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

Dec. 24 2015

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.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Commentary

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

 

UN Peacekeepers in Lebanon Risk Their Lives, but Still May Do More Harm Than Good

Jan. 27 2023

Last month an Irish member of the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) was killed by Hizballah guerrillas who opened fire on his vehicle. To David Schenker, it is likely the peacekeeper was “assassinated” to send “a clear message of Hizballah’s growing hostility toward UNIFIL.” The peacekeeping force has had a presence in south Lebanon since 1978, serving first to maintain calm between Israel and the PLO, and later between Israel and Hizballah. But, Schenker explains, it seems to be accomplishing little in that regard:

In its biannual reports to the Security Council, UNIFIL openly concedes its failure to interdict weapons destined for Hizballah. While the contingent acknowledges allegations of “arms transfers to non-state actors” in Lebanon, i.e., Hizballah, UNIFIL says it’s “not in a position to substantiate” them. Given how ubiquitous UN peacekeepers are in the Hizballah heartland, this perennial failure to observe—let alone appropriate—even a single weapons delivery is a fair measure of the utter failure of UNIFIL’s mission. Regardless, Washington continues to pour hundreds of millions of dollars into this failed enterprise, and its local partner, the Lebanese Armed Forces.

Since 2006, UNIFIL patrols have periodically been subjected to Hizballah roadside bombs in what quickly proved to be a successful effort to discourage the organization proactively from executing its charge. In recent years, though, UN peacekeepers have increasingly been targeted by the terror organization that runs Lebanon, and which tightly controls the region that UNIFIL was set up to secure. The latest UN reports tell a harrowing story of a spike in the pattern of harassment and assaults on the force. . . .

Four decades on, UNIFIL’s mission has clearly become untenable. Not only is the organization ineffective, its deployment serves as a key driver of the economy in south Lebanon, employing and sustaining Hizballah’s supporters and constituents. At $500 million a year—$125 million of which is paid by Washington—the deployment is also expensive. Already, the force is in harm’s way, and during the inevitable next war between Israel and Hizballah, this 10,000-strong contingent will provide the militia with an impressive human shield.

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Subscribe to Mosaic

Welcome to Mosaic

Subscribe now to get unlimited access to the best of Jewish thought and culture

Subscribe

Read more at Tablet

More about: Hizballah, Lebanon, Peacekeepers, U.S. Foreign policy