Ari Shavit does not much like Breaking the Silence, the brave Israeli soldiers who speak out about Palestinian humiliation in the Occupied Territories. For over a decade 1000 soldiers have spoken publicly about the IDF’s crude behaviour and what really bothers Shavit is they communicate in English! This embarrasses the only democracy in the Middle East.
Shavit for his part, tours American Jewish communities, particularlycampuses, putting lipstick on the pig of Occuypation. The young for obvious reasons are not buying it, bailing out of kneejerk support for Israel’s flagrant human right’s abuse. In an era of Facebook, cell phones and minicams, the king has become naked.
Avner Gvaryahu tours in many of the same communities as Shavit as a member of Breaking the Silence. He served in the IDF as a sergeant in the Paratroopers Brigade from 2004 – 2007. Presently he is working in his MA in New York. He writes
Shavit wrote that he understands our motivation to discuss the reality in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT) but “doesn’t like” the fact that we talk about the occupation in English.”
Gvaryahu knows first hand the gap between Jews in Israel and the diaspora over the Occupation. Well, Shavit a first rate Zionist propagandist simply wished that Gvaryahu would shut up about this. It’s bad for Israel! It’s washing dirty laundry in public.
Now Shavit has a solution. Establishing a “Jewish Peace Corps” as a way to improve Israel’s image (“Only a ‘Jewish Peace Corps’ Can Save Zionism From Its Millennial Crisis” he wrote. That should solve the problem.
Gideon Levy the Israeli columnist ridiculed the age old Israeli propagnda trick in these words:
Israel seems to think that what worked well in its society and succeeded in almost totally wiping out all consciousness and awareness, will work just as well in the rest of the world. That the brainwashing campaign that was such a dazzling success here will be just as effective abroad – it’s all just a matter of “hasbara,” the Israeli euphemism for propaganda – and of budgets, of course. Just give them enough funding and hasbara tools and they’ll explain to the world how wrong it is and how right the state of the Jews, who have no other country. A convention in Las Vegas, some brainstorming in Jerusalem, and the world will change its attitude.
Gvaryahu answered Shavit in Haaretz. The article should have been called You gotta be kidding! He wrote:
Instead of tackling the problem itself, instead of stating loud and clear that we must fight to end occupation for the sake of this country’s future and the future of its relationship with world Jewry, Shavit wants to send Jews to Yerucham, Ukraine and Cambodia on behalf of Israeli “hasbara.” In this sense, Shavit is essentially trying to mask the occupation. But millions of Palestinians deprived of rights are not going to disappear, and no number of diversions can help. For Israel to be “identified with human rights, social justice, environmental activism and the effort to make the world a better place,” it actually needs to embody these values, not just pretend to.