eumelia: (oh no!)
*SCREAMS*

ALL THE SPOILERS )

There is a lot of interpretation material in this ep. I don't know if I'll tease it out through meta or fic, especially considering I'm working through the weekend.

Stay tuned!
eumelia: (master politician)
If you follow international news about the Middle East, you will know that there has been an escalation of violence between Hamas and the IDF in the Gaza strip. You will also know, that there was an exchange of fire between Israeli and Syrian forces in the Golan Heights for the first time since 1973.

Very likely, this is spillover from the civil war and not actually intended for us, but you know, we fired warning shots back.

All of the above made think of the song "Love Is All Around" by The Troggs:


Only with alternate lyrics, which you can read under the cut.

Come on everyone, sing it with me. Consider this my pre-Local-Elections fanfare and transformative art, the prosody is a bit meh with my changes, but you'll cut me some slack on that one, right?

War Is All Around )
eumelia: (get a job)
I wrote this entry last night, but due to LJ feeling poorly, I'm posting this just as I'm heading out the door.

Maybe one of you will read it.




My brother asked me how work was and why I hadn't been writing about it.

My bitchy reply was that I was tired (sorry about that, big brother!)

And I am.

It's been a while since I worked these kind of hours. In fact, I'm pretty sure the last time I worked these kind of hours was way back when, when I was in the IDF!

So, yeah, tired.

Also, annoyed, because it was Remembrance Day eve last night and I told my 6 year old niece I would come see her participate in her school's ceremony - but I was stuck in the most massive traffic jam ever because the entire country was on the move in an attempt to get home before the ceremonies and the air siren that marks the start of the day sounded.

I ended up having to stand in the middle of the street as the siren sounded. I hate that.

I have a big distaste for the whole atmosphere of this day, considering I despise the glorification of death that this day requires, the compulsory heterosexuality of the day - because the dead soldier, who is always a man, will invariably leave behind a mother, a father and a wife/girlfriend - and everything is so bloody war mongering.

In any event, regarding my job. I now work for a big international company, to be known henceforth as The Company (yeah, not that Company... but it does sound mysterious, doesn't it?) in the capacity of content editor and SEO (that's search engine optimisation).

Being a n00b, I'm not actually doing much other than being trained and going through the database and learning things. My boss, to be known henceforth as Boss, is a bit impatient, I think, because I'm not the only new person on the team, so she's a bit stressed. But she is strict and I'm asking so many questions and I like having boundaries and an authority figure who I can identify with.

The floor is amazing, I love my colleagues. One of my best friends works there and he pushed my resume to Boss and he's been absolutely charming and helpful and it's so much fun to be able to be me among these people, as we're all a bunch of geeks!

One of my colleagues is a little, how do you say, not really into the whole slaty language thing and spelled out "bitch" in lieu of saying it and I, in a moment of complete id and fangirrlism, said: "bitca?" A la Xander Harris.

This began a 15 minutes discussion about Buffy, Dollhouse, Firefly, Joss in general, Farscape, Stargate, Battle Star Galactica, Star Trek and even Star Wars.

Boss, who is not into tv or sci-fi or anything like that concluded our status meeting with "Okay, good, and live long and prosper. That's what you people say to each other right?"

I was not the only one to do the Vulcan salute.

So yeah, I'm having a good time on my first week.

Old News

Mar. 30th, 2012 07:08 pm
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
Despite focusing lately on things not relating to the occupation in a direct manner, I still access the media and am as big a News junkie as ever.

As some of you may or may not know, today is Land Day, which is a commemorative day marking the strikes and protests Palestinians held in 1967 after the state (Israel) appropriated privately held Palestinian land. Thousands of dunams were basically stolen from under the owners feet.

This appropriation is still happening today, obviously.

But Land Day is a big event and such there are more demonstrators and many more wounded.

It's been a while since I've been involved in anti-occupation politics as I am focusing on more organised LGBT activism and, well, my life, but I don't think one can really separate the issues, as they colour every fraction of my life one way or another.

For instance, what does it mean that Israel cut ties with the UN Human Rights Commission, because they dared open up a probe regarding the building of settlements in the West Bank.

Apropos land appropriation. If I cared one whit about Israel's image I'd say we shoot ourselves in the foot, but seriously, we commit flagrant human rights violations every day, all the time. I can't say I'm surprised the foreign ministry started talking about Al-Qaeda (your guess is as good as mine as to why) and about how it's the Palestinian Authority committing - wait for it - diplomatic terrorism on Israel.

Because the state terrorism Israel commits on a regular basis is really not a part of the discourse.

Speaking of state sanctioned terror, and another reason why the IDF is a hierarchical, masculine-supremacist, racist and patriarchal institution of the worst kind?

(Trigger Warning: Rape Culture, Encouragement Of Rape, Overt Racism): IDF Colonel-Rabbi implies Rape is Permitted in War.

If you read the body of the text (heed the trigger warnings, my god!) you will see that when they write "imply", they actually mean "clearly states" that raping female prisoners is not only permitted, but actually encouraged!

...even though fraternizing with a gentile woman is a very serious matter, it was permitted during wartime (under the specific terms) out of understanding for the hardship endured by the warriors. And since the success of the whole at war is our goal, the Torah permitted the individual to satisfy the evil urge...


As the author of the article writes, this is the face of the IDF of 2012.

The fact that this kind of religious doctrine is actually published by the IDF is telling. Mainly, they they really can't see anything beyond their weeping national erection.

Despite the above, or possibly because of the above, I must mention Adrienne Rich's passing.

Her writing has been an inspiration to me for many years, both her poetry and essays - all of which have been a great aid to me when it came to my own feminism, even if I didn't agree with everything she had to say (her gender essentialism was and is notorious, despite the way she leveraged it so beautifully in the political and theoretical spheres).

She was also a Jewish woman who spoke out against the Israeli occupation of Palestine and a supporter of BDS, which, you know, is special.

She also spoke of the role and the responsibility of the poet, the writer, the artist to be political and proactive and not shy away from social justice in their work.

Someone is Writing a Poem
...But most often someone writing a poem believes in, depends on, a delicate, vibrating range of difference, that an “I” can become a “we” without extinguishing others, that a partly common language exists to which strangers can bring their own heartbeat, memories, images. A language that itself has learned from the heartbeat, memories, images of strangers...


May her memory be blessed.
eumelia: (bisexual fury)
It occurred to me that my previous post was a whole lot of whine and cheese about a life, in which, I really don't have all that much to complain about.

(BIG WARNING:Graphic Pictures of Wounds and Violence)

I mean, why complain about a leaky toilet when the IDF shoots a protester at point blank with a grenade launcher, subsequently kills him and proceed to attack the funeral procession.

Don't talk to me about the most moral army in the world, 'kay?

Speaking of fallacious images. Did you know that Israel is the best place to be gay in the Middle East? No, really, it is.

We have rights, and parties, and freedom of expression and places in which we can gather safely!

Oh, wait.

Considering what happened in 2009 at the LGBT youth club and the fact that the people who come to the Tel-Aviv LGBT centre and the park in which it is situated are routinely assaulted, the whole, "it's goo to be gay in Israel" stance is more dissonant than ever before.

My age is showing, because what I consider a "gay park" is not what they mean in the article.

Especially when you consider the fact that pinkwashing as a propaganda tactic is at an all time low. At least, I hope my fellow siblings aren't as gullible as the Foreign Office would like to believe.

I've spoken about Pinkwashing before and last month the whole shebang was blown out of the water by Sarah Schulman who posted a brilliant op-ed in the New York Times titled Israel and 'Pinkwashing', in which she writes:
[...]
In 2005, with help from American marketing executives, the Israeli government began a marketing campaign, “Brand Israel,” aimed at men ages 18 to 34. The campaign, as reported by The Jewish Daily Forward, sought to depict Israel as “relevant and modern.” The government later expanded the marketing plan by harnessing the gay community to reposition its global image.
[...]
The growing global gay movement against the Israeli occupation has named these tactics “pinkwashing”: a deliberate strategy to conceal the continuing violations of Palestinians’ human rights behind an image of modernity signified by Israeli gay life. Aeyal Gross, a professor of law at Tel Aviv University, argues that “gay rights have essentially become a public-relations tool,” even though “conservative and especially religious politicians remain fiercely homophobic.”


'nuff said, really.
eumelia: made by <lj site="livejournal.com" user="quadratur"> (target)
** This post contains spoilers for episode 2.03 of Hawaii Five-0 as well as triggers for frank discussion of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder **


It's hard for me to even talk about the content of this ep with any kind of analytic distance because it's all been overshadowed by the final scene.

I was in the military, the Israeli Defense Force, and it screwed me over.

Not to mention screwed me up.

The scene that triggered me in a way I hadn't been triggered in two years.

When I say the military screwed me up, I mean that I spent a month and a half in a situation room, similar in structure (though nowhere as fancy) as the Navy Intel the civilians just happen to invited to, watching drone footage and seeing a man explode to smithereens, while my fellow soldiers clapped and were oh so very smug.

You could say I went slightly crazy after that happened. And wouldn't you know, six months after the war I was diagnosed with a mild case of PTSD. Mild, because I could function "normally", my anxiety didn't cripple me, my hyper awareness didn't give me agoraphobia and my flashbacks were few and far between.

The screens, the night vision, the smug expressions of everyone's face (except Danny's) were all too much and my anxiety sky rocketed really fast.

So here I am, in my bed room, my eyes leaking a broken tap and I fucking hate Hawaii Five-0

The only thing that made me say "I'll watch this next week", after I spent an hour or so curled up in my bed talking to a friend on chat and calling another, was the fact that Danny, as he watched the fucking nightmare in night vision and gunfire, was freaked out.

On a more coherent level, I'm really not keen on the narrative of American Military might mowing down brown criminals.

Militarism is a destructive ideology and Hawaii Five-0, who has always been neutral when it came to politics, is taking a right turn here in a way I find extremely distressing.

Not to mention triggering.

Steve being morally ambiguous is fine, the military is often like that, my work with Air Force intelligence during my service has probably enabled the death of far too many people, but I don't think about that.

I think about the war I served and actually saw men die in – suffice to say my politics took a radical left turn after that.

I don't want to see my politics reflected back at me, that's boring, but must I have this fucking Freudian fetish of Military = Good?

One of the symptoms of my PTSD is rage. Like uncontrollable rage. My heart has been beating double time since this morning and it feels like my brain is trying to crack my skull wide open.

I am fucking pissed at them for showing operations like that noble and good and mighty. They are not. They are dark, murky, morally ambiguous at best if not downright evil.

When I saw that man die, five years ago, he was blown up by a drone; I was on comms with those pilots twelve hours a day. I spent four shifts in a row listening in to Pilot School drop outs, writing down and shouting out co-ordinates until my throat was raw.

Situation rooms are only calm when something explodes and then they are a flurry of activity.

Two years of not much more than hyper awareness and spikes of anger and now I feel like I want to trash my room and destroy everything.

Thank god Danny, at least, had the decency to look askance at what he was seeing.
eumelia: (ctrl+alt+delete)
As promised, this is a follow up to my previous post (LJ/DW) regarding the IDF soldier who posted pictures of herself and "the best time of her life" on Facebook.

It appears that this woman is just keen to dig herself deeper. As often happens on the Internet, this incident has taken on a life of its own. Honestly, I don't have the inclination to get very deep into this, because honestly it's not so much her stupidity that bothers me, but the fact that she has become a meme in the Israeli Blogosphere.

And what this memes, means.

This morning this meme reached the mainstream media (seriously disturbing language therein and quoted below):
[...]Since the photos were published by blogger Ido Keinan earlier this week, dozens of people have uploaded images on to their own Facebook pages depicting similar situations.

Abergil responded on Facebook to an image in which a women was pasted instead of the Palestinian prisoners in the original images, saying that it was not funny and that she would not let anyone ruin her "perfect life."

"I can't allow Arab lovers to ruin the perfect life I lead," she allegedly wrote. "I am not sorry and I don’t regret it."

Ms. Abergil is no doubt a particularly vile specimen of humanity. She is however, I think, being singled out in a way that would not have happened to a male soldier.
I mean, about a month ago the video of IDF soldiers dancing to Ke$ha is Hebron made the rounds and that was just hilarious wasn't it? The boys letting out some steam, of course.
The fact is what Eden Abergil did was not rare, you can go to Breaking the Silence's picture gallery and testimonials page (one for with testimonies made by female soldiers, carefull, PDF) and see how prevalent this dehumanisation is.
And yet, it is Eden Abergil who is singled out. Yes, she is the one to put herself on Facebook, but those guys put themselves on YouTube.

Eden Abergil is a woman, not only that, she's a woman from a Jewish ethnic minority and thus racialised within Israeli Jewish Identity politics and therefore what she did was "stupid" and "damaging".
If this had been a man, I believe we would be hearing a very different tune, one that wouldn't be talking about foibles, but about ethics.

Alas, we shall never know.
But we do know. Because a woman humiliating a man is always more punishable than when a man is humiliating a man - especially when there is a clear hierarchy between who is powerful (soldier) and who is dis-empowered (detainee).

Once again, this is considered a PR fiasco and not a necrotic wound in the way the IDF operates in the field.

Are you surprised when you hear about soldiers looting places they've taken over? No? Why should you be, as Eden Abergil herself says "In war there are no rules".

Yeah, who gives a fuck about the Geneva Conventions?

Sorry, I'm derailing myself.

Over the past few days evidence has been found that says that IDF soldiers, the crème de la crème of the Israeli Special Forces, looted the ships they raided during the disastrous flotilla to Gaza back in June (DW link).
The IDF is, of course, absolutely shocked by this turn in events.
"If the suspicions prove to be true, there must be a serious problem in the IDF in terms of values," a senior Israel Defense Forces officer said Thursday morning following Ynet's revelation on Wednesday that an officer is suspected of stealing laptops from the highly controversial aid flotilla to Gaza and selling them along with other soldiers.

"In such a case, we will not be able to say that these are just weeds," the senior officer added.

Weeds.
Stray weeds has been the excuse for years and years and years.
I, for one, am not shocked.
Not am I appalled.
This is what soldiers of every army all over the world do, the sense of entitlement, of power and ownership is hard wired into our minds by tacit approval that we can do no wrong.

In all these incidences I hear talk of values. But all I see is spin.

Damn you don't want to know what else I have open in my tags.
More bad News coming out of my country later.
eumelia: (verbiage)
A story broke out yesterday, regarding former female soldier of the IDF, Eden Abergil, who posted photos of herself on Facebook with detained Palestinians tied and blindfolded captioned:
"Army... Best Time Of My Life :) "

This has been making headlines two days in a row, who would have thunk it, that a stupid young woman's narcissism and obtuseness would raise more awareness about the inhuman treatment of Palestinians by the IDF than Breaking the Silence ever could, or the picture and story of a crying Palestinian boy

The worst thing about this is, of course, that she has no idea that she did anything wrong.
This quote really encompass the way the Army desensitizes us from feeling any compassion towards those we've been indoctrinated to not view as human:
"I still don't understand what's wrong," [Eden Abergil] told Army Radio on Thursday, saying that the "pictures were taken in good will, there was no statement in them."

"Good will" is actually supposed to be in "Good faith", but the translations sometimes go a bit too literal, in good faith, as in without the intent to cause any harm.
Of course, she didn't want to hurt anyone, she didn't consider the props of her military experience as remotely human.
Of having any will of their own. Of having any ability to consent to these photographs or to being the backdrop of this person's best days and on what was most likely their worst.

The real problem is, it's hard for me to lay the blame solely on Abergil's shoulders, in her point of view she treated the Palestinians with decency and perhaps, compares with the horror stories that have come out of Hebron, Gaza and the villages around the West Bank settlements, she really did.

The problem is, that this is a norm. The fact that this is a norm, dehumanising prisoners, treating them as props, having absolutely no perspective as to what it means to be in a position in which you are sitting with a bunch of blindfolded and tied up men, taking pictures for your amusement and treating that time as beautiful, is a terrible truth we have to contend with.

The truth is that the IDF does terrible things. Things that traumatise Palestinians and Israelis alike.
Call me naive, but when I read about soldiers who attack Peace Activists handing out flyers I'm inclined to believe that this kid is feeling that he's being judged by them (and he is by virtue of being part of the IDF that is under critical scrutiny by us Peacniks) and lashes out at what he perceives an attack on his Brothers in Arms, his meaning for living at the moments. National Pride may be a part of it, but that's a very rationalised argument and one usually given in retrospect.

Aside from that, there is a gender angle here of course, because this is a female soldier and female soldiers, are very much fetishised. PR campaigns for the IDF will always use pretty blonde soldiers, this article from Sociological Images (Potentially NSFW) paints the picture much better than I ever could.
Female soldiers should be "like men", but not too much, because they need to be desirable as well.
These are the acts of a "proper" female soldiers. You can bet that if it were a male soldier, the amount of air time and articles written on this would be drastically less. Not that the act would have been any less terrible, but it would be perceived as less, after all, this is not something new.

For me personally, my time in the Army was a time of great boredom and the making of friends. Some of my closest friends are people I met in during my service. I have many friends who did not serve.
I feel no shame in having done my time, had I known then what I know now, I would have refused and caused a great deal of pain and disappointment to my family.

That Word

Aug. 3rd, 2010 11:43 am
eumelia: (ctrl+alt+delete)
You know, generally speaking, I think it's a mistake to use the word Apartheid when speaking of Israel proper (the West Bank and Gaza are, of course, under Apartheid rule) possibly because my family is South African.

Most likely, because it is one of the reasons my family immigrated and sought out a better life. I mean, even if they were white, they were still Jews.

Zionism probably looked like a good deal. I wonder how it is living up to the dream.

I have no dreams of that kind. Of packing up and leaving for a better life in a land far away from the one I was born in. I am not an immigrant, despite living with a bunch of them and I wonder if that has made me take this country for granted.

Possibly. But so what? By virtue of being Jewish I have no fear of deportation, nor do I have any fear of imprisonment for anything to do with my ethnicity.

Unlike the 400 children of immigrant workers who are to be deported. Without their parents, because Netanyahu's government is heartless, cruel, near-sighted.
Consider, that this is how Netanyahu justifies the Cabinet's decision to deport these children:
"This is a reasonable and balanced decision," Netanyahu said Sunday after deciding to deport hundreds of migrant workers' children. "It was influenced by two primary considerations - the humanitarian consideration and the Zionist consideration. We're looking for a way to absorb and adopt to our hearts children who were brought up and raised here as Israelis. On the other hand, we don't want to create an incentive that will lead to hundreds of thousands of illegal migrant workers flooding the country," he said.

Consider, that just this morning, 230 immigrants from North America - i.e. Americans and Canadians - arrived in Israel, 85 of them are going to enlist immediately into the IDF.
A "privilege" they are denying an Intersex Haredi man. This here, is intersectionality. I mean, a Haredi man, who wants to serve, is denied because his body doesn't match the criteria of manhood.

I wish we would stop pretending we're a democracy and just acknowledge that we're a liberal ethnocracy (as my friend Yael, aptly put), because see, we're not totalitarian in the classical sense. We have no actual dictator or figure head... we have a pervasive ideology, which we cow-tow to and destroy lives to live up to.

That act of Jewish immigration is, I'm sorry to say, Apartheid. Not the same kind that was committed in South Africa and indeed, perhaps it is the wrong word, it is often a word which doesn't mean what we think it means. So here's what it means to me; as a person who grew up hearing it, hearing about Nelson Mandela and growing up under the love and care of people who wanted me to be colour-blind: Apartheid )

The Occupation is not just in Palestine. Apartheid may have a very specific meaning, but language is a very flexible thing. And separateness (which is the translated meaning of the word) may not actually be what it means, but difference, prejudice and the assumption that this is done for the good of the nation, is appalling.

I was going to write some more about the fact that different Jewish groups are treated differently under the law, about pinkwashing, about the privilege of writing this and being (relatively) safe.
But that would just be procrastination.
eumelia: (omg lesbians!)
Wow, the US Military Machine is a Paranoid entity.

Seriously? This?!?!

Large Image Under The Cut )

Generally speaking, I don't have a lot of good to say about the military, the IDF being a prome target of my criticism regarding militarism, fascist mentality and conservative notions of gender and sexuality.

And of course, general critique of war and the social order.

But one thing I have to hand to the IDF, they are good when it comes to formal rights of LGB people in the service (Trans people, as far as I am aware, should they be out and in transition are not drafted under a medical clause). There's the general misogyny and homophobia which can a bit over board in such a machismo centric system, but formally, your rights as an LGB individual are protected in the service to my country.

Or something.

It's been so since 1993 (yeah, the same year the US Army's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" policy was instated) - in which sexual orientation was removed as a risk factor regarding posts of a sensitive nature, same sex partners are awarded the same benefits as opposite sex partners and soldiers are even allowed to participate in Pride (privately, of course... not so much in uniform).

Back to that comic after than long and convoluted aside.

What the fuck?! Really?

What is this fear? I really don't, don't understand it. I mean, I do, obviously, being a functioning member of society that imbibes homophobia, sexism and other forms of bigotry on a daily basis, what I don't understand it the reason for it to be so terrifying.

I've read the theory. I can explain how this terror works. Power, pleasure, privilege and Othering.

Intellectually, I know. I do not understand, how, rather than attempt to treat people as though they were created equal by virtue of being born - someone would rather write a policy entrenching inequality and disfranchisement into a system in which hierarchy in already compounded by power, pleasure, privilege and dehumanisation.

Who had that bright idea?
eumelia: (media lies)
I know it seems like I'm constantly talking about this, but honestly this stuff is scary and so blandly disingenuous that I'm not sure people actually realise the danger of this sort enterprise.

There was a "Police Day" at an elementary school in a small town in the centre of Israel.

Just the title got me prickly with anxiety:
At 'Police Day,' first-graders get to play with real rifles and machine guns

"An educational institution should educate for civic values and independent thought, not admiration for force," said Amit Sharon, whose daughter attends one of the schools. Border Police spokesman Chief Superintendent Moshe Fintzy said the program was authorized and coordinated with the Education Ministry. "We're not like Hezbollah, which train kids to commit suicide," he said.
[...]
[Another parent] noted that although the children understood that all the weapons were used for dispersing demonstrations, there were no explanations about why people held protests or when they might need to be dispersed. "As far as they know now, all protests need to be disbanded by any means necessary. That's hardly education for democracy," he said.


I live in fear of the future generation if this is the public education, especially when one parent is quoted saying:
"the children were very impressed by the demonstrations, especially by the dogs that attacked and stopped someone on command. I don't understand their complaints - there's nothing wrong with demonstrating Border Police activities. It's part of the reality of life here. The kids' tender souls weren't hurt".

Jesus.

Of course, Israeli schools are the "shit" these days, what with racial segregation which is finally being cracked down after years of this shit going on in the Orthodox Settlement of Immanuel.

And yes, when I say Settlement, I mean it is a town built in the West Bank, Palestine. So, yeah.
Racism.

The irony is anvilicious.
eumelia: (infantile response)
I haven't updated, as I should have, regarding the flotilla ships and the fact that we have gone utterly bonkers, not that that's News.

But I'm exhausted. In about an hour I'm heading out to a demo, calling for the government to stop sinking us deeper and deeper into a position in which we will have no way out. Not that Netanyahu, Barak and Lieberman give a flying fuck about any demonstration calling for them to act like decent human beings.

That's fantasy land.

Regarding those who died on board the ships and eyewitness accounts )

I have to say that I'm really sickened by the way the Israeli media machine and general public just lap up, no questions asked, everything that comes out of the IDF spokesman's office.

Like this video, from the IDF spokesman office, which recorded and uploaded the Israeli Navy's call to the Mavi Marmara:



If you go to time - 00:38, you will hear the following:
The Israeli government supports delivery of humanitarian supplies to the civilian population in the gaza strip and invites you to enter the Ashdod port. delivery of the supplies, in accordance with the authorities regulation, will be through the formal land crossings

The emphasised (by me) part is crucial, as it exposes the lie of that entire utterance.

"In accordance to the authorities regulation", that the only supplies that can be shipped into Gaza are the ones decided by Israel, meaning that everything on board that flotilla was banned - I've heard reports from the other day and yesterday that Hamas was rejecting the supplies brought into Israel via the flotilla, I don't know what that means, but that in no way absolves Israel's lie regarding the fact that they were planning on passing the supplies.

They never intended to, because in included the following "banned" material:
Sesame
Books
Chocolate
Clothes
Pomegranates
Preserved meat
Semolina
Butter
Kiwi
Cherries
Green Almonds
Shoes
Mattresses
Wheel Chairs
...Among other things. These are banned for "Security Reasons".
My peachy white ass.

The reason for this arbitrary list is pure interest and not security, "as such":
“If you go back two years, you see that it was utter foolishness,” says a senior officer who was serving in [Israeli Coordinator of Government Activities in the [Occupied] Territories] when the blockade was imposed. “There was a vague, unclear policy, influenced by the interests of certain groups, by this or that lobby, without any policy that derived from the needs of the population. For example, the fruit growers have a powerful lobby, and this lobby saw to it that on certain days, from 20-25 trucks full of fruit were brought into Gaza. It’s not that it arrived there and was thrown out, but if you were to ask a Gazan who lives there, it’s not exactly what he needs. What happened was that the Israeli interest took precedence over the needs of the populace.”


Don't tell me the siege is done in order to save Gilad Shalit or to stop the rockets from falling on Sderot. The Israeli Air Force flies over head and drops bombs all the time. In the went bank non-violent demonstrations against the Occupation turn violent because Soldiers fire tear gas grenade launches straight into the crowds and rubber bullets are actual bullets wrapped in rubber. All those "non-lethal" weapons have killed.

Regarding Israeli political fallout )

The focus of the media on the activists violence in self-defence is completely disproportional to the violence committed by the soldiers, by orders of their superior officers, of the ministry of love defence and of the Prime Minister's office.
I could go on.

This was not about defending Israel. This was not about Gilad Shalit.

While everyone is talking about Israel's image, I'm far more concerned about its character and my own.

But Israel just wants to save its face, never mind that it's showing its ass.
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
At least 10 activists killed as Israel navy opens fire on Gaza aid flotilla.

As someone said to me, sometimes the non-violent solidarity groups act as cover for the violent solidarity group.

Oh, wait...

I'm genuinely shocked that it took such a violet turn. That there are so many wounded and killed and that the IDF just opened fire on ships they knew had European Legislators, Nobel Laureates, VIP's who are known activists and a bunch of civilians.

Al-Jazeera reports that the incident took place in international waters.

This is bad bad bad, horrible.

I can't even begin to talk about this. This is just so wrong.

Whoever gave theses orders was out of their mind!

This is not what I expected when I went to bed last night.
eumelia: (Default)
Congratulations America,

I'm glad you're joined the ranks of Britain, The Netherlands, Sweden and Israel (among other nations) who do not allow soldiers to be discriminated with regards to their sexuality.

Kudos, America. Kudos.

Throughout the years in which I've heard and listened to the truly demoralising state of queers in the American Armed Forces, I've always heard Israel being used as a prime example of how inclusive the IDF is to gay men and women.

I mean, there's no institutionalised discrimination like in the US (did I mention Kudos).

Because as Sen. Barney Frank is quoted saying:
"[that the IDF is] as effective a fighting force as has existed in modern times,” does not bar gay men or lesbians from service.

It is truly a mark of progression.

I'm cynical. And yes, I am using this as an opportunity to be critical of my own locale, because it irks me to see Israel venerated as an oasis of equality and democracy in the Middle East. Considering our neighbors, I find it quite offensive that we're bragging about how good "we" are to queers, when it should be fucking human decency!

The two worst insults you will hear among Israeli soldiers will be "Gay" or "Female", both of which allude to the same thing - "you're not man enough".
No insult is greater.
While there is no legal discrimination against gays in the army, and up until 1993 gays were not allowed to serve in the Intelligence services because they were prone to blackmail and up until that decision outed gays were told to tattle on other gay soldiers.

Things aren't bad.

Then again, Israel was always a little a head of the curve from the US when it came to gay rights. But then another again, why compare ourselves to an ocean away when just a leap to, say, Sweden, and we're put smack back among our neighbors.

But that's in Israel. If you're Jewish and served your country, you'll just be murdered once in a while, or told you're a disease by Members of Knesset. You won't be discriminated against.
Much.
You know, except when you want to donate blood, or have children.

Gay men, that is.

What's a Lesbian?

Bi and Trans... mythological fringe identities, at the very least.

My point? Oh, yeah, homosexuality is still used as blackmail material in the West Bank by the Shin-Bet (Israel's Security Agency, my friends and I like to call them the Stasistim) to get Palestinians to collaborate. And then they need to be given asylum in Israel for being gay.
I like how for security reasons the stratification of homophobia in the most disenfranchised population is encouraged.

It is truly a mark regression.

Once again America. Welcome to a fairer, more equal Army experience.
eumelia: (nice jewish girl)
This being a personal blog in which I talk about as assortment of stuff, some more interesting to you, dear readers, than others, I feel it's important to disseminate information, even if it doesn't actively concern you.
It actively concerns me, so I suppose that's good enough.

Some of you may know about the gag order placed in Israel regarding an "espionage" case.

I don't want to talk about Anat Kam, journalist who was placed under house arrest since December for handing over "top secret" documents that show the IDF breaking High Court Rullings regarding, among other things, the assassinations of various Palestinian leaders.
She handed over this classified information to Ha'aretz journalist Uri Balu while she was doing her time in the IDF.
Uri Blau himself is now in exile in London because the Shin-Bet (what in Hebrew we call the Shabak, שב"כ, which is the acronym for "General Security Services"... they're not a Secret Police, they have carte blanche to do things the police and the IDF cannot do... like break into homes of activists, tap their phones, allegedly torture "security"/"political" prisoners and recruit via any means necessary Palestinian collaborators.

I want to talk about the fact that during my time in the IDF, I too was privy to classified information but I was too naive, insular, politically unaware and oblivious to actually understand that what I was doing was doing more harm to people's lives, than good.

What do I mean by this?

My life as a middle class Ashkenazi Jewish girl in a middle class town a twenty minute drive westward from Tel Aviv insulated me, totally, to the reality of what was going on a twenty minute drive eastward, across the border - "The Green Line". All I knew, before I was drafted in 2003, was that the West Bank had lots of Settlers and Palestinians blew themselves up from time to time.

I was fucking clueless. More on that, because this is long )

This is so tiring.

Israel is only "liberal" for some people who live here.

Wake up!
eumelia: (fight like a girrl)
I met Sarah Schulman yesterday in Tel-Aviv.

I and a few other lesbian identified (boy this is complicated for me) women are trying to get together a grass roots movement off the ground, aimed at creating lesbian visibility which is lacking in the gay community and generally speaking (my aim is also to weed out biphobia and bisexual erasure with in the lesbian community) and make feminism accessible to young women - feminism is very much perceived to be a high brow theoretical thing, something that only the educated can be and something that doesn't actually help women, or anyone, from a lower socio-economic base.

Sad, but true. We're very backwards here when it comes to feminism on the street.

Any way. Ms. Schulman came to speak with us and it was a really wonderful experience. We were five women in a Tel-Aviv apartment lounge and Ms. Schulman. It was very intimate.
I had no idea who she was until my fellow group member told me she was coming to Israel on a solidarity trip to Israel-Palestine. We spoke the structure of oppression, the disinformation, the fact that we are such a teeny-tiny minority (radical queers, anti-Occupation activists - I should do more), how the IDF stratifies class mobility, how class is tied with ethnicity, what it means to have served, what it means to not have served, the PTSD mentality that's infected people here, that is and how LGBTQ rights are used as propaganda to the outside world to show how fucking liberal Israel really is.

When we're not.

At all.

Hence the fact that the murderer of the gay youth club shooting is still at large. Fuck, I can't believe it's been eight months and still nothing. There are kids who are still in rehab wards in the hospitals and they're not going to be getting social security welfare because this shooting doesn't count as an "Act of Terror" when it fucking was!

Yes. Okay. The past year was a big kick in the ass for me when it came to treatment of queers in Israel, by the State and from society at large.

I asked her about her book Ties That Bind: Familial Homophobia and its consequences, which I've just ordered. She was very informative and made me feel better about the fact that I don't actually want an "alternative" family.
My family has enough estrangement and I can't bear the thought of not having them in my life.

Homophobia in the family, like everything else, isn't a personal thing. It's a political thing. And it really needs to be exposed for what it is and not just focus on the fact that "oh, parents, siblings etc. just need to "get used to the idea".

I don't have time for people to get used to the fact that I fucking exist.

Any way, it was fascinating and we spoke about being gay, radical and how we want to include women from every where and be more direct action, which we should have asked more about because of Schulman's involvement in ACT UP and Lesbian Avengers.

I think I'll email her at some point.

This was a bit angry, a bit not. Well, mostly angry. But it was a really god meeting. It's a real privilege to meet people like her.
eumelia: (Default)
I understand hate.

That feeling of disgust that sits at the pit of your stomach when you think of something or someone you wish simply didn't exist.

I understand wanting to eliminate that source of that seemingly wants to take over your life, that by simply existing, changes you or casts a shadow upon who you are.

There's a reason love and hate are so closely tied together - both emotions bring about physical changes and you can't help but want to expel and express those emotions.

What I don't understand and with great hope never will, is prejudice. Prejudice has many symptomes, hate is only one of them and it is such an impersonal hate that I can't understand it. Hate (like love) are so personal and energy consuming, I'm always baffled as to why you'd bother to hate a group of people.

Of course, I understand how it works, how it expressed, how it is reproduced... all that. I've made it my business to counter all of that.

But for the life of me I do not get it.

I do not get how people (like retired US General John Sheehan) can say things like the fact that the Dutch army has openly gay soldiers caused the massacre and genocide in Srebrenica.
Why?
Because "homosexuality" is bad for morale.

For Fuck Fucking Fuckity Sake!!!!!!!!!!!

My rage issues resurfaced, before I did my breathing exercises. Beyond him being totally and utterly wrong, saying things like that are is simple incitement and I doubt anyone will do anything about it.

Queers are always fair game for slander.

And way to completely reduce that kind of tragedy to absurdity. This beyond a simple case of arrogant ignorance.

Fucking hell.
eumelia: (Default)
One of the most lauded attributes the IDF uses to promote itself as an enlightened and ultimately is the egalitarian treatment between female and male soldiers.

This is bullshit, but it is an image that it quite convincingly manages to throw around - persuading us that through service social equality is gained - yeah.

Combat units in which female integration have supposedly worked the best are the border patrol units. Many women serve at the check points and in the units that patrol the West Bank.

I've blogged about Breaking The Silence (BTS) before, which is an NGO that collects testimonials from soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories and publish it for public knowledge and consumption.
Obviously, they and other organisations critical of the IDF are quietly persecuted and spoken about in the most Antisemitic and anti-Humane terms I've ever heard - "Self-hating", "deluded", "bleeding hearts", "self-destructive".
As though loyalty to the IDF is the litmus of being loyal to the notion that our lives are worth something.

Any way.

BTS published on Friday the 29th of January (yesterday) a new testimony booklet. This one is testimonials of female soldiers.
"A female combat soldier needs to prove more…a female soldier who beats up others is a serious fighter…when I arrived there was another female there with me, she was there before me…everyone spoke of how impressive she is because she humiliates Arabs without any problem. That was the indicator. You have to see her, the way she humiliates, the way she slaps them, wow, she really slapped that guy."

This is a quote from the article (which is problematic and essentialist. Then again, it's YNET) and a woman in this "feminist" army needs to prove she's as good as any man.
She must be violent towards the population the army is policing.

I always find it hair raising when I hear women who serve in the IDF call themselves feminists. It is a kind of feminism. A feminism that only focuses on her own career trying to gain the privilege allotted only to men in that position.

Not too long ago, I had a class in which the discussion of whether the use of the word "feminist" wasn't shooting ourselves in the foot because of the negative connotation.
It's an old and tried debate in my opinion, so I won't regale you on what was said - but one classmate said that as a reserve pilot she refused to consider her gender when she put on her uniform and flew - then, she was just a pilot.

Related though tangential, I have a friend who participates in sexist jokes in her workplace in order to have an environment that she isn't considered a stick in the mud and "one of those" women. Yeah.

Back to the IDF.
Female soldiers in order to show and prove that they are as good as any man, have to be "worse" than their male fellow soldiers.
Prove she's got the "balls", so to speak.

All the people who give testimony to BTS bear witness to the Occupation from the vantage point of those who actively perpetrate it. These soldiers are the nuts and bolts of the Occupation and they come back into "civilian society" with this baggage.
People wonder why Israel can't let go of trauma.
We're all infected with PTSD.

The testimonies are hard to read. They were harder for me to read than previous ones by men, because alas, I am socialised to view men as violent. And women who are violent are aberrant.
Not the case.
So very much not the fucking case.

If this is the meaning of an egalitarian army and this is the means through which Israeli Jewish women gain more power later in life, then the very basic notion of a human being is, is utterly, completely and foundationally twisted in the hegemonic Israeli mind.

Here are the links to the PDF file of the testimonials: In Hebrew and in English.
eumelia: (Default)
Within three months of being enlisted into the IDF I put on something like 5 kg.
I had cried, tears rolled down my face, as I told my mother I had jock itch because my thighs were rubbing together, along with the very ill-fitting uniform.
I didn't wear clothes in my proper size for the two years that I served.

Food in the IDF is disgusting.

I was not vegetarian at the time, but I pretended to be, because the processed tofu schnitzels looked more appetizing and less likely to give me salmonella than the "regular" food.

Having done kitchen duty like a champ, I can tell you, the cooks are over worked, it's an yucky job, you have to deal with teenaged girls being grossed out by things (being a young aunt cured me of viewing leftover food as gross) that they've seen people eat and, well, dealing with the fact that despite having the most "practical" power (they're the wheelers and dealers of the army) they're in fact the lowest echelon of military jobs.

Yeah, the food was gross. We comforted ourselves by going to buy chocolate, biscuits, chocolate-chip cookies, crackers and cheese...

Yeah, it was good times in the barracks.

Is it any surprise girls (who do not do combat, which most of us do not) put on, on average, 10 kg of weight throughout our two year run.

I got thinking about because I saw this News article.
It made me guffaw. That's another way of saying LOL.

The IDF is going to cut out of its menu in the canteens (i.e. the cafeteria where you get your food for free) the fattening pastry foods - mainly Bourekas and rogalach - which have been traditional foods found in meetings, unit gatherings and, as mentioned, the canteens.

Nothing like promoting more resentment in the ranks!

I mean, I understand the need and want to promote "good health" which is a real oxymoron in the military - I cannot tell you how many yeast infections I had during my service because the trousers I wore five days a week was basically spun plastic.

Also, Doctors generally do not believe soldiers who come to the infirmary, their initial thought is that you are there to get sick-leave, which are days off not docked from your regular holidays.

You basically have to be dying in order to get treatment - or be at the emergency room with an actual bodily trauma.

Yeah, "good health".

Food is a big deal in the army.
It's something we arrange our time around - two hour lunch breaks are not unheard of, hell, unless I had something extremely pressing to do I could spend more time faffing around looking for chocolate and drinking seven cups of coffee a day (which was my average, I was up to ten cups a day at some point... withdrawal was a bitch after I was discharged).

Food was my comfort. Mainly because the food presented to us in the canteens was just so bad. Any other food was great and much of it was eaten.

I've spoken about the uniform before, so I don't need to tell you about the gendered aspect of it, but I remember how one day, I felt cramps, it wasn't that time of the month, so I went to the bathroom, opened my belt and instant relief.
Yeah, my belt had been pressing into me.
You can imagine what I did next.
I cried like the big baby I am/was.

Looking back, I can't say I felt bad about putting on the weight. It was something I didn't consciously think about - I mean, I hated myself for being "fat", but I was never ever willing to give up food that made me feel good.

That period of my life was full of half-assed attempts at weight loss.
"Weight Watchers" is a nightmare, as though we don't get judged enough in our lives.
Eating smaller portions got me eating more instead of less.
I got into shouting matches with my mother over my weight and what I was willing to do, or not do, in order to "control myself".

Yeah, food was a battle ground.

I don't know how much I eat today. I know that over the past few months I've lost weight, which worried me for a while, because weight loss has become something I associate with trauma and I still don't know what has caused me to become even smaller than I was.

Food in the IDF was part of what got me through it. Take outs, cakes, biscuits, the gatherings... *sigh* good times.
But they made my plastic pants split at the seam.

I'm glad it's over, never to return.

At times, it seemed to never end. I was even about to sign up for more - I was insane and full of fear of the outside world at the time - so when that fell through I suddenly had two weeks left of service.
The relief (and the weight loss that commenced simply because I was happy to be outside that framework) was unbelievable.

Related but off tangent; I don't know if Kung Fu is for me. I was in the best shape of my life while I was in those classes, but I didn't know how to protect myself, which pretty much negates the purpose...

As mentioned, I'm now thin, but very out of shape. I'm a slob, I don't exercise, I should, but I don't - I need to maלe the decision to go back to martial arts, but I need to want it and at the moment... I don't.

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Eumelia

June 2015

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V and Justice

V: Ah, I was forgetting that we are not properly introduced. I do not have a name. You can call me V. Madam Justice...this is V. V... this is Madam Justice. hello, Madam Justice.

Justice: Good evening, V.

V: There. Now we know each other. Actually, I've been a fan of yours for quite some time. Oh, I know what you're thinking...

Justice: The poor boy has a crush on me...an adolescent fatuation.

V: I beg your pardon, Madam. It isn't like that at all. I've long admired you...albeit only from a distance. I used to stare at you from the streets below when I was a child. I'd say to my father, "Who is that lady?" And he'd say "That's Madam Justice." And I'd say "Isn't she pretty."

V: Please don't think it was merely physical. I know you're not that sort of girl. No, I loved you as a person. As an ideal.

Justice: What? V! For shame! You have betrayed me for some harlot, some vain and pouting hussy with painted lips and a knowing smile!

V: I, Madam? I beg to differ! It was your infidelity that drove me to her arms!

V: Ah-ha! That surprised you, didn't it? You thought I didn't know about your little fling. But I do. I know everything! Frankly, I wasn't surprised when I found out. You always did have an eye for a man in uniform.

Justice: Uniform? Why I'm sure I don't know what you're talking about. It was always you, V. You were the only one...

V: Liar! Slut! Whore! Deny that you let him have his way with you, him with his armbands and jackboots!

V: Well? Cat got your tongue? I though as much.

V: Very well. So you stand revealed at last. you are no longer my justice. You are his justice now. You have bedded another.

Justice: Sob! Choke! Wh-who is she, V? What is her name?

V: Her name is Anarchy. And she has taught me more as a mistress than you ever did! She has taught me that justice is meaningless without freedom. She is honest. She makes no promises and breaks none. Unlike you, Jezebel. I used to wonder why you could never look me in the eye. Now I know. So good bye, dear lady. I would be saddened by our parting even now, save that you are no longer the woman I once loved.

*KABOOM!*

-"V for Vendetta"

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