IDF / Israel

“The ‘most moral army in the world’ talking point is both substantively and tactically foolish, it convinces nobody…”

The IDF is not the most moral army in the world, because there is no most moral army in the world. I know this because the words “moral” and “army” are generally at odds, and there is no reason to think that the IDF is an exception to this rule that has lasted through centuries of time and space. Soldiers’ jobs are to kill other people, and when you are shooting at someone who is trying to kill you, human nature dictates that morality and ethics are not going to be at the forefront of your mind. Crimes happen in war, and that Israeli soldiers do things that they aren’t supposed to does not make them worse than anyone else. It makes them exactly like everyone else. Repeating a completely indefensible and evidence-free platitude like a broken record not only harms your general credibility, it makes Israel’s foes work extra hard to demonstrate that your position is nonsensical and rub it in your face. It also creates an impossibly high standard that can never actually be met, setting Israeli soldiers up for certain failure. The “most moral army in the world” talking point is both substantively and tactically foolish, it convinces nobody, and, every time it is repeated, it does more than anything else to shift the conversation on to Israel’s sins rather than its opponents’ ones.

Michael J. Koplow, “Some Uncomfortable Gaza Truths”, Matzav Review (4 April 2018) [https://matzavreview.com/2018/04/some-uncomfortable-gaza-truths/]