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July 30, 2015 / 14 Av, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Breaking the Silence’

MK Proposes Israeli Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA) for NGOs

Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015

MK Yinon Magal (Bayit Yehudi) has proposed legislation in the Knesset that will tax Non-Governmental Organizations (NGO) who receive significant funding from foreign governments.

The proposed law will tax any NGO receiving more than $50,000 from a foreign government, at the rate of 37% on those funds.

Those NGOs will also be restricted in the amount of cooperation they can receive from official government bodies and the IDF, and will be designated as a “foreign NGO”.

In addition, the NGO will be required to place notification on all their official documents that they are supported by foreign governments.

Regarding foreign government funding funneled through another NGO, the 2011 foreign funding transparency law explicitly covers all money that originates with governments.

Bayit Yehudi head called this a “response to the UN report.”

The latest UN “Schabes Report” against Israel received information from Israeli NGOs who receive millions of shekels from foreign governments in Europe, and advance the interests of those foreign governments.

The proposed law will not stop the NGOs from continuing their work, but it will make clear that they providing services for foreign government who ere using local Israelis to promote the agendas of the foreign governments.

The United States has a similar law called the Foreign Agents Registration Act (FARA).

The U.S. law requires those working directly or indirectly for a foreign government or foreign organization publicly disclose that information, as well as disclosing all their activities and finances.

Anti-IDF ‘Breaking the Silence’ to Speak in Swiss Parliament

Wednesday, June 10th, 2015

The leftist Green Part in Switzerland has invited Yehuda Shaul, leader of the anti-IDF Breaking the Silence group, to speak in the parliament a week after the government funded his exhibit that charges the military with human rights violations.

The Israeli Foreign Ministry last week failed to cancel the Breaking the Silence exhibition, which it said has the ” sole purpose to tarnish the image of Israel’s …and Israel’s image.”

The Swiss Foreign Ministry shelled out $25,000 to help Breaking the Silence stage the exhibit and justified its action as a “commitment to increasing dialogue about human rights.”

Yehuda Shaul is as an Orthodox Jew in Jerusalem but has stated he was Not raised as an Israeli.” His agenda is clearly leftist, and he states on the Breaking of Silence website:

Moral values disintegrate, that’s inherent in these circumstances and you can’t both be there and not be there. Occupation is an equation. Soldiers dominate civilians. It starts with what I talked about and ends with what we don’t want to listen to, yet we must because our society is an occupying one, and our soldiers are doing these things in our name.

Shaul founded Breaking the Silence, which is generously funded by the leftist New Israel Fund, and he has recorded allegations by anonymous soldiers of indiscriminate fire at Arabs in Gaza during last summer’s Protective Edge counter-terror campaign.

Ten Swiss parliament members strongly opposed last week’s the exhibit and stated, as translated and published by The Jerusalem Post:

Disinformation and the political ideology of hatred are being directed against the Jewish state and, of all things, it is shameful that Switzerland, on whose soil the nucleus of peaceful political Zionism developed in Base at the First Zionist Congress in 1897, is participating in such activities.

Israeli pressure so far has not stopped the Green Party, which issued an invitation to Shaul to speak in the parliament to speak.

IDF Reservists last week appealed to Hotovely and Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to stop the exhibit and said they also “will not remain silent in the face of an organization that retries to degrade the IDF.” They should form a group and call it “Breaking the Slander.”

The Breaking the Silence report is ammunition for BDS. Its 237-page report titled “This Is How We Fought in Gaza” is full of anonymous testimonies form 60 soldiers among tens of thousands who were called up during the war.

NGO Monitor has charged Breaking the Silence with making “sweeping accusations based on anecdotal, anonymous and unverifiable testimonies of low-level soldiers.” It added:

These ‘testimonies’ lack context, ignoring the fact that during the 2014 Gaza war heavy fighting took place between Israel and terror groups in Gaza, and that soldiers faced grave danger throughout the conflict from rockets, mortar shells, and terrorists emerging from tunnels dug beneath private homes. These distortions and erasures dovetail with BtS’s ideological agenda and fuel delegitimization campaigns against Israel.”

Behind Breaking the Silence: Foreign Funding, Bounty Hunting, and Hypocrisy

Monday, May 11th, 2015

On May 4 the organization which has given itself the courageous moniker of “Breaking the Silence” issued a harshly critical report about the IDF’s performance in last summer’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza. It claimed indiscriminate shooting by Israeli soldiers caused the deaths of hundreds of Palestinian Arab civilians.

In the days following, that report has itself been criticized, debunked, dismantled and discredited. It’s worth understanding why.

The name of the organization issuing the scathing report, “Breaking the Silence,” suggests no one else has been willing to criticize the IDF. In reality, of course, that is the primary global discourse about the IDF.

And it is not as if IDF soldiers are uncritical of their experiences. But most of that criticism is internally directed, with the goal of actually improving conditions and procedures. BtS’s effort, in contrast, is a public relations exercise in demonizing Israel and its military apparatus.

The international media pounced on what was promoted by BtS as scorching criticism based on more than 60 interviews with unnamed active duty and reserve IDF personnel who participated in last summer’s OPE. (Anonymity of critics is a hallmark of Breaking the Silence’s many reports.)

A report based on testimony from Israeli soldiers who directly participated in the conflict would appear to be unimpeachable.

Except this one is and has been impressively impeached in a series of reports and public comments by a wide range of critics. Those reports have not received the extensive publicity the Israel-bashing original report has.

And why should anyone doubt the veracity of this report?

Well, for one thing, Breaking the Silence has been subject to intense criticism for years, including from such venerable bastions of Israel criticism as Haaretz, Israel’s flagship far leftist media outlet. In 2009, a Haaretz writer said of Breaking the Silence, it “has a clear political agenda, and can no longer be classified as a human rights organization.”

Other critics include former Israeli Ambassador to the United Nations Dore Gold, former Associated Press reporter Matti Friedman, the well-respected non-governmental watchdog group NGO Monitor and Im Tirzu, a staunchly Zionist Israeli organization.

The various critics offered substantive and persuasive reasoning for rejecting the claims contained in BtS’s latest report.

FOREIGN FUNDING AND BOUNTY HUNTING

First, the funding of Breaking the Silence suggests it has a clear political bias. Despite its claims, including one during a BBC interview, that its organization “are not subcontractors to anybody,” BtS is highly subsidized by foreign entities and governments. That in itself may not be problematic. But bounty hunting, where funding will only be provided if a set level of “scalps” are supplied, reaps malevolently skewed results.

And contrary to BtS’s claim that “the contents and opinions in this booklet do not express the position of the funders,” NGO Monitor research revealed that a number of funders made their grants conditional on the NGO obtaining a minimum number of negative “testimonies.”

Got that? We call that bounty hunting.

“This contradicts BtS’ declarations and thus turns it into an organization that represents its foreign donors’ interest, severely damaging the NGO’s reliability and its ability to analyze complicated combat situations,” observed NGO Monitor’s analysts.

Gerald Steinberg, the executive director of NGO Monitor, told the JewishPress.com that while “the leaders of Breaking the Silence claim to promote Jewish values, they are impostors.”

“From Biblical texts through modern times, Judaism has emphasized political realism and not pacifist myths. Abraham had to show that he had the power to defend his interests, and the same is true for Jacob, and so on. In addition to this distortion, [the authors of the report] are self-promoting messianists who immorally promote themselves through money given by church groups and foreign governments which seek to deny the right of the Jewish people to sovereign equality.”

Israeli Ex-Soldiers Angered over Breaking the Silence Claims Against IDF

Sunday, May 10th, 2015

By Matti Bernhardt

A group of former IDF soldiers, incensed over an Israeli NGO’s claims that they abused Palestinians during last summer’s fighting in Gaza, have taken to social media to fight the allegations.

Under the hashtag #my_truth in Hebrew, the soldiers, many of whom faced heavy fire from Hamas and other terrorist groups during the 50-day Operation Protective Edge, have begun posting stories of cases showing how they went to great lengths to avoid harming Palestinians. They also mentioned cases in which civilians took part in terrorist activity.

The goal of this initiative is to counter damning anonymous testimonies by other troops published by the NGO Breaking the Silence, which frequently publicizes claims that the IDF mistreats Palestinians.

Breaking the Silence touts itself as an organization of ex-soldiers who collect testimonies from troops who served in Palestinian areas since the start of the Second Intifada.

While claiming their goal is to “raise awareness over the everyday reality of serving in the occupied territories and to create a discussion about the cost of military control over a civilian population for so many years,” the NGO refuses to post the names of the soldiers who testify. They have also refused to pass along their accounts to the IDF’s Military Advocate General’s Corps for investigation, despite repeated requests by senior IDF officials.

As well, the latest report was itself published first in English and released to the foreign media. Breaking the Silence members routinely go abroad to share their testimonials on IDF activities, instead of taking their case directly to the IDF or civilian courts.

The latest counter-initiative to the NGO report began after Israeli left-wing Meretz MK Zehava Galon posted one such hostile testimony last Tuesday on her Facebook page.

In the allegation that she posted from Breaking the Silence, Galon quoted the following: “the unit identified two figures walking in an orchard around 900 meters from where we were posted. The figures were two girls. The observation post could not see them well, so the commander sent a UAV. The UAV marked them as dangerous. The unit directed an aircraft who fired on the girls, killing them. When the bodies were checked they had no weapons on them,” the allegation said.

Such accounts, which purport to show the IDF in a bad light, have prompted numerous counter claims from other IDF soldiers, who have attempted to portray a more positive view of IDF activities during the foray.

After reading the Breaking the Silence pamphlet, former IDF soldier Matan Katzman wrote on his Facebook page last Thursday that “during Operation Summer Rains in Beit Hanoun [in the northern Gaze Strip in 2006], we entered a house with a couple living in it. We asked them if they’re involved with Hamas, they said “no, not at all.” We asked them if they have weapons in the house, they said “no, not at all”. We stayed in the house for a couple of hours. When we left, we moved the couch and discovered an IED.”

The informal pro-IDF campaign by former Israeli soldiers also cited examples of humane and respectful behavior towards non-combatants during operations in the Judea and Samaria.

Avishai Shorsham recalled in a testimony that he wrote of his service on his Facebook page on Wednesday, that “During an operation in the Nablus Kasbah, while we are in the middle of a stakeout, an old man who lived in the house felt sharp pain in his chest. Without accordance with our orders, we evacuated him in the middle of the night while endangering ourselves.”

According to the organization’s website, the recent Breaking the Silence pamphlet was produced with the “generous support” of such foreign organizations as Christian Aid, Dan Church Aid, Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, Secretariat and Open Society Foundations founded by George Soros.

Related story: IDF Officer Reports from the Gaza Front (Video)

NGO Monitor: Negative Testimony from ‘Breaking the Silence’ Meets Quota for Grant Makers

Monday, May 4th, 2015

IDF veterans who provided negative testimony for the leftist NGO “Breaking the Silence” may not realize they are also participating in an effort by the group to fulfill a funding quota for bad stuff against Israel.

According to a report by the NGO Monitor, a number of grant-making agencies who provide funding to leftist organizations in Israel have made their patronage contingent upon the groups’ abilities to obtain a minimum number of negative “testimonies.”

“This contradicts Breaking the Silence” declarations and thus turns it into an organization that represents its foreign donors’ interest, severely damaging the NGO’s reliability and its ability to analyze complicated combat situations,” said the report.

One example is the foreign leftist Oxfam group, which signed an agreement with Breaking the Silence, according to the NGO Monitor watchdog organization.

According to that agreement, the Monitor reported, BTS was to conduct interviews with “as many” soldiers as possible who would testify regarding [Israeli] “immoral actions] that violate human rights.

The entire report can be read by clicking here.

UK Jews Invited British J Street Into its Inner Sanctum

Sunday, November 16th, 2014

Yachad, the United Kingdom’s version of J Street, has just been admitted into the official inner sanctum of British Jewry, the Board of Deputies.

The Board of Deputies is a rough equivalent of the much longer named Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations. That organization rejected J Street’s bid for admission late last spring. The BoD  has many more member organizations, although each represents a much smaller total number of Jews than does the American counterpart.

Officially the BoD describes itself as “the voice of British Jewry: a cross-communal, democratic, grassroots organization, and thus the authoritative first port of cal for Government, media and others seeking to understand Jewish community  interests and concerns.”

Every single synagogue and Jewish communal organization in England is entitled to name a deputy to the BoD. There are close to 300 members. The question voted on was whether to admit Yachad as one of those Jewish communal organization membership groups.

With 196 votes cast on Sunday, Nov. 16, there were 61 votes against admitting Yachad and 135 in favor, eking out just five votes over the necessary two-thirds majority.

Four of the five members of the Executive voted in favor of Yachad’s admission, according to an insider. The sole Executive vote against Yachad came from Jonathan Arkush, who is reputed to be a frontrunner for the position of president of the Board, a position which opens in May, 2015.

One member of the BoD spoke out fervently against the admission of Yachad to the group.

Jonathan Hoffman, a BoD deputy for half a dozen years representing the Woodside Park Synagogue, beseeched the large group to remain committed to the ideals of the BoD Constitution which requires the entity to “advance Israel’s security, welfare and standing.”

Hoffman made clear: Yachad is the antithesis of the BoD’s constitutional requirements and instead undermines them at every opportunity.

Hoffman provided several concrete examples of why Yachad should not be voted in as a member of the British Board of Deputies.

One reason he provided, and he drew heavily on an account given by a person who experienced it firsthand, is that Yachad’s main activity in Israel is arranging trips into Judea and Samaria with a horrific group whose sole goal is to denigrate the Israel Defense Force, a well-known group called ‘Breaking the Silence.’ The information provided by this organization – with Yachad’s apparent full support – blamed Israel for every problem and the Palestinian Arabs for none.

A second example provided by Hoffman was the irrefutable fact that Yachad supported the upgrade of the status of “Palestine” at the United Nations. This was particularly galling, given the BoD had assiduously lobbied members of Parliament against this alteration.

Hoffman rounded out his opposition to the inclusion of Yachad by pointing out that the the group has never condemned a boycott of Israeli goods, nor has it ever bothered to explain that Hamas targets Israeli civilians. Instead, “Yachad portrays the Security Fence only as something which harms the Palestinians. Yachad is silent when it comes to the number of Israeli lives the Fence has saved.

Taking the larger group to task for absurdly insisting that the BoD needs “to embrace Jewish organizations with whom we might disagree,” Hoffman demanded to know whether those voting in favor of embracing Yachad have no red lines at all.

Hoffman ended his statement by urging his fellow deputies to vote against Yachad membership to the Board.

“At this time – above all times – Israel needs support from the Diaspora. The last thing Israel needs is the vilification, denigration and falsehoods routinely seen from Yachad.”

Sadly, Hoffman’s prediction that his plea would be in vain was correct. The Board of Deputies has admitted Yachad as a full membership organization.

Defense Minister Yaalon Discusses 8200 Refusal Letter

Monday, September 15th, 2014

Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon mentioned today the anti-8200 (Military Intelligence) letter, while speaking at the International Cyber Conference at Tel Aviv University.

Yaalon said that the letter was not about conscientious objection, but was written for political reasons.

He revealed that most of the 43 people who signed the letter do not do any reserve duty, only a couple of them were actually involved in SigInt on Arabs in Judea and Samaria, and the last time any of them did any reserve duty at all was back in 2009.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/defense-minister-yaalon-discusses-8200-refusal-letter/2014/09/15/

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