Why does Europe fund an NGO claiming Israel poisons Arab wells?

It is not a coincidence that the German Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, met with the NGO Breaking the Silence (Shovrim Shtika, in Hebrew). The German government, in fact, finances it.

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Giulio Meotti,

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giulio meott
צילום: עצמי

One of the worst diplomatic crises between Israel and Germany is brewing around an Israeli NGO. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu refused to meet German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel on his visit to Israel after the German vice-Chancellor decided to meet the Israeli NGOs B'Tselem and Breaking the Silence.

In the newspaper Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (FAZ), one of the most influential in Germany, journalist Majid Sattar wrote: “Representatives of the German government during their visits to Russia, China, but also to Saudi Arabia, always attach great importance to meetings with representatives of civil society”. So according to FAZ, Israel is on the same level as those autocratic and totalitarian regimes whose governments repress their own population. In 2012, during an election campaign, Gabriel himself said of Israel: “This is an apartheid regime”. 

It is not a coincidence that the German Foreign Minister, Sigmar Gabriel, met with the NGO Breaking the Silence (Shovrim Shtika, in Hebrew). The German government, in fact, finances it. According to NGO Monitor, European governments cover 65 percent of this NGO’s funds, an organization which supports the boycott of Israel. In addition, for the two-year period 2015-2017, the European Union had given another 236,000 euros to Breaking the Silence. 

Richard Gere recently visited Hevron accompanied by activists of this NGO and the Hollywood star compared the situation in the Jewish holy city of Hevron to the old South in the US at the time of segregation. Breaking the Silence also organized a tour for Pulitzer Prize winner Michael Chabon, the Nobel Prize winner Mario Vargas Llosa and for Dave Eggers, who wrote a book against Israel for the fifty year anniversary of the Six Day War in June. In Switzerland, a country that finances Breaking the Silence, this NGO has organized a photo exhibition against the Israeli army, making it look like a gang of assassins. 

Breaking the Silence has spilled forth countless lies against Israel. The most famous lie is that heard from Yehuda Shaul, the head of the NGO, who said that “settlers” poisoned a water supply system of a Palestinian village." Another one is Avner Gavriyahu, who claims that the Israeli Defense Forces shoot at innocent Palestinians as if they were playing in a video game.

Lies. Easily recognizable as such to anyone who knows. But these lies of Breaking the Silence have gone around the world. 

Mahmoud Abbas, leader of the Palestinian Authority, received a standing ovation at the European Parliament after saying that Israel poisoned the Arab wells. The same anti-Semitic story went viral after Anadolu, the Turkish press agency, ran it. The UN report on the 2014 Gaza War makes extensive use of those lies by Breaking the Silence.

After the 2009 Gaza War, the same NGO supported efforts to pursue Israeli officials and soldiers. It also emerged that several NGO funders conditioned their donations to a minimum number of “testimonies” against the Israeli army. For example, a document obtained by NGOMonitor shows similar requests from the British Embassy in Tel Aviv, the Dutch organization Icco (financed by the Hague) and Oxfam (UK-funded). 

In Basel, Switzerland, and Strasbourg, France, in the Middle Ages many Jews were accused of poisoning the wells and then burned at stake. Today the same lies circulate in the same cities thanks to a shameful NGO funded by Europe. This is the only “silence” we need to break.