Saturday, July 25, 2009

"Breaking the silence" vs. " Soldiers Speak Out" .

Allegations against the IDF by anonymous individuals and their rebuttal by others who are named and open.

A few weeks ago a fresh round of allegations of misconduct by the Israeli army during Operation Cast Lead were fired, again by (supposed) soldiers of the IDF. On a website called Breaking the Silence, almost thirty soldiers gave testimonies about actions during the war that would constitute as clear breaches of not only Israeli law but the international laws of war (see more). These accusations were made anonymously and their faces were blurred on film. As a response, another group has emerged called Soldiers Speak Out.

Their website states, “Today there is an attempt to defame the IDF through allegations that there were instances of misconduct during Israel’s Gaza operation. The accusations are based on unverified hearsay, and are proving to be false… Many IDF soldiers feel a deep sense of injustice at how some are misrepresenting them and the IDF. We want to tell you, the public, about our personal stories”.

What follows is a number of stories by soldiers who appear on film, completely revealing who they are and telling their stories. The site is supported by StandWithUs. In response to ‘Breaking the Silence’, StandWithUs Israel Director declared, “There is no silence to break. Israeli society is open, democratic and self critical. This one-sided and shoddy report fails to stress the context of the war as a battle against Hamas terrorists hiding behind civilians.” Meanwhile, Ran Goldstein, a spokesman for Breaking the Silence said that they encouraged soldiers to come forth with their testimony, whether it is for Breaking the Silence or for Soldiers Speak Out .

In keeping with the idea of a true democracy, I am sure we will continue to read more about this story in the weeks to come, as was the case with the last round of allegations back in March.

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