Breaking the rules

Breaking the Silence does not aim to encourage reforms in IDF policy.

By MICHAEL DICKSON
July 19, 2009 22:39
3 minute read.
Breaking the rules

idf cool 248.88. (photo credit: AP)

 
X

Dear Reader,
As you can imagine, more people are reading The Jerusalem Post than ever before. Nevertheless, traditional business models are no longer sustainable and high-quality publications, like ours, are being forced to look for new ways to keep going. Unlike many other news organizations, we have not put up a paywall. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analyses from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

As one of our loyal readers, we ask you to be our partner.

For $5 a month you will receive access to the following:

  • A user experience almost completely free of ads
  • Access to our Premium Section
  • Content from the award-winning Jerusalem Report and our monthly magazine to learn Hebrew - Ivrit
  • A brand new ePaper featuring the daily newspaper as it appears in print in Israel

Help us grow and continue telling Israel’s story to the world.

Thank you,

Ronit Hasin-Hochman, CEO, Jerusalem Post Group
Yaakov Katz, Editor-in-Chief

UPGRADE YOUR JPOST EXPERIENCE FOR 5$ PER MONTH Show me later

It is clear from its latest report that the goal of Breaking the Silence is not to bring offending soldiers to justice or even to encourage reforms in IDF policy. If these were its goals, it would include names, ranks, facts, place names and dates; it would have released a detailed report to the authorities to encourage an investigation. Without this information, it is impossible to probe the veracity of the claims. The organization's efforts to defame Israel in the international arena are successful. Despite the precedent of previous claims made against the IDF being disproved, and without waiting for an investigation into the allegations, supposedly reputable media organizations such as the BBC choose to report them as fact. Defamation of Israel is the order of the day. Breaking the Silence is misleading in its name and its aim. There is no silence to break. Israel is an open and democratic society that regularly criticizes its own actions, but this one-sided and shoddy report fails to stress the context of the war - a battle against Hamas terrorists hiding behind civilians and it omits names, ranks and facts about soldiers and their stories. THE REPORT writers are keen to thank their funders, which shamefully include the Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, Christian Aid and OXFAM, two charities which have in the past launched vitriolic anti-Israel campaigns, as well as the European Union which gave them $75,000 to "contribute to an atmosphere of human rights respect and values" and "to promote prospects for peace talks and initiatives." The EU is deceiving taxpayers if it is telling them that their money paying for this shoddy report is helping to promote peace. If members of Breaking the Silence were sincere, they would be presenting accurate facts about terrorism, the goals expressed in the charter of Hamas, the deadly rocket fire coming from Gaza, 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. But this vital context is missing from their account. In response to this report, our organization set about filming testimonials and uploading them to a Web site called Soldiers Speak Out - a platform for Israeli soldiers to share their personal combat experiences with the world. The site, created by soldiers to share their personal experiences of serving in the IDF, contains testimonials from soldiers which contrast sharply with the reports of alleged IDF misconduct made by Breaking the Silence. Breaking the Silence is breaking the rules for any kind of serious reporting. Its report is compiled from anonymous "testimony" from up to 30 people. In contrast, the soldiers who feature on our Web site give testimony on camera without their face blurred out and speak from their own personal experience. The IDF has more than 700,000 citizen soldiers and reservists - thousands of whom served in Gaza in the campaign against Hamas - who try to live up to its high ethical standards. Attempting to slander an IDF campaign on the basis of the anonymous reports is ridiculous. It is unlikely that the international media will give the Soldiers Speak Out site the kind of publicity they are currently lavishing upon Breaking the Silence. When it comes to Israel, good news is no news, but, as in previous occasions and despite those who exist to defame the IDF, the truth will out. The writer is Israel director of StandWithUs which educates about Israel through student fellowships, speaker programs, conferences, written materials and Internet resources. Soldiers testimony can be viewed at www.soldiersspeakout.com.

Join Jerusalem Post Premium Plus now for just $5 and upgrade your experience with an ads-free website and exclusive content. Click here>>

Related Content

September 22, 2018
Grapevine: Choices and influence

By GREER FAY CASHMAN