War of words

September 2, 2012 by Ron Weiser
Read on for article

Last weekend I participated in a panel on “The Weight of Words on Israel” and my basic contention remains that when it comes to Israel and the battle for the hearts and minds, it is really in the main, a battle for the hearts…writes Ron Weiser.

Dr Ron Weiser

Facts matter little for those people who wish to attempt the demise of the Jewish State, and be under no illusion, that is exactly their aim.

No objective analysis of the facts supports their case.

Israel is a beacon of democracy and human rights not only in her region, but in the world, even with the inevitable errors that occur.

This is especially so in Israel’s case of a conscript army where the draft includes such a wide range of the population.

And when mistakes are made, they are investigated and dealt with.

So the attempt to appeal to the hearts, with emotion, with exaggerated complaints both in number and degree and with slogans, only makes it harder to present an accurate picture for those of us who value Israel and what she stands for and who seek to make her even better.

And this is exactly what these delegitimisers want. Facts only get in their way.

These people also tend to do it outside of Israel, to foreign audiences and hosted by organisations dedicated to end the State of Israel as we know it.

This week we saw the release of the report by Breaking The Silence (BtS)

And who was it released to?

To the foreign media, to anti Israel organisations, to all and sundry, except to the places where it might really count, to the Israeli Government and the Israeli Army.

That is, except to the organisations that can actually verify if the alleged events occurred and if so, to do something about them.

Apparently, two representatives of BtS were in Adelaide a couple of weeks ago, hosted by the Australian Friends of Palestine.

The past pattern with BtS is that the vast majority of their mostly anonymous claims turn out to be either a fiction (recall the claims made after Operation Cast Lead), or are greatly exaggerated, or are a result of a rogue element rather than an official policy.

This week we also saw an Israeli Civil Court bringing down its verdict on the death of Rachel Corrie, a naïve “activist” who was in a no go zone against all advice and who became an unfortunate victim of the Palestinian campaign that rejoices in the creation of as many martyrs as they can possibly produce for maximum PR effect.

The verdict of the Civil Court agreed and found no problem with the original Israeli Army findings.

But the Corries are not willing to accept this result.

What both of these events have in common is overtly and covertly to try and declare that the Israeli Courts, and that the entire Israeli modus operandi in fact, should not be trusted.

They do not argue the actual merits of a specific case, they declare that “Israel” is the problem.

They argue that she is not really a democracy, that she cannot be trusted to investigate anything at any level, that she is unfair and immoral.

Both BtS and the Corrie’s attempt to create the impression that Israel is based upon corrupt foundations and that therefore all attempts at reform inside Israel are pointless – and perhaps even more sinister is the extension that such alleged corruption comes from the whole idea of a Jewish State being immoral and corrupt.

In their eyes there can never be any justice or moral outcome as long as the “Zionist Entity” exists.

And that is why the Zionist Movement is at odds with these people.

Not because they wish to really investigate and correct anything, or to build a better society, that we could do together, but because they wish to tar a whole nation, and to bring her down.

As we approach the High Holydays, it behoves all of us who believe in the State of Israel, to speak up for her and to work together with her to build an even better society for all of her citizens.

Ron Weiser is the Immediate Past President of the Zionist Federation of Australia and Hon Life President of the Zionist Council of NSW.


21 Responses to “War of words”
  1. Shirlee says:

    Mandy, no one is stifling anyone.

    If there is a issue, deal with it at the source, not in far distant lands. This makes me sick to the pit of my stomach.

  2. Nathan says:

    Here is an excellent commentary on Breaking the Silence from the TIMES OF ISRAEL


    Worth the read

  3. michael says:

    Yes, Sydney born Andrew [ Akiva ] Hamiliton from Shurat Ha Din /Israel law center who works with Nitsana Darshan Leitner is definitely worth going to hear, the work they do is amazing and he specializes in exposing the Australian so called Human Rights org,s that fund Palestinian terrorist groups [ thanks to al’ Carr]

    • Shirlee says:

      I presume you read their last newsletter.

      I also presume you are ‘Melbourne Michael’

      I wonder when Carr will wake up and ‘smell the roses’?

  4. michael says:

    As well as Palestinian Lobby groups this includes Sol { ”I have been fighting for Palestinian Human rights for the last 35 years’ ] Salbe Editor of JCCV affiliated AJDS sponsoring and promoting these anti- Israel activists so dod Rabbi Jonathyn Keren – Black’s LBC and his progressive Jewish Movement who are becoming quite prominent in the hosting and promoting anti- israel activists in Australia.

    Between the Jewish progressives , Jewish anti Zionists and Jewish leftists and of course the Monash academics at ACJC the Palestinian Lobby groups may as well sit back and let these Jews do the work of demonizing Israel for them.

  5. Nathan says:

    The persons who participated in the Adelaide conference were NOT representatives of Brealing The Silence.

    The person in question, was one of the founders of the Breaking the Silence in 2004 but no longer holds any position in the organization ,is not a member of the organization and overtly said in interviews in Australia that he never speaks for them or represents them in any way.

    Please stand corrected.

    • Ron says:


      You actually did not see the actual promotion by the Australian Friends of Palestine did you?

      And then it was repeated on their flyer for their second function.

      And that is the sort of testimony you want us to rely upon.



      • Nathan says:

        The facts are as I have stated

        Advertising the the speaker was one of the founders of Breaking the Silence was factually true BUT it was misleading advertising insofar as it implied that the speaker was still involved and possibly even represented the views of the organization.

        Indeed it seems that you and many others believed this to be the case

        The speaker did, in published interviews in Aust say that he is no longer involved in the organization that he does not speak on their behalf (transcripts to that effect are available online from interviews he gave in Aust)

        Given the facts, is grossly unfair (even patently misleading) to continue to assert that BtS was in any way involved in this program.

        I urge you to protect your integrity and to desist from this misleading smear.


        Finally Hasabara is no substitute for good policy, transparency and integrity.. This is what supporters of BtS are trying to promote.

        • Shirlee says:

          **Finally Hasabara is no substitute for good policy, transparency and integrity.. This is what supporters of BtS are trying to promote.**

          What rubbish.

          Supporters of BtS support nothing less than to de-legitimise Israel

          If Bts was serious, they would air their issues where they could be looked at and not on foreign shores.

          Ever heard the expression “Don’t air you dirty linen in public?

      • Mandi Katz says:

        Ron – how does it reflect on the integrity of testimonies gathered by one organisation (Breaking the Silence) that an entirely different organisation (Australians for Palestine) makes sloppy misleading comments?

  6. michael says:

    There is only one genuine Human rights organization in Israel that looks after Jewish HUman rights and that is Shurat Ha Din , Israel law Centre headed by Nitsana Darshan -Leitner .

    The Leftists or as they prefer to be called nowadays Progressives in Australia who co hosted with the Palestinian lobby the activists from Breaking the Silence are a disgrace and their benefactors should take a long hard look at themselves they are equally disgraceful.

    • Shirlee says:

      It really is of no consequence if these two activists, Micha Kurz and Sahar Vardi, are representatives of BtS or not. They were here spreading their vile hate far and wide in Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. If they take issue with Israel, do it there where it can be investigated, and don’t give fodder for those who feed on it. It gives their accusations no credit if they don’t, or won’t, have it investigated at the source.

      As if being sponsored by one of the pro-Palestinian groups in this country isn’t bad enough. They were also hosted by the Australian Jewish Democratic Society in Melbourne. A Jewish group in league with those who with their foul BDS actions, are trying to bring Israel to her knees. In fact with their well-known catch cry of “From the river to the sea, Palestine will be free” are calling for the destruction of the State of Israel.

      I and many others take exception not only to the fact that this group is an affiliate of The Jewish Community Council of Victoria, but then in turn the JCCV is a constituent of the Executive Council of Australian Jewry

      For your information Michael, next month a lawyer from Shurat Ha Din will be speaking in two venues is Sydney, so “Watch this space”

      • Mandi Katz says:

        Shirlee – it makes a difference that what Ron Weiser has said in his piece is factually incorrect. No-one from Breaking the Silence was hosted by any group in Australia because no-one from BtS has visited Australia this year.

        Considering this piece is a critique of abusing the facts for a political purpose, it is a bit rich that the writer (and you in defending his piece) have so little concern for facts .

        • Shirlee says:

          I beg your pardon Mandi ! I really don’t care what you think.

          I am totally against these activists being sponsored by the ‘enemy within.’ I am not concerned with your nit picking.

          I am appalled and disgusted that people with supposed issues, don’t bring them up where they supposedly occurred, instead of airing their dirty linen in public.

          It’s a complete disgrace and disappointment to me that people who call themselves Jews would be part of such groups and I include the NIF

          Maybe you’d care to peruse this and see what vile groups the NIF funds.


          • Mandi Katz says:

            Shirlee I am well aware of what NIF funds, because it is completely transparent about that as the link you provide very clearly demonstrates.
            I am more interested in your idea of what is private and what is public when talking about the activities and policies of an independent state.
            Israel is an open and robust society with people of all political views, and an enormous range of ethnic and socio- economic backgrounds. Issues that Israelis face can’t be dealt with like family arguments – behind closed doors and subject to rules of engagement set by ‘mum and dad’ . The way you describe Israel appears to reflect a stunted understanding of public discourse in an open society. Israel is not a club for Jews who think a certain way. It is a free country for all its citizens who have the right to speak where and how they see fit.
            Israel is a mature country, based on democratic values, and if Israeli citizens have strong views on issues, they are entitled to speak about them in public. Breaking the Silence aim to engage Jews and others who are interested in Israel, throughout the world, as do the many visitors who come to Australia each year from Israel.

          • Mandi Katz says:

            Just to be clear – I think that the decision of Michah Kurz and Sahar Vardi to engage with groups like Australians for Palestine was wrong because there is absolutely no good faith on the part of organisations like that towards Israel and I think that engagement with them feeds their agenda. And I said so publicly to them when I heard them speak .
            But it is their choice to speak to whomever they please.
            As to continued attempts to say that what those two speakers did and who they spoke to, reflects on Breaking the SiIence or NIF – in spite of clear explanations that those speakers did not represent or speak for those organisations. It’s just dishonest.

        • Peter says:

          No Mandy,

          What is dishonest is you trying to claim that BtS people did not participate in the functions that they did.

          What is dishonest is you desperately trying to backpeddle and claim that just because Kurz said in one forum that although he cofounded BtS he was not representing them now, but somehow allowed his name to continue to appear in the Australians for Palestine without that qualification, is okay.

          What is dishonest is you trying to claim that BtS people do not have a history of appearing in anti Israel functions organised by anti Israel organisations.

          What is dishonest is you trying to protect the poor judgement of NIF in funding organisations and their founders when they do such damage to Israel by trying to pull the wool over the eyes of J-Wire readers.

          But please keep trying, it only confirms the double standards employed by NIF.


          • Mandi Katz says:

            Peter -You are entitled to your views on NIF but these are facts:

             – Michah Kurz co-founded breaking the Silence but has since moved on and no longer in any way represents it. I
            – don’t know whether he corrected Australians for Palestine to correct their statement. You should be able to contact him via the AJDS which did arrange his and Sahar’s tour, and ask him.
             – NIF and Breaking the Silence had no in-put into any aspect of Michah Kurz’s and Sahar Vardis’s visit to Australia. NIF didn’t arrange it, promote or have anything to do with it.  There has been no back peddling because the tour never had anything to do with NIF.

            NIF stands by its speaking guests and grantees including Breaking the Silence – but it is simply a fact that Michah Kurz and Sahar Vardi were not guests of NIF and did not represent Breaking the Silence, regardless of how many times you say they were, and no matter how useful it is for you to believe it and say it is so.

  7. Ben says:

    One hundred persons tried to visit Bethlhelm at the invitation of its Governor. They tried to visit from Jordan and did not travel through an inch of Israel or propose to do so. Yet Israel denied them entry. A beacon of democracy if the person is Jewish and rightwing, even Jewish dissidents and opponents of the occupation are being attacked within Israel.

    • Norman says:

      Israel has the right to deny entry to anyone she deems will cause trouble. The same right as any other sovereign state

  8. david says:

    When we see human rights organizations formed and supported by huge funding from the European Union and wealthy private foundations focusing on human rights abuses perpetrated against the 95% of Palestinian Arabs living under Palestinian Authority rule – then perhaps some light might emerge at the end of what is a very long and dark tunnel.

    When we see the New Israel Fund directing donations to human rights organizations attempting to end boycotts, divestment and sanctions on Jews no matter where they live – perhaps the one sided condemnation of Israel will end.

    It takes two to tango.

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