Israel’s Outrage Du Jour: Teaching Fifth Graders to ‘Confirm the Kill’By: Richard Silverstein
Last week, on a day filled with outrages against sanity and decency in Israel, I penned the first of what I called “Outrages Du Jour.” Tonight is the second in the series, featuring three jaw-dropping bouts of near-insanity and bad taste.
In the first, the police of the tony Tel Aviv suburb of Ramat HaSharon showcased their terror-fighting abilities to several hundred local elementary school students. As the children sat in beautiful sunshine in the municipal park, helmeted policemen brandishing assault rifles came roaring to a stop on motorcycles in front of them. They dismounted and turned their guns on a car in the distance from which a single man exited. From a distance of a few hundred yards, the cops began firing at the victim, who promptly and agreeably fell to the ground. After he did so, the firing continued for a short time to ensure he was, to quote the Wizard of Oz, “most sincerely dead.” In Israeli military parlance, these final parting shots are called “confirming the kill.” Usually, the soldier walks up to the victim and fires point blank, even if the individual is wounded and incapacitated. This is something like what Elor Azarya did when he murdered a Palestinian in Hebron under controversial circumstances.
For the police, it was an opportunity to showcase their prowess before the local community, and educate young people in the tasks of defending the nation. As for the participating schools, who knows what they were thinking. Clearly, the show had the right impact on the audience for there was even a smattering of applause at the end for the magnificent performance. It was as if Disneyland had developed a terrorist attraction. Instead of cowboys and Indians, there were commandos and dead Arabs.
One father had the good sense to protest:
“Has someone there lost his mind? It’s simply stupidity for its own sake, this demonstration of fire. Can’t you bring a traffic cop to demonstrate how he gives a ticket to an offender – they have to see how to dismantle magazines?” a father of a third-grader who was present during the police activity in Ramat Hasharon said to Haaretz. “It looks too violent, it’s not suitable for that age group, and in general – does it convey a message of security? Is it a message of safeguarding the community, which this day was meant to be? It mainly scares the children,” he added.
Instead of assuring the children they were safe from terrorism, this little exercise in fact terrorized them. The father raises an important point: though on the surface the goal may appear to be assuring the children that their police will keep them safe; underlying this message is one of profound anxiety, always expecting the hated enemy, always hoping we’ll kill him before he kills us. In other words, this is the beginning of a long process of indoctrination for Israeli children as they learn social mores. These include preparing for their own military service in which they will be expected to kill their share of “Arabs” with nary a pang of conscience or a “light dip of the wing,” as Dan Halutz once said about dropping the bomb which eliminated Salah Shehadeh and 18 other Palestinian civilians.
Marwan Barghouti: Why settle for a candy bar when you can have Pizza Hut?
Israeli prison authorities are so desperate to smear the Palestinian prisoners’ hunger strike, in which 1,600 are participating, that they’ve released a ten-minute video which purports to feature the strike leader, Marwan Barghouti, ‘feasting’ on a candy bar. First, it’s hard to tell who is the prisoner in the video since the view is from above. Second, it’s impossible to see precisely what he’s doing since much of the time his hands and face are partially or fully concealed. But worst of all is that the video takes in his entire cell. Among other things you see is him entering a bathroom stall and sitting on a toilet. Is this what Israel has come to: we trample the dignity of prisoners by showing them relieving themselves? Just because we can? Not to mention that this Israeli government seems to delight in these sorts of degradations of the “enemy.”
This travesty was infinitely worsened when Pizza Hut decided to pile on with a social media post featuring an image of “Barghouti” allegedly eating his candy bar in a corner of his cell. The tagline is: “Barghouti, if you’re gonna break the strike, wouldn’t you prefer pizza?” Yes, the pro-Israel apologists will attribute this to a bunch of juvenile ad copywriters, as Pizza Hut attempted to do in its apology. But it’s not so simple: this ad directly responded in almost Pavlovian fashion to the government-sponsored derision in the original video of Barghouti. It is completely in tune with the general Israeli attitude toward Palestinians: backward, simple, crude, buffoons.
Not to mention that Israel’s own prime minister is known as quite a glutton from his penchant for pistachio ice cream ($10,000 per annum) to feasts at Michelin-starred restaurants the world-over. It is a ‘consummation devoutly to be wished‘ that we will soon see Bibi taking a dump from his very own prison cell (where former PM Ehud Olmert now sits). That would be most fitting…and karmic.
After social media platforms lit up with outrage at the ad, the company released a statement apologizing for it and saying it was not appropriate. The ad agency which produced it had been fired and the Israeli affiliate was made to appear flummoxed by how it ever could’ve become associated with it. What Pizza Hut doesn’t realize is that there are hundreds of thousands of Israelis who think that ad was cute and clever. That explains this bucking-up by StandWithUs’ Michael Dickson, who wrote this Facebook comment without revealing his official role as pro-Israel social media enforcer:
They’ll be outraged in turn by being told that something they thought funny was actually offensive. No one tells the Israeli what to do or think. At least, so most believe. When the world tells Israel that it’s overstepped the bounds of appropriate discourse, that’s when teeth gnash and knives come out.
If I were Pizza Hut I’d brace for a backlash from Im Tirzu, StandWithUs and the rest of the Jewish [Ku Klux] clan.