Remembrance Day overseas: IDF reservists share Israel’s story to the world

My Truth has documented tens of testimonies from reservists in recent months describing the use of human shields to carry out terror attacks and other human rights violations.

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May 9, 2019 16:05
4 minute read.
Remembrance Day overseas: IDF reservists share Israel’s story to the world

Delegation of IDF reservists shared Israel’s story to the world . (photo credit: MY TRUTH)

 
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A delegation of IDF reservists, which documents the use of human shields by Hamas and the Palestinian Authority, shared their stories ahead of Israel’s Remembrance Day in the Swedish capital of Stockholm.

My Truth, established following Operation Protective Edge in 2014 by Avihai Shorshan, has documented tens of testimonies from reservists in recent months describing the use of human shields to carry out terrorist attacks, and other human rights violations.

The events held by My Truth over the course of three days dealt with the significance of Remembrance Day for Israeli citizens in general and IDF soldiers in particular. Members of the delegation shared stories and personal experiences about their fallen comrades and the meaning of Remembrance Day for them, including Shorshan, who lost his father in a terrorist attack outside the Gazan community of Kfar Darom when he was only seven years old.

While Shorshan and his fellow My Truth activists, Gilad Segal and Eli Bogdan, planned to land in Sweden ahead of Israel’s Remembrance Day, they flew into Stockholm during the last deadly escalation of violence between Israel and groups in the Gaza Strip, which killed four Israeli civilians.

According to Shorshan, close to 300 people attended the events, which were put on in conjunction with the Sweden Israel Friendship Association and local politicians.

“Even on the most Israeli day of the year, we should not forget our brothers around the world. The crowd’s response, listening and thirsting to hear more and more, only illustrated to us our need and duty as Israeli citizens and reserve soldiers to connect the Jews of the Diaspora to Remembrance Day,” the organization said in a statement provided to The Jerusalem Post.

Shorshan told the Post that following the hour long event, the crowd asked questions for an hour and a half.

“It was not a Jewish association that we teamed with, so a large amount of people at the event weren’t Jewish,” Shorshan told The Jerusalem Post on Wednesday. “Of course, a lot of people came because it’s important for them. There is a lot of antisemitism coming from both the far Right and far Left in Sweden, and here we are, IDF reservists telling our story.”

 

MEMBERS OF My Truth also spoke at Sweden’s Parliament – the Riksdag – on Tuesday, following an invitation from Lars Adaktusson of the Christian Democrats center-right party. Their event was attended by members of parliament, diplomats, Foreign Ministry officials and others.


The organization said that it was a particularly challenging trip “to one of the most critical countries towards Israel in Europe” for the delegation, who tried to drum up support and understanding of Israel’s actions during a week when hundreds of thousands of Israeli citizens were running to bomb shelters.

“When we got there, there were still rockets being fired on the South... and Hamas was shooting rockets from people’s houses and schools. The timing was unfortunately perfect,” Shorshan said.

The members of the delegation explained the challenges faced by IDF soldiers that confront an enemy that abuses its high moral standards, cynically willing to trade the lives and well-being of its civilian population for propaganda causes. They elaborated about the points of friction IDF soldiers have with Palestinian civilian population and efforts made by them to maintain the “fabric of life,” allowing Palestinians to carry on their routine despite security threats. The discussion also mentioned points of similarity between IDF challenges and those of other western armies today.

“During all the events we made a connection between our project and Memorial Day and we spoke about our friends who fell protecting the country,” Shorshan told the Post. “We explained to the crowd that in Israel, we know that this situation won’t end tomorrow, so we must always remember the future. We must remember everyone who paid the ultimate price, but we must always remember to love life, especially for our children and our future.”

My Truth collects signed testimonies and photographs from combat operations between 2004-2018 in the West Bank and Gaza Strip that attest to the use of human shields and other human rights violations by Hamas and other terrorist groups.

The organization has documented tens of testimonies from dozens of former combat soldiers, including several who just recently finished their military service and were posted along the Gaza border fence during the Great Return Marches.

The delegation was widely covered by Swedish media, and caused quite of a media hype. One of the largest Swedish outlets, Aftondbladet newspaper, which was criticized on several occasions in the past for using content that promotes antisemitism, published an article ahead of the event in the Riksdag titled “Adaktusson opens the door to extremism,” accusing My Truth of being an “Israeli propaganda organization” and question the democratic character of Israel.

The Swedish radical organization “Diakonia” joined Aftonbladet’s attempts to damage the legitimacy of the event and attacked Adaktusson and My Truth team members personally on Swedish radio, an attack that continued later in a series of tweets by Aftonbladet’s editor. Neither Diakonia nor Aftonbladet sent representatives to document My Truth events, or asked for My Truth’s response ahead of the publications and comments.

My Truth’s next event will be in London in June.

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