By Naftali Balanson, NGO Monitor (From the July/August Issue of Moment)
Letty Cottin Pogrebin’s uncritical piece on the Israeli NGO known as Breaking the Silence, or BTS (“The IDF’s Silent Whistle-Blowers,” May/June 2011), omits crucial information about the group. A significant portion of the organization’s activities targets foreign audiences, not Israeli public opinion, while demonizing the Israeli army. Events in Sweden, Ireland and the U.S. (in one case, Pakistani and Egyptian diplomats were in attendance) are part of the BTS contribution to the global de-legitimization campaign.
The absurdity of BTS faux-suffering peaked with its nomination for the EU’s Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought. In sharp contradistinction to BTS, the other nominees were real dissidents and opponents of totalitarian regimes, including a Cuban who had conducted 23 hunger strikes and others who had languished in prison. In the words of an Italian newspaper, “Israeli pacifists risk at the most coming late to their Tel Aviv café.”