Hate-speech watchdog group the Anti-Defamation League (ADL) joined in the backlash against a controversial video issued Tuesday by the right-wing organization Im Tirtzu, which accused left-wing activists of being foreign agents.
The video claimed prominent Israeli human rights activists are foreign-backed “moles” who “fight us while we fight terror” and called on viewers to sign a petition to outlaw the activists’ organizations.
The clip constitutes “incitement which clearly crosses over into hate speech,” ADL’s CEO Jonathan Greenblatt and its Israel office acting director Carole Nuriel said in a statement issued Thursday.
The Im Tirtzu video, slammed over the past three days by Zionist Union and Meretz lawmakers, attacked Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, and HaMoked — Center for the Defence of the Individual.
It was posted Tuesday on the Facebook page of Ronen Shoval, founder and former chairman Im Tirtzu, which campaigns against what it contends is left-wing bias on university campuses and elsewhere.
“Whether one agrees or disagrees with the mission and work of the nongovernmental organizations singled out in the video, accusing them of supporting Palestinian terror in order to delegitimize their activities is outrageous and potentially libelous,” the ADL statement said.
The ADL called on Im Tirtzu to apologize to the individuals and organizations featured in the video and urged the Israeli government to ensure that “undemocratic legislation” targeting the funding and activities of left-leaning Israeli NGOs does not reach the statute books.
Agriculture Minister Uri Ariel meanwhile told Army Radio Thursday that the video was “unnecessary and exaggerated” and “no more than an effort to get attention.” He said he would have made it differently.
Ariel, of the Orthodox-nationalist Jewish Home party, said that Breaking the Silence — which publicizes usually anonymous testimonies of former soldiers about what they view as moral misconduct by the Israeli military — could “go to hell,” but that it was better to use means such as complaints to the police to contend with the organization.
“What they say is wacky and borders on anarchy,” Uriel said. “We know who the IDF soldiers are.”
On Wednesday, a Knesset session on Israel’s poverty levels went wildly off-topic, as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and opposition leader Isaac Herzog challenged each other to condemn the left-wing Breaking the Silence NGO, and right-wing criticism of President Reuven Rivlin, respectively.