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July 5, 2016 6:19 am

Why Is the New Israel Fund Backing Breaking the Silence?

avatar by Ronn Torossian

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IDF soldiers practicing guerrilla warfare. Photo: IDF.

IDF soldiers practicing guerrilla warfare. Photo: IDF.

Breaking the Silence (BtS), a radical Israeli organization that implies all of Israel is occupied territory and defames the IDF, has been banned from any events attended by Israeli soldiers, and is banned from Israel’s school system.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett has said, “Our children are sent to the education system in order to encourage mutual responsibility, and not to harm IDF soldiers. The operations of Breaking the Silence caused the slander of Israel in the world, as they made it their target to harm their brothers, who protect us. Lies and propaganda against the IDF — not in our schools.”

As such, it wasn’t a surprise in Israel last week when Ben-Gurion University, which was going to honor BtS for its achievements in humanitarian aid, ultimately decided the organization was an inappropriate choice to receive the prize. The university said that Breaking the Silence “is an organization that is not in the national consensus, and the giving of the prize is liable to give an appearance of political bias.”

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Yet, the extremist liberal American Jews of the New Israel Fund chose to come to the rescue — and launched a campaign, raising  $20,000 for the organization.

Breaking the Silence alleges that the IDF has committed war crimes and is guilty of “crimes against humanity” and “ethnic cleansing.” BtS has provided 57 negative testimonies in international reports against IDF soldiers. A Palestinian foundation — The Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat, operating in Ramallah, noted in a report published in 2015 that it paid BtS in order to bring at least one negative testimony against the IDF. Hamas admitted this past year that it used the BtS report on Operation Protective Edge for the purposes of its propaganda campaign against Israel.

Breaking the Silence is rejected across the Israeli political spectrum — and despite this, The New Israel Fund has authorized grants worth $699,310 in the last six years.

I’m bewildered as to how donors can stand with The New Israel Fund and back Breaking the Silence. Alisa Doctoroff, the president of the UJA — why? Thanks to donors such as Luis and Lee Lainer, Carol and Terry WinogradDebra Pell, Amy Mandel and Katina Rodis, Lois and Richard Gunther, Daniel and Anne Marie Kahneman, and Bonnie Orlin, BtS now has an additional $20,000 of funding to spread its message even further.

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