J Street U, Wash. U. Hillel hosting NGO that promotes criticism of IDF soldiers

An event flyer for J Street U's hosting of a speaker from the NGO "Breaking the Silence" at Washington University in St. Louis Hillel on March 31. Credit: Facebook.

(JNS.org) J Street U, the campus arm of the self-labeled "pro-Israel, pro-peace" lobby, will host the Israeli NGO "Breaking the Silence"—which works with Israeli veterans who severely criticize Israel Defense Forces operations—at the Washington University in St. Louis Hillel center on March 31.

The event's description, which was posted on Facebook, says, "Former Israel soldier Oded Na'aman speaks about life in the occupied territories. Breaking the Silence is an organization of veteran combatants who have served in the Israeli military and have taken it upon themselves to expose the public to the reality of everyday life in Gaza, the West Bank, and East Jerusalem." 

Hillel International's official guidelines on Israel prohibit its chapters from hosting speakers and activities that "delegitimize, demonize, or apply a double standard to Israel." Haaretz reporter Amos Harel wrote in 2009 that Breaking the Silence "has a clear political agenda, and can no longer be classed as a 'human rights organization.' Any organization whose website includes the claim by members to expose the 'corruption which permeates the military system' is not a neutral observer."

According a blog post by Daniel Mael on TruthRevolt.org, former IDF spokesman Barak Raz posted on Facebook in June 2013 that Breaking the Silence "is an organization that engages in nothing, but NOTHING, other than a smear campaign targeting the IDF. This smear campaign has NOTHING to do with rooting out their observed problem. Furthermore, none of their work helps the IDF (or Israel, for that matter) provide a solution."

"The information used by 'Breaking the Silence' by and large seems to derive from two sources—unverifiable hearsay or accounts from anonymous former soldiers who, sometimes, they themselves deserve to be behind bars in military prison for what they did!" Raz wrote.

Posted on March 26, 2014 .