Breaking the silence on Breaking the Silence.
... NGOs of all descriptions have gravitated away from advocating for a cause to professing entirely partisan policy positions. This questionable practice is further muddied when one finds out the agendas being professed are not even homegrown, but are being imposed by private unaccountable groups and individuals.
One doesn’t have to wade very far into Breaking the Silence’s 170-page booklet detailing the IDF’s so-called misconduct before one’s attention is drawn to the fact that two foreign governments,
- Norway and
- Trocaire is the overseas aid arm of the Irish Catholic Church, which in turn received 30% of its operating budget from the Irish Government.
- the European Commission, the governments of
- the UK,
- Sweden and
This is not surprising. At least in the latter case, governments have always given funding to aid agencies. Between Nepal, Syria and the Ebola crisis in West Africa, it is eminently reasonable and indeed praiseworthy that richer countries go out of their way to provide succour to those in need. It is also beyond question that the day-to-day situation is Gaza is desperate, and that in an ideal world reconstruction would have commenced straight away. Yet we do not live in such a utopia, and our country’s ability to act is constrained by factors outside of our control.
Foreign aid has always served a government’s purpose to project influence where traditional methods such as trade were less than successful. Indeed, Israel has supported thousands of ongoing concerns in different parts of Africa since the 1970s when Golda Meir was Prime Minister and continues to do so today. But this is not foreign aid.
Im Tirtzu was not surprised to see that the New Israel Fund featured in the list of donors. Our work documenting their activities is well-known, specifically their consistent funding of Breaking the Silence.
What was more interesting was that the Moriah Fund also funded the project. I mention this because they have also received money from the New Israel Fund, as well as sharing common directors from their respective boards. This cross-pollination is not the exception to the rule. To take but one example, the Foundation for Middle East Peace boasts a director who previously worked at B’Tselem and Jewish Voice for Peace.
Most worrying is the enigmatic Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat. Based in Ramallah and Gaza, with an operating budget funded by four of the aforementioned countries (Holland, Sweden, Denmark and Switzerland), it probably sets a record for an organisation that published its first newsletter last November.
All of this is troubling: unelected, unaccountable individuals and organisations financing an effort to besmirch the reputation and degrade the morale of the IDF is only worthy of our disdain and opprobrium.
Had this publication displayed a modicum of intellectual honesty, such as mentioning the word ‘Hamas’ in any of its 170 pages, one might have been able to stomach it. And the fact that the report was presented in a way calculated to damage the IDF (it made it into all the internationalpress), leads inescapably to the conclusion that the agenda was to advance other, more sinister interests.
In this particular instance one hopes that these individuals understand that they were short-changed. A meaningful reading of these testimonies confirmed what man has known since time immemorial – war is confusing, bewildering and certainly not pretty. Our armed forces responded to the very real challenges that complex urban warfare presents nowadays. One hopes that the backers of this report ask for their money back.