Click amount to donate direct to CounterPunch
  • $25
  • $50
  • $100
  • $500
  • $other
  • use PayPal
DOUBLE YOUR DONATION!
We don’t run corporate ads. We don’t shake our readers down for money every month or every quarter like some other sites out there. We provide our site for free to all, but the bandwidth we pay to do so doesn’t come cheap. A generous donor is matching all donations of $100 or more! So please donate now to double your punch!
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail

The Israeli Images

Eden Abergil is, quite rightly, confounded. She cannot “understand what’s wrong” about her posting pictures of herself, a former Israeli soldier, posing with blindfolded Palestinian prisoners and uploading them on her Facebook page.

As a member of the Israeli armed force not only was she expected to resort to violence, but to hate the very idea of Palestine. The outrage her social networking has sparked off is merely a facile reaction. Why does a military spokesperson describe her behaviour as “disgraceful” when far worse happens on the ground? The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) spokesperson, captain Arye Shalicar said: “It was just something very foolish and stupid – and I hoped there wouldn’t be any media interest.”

She used the media or at least a medium that is open to media and public scrutiny. Below one of her pictures, a comment by her friend states, “You look sexiest here.” Eden replies: “Yeah I know … I wonder if he’s got Facebook! I have to tag him in the picture!”

Is this insensitive? Is it spunk? Is it just plain juvenile fun? This is what we do not seem to understand. It is not her posing in those pictures that counts or even her putting them up. It is the reason for her doing so and the response it would elicit that is of concern. It is about the nature of accessibility to what has until now been a pretty much closed area. Brutality and war crimes were meant to be under wraps or, at worst, leaked out in tantalising bits and pieces so that the enemy was warned.

Now, the warning often precedes the act and creates more than a fear psychosis a cult of worshippers at the altar of the mighty. Even those who might find such animalistic attitude despicable can be co-opted by this sort of sado-masochism. The army and the police force had always been institutions; individuals were not people who were promoted, unless they had something of consequence to say in policy-making decisions concerning their nation’s defence policies. This has altered drastically due to the availability of material that anyone can flaunt. No rules are to be followed. Abergil, a small player, has become a legitimate representative of Israel.

I am surprised at the naiveté of the human rights group, The Public Committee against Torture in Israel. Its executive director, Ishai Menuchin, said: “These cruel pictures reflect Israel’s ongoing objectification of Palestinians and complete disregard of their humanity and of their human rights, and especially their right to privacy.”

Such statements buffer the need for such exposure rather than see it as demeaning and a devious method of tormenting those who are not imprisoned. They convey the fate that awaits those who do not stay within their limits. These pictures do not reveal any more or less of what has been going on in Israel. When there is a blockade, people suffer and it is news. When an aid ship is fired at, then the world does get to know. There has never been a question of privacy, for when someone is arrested and tortured he ceases to have an identity. He is just a body that stands for a wayward system that is to be despised.

Today when there is talk of privacy, it is more about an Israeli soldier’s right to change her Facebook settings and make sure that only her friends have access to the photographs. However, they have already been downloaded; every mainstream newspaper has splashed it. So, who is culpable? A woman on a high or the media?

Will this awaken the world to atrocities or merely add edginess to voyeurism? There is no visible physical suffering in these images. The men are blindfolded. They cannot see their own humiliation or their privacy being tampered with. The blindfolds also make them fairly unrecognisable. And this is the scary part – they cease to be real people. When she jests whether one of them has a Facebook account, it merely shows that contemporary wars, even those fought with arms, rely more on image-building. They are the new politics – the YouTube videos, the social networking groups, the studio battles that make or mar you.

The hypocrisy of the Israeli reaction is just another makeover before the cameras begin to roll.

FARZANA VERSEY is a Mumbai-based author-columnist. She can be reached at kaaghaz.kalam@gmail.com

 

 

WORDS THAT STICK
?

 

More articles by:

Farzana Versey can be reached at Cross Connections

Weekend Edition
October 19, 2018
Friday - Sunday
Jason Hirthler
The Pieties of the Liberal Class
Jeffrey St. Clair
A Day in My Life at CounterPunch
Paul Street
“Male Energy,” Authoritarian Whiteness and Creeping Fascism in the Age of Trump
Nick Pemberton
Reflections on Chomsky’s Voting Strategy: Why The Democratic Party Can’t Be Saved
John Davis
The Last History of the United States
Yigal Bronner
The Road to Khan al-Akhmar
Robert Hunziker
The Negan Syndrome
Andrew Levine
Democrats Ahead: Progressives Beware
Rannie Amiri
There is No “Proxy War” in Yemen
David Rosen
America’s Lost Souls: the 21st Century Lumpen-Proletariat?
Joseph Natoli
The Age of Misrepresentations
Ron Jacobs
History Is Not Kind
John Laforge
White House Radiation: Weakened Regulations Would Save Industry Billions
Ramzy Baroud
The UN ‘Sheriff’: Nikki Haley Elevated Israel, Damaged US Standing
Robert Fantina
Trump, Human Rights and the Middle East
Anthony Pahnke – Jim Goodman
NAFTA 2.0 Will Help Corporations More Than Farmers
Jill Richardson
Identity Crisis: Elizabeth Warren’s Claims Cherokee Heritage
Sam Husseini
The Most Strategic Midterm Race: Elder Challenges Hoyer
Maria Foscarinis – John Tharp
The Criminalization of Homelessness
Robert Fisk
The Story of the Armenian Legion: a Dark Tale of Anger and Revenge
Jacques R. Pauwels
Dinner With Marx in the House of the Swan
Dave Lindorff
US ‘Outrage’ over Slaying of US Residents Depends on the Nation Responsible
Ricardo Vaz
How Many Yemenis is a DC Pundit Worth?
Elliot Sperber
Build More Gardens, Phase out Cars
Chris Gilbert
In the Wake of Nepal’s Incomplete Revolution: Dispatch by a Far-Flung Bolivarian 
Muhammad Othman
Let Us Bray
Gerry Brown
Are Chinese Municipal $6 Trillion (40 Trillion Yuan) Hidden Debts Posing Titanic Risks?
Rev. William Alberts
Judge Kavanaugh’s Defenders Doth Protest Too Much
Ralph Nader
Unmasking Phony Values Campaigns by the Corporatists
Victor Grossman
A Big Rally and a Bavarian Vote
James Bovard
Groped at the Airport: Congress Must End TSA’s Sexual Assaults on Women
Jeff Roby
Florida After Hurricane Michael: the Sad State of the Unheeded Planner
Wim Laven
Intentional or Incompetence—Voter Suppression Where We Live
Bradley Kaye
The Policy of Policing
Wim Laven
The Catholic Church Fails Sexual Abuse Victims
Kevin Cashman
One Year After Hurricane Maria: Employment in Puerto Rico is Down by 26,000
Dr. Hakim Young
Nonviolent Afghans Bring a Breath of Fresh Air
Karl Grossman
Irving Like vs. Big Nuke
Dan Corjescu
The New Politics of Climate Change
John Carter
The Plight of the Pyrenees: the Abandoned Guard Dogs of the West
Ted Rall
Brett Kavanaugh and the Politics of Emotion-Shaming
Graham Peebles
Sharing is Key to a New Economic and Democratic Order
Ed Rampell
The Advocates
Louis Proyect
The Education Business
David Yearsley
Shock-and-Awe Inside Oracle Arena
FacebookTwitterGoogle+RedditEmail