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Breaking the Silence responds to criticism from ECAJ

NIF grantee Breaking the Silence released the following statement having been criticised in J-Wire by the Executive Council of Australian Jewry (ECAJ).

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(Executive Council of Australian Jewry President) Dr (Danny) Lamm insinuates that the testimonies published by Breaking the Silence are not credible, suggesting that they are manufactured by the organization “solely for their propaganda effect.” The anonymity of the testimonies and the fact that they are allegedly “untested by any kind of cross-questioning” is his sole evidence.

Breaking the Silence is an organization of over 850 Israeli veterans – male and female combat soldiers and officers who served in the IDF in the harshest days of the last decade. Our publications meet the highest standards of investigative journalism. All unusual and exceptional testimonies must be corroborated by two independent sources before publication; and anonymity, as every journalist knows, is a condition for exposure of wrong-doing. As any visitor to the website can see, dozens of veterans have in fact testified without anonymity, their names and faces revealed on camera.

Now we veterans wonder how someone who purports to be a supporter of Israel can make such insidious allegations against us, questioning our loyalty and integrity. How can someone who is supposed to have our backs then attack us from behind? From where, we ask, does Dr Lamm draw the chutzpah to sling mud at us, soldiers who were lying in the mud to protect the country in whose name he swears from afar? We wonder what motivates a Diaspora Jew pretending to love Israel to discredit us, veterans who continue to risk our lives in its defense and give our time and energy to fortify its moral stature.

Concern for Israel and its democracy cannot be the factor driving an assault on its civil society. Attacks on Israeli veterans are certainly not motivated by love for Israel and its people, for these veterans are Israel. Dr Lamm’s assault, it appears, must have a different set of motivations. Instead of serving his community and lending support to Israel, he serves his political masters. A vocal opponent of the peace process, it seems that Dr Lamm has forgotten his place as a Diaspora community leader. We would never dare interfere with the internal affairs of his community, let alone in the audacious way in which Lamm interferes in ours.

While the question of whether and to what degree Diaspora Jews should advocate their views on internal Israeli affairs is an open one, beating on Israelis of other political convictions is not. Lamm’s armchair Zionism pontificating from afar, while true Israelis put their lives on the line, imposes certain restraints on his engagement. A decent person would regard this also as reason for some humility in opinion. It is precisely because we have been on the front lines that we understand that the future of our country depends on its moral fortitude no less than on its military might.

It is no wonder that Lamm fails to recognize this as surely the view from Australia is different from that of real-life Israelis who realize the Zionist ideal with their sweat and blood and not merely with their job titles. Zionism, for us, is about the willingness to make bold sacrifices for the security and future of the Jewish state. For impostors like Lamm, it is an instrument for promoting a political agenda, the consequences of which we will have to bear, not him.

Representatives of Breaking the Silence on behalf of our members,

Lieutenant Dana Golan – Border Patrol (Executive Director, Breaking the Silence)
Captain Mikhael Manekin – Golani Infantry Brigade
Lieutenant Noam Chayut – Nahal Infantry Brigade
Lieutenant Oren Kalisman – Special Forces, Paratroopers
First Sergeant Yehdua Shaul – Nahal Infantry Brigade
First Sergeant Avihai Stollar – Kfir Brigade
First Sergeant Tal Wasser – Oketz
First Sergeant Achiya Schatz – Duvdevan
First Sergeant Ayal Kantz – Special Forces, Nahal Brigade
First Sergeant Nadav Weiman – Special Forces, Nahal Brigade
First Sergeant Shachar Zemach – Special Forces, Nahal Brigade
First Sergeant Hillel Cohen – Combat Engineer
First Sergeant Guy Klein – 7th Armored Brigade
First Sergeant Yoni Levi – Special Forces, Givati Brigade
First Sergeant Gil Hillel – Sachlav, MP


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