You may spend your time arguing with people who call the IDF babykillers…now you have another bunch to contend with: some late graduates of IDF training. From Ha’aretz. Muffti is all for free speech but we should at least call this what it is: deplorable, shameful hate speech.

The IDF’s chief education officer Brig. Gen. Eli Shermeister issued a letter to a number of military units Tuesday, commenting on T-shirts printed by soldiers, as exposed by Haaretz two weeks ago. Haaretz found that dead babies, mothers weeping on their children’s grave, a child in the crosshairs of a sniper’s rifle and blown-up mosques are just a few of the images with which IDF soldiers decided to mark their graduation from a training course or tour of duty.

Shermeister’s letter described some of the shirts depicted in the Haaretz story, and included pictures published in the feature. The chief education officer called on commanders to “increase vigilance and rule out any such phenomena, which stem from group culture and might affect it.”

The Haaretz inquiry brought several examples of such prints: An infantry snipers’ T-shirt with the writing “better use Durex” running alongside a dead Palestinian child, a weeping mother and a teddy bear; another sniper course shirt showing an aim taken at the belly of a pregnant woman, with the slogan “One shot, two kills;” a T-shirt depicting a Palestinian baby becoming an angry youth and then an armed man, with the slogan “no matter how it starts, we’ll end it;” a shirt from the Haruv battalion with the picture of a Samurai and the caption “we won’t chill before we verify the kill,” and many more.

Some of the captions and images emphasize actions the army vigorously denies, such as coups de grace or deliberate attacks on women, children and religious sites.

Commenting on the inquiry at the time, the IDF spokesperson’s office said that “military orders do not refer to civilian clothing, including shirts printed at the end of various training courses. The shirts are printed at the personal initiative of the soldiers, and are not army property,” the statement read.

However, Shermeister’s letter, titled “The boundaries of humor,” appears to indicate that the chief education officer disagrees. “Some would say the printing of the shirts is a local matter, done at the personal initiative and often at the private expense of the soldiers with the aim of bonding through humor,” he writes. “[However,] printing shirts for IDF soldiers, even if not initiated by the commander, is not a private action. It is an action carried out in the context of military service and should match the values of the IDF.”

“We are not exempt from this duty even when dealing with writings on civilian shirts, organized independently by the soldiers. Even humor, which is an important instrument of coping with the stress and exhaustion of military service, has its boundaries. We do not teach hatred for our enemy, and we must not mock or belittle the lives of a pregnant woman or a small child,” Shermeister said.

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  • MUFFTI! LINK! We can’t quote articles without adding a link.

    I too find these t-shirts deplorable and in incredibly poor taste – and this is coming from the guy who sells “christ killer” t-shirts! However, even though the existence of these juvenile t-shirts has given the perception of Israel a big black eye in the world press, and Israel’s enemies have had a field day pointing to these as an example of how awful Israel is, banning the t-shirts is IDIOTIC.

    Any normal human being would respond with disgust at these shirts and yet there’s still an audience out there that revels in wearing idiotic t-shirts and broadcasting their stupidity to the world. I remember the old “Kill them all, let God sort them out” t-shirts worn by American servicemen and I see all of these as tacky and dumb.

    But what they also are is an expression, and it’s far more important to protect one’s right to freely make such an expression. The most effective solution against hate speech is MORE speech.

    Of course the soldiers producing and wearing these t-shirts are retards. Most are teenagers, remember? But solving the problem requires long-term education-based solutions. Banning the t-shirts, a move that is impossible to enforce, does nothing.

  • I think that the t-shirts are saying something, and not just that these are stupid racist 18-year olds. Rather, these are kids who seem to feel that this statement is acceptable. Why is that? Unlike their “Palestinian” counterparts, they were not brought up hearing racism and hatered in their religious establishments weekly, at school daily, and at home every evening. That being said, I have heard such statements made by children who grew up in areas like Shar HaNegev or Kiryat Shmona, who having spent a childhood afraid of a kassam or katusha taking them out, no longer believe in the message of tolerence their parents at least try to teach.

    P.S. this does not mean that I support the t-shirts. I think they are stupid, idoiotic, in poor taste, and all around inappropriate.

  • …. hmmmmm…. what other stories peddling left-wing disinformation about the IDF “babykillers” has Ha’aretz “scooped” lately?

    Fool me once, shame on you.
    Fool me twice, shame on me.

  • Those shirts are tasteless and immature; best case, they’re an attempt at satire gone brutally bad. Banning them might add to a myth, so to speak, and make them even more desirable. If the military service is thought of shaping youths into responsible adults, I dare say those soldiers could do with a few more years of drill. BTW, I know a Jewish guy who was a drill instructor in the Red Army; I think he could help out there.

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