Im Tirtzu responds to ‘The Jerusalem Post’

US dollars and euros banknotes are seen in this illustration photo (photo credit: REUTERS)
US dollars and euros banknotes are seen in this illustration photo
(photo credit: REUTERS)
Tuesday’s editorial in The Jerusalem Post was distressing, and not a little shocking.
In slighting the concerns raised by Im Tirtzu, and shared by the majority of Israelis, the editorial implicitly aligned itself with the organizations that were called out.
While grudgingly admitting that Im Tirtzu had the right to create an admittedly and deliberately provocative video, the editorial is largely focused on parenthetical and, yes, provocative condemnations of us. We are referred to as having a “far right wing agenda” as if this was a self-evident fact.
What is there about defending the rights and honor of Israeli soldiers, of honoring minorities that choose to embrace service to the state, and providing seminars about Zionist thought and values to hundreds of university students (taught by some of the leading academics and media figures in the country) that constitutes such an agenda? Making it sound like a deal with the devil that on one occasion some seven years ago we received a grant from Evangelicals is a slight against Christians. Analogizing Pastor Hagee to European governments completely misses the issue we are raising; that foreign governments are seeking to influence Israeli politics through the back door by seeking to have their agendas validated by Israeli NGOs.
It was distressing to read that somehow our taking umbrage and action at being labeled fascists, replete with storm-trooper photo reworks of our then CEO, should be somehow hypocritical.
The laws that you cite up front all have limits, and there is certainly consensus in this country that such depictions cross anyone’s lines of decency.
As far as the organizations themselves, in the face of endangering accusations by the likes of Breaking the Silence and B’tselem, with their implicit threats of accusing soldiers of war crimes and officials of crimes against humanity, it is somehow Im Tirtzu that has been out of line, challenged the accepted order of things and engaged in “hyperbole.”
With all due respect our hyperbole pales in comparison with the irresponsible, unaccountable and self-serving accusations of these groups.
The open letter to Breaking the Silence that appeared in your paper the same day as your editorial about us makes the point that we have been emphasizing: these groups are not about solving problems in Israel; they are about demonizing the country. Which conduct, in the increasingly anti-Semitic world we live in, threatens Jews around the world.
Ultimately, what is most distressing about the editorial is the unwillingness to confront the dangerous and threatening state of affairs that we have raised.
The centerpiece of our campaign is a detailed 31-page report delineating the nexus of these NGOs and organizations.
That should have been and needs to be the subject of the day. The fact that we have called out those who have traveled around the world to denigrate, demonize and delegitimize Israel and its core institutions should prompt experienced journalists to ask more searching questions as to what is truly going on.
The Post has always prided itself on having a balanced, nuanced approach.
That approach was given short shrift here in favor of a knee-jerk willingness to condemn those who have exposed something truly rotten in Israel.

The author is CEO of Im Tirtzu.