State won’t prosecute Im Tirtzu over ‘foreign agents’ video
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State won’t prosecute Im Tirtzu over ‘foreign agents’ video

Video clip labeling human rights figures as moles was ‘provocative and very problematic,’ but aimed at legislation, not violence, office says

File: An activist with the right-wing Im Tirzu organization putting up a sign in Jerusalem calling on Benjamin Netanyahu to act to stop Gazan rocket fire, on Monday, July 7, 2014. (photo credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90)
File: An activist with the right-wing Im Tirzu organization putting up a sign in Jerusalem calling on Benjamin Netanyahu to act to stop Gazan rocket fire, on Monday, July 7, 2014. (photo credit: Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The Im Tirtzu organization will not face charges over a video accusing left-wing human rights officials of being “moles” operated by foreign countries to sabotage Israel’s counter-terror efforts, the state attorney’s office said Sunday.

Ilana Anber from the Deputy State Attorney’s office said the video did not spur watchers to violence, but rather to political activism.

Publicized last month and immediately slammed across the political spectrum in Israel and overseas, the the clip attacked foreign funding sources of non-profit organizations Breaking the Silence, B’Tselem, the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel, and HaMoked — Center for the Defense of the Individual.

It named senior officials from these organizations, saying: “They live here with us. And they are agents. When we fight terror, they fight us. A law on agents can take them outside the law. Sign your support.”

The video was posted on the Facebook page of Ronen Shoval, founder and former chairman of Im Tirtzu, which campaigns against what it contends is left-wing bias on university campuses and elsewhere.

Anber wrote Sunday to the Reform Center for Religion and State, which had submitted a complaint about the video, that this was “a provocative and very problematic video” and that it “would have been better had it never been aired.”

“However, the message coming out of it is clear — to support a bill it is trying to advance, and not to be violent,” she added.

The campaign was released shortly after Likud MK Yoav Kisch announced he would advance a bill that would label groups funded by foreign governments as “moles” for the sponsoring countries, prevent them from contacting government or army representatives, and levy a NIS 100,000 fine against these organizations in the event they violate Israeli law. Kisch later said he was not involved with the Im Tirtzu campaign championing his legislation.

Earlier this month, several coalition Knesset members presented a bill seeking to outlaw Breaking the Silence, which collects critical testimonies from soldiers about their service in the territories.

MKs Shuli Moalem-Refaeli and Betzalel Smotrich from the Jewish Home party, along with Kulanu’s Meirav Ben-Ari, Shas’s Yaakov Margi and Oded Forer of Yisrael Beytenu presented the proposal along with an explanation which described Breaking the Silence as “a subversive organization acting to change Israeli policy by non-democratic methods and by exerting international pressure that causes Israel damage.”

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