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“Hurt them like we hurt Hizbullah, until it was not worth it for them to go on”

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“It is permitted to bomb an urban area, as crowded as it may be” to “create deterrence, and they [the resistance] will realise it does not pay them off to use their rockets.” Prof Asa Kasher


“The IDF is a moral army, and criticising it is an act against democracy. I am in favour of targeted killings because the moral explanation behind it is very good.” are some of the statements made by Prize laureate and ethics-expert Prof Asa Kasher, in an interview with Israel Hayom on the 8th of August 2014.


I’ve asked Jamal Daher, a writer, researcher, and the Chairperson of the Department of Philosophy at Birzeit University to analyse Prof Kasher’s statements: “Prof Kasher does not speak as a philosopher but he is also not only The Occupier, but The Fascist Occupier.”

 

Prof. Asa Kasher was quoted saying on the 8th of August:

“ We meet the requirements of morality. Talking about the number of dead is irrelevant. It is not an indicative of the lack of rigour of the army or of wrong doing. I am in favour of targeted killings because the moral explanation behind it is very good. My point of view is that it is permitted to bomb an urban area – as crowded as it may be – when there is a person who is planning terrorist acts in it, despite the possibility of death of unrelated people around him.

In the midst of a war criticism does not help, it is a shot in the back. During the war tens of thousands of people are in a situation of life or death. Therefore, one should not interfere. Criticism has no place at this moment.

World opinion? They do not understand anything and have a vague and superficial goodness which leads them to momentary identification with the underdog. It has nothing to do with reality and nothing to do with the norms.” 1

Jamal Daher: ”Limiting the conversation to the ethics of the Israeli “Defence” Forces in Gaza is risky. Not to hold Israel accountable internationally for its practices in Gaza is not only a breach of ethical standards, but also of laws and of international treaties.”

1,975 people were killed in Gaza, 71% of them verified civilians (only 13% verified armed forces), 459 of them children, 10,197 Palestinians are injured, 365,000 are in emergency shelters or with host families (UN figures on the morning of 15.08.14) Are all of us who oppose this massacre irrational emotional fools?

 

I am in favour of targeted killings” Asa Kasher

In 2004 Prof Kasher took part in an IDF forum who formulated what is known as “The ethics code for war on terror”. Without going into details (at least 7 out of the 11 articles have clearly been broken, but I could only verify them on Wikipedia ), not only does this range of ethical rules not constitute a reference to the practices of Israeli “Defence” Forces in Gaza, but it does not constitute a reference to the statements made by Prof Asa Kasher himself – like his statement “My point of view is the it is permitted to bomb an urban area, as crowded as it may be, when there is a person who is planning terrorist acts in it, despite the possibility of death of unrelated people around him.”

Jamal: “Such statement is not one made by a philosopher, but by an occupier who ignores the problem of war crimes while concentrating on achieving its objectives.”

But Prof Kasher does not stop there: “To say that one rocket from Gaza or from the north means we failed, is a complete misunderstanding. In the new wars our goals can not be zero rockets. This is a complete misunderstanding of the situation. We have to reach a situation where our military action would create deterrence, and they will realize it does not pay them off to use their rockets.”

What does Kasher actually mean? “it is permitted to bomb an urban area, as crowded as it may be” to “created deterrence, and they (the resistance) will realize it does not pay them off to use their rockets.”

Jamal Daher: “Palestinian citizens, men, women and children, are the target of Israeli military operations. Meaning, in other words, that residential areas are not hit because of the presence of Palestinian resistance, but are a goal in itself.” – and that without being criticised.

 

In the midst of a war criticism is a shot in the back.” Asa Kasher

So when is a good time to criticise Israel? According to Prof Kasher the answer is simple – Never.

A clue to understanding Prof. Kashers’s opinion about this question can be found back in 2004 when Israeli conscientious objectors started gathering together and writing various public letter explaining the reasons behind their objection. While discussing such letters in front of student in Ben-Gurion university, Prof kasher made the following statement:

“Such a thing as writing the letter is an act of breaking the law. It is civil disobedience. In a democracy there is supremacy of compliance with the law”2

“And it is also not permissible to criticize the army during the war,” says Jamal Daher “Even the title Prof Kasher’s opposition gave him – ‘Occupation Philosopher’ – is not quite accurate, Prof Kasher does not speak as a philosopher but he is also not only The Occupier, but The Fascist Occupier. As a reminder, the idea “supremacy of compliance with the law and / or command of the military” was not taken up by a court before the trial of the Nazis in World War II.”

“Prof Kasher wants the machinery of the Israeli military to be used on civilian population in order for the Palestinians to understand that “it does not pay them off to use their rockets.” And he even considers those who criticise such use of civilians’ lives and their property, to be breaking the law. Law breakers should be imprisoned.

Does it not remind us (again) of Nazi Germany?”

 

In a democracy there is supremacy of compliance with the law” Asa Kasher

Criticizing the behaviour of soldiers in a battle does not constitute a contradiction with democracy. On the contrary, it confirms one of the most important elements in the heart of democratic freedom, which is the freedom of expression. Moreover, ethics is only relevant when the circumstances are “normal” – and when we talk about the army, the examination of ethics should be done at war-time and not at peace-time. It is much more important for public intellectuals in times of war than it is in times of peace, to express their critical opinions against the behaviour of the state because it is their very role to try their utmost best to correct the behaviour of that state by raising its awareness to the fact that it is committing crimes against humanity.

 

 

1. Asa Kasher, “Criticism at time of war is a shot in the back”, Israel Hayom, 8th august 2014, (accessed 16th aug 2014)
2. Asa Kasher, “Prof Asa Kasher against the objectors”, ynet.co.il, 18th January 2004, (accessed 16th Aug 2014)

 

 

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Written by naturesong

August 27, 2014 at 03:55

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