Archive for May 1st, 2016

The Selfie Banality of Evil

May 1, 2016


Once a week the brave Christian Peacemaker Team sends out photos of the Occupation.

This one particularly grabbed and infuriated me.
I immediately sent it on to some friends with the following commentary:

Look at these dumb brainwashed Israeli soldiers taking selfies in the Palestinian city of Hebron where about 600 settlers are “protected” from 215,000 Palestinians. Observe the two Palestinian men looking on, humiliated by these immature conscripts. CPT wrote that “The men were detained for over an hour, while one was released after 40 minutes. One of the men was taken behind the container to be body searched. Meanwhile, these soldiers ensured that they captured their role in this humiliating, infuriating and violating occupation for social media.

These soldiers probably about age 19 doing their 2 years of service in the IDF (males do 3) have no idea that pictures like this are accelerating the demise of Zionism. They are totally unaware that their immature frivolity is purchased at the expense of another people. A decade from now at least two of them will be deeply embarrassed at their gross insensitivity. This selfie taken by bored kids in an army of Occupation has wings and a voice, the same one that came from Sinai, ”Let my people go.”

A day later on the website Mondoweiss ( the same picture was produced with the excellent caption The Banality of Evil.

Following the brief description several comments were posted:

• April 29, 2016, 1:25 pm
this photo should be on the front page of the nyt in all its banal, evil and lascivious glory

John O April 29, 2016, 1:53 pm
You’re right, DaBakr. High time more people saw what an ill-disciplined rabble the IDF are.
oldgeezer April 29, 2016, 7:56 pm
In the nyt version the Palestinians would be airbrushed out and the selfie used to demonstrate how western and girlish they are. How wholesome. What kind of depraved values were these young people raised with. Disgusting. The decent people in Israel need bodyguards. Only the rotting core is left besides those few courageous souls.

Refaat April 29, 2016, 3:29 pm

As a Palestinian kid growing up in occupied Gaza during the first Intifada, I have seen people arrested, killed, injured, and beaten. It was horrible. But what still sticks with my 20 years later are the regular sessions of humiliation at the hands of the Israeli occupation forces. Sometimes they would beat us for the fun it. Sometimes they would line us up and, smiling, a soldier would try to slap two or three of us with one hit. The others stood their giggling. That was one major reason why I threw stones at the passing Military jeeps later on.

• Kate April 30, 2016, 6:55 am

Thank you Refaat. Don’t know how you endured that – humiliation is often worse than injury and is inexcusable at any time. I have not forgotten or forgiven instances of humiliation that happened to me decades ago, and most were not as bad as what happened to you since there was usually less of an audience
I wonder if the Israelis have any idea how much hatred they engender with this behavior? Apparently not, since they continue to blame ‘incitement’ for any Palestinian resistance.