BDS IN THE PEWS
Breaking the Silence (Shovrim Shtika)
July 27, 2015
Click for PDF version.
See here for Breaking the Silence Funding Chart.
- Website: www.shovrimshtika.org
- Registered “company for the benefit of the public” in Israel, founded in 2004.
- Breaking the Silence (BtS) “collects testimonies of soldiers who served in the Occupied Territories during the Second Intifada,” claiming that the “testimonies portray a…grim picture of questionable orders in many areas regarding Palestinian civilians [which] demonstrate the depth of corruption which is spreading in the Israeli military…Israeli society continues to turn a blind eye, and to deny that which happens in its name.”
- Funding: 2014 income of NIS 3,802, 165 million (latest available; accessed July 12, 2015).
- 2013-15 donors include the Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands), Trocaire (Ireland), Dan Church Aid (Denmark), Broederlijk Delen (Belgium), Christian Aid (UK), Switzerland, France, CCFD (France), Medico International (Germany), Misereor (Germany), AECID (Spain), European Union, ICCO (Netherlands), Norway, SIVMO (Netherlands), Rockefeller Brothers Fund, Open Society Institute, New Israel Fund, and others.
- Based on financial information submitted to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, in accordance with the Israeli NGO transparency law, BtS received NIS 1,128,209 from foreign governmental bodies in the first half of 2015, NIS 2,310,020 in 2014 and NIS 1,271,368 in 2013 (accessed July 27, 2015). (See table below for detailed funding information).
- In 2008-2013, the New Israel Fund (NIF) authorized grants worth $560,428 to Breaking the Silence (2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013).
- Received two grants from the Rockefeller Brothers Fund totaling $145,000 (2012-2015).
- Political Advocacy: Active in promoting “war crimes” charges against Israel. These charges were based on anonymous and unverifiable hearsay “testimonies.”
- Although claiming to address Israeli society, the NGO’s lobbying and media advocacy focus on international audiences, including presentations in Europe and the United States. Yehuda Shaul, BtS co-founder, defended this practice: “Sometimes, when you want to deliver messages to the inside, you must go outside.”
- NGO Monitor revealed that following the 2009 Gaza conflict, several BtS donors conditioned the transfer of money to the group on its ability to gather a minimum number of incriminating “testimonies” against the Israeli army.
- The cultural center in Zurich is set to host an event, June 4 –14, 2015, featuring the BtS photo exhibition, as well as demonizing “testimonies.” The event is sponsored by the Swiss Foreign Ministry, the Municipality of Zurich, and several church groups that are active in delegitimization campaigns against Israel.
- In 2010 BtS published a highly tendentious book titled Occupation of the Territories - Israeli Soldier testimonies 2000-2010, which claimed to provide a counter to the “official Israeli position” on IDF actions in the territories. NGO Monitor analysis has revealed that this book was rife with methodological problems and appeared to tailor the testimonies to predetermined “analyses” that falsely claimed that Israeli actions are not aimed at self-defense but at “terrorizing the civilian population.”
- This book was later re-published under the title Our Harsh Logic and translated into Swedish, German, and Dutch. The launching of the book in the various languages served as a platform for further demonization and delegitmization of Israel, including accusations of “racism” and alleged “political assassinations” of Palestinians, claims that Gaza is still “occupied,” and implying that Israel is ethnically cleansing “area C.”
- Analysis by Amos Harel in Ha’aretz: “Breaking the Silence...has a clear political agenda, and can no longer be classed as a ‘human rights organization.’ Any organization whose website includes the claim by members to expose the ‘corruption which permeates the military system’ is not a neutral observer. The organization has a clear agenda: to expose the consequences of IDF troops serving in the West Bank and Gaza. This seems more of interest to its members than seeking justice for specific injustices.” (July 17, 2009)
- BtS members and anti-Israel activists Yonatan and Itamar Shapira were on the “Jews for Justice for Palestinians” boat “Irene,” which sought to violate Israel’s security-based policies regarding naval traffic into Gaza (September 2010).
- During a BtS event at a museum in Sweden (March 2011), Itamar Shapira stated that “We [Israelis] are creating the terror against us.”
- Conducts tours to Hebron and the South Hebron Hills to “witness first hand the dire situation.” Criticized by Israeli police officials for “antagoniz[ing]...settlers in the hope that the settlers will attack them.”
Amounts based on NGO submissions to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits (amounts in NIS)
||First Half of 2015
|Human Rights and International Law Secretariat (joint funding from Sweden, Switzerland, Denmark and the Netherlands)
|DanChurch Aid (Denmark)
|Broederlijk Delen (Belgium)
|Christian Aid (UK)
|Medico International (Germany)
Breaking the Silence Essentials:
- Fabricating the Silence: Anonymous, Selective, Partial Testimony and its Deadly Impact, This Ongoing War, May 15, 2015
- A Manipulation of Human Rights, Ben Dror Yemini, Ynet, May 9, 2015
- Breaking the Silence's International Activities: September 2012 - November 2014, NGO Monitor Report, November 17, 2014
- 'Breaking the Silence' and Gaza, Gerald Steinberg, The Jewish Journal, September 11, 2014
- Breaking the Silence Int'l Op-eds Fuel Opposition to Israeli Self-Defense, NGO Monitor, August 25, 2014
- Breaking the Silence International Activity - Dublin, Ireland, NGO Monitor report, July 2014
- Breaking the Silence's 10th Anniversary Goes International, NGO Monitor Analysis, June 12, 2014
- Breaking the Silence is Part of the Problem in the Israel Debate, Josh Bacon, The Jewish Chronicle, January 6, 2014
- Why Are European Powers (and Oxfam) Funding a Radical Israeli Group?, Jake Wallis Simons, The Telegraph, December 17, 2013
- Reality Contrasts Sharply with Anti-Israel Propaganda, Gerald Steinberg, The Canadian Jewish News, November 10, 2013
- Group's Message Emboldens Enemies, Delegitimizes Israel, Naftali Balanson, J Weekly, November 22, 2013
- Jewish Student Union Votes to Deny Membership to J Street U, The Daily Californian, October 8, 2013
- Breaking what silence?, Gerald M. Steinberg, The Jerusalem Post, September 12, 2012
- Breaking the Silence and NIF Tell Australian Jews to "Pay Up and Shut Up", Gerald M. Steinberg and Naftali Balanson, J-Wire, August 30, 2012
- Breaking the Silence Outside of Israel, NGO Monitor Reports, November 29, 2011
- Mouthpieces for Europe, Anne Herzberg and Naftali Balanson, Ynet, November 20, 2011
- Breaking the Silence in Sweden: "We are creating the terror against us, basically", NGO Monitor Analysis, March 19, 2011
- Breaking What Silence? A Critical Reading of Allegations from "Breaking the Silence" NGO Monitor Reports, February 1, 2011
Click for map of Breaking the Silence´s International Activities
European-Funded NGOs and the Susya Narrative, NGO Monitor factsheet, July 21, 2015
What They Don´t Tell You: Answers to Questions About Breaking the Silence and the NIF, NGO Monitor analysis, June 1, 2015
Putting Israel on Trial at the Zurich ´Kulturhaus´, Gerald Steinberg, The Jerusalem Post, June 1, 2015
Europe to Breaking the Silence: Bring Us As Many Incriminating Testimonies As Possible, NGO Monitor analysis, May 4, 2015
"Breaking the Silence" in Zurich: Foreign Events and Foreign Funding, NGO Monitor press release, May 21, 2015
Correspondence Between NGO Monitor and Zurich Municipality, May 2015
Publication of Israeli Soldiers´ Accounts Clouded by Political Agenda, Gerald Steinberg, Brisbane Times, May 9, 2015
Breaking the Silence´s International Activities: September 2012-June 2015, NGO Monitor Report, Updated May 5, 2015
The Latest "Breaking the Silence" Report Isn´t Journalism. It´s Propaganda., Matti Friendman, Mosaic Magazine, May 14, 2015
´Breaking the Silence´ and Gaza, Gerald Steinberg, The Jewish Journal, September 11, 2014
Breaking the Silence´s 10th Anniversary Goes International, NGO Monitor Analysis, June 12, 2014
Breaking What Silence? A Critical Reading of Allegations from "Breaking the Silence", NGO Monitor Report, February 1, 2011