Breaking the Silence Accuses Israeli Politicians of Incitement

After an IDF investigation into the organization showed that the information it collected from soldiers wasn’t highly classified, the NGO blames right-wing lawmakers of being 'shameless and irresponsible.'

Olivier Fitussi

Breaking the Silence has lambasted Israeli politicians for their criticism of it after an army probe into allegations that the NGO was collecting classified information from soldiers found that although some of the information was classified, it was at the relatively low level of “confidential.”

"The IDF's announcement of the conclusion of the inquiry without any accusations against Breaking the Silence proves and strengthens the claim that the 'investigative report' broadcast by Channel 2 News is a despicable attempt by right-wing activists to discredit the organization," the veteran's group said.

An IDF investigation into claims that the group gathers information about military operations while collecting soldiers’ testimonies was concluded on Wednesday. Because Breaking the Silence is a civilian organization, it was decided that the Shin Bet security service will be responsible for the completion of the probe, as the IDF does not have the jurisdiction to question civilians, a defense official told Haaretz at the time.

Breaking the Silence, which collects testimonies from soldiers serving in the Palestinian territories and highlights instances of perceived wrongdoing by the Israeli army, responded to the events on Sunday.

"The ministers of the far-right government, who called soldiers and fighters – citizens of Israel – who oppose the occupation traitors and spies, are now revealed as shameless and irresponsible politicians who don’t hesitate to incite and even use Israel's security forces for political purposes against those who object to their policy in the territories," the organization said.

"Breaking the Silence will continue to fight the occupation fearlessly and for Israel's future," it added.

Last week, Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon insinuated that the group's action might constitute treason, but later qualified the statement by saying that gathering military secrets is not treason unless they are passed onto the enemy.

The NGO has come under increasing pressure from right-wing politicians and groups in recent months, starting after its report into 2014’s Operation Protective Edge in Gaza and its willingness to take its message overseas.