The right-wing group Im Tirtzu launched a new campaign singling out Israeli artists associated with leftists groups on Wednesday.
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The new campaign, which follows in the footsteps of the group's recent video in which it "outed" individuals associated with human rights groups as foreign "moles," attacks several of Israel's most well-known artists, including writers Amos Oz, David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua, actor Gila Almagor, and singers Rona Keinan and Chava Alberstein.
Under the banner "moles inside culture," the campaign will mount billboards and will also release a report listing of hundreds of artists considered by the group to be linked to the left.
Matan Peleg, the CEO of Im Tirtzu, told Walla that artists regularly come out against elected officials with "slanderous campaigns," while "hiding the fact that they're members of mole organizations." "The public has all rights to know these details," Peleg said, adding: "We'll not allow mole organizations to throw dust in the eyes of the public."
The preliminary list published by the group divides artists' names according to their activities in different organizations. Thus, the names of artists that took part in a Breaking the Silence event include actresses Sarah von Schwartze and Heli Goldenberg, directors Ofira Henig and Rani Blair, choreographer Ohad Naharin, and curator Gideon Efrat. The artists that according to the group are members of B'Tselem public council are author Amos Oz, actresses Gila Almagor and Rivka Michaeli, artist Dani Karavan, author David Grossman, and Prof. Ariel Hirschfeld. Playwright and director Joshua Sobol and former president of the Jerusalem Foundation Ruth Cheshin appear as members of Yesh Din's public council, and listed as part of the New Israel Fund's international council are poet Ronny Someck, authors Amos Oz and Sami Michael, as well as singer Shaanan Street.
Writer Ronit Matalon, one of the artists labeled by Im Tirtzu as a Breaking the Silence supporter, called the group "a bunch of hooligans." "The problem is that the more isolated the country gets, the more it is perceived as a leper, it starts attacking itself, with complete lack of understanding. We should show persistent and determined resistance. We should resist and not be afraid."
"I shit on Im Tirtzu's head," said Dror Feuer, a journalist for Globes. "I'm proud to be on the list and proud to have attended a Breaking the Silence event."
Also on Wednesday, one of the founders of Im Tirtzu took to Twitter to defend Joseph McCarthy, who in the 1950s conducted an official witch hunt against communists in the United States. Ronen Shoval was responding to comments on Twitter by Israel Channel 20 editor Avishai Ivri. "[I'm] not familiar with the exact historical details regarding Joseph McCarthy, but you see who is coming out against him currently and you can't help but be in his favor," Ivri said in a tweet in Hebrew. Shoval, who was on the Habayit Hayehudi slate in last year's Knesset election, but was not elected to parliament, commented in Hebrew: "The historical details revealed that in most cases, he was correct."
The two were reprimanded in turn by Meretz Chairwoman Zehava Galon, who gave them a "history lesson" on her Facebook page.