In the Fight over “Breaking the Silence,” Israel’s Left Seeks to Overrule Israel’s Voters

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.

Read more at Commentary

More about: Breaking the Silence, IDF, Israel & Zionism, Israel and the Diaspora, Israeli democracy, Laws of war


Why Egypt Fears an Israeli Victory in Gaza

While the current Egyptian president, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, has never been friendly to Hamas, his government has objected strenuously to the Israeli campaign in the southernmost part of the Gaza Strip. Haisam Hassanein explains why:

Cairo has long been playing a double game, holding Hamas terrorists near while simultaneously trying to appear helpful to the United States and Israel. Israel taking control of Rafah threatens Egypt’s ability to exploit the chaos in Gaza, both to generate profits for regime insiders and so Cairo can pose as an indispensable mediator and preserve access to U.S. money and arms.

Egyptian security officials have looked the other way while Hamas and other Palestinian militants dug tunnels on the Egyptian-Gaza border. That gave Cairo the ability to use the situation in Gaza as a tool for regional influence and to ensure Egypt’s role in the Palestinian-Israeli conflict would not be eclipsed by regional competitors such as Qatar and Turkey.

Some elements close to the Sisi regime have benefited from Hamas control over Gaza and the Rafah crossing. Media reports indicate an Egyptian company run by one of Sisi’s close allies is making hundreds of millions of dollars by taxing Gazans fleeing the current conflict.

Moreover, writes Judith Miller, the Gaza war has been a godsend to the entire Egyptian economy, which was in dire straits last fall. Since October 7, the International Monetary Fund has given the country a much-needed injection of cash, since the U.S. and other Western countries believe it is a necessary intermediary and stabilizing force. Cairo therefore sees the continuation of the war, rather than an Israeli victory, as most desirable. Hassanein concludes:

Adding to its financial incentive, the Sisi regime views the Rafah crossing as a crucial card in preserving Cairo’s regional standing. Holding it increases Egypt’s relevance to countries that want to send aid to the Palestinians and ensures Washington stays quiet about Egypt’s gross human-rights violations so it can maintain a stable flow of U.S. assistance and weaponry. . . . No serious effort to turn the page on Hamas will yield the desired results without cutting this umbilical cord between the Sisi regime and Hamas.

Read more at Washington Examiner

More about: Egypt, Gaza War 2023, U.S. Foreign policy