Why Im Tirtzu launched its campaign

European governments and the NIF spend huge amounts of money to delegitimize the elected government of Israel and its army.

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Douglas Altabef,

Douglas Albatef
Douglas Albatef

In the past week grass-roots Israeli Zionist NGO Im Tirtzu [1] launched a campaign designed to highlight the connection between some 20 Israeli NGOs which regularly attack the State of Israel and its core institutions, such as the IDF, with allegations including war crimes, crimes against humanity, apartheid, etc., and the foreign governments, mostly in Europe, that are directly or indirectly funding them.

We believe it is important to delineate the compelling reasons for calling the public’s attention to what we believe is a destructive state of affairs that impinges on Israeli sovereignty, allowing foreign governments to use local NGOs to further their own anti-Israeli agendas.

We live in increasingly perilous times for Israel and Jews throughout the world. In Israel, we have been subject to an unrelenting series of vicious, random, murderous terror attacks with the common thread their being directed at Jews qua Jews. In other words, it is a racist-based terror wave motivated by anti-Semitism, pure and simple.

At the same time, many of the NGOs highlighted in the campaign report are actively seeking to neutralize efforts to stop terrorists, deter further attacks and protect the people of Israel.

...it is the Jew of Paris or London, even more than the Jew on the streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, who bears the brunt of self-serving and self-adulating accusations by the likes of Breaking the Silence, B’tselem or Adallah...
Despite the ritualistic incantation of Never Again, it is no secret that it has once again become open season on Jews throughout the world. The cynical fig leaf of anti-Zionism has been stripped to expose unvarnished anti-Semitism in its pure and virulent essence. In many quarters, anti-Semitism has become not only acceptable, but a desirable response to “Palestinian oppression” and every other ill, even racial tensions in the US.

The immense amounts of money contributed by European governments and the American-based New Israel Fund represent more than just an “atta boy” pat on the back. They clearly indicate that these foreign entities are sustaining, maintaining and assuring the viability of these organizations.

Many democratic countries forbid foreign governments from contributing to domestic political NGOs. The reason is clearly because such efforts constitute a way to influence domestic politics through the back door, and constitute a distortion of national self-determination and sovereignty.

In a country as small as Israel, significant dollars can have enormous influence, influence that does not all reflect the views of the Israeli people.

The organizations that we have cited have more often opted for sensationalism and headline garnering instead of problem solving. When Israeli organizations vociferously allege war crimes by Israeli soldiers –usually with no verification or corroboration - and crimes against humanity by Israeli officials, the result is increased anger and hatred by those looking for red meat in order to attack Jews.

So, it is the Jew of Paris or London, even more than the Jew on the streets of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, who bears the brunt of self-serving and self-adulating accusations by the likes of Breaking the Silence, B’tselem or Adallah, to name just a few.

While these organizations wrap themselves in a mantle of patriotism for calling out what they deem to be criminal behavior, we know this is not Denmark. We are in a very contentious region, where Israel is under a microscope, usually viewed through a skewed and negative prism.

It is the essence of chutzpah for these groups to cry foul about their own very public figures and leaders being criticized for their efforts to demonize the IDF and the Israeli government.

The analogy that comes to mind is the man who murders his parents and then seeks the court’s mercy because he is an orphan.

The campaign is clearly having a positive impact. The positive results are both political and popular. Within days of its launching, the Defense Minister severed any connections between the IDF and Breaking the Silence; shortly thereafter, the Education Minister did the same with Israeli schools. Then late last week, the Prime Minister condemned Breaking the Silence from the rostrum of the Knesset and called upon the opposition leader to do the same.

Equally, if not more importantly, the citizens of Israel support us. An independent survey taken a few days after the launching of our campaign stated that two thirds of respondents – including Left and Right, religious and secular – supported Defense Minister Ya’alon’s decision to end any IDF interaction with Breaking the Silence. A similar two thirds majority condemned the activities of B’tselem, which has received more than $5 million in foreign government support and refuses to consider Hamas a terrorist organization.

Finally, 53% of the respondents would favor legislation barring the NIF from Israel, while only 24% would oppose such a law.

We are under no illusion that our campaign has achieved its goals. The NGOs we cite are well entrenched and well funded; the largely Left wing media of Israel does not oppose them. There is in many circles a presumption that any organization calls itself a “human rights organization” is somehow beyond reproach.

But we have reached a dangerous and untenable crossroads. Israel is in danger of suffering "death by 1000 cuts." We strongly believe that we are doing Israeli society a long overdue service, and intend to persist in our efforts to support Israeli sovereignty and democracy.


[1]  Im Tirtzu is an extra-parliamentary movement that works to strengthen and advance the values of Zionism in Israel. Im Tirtzu was established in 2006, after the Second Lebanon War, by Israeli intellectuals, students and IDF reservists. Im Tirtzu's main objectives focus on working towards a renewal of the Zionist discourse, Zionist thinking and Zionist ideology, to ensure the future of the Jewish nation and of the State of Israel and to advance Israeli society in coping with the challenges it faces. A major portion of Im Tirtzu's efforts is devoted to combating the campaign of de-legitimization against the State of Israel and to providing responses to Post-Zionist and Anti-Zionist phenomena.