Tuesday, August 28, 2012

More self-hating Jews: "Breaking the Silence"

From Israeli researchers on recipients of New Israel Fund ("NIF") support (in this instance, the organisation whose allegations have received prominence in the Australian media recently, and which is financially supported by NIF, the EU, the NGO Development Center, Holland, Britain and Spain):

“Breaking The Silence” (BTS) is a fringe group of former Israeli soldiers who served in the Territories during the height of the Intifada. They claim they support Israel, but they charge that IDF operations have no purpose but to humiliate Palestinians and that IDF soldiers are callous and unethical, and commit gross human rights abuses. In short, they create one-sided, anti-IDF presentations that distort facts by omitting the context of Israel’s counter-terrorist war, by focusing only on their own unverified allegations, and by ignoring the IDF’s efforts to uphold high moral standards while fighting a difficult terrorist war.
BTS’ goal is not to bring offending soldiers to justice or even to encourage reforms in IDF policy. Instead, BTS wants to put international pressure on Israel to unilaterally and immediately pull out of the rest of the Territories and hope to do so by vilifying one of Israel’s most revered institutions, the IDF. Unilateral withdrawal is a legitimate topic of debate, but instead of arguing the merits of this position, BTS chooses to vilify the IDF.
BTS speakers claim that their allegations of brutality are regular occurrences. Their claims blacken the reputations of the vast majority of young Israeli soldiers who did not lose their moral or ethical compass. BTS hunts for former soldiers who will testify that they saw or committed abuses.
A recent interview with a founder of Breaking the Silence, Yehuda Shaul, is typical. His one-sided presentation does not give an informative picture of the actions, attitudes or policies of the entire Israeli army, yet he implies that it does.
Even the name of the group, "Breaking the Silence," is misleading. The implication is that the speakers will unveil the "real" story about IDF abuses because Israel’s press and politicians do not air controversies about IDF policies when in fact they do, and that the IDF does not punish soldiers who violate moral standards when in fact they do. The implication is also that the IDF would not be responsive to these soldiers’ concerns when in fact it has been trying to develop more humane policies to deal with an enemy that attacks Israeli citizens and then embeds itself among Palestinian civilians. BTS speakers even fail to acknowledge that as a result of their presentations in Israel, the IDF considered resuming official probes into each Palestinian death.
Instead, you will hear disconnected observations made by individual soldiers. The campaign of Palestinian terrorism is ignored, even though many of these men served at the height of the Intifada in 2002. Such programs, with their unqualified moral denunciations of the IDF, have become part of the larger anti-Israel propaganda war. In Israel, where most of the population has served in the IDF, audiences can reasonably evaluate BTS claims, compare them to their own experiences and put them into proper context. That is not true around the world where obsevers are often ignorant and are regularly inundated with malicious anti-Israel charges.
If BTS members were sincere, they would be presenting accurate facts about terrorism, the goals expressed in the charters of HAMAS, PLO and Hezbollah, the anti-Israel incitement, and the ways the Palestinians have contributed to perpetuating the conflict and to harming the lives of ordinary Palestinian civilians. If they were sincere, they would be raising awareness about the moral dilemmas the IDF faces.

For more, refer to NGO Monitor's report
Breaking What Silence? A Critical Reading of Allegations from "Breaking the Silence"

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