In response to recent controversy surrounding Breaking the Silence, an Israeli organization dedicated to “exposing” the IDF through unverified accusations of war crimes, the Knesset is considering a series of bills that would prevent the group from receiving millions of dollars in foreign funds. The Israeli left, now joined by some leaders of the American Reform movement, has charged the bills’ sponsors with subverting Israel’s democracy. But, writes Jonathan Tobin, they have it backward:
Even if efforts to cut off funding to Israeli NGO’s are misguided, what’s at stake here isn’t really the pushback of the center-right majority against left-wing dissidents. Rather, it is the way the Israeli left is seeking to overrule the verdict of Israeli democracy as expressed by the voters in the last fifteen years. . . .
[Those on Israel’s far right] aren’t the only ones upset by those who take sides with anti-Zionists and Palestinians bent on destroying the Jewish state. If Breaking the Silence is reviled by most Israelis, it is because they know the basic premise of the group—that the IDF silences dissent and is carrying out atrocities against Arabs on a constant basis—is a flat-out lie. [Furthermore], Breaking the Silence . . . is regularly hosted on American college campuses and in Jewish communities by those claiming to be supporters of Israel. . . . Given their willingness to support such groups, it speaks volumes about how out of touch with the reality of Israel and its struggle against Palestinian terror many American Jews . . . truly are.
Left-wing supporters of Breaking the Silence are not defending democracy so much as expressing frustration with it. Since the collapse of Oslo, . . . an Israeli consensus has held that more territorial withdrawals such as the disastrous retreat from Gaza would be insane. Most Israelis understand that the Palestinian terrorists aren’t stabbing, shooting, and bombing Jews because of their desire for a two-state solution but because they want to eliminate the Jewish state no matter where its borders might be drawn. They know that groups that seek to undermine the IDF or stop it from taking action against terror are doing neither the Arabs nor the Jews any good.