This morning, Breaking the Silence shared a fascinating video from Ha’aretz which was recorded by International Solidarity Movement (ISM) activists in Hebron. The video purports to document settler harassment. Inadvertently, it shows something else entirely.
First, a little background on the ISM: ISM volunteers come from abroad to routinely attempt to obstruct Israeli soldiers, act as human shields for terrorists and criminals, and generally make a nuisance of themselves in areas where terror attacks have occurred and tensions run high. Rather than facilitating peace, volunteers antangonise soldiers and stoke antipathy.
Over the years, the ISM has been caught up in a number of scandals, notably in 2008 when an activist was convicted in a American court of illegally funding Hamas while working for the organisation. And in Israel, during the court case into the death of Rachel Corrie, an ISM activist who defiantly stood in front of an IDF tractor without realising that the driver could not see her, judge Oded Gershon ruled that “In fact, the organization abuses human rights and morals discourse to blur the severity of its actions which manifested de facto as violence.” He also ruled that ISM activists provided financial, logistic and moral aid to terrorists.
So when ISM volunteers come to Hebron and put on kheffiyehs in an attempt to provoke the local Jewish population, you can be sure these people are not peace activists. All over the world there are laws on public order and not provoking others. Hebron is no exception. This is an utter non-story.
Right at the very end of the video, an employee of the Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH), which works in Hebron to try and reduce tensions and increase safety, offers to accompany the woman to her destination and take her keffiyeh in his pocket. She refuses. Her barefaced attempt to stoke hatred is exposed for what it is.
Non-story or not, the video was published nonetheless on Ha’aretz’s website. And then Breaking the Silence shared it, claiming that this is the tip of the iceberg.
In a funny way, it is. Provocations and fabrications like this are indeed just the tip of the iceberg. It’s telling how Ha’aretz and Breaking the Silence, these self-styled great defenders of Israeli democracy, fall over themselves to spread a video clip made by the ISM, a truly vile, hate-filled organisation.
This not the first time that Breaking the Silence has spread highly misleading stories. Just last month it published a Facebook post claiming that a Palestinian family had been evicted from their home in order for the IDF to conduct a military drill in the surrounding area. Upon looking into the matter, My Truth discovered that, defying both common sense and the law, the family had moved into a military firing zone.
Over the course of the summer I spent many hours in Hebron listening and learning. It’s a difficult place with a complex history and a complicated political situation which requires sensitive handling. The stretch of road the activists attempted to go down is the most blood-drenched in the entire region, with numerous murders, and innumerable shooting attacks, stone throwings and stabbings occurring there during the second Intifada. It is also true that the Palestinian community of Hebron experiences genuine hardship and the current situation is far from ideal. If there is to be any chance of improving the status quo, it won’t come from provocations, play acting and crocodile tears.
Where is Breaking the Silence’s integrity? How did it sink to such a level that it shares shameless agitprop from an extremist organisation which has defended terrorists and deliberately breaks the law? Masquerading as peace activists, ISM activists fuel distrust and petty bickering which leads to more hatred and violence. The presence of ignorant, arrogant foreign activists undeniably stokes tensions. Instead of busying themselves with the serious, much harder work of peace-building, the unmistakable political agendas of these “human rights organisations” prevent them from creating the better future they claim they seek to promote. For shame.