If you are on the side of democracy, you need to read Exec Dir Yuli Novak's recent article in Haaretz.com >> https://goo.gl/RN0t6J -
Why Breaking the Silence?
A place where breaking the silence is illegitimate - is not a democracy.
When an autoimmune disease breaks out the immune system gets confused
and instead of protecting the body it attacks itself. It seems that in
the past year, such behavior has developed as a natural, but worrisome,
reaction to the government’s campaign of incitement and intimidation
against the Israeli left.
For over year, we at Breaking the Silence
have faced an obsessive attack on the part of the Israeli government and
the prime minister. We fought back and we are still here, stronger and
more effective than ever.
Along the way we learned something about
how this business works. As a political activist, my obligation is to
break the silence about the disintegration of Israeli democracy, too.
At first, I thought the government and prime minister had made a mistake and had chosen the wrong organization to demonize:
An organization of combat soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces,
liberal and moderate, which does not call for refusing military service
or for a boycott of Israel, which does not deal with war crimes and does
not even offer a specific solution for the Israeli-Palestinian
An organization whose main message represents the DNA of a
liberal democracy: “The occupation must end, because to rule over
millions of people without rights is immoral and bad for Israel.”
So why then did they actually choose to target Breaking the Silence?
Because in order to continue the occupation the government is adopting
more and more of the nationalist-religious values of the settlement
movement, which inherently contradicts the liberal-democratic idea.
When soldiers from the people’s army make a moral decision and expose
the immorality of the occupation, they are breaking the silence.
Breaking the silence can exist only in a democratic country and is very
bad for the occupation.
A place where breaking the silence is
illegitimate - is not democracy. In this sense, the attack by the
government and the settlers against Breaking the Silence is intended to
fundamentally change the Israeli system of government.
government brutally attacks Breaking the Silence it sends a clear and
threatening message to the entire liberal-democratic camp: Everything
that Breaking the Silence represents and does is beyond the borders of
the new national consensus.
Speak about rebellion against the
occupation, you will become a target for incitement. Criticize the
settlements, you will be stopped. Say something about equality for
Palestinians, express respect for human life, freedom and justice - you
have taken a risk.
And if, God forbid, you act so boldly and speak
about these things in foreign languages - you will be upgraded to the
status of “traitors and spies.” In simple terms: Democrats, take care
not to try us, you are next in line.
Facing these manipulative
messages, there are those who become confused and instead of defending
the values under attack, they toe the line according to the right’s
plans and start attacking themselves.
This explains why, for
example, the president of Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, Prof.
Rivka Carmi, withheld an award from Breaking the Silence based on the
claim that “they are not part of the Israeli consensus.”
surrendered her own values, “changed sides” and aided the government in
defining, once again, the limits of Israeli consensus: The occupation
regime is the consensus and it is illegitimate to criticize it.
Elected representatives of the Knesset, who are supposed to be the
opposition and defend democracy, have caved in, too, time after time in
the face of these threats.
This is what happened when a number of
Knesset members from the Labor party signed a settlers' petition calling
to boycott Breaking the Silence; and this is what happens when members
of Labor whisper to tell me that “it is clear they are with us,” but
that they regret that if they defend Breaking the Silence they might be
considered too “leftist” and lose votes.
Under pressure from
dangerous incitement, the Labor party has not only abandoned the
soldiers who 'broke the silence' but itself and its own values, too,
over the past year.
In contrast, I saw over the past year quite a
few impressive examples of a determined and effective struggle in the
face of the regime's violence:
Faculty from Ben-Gurion University
who found a way to evade the president’s decision; principals who
insisted on inviting Breaking the Silence to their schools, despite the
threats of Education Minister Naftali Bennett; thousands of Israelis who
donated to us, who hosted our meetings in their homes; cultural
institutions that cooperated with us; Jewish institutions in the United
States who despite enormous pressure refused to renounce us; and many
In these times, anyone who cares about Israel must choose
whether to take shelter in the warm bosom of the new “consensus,” or
join the struggle over the democratic future of the State of Israel.
There is a huge amount to do, there is no reason to despair. To stand
proudly with Breaking the Silence is certainly a good start, and will
send an important message: We remember who we are and what we believe
in, and now we are fighting for our home.
Breaking the Silence activists protest against the occupation in Tel Aviv, in March 2016. Moti Milrod
read more: http://www.haaretz.com/opinion/.premium-1.773444