Israel’s human rights community under attack

December 18, 2015 by Liam Getreu
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Earlier this week, Im Tirtzu, an extremist group in Israel, released an incendiary video targeting Israel’s human rights groups.


The video is shocking. The American Anti-Defamation League labeled the video “outrageous” and called it “a form of incitement which crosses the line into hate speech.”

But, as problematic as the video is, the focus must be on the deeper issues facing Israeli society.

As Chemi Shalev wrote in Haaretz yesterday:

“This video is just one symptom of a rapidly spreading and dangerous disease, a harbinger, if you will, of things to come … For this is the ultimate purpose of Im Tirtzu and its proto-fascist allies in and out of government: to silence the opposition, to stifle dissent, to identify left wing ideologies with the nation’s enemies, to equate their criticism with a knife in the nation’s back, in the worst of time-tested, anti-democratic traditions. It’s a no-holds-barred, take no prisoners campaign.”

We are proud that NIF supports a number of the organisations highlighted in the video. We think their works draws attention to the injustices of the occupation and to issues affecting Palestinians in the West Bank.

Even if you are unsure about the activities of B’Tselem or Breaking the Silence, freedom of speech and the right to disagree with the government are central qualities of a democratic society. If Israel is to remain a truly democratic Jewish state, the integrity of these organisations, and their ability to function inside Israel, must be protected. We are proud that Israel’s democratic Jewish values have permitted organisations like these to undertake their important work and we oppose the efforts of a small group of extremists to undermine Israel’s democracy by gagging or delegitimising them.

In today’s Haaretz, Hagai El-Ad, the head of one of Israel’s pre-eminent human rights organisations, B’Tselem, an NIF grantee and one of the targets of the Im Tirtzu video, wrote: “I’m not afraid of Im Tirtzu. I’m afraid of the occupation, of indifference to injustice, sanctimoniousness and passing shock. I wish I could rely on one percent of the sympathetic attention I’m receiving now on just another ordinary day in the territories”.

We stand together with Hagai and Israel’s human rights community. Their voices are what legitimises Israel as a democracy; they are what make Israel strong.


17 Responses to “Israel’s human rights community under attack”
  1. Henry Herzog says:

    All this hatred and paranoia. I feel sorry for all those comment makers on the far-right who are so scared of everything; I mean, going to bed every night must be hell. Worrying about all their enemies out there, waiting. The absurd thing is, none of them live in Israel, they just stand on the side-line cheering the Israeli right to continue the conflict, and hurl abuse at anyone who disagrees with them, and think that they’re doing their part for Israel

    • Paul Winter says:

      Henry, facts are neither hate nor paranoia.

      If you have nothing more constructive to contribute than your supposed worrying about the sleep of people whom you smear as far-right, take a cold shower and have a decent rest.

      Jews in the Diaspora have a right to comment about affairs in the nation state of the Jewish people. And the topic was raised by Liam Getreu who resides in Sydney, so your point about non-Israeli comments is invalid.

      The NIF is a malevolent actor in Israel. That is not a left or a right wing observation, but one that is evidence based and principled.

      • Henry Herzog says:

        Very convincing and well researched arguments Paul, particularly the one about the NIF.

  2. Paul Winter says:

    My thanks to Getreu for making Im Titzu’s video available. And I congratulate Im Tirtzu for bringing the treachery of far left anti-Israel Israelis to the notice of the public.

    While many people are upset by the video’s message, it is a message that must be said. The far left funded mainly by the American New Israel Fund (I always think of the NIF as the Nullifying Israel Fraud because it pretends to be pro-Israeli while undermining Israel and spurning its democratic processes) and the EU is hostile to Jewish self-determination.

    The concern for “Palestinian” civil rights is hypocritical on two grounds: the accusations of abuse are largely baseless and the accusations ignore the context of the situation created by the objects of their heightened sympathy.

    Like true hypocrites and extremists they invent and magnify the misdeeds of their enemies and disguise or dismiss the genuine faults of the objects of their sympathies. They have no problem in telling lies or, like BtS being paid to find fault with the IDF, but should anyone tell the truth about them they squeal like stuck pigs.

    The point is that NIF supporters don’t claim that Im Tirtzu’s video is false, but rather that it crosses the lines of civility and that the actions of the so-called civil rights industry is supported by one person or another.

    As hurtful as the truth is, comrades, suck it up!

  3. Miriam Weinstein says:

    Are we to assume that this site J-Wire also supports BDS?
    (Or does it only support supporters of BDS?)

  4. Michael Kuttner says:

    It never ceases to amuse me how so called liberals who are ostensibly dedicated to free speech and the rights of selective sectors of society, always erupt in righteous rage against groups which expose their hypocrisy. Thus the extreme left newspaper, Ha’aretz publishes commentators vilifying those who dare to show how many Jewish groups, funded by the EU among other sources, are working to undermine Israel in many areas. The usual leftist tirades of “fascist” and “anti democratic” are always hurled at those who claim that supporting boycotts, besmirching Israel and getting into bed with known supporters of Jew hatred and terror, is beyond the pale. Free speech by all means – but that applies to all sides. Obviously those who describe themselves as leftist liberals have yet to learn that inconvenient truths can no longer be hidden from the public.

    • Nathan Cherny says:

      Today Major Genral Amiram Levie former head of the IDF Northern Command, commander of the elite Sayeret Matkal unit and deputy director of Mossad, added: “The IDF must encourage ‘Breaking the Silence’ and those like them, to speak out without fear in the IDF and in Israeli society.”

      He writes “‘Breaking the Silence’ guards IDF soldiers in the impossible place in which politicians have abandoned them,” wrote Levin in his statement, adding that “the instructions to silence ‘Breaking the Silence’ harm and weaken the IDF”

      Michael in all due respect I will not have you marginalize me or other supporters of civil society in Israel.You are entitled to your outlook, but do not dare to label the likes of me and the other thousands of supporters of the civil society movement in Israel as anti Zionist..

      By the way it was the Supreme Court of Israel that upheld that ImTirtzu is a fascist organisation… or are you going to slander them to?

      • Ron Jontof-Hutter says:

        The NIF which is funded by Europeans and supports BDS NGOs, has just been the subject of an opinion poll in Israel. The majority want the NIF out of Israel. Does the NIF respect the will of Israelis?

        • Nathan Cherny says:

          the New Israel Fund is overwhelmingly supported by individual donors (not governments) manly from the US, with smaller proportion of its funding coming from Europe and (prouldly) Australia. The staff here are Israeli and all of the NGOs supported are Israeli.

          The NIF does not support BDS or fund organizations which and has very clear guidelines regarding this issue: “The NIF does oppose the global (or general) BDS movement, views the use of these tactics as counterproductive, and is concerned that segments of this movement seek to undermine the existence of the state of Israel as a Jewish homeland. NIF will not fund global BDS activities against Israel nor support organizations that have global BDS programs. However, NIF opposes the occupation and settlement activities. NIF will thus not exclude support for organizations that lawfully discourage the purchase of goods or use of services from settlements.”

          The majority of Israelis don’t support the “Zionist Camp”, that doesn’t mean that they will pack up and leave… The nature of democracy is that minority voices are allowed to be heard.

          You may not agree with the agenda of the civil society and human rights movements in Israel (you may support settling and annexing all of the west bank for all I know) but our concerns for the well being of our state is a born out our Zionist commitments. And yes, I do ask that you respect that.

          Nathan Cherny

          • Paul Winter says:

            Nathan, the New Israel Fund was concocted in 1979 after its predecessor USA Jewish groups CONAME, BREIRA, New Jewish Agenda and Peace Now were discredited after their anti-Zionist agenda was exposed.

            The leaders of those groups re-invented themselves as Zionistic to better undermine Israel. The NIF is supported by rich Jews who like playing proletarians but who in fact just want to secure their place in the USA and at the same time want to cement their credentials with their European comrades. They also accept money from the USA government.

            The NIF supports gangs that vilify Israel on the international scene and involve themselves in lawfare in Israel. The NIF tries to shift the Israeli electorate to the left by non-democratic means and as a foreign entity displays its contempt for Israeli society.

      • Michael Kuttner says:


        You are of course perfectly entitled to defend NIF and its dubious associates but at the same time cannot complain when others point out uncomfortable truths. It also pays to get your facts right. Below is a link to the report which proves that the Israel Supreme Court did NOT call Im Tirtzu fascist and in fact overturned a lower court ruling to that effect.

        • Nathan Cherny says:

          I stand corrected, it was the Jerusalem Court that asserted that opinion that they were a facist organization.

          The Supreme court rescinded this but did not allow Im Tirtzu to sue for damages ( they consinsidered the accusation of facisem a legitimate part of political debate with Im Titzu) the Supreme Court also compelled Im Tirtzu them to make a substantial donation to a civil society organization in recompense for their spurious SLAPP lawsuits.

  5. Rami Reed says:

    Breaking the silence is a vicious anti Israel organization. There are many instances of lying by that organization. It is OK to criticize. That’s free speech
    But lying is not free speech it is lie speech

  6. Hilary Rubinstein says:

    The other side of the coin is that Chemi Shalev, whom you quote so approvingly, was a few days ago photographed being all chummy with a leftwing enemy of Israel, Roger Waters of Pink Floyd fame, an incorrigible champion of BDS and perceived by many to be an antisemite.
    Have a look here:

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