The Hillel/Breaking the Silence Saga Continues – This Time With Spies!
Just when we thought that Breaking the Silence couldn’t possibly be a more vile, sketchy organization, we find out that they are even viler, sketchier, and far more sinister than we could have ever imagined.
As I covered last week, Hillel is slated to host a Breaking the Silence as part of a countrywide tour organized by Hillel partner J Street U.
Breaking the Silence has been under fire for paying former Israeli soldiers to provide anonymous testimony against the state of Israel, as it is funded by many foreign NGOs with anti-Israel agendas to do so.
Hillel’s argument that Breaking the Silence does not violate their Standards of Partnership was a non-argument, dodging the accusation altogether and instead claiming that it is committed to providing students with an alternate perspective to BtS. If that is the case, why not make BtS activities a panel or debate with an IDF veteran, soldier, or spokesperson? Of course, Hillel cannot possibly be hosting BtS as a standalone act because it wants to “provide alternative views than BtS.”
The fact that Hillel would be perfectly okay with partnering with an organization that is so obviously against their standards of partnership makes me strongly suspect that money was involved, as no group that would ever claim itself to be unequivocally Zionist and against BDS and the spread of anti-Israel hate propaganda on campus would ever condone such an alliance. And as we found out last week, J Street has a lot of money, as does BtS. A lot more than even AIPAC. Makes you wonder. It’s not the first time a person or organization sold their people out for a pile of cash, and it probably won’t be the last.
Our tipster from last week has returned with the following information:
The group is now being investigated in Israel for reportedly attempting to glean classified information from former IDF soldiers. Israel’s Channel 2 news program aired footage of officials from BtS interrogating Israeli soldiers about sensitive military tactics and operational details. Following this report, Prime Minister Netanyahu, Defense Minister Moshe “Bugie” Ya’alon, MK Yair Lapid, and a range of MKs from many parties have called for a Criminal investigation. MK Eitan Cabel (Labor) commented, “Breaking the Silence’s activities cross a red line that should not be crossed. These are very serious findings about systematic gathering of information against the IDF, against the state, against us. There is no alternative but a criminal investigation.”
If that’s not a bad enough blow, Natan Sharansky, who is in no way, shape, or form, right wing, recently referred to BtS as a “BDS organization,” making it ironic that J-Street, which joined together with other Hillel Israel Advocacy groups such as Aryeh, claims to be fighting BDS.
“This is not a human-rights organization in any meaningful sense of the term. It is one thing to focus international attention on the plight of those persecuted by corrupt regimes by publicly bringing their cases to authorities in a position to investigate and respond. It is quite another to use unproven allegations peddled as truths to credulous foreigners in order to override the decisions of a democratic government.”
Breaking the Silence, and J Street, on its behalf, argue that Breaking the Silence’s goal is not to demonize Israel, but serve as a whistleblower to ensure Israel’s adherence to the highest human rights standards. These standards, however, seem to be double, far eclipsing those of every army in the world. These standards also seem to be suicidal, as Alan Dershowitz states below, if they were to be followed then Israel’s army would be easily wiped out, and Israel cannot afford even a single defeat.
Moreover, while Breaking the Silence claims it is addressing Israeli society, Breaking the Silence advocacy systematically targets foreign audiences, including governments, media, and students. Officials justify these appearances by claiming that “the Israeli occupation that we see as immensely damaging to Israel, is maintained and supported abroad,” or that they are using the information they spread to ensure external pressure from far more powerful entities is placed on Israel. However, it is painfully clear that there are mountains of evidence that BtS harms the state of Israel – and the work of pro-Israel educators, pro-Israel students, and the pro-Israel community as a whole. There is no justification for bringing such a group into Hillel houses, a place that Jewish students rely on as a safe, welcoming, and trustworthy space.
But wait, there’s more! It has recently been uncovered that Breaking the Silence uses agents to gain classified information from Israeli soldiers in Israel and abroad. Yes, Breaking the Silence has spies whose activities have nothing to do with its purported aim as an organization, hinting at more sinister motives behind the curtain, perhaps an attempt to undermine Israel from within, and their activities have had grave consequences on young Israelis who fear repercussions if they refuse to divulge classified information.
As leaders of the pro-Israel community, I believe that we have a responsibility to speak out against this very divisive, disingenuous, and ultimately, dangerous campaign. Pressure must be applied to Hillel, pressure that exceeds that of the J Street lobby, if that’s even possible.
See Alan Dershowitz’s important interview with israel’s Channel 1 News below: