By Ziva Dahl, Originally published in The American Spectator
Outrage is the power that motivated me,” declared Israeli Major Amit Deri, in a recent conversation with the Haym Salomon Center. Deri is founder of Reservists on Duty (RoD), an Israeli, non-governmental grassroots organization of over 700 reserve officers and soldiers including 150 company commanders, many of whom led Lebanon and Gaza military operations.
Committed to defeating the propaganda war against Israel, Reservists on Duty began as a response to Breaking the Silence (BtS), which smears the Israel Defense Forces with specious accusations of “war crimes.” BtS is a fringe Israeli NGO masquerading as a watchdog group, claiming to monitor the IDF for “human rights abuses,” but manipulating the facts to fit its predetermined conclusions and political positions.
BtS bases its sweeping accusations on anonymous, anecdotal, and unverifiable information elicited from young soldiers discharged from active duty after their mandatory tour of service in the IDF.
BtS activists (former soldiers) approach these 19 to 20 year-olds, urging them to share the traumatic experiences of war. “It’s a cynical way to ‘use’ the young soldiers, manipulating them into believing that talking with BtS is the same as talking with your military buddies, sharing mutual experiences.” When a soldier, after repeated harassment, finally agrees to chat with them, BtS brings recording equipment.
BtS uses only snippets of extensive conversations woven together in videos or reports as “testimonies” for distribution in Israel and around the world. The group adds inflammatory and misleading headlines describing violence against Palestinians by soldiers as “official IDF operational policy.” A recent review by Israel Channel 10 reveals that BtS claims are largely baseless or invented.