Breaking the Silence (BtS) is “an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military since the start of the Second Intifada and have taken it upon themselves to expose the Israeli public to the reality of everyday life in the Occupied Territories.”
Well, it is ‘reality,’ as long as it adheres to the ideological agenda of BtS. As journalist Ben Dror Yemini recently wrote, he and others believed, when the organization was first established, that its “goal was to fix, improve and even strengthen the IDF.” But something changed over the past decade.
Yemini explains that:
“In the past few years, the organization’s activists have become partners in the [BDS] campaign. The organization’s founder, Yehuda Shaul, who has become a draft dodger, was a guest of the South African office of the BDS movement in August 2013.
Another organization activist, Eran Efrati, has been visiting US campuses and spreading slanderous lies against Israel. His sponsors include Students for Justice in Palestine (SJP), one of the most malicious organizations against Israel.”
Thus, the “reality” that BtS wants to expose to the public is rather more propaganda of an ideology or stance on the Israeli-Arab conflict. They seek to exonerate responsibilities of the Palestinians while demonizing and undermining Israel.
On Friday, June 6, 2014, this NGO provided a clear example of exactly what the “reality” that must be presented in public was.
According to Arutz Sheva, “Tamir Yacobi from the grassroots Samaria Resident’s Council, which aims to protect and empower Jewish Samaria residents – decided to present testimony of his own, crushing a ‘Breaking the Silence’ event in Tel Aviv.”
Yacobi was “interrupted and escorted offstage by security personnel from Breaking the Silence, who are heard telling him that ‘there is a line’ for dedicated speakers and that he was breaking the rules.”
But which rules was he actually breaking? Why was it imperative to censor his words?
What did Yacobi want to say that was so “out of the line”?
“I enlisted in 2006, to the Armored Corps, to the 75th Battalion of the illustrious 7th Brigade, which took part in many famous battles, and participated at all of Israel’s wars. […] From time to time, we were switched to Infantry duty, patrolling various points in Israel. Our patrols caught quite a few Palestinians attempting to cross from the Palestinian Authority areas into Israel.
I can never forget seeing them for the first time… they were just sitting there, in the holding cells, their eyes covered and their hands tied. I was just a young soldier. So I asked one of our sergeants, ‘what are you going to do with them?’ He looked at me with empty eyes and said: ‘Nothing, we’re transferring them to the Police or to the Border Police.’ I could not imagine what they would suffer there…
That was before I discovered that they would be held for three days, and then set free. In fact, before we transferred them to the police, we provided them with blankets and food, and even cigarettes…
Are you getting that?! These people, who did not cross the border for nothing, some of whom may well have been bent on murder, just because their victims belong to a different nationality, as did the Nazis and before them the Crusaders, would be returned safely to their homes!
However, their intention did not prevent me, or any other IDF soldier, from providing them with all of the human rights they are entitled to. And we do that, knowing that there is a good possibility that one of them could be a heinous terrorist bent on slaughtering me – me, the one that calls you brothers and sisters – or your children and your families.
And that is the virtue that makes the IDF the most moral army of the world, and turns you people into hypocrites tainted with anti-Semitism that try to besmirch the most moral army in the world with lies and slander.
But here, at least, your attempt to use the IDF as a pawn in your political game didn’t succeed. And you know why? Because we Israelis know the truth full well, and we know who are the good guys, and who are the bad guys. And you? Have you understood that yet?”
Above in Hebrew is a clip under two minutes. The soldier was quickly silenced by BtS.So, any deviation from the main guidelines that cast blame on the IDF is against BtS “rules.” In the same way, the “reality” for Breaking the Silence is only what confirms their anti-Israel agenda.
Their agenda is to present testimonies that are consonant with the preconceived idea that there is a “much grimmer picture in which [there is] deterioration of moral standards” of the IDF. So anything that contradicts that which they say is the norm must be ironically silenced and censured.
Is there a silence that must be broken by BtS, or is BtS a noise that tries to impose a silence and a distorted view over reality?
It seems it is the latter.
In fact, BtS states:
“While this reality is known to Israeli soldiers and commanders, Israeli society continues to turn a blind eye, and to deny that what is done in its name. Discharged soldiers returning to civilian life discover the gap between the reality they encountered in the Territories, and the silence about this reality they encounter at home. In order to become civilians again, soldiers are forced to ignore what they have seen and done. We strive to make heard the voices of these soldiers, pushing Israeli society to face the reality whose creation it has enabled. […] We also conduct tours in Hebron and the South Hebron Hills region, with the aim of giving the Israeli public access to the reality which exists minutes from their own homes, yet is rarely portrayed in the media.”
But if BtS aims at “giving the Israeli public accesses to the reality” that they validate, then what is the point of speaking in US universities? Or are they reaching the Israelis living in the US?
No, they are not. They are disseminating the lies that anti-Israelis are always eager to hear, and to those undecided, giving the push they need to fall onto that side.
Contributed by CAMERA Analyst Marcelo Wio.