Ya’alon criticizes Im Tirzu campaign

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon criticizes a campaign by the rightist group Im Tirzu to label left-wing artists and other cultural figures as “foreign agent moles.”

“I will argue with anyone who has a deep political dispute with me, and try to convince them and explain to them why I believe they are wrong,” Ya’alon says.

“At the same time I would fight for their right to express their views freely, without any fear. The demonization of people who have different opinion as traitors is obnoxious and dangerous to me, and whoever published this instigating campaign does not represent the moderate right, and certainly not the Likud Party and its values.”

Defense Minister Moshe Ya'alon speaks on Channel 2's 'Meet the Press' program, December 26, 2015 (screen capture)
Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon speaks on Channel 2’s ‘Meet the Press’ program, December 26, 2015 (screen capture)

The campaign, launched on Wednesday and titled “Moles in Culture,” features a list of artists that includes a number of well-known Israeli authors, actors and musicians — writers Amos Oz, David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua, actress Gila Almagor, and singers Rona Keinan and Chava Alberstein are featured — accusing them of being “moles” who support left-wing groups that receive some of their funding from foreign governments.

“David Grossman, who lost his son in the war, is an Israeli patriot, and like Sami Michael, Gila Almagor and others – [are] Israeli patriots concerned about the fate of the state. It must not be that one political disagreement or another undermines this fact and leads to incitement against them.”

The Im Tirtzu campaign extends a drive by the group in late 2015 to accuse leading figures in Israel’s human rights organizations of being “moles” operated by foreign countries.

While Im Tirtzu’s director, Matan Peleg, maintained in interviews Thursday that the campaign was a merely a consciousness-raising effort, artists and lawmakers hit back at the group, calling it “fascist” and its campaign inciting and slanderous.

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