A number of articles have appeared in the Israeli media based on the forthcoming book Catch the Jew (תפוס ת’יהודי) by journalist Tuvia Tenenbom. In the book and articles, Tenenbom describes a number of interactions with NGOs and other activists who thought they were talking to a European journalist, not an Israeli.
The media coverage highlights antisemitic incidents, including alleged Holocaust denial by a B’Tselem “researcher” Atef Abu a-Rub, as well as promotion of BDS (boycotts, divestment, and sanctions) against Israel. (According to the Israeli Registrar of Non-Profits, B’Tselem received €71,152 in 2014 and €81,791 in 2013 from the EU.)
Media reports have also quoted examples reflecting the involvement of activists from other European-government funded NGOs, including Rabbis for Human Rights, Yesh Din, Adalah, and EAPPI, for their involvement in spreading anti-Israeli propaganda.
Study Tour with Italian NGO “Casa per la Pace” (Home for Peace)
In a News 2 interview posted on Israeli media outlet Mako (August 29, 2014), Tenenbom discussed a study tour organized for Italian students, under the auspices of an EU-funded Milan-based NGO, Casa per la Pace. (EU funding is channeled from the Commission’s Directorate-General for Education and Culture’s Youth in Action Program, via a national agency in Italy.)
- Casa per la Pace’s mission includes the promotion of “nonviolence, disarmament, human rights, inter-culture, the positive management of conflicts, and social justice.”
- However, it also promotes anti-Israel demonization and BDS campaigns, organizing conferences and events in cooperation with radical groups such as International Solidarity Movement, BDS Movement-Italy, and Freedom Flotilla movement.
- The association is accredited by the European Volunteer Service (EVS), an EU program for young volunteers, and received €21,245 from EVS in 2013 to facilitate participation in Casa per la Pace’s programs.
- Casa per la Pace runs an annual trip to Israel and the West Bank, which is offered to EVS volunteers. Participants organize “fund-raising events in order to sustain economically the local organisations that will guide the participants during the travel.”
- During their visit in the Jordan Valley, the Italian students were guided by Atef Abu a-Rub, a “researcher” for B’Tselem. During a conversation with Tanenbom, a-Rub accused Germany of “giving money to the Jews” and then referred to the Holocaust as “a lie.”
- The program’s guide for the Israel component of the trip, Itamar Shapira, a radical activist from Combatants for Peace (and formerly of Breaking the Silence), focused on the Palestinian “Nakba” and politicized the Holocaust in justifying political warfare against Israel.
- According to Tenenbom, Shapira introduced himself as a “former Jew.” He has previously made extreme statements, such as accusing Israel of “creating the terror against us.”
- At the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial, Shapira discussed the 1948 incident at Deir Yassin and Palestinian Nakba allegations, in order, according to Tenenbom, to convey the narrative that the State of Israel was established by violence against the Palestinians. (In 2009, Yad Vashem withdrew Shapira’s status as an internal guide, after he had equated the Holocaust to the Nakba.)
- Shapira also told the student group that “if a Shoah is to happen again, we need to do something”; therefore, he continued, “the boycott, divestment and sanction against Israel is something that the world has to do as part of our support of people who are oppressed, in this case the Palestinians.”