April 19: Readers react to Jordan Valley incident

How disheartening it must be for a dedicated soldier to be denounced by the very government he has faithfully defended.

Letters 521 (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Letters 521
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Sir, – Shame on Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu, President Shimon Peres and the establishment for their precipitous condemnation of Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner (“IDF begins probe of senior officer shown striking activist in face with rifle,” April 17).
How disheartening it must be for a dedicated soldier to be denounced by the very government he has faithfully defended – and prior to due process of law.
What message do these hasty condemnations convey to our security forces, who daily confront a hostile enemy? Why must our own legislative, executive and judicial systems make quixotic demands on our children, thus placing them in harm’s way? Who is responsible for having granted these European miscreants the privilege of entering Israel when we all knew in advance that their goal was to provoke and disrupt? How else would we expect any human being to react when he is accosted and attacked by an overtly antagonistic group?
It is not the behavior of Eisner that should be examined but that of our feckless leaders, who create such situations.
Sir, – What a pity we could not hear what the pro-Palestinian activist said to Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner before he got hit.
That this was a provocation planned by the Palestinian Authority is quite clear when you realize that there was only a Palestinian TV cameraman there, as well as a Palestinian ambulance. When you have a peaceful bicycle ride, do you really need an ambulance in attendance?
Sir, – Let these anarchists and demonstrators carry on like this in any other civilized country and see what happens. If you treat them with kid gloves (like we have up till now), they will gouge out our eyes with their sticks and stones – and they already have.
I say deport them and give Lt.- Col. Shalom Eisner a medal.
Sir, – The Danish ambassador to Israel reacted with critical comments because one of his nationals, an anarchist provocateur from the terrorist-affiliated International Solidarity Movement, was injured Saturday by an IDF officer (“Quick action against Eisner averts diplomatic tiff with Denmark,” April 17).
In response, the Almagor Terror Victims Association is collecting information about how Denmark deals with the dispersal of protesters.
Nine minutes of extreme violence can be viewed on YouTube.
The honored ambassador from Denmark would do well to remember the adage, “People in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones.”
DAVID S. ADDLEMAN Mevaseret Zion
Sir, – Danish Foreign Minister Villy Sovndal noted, “I can see that the soldier involved was immediately suspended and the matter is now being investigated.”
As usual, Israel is quick to condemn its own, irrelevant of what the truth might be or what preceded the event. Surely it would have been reasonable to give Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner, who has served his country with distinction, the benefit of the doubt until the incident was investigated? The prefabricated massacre in Jenin immediately comes to mind, but what the heck, we have kept Denmark happy. Our leaders are like trained seals that jump on order.
Sir, – Kudos to The Jerusalem Post for having the clarity and decency to defend Lt.-Col. Shalom Eisner (“Benefit of the doubt,” April 17).
And shame on our cowering politicians and a shamefully masochistic press for trying, convicting and seeking to wreak retribution in a case about which much is still to be discovered.
Let’s leave aside the particulars for a moment and focus on the larger reality.
Anarchists, provocateurs, haters of Israel want nothing more than to goad, provoke and beget a reaction that paints the IDF as a heinous, heartless monster. They are happy to create situations in which any sentient being would respond so as to get a juicy video bite of a reaction. And they played our officials and most of the media like a violin, enlisting them in a denunciation of ourselves.
I am ashamed of my countrymen for this.
Rest assured that we will discover six months from now a very different reality from that which the anarchists wanted to portray and our leadership was happy to endorse. By then, of course, the damage will have been done, mostly self-inflicted.
And for what? To avert a diplomatic rift with Denmark? Have we such little backbone that averting a condemnation from a country that is happy to condemn us for just about everything counts for anything against the debt, support and presumption of self-defense we owe Eisner and all of our soldiers? This is death by a thousand cuts.
We need to come back to our senses.
Thank you, Jerusalem Post, for being part of that needed effort.
Sir, – Your editorial, with which I agree in principle, is a bit hypocritical, for the Post itself contributed to the rush to judgment by publishing the propaganda picture on its front page. True, one could go to the Internet and see the picture. But you could have supported your own claim that the evidence “should have been treated with extreme suspicion.”
I rely on the Post as my news source over breakfast and do not dilly-dally on the Internet. Thus, I would have been spared the sight of such questionable proof of the soldier’s misbehavior.
Have we not learned from the al-Dura incident?
Editor’s note: The photo appeared on Page 3 of the April 16 issue.
Sir, – Your editorial derogates the video of an IDF officer striking a Danish civilian, although Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Peres condemned the assault and the IDF suspended him.
We Americans tend not to deny our videos, even when they show soldiers urinating on corpses or abusing prisoners at Abu Ghraib, or police beating up Rodney King. Videos generally tell the truth.
Remember the video of the Israeli soldiers being savagely beaten aboard the Mavi Marmara? Barry Rubin’s exhilarating perspective, that Israel will survive all these commotions (“The three myths that distort every discussion of Israel,” Comment & Features, April 16), should make it easier to admit to failures.
JAMES ADLER Cambridge, Massachusetts
Sir, – Why does the government permit known anti-Israel activists entry into the country? For how many more years are Jews to be guilt-ridden? Why do we suggest guilt before trial when the entire report is based on an officer’s reaction by way of a carefully constructed video? Where is there a video of the events that preceded this? At what point in time will we distinguish enemies from friends? Why would one desire to be a soldier with one’s hands tied behind one’s back? Our leaders should be given a copy of Prof. Alan Dershowitz’s book Chutzpah and in particular rid themselves of the “what will the goyim think” mentality.
ALEX ROSE Ashkelon