The State Prosecutor’s Office has decided to not to launch a criminal investigation of possible incitement by the rightist Im Tirtzu organization in its video clip referring to leftist “moles.”
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In the video, posted in early December, four left-wing activists are portrayed as “planted” agents who defend terrorists. In response, Meretz MKs and other organizations turned to the attorney general, demanding an investigation as to whether this constitutes incitement.
After the clip was viewed at the office of the deputy state prosecutor in charge of special cases, who has to approve the opening of investigations into alleged incitement, it was decided that there were no grounds for a criminal investigation.
Attorney Ilona Inbar from the State Prosecutor’s Office wrote to the Reform Center for Religion and State, which filed the petition, that “the clip is blunt and problematic, and it would have been better had it not been posted,” but added that it was decided that “there was no justification for an investigation, since the clip’s meaning was clear and unambiguous, calling for supporting a specific bill. The clip did not advocate taking any action or committing violence.”
The clip begins with a terrorist approaching the camera with a drawn knife, with a narrator in the background saying that “the next time a terrorist comes to stab you, he’ll know that there is someone protecting him.” Later, the clip shows the faces and names of Ishai Menuhin, the executive director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel; Avner Gvaryahu, director of public outreach for Breaking the Silence; attorney Sigi Ben Ari of Hamoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual and B’Tselem director Hagai Elad.
At the end of the clip the female narrator says: “Hagai, Elad, Sigi and Avner are Israelis who live here among us, but they are moles. While we fight terror they are fighting against us. The law against moles will make them outlaws. Pass the bill.”
The campaign against “the moles” is headed by Moshe Klughaft, an associate of Habayit Hayehudi leader Naftali Bennett.
The clip was shown in order to draw support for the proposed bill, submitted by MK Yoav Kish (Likud), which calls for designating non-profit groups that receive funding from a foreign state as “planted” by that foreign entity. The bill calls for reporting the funding and banning any contact between these groups and Israeli government ministries or the IDF. The registrar of non-profit groups will be permitted to ask the courts to disband these groups if their goals or actions, or the actions of their employees, are deemed as hostile to the state. Kish also wants to impose a 100,000-shekel fine on a “mole” who violates these obligations.
Im Tirtzu responded to the decision by stating: “We suggest that the New Israel Fund and MK Zehava Galon, who filed this request with the attorney general, focus on the detention of the employee of B’Tselem, a planted organization supported by the [New Israel] fund, on suspicion that he sent Palestinians to be tortured and killed by the Palestinian Authority. We call on the attorney general to investigate the involvement of the New Israel Fund in movements advocating a boycott against Israel, in its involvement in calling Israeli soldiers ‘war criminals’ and undermining Israeli democracy. We’ll continue our struggle against these planted groups and no trivial petition to the courts will deter us.”