Gilad Shalit: The Grand Illusion

By Gilad Atzmon – London

A few days ago, Noam Shalit’ slammed Hamas for holding his son for no real reason. Miraculously, he managed to forget the fact that his son Gilad was actually a combatant soldier who served as a post guard in a concentration camp and was captured in a fortress bunker overlooking Gaza.

Father Shalit called upon Hamas to: “stop holding us as hostages of the symbols of yesterday’s wars". He also claimed that the Hamas is engaged in no less than ‘imaginary resistance’. Seemingly, these are some very bold statements from a father who is supposed to be very concerned with his son’s fate.

Gilad Shalit saga is no doubt an exemplary case-study of Israeli identity. In spite of the fact that Gilad Shailt is a soldier who was directly involved in the Israeli military crime against a civilian population, the Israelis and Jewish lobbies around the world insist upon presenting him as an ‘innocent victim’. The leading slogan of the Shalit campaign reads ‘Gilad Shalit, Human being, JEW’. And I ask myself is he really just an ordinary a ‘human being’ as the slogan suggests or rather a chosen one as implied by the ‘Jew’ predicate? And if he is just a human being, why exactly did they add the ‘Jew’ in? What is there in the ‘Jew’ title that serves the Free Shalit campaign?

Apparently the usage of the predicates ‘Human being’ and ‘Jew’ in such a proximity is rather informative and meaningful. Within the post-holocaust Jewish and liberal discourses ‘human being’ stands for ‘innocence’ and ‘Jew’ stands for ‘victim’. Accordingly, the Shalit’ campaign slogan should be grasped as ‘FREE Gilad Shalit the innocent victim’.

One may wonder at this stage, what does it take for a combatant soldier serving as a post guard in a concentration camp to become an ‘innocent victim’? Apparently, as far as Israeli discourse is concerned, not a lot. It is really just a matter of rhetoric.

It is rather notable that within the Israeli militarized society, the soldier is elevated, his blood is precious in comparison to ordinary Jewish citizens. Israelis adore their military men and grieve every loss of their armed forces with spectacular laments. Considering the IDF being a popular army, the Israeli love of their soldiers can be realized as just another fashion of their inherent self-loving. The Israelis simply love themselves almost as much as they hate their neighbors. In Israel a death in action of an IDF combatant would receive far more attention than a death of a civilian who was subject of so called ‘terror’. Similarly, in Israel an IDF POW would gather the ultimate media attention. Ron Arad, Ehud Goldwasser and Gilad Shalit are household names in Israel, the names and faces are familiar to all Israelis and others who are interested in the conflict. Considering Israel being in a constant state of war, the collective-over caring concern for the military man is rather enigmatic or even peculiar.

Within the Israeli narrative, the soldier is grasped as an innocent being that is ‘caught’ in a war which he is doomed to fight against his will. The Israeli combatant ‘shoots and sobs’. Within the Israeli deluded mindset and historical narrative, the Israelis ‘seek peace’ and it is somehow always the ‘others’ who bring hostility and violence about. This outright self-deception is so imbued within the Israeli self image, something that allows the Israelis to launch and initiate one war after another while being totally convinced that it is always the ‘Arabs’ who attempt to throw the Israeli into the sea.

In that sense, the Israeli ‘War Against Terror’ should be realized as a battle against the terror within. The constant battle against the ‘Arabs’ is an outlet that resolves the self-imposed anxiety which the Israeli cannot handle or even confront. In that very sense throwing white phosphorous on women, the elderly and children acts as a collective Valium pill, it brings peace to the Israeli mind, it smoothes the terror within. Killing en masse resolves the insular Israeli collective state of fear. This explains how come 94% of the Israeli Jewish population supported the last genocide in Gaza. The consequences are devastating. The total majority of the Israeli Jews not only say NO to ‘love thy neighbor’, they actually say YES to murder in broad daylight.

In their deluded mindset the Israelis are pushed into ‘no choice’ wars ‘against their will’ in spite of the fact that they are ‘innocent victims’. In fact, this delusion or rather cognitive dissonance stands at the very core of the Israeli unethical existence. The Israeli is submerged in a self-notion of blamelessness, it is somehow always the other who carries the guilt and the fault. This total discrepancy between Israeli self-perception i.e., ‘innocence’ and Israeli manifested practice i.e., barbarism beyond comparison, can be realized as a severe form of detachment on the verge of collective psychosis.

The case of Shalit embodies this discrepancy very well. Time after time we are asked by Israeli officials and Jewish lobbies to show our compassion to a combatant soldier that was serving as post guard in the biggest jail in history. An American right-winger, for instance, would probably have enough decency in him not to demand our compassionate empathy towards a USA marine that was injured while serving as a post guard in Guantànamo Bay. Similarly, not many would dare demand our compassionate empathy towards a German platoon who performed a role similar to Gilad Shalit’s in an East European concentration camp in the early 1940’s. Moreover, could anyone imagine the kind of Jewish outrage that would be evoked by an imaginary campaign by a right-wing, white supremacist slogan that reads “Free Wolfgang Heim, Human Being, Aryan”?

As much as I understand Noam Shalit’s deep concerns regarding the fate of his son, I must advise him with the hope that he takes it into consideration. His son Gilad is not exactly an innocent angel. If anything, like the rest of the Israelis, he is an integral part of the Israeli continuous sin. He was a soldier in a criminal army that serves a criminal cause that launches criminal wars. I honestly suggest to Mr. Noam Shalit to consider changing his rhetoric. He should drop his righteous preaching voice and replace it with either dignity or a desperate call for Hamas’ mercy. You either acknowledge your son’s deeds and be proud of it as a nationalist militant, alternatively, you may beg for Hamas’ kindness. If I were in his place, I would probably go for the second option. Noam Shalit better drop the word hostage of his vocabulary. Neither he nor his son are Hamas’ hostages. If anything they are both held hostage by a Israeli-Jewish nationalist project that is going to bring the gravest disaster on the Jewish people everywhere. They are both prisoners of a criminal war against ‘thy neighbors’, the Palestinian civilian population.

Considering the crimes against humanity repeatedly committed by Israel, all that is left for Israel is just rhetorical spin that indeed becomes more and more delusional and ineffective. Thus, it didn’t really take me by surprise to find out that Noam Shalit is not just a concerned parent, he is also a profound post-modernist polemicist. "Resistance against what? Against whom? “wonders father Shalit, trying to dismiss the Palestinian cause altogether. You Hamas are taking us “hostages of symbols that at best belong to yesterday’s wars, to yesterday’s world, which has since changed beyond recognition."

Mr. Shalit, I would like you to tell us all what has changed ‘beyond recognition’ (except the landscape of Gaza)? Please enlighten us all because as far as we can see, you yourself still live on stolen Palestinian land, making the Biblical call for plunder into a contemporary devastating reality. As far as we can see, your sons and daughters are still engaged in murderous genocidal practices as they have been for the last six decades.

Mr. Shalit, I suggest that you wake up and the sooner the better. Nothing really changed, at least not in the Israeli side. The only change I may discern is the cheering fact that you and your people do not win anymore. Yes, you manage to kill children, women and old people, yes, you have managed to drop unconventional weapons on civilians dwelling in the most populated area on this planet and yet, you fail to win the war. Your military campaigns achieve nothing except death and carnage. Your murderous genocidal actions attained nothing but exposing what the National Jewish project is all about and what the Israeli is capable of. Your imaginary power of deterrence is melting down as I write these words and Hamas rockets keep pounding Southern Israel. Yet, the Jewish state has secured itself a prominent position as the embodiment of evil. If there is a ‘change beyond recognition’ to be detected is the fact that after Gaza we all know who you are and what you stand for.

– Gilad Atzmon was born in Israel and served in the Israeli military. He is the author of the several novels. Atzmon is also one of the most accomplished jazz saxophonists in Europe. His CD, Exile, was just named the year’s best jazz CD by the BBC. He contributed this article to Contact him at:

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