Breaking the Silence spokesman doubles down on claim he beat a Palestinian

Dean Issacharoff says investigation that cleared him of assault was a ‘farce,’ claims government fears a trial

Jacob Magid is The Times of Israel's US correspondent based in New York

Breaking the Silence spokesman Dean Issacharoff speaks in a November 17, 2017 video statement. (Screen capture/Facebook)
Breaking the Silence spokesman Dean Issacharoff speaks in a November 17, 2017 video statement. (Screen capture/Facebook)

The spokesman for Breaking the Silence on Friday challenged the government to fully investigate his alleged assault of a Palestinian after the State Attorney’s Office closed its probe into the matter, stating that the soldier-turned activist had made it up.

Breaking the Silence, which publishes the testimonies of former Israeli soldiers who report on alleged human rights abuses by the IDF in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, has raised the ire of Israeli officials and drawn criticism from those who question the authenticity of its mostly anonymous claims.

In a video statement posted to social media on Friday, Dean Issacharoff repeated the claim that he first made at an April rally — that while serving as an IDF officer in Hebron, he repeatedly kneed a Palestinian in the head while apprehending him during a February 2014 protest.

“But now, in a farce of an investigation, the State Attorney’s Office declared that I’m a liar,” Issacharoff said after a probe into the alleged assault was closed on Thursday.

“Why do you think they [State Attorney’s Office] did not take the testimony of Ruben, the company commander’s assistant who was standing right next to me while I kneed the Palestinians?” Issacharoff asked.

He then showed footage from a video statement released Thursday by Issacharoff’s comrade, Ruben Silverstone, in which he corroborates the NGO spokesman’s story.

עדות קשר המ"פ שמפריכה את חקירת הראווה

צפו בעדות שמפריכה את חקירת הראווה של שקד.כפי שפורסם בחדשות 2: מה שהתחיל בהוראה פוליטית הפך לחקירה פוליטית ונגמר במסקנה פוליטית. אם המשטרה והפרקליטות היו רוצות להגיע לאמת, הן היו חוקרות גם את רובן סילברסטון, חייל בודד ומצטיין פלוגתי שהיה קשר המ"פ ועמד ליד דין בזמן שנתן לפלסטיני ברכיות. הם ימשיכו לנסות להסתיר את האלימות שנדרשת בשביל לשלוט במיליוני פלסטינים, ואנחנו נמשיך לחשוף את מציאות הכיבוש. צפו בעדותו של רובן >>

Posted by ‎שוברים שתיקה‎ on Thursday, November 16, 2017

“Perhaps it is because it did not fit the conclusion that the prosecution knew Ayelet Shaked wanted to receive?” the spokesman added, referring to the justice minister who had originally called for the probe to be opened against Issacharoff in June.

Shaked took up the issue after Reservists on Duty, an organization that works to “expose the real intentions” of Breaking the Silence, published a video in which former members of Issacharoff’s platoon, including his commander, called him a liar.

In September, authorities managed to track down Hassan Julani, the Palestinian that the Breaking the Silence spokesman claimed to have assaulted. While Julani confirmed that he was indeed arrested in February 2014, as Issacharoff told police, the Palestinian insisted that no violence was employed in order to apprehend him.

Accordingly, the State Attorney’s Office announced Thursday that it had decided to close the assault investigation against the activist “after the investigation revealed that the events he described did not occur.”

Responding to the State Attorney’s decision, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweeted, “Breaking the Silence lies and slanders our soldiers internationally. Today, in case anyone had any doubt, this fact has received further proof. The truth wins.”

For its part, Breaking the Silence told The Times of Israel that it had investigated the claims of its spokesman — as it said it does with every testimony it receives from former soldiers — and found witnesses who corroborated Issacharoff’s story.

Its Thursday statement went on to argue that the testimony by Julani had been coerced. “When Israeli policemen from Hebron remove a Palestinian from his house and interrogate him about an incident that happened three years ago, he will likely say anything he can to satisfy them and provide them with what they want,” the group argued.

Friday’s video saw Issacharoff go on the offensive after the legal loss.

“These hands were used to beat Palestinians in the territories. I’m not proud of it, but I’m not afraid of the truth,” he said. “If I take responsibility for my violence, they will have to take responsibility for sending us to serve in the territories.”

Issacharoff then challenged the government to fully investigate the matter. “I call on the State Prosecutor’s Office and the government: let’s go to court. What do you say? Are you coming? Or are you cowards?”

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