Hooray for the Snitches of Breaking the Silence

The Israeli soldiers who expose the crimes of the occupation are much braver than the cowards who shoot to death Palestinian girls wielding scissors.

Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy
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Breaking the Silence employees in conversation at the organization's Tel Aviv office, December 16, 2015.
Breaking the Silence employees at the organization's Tel Aviv office, December 16, 2015.Credit: Reuters
Gideon Levy
Gideon Levy

Hooray for the whistleblowers; they’re snitches. Hooray for the women who complain about sexual assaults; they’re snitches. Hooray for those who install hidden cameras in slaughterhouses to document animal abuse. Hooray for those who put to shame people who abuse patients in psychiatric institutions and for those who expose domestic violence – they’re snitches too. And a big hooray, of course, to those who document the crimes of the occupation and bring them to the knowledge of the public in Israel and the rest of the world. Hooray for those who won’t keep silent in the face of those crimes, hooray to Breaking the Silence.

The wave of savage incitement against the NGO, Breaking the Silence, consists of two contentions — that they’re liars and that they’re snitches. The first is false, the second is absurd. Nobody has caught Breaking the Silence in a lie, not even the imposter MK Oren Hazan. So much for the first contention. The second is even more fallacious – there’s no other way to reveal the truth but the one adopted by the organization.

When Tzipi Livni complained at the recent Haaretz conference in New York that the organization doesn’t go to the Israel Defense Forces with its findings, she was whitewashing. She too knows what we’re dealing with when we talk about the military legal system. Would she say the same about other whistleblowers? Settle things inside the family? In the community? Concealment is the root of evil.

The defense minister’s statement that the organization’s goals are “malicious” is proof that complaints of injustice cannot and must not be brought to the IDF, which he is in charge of. When the state’s president says at the Haaretz conference that the IDF is the most moral army in the world, he too proves that in Israel there’s nobody to talk to.

The Israeli leadership, army, society and media are all convinced that an occupation army can be moral, that an army that killed thousands of innocent people in Gaza is the best of the best and that an army that shoots stone-throwers and stabbers to death indiscriminately is above all suspicion. All this proves why it is imperative to expose the truth, in Israel and around the world.

Yes, when the country is brainwashed and refuses to see, there’s no choice but to turn to the world. Those who want to hide the truth abroad don’t want it to see the light in Israel either.

Breaking the Silence’s thousand witnesses are the army’s elite commando unit, the most excellent of soldiers, the most daring, most patriotic of them. Their day of glory will come. They are much braver than the cowards who shoot to death girls wielding scissors. They are the only ones who can still save the IDF’s lost honor in the world . If Israeli public diplomacy is still effective anywhere in the world, it’s thanks to Breaking the Silence. If there’s still a chance to talk to people of conscience in the world, it’s thanks to the “snitches.”

I saw the impressive appearance of Breaking the Silence activist Avner Gvaryahu at the Haaretz conference. Even Roger Waters was moved to see there are still Israelis like him left.

The “snitches,” those who reported to their states and the world of the iniquities of their countries’ evil regimes are history’s heroes. Who are the dissidents if not “snitches’ and who are the heroes, if not the dissidents? In the new Israel, the documenters of the Bus 300 affair — the 1984 cover-up of the killing of two Palestinian terrorists captured alive, by Shin Bet agents — would be branded as traitors and those who exposed the 1950s massacres in Kibiya and Kafr Qasem would be charged with doing so for malicious motives. The new Israel doesn’t want to know about all that. Maybe it would applaud the slaughterers in Kafr Qasem and issue citations to the skull-crushers of the Bus 300 Affair.

This is how a society living in denial reaches its most critical, dangerous stage – losing touch with reality. Israel no longer wants to know what is done in its name and wages war on those trying to deny it the luxury of saying, “I didn’t know.”

This insane war is joined by the deafening, frightening national chorus, which includes most of the opposition and almost all the media. Everybody knows the occupation is felonious and evil and everybody, but everybody, wants to deny it.

All together now: Death to traitors, death to truth.

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