Yesterday was Yom HaMishpacha (Family Day) in Israel, and the Israeli Air Force posted this on social media.
— Israeli Air Force (@IAFsite) February 26, 2017
Clearly, the IAF was promoting diverse familes by including a gay couple, single mother and Ethiopian couple. And why not? This is the reality of life in Israel.
Naturally, this is an inconvenient truth for Israel haters like douchebloggerTM Richard Silverstein, who predictably posted his objection to what he called the “pinkwashing.”
In very few western countries are the armed forces used to promote the nation to the outside world. For decades, Israel has promoted its “citizen’s army” as emblematic of Israeli democracy. However, this hasn’t been true of the IDF for many years. 30% of eligible males do not serve (many ultra-Orthodox receive yeshiva exemptions and Israeli Palestinians refuse to serve) don’t serve. Less than 50% of women serve. By 2020, the IDF estimates that 60% of those eligible overall will receive exemptions or otherwise dodge service. Citizen’s Army? Not so much.
Lately, Israel has taken to touting the diversity of its armed forces with Brand Israel-type social media campaigns. I wrote about one such example meant to promote the notion that nursing moms proudly serve. I called it “mommy-washing.” This bit of fluff was timed to Mother’s Day, which isn’t even a holiday celebrated in Israel.
No, it was timed for Israel’s Family Day, which anyone with some knowledge of Israel would understand (plus it is even mentioned in all the social media posts, and Dicky himself even mentions it later on his post!)
Dicky goes on to criticize Israel for not recognizing gay marriage. Because he will always try to find an angle.
Now, the Israeli Air Force (IAF) is mounting a full-fledge campaign celebrating its annual Family Day. It features the so-called ethnic and social diversity of its personnel; and focuses on the IAF as a sort of hook-up venue where gay guys can meet their basherts. There’s a cute a cuddly pic of two smiling, hunky guys with their adorable yellow Lab. The motto of this unlikely campaign: “The Air Force is where I met my family.”
The IAF proudly notes that “Capt. Adir and Dean” are married. It doesn’t note that they can’t marry in Israel due to the Orthodox stranglehold over civil issues like marriage and divorce. Israel will never have gay marriage until the Orthodox monopoly is broken (if it ever is). All of which means that the Israel Lobby pinkwashing campaign is fundamentally flawed.
What Dicky won’t tell you is that gay people live freely in Israel, and do not end up like gay people in Gaza. Or even Iran, home of his beloved Press TV. And by “end up” I mean really, really dead.
Dicky then turns his attention to the Ethiopian family, to criticize Israel’s treatment of Ethiopians by bringing up the case of Toveet Radcliffe.
Another IAF Facebook post features the smiling faces of a loving Ethiopian family and says it snapped their pic just before they moved the coffee table so they can all sing songs in Amharic and perform traditional dances. How absolutely enlightened of the Air Force to embrace all cultures and ethnicities! Except for the fact that an IDF soldier likely murdered Black Hebrew soldier, Toveet Radcliffe, at her IAF base; then covered it up and refused to investigate or find her assailant. Verdict: suicide. Cultural diversity? Not so much.
There is absolutely no evidence she was “likely murdered.” The IAF investigation concluded she took her own life, and even though her family did not accept this, it does not make the likelihood she was murdered any more greater. And even if she had been murdered, that somehow negates the fact that Ethiopian Jews are productive and included members of Israeli society?
Dicky ends his post by turning his attention to this photo of a Druze officer.
Then there’s First Sgt. Chochmat Chir’s smiling face as he describes the moment his wife told him they would be having their first child: “You’re going to be an abba!” The post then describes their dreams of building their own home in their Druze village when he leaves active duty. Problem: many Druze leave military service without any notable skills to transfer into civilian life. Some resort to crime or lapse into poverty. They derive little post-service benefit. If they lived in an Israeli Palestinian village they couldn’t get a building permit to build that home since the government refuses to issue them.
But Sgt. Chir is happy. He did not have a gun pointing at him to smile for the camera and profess his joy. And even if “some” Druze do leave military life and turn to crime or lapse into poverty (something Dicky does not provide evidence of), how does that disprove the fact that Israel is an inclusive society, albeit imperfect one? (like all societies)
Once again, Richard Silverstein shows he is big on hate but tiny on knowledge.