IDF Commander: Left-Wing NGO ‘Part of the Problem’
IDF Captain Barak Raz is fed up with the left-wing NGO 'Breaking the Silence,' which purports to expose IDF war crimes through anonymous testimony.
In a public post to Facebook, Raz listed his complaints against Breaking the Silence, and accused the group of failing to provide the information that would allow the IDF to prevent crimes - which is what it claims to want.
“I debated for quite a while whether or not to share my thoughts on the organization Breaking the Silence,” he began. “While I can stand a lot, ‘I can't stand it no more’ - so here it is:
"Breaking the Silence is an organization that engages in nothing, but NOTHING, other than a smear campaign targeting the IDF. This smear campaign has NOTHING to do with rooting out their observed problem. Furthermore, none of their work helps the IDF (or Israel, for that matter) provide a solution.”
The IDF has asked “several times” that Breaking the Silence provide information that would help the military respond to their claims, he said, “be it by providing us with drafts of their reports prior to publications, or by providing us with more, accountable details.” The group has ignored every request.
“Either of these steps would allow for thorough investigations, possibly leading to the opening of criminal investigations and legal proceedings,” he noted.
Raz slammed the soldiers who testify to Breaking the Silence, writing, “sometimes, they themselves deserve to be behind bars in military prison for what they did! (That's right... I said it! And that's right, if I had the authority to, I would jail them myself!!)”
“Did you know that the IDF also has a standing order that PROHIBITS soldiers from following illegal orders, and requires them to report it... immediately?” he asked. “These two points lead me to ask why these anonymous soldiers didn't "break their silence" to the right authorities accordingly, properly, and in a timely manner.”
When other NGOs submit reports, the IDF follows up on incidents that require investigation, he said. “The IDF is a military that holds itself to the highest of standards and prides itself on its ability to self-investigate through processes that are NOT subordinate to any military commander. Even the IDF Chief of the General Staff can't prevent or stop an investigation,” he explained.
He concluded, “While I can honor organizations that speak with us, meet with us, share information with us - I cannot say the same for ‘Breaking the Silence,’ which, as I said earlier, is not seeking to be a part of the answer. I can only be left with the understanding that they are, in fact, a part of the problem.”
The anonymous testimony provided by Breaking the Silence has given IDF investigators little to work with, but has been widely covered in the foreign media. IDF officials have previously criticized the group for publishing anonymous testimony without checking its reliability.
In one particularly egregious case, a soldier who testified about IDF misconduct in Gaza during the Cast Lead counterterror operation was later revealed to not have been in Gaza at all at the time that he alleged to have witnessed IDF war crimes in the area.
The group is heavily funded by European countries, and foreign donations make up over half of its budget.