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‘Lone soldiers’ and young ideologues from around the world contribute to Israeli war crimes

Israel/Palestine
Max Steinberg, a "lone soldier" from Los Angeles who was killed in Gaza on July 20,

Max Steinberg, a “lone soldier” from Los Angeles who was killed in Gaza on July 20.

U.S. and European governments express alarm about what they say is a growing number of their citizens traveling to Syria to join extremist militants in the fight to topple Bashar al-Assad. In the United States, the FBI has formed a special team to identify citizens traveling to Syria to fight anti-government groups, and is working with both intelligence and law enforcement agencies to investigate them. And in the United Kingdom, the queen gave a speech last month in which she highlighted a new law that allows the government to prosecute British citizens who travel overseas to “train for acts of terrorism against any government.” 

Yet, a steady trickle of such foreign recruits are feeding the Israeli military, which has killed 1,027 Palestinians in Gaza as of this writing, of whom an estimated 81 percent were civilians and 236 were children. Fifty-two entire families – ranging from four to 21 members – have been literally wiped out. More than 200,000 residents have been forced out of their homes and among the damaged buildings are 120 schools and 18 health care centers. The UN’s top human rights official, Navi Pillay, says, “There seems to be a strong possibility that international law has been violated, in a manner that could amount to war crimes.” 

Israeli officials themselves estimate that 2,500-5,000 soldiers currently serving in the army are what are called “lone soldiers” – Jews who come to Israel to serve in the military despite having grown up elsewhere and having no immediate family members in the country. More than 80 percent of them specifically choose combat duty.  During the current assault on Gaza, two of those lone soldiers, both Americans, were among the 43 Israeli soldiers killed to date during the 21-day operation. 

Often, we choose the most elite (read: dangerous) units, like the Golani Infantry Brigade,” explains Joel Chasnoff, an American who joined as a lone solider in 1997. Mikey Hartman, another American lone soldier who went on to found the Israeli military’s Marksmanship and Shooting School, says he “wanted to be a hero” – which he defined as being a sniper. Indeed, according to a report in the Jewish Journal, lone soldiers are regarded as “a kind of star” in Israel (sort of like the acclaim fellow militants gave the “American suicide bomber” in Syria).  In Joel Chasnoff’s praise of lone soldiers, he says this about Israeli culture: “Israelis do not apologize. Ever. Because to apologize is to admit you’re vulnerable.” Is this a value system parents want their children to adopt? 

To smooth the way for youthful citizens of other countries (under 24 for males and younger than 21 for females) to fight in its forces, the Israeli military offers three programs: 1) Marva, an “army simulation program,” is operated in partnership with the Jewish Agency for Israel. The website for the Israeli Defense Forces, describes it like an adventure park/summer camp:  “After eight weeks in this immersive army program, serving alongside fellow Jewish youth from countries around the world, you’ll know more about the inner workings of the IDF than you ever dreamed, and you’ll have experienced it firsthand.” 2) Mahal, an enlistment program, provides step-by-step support when becoming a lone soldier. 3) The Lone Soldier Center in Tel Aviv, a relatively new addition, offers everything from host families to “fun days.”

An additional number of foreigners – about 4,000 in 2012, from 58 countries — sign on as non-combat volunteers with the Israeli army through an international program with 26 recruiting centers around the world called Sar-El (“service for Israel” in Hebrew).  Unlike lone soldiers, Sar-El volunteers can be Christian or Jewish. The largest numbers of recruits come from the United States (1,221 in 2012), followed by France (1,086). However, while these volunteers do not engage in direct combat, they wear army uniforms and are stationed on military bases.  In its 2014 work plan, General Kobe Barak, head of the Israeli military’s technological and logistics directorate, called for an 8 percent increase in the number of Sar-El volunteers annually for the next three years.

Although lone soldiers and volunteer army aides are not mercenaries in the sense that they receive significant compensation, or are motivated for reasons of personal gain, the recruitment of foreigners by Israel to fight in a colonial assault against an occupied people is clearly a practice that violates the spirit of international law. UN Resolution 3103 states that “the use of mercenaries by colonial and racist régimes against national liberation movements struggling for their freedom and independence from the yoke of colonialism and alien domination is considered to be a criminal act and the mercenaries should accordingly be punished as criminals.”

Likewise, article 5 of the UN General Assembly’s resolution 44/34 declares that 

“states shall not recruit, use, finance or train mercenaries for the purpose of opposing the legitimate exercise of the inalienable right of peoples to self-determination…” 

As UN human rights chief Navi Pillay suggests, Israel is guilty of war crimes. Anyone who travels to join them, as international law lays out, are criminals as well. Just as they are concerned about feeding the bloody conflict in Syria, the governments of the countries where recruitment centers operate and from which “lone soldiers” are traveling should end their complicity now.

Pam Bailey and Ramy S. Abdu
About Pam Bailey and Ramy S. Abdu, PhD

Pam Bailey is a freelance writer who has lived and worked in the Middle East, including the Gaza Strip. Ramy Abdu, PhD, is the Gaza-based board chair for Euro-Mid Observer for Human Rights, a nonprofit, nongovernmental organization dedicated to investigating and exposing human rights violations.

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101 Responses

  1. poohbah
    poohbah
    July 28, 2014, 2:21 pm

    I wonder how many of these US citizens would ever volunteer for any US service unit or any type of community service program or even the Peace Corps

    • bopfromthedarkside
      bopfromthedarkside
      July 28, 2014, 10:51 pm

      Check out Sheldon Adelson regrets that he served in the US armed forces. He wishes he had been an IDF man.

      • just
        just
        July 28, 2014, 11:25 pm

        Worse, he’s hoping his boy will be a sniper in the IOF…

        Psycho. Married to the mob.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        July 29, 2014, 8:02 am

        Sure, then he could have murdered with impunity and not suffered one minute of prison time. Anybody who is coming here as a “lone wolf” soldier is doing it to be able to murder. I don’t see any other possibility – a peace keeping mission is not on the radar, so it’s just time to hone your sharp shooting skills, which shouldn’t even be any kind of challenge, considering its the most densely populated outdoor prison on planet earth. Thanks boys, really appreciate your coming to israel’s aid in their call for wholesale murder. So much to be proud of. Sick, sick, sick. So glad there are so many willing to usher in armaggedon or the rapture or whatever sick fantasy end of days scenario y’all got worked out in your tiny little brains. Americans (including me) have to be the dumbest life forms on God’s green earth, seriously.

    • hophmi
      hophmi
      July 28, 2014, 11:44 pm

      I personally know of at least two who served in the IDF and then came back and served in Iraq. The notion that anybody who goes is a criminal is ridiculous. These are not mercenaries, as the writer concedes.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 29, 2014, 2:33 am

        “I personally know of at least two who served in the IDF and then came back and served in Iraq.”

        Yeah, and you also knew all about the Paris synagogue attack, and how Mondo is causing European Jews to “live in fear”. You know a lot of stuff Hophmi. Why, you seem to know everything!

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        July 29, 2014, 2:50 am

        No American Jew who served in the IDF ever came back to join the US Military in Iraq or Afghanistan. Only 32 Jews (half of them half-Jews by ethnicity) were killed in US military uniform in those sectors as of Feb 2011 as per The Forward article listing them at that time. 80% of the lone soldiers stay in Israel after they leave the IDF.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        July 29, 2014, 8:03 am

        And that means bupkiss.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        July 29, 2014, 8:13 am

        Sorry, I mean bupkis, but you already know that.

      • July 29, 2014, 8:58 am

        This is treason.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        July 29, 2014, 2:33 pm

        Don’t use words you don’t understand, Giles.

        And Mooser, these are two people I know personally, one of whom I went to high school with.

        So, Giles, you just called a US Army veteran who served in Iraq a traitor. Guess that makes you a piece of garbage.

      • lysias
        lysias
        July 29, 2014, 2:43 pm

        Ezra Pound was a traitor. That doesn’t mean he wasn’t a great poet.

        And this veteran and retired naval officer is not sure how much of a proof of patriotism serving in the Iraq War was.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 30, 2014, 1:22 pm

        “So, Giles, you just called a US Army veteran who served in Iraq a traitor. Guess that makes you a piece of garbage. “Hophmi”

        Why are we putting up with this? Why are we putting up with Hophmi blaming Mondo for “identifying ZIonists as Nazis” and “Causing European Jews to live in fear”?

        “And Mooser, these are two people I know personally, one of whom I went to high school with. “

        You went to High School? Wow, it hardly shows at all. And Hophmi, you are either wrong, or lie, about so much stuff, why should I take your word for anything.
        Hell, I only half believe you are even Jewish frankly. Probably just a hanger-on (in Yiddish “ah groupee“) hoping to grift a few bucks out of Zionism.

        Heck, we don’t even know your name (like hell we don’t!) so why should we believe you about anything. You know what? I’m not even sure you exist. I sure hope so, but on the other hand, the thought that somebody invented you is horrifying!

  2. NormanF
    NormanF
    July 28, 2014, 2:38 pm

    Of course, anti-Semites and Israel haters are quick to label Jews fighting for Israel as mercenaries. They’re not doing for it money or to advance nefarious goals but out of a strong sense of identification with Israel and its people. For that reason, they’re considered national heroes in Israel.

    • just
      just
      July 28, 2014, 2:57 pm

      As most of us know, Israel has a national problem with its mental processes and conclusions.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 29, 2014, 2:28 am

        “As most of us know, Israel has a national problem with its mental processes and conclusions.”

        Researchers, and four out of five dentists who chew gum, have searched in vain for a genetic of chemical component which causes the Ziocaine Syndrome. At present, most clinicians view it as purely a behavioral malady, a social disease, if you will. It’s etiology seems to be similar to certain addictions too. So there you go.

      • DaBakr
        DaBakr
        July 29, 2014, 4:06 am

        if you really looked at your own evidence it seems much more likely that it is you who has been infected with some type of-as you call it-“ziocaine” bug. Your level of expression, hatred shown and absolute conviction of your own self-righteous belief that Jews who are Zionists are somehow a different tyoe of human then the dedicated and violent Hamas fighters willing to give their own lives for the greater good of their goups cause (see Hamas charter if you don’t already know it) Now-as for Palestinian civilians? Many rumors but no hard evidence yet that citizens have become wildly angry at Hamas while maintaining their anger at the ‘zionist entity’. While it seems highly unlikely that we will see any reports from Gazans criticizing Hamas publicy for the destruction they have rained down upon them-if the Israeli objective of disarming and incapacitating the billionaire Hamas club-they may finally seize upon the rains with which to rebuild their destroyed society with the billions more that hamas would dearly like to receive itself. But lets not hope for miracles. Say what you want about the ‘evil’ zionist war cabinet but they are A) not billionaires and B) they are living in their own nation while its under violent attack which is a lot more then can be said for the Hamas leadership mostly camping out in their palazzos in Qatar, Tunisia, France and other far flung luxury spot in the region. Such comparisons and similarities between the two parties-its shocking

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 30, 2014, 1:24 pm

        I’ll give you one thing Dabakr. You can type. You can’t actually say anything, but you can type.

    • lysias
      lysias
      July 28, 2014, 2:58 pm

      What kind of idealist signs up as a sniper?

      • just
        just
        July 28, 2014, 3:01 pm

        Great question, lysias.

      • bilal a
        bilal a
        July 28, 2014, 4:11 pm

        there are tens of thousands of angry young men with hatred in their hearts who would risk falujah over a job at starbucks. And they mourn the loss of future deployments.

        they inscribe their rifles with bible verses, and sometimes the G does the same:

        “Coded references to New Testament Bible passages about Jesus Christ are inscribed on high-powered rifle sights provided to the U.S. military by a Michigan company, an ABC News investigation has found. ”
        http://abcnews.go.com/Blotter/us-military-weapons-inscribed-secret-jesus-bible-codes/story?id=9575794

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        July 29, 2014, 2:51 am

        A Zionist idealist signs up as a sniper.

    • Taxi
      Taxi
      July 28, 2014, 3:04 pm

      I would consider American jews fighting for israel as traitors, just as I would consider American atheists fighting for israel as traitors.

      Americans fighting for any other country except the USA are traitors. American jews aren’t exempt from this grave judgement.

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw
        July 28, 2014, 3:42 pm

        @Taxi

        “Americans fighting for any other country except the USA are traitors.”

        Does that include the American members of the Abraham Lincoln Brigade who fought against Fascism in the Spanish Civil War?

        Does that include the Americans who fought for China in the Flying Tigers Squadron? These American pilots fought against the Japanese invasion of China.

        Both these groups of ‘traitors’ were on the right side of history and are viewed favorably in America.

        Are the Hezbollah fighters in Syria also ‘traitors’?

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        July 28, 2014, 7:36 pm

        @Obsidian/Jackdaw/ProudZionist666

        American Jews enlisting in the IDF are not fighting for humanitarian reasons. They are fanatical ethno-religious nationalists.

        They are fighting for nationalism. If they care about humanitarianism, they’d be fighting against the occupation and apartheid and colonization of Palestine by you Zionist terrorists.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        July 29, 2014, 1:24 am

        jackdaw,

        Of course you would jump to defend American jewish mercenaries in Occupied Palestine!

        And yes I do think it’s wrong for soldiers trained under the American flag to unilaterally go off to fight a war of their choosing. Being “on the right side of history” does not make a difference – a mercenary is a mercenary!

        And regarding Hizbollah, well dear, they are NOT part of the Lebanese army and like it or not, they joined the Lebanon-Syria border battles against Alquaida after Alquaida and her ugly sisters threatened to bring war and terrorism to Lebanon – all Hizbollah did was take the battle to them and keep them out of Lebanon. So your example here is moot!

        Why do you support infanticide? Why do you defend an army that is in effect committing genocide before the eyes of the world and its cameras?

        What the eff is wrong wth you?!

      • Jackdaw
        Jackdaw
        July 29, 2014, 3:27 pm

        @Taxi

        What’s wrong with me is that I have to deal with people like you who make moronic, indefensible statements, and than react to my criticism by making ad hominem attacks and by putting words in my mouth.

        I didn’t defend American Jews fighting in Israel, I defended the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and the Flying Tigers from the slander of treason.

        BTW, was the Syrian, Izz ad-Din al-Qassam, a traitor for coming to fight in Palestine? Was the Arab Liberation Army and the Ikhwan traitors for having left their countries to come and fight the Zionists.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        July 29, 2014, 2:53 am

        Any American who joins the IDF is joining a Fascist regime.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 30, 2014, 1:45 pm

        “I didn’t defend American Jews fighting in Israel, I defended the Abraham Lincoln Brigade and the Flying Tigers from the slander of treason.”

        “The slander of treason”! Stuff it. You are trying to change the subject, chumpeh. WHat the hell does any of that have to do with it? bupkis!

      • Mikhael
        Mikhael
        July 29, 2014, 5:02 am

        Taxi says:

        July 28, 2014 at 3:04 pm

        I would consider American jews fighting for israel as traitors, just as I would consider American atheists fighting for israel as traitors.

        What you think isn’t relevant. Jewish citizens of the USA have the right, under US law, to freely move to and accept citizenship in Israel, just like every other US citizen has a right to emigrate from the US and accept citizenship in another country not at war with the US. In the case of Israel, though you in your deluded mind think otherwise, Israel is not at war with the USA. Additionally, the USA is not the former USSR which restricted its citizens’ right to freely move to the country of their choice. Once an American citizen accepts Israeli citizenship, if he/she is of the correct age and the right physical condition, then he/she is subject to the Israeli law, and military service, just like any other Israeli citizen. Having been born in the US does not exempt such a person from complying with Israeli law.

        Leaving aside American citizens who joined foreign armies for ideological reasons or adventure (e.g., Americans who volunteered for the Canadian and British militaries before the US’s entry into WW2 or Trotsykyites who joined the Abraham Lincoln Brigade) many Americans hold dual citizenship (not just Israeli-Americans). There are dual citizens of Greece and the US, for instance. A Greek-American whose parents were born in Greece and who is living and working in Athens under Greek law is considered a Greek citizen and must comply with Greek compulsory military service per Greek law. The same applies to dual Turkish-American citizens. (Celebrity doc Mehmet Oz, born in Cleveland, did his service in the Turkish army, not the American army–I know because he told me so himself –he operated on my mom some years ago before he was famous and we talked about our common Middle Eastern background) France and Italy used to require their citizens to serve in the military–this applied to dual citizens as well, but they both ended their mandatory conscription some years back. None of these countries are at war with the US-(just like Israel is not!) , and any dual US citizen of any of these countries can join those countries’ armies without being a “traitor”. You don’t like it? Suck it.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        July 29, 2014, 3:10 pm

        mikhkhkhkhail,

        You keep up that israel-firstism and the American backlash will eventually swat down your sorry treasonous ass. And what a “suck” fest that will be.

      • Mikhael
        Mikhael
        July 30, 2014, 1:08 pm

        Taxi says:
        July 29, 2014 at 3:10 pm

        You keep up that israel-firstism and the American backlash will eventually swat down your sorry treasonous ass. And what a “suck” fest that will be.

        No “Israel-firstism” is in evidence from anything I wrote above. I merely explained to you and others lacking reasoning skills that having dual citizenship is not illegal under US law, nor is it treason for a dual-citizen American-Israeli to serve in the Israeli military, whatever you happen to personally believe. Neither is it treason for a dual citizen of the USA and Greece or the USA and Turkey (two examples of foreign countries that require their citizens to do military service) to serve in the military of those countries. Cleveland-born and -raised celebrity surgeon and TV personality Dr Mehmet Oz, the child of Turkish immigrants to the US, retained his Turkish citizenship and complied with Turkish law by doing his mandatory service in the Turkish army. He told me this himself (he operated on my mom) some years back and you can confirm this here:

        http://www.tvguide.com/celebrities/mehmet-oz/bio/215510

        (“Mehmet Oz Fast Facts:

        Was named Turkish American of the Year in 1996, and speaks Turkish fluently.
        Took time off from medical school to serve in the Turkish army in order to retain his dual citizenship.”

        Dr. Oz did not commit treason to the USA when he enlisted in the Turkish military, as Turkey is not an enemy state of the US. He did not shirk a duty to serve in the US armed forces, as there was no such requirement to serve at the time.
        Similarly, as a proud dual citizen of the USA and Israel (just as Dr. Oz was born to Turkish immigrant parents in the USA, I was born to Israeli citizen parents in the USA, thus making me an automatic citizen at birth of both countries), I never had any obligation to serve in the US military, thus when I moved to Israel as a young adult and was drafted I did not commit any “treason” against the USA, butI did have an obligation to serve in the IDF. In my case, I never emigrated to Israel, my parents were already Israelis, but the young Jews who leave the USA and choose to emigrate to Israel and make their homes there have every right to do so, though you may wish otherwise, the USA is not the USSR which restricted its citizens’ right to move to the country of their choice. Once they move to Israel and take Israeli citizenship, they must comply with Israeli law and serve in the military if they are fit. Again, you don’t like it? Again, suck it!

        ;-)

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 30, 2014, 1:48 pm

        Wasn’t Mikhael banned too? For God’s sake, I come back here to find the place full of settlers. Well, if you guys are willing to pay the ‘price tag’ I guess it is all right. It’s not up to me.

    • Leahj
      Leahj
      July 28, 2014, 7:08 pm

      Norman F.,
      “Of course, anti-Semites and Israel haters are quick to label Jews fighting for Israel as mercenaries.”

      I’ve never seen that accusation by anyone. Would you mind offering a couple of links?

      “They’re not doing for it money or to advance nefarious goals but out of a strong sense of identification with Israel and its people.”

      If their identification with Israel & its people is so strong that it makes them want to participate in killing women, children, & babies trapped in a concentration camp, perhaps they should consider moving to Israel. The Israelis would welcome them.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        July 28, 2014, 11:20 pm

        The fourth paragraph from the bottom in the article at the top of this page labels these volunteers as mercenaries.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 30, 2014, 1:54 pm

        “The fourth paragraph from the bottom in the article at the top of this page labels these volunteers as mercenaries.”

        Yup, and not a goddam thing you can do about it, either. Except, of course, display your moral reversion and impotence.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        July 29, 2014, 2:55 am

        And I hope those joining the IDF all explicitly renounce their American citizenship. They never do. It’s called having two insurance policies, aka double-dipping a la Jason Alexander, a past host of drafting American Jews into the IDF on a volunteer basis.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 30, 2014, 1:52 pm

        “I’ve never seen that accusation by anyone.”

        Exactly. That is because it is pure projection. Americans who join the IDF get all kinds of privileges, extra pay and relief from military discipline. And promised immunity from any kind of criminal punishment. “Mercenary” would be the first word that comes to mind.
        I’ve heard the IDF supplies them with sex, too. Wouldn’t doubt it.

        Jon66, and the rest won’t even bother to deny these things, they know they are true. Or rather, they will obfuscate and kvetch, but offer no proof any of this is untrue. Why won’t they fessup” (as the yiddish expression has it?)?

    • TdBerg
      TdBerg
      July 28, 2014, 11:37 pm

      Norman- Question. How is this any different than a “islamist” recruiting terrorists? Its not. Its just as bad. Think about it.

      • annie
        annie
        July 29, 2014, 12:15 am

        interesting. i just tweeted ” #Israelis in #TelAviv chanting akin to supporting #BokoHaram”. Listen to the genocidal Israelis in Tel Aviv 26.7.2014: “There’s no school tomorrow,there’s no children left in Gaza! Oleh!”

        maybe they think they are more civilized than Boko Haram – they’re not.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        July 29, 2014, 2:22 pm

        An Annie special. A country that defends itself from rocket attacks is the same as a group of fanatics who kidnap 200 girls to use as sex slaves.

        Another ridiculous comment meant to dehumanize the Israelis and justify violence against Jews who support them.

      • Chu
        Chu
        July 29, 2014, 2:32 pm

        “Another ridiculous comment meant to dehumanize the Israelis”

        and what about what they are chanting? Just the Israelis letting off steam chanting ‘“There’s no school tomorrow,there’s no children left in Gaza! Oleh!”’

        Hophmi, I am concerned you don’t have sound judgement across the divide. You only find criticism of Israel’s critics, but you ignore ugly realities like the video and their chanting messages. This should be condemned if you pretend to care about peace for Israelis.

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby
        July 29, 2014, 2:35 pm

        hophmi

        Annie didnt even mention the word jew. You are a paranoid goofball that need meds before you start hurting someone.

      • annie
        annie
        July 29, 2014, 2:53 pm

        A country that defends itself from rocket attacks

        hops, i was referencing the genocidal video. certainly you are not claiming “no school tomorrow,there’s no children left in Gaza! Oleh” is a defense chant.

        is the same as a group of fanatics who kidnap 200 girls to use as sex slaves.

        well, they just finish killing scores as well as rounding up 400 people in the WB, and no doubt torturing them. so i think the similarities are there for sure. think about it, israel has abducted and tortured far more palestinian children over the decades than Boko Haram. why is this excused?

        Another ridiculous comment meant to dehumanize

        actually it is pretty hard to top that video for examples of dehumanization.

        and justify violence against Jews

        oh god, you’re like a broken record. again, that video ..that’s part of what’s crushing israel’s reputation. that and the sderot cinema cheering on the slaughter of gaza.

      • adele
        adele
        July 29, 2014, 3:07 pm

        Hoppo – am curious, do Zionists ever do anything wrong? If so, can you share with us your thoughts on this.

      • eljay
        eljay
        July 29, 2014, 3:11 pm

        >> hophmeee: An Annie special. A country that defends itself from rocket attacks is the same as a group of fanatics who kidnap 200 girls to use as sex slaves.

        A group of fanatics who kidnap 200 girls to use as sex slaves is bad. Israel is obviously not the same, most obviously because:
        – it hasn’t kidnapped 200 girls to use as sex slaves; and
        – it’s a comparatively large and militarily powerful nation.

        But is it morally much better than Boko Haram? Let’s have a look at what hophmeee – in his usual “hophmeee special” way – omitted from his equation:
        – Israel is an oppressive, colonialist, expansionist and supremacist “Jewish State”;
        – it was born of Jewish terrorism and ethic cleansing of Palestinians from their homes and lands;
        – it remains engaged in a 60+ years, ON-GOING and offensive (i.e., not defensive) campaign of aggression, oppression, theft, colonization, destruction, torture and murder;
        – it refuses to halt its campaign, even though it has the power to do so immediately and completely;
        – it refuses to honour its obligations under international law (including the right of refugees to return to their homes and lands);
        – it refuses to accept responsibility for its past and ON-GOING (war) crimes; and
        – it refuses to enter into sincere negotiations for a just and mutually-beneficial peace.

        Is Israel morally superior to Boko Haram? I leave it to you, dear audience, to decide.

      • Taxi
        Taxi
        July 29, 2014, 3:17 pm

        hoph,

        An occupier CANNOT claim self-defense when attacking the occupied.

        The occupied have every right to even nuke the heck outta the occupier’s ass, let alone shoot fizzy rockets.

        Get that into your thick skull.

      • hophmi
        hophmi
        July 29, 2014, 3:23 pm

        “and what about what they are chanting? Just the Israelis letting off steam chanting ‘“There’s no school tomorrow,there’s no children left in Gaza! Oleh!”’

        They? A few are chanting that. There are also Israelis protesting the war. Most are not in the streets chanting; most are inside to avoid being hit by rockets.

        “You only find criticism of Israel’s critics, but you ignore ugly realities like the video and their chanting messages. ”

        I’m not ignoring it at all. I am rejecting the comparison of an entire country with a fanatical terrorist organization more extreme than Al-Qaeda.

        “Annie didnt even mention the word jew.”

        So what? These kind of ridiculous, inflammatory comparisons are being used as justifications to attack Jews all over the world. And Annie knows that.

        “hops, i was referencing the genocidal video.”

        It’s still inappropriate. Even the Israelis chanting are simply the extremists in a society that has been attacked. No one attacked Boko Haram. They are simply another part of a worldwide movement that would like to take the world back to the Middle Ages.

        “that and the sderot cinema cheering on the slaughter of gaza.”

        Another example of your ridiculous distorting. You’d rather focus on 50 people sitting outside rather than the town of 25,000 people staying indoors because they’re afraid of being killed in a rocket attack. The story is the 25,000 people inside, not the 50 people sitting outside.

        50 people in lawn chairs watching a bombing bothers you. Have you ever been bothered by the Palestinians who go around handing out candy when Israeli kids are murdered?

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby
        July 29, 2014, 3:30 pm

        hophmi

        What is your typical lawyer case? Defending war criminals?

      • Justpassingby
        Justpassingby
        July 29, 2014, 3:42 pm

        hophmi

        “So what? These kind of ridiculous, inflammatory comparisons are being used as justifications to attack Jews all over the world. And Annie knows that.”

        Like I said you are a paranoid goofball that fuel antisemtism.
        Those videos show the nature of a large portion of israelis and their racism.
        Remember 90+% of israelis support the killing in Gaza. Like yourself.

      • Chu
        Chu
        July 29, 2014, 3:45 pm

        Hophmi,

        There are many examples where you ‘could’ say what Israel is doing is wrong, but I’ve never heard it. It’s kind of why you’re irrelevant. Your narrow scope only allows you to act as defender of Israel. You’re not a serious person in that sense. At least TokyoBK can often distance himself from Israel’s more heinous laws and practices~ not that you two are much alike.

        You seem scared to criticize anything that Israel does. Even if you’re scared it will provide those with ammunition against your cause, it undermines whatever credibility you may/may not have. You wind up looking like a silly partisan that excuses the actions of one side while condemning the same actions that the other side does.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        July 29, 2014, 8:36 pm

        @ZioNazi

        An Annie special. A country that defends itself from rocket attacks is the same as a group of fanatics who kidnap 200 girls to use as sex slaves.

        Another ridiculous comment meant to dehumanize the Israelis and justify violence against Jews who support them.

        Israel isn’t defending itself. Israel is massacring civilians and children.

        You bloodthirsty ethno-religious nationalists are monsters.

      • Cliff
        Cliff
        July 29, 2014, 8:37 pm

        @hoppy

        Annie didn’t mention the word ‘Jew’.

        She is not an antisemite.

        But you are a Jewish supremacist and a Zio-Nazi.

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        July 30, 2014, 9:54 am

        The israelis in the video have dehumanized themselves. It’s a drag when bad behavior is caught on film. Sheesh y’all don’t want to take any credit for anything, blame Annie for “dehumanizing” the boyz, blame Palestinians for being so easy to kill, blame Hamas for “staging telegenic” scenes of death and destruction, stand up and be proud like Netanyahu, Bennett, Dermer, Ayelet Shaked and the other home boys/girls.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 30, 2014, 1:33 pm

        . “A country that defends itself from rocket attacks “

        A “country”, Hophmeee? A country, already? Oy such a country!

        A country with no borders! Only the Zionists could come with something so beautiful, so ntaural! Borders, feh We don’t need no stinkin’ borders!

        When Israel sets its borders, you can complain about “a country” defending itself, til then, stuff a sock in it, chochem!

        “Annie didn’t mention the word ‘Jew’

        Oh Cliff, don’t you know by now that the Jews are nothing but the Zionists human shields? A Zionist gets in trouble, the first thing he does is try to hide behind a Jew!!!.

    • Johan
      Johan
      July 29, 2014, 7:50 am

      “They’re not doing for it money or to advance nefarious goals but out of a strong sense of identification with Israel and its people.”

      OK, so then what exactly makes them any different from any other ‘terrorist’ in the world? They are going there for one reason: to kill. Indiscriminate killing of other people (as evident by what’s happened in Gaza since Israel started to ‘defend itself’. Simple as that.

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      July 29, 2014, 8:07 am

      Which doesn’t enhance the opinion regarding the mental health of the state of israel.

    • July 29, 2014, 9:04 am

      They are doing it out of a sense of loyalty to a foreign nation that greatly interferes — to an extremely harmful extent — in American foreign and domestic policies. They are traitors. Period.

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      July 29, 2014, 9:29 am

      For real? If I don’t agree with you, and I don’t, I’m automatically an anti-semite israel hater? Well that makes it easy for you to sort things out. Is your world really black and white?

      Heroes? Hot sexy studs ready for action! Gag me with a spoon.

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 30, 2014, 1:38 pm

        “Gag me with a spoon.”

        Better keep a bucket handy, Marnie, you ain’t heard nothin’ yet. Phil Wiess and the Mondoweiss staff have done the cruelest, most destructive thing they can to Hophmi and his Zio-fiends.
        I’m pretty sure Mondo has stopped moderating them. Oh well, they asked for it.

    • SQ Debris
      SQ Debris
      July 29, 2014, 1:37 pm

      Kinda like the night riders of the Ku Klux Klan were/are considered heroes of racists in the United States?

    • Chu
      Chu
      July 29, 2014, 2:36 pm

      like Jonathan Pollard the hero. I see.

  3. samlebon2306
    samlebon2306
    July 28, 2014, 2:39 pm

    Loon soldiers.

  4. just
    just
    July 28, 2014, 2:55 pm

    “As UN human rights chief Navi Pillay suggests, Israel is guilty of war crimes. Anyone who travels to join them, as international law lays out, are criminals as well. Just as they are concerned about feeing the bloody conflict in Syria, the governments of the countries where recruitment centers operate and from which “lone soldiers” are traveling should end their complicity now.”

    Yes! And many thanks for bringing this diabolical subject to the forefront. I asked the other day: Can a Palestinian American or any American sign up to fight with the Palestinian resistance? I really want to know.

    ( typo in your last paragraph)

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      July 29, 2014, 3:02 am

      @ just
      I told you, any American who joins anything viewed as aiding or abetting HAMAS will be deemed to have impliedly given up their US citizenship by intent by any US court. HAMAS is an official terrorist organization.

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      July 29, 2014, 9:36 am

      No, because the Palestinians are the epitome of evil, whereas the nice little jewish boys and girls and the evangelical christians boys and girls are the heroes/good goys/shiksas. Just ask Joan Rivers, she knows the Palestinians started it, she’s never wrong, she correctly predicted the outcome of the Alamo, the civil war, spanish american war, WWI, II and now, because all the others were so much fun, WWIII.

  5. irmep
    irmep
    July 28, 2014, 2:58 pm

    Since it’s Israel, it’s probably too much to ask the State Dept. to follow U.S. law and revoke the citizenship of any American serving in Israel as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer.

    “Although a person’s enlistment in the armed forces of a foreign country may not constitute a violation of U.S. law, it could subject him or her to the provisions of Section 349(a)(3) of the INA [8 U.S.C. 1481(a)(3)] which provides for loss of U.S. nationality if a U.S national voluntarily and with the intention of relinquishing U.S. nationality enters or serves in the armed forces of a foreign state engaged in hostilities against the United States or serves in the armed forces of any foreign country as a commissioned or non-commissioned officer.”

    http://travel.state.gov/content/travel/english/legal-considerations/us-citizenship-laws-policies/citizenship-and-dual-nationality/citizenship-and-foreign-military-service.html

  6. lysias
    lysias
    July 28, 2014, 3:01 pm

    The French Foreign Legion played a prominent role in both France’s Vietnam War and its Algerian War.

  7. Bumblebye
    Bumblebye
    July 28, 2014, 3:04 pm

    From Channel4’s Factcheck blog:

    http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/factcheck-britons-fight-israel/18448?intcmp=news_header_factcheck_latest

    “Unlike some other countries, Britain does not have an effective law prohibiting its citizens from fighting for foreign armies.

    There is an obscure piece of legislation still on the statute books – the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870 – which ostensibly makes it illegal for British citizens to join the armed forces of a country fighting a state at peace with Britain.

    But this proved to be embarrassingly ineffective when prosecutors attempted to stop British volunteers from fighting in the Spanish Civil War in the 1930s.

    The lack of any practical ban on foreign enlistment leads to the slightly odd situation where a teenager can travel to Syria to fight for the brutal Assad regime with impunity, but if he sides with enemies of the regime he could face prosecution as a terrorist back in Britain.”

    There are about 100 Brits in the IOF.

    • amigo
      amigo
      July 28, 2014, 7:17 pm

      “There is an obscure piece of legislation still on the statute books – the Foreign Enlistment Act 1870 – which ostensibly makes it illegal for British citizens to join the armed forces of a country fighting a state at peace with Britain.” bumblebye

      A state at peace with Britain, hmmm, who would that have been?.

  8. Taxi
    Taxi
    July 28, 2014, 3:13 pm

    Mikey Hartman, another American lone soldier who went on to found the Israeli military’s Marksmanship and Shooting School, says he “wanted to be a hero” – which he defined as being a sniper.

    What literature did little Mickey grow up on that would make him think a “hero” is he who hides in the shadows and shoots at civilians? WTF?!

    • Jon66
      Jon66
      July 28, 2014, 7:27 pm

      Perhaps he read something like this about Dakota Meyer who won his Medal of Honor during the Afghan war. To quote from one account,

      “Though bleeding from shrapnel wounds in his right arm, Meyer, aided by fellow Marines and Army advisors from Embedded Training Team 2-8, braved a vicious hail of enemy machine-gun and rocket-propelled grenade fire in the village of Ganjgal to help rescue and evacuate more than 15 wounded Afghan soldiers and recover the bodies of four fallen fighters – 1st Lt. Michael Johnson, Gunnery Sgts. Aaron Kenefick and Edwin Johnson Jr., and Navy Petty Officer 3rd Class James Layton.”

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 29, 2014, 2:20 am

        Is this the same Afghan War that Zionists always use as part of the “whole world sucks” hasbara. So now the Afghan War is a good thing? Okay.

        And we’ll remember this whole “sniper as hero” thing when it starts happening in Jerusalem, or somebody gets a long-range rifle sighted in on a settlement. Then all of a sudden snipers will be the lowest for m of life.

      • Jon66
        Jon66
        July 29, 2014, 7:41 am

        I was not commenting on the Afghan War, but rather the notion that snipers just sit hundreds of yards away and fire. Taxi had commented upon them hiding in shadows and I was hoping to bring perspective on the reasons a soldier might wish to become a sniper.

        As to the expansion of the violence, I am opposed as I am opposed to the current violence. My wish would be to see no more Palestinians or Israelis killed.

      • annie
        annie
        July 29, 2014, 2:31 pm

        jon, there’s some news about israeli snipers that may interest you in my new post: http://mondoweiss.net/2014/07/soldiers-palestinian-civilians.html

      • Mooser
        Mooser
        July 30, 2014, 1:43 pm

        “My wish would be to see no more Palestinians or Israelis killed.”

        Dershtikt zolstu veren! Just more phoney shoot-and-kvetch!

      • eGuard
        eGuard
        July 29, 2014, 9:46 am

        Mikey Hartman went in the IDF after an Afghan war report in 2010? Change your medicine, jon.

  9. bilal a
    bilal a
    July 28, 2014, 4:04 pm

    about 4,000 in 2012, from 58 countries — sign on as non-combat volunteers with the Israeli army through an international program with 26 recruiting centers around the world

    How many of these return to their home countries as agents of a foreign power ?

    Is there an informal , non-public , additional recruitment of international volunteers for Israel?

    This explains everything we observe coming out of Congress.

    That and naked bribery corruption of western democracy, morals, and morale.

  10. just
    just
    July 28, 2014, 5:04 pm

    interesting article by a former IAF woman. This is what these mercenaries are signing up for:

    “When I served, the Israeli military was the most moral in the world. No more

    Seven years later, during Operation Cast Lead, there was widespread dropping of bombs over densely populated areas in the Gaza Strip. Today, in Operation Protective Edge, the air force boasts of having released over 100 one-tonne bombs on Gaza. What was once the exception is now the policy.

    This is how it goes today. We notify the inhabitant about the imminent destruction of a house minutes before a bomb drops (via text messages, or by dropping a smaller bomb on the house as a warning). That is enough to turn it into a legitimate target for an air strike. In the past two weeks dozens of civilians have been killed in such strikes.

    Homes of Hamas members have become legitimate targets, regardless of the number of people within their walls. Unlike in 2002, no one bothers to justify or make excuses.

    What’s worse is that almost no one protests. Entire families are erased in a second, and the Israeli public remains indifferent. From year to year, from one military operation to another, our moral red lines are stretching further away. Where will they be in the next operation? Where will they be 10 years from now?

    I know how hard it is to ask questions during times of conflict as a soldier. The information that the officers get in real time is always partial. That’s why the responsibility for drawing the red lines, and alerting when we cross it, lies with the public. A clear, loud voice that says that bombing a house with civilians in it is immoral must be heard. These killings cannot be accepted without question. Public silence in the face of such actions – inside and outside of Israel – is consent by default, and acceptance of an unacceptable price.”

    http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/jul/28/israeli-military-most-moral-no-more-outrage-indifference

    (I dispute “most moral in the world”, and I always have. Occupation makes that seriously impossible to countenance)

    • Citizen
      Citizen
      July 29, 2014, 3:19 am

      The Goldstone Report laid bare Israel’s policy of indiscriminate bombing. Goldstone, to my knowledge, never really retracted that finding. Now, again, the UN voted to investigate Israeli war crimes in Gaza–US was the sole NO vote. Obama ignored the Goldstone Report. Now, Mr Noble Prize 4 Peace, Mr Hope, will do so again. But maybe Kerry will go berserk and really talk to the US public about Israel’s “pinpoint” humane bombing, thanks to US taxpayers? God knows, Kerry’s rich enough to do so and feel no material pain or discomfort. Obama needs a lucrative post POTUS career in books and speeches–like the Clintons, he’s relatively poor and he will have to continue to sing for his cheesecake, just another multimillionaire.

    • Marnie
      Marnie
      July 29, 2014, 8:12 am

      That’s an eye opener. My question is what happened between 2002 and now? What was the catalyst that has made the world and most of its inhabitants stone cold zombies? Now it looks like the US government has decided that israel can and should do whatever it feels is necessary and the US is going to stand with israel. They will also fall with israel. Just my opinion but anyone that doesn’t have a passport might want to get one asap to hightail it out of the US Titanic, looks like a berg up ahead.

  11. Stephen Shenfield
    Stephen Shenfield
    July 28, 2014, 5:09 pm

    This is not a new phenomenon. The Mahal program goes back to the 1948 war, in which many Jewish volunteers from other countries participated.

  12. amigo
    amigo
    July 28, 2014, 5:21 pm

    “Mikey Hartman, another American lone soldier who went on to found the Israeli military’s Marksmanship and Shooting School, says he “wanted to be a hero” – which he defined as being a sniper.”

    Snipers are usually cowards who do not have the courage to engage someone at close range and are afraid to get a bayonet in their gut.

    Gutless is a good word for these so called heroes.

  13. Sycamores
    Sycamores
    July 28, 2014, 6:53 pm

    in relation Americans fighting in Israel i was reading this piece from CNN earlier and i’m sure i read it wrong:

    Daniel Flesch, then a college student at the University of Illinois, had heard too much anti-Israeli sentiment.

    He had family members who had survived the Holocaust and felt compelled to fight back at what he perceived as a growing level of anti-Semitism in America. So in 2010, he joined Israel’s military.

    so he goes off to Israel to kill Palestinians for what he perceives as anti-Semitism in America.

    http://edition.cnn.com/2014/07/23/world/meast/israeli-military-americans/index.html?hpt=hp_t1

    • just
      just
      July 28, 2014, 7:02 pm

      You read it right. I saw that interview.

    • S.Ellis
      S.Ellis
      July 28, 2014, 10:52 pm

      Yes. You read it right. Mind you, the Palestinians are paying for WWII and the European Genocide; that’s not exactly fair or logical either.

      I find it both interesting and extremely sad that the lack of logic and culpability goes on.

      • Citizen
        Citizen
        July 29, 2014, 3:32 am

        @ S.Ellis
        Yeah, reminds me of how the Superman comix originated. Or the tale of the Golem. Even Frankenstein. US taxpayer dollars and US UN SC veto bring the thing to life, keep it viable.

  14. just
    just
    July 28, 2014, 8:31 pm

    These recruiters for the IOF are ‘suffering’:

    “Rocket attacks force Birthright to drop Tel Aviv from its itinerary
    This summer was supposed to have seen a record number of Taglit-Birthright participants in Israel, but about 30-40 percent have canceled.”

    http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/1.607583

  15. tommy
    tommy
    July 28, 2014, 9:40 pm

    John Walker Lindh chose to fight for the wrong army/religious nationalism. He is serving a 20 year federal prison sentence.

  16. wondering jew
    wondering jew
    July 29, 2014, 1:59 am

    The US congress should enact laws to limit/prohibit dual citizenship and to limit/prohibit participation in foreign armies, if that is the will of the American electorate. Individual Americans lacking the backing of the law (if Congress does not enact such laws, even though that is the will of the people) are certainly entitled to their own attitudes towards people with dual citizenship or who have served in foreign armies. But the US should be a country of law and the law of the land does not prohibit such duality and so the citizens should respect the law of the land (to the extent of not taking the law into their own hands), until they can change the law of the land to reflect common sentiment.

    I really don’t understand the headline here “young ideologues”. What’s that about? This is about soldiers, what does “young ideologues” have to do with anything?

    The idea of opposing colonialism and imposing this onto the conversation about serving in a foreign army is just a way of turning every issue into a podium to preach to the choir. I’m sure the choir hears you and answers, “amen”. but you come off as a couple of pompous ideologues spouting cant on the street corner from Mao’s book of quotes.

    • wondering jew
      wondering jew
      July 29, 2014, 2:16 am

      Separate idea: The fact that a certain percentage of young Jews find direction and purpose in pursuing the idea of moving to Israel is not surprising to me. First of all the percentage is low. Although I don’t know the thinking that really attracts these kids, I do know that the phenomenon of young American Jews visiting Israel and experiencing a new feeling about one’s Jewishness is not that uncommon.

      My friend Larry, z’l, who was a PEP if there ever was one, visited Israel when he was in his mid 30’s and it did not change his life, but he really liked it and a few years later when i met him the thing that impressed him most (or that he repeated with the most exuberance about his experience there) was that the garbageman wore a yarmulka. In other words the idea of Jews inhabiting all rungs of society rather than the specific niche that Larry was familiar with on Long Island was appealing to him.

      Unfortunately the initiation into Israelihood for Israelis and for American male olim is the army. That is the nature of the development of the history of Israel. But unlike the jihadis, the primary act here is not that of fighting but that of adopting a new homeland.

      When I was young and the war was the Yom Kippur war, serving in that war protecting the land was/is something noble. when the war is against the Palestinian people rather than against sovereign armies attacking on a holy day, it seems less noble. But one does not choose one’s birth year. Although I root for an Israeli consciousness raising that results in sufficient sensitivity to the Palestinians to help peace’s evolution and creation and arrival, at this point in time, that is distant and unlike the Yom Kippur war and the 6 day war, the wars of today are against populations primarily or against militias embedded in populations and thus the wars that the Israeli army is fighting are particularly brutal in nature. But Israelihood is something that attracts some young Jews and initiation into Israeli society is achieved through service in the army.

  17. Citizen
    Citizen
    July 29, 2014, 5:30 am

    At least 2,000 young American Jews in the IDfF are killing Gaza babies babies: http://occupiedpalestine.wordpress.com/2014/07/28/gazaunderattack-euro-mid-observer-6000-mercenaries-take-part-in-killing-palestinian-civilians/

    As of 2/2011, 32 young American Jews died in a US military uniform–see the Forward article I ‘ve already posted numerous times on this blog.

  18. Marnie
    Marnie
    July 29, 2014, 11:45 am

    “Israelis do not apologize. Ever. Because to apologize is to admit you’re vulnerable.” Is this a value system parents want their children to adopt? All this time I thought it was because they were just assholes; I had no idea this was a set of values to be passed on.

    • hophmi
      hophmi
      July 29, 2014, 9:20 pm

      You people go for the silliest stuff. Do you really think that Israelis don’t apologize?

      • Marnie
        Marnie
        July 30, 2014, 9:59 am

        I know from personal experience and the experience of my daughter with her teachers and her commander especially, and she was in an office! I’ve never heard an israeli say “I’m sorry”. The closest one ever came was to say “It was a mistake”. Not an apology at all, but that was as close as it got. Everyone else has to apologize to them, but the other way around, not so much. And you know it.

  19. JonathanUSA
    JonathanUSA
    July 29, 2014, 7:58 pm

    Criticism of Israel’s actions in Gaza is something I can deal with. I have been known to criticize them myself. The complete lack of understanding for why Jews would want to live in Israel, the idea that the state is comparable to a terrorist organization and therefore anyone who wants to live there is a terrorist – no rational process based on fact could have produced that. Such people may think they are working for peace, but the fight for a peaceful resolution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict is not a fight against Israel, but a fight against extremists. The extremism of the authors of this slander against a soldier who died in service to his country only aggravates the situation.

    • oldgeezer
      oldgeezer
      July 29, 2014, 11:17 pm

      “but a fight against extremists.”

      If you don’t understand that Likud and other parties in the coalition are extremists then your moral compass is sitting too close to an iron mine.

      Certainly some Islamic groups are extremists but the primary difference when it comes to causing death and destruction is Israel has a state, a first world army, a major weapons producing nation as it’s benefactor (plus the veto).

      There is no moral distinction as both willingly kill large numbers of innocents to acheive their political goals. The terrorism of Irgun, Stern, Haganah became institutionalized and given a shiny face.

  20. mijj
    mijj
    July 29, 2014, 8:16 pm

    something tells me video games form a significant part of these guys’ world-view development.

  21. Karin
    Karin
    July 29, 2014, 9:42 pm

    I spent almost a year living in Israel during 1976-77. Even back then it attracted a certain type of person who was looking for a war to fight. I met a number of young men who came there to join the IDF. Some were American Vietnam vets, who perhaps had trouble reassimilating into society after coming home to the U.S. Others were from South African or Rhodesia and veterans of the civil war in Rhodesia in the 60’s-70’s. I had only a vague idea of politics back then, but I found it pretty disturbing.

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