Debating capital punishment

Eithan: Hey, I’ve been reading a lot of posts lately on the Times of Israel website

Ilan:  That’s great

Eithan: And I agree with a lot of them

Ilan: I was afraid of that

Eithan: Especially the ones calling for death sentences to Palestinian terrorists

Ilan: Oh, I agree

Eithan: Really? I thought a left wing communist liberal homosexual like you would never agree with that

Ilan: Hey, there are some things you just can’t argue with such as the fact that peanut butter and jelly go well together and the overwhelming success of capital punishment. I mean, various States in the US have been executing people for decades and look at America’s crime and deaths rates they are…

Eithan: Amongst the highest in the world

Ilan: Oh that’s right! I forgot! Capital punishment sucks! And it doesn’t work

Eithan: Of course it does. It is a successful deterrent. Imagine how many Americans would have died if we didn’t have capital punishment. Besides, we all know that guns don’t kill people, people kill people

Ilan: Actually I think people kill people with guns

Eithan: Child, please!

Ilan: Okay don’t do that

Eithan: Why?

Ilan: Because you are a slightly overweight balding Jew from an affluent Philadelphia suburb. And you don’t know how to use it

Eithan: And you do?

Ilan: Wait for it. Besides, I don’t think the state should be able to kill people whether they are terrorists, murders or psychopaths. Once you give the state the ability to end a person’s life you enter a dangerous slippery slope. Who says the state won’t one day use that power to execute all red haired people?

Eithan: Oh! red haired Israelis are the worst

Ilan: That’s really offensive. But I agree. Besides, the State of Israel was founded on pluralistic humane values and we should cherish those values even in the face of adversary

Eithan: Yeah but we have death penalty for Nazis

Ilan: Wait. No. You can’t mention the Holocaust in a political context

Eithan: What? Why not?

Ilan: I’m not sure but once you do other bloggers write about their bowel movements and how much they hate you

Eithan: Last week, a 16 year old Palestinian repeatedly stabbed to death an IDF soldier sleeping on a bus. You don’t think that warrants a death penalty?

Ilan: Would killing him bring the IDF soldier back? No. Would it ease the pain of the soldier’s passing? No. Most importantly, would it prevent other terrorist attacks? No. The only thing it would do is make us all feel better for a day or two.

Eithan: That’s crazy!

Ilan:I find that very offensive. You know I have been battling with bi-polar disease for the past few years.

Eithan: I’m sorry…But do you really think the death penalty wouldn’t deter potential terrorists?  I mean look at this 16 year old monster. He just got a one way ticket to a first class Israeli jail cell where he will spend the next few decades studying, eating and sleeping comfortably on our expense. I’m pretty sure that if he knew he would be hanged he would have thought twice before raising his knife

Ilan: Well I’m pretty sure that the past has taught us that violence doesn’t work. During the 50’s and 60’s we used retaliatory actions against Palestinians in response to terror attacks. That didn’t stop them. Then, we began assassinating leaders of terrorist movements only to realize that new leaders soon took their place and continued their attacks on Israelis. Not to mention the fact that since the beginning of the second intifada we have been bombing the sh$t out of them.  And what has that achieved? Nothing. The terror continues.

Eithan: So what’s your solution? Let me guess. Give them what they want. Negotiate with them. Turn them into your “partners”. Hell, even give them guns because that worked so well in the past!

Ilan: No my friend. Give them hope. Give them something to live for that is far greater than something to die for. Let them see that we are willing to build a better future, together. You gotta give them hope

Eithan: You gotta give them hope?… Are you quoting Harvey Milk?

Ilan: Actually I’m quoting Sean Penn as Harvey Milk. There’s a difference

Eithan: Whatever. But let me ask you this. If we did have executions in Israel, would you go watch one?

Ilan: Sure. Hey, I maybe a communist man loving liberal but I enjoy reality TV as much as the next guy

Eithan: Really?

Ilan: Child, Please

About the Author
Dr. Ilan Manor (PhD Oxford University) is a diplomacy scholar at Tel Aviv University. Manor's recent book, The Digitalization of Diplomacy, explores how digital technologies have reshaped diplomatic practices. Manor has contributed to several publications including The Times of Israel, The Jerusalem Post, Haaretz and the Jewish Daily Forward. According to his Twitter bio, Manor is the inventor of the ashtray. He blogs at