The sign, paid for by the far-Left group Breaking the Silence, was approved by the Jerusalem Municipality.
By Meira Svirsky, World Israel News
Visitors to Jerusalem or anyone passing by the entrance to the city will now be greeted by an enormous sign decrying “settler violence,” paid for by the far-Left group Breaking the Silence.
Settlers in this context refers to Jewish residents of eastern Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria.
The sign, which is affixed to the building that houses the offices of the tax authority, features Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Public Security Minister Omar Bar-Lev and reads, “No settler violence on your watch.”
The sign also includes past statements from each of the two ministers against alleged violence from the Right.
The sign was hung with the approval of the Jerusalem Municipality after consulting with their legal counsel, reported Arutz 7.
“According to the ruling and the Attorney General’s position regarding freedom of expression in a democratic state and the municipality’s authority regarding the content of ads, it should be permitted,” stated the counsel’s bureau.
A number of organizations that had petitioned the municipality to take down the sign bristled at the ruling, with the tax authority demanding that the sign be removed from its building.
Established in 2004 by veterans of the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), Breaking the Silence has been sharply criticized for defaming the IDF. The organization, whose stated goal is to “end the occupation,:” has been accused of promoting charges of war crimes against Israel based on anonymous and unverifiable hearsay “testimonies.”
“The municipality is wrong in this matter,” said Gilad Ach, CEO of Ad Kan, an Israel advocacy group that investigates such testimonies. “Is it possible under the auspices of ‘freedom of expression’ to publish anything?”
Ach added, “Where is the line between freedom of expression and defamation of an entire public? In the same place, signs were removed in the past because they hurt the public’s feelings, but now the feelings of half a million people are not considered. I call on the municipality to recover and remove the disgraceful sign, if only so that a situation of double standards will not be created.”
Ach further noted that the sign should be removed, “especially since the one behind it, the organization Breaking the Silence, has already been found not to be telling the truth and is mostly funded by foreign countries and foreign organizations that hate Israel.”
According to NGO Monitor, which tracks the group, Breaking the Silence received NIS 25,044,669 (over $7.7 million) from foreign governmental bodies between 2012-2019. The group regularly makes presentations in Europe and the United States. Between 2017-2019, over half of the group’s funds came from foreign governments including the European Union.
In July 2018, Israel passed the “Breaking the Silence Law,” which bars organizations and activists who slander Israel and the IDF in international forums from entry into schools.