Breaking the Silence must be silenced

Current laws are too weak to offer protection against anti-Israel anarchists who are operating inside Israel.

Employees work at the offices of Israeli rights group "Breaking the Silence" in Tel Aviv, Israel, December 16, 2015 (photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)
Employees work at the offices of Israeli rights group "Breaking the Silence" in Tel Aviv, Israel, December 16, 2015
(photo credit: BAZ RATNER/REUTERS)
The embarrassing incident that recently occurred involving the spokesman and senior activists of Breaking the Silence has once again brought the outrageous activity this organization engages in to the forefront.
The Breaking the Silence website purports that the organization was founded in 2004 for the purpose of protecting human rights. But the question we need to ask here is, whose rights exactly? After a bit of investigation, though, it becomes clear that Breaking the Silence is actually built on a pack of lies.
Breaking the Silence supposedly collects testimonies from IDF soldiers about their involvement in violent activities that harm Palestinian civilians.
The purpose of this is ostensibly to increase alertness among IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens regarding the harsh and immoral treatment by the IDF of innocent Palestinians, and to fight against the Israeli occupation in the territories. It turns out, however, that any connection between the official stated objective of the organization and its actual activity is purely coincidental.
Over the years, the lies that are told by the organization have been exposed a number of times. In the first instance, members of the organization Ad Kan managed to penetrate the ranks of Breaking the Silence and document how they manipulate and lie to the IDF soldiers whom they’ve convinced to become their operatives. Moreover, Breaking the Silence members have gone so far as to lie in order to extract classified information from IDF soldiers that is forbidden to be passed on to civilians.
Recently, activists from Reservists on Duty, an Israeli NGO established by Israeli reserve soldiers and officers for the purpose of counteracting BDS activity, once again proved that Breaking the Silence members lied during their testimonies about Palestinians being attacked. The State Attorney’s Office ruled that the Breaking the Silence spokesman had given false testimony, and therefore the case was closed.
Anyone who understands the true nature of the extreme left-wing organizations operating in Israel is probably not surprised. For many years, B’Tselem has been extracting false testimonies from “innocent” Palestinians who claim they were tortured by Israeli security forces or IDF soldiers. B’Tselem has published these claims in academic journals and presented the data as organized research.
In practice, however, this amateurish work is carried out entirely by Palestinians who have no special training, and who are being paid by other Palestinians or pro-Palestinians. Most of the claims made by B’Tselem over the years have been found by courts to be unreliable, unsubstantiated, or just outright false.
The methods used by the two organizations are similar, except Breaking the Silence employs former Israeli soldiers to record testimonies from current and former soldiers. Both are pro-Palestinian organizations. Their funding comes from Palestinian sources, but Breaking the Silence receives support from Israeli left-wing sources as well.
Not surprisingly, Breaking the Silence focuses its fund-raising efforts on foreign governments, especially in Europe.
The organization’s promotional materials have been translated into a number of languages, and its representatives spend most of their time defaming Israel within government bodies and academic institutions across the sea, which is enough to raise suspicion about the organization’s true intentions.
After all, if Breaking the Silence really intended to carry out the mission it said it was working for, then it would be focusing its activities instead within Israel and engaging with the Israeli authorities. The fact that most of their activity takes place within foreign organizations proves that their main goal is to make defamatory statements against the State of Israel and to incite hatred and anti-Israeli sentiment until the occupation in the territories has come to an end.
The ironic part is that the Israel Defense Forces is probably the most moral military in the world. Now that it has become clear that Breaking the Silence and B’Tselem promote false testimonies based on lies and self-hatred, we see that there is no difference between the activity of these organizations and the incitement carried out by the Northern Branch of the Islamic Movement, which has already been declared illegal by Israel.
It’s absolutely inconceivable, then, that these types of organizations continue to operate freely within Israel in the name of freedom of expression.
The only sanction Breaking the Silence has experienced was the prime minister’s announcement that the State Prosecutor’s Office decision regarding its spokesman, Dean Issacharoff, proves that the organization is spreading lies.
Israel may be a strong nation with an orderly system of law, but it is standing helpless against people and organizations that are working to undermine it from within. Israel has not found a legal solution to put an end to all these lies and incitement.
Current laws are too weak to offer protection against anti-Israel anarchists who are operating inside Israel. What’s worse, there are senior IDF commanders who are backing Breaking the Silence with corrupted political interests in mind.
I believe, therefore, that our only course of action is to enact legislation that would limit organizations from carrying out such activity within Israel, and possibly even close them down. The “enlightened world” and the sources of Palestinian funding might not be overjoyed by such changes, but the State of Israel must do everything it can to protect itself. And the sooner the better.
The writer is a former brigadier-general who served as a division head in the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency).
Translated by Hannah Hochner.