In Israel human rights activists are considered traitors, foreign agents and terrorist supporters
One of the signs that Israel is on the road to becoming an authoritarian state is the fact that even the herrenvolk, Jews who are human rights supporters or anti-war activists, are attacked as traitors, spies, foreign agents and enemies of the State. Even the liberal New Israel Fund [NIF] is considered a hostile organisation.
Im Tirtzu video targeting New Israel Fund for allegedly persecuting Israeli soldiers
One particular object of attack is George Soros, the billionaire Jewish philanthropist, who has funded the NIF and Israeli human rights organisations. The Zionist attack on Soros is no different from the attacks of anti-semites. Indeed Netanyahu joined hands with the far-Right Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the latter's attack on Soros.
|Yair Netanyahu's cartoon which drew praise from neo-Nazis|
The Jerusalem Post quoted Zehava Gal-On, former head of Meretz as saying that 'this won’t be the last time that neo-Nazis quote Netanyahu,” accusing him of “supporting world antisemitism” after the Foreign Ministry released a statement legitimizing criticism of Hungarian- American billionaire George Soros. William Echikson in Politico echoed this:
'During his campaign, Orbán blamed his country’s problems on a Jewish financier, George Soros — and won, big time. After his victory, Orbán spokesman, Zoltán Kovács, said the attacks on Soros “could not possibly be anti-Semitic, since they were echoed by Netanyahu.”
|Don't let Soros have the last laugh, in a mocking echo of Hitler's prophecy speech when he talked about having the last laugh over the Jews who had derided him|
Anti-semites claiming that their support for Zionism means they can't possibly be antisemitic has become a regular theme. When people say that anti-semites disguise or hide their anti-semitism by professing support for the Palestinians, the opposite is usually true. Most anti-semites today assert that they couldn't possibly be anti-semitic since they support Israel and Zionism. People such as Richard Spencer, the founder of the alt-Right who declares himself a 'White Zionist'.
Viktor Orban has launched a campaign to rehabilitate Hungary's pro-Nazi war time ruler, Admiral Horthy, who presided over the deportation of nearly 1/2 million Jews to Auschwitz. This however has not stopped Netanyahu from striking up an alliance with Orban.
Im Tirzu, is part of the far-Right scene in Israel. It is a fascist pressure group which see it as its mission to demonise Israeli human rights organisations, cultural figures of the left and indeed any opposition to the right-wing nationalist demagogy that passes for debate in Israel. Even the Jerusalem District Court said it was legitimate to call Im Tirzu a fascist group.
Im Tirzu is not a marginal organisation. It is actively supported by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu but not only him. The ‘opposition’ of Yesh Atid, a supposedly centrist party under Yair Lapid and the Israeli Labour Party under its new right-wing leader Avi Gabbay, also support the demonization of human rights groups.
On its 10th anniversary Netanyahu posted a video congratulating Im Tirzu on its fine work
The latest Im Tirzu video attacks the NIF which funds human rights organisations such as Bt’selem as traitors who attack ‘our’ soldiers as they go about their thankless work murdering Palestinians. It is the kind of propaganda stuff you would expect of a fascist organisation for whom the fatherland is uber alles.
You see the same adoration for the forces of the state that existed in Nazi Germany. Im Tirzu specialises in attacking dissident culture and even prominent left-Zionist cultural figures. The Nazi party also attacked avante garde culture. In the words of Herman Goering, ‘when I hear the words culture, I reach for my revolver.’
See The Cultural Axis, Robert O. Paxton in the October 26, 2017 Issue of The New Yorker, a review of Benjamin Martin’s The Nazi-Fascist New Order for European Culture.
This is where Zionism and its racial supremacist, ethno-nationalist state are now heading. A state where the very term ‘leftist’ is now a term of abuse.
Jonathan Offir’s article is a timely reminder that far from being a democratic state, Israel is rapidly removing democratic rights even from Jews.
Jonathan Ofir on May 2, 2018
The rightwing Israeli Jewish group “Im Tirtzu” has published an incitement video, featuring Adi Shosberger, who has recently called soldiers near the Gaza fence ‘terrrorists,’ and an activist from ‘Machsom Watch’ (‘Checkpoint watch’) who tells an Israeli soldier “you are a disgrace”.
The video frames these actions as a conspiracy of the progressive New Israel Fund. New Israel Fund, a global organization based in the U.S., has supported Machsom Watch, but it has no connection to Shosberger. “I have no connection to the New Israel Fund,” Shosberger writes, in Hebrew.
The Im Tirtzu video satirically promotes a video game, where one plays a soldier confronting leftist activists:
“Do you want to experience what IDF soldiers feel when they are persecuted by New Israel Fund organizations?”, the narrator says.
In the game, the soldier confronts activists and ‘terrorists’ yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’. The narrator says:
“What are you waiting for? Join the fight against the foreign agents.”
In the actual video game, the soldier can kill the Palestinians, but has to jump over the Israeli activists.
Shosberger, who was protesting the manifestly illegal policy of shooting unarmed protesters, has also been trashed by a mainstream radio host who has publicly fantasized about her rape and murder, calling her “stupid”, “filth” and “little bitch”.
The Israeli organization “Im Tirzu“ calls itself “the largest grassroots Zionist movement in Israel,” but has been widely labelled “fascist”. A Jerusalem court judge has even ruled that this is a legitimate charge.
|woman reading out statement from Breaking the Silence|
Its call to fight the “foreign agents” arose 2-1/2 years ago, when Im Tirtzu published a video which incited against four NGO’s: B’Tselem, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Breaking the Silence, and HaMoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual. Staffers were personally named and framed as “foreign agents”.
“While we fight terror, they fight us,” the narrator said
That video coincided with the push from Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, herself arguably a fascist, of the “Transparency bill” nearly two years ago, which forced organizations that receive more than half their funding from institutions abroad (including from European governments), to disclose it prominently in official reports. The law does not specifically refer to leftwing organizations, but applies to about 25 NGOs. Rightwing NGOs, such as those supporting Israel’s occupation of the West Bank, tend to rely on private donations, which the law does not cover.
The recent video is a further incitement against those who criticize Israeli policy, and it is making a blanket judgement of any dissent to be a national treason by “foreign agents”.
Im Tirtzu is ostensibly calling for this treatment of “foreign agents” to be implemented in law. But the incitement there is so virulent, that it’s not difficult to see how someone might get the idea that they should take the law into their own hands, and ‘teach these foreign agents a lesson’ – as an act of patriotism, of course.
One might be inclined to see this merely as a ‘game’, as the video suggests it is. But it is not a game. It is dead serious. It’s as serious as when the mentioned mainstream radio host Shai Goldstein says he “feels like killing that woman” (Adi Shosberger). But many Israelis don’t seem to get this. It passes as mere ‘outrage’, justified by the notion that the “most moral army in the world” cannot possibly be carrying out acts of terrorism, or even acting in ways which are a “disgrace”.
Militarism is a religion in Israel, like Zionism, and people are being sacrificed by it in many ways. Mostly, it’s Palestinians – but it’s also those who show solidarity with them. Then you’re a “foreign agent”.
About Jonathan Ofir
Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based in Denmark.
The right-wing group's director tells Haaretz, however, that the public has the right to know about cultural figures' left-wing affiliations.
|The latest Im Tirtzu campaign, which targets left-wing artists. Pictured (from left): Sha'anan Street, Amos Oz, Joshua Sobol and Gila Almagor. From the Facebook page of Im Tirtzu|
The right wing Im Tirtzu group, which last month stirred controversy over its video targeting figures from left-wing organizations as foreign "moles," acknowledged that it had erred in a new poster that purports to expose some of Israel's leading cultural figures as left-wing.
The acknowledgment of the mistake with regard to the poster, in which authors Amos Oz, David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua, actress Gila Almagor and singer Chava Alberstein among others were labeled "moles in culture" was posted on the organization's Facebook page over the signature of its director general, Matan Peleg. The poster, which was put on the group's Facebook page on Wednesday, disclosed what Im Tirtzu claimed was the cultural figures' association with left-wing groups.
Despite the admission of error, in a conversation with Haaretz, Peleg defended the poster and said the public has the right to know about the political activities of those featured in it. The poster prompted widespread condemnation from politicians on the right as well as the left, including condemnation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Among those criticizing it were Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the leader of the right-of-center Habayit Hayehudi party, who called the material "embarrassing, unnecessary and humiliating." His party colleague, Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked added that artists identified with the left should not be placed out of bounds. For his part, Likud Knesset member Benny Begin called the outing of purported traitors "a longstanding ugly and dangerous fascist trait."
In its Facebook post on Friday, Im Tirtzu did not provide detail regarding what it viewed as mistaken in the poster, and did not remove it from its website or remove the list of artists and intellectuals that accompanied it. In a separate statement, Im Tirtzu reaffirmed that it was proud of its initial "moles" campaign directed at figures associated with Israeli human rights groups and left-wing organizations receiving foreign government funding, saying that the mistake that it was acknowledging only related to the poster featuring the cultural figures.
Friday's Facebook post over Peleg's name contained the following admission regarding the poster: "We made a mistake. We put up a mistaken post on a very important and substantial subject and therefore we need to be much more careful." Saying that the poster didn't constitute a campaign and that the organization wasn't calling anyone a traitor, despite media allegations to that effect, the statement in Peleg's name added: "We take full responsibility and promise to continue to work with great faith on behalf of the people of Israel and the soldiers of the IDF," the Israel Defense Forces.
"We will continue to convey pointed criticism of organizations that present IDF soldiers as war criminals and against those calling for a boycott of the country. Many thanks to all those who have supported us over the past two days and thank-you also to those who set us straight over our mistake," the statement added.
Later Im Tirtzu issued a clarification that the acknowledgement of the error related only to Wednesday's post of the poster and not the earlier campaign "which exposed those who harm IDF soldiers, [a campaign] over which we are proud and will continue [to publicize]."
In his conversation with Haaretz, however, Peleg defended his group's publication of the list of cultural figures, information that he said was already available elsewhere on the Internet. "The major advantage of the media storm that erupted is that now many in Israeli society know that when they say 300 cultural figures have signed a petition of one kind or another, they know they can check it name by name, and it's possible that they will see some of the names on the public boards of outside organizations," he explained.
When asked about his group's future direction, he replied: "The DNA of Im Tirtzu is to work against organizations that harm IDF soldiers, and that won't change." He explained that the Facebook post with the poster on cultural figures was not removed because the group viewed the material posted on Facebook as an ongoing feed, meaning that, with the posting of additional material, the poster appears lower down.
"If you assume responsibility, you assume responsibility," he said. "Now that we have written what is mistaken in it, we will certainly leave it so anyone who wants to form an impression will do so. We are not evading responsibility. We wrote in the post what we view as a mistake and we are moving forward."
By Noam Sheizaf
|Published September 8, 2013
A verdict by the Jerusalem District Court finds that recognizing ‘certain lines of resemblance’ to fascism in the ideology or activities of the right-wing movement can be seen as ‘truthful.’ The verdict is a major blow to Im Tirtzu’s efforts to portray itself as a mainstream, grassroots movement.
The extreme-right group Im Tirtzu lost a court case against a group of leftist activists who opened a Facebook page called “Im Tirtzu – A Fascist Movement.” Judge Raphael Ya’akobi of the Jerusalem District Court determined that some of Im Tirtzu’s attributes bear certain similarities to fascism – thus allowing the activists to use both a freedom of speech defense, as well as “spoken truth” defense.
Ya’akobi ruled against Im Tirtzu in all claims of the lawsuit, except for a post on the group’s page which drew similarities between Im Tirzu and Nazi ideology.
Im Tirtzu has become known over the past several years for their attacks on left-wing academics and organizations. Following the Goldstone Report on 2008-09’s Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Im Tirtzu accused the New Israel Fund of aiding, through the various organizations it supports, the UN fact finding mission. A personal campaign against the head of the NIF, Naomi Chazan, bore anti-Semitic features [disclaimer: +972 Magazine is on the New Israel Fund’s donor-advised list].
Later, Im Tirtzu members campaigned against academics who taught courses about the Palestinian narrative of 1948, and led the campaign to shut down the political science department in Ben Gurion University, which was considered too “lefty.” Last year, the department was put under a long review process by the Israeli universities’ budgeting committee. Im Tirtzu was also behind the attempt to scare the Eretz Yisrael Museum from hosting the annual ‘Return Conference,’ an event put on by the non-profit Zochrot, which works to promote awareness of the Nakba in Israeli society.
Im Tirtzu’s leadership enjoys strong ties within the Likud party. Interior Minter Gideon Sa’ar (Likud Yisrael Beiteinu), a favorite of the group, spoke at their annual conference.
|Ad by Im Tirzu blaming the head of NIF Naomi Hazan in the creation of the Goldstone report|
Three-and-a-half years ago, Im Tirtzu filed lawsuit against the creators of the Facebook page “Im Tirtzu – a Fascist Movement,” demanding NIS 2.6 million ($720,000 US) in compensation and the removal of the page. During the procedures, the defendants had Professor Zeev Sternhell, a world expert on fascism, testify on the resemblance between Im Tirtzu’s activities and those of the European extreme right in the first half of the twentieth century. Sternhell himself was a victim of a pipe-bomb attack by Jewish terrorist Ya’akov “Jack” Teitel.
Furthermore, Ya’akobi ruled that in all cases but one, the name of the Facebook page and the specific posts that were brought before him fall under the right to free opinion. Thus, a slanderous motive cannot be attributed to them.
Here is a link to the full verdict [Hebrew].
Although the court could have stopped there, Ya’akobi also accepted the defense of “a truthful publication,” that the critique of Im Tirtzu as part of the political debate was in the public’s interest. In other words, the court is not stating the Im Tirtzu is a fascist movement (or that it isn’t, for that matter), but that because there exist “certain lines of resemblance” to fascism, calling them as such cannot be considered slanderous.
This is a major blow to Im Tirtzu’s attempts to position themselves as a mainstream grassroots movement. In the past, group members threatened a lawsuit against Wikipedia Israel for calling it “a right-wing movement” on its entry.
Im Tirtzu has been sponsored by John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel. According to the movement’s report, in recent years most of the support to Im Tirtzu comes from the Central Fund of Israel, which sponsors various religious, right-wing and settler causes.
The Jerusalem court did not call for compensation regarding the single claim in which it ruled in favor of Im Tirtzu, since the case is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.