What Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner Really Showed Us About Israel

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The media firestorm over Israeli Lt. Col. Shalom Eisner never seems to end. It all started when video was posted of Eisner violently striking a protester with his rifle, sparking outrage throughout the world. Immediately, the video was shown as proof of Israeli brutality. But is this really a fair depiction?

Eisner was immediately condemned by Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli Defense Forces Chief of Staff. The Israeli media relentlessly covered the incident. He was suspended, has been banned from holding command posts for two years, was reassigned to a training school and is still under investigation. It is very possible that he will face further punishment.

That is the real story here. Israel’s furious reaction to the video debunks what its enemies claim it proves. If the Israelis were so inhumane, this wouldn’t be such a big story. There is no other country in the Middle East that would react the same way if roles were reversed. Ironically, the controversy is showing what is so good about Israel, even if no one notices.

Some context is also needed here. A group of about 250 anti-Israel activists were stopped as they tried to get on Highway 90, as the IDF requires advance notice of such crossings as a security precaution. Keep in mind, the group was part of the International Solidarity Movement, a group that says it is non-violent but supports “the Palestinian right to resist Israeli violence and occupation via legitimate armed struggles.” In other words, ISM supports violence.

The ISM-affiliated group began illegally blocking the road and the stand-off continued for two hours. The Israeli soldiers didn’t open fire or forcibly disperse them. Eisner was assaulted, breaking two of his fingers. You can see his bandaged fingers in the video. After a Danish anarchist got in his face, Eisner lost his temper and whacked him in the face with his rifle. The ISM got what it wanted, all on tape. A second video surfaced, showing Eisner hitting some others as they tried to force their way past the Israeli soldiers.

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