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Legosi (Tani Coyote)

Wal-Mart Under Fire For Selling Israeli Soldier Costume

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http://www.nydailynews.com/news/world/outrage-walmart-sell-israeli-army-outfit-halloween-article-1.2412728?utm_content=bufferb8a1b&utm_medium=social&utm_source=facebook.com&utm_campaign=buffer

 

Wal-Mart has recently come under intense criticism due to the sale of an Israeli soldier costume for children. It highly resembles the current IDF uniform and comes complete with Hebrew writing on it.

 

The main criticism seems to be that it violates the innocence of children, glorifying violence in the wake of the deaths of several Palestinians in recent battles between Arab and Israeli forces.

 

My opinion?

 

I can't help but feel there's cognitive dissonance going on here. There's no shortage of US or general soldier outfits. Aren't those likewise associating children with violence? By the anti-costume logic... yes. In war, people die. That's... kind of a central aspect of war, you know? I don't see why civilians dying in an Israeli maneuver are causing any more controversy than the number who die in any military maneuver.

 

There is no effective difference between the two military forces other than geography. "But Israel is an occupying power!" I kindly direct you to the indigenous American population of the United States. While it's easy to pretend they don't exist, they do. All several million of them. Even if a lot of them are crowded onto impoverished reservations. Why the Navajo, for example, get by on 7 gallons of water a day per family in theirs, for example. To decry the situation of the Palestinians but not the American Indians is rather inconsistent. Both are a people denied effective self-determination by a foreign power. The situations may look different, but consider the fact the Indian tribes have reluctantly accepted their colonization; the Palestinians have not done the same with Israel.


In short, let's not pretend that an American soldier is any more or less noble than an IDF soldier. I expect those expecting the removal of the IDF costume to support the removal of all soldier costumes. Otherwise, I'm afraid there's some serious ethnocentrism at work here.

 

Everyone else's thoughts?

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The costume and its description on the site before it was removed is basically pro-Israeli/Christian propaganda, and Israel is currently at the heart of many hotly-politicized current events in the Middle East. Meanwhile, European occupation on native American lands, well, isn't relevant. I'm not sure why you'd draw up such a comparison. This is like calling someone out on getting angry at the word "nigger" and not "the peanut gallery" even though both are terms used to disparage black people.

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The costume and its description on the site before it was removed is basically pro-Israeli/Christian propaganda, and Israel is currently at the heart of many hotly-politicized current events in the Middle East.

So basically the same sort of treatment the United States military gets. The United States being the most popular choice for greatest threat to world peace.

Meanwhile, European occupation on native American lands, well, isn't relevant.

I'm sure the people living on the reservations might disagree on that front. Dispossessed of their land, their culture, their independence, and to top it all off, the vast majority left to rot in the wasteland.

Indians get shot by police more often than blacks. They have worse poverty than blacks. 4/5 of the sex crimes committed on their reservations are by non-Indians, and the tribes have zero authority to prosecute. The list of continuing violations of their dignity is virtually endless. And it gets zero recognition.

It is absolutely relevant. Tears are shed over a tiny sliver of Middle Eastern land going to a people who quite frankly probably need a place to call their own after the Holocaust, while nothing but a token "we're sorry, but we're cool now" is all the Indians get after being robbed of the wealthiest territory on Earth, to say nothing of their other miseries.

I'm not sure why you'd draw up such a comparison.

To highlight ethnocentrism. Non-Indians in the United States (and to varying extents, the other settler colonies) get up in arms over what Israel does, all while ignoring what they themselves continue to do.

One cannot consistently deem Israel an oppressive colonizer and not see the same back home.

This is like calling someone out on getting angry at the word "nigger" and not "the peanut gallery" even though both are terms used to disparage black people.

That would be weird, given the latter really isn't used in that context despite historical usage in such a manner. On the other hand, oppression of Palestinians and American Indians both remain contemporary.

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Israel is not just an issue of unwanted occupation, but it's fodder for the religious right and is ultimately relevant to vested financial interests and stability of both that region and America itself. This isn't downplaying current issues with Native Americans. It's merely noting that they're not perfectly equivalent. If you want to make a comparison, you would do better instead to make a point about an old American cavalry costume.

That would be weird, given the latter really isn't used in that context despite historical usage in such a manner. On the other hand, oppression of Palestinians and American Indians both remain contemporary.

The point is that you can't boil this down to "they're both oppressive so they're exactly the same in terms of current cultural context." White people oppress black people. Should black people be called out for wearing cosplays of white characters?

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Strangely enough, this criticism is actually the opposite of what I expected when I saw the thread title.  I assumed it was a Hallowe'en costume and they were getting pro-Israel flak.

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To be honest, I'm not entirely happy with kids being dressed in US Military Outfits either.

By Israel is different. Israel is a highly nationalistic country that is engaged with mass slaughter in the Middle East and uses this kind of jingoism to try and draw in support. Meanwhile, the US Army, whilst definitely guilty of war crimes, doesn't have the same sense of nationalism. Don't get me wrong, some of the right wingers in the US are certainly jingoistic racists, but they don't have a candlelight to the extreme zionists in Israel.

That's why people are shocked.

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Israel is not just an issue of unwanted occupation, but it's fodder for the religious right and is ultimately relevant to vested financial interests and stability of both that region and America itself.

I concur.

Israel is certainly much more stable than a lot of its neighbors can vouch for. Sounds like that's a +1 for the Middle East.

I likewise concur that it has an unhealthy fixation in the eyes of fundamentalists (if the Lord wills the Apocalypse, he doesn't need any political border to exist to bring it about), though I don't see how this makes the IDF outfit unworthy; it is not the soldier's fault that some dudes halfway around the world fetishize their role in Armageddon. Ditto on the financial interests.

I consider the primary rational objection to the IDF uniform to be that of Israel's oppressive regime towards the Palestinians, in the same way I imagine many Israelis would object to an SS uniform as a costume. Oppression being the key idea to use as opposition, it stands to reason that a US military outfit should likewise raise eyebrows, given there's no shortage of ongoing oppression enforced by the military.

But then again, most Americans are good at cognitive dissonance. We cite the Founders day and night, all while ignoring those same Founders desired to not have much in the way of a standing Army. Political religion is much like theological religion in that cherrypicking is par the course.

The point is that you can't boil this down to "they're both oppressive so they're exactly the same in terms of current cultural context." White people oppress black people. Should black people be called out for wearing cosplays of white characters?

We have moved beyond the military into the civilian. I do not think this is the best comparison. I would say police costumes would be a better comparison, given the near-proportional number of black officers. Never mind that in spite of the abuses, the police force can largely be seen as a net good, no matter how much one might be cautious towards it. I do not know if the IDF can say the same, as whereas oppression is an unfortunate consequence of the American police force (individual discretion), it is a central aspect of the IDF (securing a strategic region), due to the inherent differences between law enforcement and war. After all, it can be safely said that a world free from police officers would probably be worse than a world free from armies.

There is also the consideration of nationhood. Most blacks, I would presume, consider themselves as Americans, as in United States citizens, no matter what issues their demographic may face. The Indians and Palestinians, on the other hand, have a very distinct sense of national identity. While the average black American, the descendant of those brought here against their will, has adopted the core identity as a voluntary immigrant would, these other two groups are colonized peoples and I would say largely perceive themselves as such. If granted a fair sum of money in present day dollars, I would not be surprised if many of the Indian peoples would opt to pursue nation-state status.

To be honest, I'm not entirely happy with kids being dressed in US Military Outfits either.

 Don't get me wrong, some of the right wingers in the US are certainly jingoistic racists, but they don't have a candlelight to the extreme zionists in Israel.

On the other hand, the United States is not a tiny country surrounded by hostile regimes several times its size. And while there is great irritation at American presence in the Middle East, I don't think there's as much an idea the United States should be wiped out as there is for Israel. Indeed, from all I've seen, most Muslims have no quarrel with America or its people; they just hate the foreign policy. Israel looks to have a case of people fundamentally disagreeing with its right to exist.

Violence begets violence, revenge, and paranoia. We know this from the experience of the bad neighborhoods in our own nation; good people may go into them, but the good will not last long. Violence is internalized as part of survival instinct; those who are cold are the ones who will thrive. An extension of coldness is brutality, as coldness ultimately undermines our ability to empathize with our fellow man. See the savage sorts of proposals we see regarding illegal migrants in the United States; oddly enough, psychological analysis has shown them to be in the "despised" out-group category, which is shared by things such as drug dealers and to a lesser extent, the homeless.

Israel's experiences have bred a strong coldness, a strong sense of determination, and as a mixture, a strong inclination towards brutality. When the Arab states made their numerous attempts to kick the Jews out by force, they made the desert bloom. Into a jungle, where peace has given way to war.

It will fall to Israel, as the dominant power, to make the first step towards peace. But the politics of caution undermine this first step; when they lay down their weapons, they must trust the enemy to lie down theirs. Though it has been done before (France and Germany, the USA and Russia), it must be remembered that even the most noble of governments cannot hope to control the passions of their people. Indeed, as I recall, this has historically been the case with ceasefires; whenever one side was willing to negotiate, a part of the other decided to strike.

I would not say that Israel's stance is right or the best one. But I would say they have it for a reason.

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On the other hand, the United States is not a tiny country surrounded by hostile regimes several times its size. And while there is great irritation at American presence in the Middle East, I don't think there's as much an idea the United States should be wiped out as there is for Israel. Indeed, from all I've seen, most Muslims have no quarrel with America or its people; they just hate the foreign policy. Israel looks to have a case of people fundamentally disagreeing with its right to exist.

Violence begets violence, revenge, and paranoia. We know this from the experience of the bad neighborhoods in our own nation; good people may go into them, but the good will not last long. Violence is internalized as part of survival instinct; those who are cold are the ones who will thrive. An extension of coldness is brutality, as coldness ultimately undermines our ability to empathize with our fellow man. See the savage sorts of proposals we see regarding illegal migrants in the United States; oddly enough, psychological analysis has shown them to be in the "despised" out-group category, which is shared by things such as drug dealers and to a lesser extent, the homeless.

Israel's experiences have bred a strong coldness, a strong sense of determination, and as a mixture, a strong inclination towards brutality. When the Arab states made their numerous attempts to kick the Jews out by force, they made the desert bloom. Into a jungle, where peace has given way to war.

It will fall to Israel, as the dominant power, to make the first step towards peace. But the politics of caution undermine this first step; when they lay down their weapons, they must trust the enemy to lie down theirs. Though it has been done before (France and Germany, the USA and Russia), it must be remembered that even the most noble of governments cannot hope to control the passions of their people. Indeed, as I recall, this has historically been the case with ceasefires; whenever one side was willing to negotiate, a part of the other decided to strike.

I would not say that Israel's stance is right or the best one. But I would say they have it for a reason.

I agree that the Israeli hatred is a lot more complicated than people who support the Middle East make out, but the main reason the Middle East despises Israel now is because of Israel's murdering in Palestine. It's really that simple. Sure, some people have some deep-rooted hatred for Israel as a state, but the main reason most people in the Middle East hate it now is because of their actions. And it's easy to see, because the actions of Israel have been war crimes, end of.

And as for countries denying Israel's right to exist, that's certainly true for some countries, such as Iran (despite never admitting it). But if we are to look at actual numbers and who's actually managed to deny the right to exist than no one in the Middle East touches Israel. Israel kills more people in foreign affairs than the rest of the Middle East by a mile. And yes, I agree they've been pushed that way because some people in the Arab world detested the state of Israel (with a good mix of anti-Semitism) but Israel is so incredibly paranoid now it's gone completely criminal. 

In short, I acknowledge that Israel has been treated badly and with constant raised eyebrows in the past but their gross over-reaction to their paranoid fear of survival has caused thousands of deaths and tens of thousands of injuries a year. That's the sitation we are in and that's why Israel has probably the second worst foreign policy in the world after the US, then my UK third.

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http://www.ifamericansknew.org/

There is certainly violence, with 9,151 Palestinians killed since 2000. The same period, however, has 1,198 Israeli deaths. There most definitely is a threat to Israel here, and to ask for a "proportionate" response is to ask too much. You don't kill one guy because they killed one of yours. You wipe out whoever's responsible. Israel's tiny and isn't going to take any chances.

By contrast to this 8 to 1 margin, in Iraq, there have been about 4,400 American deaths since 2003, but the deaths of at minimum 150,000 Iraqis. It would appear Israel, for all its issues, is quite saintly by comparison.

Are there war crimes? Of course there are. But I would argue they are the result of a most just conflict, because nothing is more just than a fight for self-preservation.

Of course, both sides have their own claim to the good fight. Doubly so since the conflict will most likely never end. Palestine can't control all its people, and so the IDF will, even under the most altruistic leaders, never be content to play defense. No sane leader would. Being proactive is the basis of well-being.

Let us think of Mexican-American relations. When Pancho Villa continually harassed US border towns, the United States sent a kind memo to Mexico, "We are going after him, with or without your permission." This sort of approach, I presume, is a big part of why the current violence in Mexico has largely not spilled across the border; the U.S. government cares little for when Mexicans die in large droves, but would take a sudden interest if many Americans were in the same position. Likewise, we hurried in and bagged Osama without Pakistan's assent.

Israel has its excesses, but the same idea applies. They are next to entities that cannot effectively restrain their public. Israel has deemed it Israel's job to do it for them. The war crimes are an inevitable part of this just desire to tear the problem out at its root.

Edited by Wendigogilvie

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I agree that the US has been worse than Israel in its foreign policy, no arguments from me there. But just because the US kills more doesn't mean that Israel is now no longer guilty.

Those stats are interesting, I've usually seen much lower Israeli deaths than that and much higher Palestinian deaths than that, but I'll go off your figures. 

You don't kill one guy because they killed one of yours. You wipe out whoever's responsible. Israel's tiny and isn't going to take any chances.

This is where you are wrong though. Israel may be a small state but it's not tiny as a country, it's got by far the most powerful military in the Middle East with far more powerful technology and weaponry because of the immense support from the US. As for this idea of going and wiping out who's responsible, they can't, because Hamas is a terrorist organisation. We all know you can't defeat terrorism through brute force. Wandering into Gaza and liquidating villages isn't an effective way of dealing with Hamas and also isn't ethical. The people in Gaza don't tend to have involvements with rocket attacks even if they hate Israel, it's state mandated murder and nothing more. And killing random civilians just causes radicals to get that one extra push to become militants. 

It's actually more of a case of Israel, who is the most powerful nation in the area, getting paranoid about terrorist groups in powerless nations like Palestine and then actually going over and murdering indiscriminately. Israel is actually doing to others what its paranoid will happen to itself. Then there are the atrocities that happened before in Lebanon that were even more murky. The only country that has an official government threat is Iran.

Likewise, we hurried in and bagged Osama without Pakistan's assent.

Doing a secret assassination on a known target is very different to wandering into an area and indiscriminately murdering everyone. 

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