I Am Ashamed to Be an Israeli

I am ashamed to be an Israeli.

And not because the IDF killed some fifteen residents of Gaza during the demonstrations that took place on the 30th of April. I was not there, and neither was any of my acquaintances. So I cannot say whether the killing was “justified”—whether, in other words, the soldiers who opened fire really were in danger of their lives. Although I must say that, since the demonstrators did not carry weapons and since a great many of them were women and children, the number seems quite high. The more so because not a single Israeli was killed or injured.

Most of my readers not being Israelis, I cannot blame them for never having heard the name of Kobi Meidan. I myself hardly open my radio except to listen to classical music; hence I cannot say I am terribly familiar with the name either. I think I once talked to him over the phone, but that is all.

Mr. Meidan is a journalist. He works for Galei Zahal, the military broadcasting station that is one of the most popular in Israel. Referring to the demonstrations, he wrote that he was ashamed to be an Israeli. Please note that he did not say so while on the air. He did so on Facebook, in his capacity as a private individual in a free country.

No sooner had he done so than all hell broke loose. All over the country people demanded that he be fired. His direct superior, the station’s commander, held out for a time. However, pressed by his superior, minister of defense Avigdor Lieberman, he ended up by surrendering and threatening Meidan with dismissal.

Meidan in turn surrendered and apologized. His apology was accepted, so everything is fine now. Everything, except that, from now on, Mr. Meidan will surely be careful to look over his shoulder every time he puts a line on Facebook. As will a great many others. Everything, except that freedom of speech, the most precious thing on earth, has received a powerful blow. One that is by no means the first of its kind, and one that is very unlikely to be the last.

Here is a story I heard some time ago.

How many views do fifty Frenchmen have? Fifty. How many views do fifty Israelis have? A hundred and fifty. And how many views do fifty Germans have? One.

Further comment, superfluous.

That is why, for the benefit of Mr. Lieberman and others, Israeli and non-Israeli, of his ilk, I want to repeat, loud and clear:

I am ashamed to be an Israeli

I am ashamed to be an Israeli

I am ashamed to be an Israeli

I am ashamed to be an Israeli

I am ashamed to be an Israeli

I am ashamed to be an Israeli

I am ashamed to be an Israeli

I am ashamed to be an Israeli

I am ashamed to be an Israeli

I am ashamed to be an Israeli

And also for Mr. Meidan.