Breaking the Silence in Sweden: "We are creating the terror against us, basically"
The Army Museum in Stockholm, in conjunction with Breaking the Silence (BtS), is hosting an exhibit about the NGO (March 4 – 20, 2011). Representatives from BtS provide free tours as part of the event. For instance, a Swedish high school class met with Itamar Shapira, a member of BtS. According to the museum’s website, the exhibit was presented in cooperation with Diakonia and funded by the Swedish government. (BtS’ description of the event does not mention this foreign government funding.)
In an interview about BtS and the exhibit (the interview is dated March15), Shapira stated: “With a cry to the Israeli society that sent us. Look what we have done; look at the world price that we are paying for holding the occupied territories – basically holding millions of Palestinians, with no rights, within military occupation…. It’s important for us to expose that. We are the oppressors, we are the ones that are violating human rights on a daily basis. We are creating the terror against us, basically… This is a war against civilians, a war against society.” (emphasis added).
NGO Monitor wrote to Breaking the Silence on March 16, 2011, asking (a) when the interview was conducted, and what was the context for the remarks; (b) whether Shapira’s statement reflects the official position of BtS; (c) if not, what steps is the organization taking regarding the statement.
In a reply sent to NGO Monitor on March 17, Breaking the Silence refused to address these specific and pointed questions in a substantive manner. They did, however, offer the explanation that “the attempt to understand [the] motives [behind terror attacks] is not the same as justifying despicable acts against an innocent population.”
Breaking the Silence describes its mission as “expos[ing] the Israeli public to the routine situations of everyday life in the Occupied Territories….pushing Israeli society to face the reality whose creation it has enabled” (emphasis added). In sharp contradistinction, the appearance in Sweden is one of many examples in which BtS uses European government funding, provided ostensibly to promote peace, in order to market a high distorted and politicized view of the Arab-Israeli conflict in front of audiences outside of Israel. These allegations are linked directly to and help support the demonizing campaign targeting Israel.