The Idolatry of Force (Part II): Militarism in Israel’s Garrison State
Building on “The Idolatry of Force: How Israel Embraced Targeted Killing,” published in the Autumn 2017 issue of the Journal of Palestine Studies, this companion piece examines the practices through which Israel’s garrison state normalizes aggressive militarism and indifference to the pain of others. Political discourse and semantics, media, pedagogical instruction, religious training, and the shared experience of army service all feed into a warrior code and culture where combat and preparations for combat become second nature, and where violence, no matter how extreme and disproportionate, assumes collective legitimacy. A broad rhetorical repertoire is deployed to craft a narrative of virtue, sacrifice, and necessity. Key to this narrative are the threat to national survival posed by demonic enemies and the spiritual valor embodied and replenished in the struggle to vanquish them.