Proper behaviour

April 19, 2012

Nowadays, a story often becomes news when it is caught on video - especially if that video tells a simple, shocking narrative. Add to that "when it happens in Israel", and it is easy to understand how a film of IDF colonel Shalom Eisner, swinging his M16 against the head of a pro-Palestinian Danish activist, went viral this week. It graphically retold the myth that the IDF is a brutal oppressor. Some in Israel rushed to defend Eisner on the grounds of his "heroic" record as a highly decorated soldier. But the Israeli authorities - and the majority of Israelis - could not have reacted in a more proper way. Eisner has been blocked from receiving promotion for two years and a thorough investigation is under way. Defence Minister Ehud Barak, himself a former chief of staff, said: "Completing missions and maintaining IDF norms and ethics are not mutually exclusive. Statements made over the past few days, suggesting that the officer's behaviour was prompted by operational necessity, are unacceptable." Most Israelis have shown their disgust at Eisner's actions. Those who would attack Israel on the most spurious justification should carefully watch what happens in an open, democratic society.

Last updated: 4:42pm, April 19 2012