Tuesday, December 5, 2017

Why does Europe continue to support Breaking the Silence’s demonization and smearing of Israel’s society? - by Daniel Laufer

...Breaking the Silence's anti-Israel track record would be worrying enough were it an actual grassroots part of Israeli society. But BtS’s foreign enablers, through the massive budget they provide, are ultimately responsible for the group’s international delegitimization of Israel and her people. These European funders need to consider why they are supporting such activities. They need to ask why there is such pushback from the Israeli public. And they need to decide whether their interest is to engage with that Israeli public, or whether they will continue to support BtS’s demonization and smearing of Israel’s society.

Daniel Laufer..
04 December '17..

Last week, the Israeli State Attorney’s office closed its investigation into Breaking the Silence’s (BtS) spokesperson. The determination that the BtS official did not tell the truth mirrors the Israeli public’s rejection of the group’s radical anti-Israel agenda. While the NGO justifies the publication of anonymous and unverifiable allegations of wrongdoing by Israel’s soldiers in the name of “ending the occupation,” most Israelis see this campaign as an immoral attack on their entire society.

In fact, what the Israeli public thinks is not very important to BtS, which instead focuses its efforts on influential foreign audiences. This focus is not surprising considering that more than two-thirds of BtS funding comes from abroad, much of it from European governments. Continued funding is a sore issue among Israelis and was in part responsible for Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s refusal to meet with Germany’s foreign minister earlier this year. Whether the latest blow to the group’s credibility will convince these supporters to end their embrace remains to be seen.

The case stems from claims by the BtS spokesperson that he physically beat a restrained Palestinian during the course of his military service, and the demand that police investigate such alleged violations of military ethics. If he was tried and found guilty of having committed a crime, BtS could claim that its anonymous testimonies against the Israeli military are not simply political props.

But the spokesperson’s fellow soldiers, in whose presence he said the incident occurred, have publicly refuted the story. A five-month-long investigation came to similar conclusions, as the state attorney’s office announced, declaring that “from the evidence collected, the events described by him did not happen whatsoever.”

This is only the latest instance of BtS spreading disturbing claims.

(Continue to Full Post)

Daniel Laufer is the international spokesperson at NGO Monitor, an independent research institute that provides information and analysis, promotes accountability, and supports discussion on the reports and activities of NGOs claiming to advance human rights and humanitarian agendas.

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