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Friday, August 15, 2014

Finally: Israel decides that serving B'Tselem is not serving the State

It took way too long to happen, but the State of Israel has finally concluded that serving the 'human rights' group B'Tselem does not constitute service to the State. Working at B'Tselem will no longer count as 'national service.' I'm amazed it ever did.

National Civilian Service Administration Director Sar-Shalom Jerbi informed B'Tselem Director Hagai El-Ad of the decision to strip the group of its "operating organization" certification on Wednesday, via a letter.

"After reviewing the matter with several other operating organizations, and given [B'Tselem's] activities against Israel and IDF troops, I have decided to revoke your participation in the National-Civilian Service Volunteer Program; especially during this period of time, when Israel is engaged in neutralizing the threat of rocket fire looming over millions of its citizens."

Jerbi's letter to El-Ad continued, "As you know, Israel is currently dealing with an international delegitimization campaign, which includes gross incitement against the IDF -- the most ethical military in the world. Unfortunately, B'Tselem is a party to this smear campaign. The information released by the organization and its expressed positions encourage our enemies worldwide and prompt anti-Semitic expressions against Israel, as well as anti-Semitic attacks on Jews."

A B'Tselem statement issued Wednesday read, "B'Tselem maintains that protecting human rights is a vital democratic action done in the best interest of Israeli society. Sar-Shalom Jerbi's decision, which we doubt he has the authority to make, is an abuse of his administrative power for the sake of political gain. It constitutes political and governmental persecution of a human rights group.

"Mr. Jerbi goes as far as to allude that releasing information about human rights violations during wartime constitutes treason, thus fanning the flames of intolerance, which have already poisoned the political atmosphere. He has included himself in the dubious club of those who incite against anyone expressing any criticism" of the Gaza operation.

The decision to exclude B'Tselem from the national service volunteer program "allows the government to bar any organization whose positions it does not approve of, form employing those seeking to perform national service. This action contradicts both the principles of democracy and proper administration norms."
I'm amazed we ever called working for B'Tselem 'national service.' Good riddance!

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