Terrorism as a Tool of Control & An Israeli Ex-Soldier Speaks Out
August 1, 2014
Eran Efrati / Information Clearing House & Glenn Greenwald / The Intercept
Commentary: "Terrorism" is, and from the start was designed to be, almost entirely devoid of discernible meaning. It's a fear-mongering slogan, lacking any consistent application, intended to end rational debate and justify virtually any conduct by those who apply the term.
On The Wrong Side Of History
Ex-Israeli Soldier Speaks Out…
Eran Efrati / Information Clearing House
An Israeli Soldier's Story
(July 30, 2014) -- The talk by Eran Efrati was filmed in Denver, Colorado on March 3, 2014 as part of The Soldier and the Refusenik US tour with Maya Wind. Eran talk about his experiences in the IDF and then more broadly discusses Israel, its relationship to the US and the global expansion of militarism.
Eran Efrati, 28, was born and raised in Jerusalem. After graduating high school he enlisted in the IDF, where he served as a combat soldier and company sergeant in Battalion 50 of the Nachal Division. He spent most of his service in Hebron and throughout the West Bank.
In 2009, he was discharged and joined Breaking the Silence, an organization of veteran Israeli soldiers working to raise awareness about the daily reality in the Occupied Territories.
He worked as the chief investigator of the organization, collecting testimonies from IDF soldiers about their activities. He also guided political tours and to the West Bank and worked to educate Israeli youth about the reality of being a soldier in an occupying army. His collected testimonies appear in the booklet "Operation Cast Lead" and their most recent release "Our Harsh Logic".
Since leaving Breaking the Silence, his investigative reports appeared in The New York Times, The Washington Post and The Guardian. Today he is active with the Israeli groups Anarchists Against the Wall and Boycott from Within.
Terrorism in the Israeli Attack on Gaza
Glenn Greenwald / The Intercept
(July 30, 2014) -- As I've written many times before, "terrorism" is, and from the start was designed to be, almost entirely devoid of discernible meaning. It's a fear-mongering slogan, lacking any consistent application, intended to end rational debate and justify virtually any conduct by those who apply the term. But to the extent it means anything beyond that, it typically refers to the killing of civilians as a means of furthering political or military goals.
Below are two charts [view charts on link] reflecting the deaths of civilians, soldiers and "militants" in both Gaza and Israel since the July 8 Israeli attack began. The statistics used are unduly generous toward Israel, since "militants" in Gaza are often nothing more than residents who take up arms to defend their homes against an invading and occupying army. Even with that generous interpretation, these numbers, standing alone, tell a powerful story:
If you landed on earth from another planet this week, knowing nothing other than the most common use of the word "terrorism," which side do you think would most frequently be referred to as "terrorists"?
Often, the most vivid illustration of the criminality of this attack comes not from data but from isolated stories. Yesterday, for instance, "in Khan Younis, five members of the Najjar family, which lost 21 people in a previous strike, were killed." Meanwhile, "in the Al Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza, an airstrike from an F-16 killed the mayor, Anis Abu Shamala, and four others in his home, some of whom had taken refuge there from intense artillery shelling nearby."
At the same time, the Israeli government's messaging machine quickly switched from hyping rocket attacks, which were causing relatively little damage, to featuring what it began calling "terror tunnels".
The US media dutifully followed suit, with CNN anchor (and former AIPAC employee) Wolf Blitzer touring a "terror tunnel" led around by the IDF and his flashlight, while the New York Times' Jodi Rudoren did the same in an article headlined "Tunnels Lead Right to the Heart of Israeli Fear," quoting "Israeli military officials", "an Israeli military spokesman", and "Israeli experts". But a separate article in the NYT highlighted how these "terror tunnels" are actually used:
The strikes during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Fitr came after the latest humanitarian halt to hostilities was punctured by attacks on both sides, culminating in the most deadly incursion yet by Palestinian militants through an underground tunnel from Gaza into Israel.
Colonel Lerner said Tuesday that between four and eight gunmen had burst from the tunnel near a military watchtower near the border and killed five soldiers in an adjacent building with antitank missiles.
In American media discourse, when Palestinians overwhelmingly kill soldiers (95% of the Israeli death toll) who are part of an army that is blockading, occupying, invading, and indiscriminately bombing them and killing their children by the hundreds, that is "terrorism"; when Israelis use massive, brutal force against a trapped civilian population, overwhelmingly killing innocent men, women and children (at least 75% of the Palestinian death toll), with clear intentions to kill civilians, that is noble "self-defense."
That demonstrates how skewed US discourse is in favor of Israel, as well as the purely manipulative, propagandistic nature of the term "terrorists."