow our political differences to bring us to voicing condemnation of our beloved Israel which are more vile and damning because our own are saying them, then we may as well pack our bags and be prepared to be thrown from our own blessed lands.
Whether you desire to believe that Judea and Samaria are the core, the heart of our ancient lands does not alter the proof that they are exactly that. It does not take a Biblical scholar to realize that Jericho, Jerusalem, Shechem, Hebron, Gezer, Debir, Azekah, Ayalon, Gibeon, Ai and the rest on the map below which shows simply amongst the initial cities conquered by Joshua after crossing the Jordan River.
Quite a convincing argument when the Bible paints a picture with its words and historians make maps directly from the historic records as to where these ancient, and often continued to modern times, were located and what resulted from Biblical times. Where we are not claiming that these conquests grant Israel rights to all the lands conquered between Moses, Joshua, King David and King Solomon; but what we would claim is the lands promised by the world including the then Arab League after World War I and placed on paper by the British, adopted by the League of Nations, Ratified in the Anglo-American Treaty and accepted by the United Nations under Article 80. These agreements granted Israel the remaining lands of the British Mandate after 78% was taken from west of the Jordan River and used to fashion the Hashemite Kingdom of Transjordan which upon their independence renamed the area Jordan leaving the remaining 22% west of the Jordan River for the Jewish State. When after their genocidally inspired and declared invasion of the nascent State of Israel the morning of May 15, 1948 as seven Arab Armies from, Egypt, Jordan, Syria, Lebanon, Saudi Arabia, Iraq and Yemen joined the Arabs under the Mufti of Jerusalem Amin al-Husseini leading Arabs from within and outside of the State of Israel upon his return from Berlin where he spent much of World War II and was returned by the British; the peace was made with Jordan occupying Judea and Samaria and Egypt occupying Gaza and Syria occupying the Golan Heights, lands originally denoted for Israel (though some debate the Golan Heights claiming they were belonging to the French Mandate and thus Syria and Lebanon would decide their fate). The entire time these Israeli lands were occupied, there was no clamor for the founding of a Palestine State for Arabs and this was only decried after the Arabs again attacked Israel in 1967 intending to, as stated by Egyptian leaders, “Drive the Jews into the Sea;” and when Israel liberated her lands not perishing before the Arab armies, then came the idea to make another Arab state carved from lands known to belong rightfully to Israel. Biblically or treaties made in the Twentieth Century, the lands west of the Jordan River belong rightfully and legally to Israel. That is the reason that the Arab League and the Arab groups such as the PA refuse to take their claim before any world court as they know the truth which reveals their falsehoods and pretenses for what they are, naked aggressions attempting to destroy a member state of the United Nations, one which the United Nations appears unprepared to judge and treat with equal fervor they do the lie intended to destroy and replace the Jewish State and murder its Jewish population. The Arab powers in 1948 claimed they would complete the Final Solution which Hitler failed to accomplish and that should tell all who are acting as the Nazis despite what leftist and self-despising individuals might claim in making their political ambitions known. The truth is that the leaders of the Arab rejectionists promised their people in 1948 that they would slaughter the Jews and enjoy their spoils. They have not altered that promise or a single letter since and state so in the Charter of the PLO as well as Hamas and Hezballah. As their promise is the elimination of Israel, the murder of her Jewish populations, and for Hamas and Hezballah this should be followed by the elimination of Jews worldwide while conquering the world for Allah; these leaders cannot accept a two state solution as they are fully vested in a single Arab state solution and a form of the Final Solution for the Jews. That is what has made any compromise impossible and even if the Jews were to offer to withdraw to Tel Aviv, the Arab leaders would continue to claim the right to reject the Jewish presence on their sacred lands, the lands the Arabs conquered somewhere in the Seventh Century which still leaves the Jews the initial claimants by any living people. Am Yisroel Chai.
Beyond the Cusp