It's one thing for a bar or club to employ a dress code for sartorial reasons, quite another to exclude law-abiding citizens simply because of their adherence to civic duty. In a country such as Israel, where national service is compulsory, to ban soldiers in uniform from entering a pub is to tread on shaky ground. Yet that is what the owners of the Rogatka bar in Tel Aviv have decided upon, tarring all IDF personnel with the same dismissive brush.
To declare anyone decked out in olive-green uniform as persona non grata is a step too far, regardless of the justifications offered by the anarchist collective running the bar. The response given by one of the proprietors, Adi Vinter, is that "We can't hold views against discrimination and oppression, while at the same time supporting the infrastructure that exploits human beings and other animals". The sentiment may be admirable, but to extrapolate it into a ban on uniformed soldiers makes little sense: first because – according to Vinter's own logic – she and her friends shouldn't be doing business inside Israel at all.
simply refusing to allow uniforms or weapons on the premises allows the owners and regulars to drink, and discuss politics, in an entirely homogenous and holier-than-thou atmosphere. According to Ha'aretz, "the founders ... hope it will bring together leftwing activists, environmentalists, and other fellow travellers, under the banner of cheap drinks and fair trade products". In order to protect their own interests and save themselves from having to encounter people who might hold differing opinions to theirs, they believe in a policy of denying entry on the most insincere grounds.
The Rogatka bar isn't a primary school; IDF employees aren't by definition fascists – so the owners shouldn't be assuming the mantle of Ed Balls and his advisers. While there would of course be grounds for kicking out anyone walking in with a swastika tattoo, a Kach fist t-shirt or a Hamas headscarf, to imply that every member of the IDF is a de facto racist is completely unacceptable.
In Jaffa, where tensions often run high between soldiers and locals, the Arab-owned restaurants still teem with uniformed IDF staff at all hours of the day, the proprietors recognising that not all soldiers are evil, and that they should therefore be judged on an individual basis. The owners of Rogatka could learn a great deal from such an approach, rather than loftily applying their illogical blanket ban to their own establishment.link
2 days ago