Yachad, a British Jewish group sometimes referred to as “Britain's J-Street” because its far-left views closely resemble those of its more famous US counterpart, has chosen to feature Breaking the Silence, a highly controversial Israeli group, in its Independence Day event.
The event, jointly organized by Yachad and the New Israel Fund, features Avner Gvaryahu, Director of Public Outreach at Breaking the Silence, as one of the event's three guest speakers. Born and raised in a religious-Zionist family, he served as a sniper in the IDF.
According to NGO Monitor, Breaking the Silence's donors include the European Union, George Soros's Open Society Institute (US), the New Israel Fund and Norway, among others.
Breaking the Silence was active in promoting “war crimes” charges against Israel after the Gaza fighting in January 2009, says NGO Monitor. These charges were based on anonymous and unverifiable hearsay “testimonies.”
In 2010, Breaking the Silence published a highly tendentious book titled Occupation of the Territories – Israeli Soldier Testimonies 2000-2010, which claimed to provide a counterbalance to the “official Israeli position” on IDF actions in the territories. NGO Monitor analysis revealed that this book was rife with methodological problems and appeared to tailor the testimonies to predetermined “analyses” that falsely claimed that Israeli actions are not aimed at self-defense but at “terrorizing the civilian population.”
This book was later re-published under the title Our Harsh Logic and translated into Swedish, German, and Dutch. The launching of the book in the various languages served as a platform for further demonization and delegitmization of Israel, including accusations of “racism” and alleged “political assassinations” of Palestinian Arabs, claims that Gaza is still “occupied,” and implying that Israel is ethnically cleansing “area C.”
Ha’aretz has written that Breaking the Silence “has a clear political agenda, and can no longer be classed as a ‘human rights organization.’ Any organization whose website includes the claim by members to expose the ‘corruption which permeates the military system’ is not a neutral observer.”
Breaking the Silence members and anti-Israel activists Yonatan and Itamar Shapira were on the “Jews for Justice for Palestinians” boat “Irene,” which sought to violate Israel’s security-based policies regarding naval traffic into Gaza. During a Breaking the Silence event at a museum in Sweden (March 2011), Itamar Shapira stated that “We [Israelis] are creating the terror against us.”
Shapira's name also appears on the credits for a recent sick video that mocks the Holocaust.
Alan Aziz, Executive Director for the British Zionist Federation, told Arutz Sheva Tuesday that the the decision to co-host an event featuring Breaking the Silence on Yom Haatzmaut “widens the gap between Yachad and the mainstream Zionist community which they want to be a part of.”
“It is surprising to think that, at a time when Israel and Jews world wide commemorate the immeasurable sacrifices that the Israel Defence Forces have made for our people, Yachad would think it appropriate to promote the one organization whose raison d'être is condemning the IDF – condemnation they know will be gleefully championed by the worst of Israels enemies. The ZF calls on all sides of the community to be more united in support of Israel especially at this time of year,” he said.
Yachad was not available for comment.