Don't silence "Breaking the Silence"

Published: 
2 Aug 2009

Ten human rights and social change organizations in Israel have publicly declared support for the organization "Breaking the Silence" (Shovrim Shtika). In a letter to the Prime Minister, the Minister of Defense and the Foreign Minister, the organizations protested the Israeli government's attack on the group, which reached its peak when the government attempted to prevent the group from receiving funding.

“Indeed, the soldiers' testimonies that were published by "Breaking the Silence" do not tell the 'official' story that the government of Israel wants to tell the public. They place a large question mark over the 'most moral army in the world.' image. They call on the Israel public to leave behind its illusions and participate in a meaningful discussion about the character of the society in which they live” say the organizations. “Unfortunately, instead of living up to the challenge set by this report, initiating a real public debate about the significance of the testimonies and holding a thorough investigation of the matter, those in power in the military and government preferred to wage a frontal assault on the organization through the publication of baseless accusations meant to challenge the authenticity of the organization and the report's findings."

The organizations called on the Israeli government to participate in the public debate over the issues raised in the document released by "Breaking the Silence," and to deal with the content of the testimonies in a meaningful way. "The aggressive pressure employed by the Foreign Ministry and other governmental bodies in order to silence 'Breaking the Silence' is dangerous and troubling," said the organizations, who added that the health and proper functioning of democracy are expressed in, among other things, the legitimacy it grants to organizations who criticize the authorities.

Organizations that participated in the statement: The Association for Civil Rights in Israel, Bimkom, B'Tselem, Gisha, Physicians for Human Rights, Adalah , Yesh Din, HaMoked,Center for the Defence of the Individual, Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, Rabbis for Human Rights