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Switzerland to Fund 'Slander' Conference

Swiss funding for “peace” conference including several organizations that have been caught libeling Israel.
By Maayana Miskin
First Publish: 2/13/2011, 9:59 PM / Last Update: 2/14/2011, 1:18 AM

J Street

A planned “peace” event at the end of the month is likely to turn into an anti-Israel libel session, pro-Israel activists warned this week. The event is to be funded in part by the Swiss government, and will include a handful of Israeli MKs.

The event in question is a conference sponsored by the leftist American Jewish group J Street.

The only diplomat who plans to appear at the event is Swiss Ambassador to the Middle East Jean-Daniel Ruch. When contacted by Israeli investigative journalist David Bedein, Ruch explained that his government continues to fund the Geneva Initiative, which in turn is funding the J Street event.

MKs Orit Zuaretz (Kadima), Nachman Shai (Kadima), Shlomo Molla (Kadima), and Amir Peretz (Labor) plan to attend, according to J Street organizers.

Several far-Left Israeli groups plan to speak at the conference. Among the groups involved are B'Tselem, Yesh Din, Rabbis for Human Rights and Breaking the Silence, all of which have previously been caught libeling Israel.

Israel Media Watch issued a warning in 2010 not to trust B'Tselem's reports, after finding several inaccuracies. For example, the group has often classified terrorists as civilians in its casualty reports, in some cases reporting that slain PA Arabs were unarmed civilians even when Arab sources report they were killed fighting Israel.

Yesh Din and B'Tselem recently backed a false report accusing Jews in Samaria of burning an Arab man's sheep; the libel was revealed when the Arab admitted that Jews were not involved in the fire.

Rabbis for Human Rights head Arik Asherman was caught during the olive harvest last fall attempting to convince PA Arabs to claim ownership of Jewish farms. Yesh Din and B'Tselem were also implicated in olive harvest libel.

Asherman has also been accused of inciting violence by convincing Arabs to farm on Jewish land.

Breaking the Silence provides anonymous testimony from IDF soldiers accusing Israel of war crimes. After the group accused the IDF of deliberately killing civilians in Gaza, it was revealed that its reports were widely based on rumors; the only crime a soldier claimed to have actually seen was that of minor vandalism.

J Street, which defines itself as “pro-America, pro-Israel, pro-peace,” was formed as a left-wing lobbyist group, to counter traditionally pro-Israel groups such as the American Israel Public Affairs Committee. The organization faced embarrassment in 2010 when it was complimented in a harshly anti-Israel report by the Presbyterian Church, and when it was revealed that George Soros, a billionaire known to be anti-Israel, provided much of its funding.