Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Sigmar Gabriel
Just three days after Israel’s Holocaust Memorial Day, German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel refused to abstain from meeting, at the Prime Minister of Israel's request, with so-called “human rights” organizations dedicated to the destruction of the State of Israel. Of course, you’d never know this from reading the news. News reporters are smart, you see. They wait and take their cues from their guy.

And since anyone who is pro-Israel is not their guy (for instance, the Prime Minister of Israel), in this case their guy by default is German Foreign Minister Sigmar Gabriel.

Gabriel issued a statement and BOOM. Just like that, all the outlets had their lead. The statement read (emphasis added):
“Imagine if the Israeli Prime Minister, who is also foreign minister, came to Germany and wanted to meet people critical of the government and we would say: ‘No, this is not possible’.
“Doing that, and therefore cancelling our meetings, would be unthinkable. It works both ways.”
The German Foreign Minister makes it sound as if Israel is trying to rob him of his freedoms. Like we’re a repressive government that doesn’t allow for a difference of opinion. Like Israel is not a democracy.

Well, the media took its cue from this mischaracterization and Wapo’s lead, for instance, reads (emphasis added), Israel’s Netanyahu snubs German foreign minister for meeting activists critical of government, and the Jerusalem Post’s lead said, Netanyahu Nixes Meeting With German FM Over NGO Critical Of IDF. People who read these articles would naturally think that Netanyahu wanted Gabriel to abstain from meeting with these organizations because they are critical of the government or of the IDF.

This is a lie. It’s a brazen lie that a German has no right to make in the days following the day on which we remember the 6 million of MY people HIS people systematically gassed and incinerated. 

How dare this man misrepresent us as a repressive, totalitarian country! It’s appalling.

Of course, there's nothing new under the sun. Menachem Begin had the number of people like Gabriel way back when.

Almost as bad as the articles that suggest that Israel bans legitimate criticism are those that refer to PM Netanyahu’s warning as a “snub” (except for the Wapo piece listed above, which did both)! Outlets referring to Netanyahu’s warning as a snub (other than Wapo) include the Times of Israel, the Guardian, Yahoo News, and the Telegraph.

But it was not a snub. It was a warning. It was Bibi, as the representative of the Jewish State, saying to a representative of Germany: if you insist on meeting those bent on our destruction, I won’t meet with you.

This was a brave stance for Bibi to take (how often do we defend ourselves like this????) and it  makes me glad I voted for him, when there are so many other days on which I regret that vote.

Other outlets called what happened a “spat” as if that were somehow more evenhanded: just two crazy kids fighting in the sandbox. Which is a blatant misrepresentation of what happened here which is this: the German FM insisted on meeting with people bent on Israel’s destruction and so Israel’s official representatives saw no point in meeting with him.

Who called it a “spat?” The Toronto Star, SFGate, McClatchy, and EuroNews.

We already know the end of this story, or at least some of it. Gabriel went ahead and met with all those organizations bent on Israel’s destruction. We just don’t have the names of all the organizations involved.

The reason? The organizations locked the press out of the “briefing” (which some may prefer to call an “indoctrination”). We do know that B’tselem and Breaking the Silence were two of the organizations taking part in this meeting, thanks to the Times of Israel.
A "spat." Just two crazy kids fighting in the sandbox

Now these two organizations, Breaking the Silence and B’tselem, are not merely critical of Israel. If they were, no one would have a problem with them or with a German minister meeting with them. These organizations have an agenda and that agenda is to destroy the Jewish State. We know this because of the way they operate and the lies they tell. Here is an excerpt of NGO Monitor’s findings regarding the activities of Breaking the Silence:

·         Breaking the Silence (BtS) “collects testimonies of soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories during the Second Intifada,” claiming that the “testimonies portray a…grim picture of questionable orders in many areas regarding Palestinian civilians [which] demonstrate the depth of corruption which is spreading in the Israeli military…Israeli society continues to turn a blind eye, and to deny that which happens in its name.
·         Active in promoting “war crimes” charges against Israel. These charges were based on anonymous and unverifiable hearsay “testimonies.”
·         Although claiming to address Israeli society, the NGO’s lobbying and media advocacy focus on international audiences, including presentations in Europe and the United States. Yehuda Shaul, BtS co-founder, defended this practice: “Sometimes, when you want to deliver messages to the inside, you must go outside.”
·         Between September 2012 – June 2016, BtS held more then 80 lectures, exhibitions and events across Europe, America, South Africa and Australia (See map below).
·         In June 2016, Ben-Gurion University canceled a NIS 20,000 reward to Breaking the Silence because it is “not in the national consensus”. In response, the New Israel Fund published a Facebook post announcing that it will donate NIS 20,000 to BtS and accused Ben-Gurion University of canceling the prize because it is concerned “that it might be the target of the next campaign”.
·         In June 14, 2016, Israeli new site NRG published a video documenting BtS co-founder, Yehuda Shaul, telling tourists in Israel that “Yeah, One of the villages, this village actually, its new that they came back, because few years ago the settlers basically poisoned all the water cisterns of the village…” This allegation is completely unsubstantiated, and was never proven. It appears to be based on a single compliant from 2004 which investigated by the Israeli police and was closed due to lack of evidence. (See below: Anti-Israeli campaigns using Breaking the Silence).
·         BtS refuses to comply with the Israeli government request to provide the information on an incident documented in a former soldier’s testimony which reflects an alleged crime. This resulted in a court hearing in May 23 where the state sought an order that the NGO provide all the information it has on the case. BtS argued that that they should be allowed to “protect their sources” similarly to journalists, despite their lack of engagement in journalistic activities.
·         On January 11, 2016, Israel’s leading nightly news program on Channel 2 aired footageof Ezra Nawi, a radical activist from the NGO “Ta’ayush,” visiting the offices of Israeli NGO Breaking the Silence (BtS). There, a BtS employee provided Nawi with NIS 1,400 in cash. It is unclear what services were rendered to warrant such a payment, but Channel 2 showed footage of Nawi writing checks for Palestinians, ostensibly for taking part in protests that he, himself, planned.
·         In summer 2015, during a training session in BtS office, Nadav Weiman, the activists’ coordinator, explained that “most of the Palestinians are not terrorists, but fighters for their freedom, sometimes with means I don’t agree with. The word terrorists – I find it hard. Although whoever murders a baby in its bed is a terrorist… If you try to kill soldiers you are not a terrorist. This is also according to international law”. He continued: “If there is a country that occupies your country, in the area you live in, you are allowed to use violent means against the occupier- only against soldiers and policemen or border police. Not against civilians…” Weiman added that “Refusal [to serve in the army] is legitimate, but we don’t encourage it…”
·         In a video published by Ad Kan, Weiman explains the NGO’s role in providing data to international political actors: “You don’t understand who we are outside of Israel…the diplomatic community… ok, Yehuda [Shaul], you won’t fund anyone who doesn’t know Yehuda… ambassadors and parliament members… outside of Israel we are the voice that is considered very reliable and critical that lets say if they want information they approach us… Yehuda takes ambassadors, consuls, and parliament members every week. Just now he was with American Congress members who arrived in Israel… no one knows they are here. But they came and Yehuda took them on a tour.”
·         In May 2015, NGO Monitor revealed that following the 2009 Gaza conflict, several BtS donors conditioned the transfer of money to the group on its ability to gather a minimum number of incriminating “testimonies” against the Israeli army.
·         In 2010 BtS published a highly tendentious book titled Occupation of the Territories – Israeli Soldier testimonies 2000-2010, which claimed to provide a counter to the “official Israeli position” on IDF actions in the territories. NGO Monitor analysis has revealed that this book was rife with methodological problems and appeared to tailor the testimonies to predetermined “analyses” that falsely claimed that Israeli actions are not aimed at self-defense but at “terrorizing the civilian population.”
·         This book was later re-published under the title Our Harsh Logic and translated into Swedish, German, and Dutch. The launching of the book in the various languages served as a platform for further demonization and delegitmization of Israel, including accusations of “racism” and alleged “political assassinations” of Palestinians, claims that Gaza is still “occupied,” and implying that Israel is ethnically cleansing “area C.”
·         Analysis by Amos Harel in Ha’aretz: “Breaking the Silence…has a clear political agenda, and can no longer be classed as a ‘human rights organization.’ Any organization whose website includes the claim by members to expose the ‘corruption which permeates the military system’ is not a neutral observer. The organization has a clear agenda: to expose the consequences of IDF troops serving in the West Bank and Gaza. This seems more of interest to its members than seeking justice for specific injustices.” (July 17, 2009)
·         BtS members and anti-Israel activists Yonatan and Itamar Shapira were on the “Jews for Justice for Palestinians” boat “Irene,” which sought to violate Israel’s security-based policies regarding naval traffic into Gaza (September 2010).
·         During a BtS event at a museum in Sweden (March 2011), Itamar Shapira stated that “We [Israelis] are creating the terror against us.”
·         Conducts tours to Hebron and the South Hebron Hills to “witness first hand the dire situation.” Criticized by Israeli police officials for “antagoniz[ing]…settlers in the hope that the settlers will attack them.”

     Here is what NGO Monitor has to say about the employees of B’tselem:

  • ·       On January 8, 2016, Israeli investigative news program “Uvda” featured an expose showing B’Tselem employee Nasser Nawaja and Ezra Nawi, a radical activist from the NGO “Ta’ayush,” discussing informing the Palestinian Authority security services about a Palestinian man who allegedly intended to sell land to Jews in the West Bank. The sale of Palestinian land to Israelis is punishable by death under Palestinian law, and according to Nawi, suspects are tortured and then killed.
    ·         In 2014, journalist Tuvia Tenenbom published a book, “Catch the Jew,” in which he recounts a conversation with B’Tselem “researcher” Atef Abu a-Rub, who accused Germany of “giving money to the Jews” and then referred to the Holocaust as “a lie.”
    ·         Former CEO Jessica Montell has said: “I think the word apartheid is useful for mobilizing people because of its emotional power. In some cases, the situation in the West Bank is worse than apartheid in South Africa.”
    ·         In April 2010, staff member and NGO activist Lizi Sagie resigned after the organization came under pressure for statements made on her personal blog, including: “The IDF Memorial Day is a pornographic circus of glorifying grief and silencing voices,” “Israel is committing Humanity’s worst atrocities…Israel is proving its devotion to Nazi values…Israel exploits the Holocaust to reap international benefits.”

  • There is much more about both organizations at the NGO Monitor website. Anyone who reads the documentation about these organizations must come away knowing that these organizations wish Israel only harm. But in case you need further proof, let’s talk about what these organizations said after meeting with the German Foreign Minister. The Times of Israel has all the good, juicy, dirt in a piece called, After meeting German FM, B’Tselem calls on world to punish Israel. (Now doesn’t the desire to “punish” Israel prove B’tselem’s noble intentions toward the Jewish State?)

    The article in question describes the organizations and Gabriel as “defiant,” as if it were somehow meritorious and courageous that a German met with organizations bent on Israel’s destruction three days after Holocaust Memorial Day in a meeting to which the press was disinvited. And of course, the spokespeople for these organizations weren’t satisfied just with expressing their distaste for Bibi’s actions, they had to describe him as “psychotic.”

    At a Meretz party gathering in Tel Aviv shortly after the meeting, Breaking the Silence CEO Yuli Novak said of Netanyahu’s behavior that it was “so psychotic that a prime minister acts so unreasonably, by any standard. Calling him a diplomatic bull in a china shop would be a compliment.”

    Yeah. It’s real “psychotic” not to hold meetings with people bent on your destruction.

    The article goes on to talk about the “occupation” (as if Israel chooses to have these people under its rule. Feh. Let them leave), and asks the international community to punish us
    B’Tselem followed up the meeting by issuing an English-language press release calling on the international community to punish Israel for the continued occupation.

    “There must be a price to pay for continued military control of another people while thumbing one’s nose at basic moral values and international law,” the statement said. 
    It claimed that “the Israeli prime minister and most of his colleagues in both the coalition and opposition parties have no intention of ending the occupation,” and added, “As long as it does not meet the minimum conditions of democracy, Israel cannot enjoy the privileges that go with being a card-carrying member of the club of democratic countries.”
    Oh, yeah. Can’t you see how this is just an organization that’s merely critical of Israel? They care about us. They just want to HELP us. Uh huh. Which is why they’re telling the world not to give us money, arms, or have any kind of diplomatic relationship with us.

    This reminds me of my brother. He used to tickle me and my siblings mercilessly and when we’d cry he’d say in this loud, whining, sing-songy voice, “I just want to make you happy.”


    At any rate, this business of Gabriel, well, we might overlook it and say it was the action of one man, that it doesn’t represent Germany as a whole. This is, unfortunately, not the case, as Merkel’s spokesman has issued a statement repeating the garbage about it being “regrettable” that Israel tried to stop Gabriel from meeting with organizations “critical” of Israel.

    Furthermore, Gabriel didn’t stop at meeting with organizations bent on Israel’s destruction but then repeated the canard that, “Only a two-state solution will be sustainable," when no one, not Israel, not the PA, nor Hamas, believe this to be a workable solution.

    What is it with all these people who dare to tell Israel, a sovereign nation, how to conduct its business? And how dare a German meet with people bent on Israel’s destruction and try to characterize Israel’s reaction as repressive.

    If this doesn’t make you livid, it should.

    h/t Miriam Savir for the Begin clip.

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