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August 14, 2014 1:52 pm

Israel Removes B’Tselem From National Service Volunteer Program

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The B'Tselem logo. Photo: B'Tselem. – The left-wing human rights organization B’Tselem will no longer be able to participate in Israel’s national service volunteer program over its refusal to designate Hamas as a terrorist organization and the anti-Israel positions it has expressed during Operation Protective Edge.

National Civilian Service Administration Director Sar-Shalom Jerbi informed B’Tselem Director Hagai El-Ad of the decision to strip the group of its “operating organization” certification on Wednesday, via a letter.

“After reviewing the matter with several other operating organizations, and given [B’Tselem’s] activities against Israel and IDF troops, I have decided to revoke your participation in the National-Civilian Service Volunteer Program; especially during this period of time, when Israel is engaged in neutralizing the threat of rocket fire looming over millions of its citizens,” wrote Jerbi, according to Israel Hayom.

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The letter added, “As you know, Israel is currently dealing with an international delegitimization campaign, which includes gross incitement against the IDF—the most ethical military in the world. Unfortunately, B’Tselem is a party to this smear campaign. The information released by the organization and its expressed positions encourage our enemies worldwide and prompt anti-Semitic expressions against Israel, as well as anti-Semitic attacks on Jews.”

B’Tselem said in a statement Wednesday that it “maintains that protecting human rights is a vital democratic action done in the best interest of Israeli society.”

“Sar-Shalom Jerbi’s decision, which we doubt he has the authority to make, is an abuse of his administrative power for the sake of political gain. It constitutes political and governmental persecution of a human rights group,” said B’Tselem.

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