The right-wing non-profit organization Im Tirtzu on Tuesday publicized a video clip describing four left-wing activists as protecting terrorists. At the start of the video a terrorist is seen approaching the camera and pulling out a knife, with the narrator in the background saying “Next time a terrorist comes to stab you, he knows that there’s someone who will defend him.”
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Afterwards the clip shows Ishai Menuhin, the executive director of the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, who is said to be “a mole of Holland who protects terrorists from Shin Bet security services investigations.”
After him appears Avner Gvaryahu, director of public outreach for Breaking the Silence, who is said to be “a mole of Germany who calls Israel Defense Forces soldiers war criminals.” Joining Gvaryahu is attorney Sigi Ben Ari of Hamoked: Center for the Defense of the Individual, and according to Im Tirtzu: “A mole from Norway who defends terrorists in the courts” and Hagai Elad, director general of B’Tselem, who is called “a mole of the European Union who calls Israel a war criminal.”
At the end of the video the narrator says, “Hagai, Elad, Sigi and Avner are Israelis, they live here with us but they are moles. While we are fighting terror they are fighting us. The law against moles can outlaw them, sign it.”
The video clip comes in the wake of a draft bill signed by MK Yoav Kish (Likud) centered on singling out NGOs that receive funding from a foreign political entity as “moles” of the country that supports them. The proposal includes an obligation to report on those organizations, prohibits cooperation between them and government ministries and the IDF, and will make it possible for the Registrar of NGOs to submit requests to the court for dismantling them in the event that their goals or their actions or the actions of those employed by them include hostile activity against the state.
In addition, Kish wants to impose a fine of 100,000 shekels ($26,000) on a “mole” who has violated an obligation. On his Facebook page he wrote: “A day after the lies and the lowering of the flag at the conference with Breaking the Silence abroad, the time has come for action, enough! NPOs that encourage boycotts, incitement and a call to bring IDF soldiers to an international trial are not organizations that are important for the internal discourse in the country. These NPOs are acting to harm Israel in the international arena by disseminating lies and incitement. This phenomenon must stop.”
In the wake of the Im Tirtzu video clip MK Michal Rozin (Meretz) sent an urgent demand to the attorney general to begin an investigation on suspicion of incitement and said: “The Im Tirtzu ‘mole’ campaign constitutes blatant incitement and extremism against fighters for justice and the human rights organizations in whose context they work. This is libel against the defenders of Israeli democracy, and its purpose is to terrorize the left-wing organizations. The attempt to delegitimize and dehumanize all those whose opinions differ from those of the far right is singling out live targets and calling for targeted assassination, which will end in violence.”
The attorney general's office has said that it is examining requests to investigate the Im Tirtzu video for incitement. Rozin and Hamoked, the Center for the Defense of the Individual have both asked for a probe, and the latter also expressed intent to file a complaint with the police.
Kish said he objects to the personal campaign of Im Tirtzu.
“The ‘moles’ law that I am leading is an important law in the fight against NPOs supported by foreign countries that are acting against the State of Israel and the IDF. These organization use lies, distortions and half truths, among other things, in the campaign of delegitimization that they are leading. I support the law and will continue to promote it,” he said.
However, Kish added, “I object to the aggressive character of the campaign by the Im Tirtzu student movement. I don’t relate to the campaign and it isn’t my way, I deal with the essence. My [proposed] law is one thing and the Im Tirtzu campaign is another.”
In response to a request for comment, Im Tirzu said: "One thing is certain – we will never degrade ourselves and lower the flag like your newspaper, Haaretz."