Israel

Israel’s State Attorney Rules That Breaking the Silence Spox Lied, Did Not Beat Palestinian

Israel’s State Attorney found that a spokesman for Breaking the Silence (BtS), an NGO that alleges abuses by Israel soldiers, lied when he claimed that he had beaten a Palestinian suspect, The Times of Israel reported Thursday.

Dean Issacharoff, spokesman for BtS had spoken of an incident where he beat a Palestinian man whom he was arresting while doing reserve duty in Hebron.

The State Attorney closed the case concluding saying “after the investigation revealed that the events he described did not occur.”

The Arab man, whom Issacharoff said he had beaten, acknowledged that he had been arrested in February 2014, as Issacharoff said, and that that he wasn’t beaten.

Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked had approached Attorney General Avichai Mandelblit about investigating Issacharoff’ after the spokesman made his claim in April at a Break the Silence rally.

“It turns out that the Breaking the Silence spokesman is a liar defaming the State of Israel in front of the world,” Shaked said in a statement in reaction to the State Attorney’s decision. “Kudos to his comrades in his company who refused to remain indifferent and were unwilling to remain silent while he lies. It is good that the truth has come to light about this organization, which is making money at the expense of IDF soldiers and Israeli citizens.”

Numerous soldiers and commanders had questioned Issacharoff’s claim.

Prime Minister Netanyahu wrote in reaction, “Breaking the Silence lies and slanders our soldiers internationally. Today, in case anyone had any doubt, this fact has received further proof. The truth wins.”

BtS told The Times of Israel that it had corroborated Issacharoff’s account with other soldiers.

Breaking the Silence is no stranger to controversy.

A document uncovered by NGO Monitor in 2015 showed that the international charity Oxfam funded the Israel-based NGO Breaking the Silence and called on the group to “conduct interviews with ‘as many’ soldiers as possible who will testify regarding [Israeli] ‘immoral actions’ that violate human rights.”

In December 2015, influential Israeli columnist Ron Ben-Yishai blasted the group for its “dissemination of unsubstantiated claims abroad” and charged that by doing so “actively cultivates, perhaps unwittingly, both anti-Semitism and anti-Zionism among those with an already strong prejudice against the State of Israel and its citizens.”

[Photo: Reservists on Duty / YouTube]