Questions To Break The Silence
There’s a huge fuss in Israel right now because of a video put out by an organisation called Im Tirtzu. You know somethings up when Ha’aretz runs an oped like “Im Tirtzu and the proto-fascist plot to destroy Israeli democracy – Opinion” because they put a one minute video on YouTube (embedded at the end of this post).
The video raises the whole question of why foreign governments (often) are heavily funding organisations that seem to work against the safety and security of Jews in Israel. Im Tirtzu calls them “Foreign Agents”. One of those NGOs that is being examined is Breaking The Silence.
Matti Friedman (you may remember his excellent work decrying the overemphasis on Israel in the world’s media) raises the following in public on Facebook. Why is Breaking The Silence’s following in English (not Hebrew) so huge compared to any comparable organisation in, say, the United States? A country which dwarfs little Israel and has recently been occupying many lands that it could, in no way, claim an indigenous connection to.
A little follow-up (with thanks to Petra Marquardt-Bigman) to yesterday’s vibrant discussion, re: the exploitation of Israel as a kind of moral carnival for people in other countries who would rather not think about themselves too deeply.
It looks like the closest claimant to be the American “Breaking the Silence” right now (minus the foreign government funding, foreign language activities, foreign tours, and press attention) is called “IRAQ VETERANS AGAINST THE WAR.” If you look at their Facebook page, you’ll see they have just under 40,000 “likes.” If you look at BREAKING THE SILENCE’S page in English, you’ll see 205,000 “likes.”
To sum up: An organization operating in a superpower of 320 million people — with an army more than double the size of Israel’s biggest city, two occupations only recently terminated and not quite resolved, and operations spanning the world and involving hundreds of thousands of casualties – has one-fifth the “likes” of a similar organization from a country that takes up one one-hundredth of one percent of the world’s surface. And these 205,000 “likes” are on a Facebook page in English, which is the language spoken in the former country but not the latter.
Everything’s completely normal. Carry on.
It’s also worth checking out this blog post from Petra at Warped Mirror.