web analytics
February 1, 2015 / 12 Shevat, 5775
 
At a Glance
InDepth
Sponsored Post


Home » InDepth » Op-Eds »

‘Breaking the Silence?’ I Was Silenced.

The organizations who invited this man, J Street U and Hillel, had no interest in how I helped uphold human rights. They didn’t want me to speak about it, though I openly made myself available to them that night.
Breaking the Silence spoke at Washington University in St. Louis, sponsored by Hillel and J Street U

Breaking the Silence spoke at Washington University in St. Louis, sponsored by Hillel and J Street U
Photo Credit: event poster from Facebook

On March 31, I attended a disturbing lecture at Washington University in St. Louis. It was co-sponsored by St. Louis Hillel at Washington University and J Street U. The speaker, a former Israeli soldier with the group “Breaking the Silence” (BtS), misrepresented and demonized the Israel Defense Forces, Israel, and Israeli policy. BtS is known for bringing in speakers like this, so I could not understand why Hillel and J Street U had sponsored a talk whose only purpose appeared to be to misinform audiences and instill hostility towards Israel.

As an Israeli reservist who had been stationed in the West Bank, I sat in disbelief as the speaker described attitudes and policies that were entirely divorced from reality.

The former soldier, Oded Na’aman, claimed that Israeli soldiers are trained to oppress the Palestinians individually and as a people, that they maliciously mistreat Palestinians in the West Bank, and that they are taught to make Palestinians fear Israeli soldiers. He argued that there are no civil rights for Palestinians and that the Jewish people who now have a state use their power to oppress Palestinians.

I had no idea what he was talking about or what motivated him to lie.

He did not describe the Israel or IDF that I know so intimately.

As a reservist and a soldier, I had been stationed in the West Bank. My job was to protect the Palestinians’ human rights, coordinate humanitarian aid, and tend to the needs of civilians living in the West Bank. I always felt that Israel’s concern for the welfare of the Palestinians was impressive, and I was proud to be part of it.

My experience taught me that even during wartime, Israel made it a priority to meet the needs of Palestinians even though they had made themselves enemies of the State of Israel by launching the second intifada.

I recall that during my service in Hebron, I had to adhere to international humanitarian law and ensure that the soldiers in the Judea Brigade were educated about the Geneva Convention and the rules of engagement—or face punishment. We sometimes went beyond these strict rules to help Palestinians. Once, when I served in my unit’s headquarters, we arranged a complex operation so that my unit, with the help of another unit, could save the life of a Palestinian boy living in Gaza whose mother had died. We did some investigating, and discovered that his uncle lived in Ramallah. In a special operation in the middle of the night, we moved the child to his uncle so that he would not be left alone in the streets of the Gaza Strip.

It was torture for me to sit there quietly and listen to the distortions of this former soldier who had served during the most violent period of the second intifada (2000-2003), when suicide bombers and snipers were wantonly murdering Israeli men, women, and children. But he never described the terrorism that forced the IDF to take measures to protect our families.

If he has complaints about the IDF, he should be an activist in Israel. Soldiers don’t always do the right thing or live up to the IDF code. They should be disciplined. Israel’s policies can be debated. But Israel is constantly examining itself critically, and debates in Israel are energetic and promote the full variety of views. Why, then, would he come to the U.S. to complain about his own army?

I think I know why. It’s because there are groups who are parading him around to tell half-truths and lies to defame Israel. When he was asked that very question during the question-and-answer period, he said, “I came here to tell Americans what their tax money is funding.” He said that attacking Israel with F16s is not the right answer, but that Israel needs to be pressured. I wondered what kind of twisted thinking would make a person who lives in a vibrant democracy, where he can campaign for his political positions, instead ask outside forces to pressure his country? What motivated him? Is he a post-nationalist who doesn’t want Israel to exist at all?

About the Author: Hen Mazzig is the Pacific Northwest Campus Coordinator for StandWithUs and a member of the sixth StandWithUs “Israeli Soldiers Stories” tour.


If you don't see your comment after publishing it, refresh the page.

Our comments section is intended for meaningful responses and debates in a civilized manner. We ask that you respect the fact that we are a religious Jewish website and avoid inappropriate language at all cost.

If you promote any foreign religions, gods or messiahs, lies about Israel, anti-Semitism, or advocate violence (except against terrorists), your permission to comment may be revoked.

5 Responses to “‘Breaking the Silence?’ I Was Silenced.”

  1. Anonymous says:

    That guy is a self hated Israeli. I am puzzled myself.

  2. Millie Kashuk says:

    Odid Na"Aman should of been stopped when presenting the lies about
    the IDF………He was set up to speak lies and I am sure that is true…….
    The audience should of walked out………

  3. Robin Rosenblatt says:

    J Street has betrayed Israel!

    “Good Jews don't support Israel”, this was a newspaper headline in England. It could put their lives in danger on the streets of England. In America it is true for different reason. Many America Rabbi’s and Jews have divided minds, half of it supports Israel and other half supports the Palestinians. My question? Supporting Palestinians to do what? Kill more Jews, Israelis or their Arab brothers?

    Are, Stupid Pal Alto Jews are helping build a Mosque near them? The must have ok’ed it.

  4. J Street was long ago discredited as the vile anti-Israel organization that it it. But what has been happening to Hillel of late? It was once a great organization.

  5. JStreet is a Jewish proto-Nazi antisemitic goebbelsian organisation. Period.

Comments are closed.

SocialTwist Tell-a-Friend

Current Top Story
Handout photo of texted message sent by a fearful Christopher Cramer from Saudi Arabia before his death.
Saudis Hold Body of U.S. Elbit Subcontractor After Mysterious Death in Tabuk
Latest Indepth Stories
HETi_logo2

It is offensive that in commemorating the Holocaust mentioning Israel was deemed inappropriate.

Questions-Answers-logo

Many questions, all with thee same, single answer

Eli Weiss

Shepherding in the Shomron isn’t your usual kind of shepherding – despite his business-minded beginnings, Eli has discovered that a strong ideological impetus powers the job.

Resnick-013015-Pilot

I said to myself, “This story has got to be told. We’re losing this generation of World War II and if we don’t listen to them now, we’ve lost it.”

His entire existence was about spreading simcha and glorifying G-d’s name on a daily basis.

An Israeli strike could theoretically damage Iran’s nuclear program; only US can terminate program

At some point we need to stop simply defending and promoting Israel and start living in Israel

“We Jews are the only people who when we drop a book on the floor pick it up and kiss it.”

Though Zaide was the publisher of The Jewish Press, a big newspaper,I always remember him learning

Speaker Silver has been an extraordinary public servant since his election to the Assembly in 1975 and has been an exemplary leader of that body since 1994.

He spent the first leg of his daylong visit to the French capital at Hyper Cacher.

Drawing Congress into the Iran nuclear debate is the last thing the White House wants.

Great leaders like Miriam and like Sarah Schenirer possess the capacity to challenge the status quo that confronts them.

Obama’s foreign policy is viewed by both liberals and conservatives as deeply flawed

More Articles from Hen Mazzig
Breaking the Silence spoke at Washington University in St. Louis, sponsored by Hillel and J Street U

Why was someone misrepresenting Israel given credibility by Hillel and J Street U?

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/breaking-the-silence-i-was-silenced/2014/04/04/

Scan this QR code to visit this page online: