Israel targets U.K. funding of group that exposed 'IDF crimes' in Gaza
In 2008, Breaking the Silence received 40,000 pounds from British embassy in Tel Aviv.
Israel continues to ratchet up diplomatic pressure against European Union funding of a group that exposed what it described as war crimes perpetrated by the Israel Defense Forces in Gaza.
The deputy director-general of the Foreign Ministry, Rafi Barak, expressed "concern" last week over Britain's financial contributions to "Breaking the Silence," an organization founded by IDF veterans which collects testimonies from soldiers serving in the Palestinian territories.
Barak communicated Israel's dissatisfaction over Britain's funding of the group during a meeting with London's ambassador to Tel Aviv, Tom Phillips.
Barak met with Phillips to discuss efforts by various British organizations to institute a boycott against Israel. During the meeting, Barak also raised the subject of funds which the British government channels to Breaking the Silence.
The organization recently became the subject of scrutiny after it published the testimonies of IDF soldiers who served in the military offensive against Hamas in the Gaza Strip earlier this year.
Barak requested clarifications as to the reasons behind Britain's funding of the group and whether the money was used to fund the recent report on Operation Cast Lead.
According to information obtained by Barak, the British embassy in Tel Aviv received 40,000 pounds in 2008. Phillips told Barak that the money transfer to the group presents no problem since Breaking the Silence is a legal organization.
Phillips added that the money was meant to fund the group's trips and activities in Hebron, and that none of the money was used for compiling and publishing its report on the Gaza war.
The move is part of a continuing Foreign Ministry campaign to halt EU funding of the group's activities.
Last week, the Israeli ambassador to the Netherlands, Harry Knei-Tal, met with the director-general of the Dutch Foreign Ministry and complained about the Dutch embassy's funding of Breaking the Silence.
In the meeting last week between Knei-Tal and the director-general of the Dutch Foreign Ministry, the Israeli ambassador suggested that the Netherlands' funding of the organization should be terminated, according to a source.
"The Dutch taxpayer's money could be better used to promote peace and human rights," the source quoted Knei-Tal as saying.
In response, Breaking the Silence accused the Foreign Ministry of "endangering democracy" by engaging in a "witch hunt" against the organization.