Jamming with South African musicians...an extraordinarily tuneful association. Hat tip to Angela for
this link out of Israel. No more apart-hate anywhere, she advises.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012
Thursday, January 26, 2012
A recent study about snipers in Israel has shown that snipers are much less likely than other soldiers to dehumanise their enemy, the BBC's Stephanie Hegarty reports.
Part of the reason for this may be that snipers can see their targets with great clarity and sometimes must observe them for hours or even days.This justification - which was supported by friends, family and wider Israeli society -
"It's killing that is very distant but also very personal," says anthropologist Neta Bar. "I would even say intimate."
She studied attitudes to killing among 30 Israeli snipers who served in the Palestinian territories from 2000 to 2003, to examine whether killing is unnatural or traumatic for human beings.
She chose snipers in particular because, unlike pilots or tank drivers who shoot at big targets like buildings, the sniper picks off individual people.
What she found was that while many Israeli soldiers would refer to Palestinian militants as "terrorists", snipers generally referred to them as human beings.
Snipers almost never referred to the men they killed as targets, or used animal or machine metaphors. Some interviewees even said that their victims were legitimate warriors.
There were about 20 gunmen escorting a convoy and one of them was unlucky enough to get in the sight of my scope. The distance was about 300m, almost nothing for a sniper.
A few seconds later I saw him lying motionless.
In the heat of the moment my only thought was to shoot more and more. I saw the figures rushing in panic and trying to hide.
We killed all of them, except three or four who were wounded and captured. Afterwards I blamed myself for not being cool-headed enough. I thought that if I had been calmer, I would have killed more enemies.
"The Hebrew word for human being is Son of Adam and this was the word they used by far more than any other when they talked about the people that they killed," she says.
"Here is someone whose friends love him and I am sure he is a good person because he does this out of ideology," said one sniper who watched through his scope as a family mourned the man he had just shot. "But we from our side have prevented the killing of innocents, so we are not sorry about it."
could be one reason why the snipers didn't report any trauma after killing, she suggests.
"Being prepared for all those things that might crack their conviction, actually enabled them to kill without suffering too much."
She also noted that the snipers she studied were rational and intelligent young men.
In most military forces, snipers are subject to rigorous testing and training and are chosen for aptitude. In the UK, they complete a three-month training course, with a pass rate of only one-in-four.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Holy Moly. Foreign Policy magazine's Mark Perry has ruffled feathers with its exclusive investigation into Mossad/ Jundallah links and a spate of killings targeting nuke scientists inside Iran, based on some Bush-era CIA memos and follow-up reporting. Some excerpts:the memos show that the United States had barred even the most incidental contact with Jundallah, according to both intelligence officers, the same was not true for Israel's Mossad. The memos also detail CIA field reports saying that Israel's recruiting activities occurred under the nose of U.S. intelligence officers, most notably in London, the capital of one of Israel's ostensible allies, where Mossad officers posing as CIA operatives met with Jundallah officials.The officials did not know whether the Israeli program to recruit and use Jundallah is ongoing. Nevertheless, they were stunned by the brazenness of the Mossad's efforts..."The report sparked White House concerns that Israel's program was putting Americans at risk," the intelligence officer told me. "There's no question that the U.S. has cooperated with Israel in intelligence-gathering operations against the Iranians, but this was different. No matter what anyone thinks, we're not in the business of assassinating Iranian officials or killing Iranian civilians."Israel's relationship with Jundallah continued to roil the Bush administration until the day it left office, this same intelligence officer noted. Israel's activities jeopardized the administration's fragile relationship with Pakistan, which was coming under intense pressure from Iran to crack down on Jundallah. It also undermined U.S. claims that it would never fight terror with terror, and invited attacks in kind on U.S. personnel."
Monday, January 09, 2012
Check out this flash-mob of Israeli women who converged on the town square at Beit Shamesh last Friday to stage a protest dance and counter ultra-orthodox attempts to segregate this town by gender and ban women from singing and dancing in public. Hat tip to Peace Now for the link and kudos to Renana Levine, the producer of this video, which seems to have gone viral. And, of course, to all the unladylike ladies who gathered in the "House of the Rising Sun" to press their point of view.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
Thursday, December 15, 2011
From Mexico City, the world's formost Orthodox rapper moved to Jerusalem in 2010, correspondent Karl Vick blogs in Time.com. For an ultra-orthodox Jew he seems, well, unorthodox. Read on:
Moshe Levi both fits in and doesn’t. Race is only part of it. Israeli Jews come in all shades, from the Falash of Ethiopia to the pinkest German Ashkenazi. When it comes to religious observance, however, skin color generally signals less than attire. The round felt hat, formal suit and high white stockings Levi sports is the uniform of the Ultra-Orthodox, Jews who dress in the clothes of 18th century Eastern Europe for a reason: They take great efforts to form communities removed from a modern world riven with degradations like television, the internet and, yes, rap music. As a group, they are also the poorest Jews in Israel, families often subsisting on welfare while the husband spends the day studying scripture.Read more.
That’s not Levi, who doesn’t actually read Hebrew. “I’m more of a doer than a reader,” he says.
Nor does he follow a particular rabbi, another Ultra-Orthodox norm. “I definitely try not to get into the whole gang affiliation thing,” Levi says. If on some days he wears a striped suit, other times flat black, it’s because he admires the traditions. He also jets up to Paris for Fashion Week.
“I don’t really have time to figure out their thing. I have my thing.”
His thing is not Zionism, the ideology that brought Israel into existence as a state. “Absolutely not,” Levi says. “I just said I’m absolutely not into sects or gangs. I love all human beings.”
His thing is music. As Shyne, he has completed two unreleased albums, Gangland and Messiah. Both are rap, but “totally philosophical and sophisticated,” he says. “No misogyny. None of that deranged stuff I used to be into” a decade or so ago, as a protégé of Sean “P. Diddy” Combs at Bad Boy Entertainment. He was with Combs and his girlfriend at the time, Jennifer Lopez, when the ruckus broke out in the Club New York. Combs and his bodyguard were also tried but acquitted.
“I don’t even want to be a rapper,” Levi says at one point in the interview. “I don’t listen to that music. I’m a musician. I’d rather be like Bob Marley or Leonard Cohen, one of those guys.”
Wednesday, December 14, 2011
so writes Tobias Buck, Jerusalem correspondent for the Financial Times. He adds that, despite the coarsening of domestic political discourse that has unleashed fury and dismay inside the Jewish state,
"the chances of Israel turning into a dictatorship are about as high as those of Saudi Arabia turning into a liberal democracy."
Faint praise, indeed. When rightwing Israeli extremists attack the IDF troops who are pledged to protect them in the West Bank, as happened yesterday, the mind boggles at their warped vigilante notion of "price tag." The entire country pays the coast of their shortsighted actions.