The Poverty of Propaganda

Peddling vague stories of war crimes for political ends is obviously and utterly immoral.

IDF soldiers from the Nahal Brigade operating in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. IDF/Flickr.

IDF soldiers from the Nahal Brigade operating in Gaza during Operation Protective Edge. IDF/Flickr.

Response
July 23 2015
About the author

Asa Kasher, professor emeritus of philosophy at Tel Aviv University, is the co-author of the IDF code of ethics (1994). In 2000 he was awarded the Israel Prize for his contributions to philosophy.


In “Who Censored the Six-Day War?,” his scrupulous investigation of the Israeli film Censored Voices, the historian Martin Kramer has performed an important public service. The film is one of the latest entries in what has become a regular feature of culture and politics in Israel. We are quite often invited to watch a film or a play, read a pamphlet or a column, always made of two ingredients: first, stories about IDF commanders or troops who seemingly acted in an ethically improper or even atrocious manner in their military capacity, during an old war or a recent operation; secondly, claims against the Israeli occupation of the territories beyond the eastern border of Israel since the 1967 Six-Day War. The gist of such presentations of alleged stories and political claims is usually the simple demand to jump from the stories, which are presented as facts, to the conclusion, which is presented as a moral obligation. Alas, each of the three parts of the plot—stories, claims, and conclusion—is problematic, ethically or morally, legally or logically.

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More about: Breaking the Silence, Israel & Zionism, Laws of war, Six-Day War