Yisrael Beiteinu party leader, Avigdor Lieberman, on Friday, called Israeli human rights organizations BâTselem and Breaking the Silence ‘traitors’, stating that the groups were funded by the same people who finance Hamas.According to the PNN, the right-wing party leader said, in an Israeli Channel interview, on Friday, January 15, that:
âAs far as Iâm concerned, these entities are not [exercising] freedom of expression — itâs greed. They arenât any different from Ehud Adiv or Mordechai Vanunu â theyâre complete traitors.â
Ehud Adiv was found guilty of treason in the 1970s for traveling to Damascus, in Syria, to meet with members of the PLO, while Mordechai Vanunu was found guilty of the same charge for disclosing nuclear secrets to the British press.
According to the Israeli media, Libermanâs remarks came amid a growing debate over a bill proposed by Israeli Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked, of the far-right Jewish Home party, requiring certain Israeli non-governmental organizations to publicly declare their foreign government funding.
Born in Moldova, Lieberman is one of the only foreign ministers in the world who does not live in territory officially recognized as his own country. Originally under suspicion over charges of money-laundering and bribery, Lieberman was formally indicted in December of 2012, on lesser charges of fraud and breach of trust.
The so-called NGO Law or Transparency Law would require all Israeli groups that receive half or more of their budget from foreign governments â which is true for many left-wing but few right-wing groups â to disclose their foreign benefactors.
âWith all our desire to stay politically correct and be polite, there are things that need to be told as it is. Thereâs [cash] flow from the institutions most hostile to Israel. Not just the European Union, not just states. Also those same foundations that fund Hamas, they also fund BâTselem and Breaking the Silence,â Lieberman added.
Also, member of the Knesset earlier this week released a bill that seeks to turn the Breaking the Silence organization illegal. They described Breaking the Silence as âa subversive organization acting to change Israeli policy by non-democratic methods and by exerting international pressure that causes Israel damage.â
In the other hand, due to a lot of criticism from the Israeli media, former Israeli soldiers from Breaking the Silence said, in recent weeks, that they are only trying to expose the reality of Israeli military actions in the occupied Palestinian territories.
The group added that its mission is essential for stopping violence in the region, by helping to end the military occupation of the territories. Members of the organization are trying to draw public attention to issues which are not covered by Israeli media, and are not made public.
Last week, a fire broke out at BâTselemâs office in Jerusalem. None of their staff were in the building, but people working on other floors had to be evacuated by the fire brigade.
The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories, BâTselem, endeavors to document and educate the Israeli public and policymakers about human rights violations in the Occupied Palestinian Territories, combat the phenomenon of denial prevalent among the Israeli public, and help create a human rights culture in Israel.
According to its website, BâTselem acts primarily to change Israeli policy in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and ensure that its government, which rules the Occupied Territories, protects the human rights of residents there and complies with its obligations under international law.
Search IMEMC topic: ‘Non-violent Action’