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Sat Dec 19, 2015, 05:51 PM

Israel: Breaking the witness

December 19, 2015
Meron Rapoport

Israeli human rights organization are accustomed to being labelled as anti-patriotic and anti-Zionist, but even they were caught by surprise this week by the brutality of a video clip posted by the right wing Im Tirzu movement.

In the clip, a Palestinian-looking young man is approaching the camera with a knife in his hand, yet a moment before the seemingly inevitable stabbing, the faces of four activists from a leading human rights organizations appear on the screen in "wanted" mug pictures, and a voice warns that "before the next terrorist will stab you" he knows that these activists would defend him. "They are Israelis, they live here with us and they are 'implants'. When we fight terror, they fight us."

The clip was part of a campaign promoting what is termed the "implants" law, which would classify organizations receiving aid from foreign countries as "implants" and forbid them from contacting any government office or the Israeli army without special permission. Yet it is clear that the scope of the clip was wider than just promoting this law. It was meant to depict those human rights workers as the enemies from within, helping "Palestinian terrorists" to murder innocent Israeli citizens.

snip* The immediate reaction to Im Tirzu's clip was a surge in support for Breaking the Silence in social media and even from some former generals, who claimed that its work is important to Israel's moral values. More ex-soldiers volunteered to give evidence, and even donations to the organization have gone up. This may indicate the wakening up of the dormant Israel Left. It might also be its death throes.

- See more at: http://www.middleeasteye.net/columns/israel-breaking-witness-733223900#sthash.6CpYJ6k1.dpu

Ex-IDF general takes out ad to support Breaking the Silence

Amiram Levin backs NGO that publishes alleged abuses by soldiers, says army should encourage such groups to speak out
By Times of Israel staff December 18, 2015


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Reply Israel: Breaking the witness (Original post)
Jefferson23 Dec 2015 OP
Israeli Dec 2015 #1
Israeli Dec 2015 #2

Response to Jefferson23 (Original post)

Sun Dec 20, 2015, 04:26 AM

1. Thousands March in Tel Aviv in Protest of Incitement Against Rivlin, Leftist NGOs

Organizers of Tel Aviv demonstration call on Israel to defend civil society, Netanyahu to speak out against inflammatory remarks.

Ilan Lior Dec 19, 2015

3,000 demonstrators marched throughout Tel Aviv Saturday night, denouncing the incitement against President Reuven Rivlin and human rights groups, including Breaking the Silence.

The march began at Jabotinsky House on King George Street, before heading toward Rabin Square. The event's organizers called on supporters to show up at the march, writing on Facebook: "[We are opposed to] the incitement against the president, the campaign against civic society and human rights groups, the personal persecution of individuals, the legislation of laws restricting non-profit groups and the condoning of violence against them.”

The organizers also called on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak out clearly against such inflammatory expressions. “Netanyahu is responsible and we haven’t heard a word from him attempting to calm this dangerous situation,” they wrote.

Breaking the Silence was at the center of controversy this week. President Rivlin was criticized by cabinet members for his participation in the Haaretz conference in New York, which was also attended by Breaking the Silence members. On the same day, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon wrote on his Twitter account that he was prohibiting Breaking the Silence members from interacting with soldiers. Two days later the right-wing non-profit group “Im Tirtzu” put up a video in which four leftist activists are depicted as “moles” who defend terrorists and Education Minister Naftali Bennet ordered the group banned from schools.

Source: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.692750

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Response to Jefferson23 (Original post)

Tue Dec 22, 2015, 11:59 AM

2. Two New Defense Brass Join in Support for Breaking the Silence

Under heading 'I too am breaking the silence,' ex-Shin Bet chief and former northern police commander publish ad in favor of anti-occupation group, joining other security officials.

Haaretz Dec 22, 2015

Former Shin Bet security services chief Ami Ayalon and Israel Police Maj. Gen. (ret.) Alik Ron published an advertisement in Haaretz Hebrew edition on Tuesday in support of the anti-occupation organization Breaking the Silence, under the heading “I too am breaking the silence.”

The two ex-security officials joined two other senior defense personalities who have expressed support in recent days for the left-wing NGO, made up of former soldiers: Maj. Gen. (res.) Amiram Levin, former commander of the elite Israel Defense Force's Sayeret Matkal unit, and Yuval Diskin, former head of the Shin Bet.

“Breaking the Silence protects IDF soldiers in the impossible situation in which politicians have abandoned them," wrote Ayalon, a former commander of the Israel Navy, and Ron, who headed the northern district of the police during the events of October 2000 (in which 13 Israeli Arab demonstrators were killed by security forces). “The guidelines meant to silence the group are what damages and weakens the army,” they added.

In an advertisement in the same vein, Levin wrote in Haaretz last Friday, “As someone who was a combatant and a commander, and who is currently a father of two combat paratrooper officers who have been there as witnesses – I too am breaking silence.”
He added that Breaking the Silence strengthens the IDF and its morality, and that silencing it is harmful to the army.

For his part, Diskin referred to the group in a Facebook posting last week. He wrote that while he opposes the activities of nongovernmental organizations and journalists “who don’t love their country,” after reading nearly every article and report by Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem or the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, “even if they are aggravating, even if they are often inaccurate and don’t always do their work properly from a professional perspective – their contribution is very important and helps us maintain the required vigilance about the most sensitive human issues.”

Added Diskin: “We are a country that controls another people in Judea and Samaria and operates different legal systems for Israeli citizens and the Palestinian residents of the area. It’s clear that the situation is very complex ... It’s good that there are journalists and good that there are NGOs monitoring the activities of the various security agencies operating in the field ... One doesn’t have to love them, but they are a very important part of every democratic regime and an important part of its strength.”

A week ago, the Israeli right-wing nonprofit Im Tirtzu organization disseminated a video in which left-wing activists, including ones from Breaking the Silence, were described as “moles” who defend terrorists.

Last Wednesday Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog clashed in the Knesset over the organization as well. Netanyahu called on Herzog to “come to the podium and soundly condemn Breaking the Silence, which tarnishes the image of IDF soldiers around the world, trying to tie Israel’s hands in its attempts to defend itself.” Herzog demanded that Netanyahu defend President Reuven Rivlin against what he described as incitement directed at Rivlin, after the president spoke last week at a Haaretz conference in which Breaking the Silence participated.


Source: http://www.haaretz.com/israel-news/.premium-1.693243

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