I read the "news" and try to read deeply, in the sense of drawing connections. The connection I sense between the character of the ambassadors wife and the IDF soldiers makes me uncomfortable; granted there is no comparable instance of behavior here- berating and denigrating ones employees from a sense of entitlement is a far cry from shooting an unarmed journalist that you had talked about music with hours before. But a sickness of the spirit seems readily revealed in both these cases; in the micro interpersonal level in one case, growing from that malignantly to the macro institutional level in the other.
As above, so below...
The wife of Danny Ayalon, Israeli Ambassador to the US seems to see what it is to be American in a repellant light, as well as offering the world a neat portrait of "The Ugly American". Here is the headline and lead-in to an article on the "leadership style" Anne Ayalon utilizes to keep her house "in order":
Her Royal Highness
Wife of Israeli Ambassador to the U.S. says she lives according to "American standards," allowing her to insult embassy employees and make unreasonable demands
The "American standards" are manifest by Ms Alayon's comfort with yelling at her subordinates, calling them names and requiring that they bow to her. Honest. You'd think I'm making this up, but look:
"She yelled 'Who put that picture there! I had taken it down," former butler Aharon Cohen recalled. "So Virginia told her 'I put (the picture) there, but I am very sorry.'"
In response Ayalon said to her, "No, no, you will bow before me and say you're sorry."
According to Cohen, "she repeated it maybe three times – 'bow again,' she said to her. Podilla then packed up her belongings, threw away her key and said 'I am not coming here anymore
Ms Alayon hails from a small town outside Cleveland, Ohio.
When asked whether she had ever referred to her employees as 'stupid', Ayalon answered, "You have just heard me call the butler a retard; and everyone will tell you he is retarded. So yes, I do use the word 'stupid.'"
Rude and unrepentant, this dual Israeli/United States citizen is a living breathing answer to the question "Why do they hate us?"
"Israelis are the most moral people on earth," said Ayalon, who holds an MBA from Bowling Green State University in Ohio. "We are constantly checking our morality...and caring for human lives." The IDF imbeds photographers within its units so that there is physical evidence of what actually has taken place, rather than relying on others' accounts.
Just as I hope others will not judge me as a US citizen by the actions of folks like Mr Delay, I am not offering Ms Alayon as an exemplar of typical Israeli/U.S citizens. Obviously she checks her morality all right, from the article it looks as though she checks it at the door. Although her comments about the IDF in the above quote is not germane to the highlighted article it is a great lead-in to an important piece I'd like to touch on. The death of journalist James Miller.
Here's what happened as Mr Miller was filming house demolitions for a film to be shown on HBO:
"At approximately 23:30, we decided to leave the house and the area, but we realized that we were blocked inside the house and Israeli tanks were very close. We decided to get out of the house and introduce ourselves to Israeli soldiers, tell them about our work and let them know that we would like to leave the area, to avoid being fired at by Israeli soldiers if we did not tell them.
Three of us got out; I was carrying a white flag, James was holding a lamp directed at the flag and Sierra was raising her hands. We were all wearing helmets and bullet proof suits, on which "TV" was written. We walked about 20m towards the tanks. We called on Israeli soldiers, saying that we were British journalists who wanted to leave the area, but they did not reply.
Suddenly, they fired at us, wounding James. James cried and we shouted at the Israeli soldiers to stop shooting and told them that one of us was wounded. We asked them for help as James was bleeding profusely. I went back to the house and told the others that James was wounded and asked them to call an ambulance. Then, I ran towards the tanks to ask Israeli soldiers for help, but they did not reply..."
Israeli army 'lied' about Miller death
I stole the headline from the Guardian newspaper account of the handling of James Miller's death by IDF officials. The International Federation of Journalists fleshes out what the Guardian article just touches on. Ballistics tests show that the killing round was from an Israeli weapon at close range. Mr Miller was shot from the front, not from the back as the IDF claimed. The guns of the possible IDF shooters were not collected for a month after the killing; the Lieutenant whom the IDF found to have fired in breach of regulations will not be charged in the death because:
... the report alleges the barrel of the rifle understood to have been used in the shooting two years ago was changed. Rifles submitted as part of the investigation could not have been those used in the shooting because it was 'impossible' that bullets found at the scene in Rafah belonged to the weapons surrendered, adds the report.
'It is important to point out that during the investigation a concern was raised, based on intelligence information, that some of the soldiers later changed the barrel they used during the event with a different barrel,' it continues.
Coincidently in this case where the suspect changed his story six times, where the soldiers under him lied, Ms Alayon would be shocked, I'm sure, to learn that the photographic evidence she spoke of, in this case videotaped evidence somehow came up lost. Go figure...
"There were nine soldiers in two vehicles," says Sophy. "They knew James's crew were filming and had offered them tea and spoken about music with them earlier that day – you can hear this in some of the footage James took. The soldiers have even referred to the house as 'the house of the journalists'. James knew the procedure when leaving the house – that's why he was holding a white flag. The veranda was fully lit, and these soldiers were equipped with US-made light-amplification devices, the latest in night-vision technology. There was no threat whatsoever to these soldiers."
Sophy is the widow of James Miller, she is caring for their two young children. The link offered above gives a detailed look into her and her families quest for the truth- and justice.
It seems like abuse of power is the sickness of our times.