Some Must-Reads on Breaking the Silence

 Benjy Cannon Image
Benjy Cannon
on April 5, 2016

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Amidst the ongoing attacks by the Israeli government on NGOs, Breaking the Silence (BtS) — a group of former IDF soldiers who speak out about their experiences in Gaza and the occupied territory — has been repeatedly demonized and attacked by the Israeli right and portions of the media.

Most recently, they have been accused of treason against Israel for allegedly leaking classified information. BtS maintains that everything they publish is cleared by the military censor. The report that spurred the charge was based on hidden camera footage from a far-right organization that plants activists in NGOs to try and dig up incriminating information, and has subsequently turned out to be untrue.

In light of the attacks it’s endured during recent weeks, here are four pieces that get into why BtS’s work is so essential for Israeli democracy and society.

  1. The first piece, published this weekend in The Forward, is by Justin Vogel, a J Street U leader. In it, he explains how BtS helped shape his outlook on the conflict and how they help Israel’s cause on campus. You can read it In this piece in +972, Doton Greenvald, a researcher at BtS, explains why the group poses such a threat to Prime Minister Netanyahu. He argues that Netanyahu and his government have attempted to suppress BtS because the soldiers’ testimonies can expose Israel to the damage caused by the occupation. Read the piece here.
  2. In an editorial published two weeks ago, Ha’aretz explains why BtS is a critical part of Israel’s democracy, and calls on right-wing ministers in the government to “stop their violent attempts to silence Breaking the Silence, and their repeated use of the NGO as a political scapegoat.” You can read the editorial here.

Benjy Cannon is the 2015-2016 Mikva Fellow at J Street. He’s on Twitter at @benjycannon