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Sunday, 20 December 2015

The ‘Only Democracy in the Middle East’ Steps Up Hate Campaign Against Breaking the Silence & Israeli Human Rights Organisations

As the Israeli state makes giant strides from a Jewish state to a Jewish Police State, so left-wing Israelis demonstrate in Tel Aviv.  There is no doubt that the Israeli left, the anti-war left, is extremely isolated today. 

When the Israeli Labour Party/Zionist Union leader, Isaac Hertzog, asked Benjamin Netanyahu to condemn incitement and threats against the Israeli President Rivlin, who is a Likud right-winger who supports the settlements and opposes giving back any land or a 2 state solution but nonetheless believes that Arabs are human beings and opposes racism,  Netanyahu responded by saying that Herzog should condemn ‘Breaking the Silence’.

Ha’aretz reported that Netanyahu's response was that Herzog, should "get up on this stage and condemn Breaking the Silence, an organization that is slandering IDF soldiers to audiences around the world and is working to tie the hands of the State of Israel from defending itself." At this point lawmakers began applauding.’  Herzog Calls on Netanyahu to Defend Rivlin During Fiery Knesset Session 'Slandering' the State of Israel can be translated as telling the uncomfortable truth about what the Israeli army does as opposed to the fairy tales about it being 'the most moral army in the world.'

‘Breaking the Silence’ is not an anti-Zionist group.  Indeed most of its members would identify as Zionists.  They are former soldiers who have come out to tell of their experiences in the Israeli Occupation Forces.  They describe the beatings, the killings, the wanton disregard for Palestinian life.  That is enough to make them an object of hatred for Netanyahu’s government.  

The leader of the Zionist 'left' Yesh Atid, Yair Lapid 
Netanyahu’s coalition government has actively attempted to stop the funding of Breaking the Silence and other human rights organisations such as Btselem by outside organisations such as the New Israel Fund.  But it is not only Zionist right-wingers who are guilty of trying to suppress the truth.  The 'centrist' Zionist member of Israel's 'Opposition' - Yair Lapid - has just announced that he is going to sponsor legislation to prevent what he terms 'BDS supporters' from funding groups like Breaking the Silence.  
'Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid said Sunday that he was planning to sponsor legislation to ban Israeli nonprofits that he said “vilify” the state from being funded by organizations that support a boycott of Israel.  
Appearing at a press conference alongside a group of reserve IDF officers and combat soldiers, Lapid singled out the controversial Breaking the Silence NGO, which gathers testimonies from IDF troops about alleged human rights abuses by soldiers. 
We will lead legislation to prevent BDS [boycott, divestment and sanctions organizations] from funding NGOs in Israel that help to vilify Israel,” Lapid said. 
Lapid bids to stop BDS-backers from funding groups like Breaking the SilenceAnnouncing planned legislation, Yesh Atid leader singles out IDF-bashing NGO Breaking the Silence for crossing ‘red line from criticism into subversion’ 
Religious nutcase Hotoveli - Israel's Deputy Foreign Minister - hates Arab-Jewish relatinships  - she was responsible for the funding of the fascist Lehava group dedicated to oppose mixed race sex
It’s ok for right-wing Zionist organisations to be funded by United State billionaires such as Sheldon Adelson but not human rights groups).  Tsipli Hotoveli, the far-right religious wingnut and Deputy Foreign Minister has been waging a fierce campaign to persuade European governments and other bodies to withdraw funding from Israeli groups that are critical of Israel's brutal occupation and human rights record.  

'Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Tzipi Hotovely (pictured) has begun a series of consultations with European foreign ministers, their deputies, and ambassadors of several European countries, in which she is presenting evidence that their governments provide financial assistance to NGOs that support boycotts against Israel.'  Apparently these organizations 

“actively blacken Israel’s name around the world, accuse it of ethnic cleansing, apartheid, and war crimes; deprive the Jewish people of their right to self-determination, call to prosecute Israel in the International Criminal Court at The Hague, and support the right of return”, she said.'

Hotoveli made a special effort, unsuccessful it should be added, to persuade Switzerland to pull the plug on an exhibition put on by Breaking the Silence.  Perhaps Hotoveli imagined that Switzerland was also a police state or perhaps that it was an Israeli satellite:

It's not for nothing that Israel is known as ‘the only democracy in the Middle East’

The demonstration was made up of left-Zionists and anti-/non-Zionists as far as I can tell.  People like Yariv Oppenheimer, leader of the Peace Now organisation.  Oppenheimer posted on his facebook page earlier this year that he had done his military service in the Occupied Territories on the ludicrous grounds that if the 'left' did their duty then when the time comes the army will also obey orders and transfer the settlements into the hands of the Palestinians.  In fact what the Zionist left does by these actions is to reinforce the Israeli state in its brutalities by legitimising it.  A 'left' that is complicit in colonialism is no left and that is the achiles heel of Oppenheimer and most of Meretz.  They want a nicer Zionist state but that is not an option.  Zionism is red in tooth and claw.

Tony Greenstein

+972 Magazine     By Haggai Matar
|Published December 20, 2015

Demonstrators took the streets of central Tel Aviv to show their support for Israeli human rights organizations under attack by right-wing incitement over the past weeks. Breaking the Silence executive director: ‘We were born into the occupation, we can be the ones to end it.’
Photos by Oren Ziv /
Israeli left-wing activists march to protest the recent incitement against “Breaking the Silence” and other left wing NGOs, in central Tel Aviv, December 19, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/
Over a thousand Israelis marched Saturday night in Tel Aviv to demonstrate against incitement and occupation, and in support of Israeli human rights organizations, peace, equality, and social justice.
The protest was organized by the group “Omdim Beyachad” (Standing Together) in response to the recent incitement by far-right group Im Tirzu and government ministers against Breaking the Silence and other human rights organizations last week.
Israeli left-wing activists march to protest the recent incitement against “Breaking the Silence” and other left wing NGOs, in central Tel Aviv, December 19, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/
The demonstrators gathered at Gan Meir in central Tel Aviv and headed toward the Likud headquarters just across the street. There a few short speeches were delivered on “the incitement that begins in the government offices,” which then turned into a march on King George Street, ending in the monument for slain Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin. The protesters chanted slogans such as “Jews and Arabs refuse to be enemies,” and “The occupation is a disaster — only peace will bring security.”

Two separate counter protests also took place, which included swearing at left-wing protesters and calling out “Kahane lives.” Likud MK Oren Hazan, who previously tried to deceive Breaking the Silence by submitting a fake testimony, was one of the participants. One right-wing protestor threw a bottle at the march and was arrested.

Likud MK Oren Hazan takes part in a right-wing counter protest against leftists demonstrating against incitement coming from the Right against human rights organizations, central Tel Aviv, December 19, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/
Representatives of Israel’s peace camp, including Peace Now stalwart Yariv Oppenheimer, MK Dov Khenin (Joint List), MK Ilan Gilon (Meretz) and Breaking the Silence’s Executive Director Yuli Novak, spoke at the Rabin monument. “The incitement and threats do not stop with human rights organizations or the Left, they reach the President,” said Oppenheimer, in reference to the campaign of incitement against President Reuven Rivlin taking place since he participated in the Haaretz conference in New York last week, where members of Breaking the Silence also spoke. “We are in a struggle for Israeli democracy and we have no choice but to win.”
Meretz MK Ilan Gilon speaks during a demonstration against right-wing incitement, central Tel Aviv, December 19, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/
This week saw the release of a devastating poverty report. We saw a devastating gas deal being signed. And now they are trying to blame everything on Breaking the Silence?” asked Khenin. “We see that an occupying nation cannot be free, and that the struggles for democracy, peace, and social justice are connected to one another. We will not give up on our home.”

“We love this country more than the settlers, we are willing to compromise over it,” added Gilon. “What kind of love is greater than that of compromise over this land and the people who live in it?”

Breaking the Silence Executive Director Yuli Novak speaks during a protest against right-wing incitement, central Tel Aviv, December 19, 2015. (photo: Oren Ziv/
Novak, who was welcomed with thunderous applause, lauded the many soldiers who have broken 
their silence over the past week — following attacks by the Right — and described what they went through during their service in the occupied territories. “This situation is not predetermined. We are a generation that was born into the occupation, we are the generation that can end it,” she said.

The police, who accompanied the protest in big numbers, were on higher alert than usual. Many police officers walked around with their fingers on the trigger of their guns, while officers with police dogs encircled the protesters the entire way. The police also shined flashlights on the balconies of all the homes above the route of the protest. I cannot recall this kind of police activity in any protest. The police did their job and allowed the march, as well as the counter protests, to take place safely. How unfortunate that we have reached a point that threats against nonviolent demonstrators in central Tel Aviv have become so tangible.

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