+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

How I became involved with Breaking the Silence

When I ran into an old classmate who suggested that I testify, I told him I had nothing to tell. He insisted, and only then I realized how wrong I was.

By Avihai Stollar

Illustrative photo of masked IDF soldiers. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Illustrative photo of masked IDF soldiers. (Oren Ziv/Activestills.org)

Back in 2008, I ran into Dotan, a former classmate from high school. We started chatting and he told me he was active in an organization called Breaking the Silence. He told me that its members are former soldiers who had served in the Occupied Territories and now strive to expose the Israeli public to the day-to-day reality of the occupation. To this end, he said, they collected testimonies of past and present soldiers.

We spoke at length about the picture they try to paint, and how unaware Israelis are of it. He then asked me whether I’d like to join the organization, and testify about my own experiences as a former IDF soldier in the West Bank. I agreed, but said I had very little to share.

Three and a half years prior, clad in a helmet and a bulletproof vest, I stood inside an abandoned building in the heart of Dura, a Palestinian town in the southern West Bank. My platoon took over the house to carry out the so-called “straw widow” maneuver, a military tactic whereby a sizable contingent ambushes Palestinian militants inside their homes. But a few hours after our arrival, one of the neighbors heard noises and went inside to see what they were. We captured him and latched on to him, so that he wouldn’t reveal our whereabouts.

A few minutes later, another man came in, probably to look for his friend. We captured him as well. When a third person came in, we realized that we had been exposed, but decided to stay put. In the meantime, morning had broken and it seemed like the entire town encircled the building. Dozens if not hundreds of boys were throwing stones at us, and we retaliated by throwing stun grenades through the windows. Soon thereafter, we ran out of stun grenades and were left with no anti-riot weapons, so we started shooting live rounds. We fired everywhere: on street lamps, on windows and doors of the nearby buildings, and in the vicinity of the rioting boys. After a two-hour shooting rampage, our backup finally turned up and we left the town, watching the protesters and the medical teams moving away in the distance.

So one day in 2008, Dotan came to my home in Kiryat Haim. He took out a small recorder, and asked my permission to tape our conversation. I agreed but repeated, apologetically, that I thought I had nothing to say, since I “never killed anyone,” and was, in fact, the “company’s leftie.” He nodded and pressed the record button. We talked about the operations I had been involved in, I described the atmosphere in my unit and shared some memorable events. When we finished, I was very emotional, dumbstruck even. It was the first time I had spoken about my service, without judging or justifying it. The real meaning of that experience suddenly struck me, and I resolved to join Breaking the Silence, to tell the Israeli public about what I did, in their name, in the Occupied Territories

Today, I am the director of Breaking the Silence’s research department, in charge of accumulating testimonies. Since the launch of the organization more than a decade ago, more than 1,000 soldiers chose to share their insights into the day-to-day reality of the military occupation of the Palestinians. Our methodology is pretty straightforward: We interview past or present soldiers about their service, and publish the highlights. It is an open-ended interview, in which the witness is asked to describe his or her service – their missions, the orders and instructions they received, the atmosphere and discourse within the unit, as well as memorable incidents they witnessed.

Collection, double-checking, verification

After last summer’s Operation Protective Edge ended, we started accumulating testimonies from soldiers who had taken part in it. Our researchers interviewed more than 60 soldiers, about a quarter of whom were officers, and about a third conscripts.

We approached them in different ways: Some were traumatized by the army’s brutal assault on Gaza, and chose to come to us. Others had participated in some of our activities – one of our tours of the Hebron areas, lectures or public events – and returned to give evidence. Alongside those, we contacted past testifiers, many of whom had been called up as reservists.

After the interview, we subject the testimony to a strict verification process. Even before we address his or her claims, we double-check the testifier’s reliability. The publicized case of MK Oren Hazan (Likud), who gave a false testimony in an attempt to libel our organization, is a good example of how a testifier is discredited. Very soon, our researchers realized that, contrary to his claims, Hazan hadn’t served in Operation Protective Edge and was not even a former paratrooper.

In most cases, after the testifier is cleared as reliable, we start verifying the story. Every episode, anecdote or practice that they recount is fact-checked to make sure that it happened, and in the way that it was described. To this end, we compare several sources: First and foremost, the story is crosschecked with other testimonies from the same areas. Then, we also rely on media and other reports, including declassified IDF documents.

After the testimony is verified, it is published anonymously. The reason for that is that we want to put an emphasis on the content of the testimony, rather than the testifier’s identity. The army tends to ignore claims of systemic failures, and hold individual soldiers liable. Furthermore, it spares the soldiers the potential repercussions – disciplinary as well as social – for having dared to wash the dirty linen in public.

We call on the Israeli public to listen to these soldiers, and face up to their stories. They were sent to the frontline in our name, and to listen to them is the least we can do to acknowledge that.

Avihai Stollar is Breaking the Silence’s Director of the Research Department.

Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article
  • LEAVE A COMMENT

    * Required

    COMMENTS

    1. Hector

      So it wasn’t when Dotan told you that the EU is willing to pay traitors to lie about their army service?

      Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      This is a U.N. report on the situation in the occupied territories:

      http://www.ochaopt.org/documents/ocha_opt_the_humanitarian_monitor_2015_03_english.pdf

      Also of concern, official data released this month indicates that between 1988 and 2014, the Israeli Civil Administration issued approximately 14,000 demolition orders against Palestinian-owned structures in Area C, of which almost 20 per cent have been implemented. Analysis indicates that the outstanding orders are concentrated in areas of high vulnerability. Approximately 300,000 Palestinians live in Area C, which covers over 60 per cent of the West Bank and where Israel retains nearly exclusive control, including over planning and zoning. It is almost impossible for most Palestinians
      to obtain a building permit in Area C, forcing residents to build without Israeli authorization and consequently face the risk of demolition.

      Reply to Comment
    3. Whiplash

      Matti Friedman’s take on BTS testimonies is that they are not reliable, only irresponsible:

      “Infantrymen at the bottom of the hierarchy often don’t understand what they’re seeing, or the reasons for what they’re doing, and I’m speaking from experience. Things that make no sense to a private, sergeant, or lieutenant sometimes (but by no means always) make more sense if you go a few notches up the command chain. Young soldiers tend not to understand this, certainly not at the time and not immediately afterward. For example, open-fire regulations at a particular time could seem too aggressive given your limited understanding of where you are. If you have all of the information at your disposal – and no soldier does – you might understand why. A target shelled for reasons unknown to you might have been shelled for good reason after all. Or not. You don’t know, and in many cases (but not all) it’s a mistake to think you do. Drawing broad conclusions about Israeli military practice from “testimonies” of this kind is irresponsible.

      Professional journalists looking at this report, and at similar reports, should be asking (but aren’t, of course): Compared to what? IDF open-fire regulations are lax – compared to what? Civilian casualty rates are high – compared to what? Compared to the U.S. in Fallujah? The British in Northern Ireland? The Canadians in Helmand Province? “Lax” and “high” are relative terms. If Israel is being compared to other countries in similar situations, we need to know what the comparison is. Otherwise, beyond the details of individual instances the broad criticism is meaningless

      …..

      Today, like B’Tselem and others, it’s a group funded in large part by European money which serves mainly to provide international reporters with the lurid examples of Israeli malfeasance that they crave. They are not speaking to Israelis, but are rather exploiting Israelis’ uniquely talkative and transparent nature in order to defame them.”

      Reply to Comment
      • Danny

        This is such utter rubbish that I’m torn about even replying to you. But for the sake of combating hasbara BS whenever I can, I’ll do so.

        “Infantrymen at the bottom of the hierarchy often don’t understand what they’re seeing, or the reasons for what they’re doing, and I’m speaking from experience. Things that make no sense to a private, sergeant, or lieutenant sometimes (but by no means always) make more sense if you go a few notches up the command chain.”

        Nice try. So what you’re saying is that in order to understand if an order is legal or not, you need to be a high-ranking officer? From personal experience, I can attest that I’ve met many officers during my time as a reserve soldier in the IDF who were such complete idiots as to convince me that the IDF is being run by unqualified people who wouldn’t be able to hold down jobs anywhere else. Just recently we’ve heard about Lt. Colonel Hajbi, who was considered a “high-quality officer”, and who was dismissed after being found guilty of forcing himself on a female soldier under his command.

        “Professional journalists looking at this report, and at similar reports, should be asking (but aren’t, of course): Compared to what? IDF open-fire regulations are lax – compared to what? Civilian casualty rates are high – compared to what?”

        Compared to Hamas during Protective Edge:

        ISRAELI KILLS: 70% civilians, 30% fighters
        HAMAS KILLS: 70 soldiers, 3 civilians

        So by your standards, it seems Israel isn’t nearly as good as Hamas at civilian casualty rates.

        “Today, like B’Tselem and others, it’s a group funded in large part by European money”

        ‘Others’ being your prime minister, whose election campaign contributors consisted almost 100% of foreign elements.

        Reply to Comment
      • sh

        “Compared to what? IDF open-fire regulations are lax – compared to what? Civilian casualty rates are high – compared to what? Compared to the U.S. in Fallujah? The British in Northern Ireland? The Canadians in Helmand Province?”

        As far as last summer’s “Protective Edge” is concerned, compared to the IDF’s own open-fire regulations in previous attacks on Gaza. http://www.democracynow.org/2015/5/6/kill_anything_israeli_soldiers_say_gaza

        Reply to Comment
    4. Bar

      1. You funded this latest report with $300,000 from a Palestinian group that supports many anti-Israel groups including at least one that is affiliated with the PFLP, a terror organization.

      2. Your agreement with certain European donors REQUIRED that you provide hostile testimony from a certain number of soldiers.

      3. Anonymity is a wonderful tool for your creative writers. They can make up whatever they like. Who will know? Sorry, but the testimonies are untrustworthy precisely because they’re anonymous and because your organization is deeply hostile to the IDF – to the point of colluding with Palestinians who are openly hostile to Israel, the IDF and to Zionism.

      4. Most of the testimonies you published in this recent report are relatively benign. Therefore, the soldiers have nothing to fear from anyone. Who cares if a soldier tells how his unit spent all its ammunition? If anything, considering you claim you want to help Israel, knowing which unit this was and learning lessons from this incident are much more likely to help this society than hiding behind anonymity.

      5. Most incidents described by your organization are fluff and events where the soldier feels guilty for something they did wrong. By fluff, I mean such as your story of how you came to join this organization. You were on a mission. The mission didn’t work out. You improvised by holding a couple of people for an evening with no harm. You then protected yourselves. Wow, how do you live with yourself? All this on a mission whose importance you, as a soldier, would never be privy to.

      6. Ironically, the reason your reports have credibility with the international media is that you’re former IDF soldiers. Chew on that. You rely on this credibility to spread your antagonism to Israel far and wide, specifically with the intent of undermining the IDF’s ability to fight. What will be the outcome of constraining an army that tries quite hard to act ethically during a war with an enemy that refuses to fight ethically? Answer: You put soldiers’ AND Palestinians’ lives at risk.

      I’d appreciate a response, but understand if you’re a little busy taking fundraising meetings with hostile Palestinian groups. They must be knocking down your doors in a stampede for more of these gifts you’re giving them.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        This is nothing but a repetitive effort to shoot the messenger. Breaking The Silence. Never was an organization better named.

        Reply to Comment
        • BigCat

          Indeed, Brian… eh…”Ben”, BTS is the messenger of odious lies and slander and we will continue to shoot at this false “messenger” with the spear of truth.

          Check this out, Brian. Hear IDF soldiers speak in their own words. Their identities are known and you can check and cross check all you want:

          IDF SOLDIERS GIVE TESTIMONIES TO COUNTER GAZA WAR CRIMES CLAIMES: https://www.standwithus.com/news/article.asp?id=1117

          (You really don’t have a job, Brian, and you are not looking for one. You are occupied with Jews and Israel 24/7 ranting 24/7 about Jews and Israel on every website dealing exclusively with Jews and Israel, while not knowing and caring about what goes on in your own country. Go seek professional help, Brian).

          Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            “Check this out, Brian.”

            Followed by a link that regurgitates an op-ed in Haaretz dated July 16, 2009, and which promises that we can read the full testimonies by going to a web site that Does Not Even Exist.

            Excuse me for being rather less than impressed.

            Reply to Comment
        • Bar

          This author is here, under his own name. He can explain to us, using his own name, how raising funds from Israel’s enemies for a report about a war with Israel’s enemies is ethical or should lead us to believe anything in the report (especially since every single word could be made up and we would never know without any way of verifying any claims).

          He can also explain why the organization COMMITTED on paper to a certain type of report when fundraising from non-Palestinian sources.

          Am I really asking for something unusual by asking for an explanation? It’s as if Pepsi paid a “volunteer group” that hates Coke to publish a report attacking Coke drinks for their lousy taste and using for evidence “anonymous testimonies” that nobody can verify. You’d laugh that out of the room as nothing more than a lying trick by an ad company hired by Pepsi, but you’re perfectly willing to accept these standards when it comes to something far more serious, namely heinous accusations against IDF soldiers.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            — Are you kidding me? This is credible documentation not advertising. Military actions on the ground, described first hand by IDF soldiers, are not matters of taste. IDF soldiers are not consumer focus groups deciding if they “like” deployments of shells with 150 meter kill radiuses in this and that setting. These are battle accounts. I don’t know if you quite realize it Bar, but you are coming within a hair’s breadth of accusing 60+ IDF soldiers of treacherous, treasonous lying. Do YOU want to go non-anonymous on that accusation? Do YOU want to move out of the realm of insinuations under anonymity and into declarations?

            — “He can also explain why the organization COMMITTED on paper to a certain type of report when fundraising from non-Palestinians”

            Please quote/link to your source for this so we can evaluate just what you are trying to pin on Breaking The Silence and please explicitly defend why your source leads to what you INSINUATE and what exactly you mean but never quite come out and say.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            !. Most of the testimonies are benign and innocuous. Therefore, they are far from treasonous.

            2. The ones that do suggest crimes of war were committed were probably written by some fiction writer who had nothing better to do than make a good living from European and Palestinian donors who were more than happy to blacken Israel’s name. If they were made by a soldier or two or even ten, then they are probably not treasonous either. But why on earth wouldn’t they publish under their own names and why do we not have any testimonies with real names that corroborate these accusations? What, does EVERY soldier who sees something wrong keep it to himself? Then you don’t know Israel or Israelis very well.

            3. My Pepsi analogy is quite strong, even if it upsets you.

            4. Here’s the Euro funding source, links and all: http://www.ngo-monitor.org/article/europe_to_breaking_the_silence_bring_us_as_many_incriminating_testimonies_as_possible

            5. The information and links to original sources, including screen capture of donation (pg 11) by Palestinian org., breakdown of all the organizations this Palestinian entity supports (pg 16) and all the notes you want including to primary sources (last 3 pages) are here: http://en.imti.org.il/Reports/PoliticalTerrorism.pdf

            Have fun.

            Dear Mr. Stollar, do let us know if you want to continue to allow others to speak in your name or actually respond to my verified and accurate claims.

            Reply to Comment
          • Richard Lightbown

            Talk about Paranoia Incorporated. Promoting human rights in Palestine becomes, exclusively, delegitimizing Israel. Here are two takes on the Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law Secretariat and the organizations it sponsors.

            From Sweden Abroad, published by Sweden’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs:
            “The secretariat, funded by Sweden as lead donor together with Switzerland, the Netherlands and Denmark, will support organizations promoting human rights in Palestine. 24 organizations have already gotten their grant applications for core funding approved. Support to capacity building and policy dialogue aiming at enhancing the work with holding duty bearers accountable will also be provided. The Secretariat is run by Birzeit University, Institute of Law and the Swedish International Consultancy firm NIRAS Natura AB.”

            The overall objective:
            “…to contribute to the effective realisation of and adherence to human rights and international humanitarian law in the occupied Palestinian territory and to influence the behaviour of the relevant duty bearers…”

            From Im Tirtzu which calls itself “an extra-governmental movement that works to educate about the values of Zionism in Israel.”

            From its position paper ‘Get Ready for Political Terrorism’: “In this report we have gathered facts about the activities of Israeli and Palestinian groups which focus mainly on advancing the de-legitimization of the State of Israel, accuse it of having carried out war crimes and violated international law, and which promote boycotts, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel”

            And what are these diabolical activities? “…[To]probe and investigate violations of human rights and international humanitarian law in the course of the ongoing Israeli military offensive [Operation Protective Edge] in the occupied Gaza Strip.” Shock horror! Someone dares to question Israel’s violations of human rights of Palestinians. What depravity!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Bar: Your accusation — that the suggestions that “war crimes were committed were probably written by some fiction writer who had nothing better to do than make a good living from European and Palestinian donors who were more than happy to blacken Israel’s name” — do you have the slightest evidence to make this accusation against Breaking the Silence? Against your soldiers and your countrymen? Any evidence that would differentiate your accusation from something close to libel?

            Here’s the thing: When outside parties (America, Canada, Europe) side with you you’re all for it, it’s the height of judgment and ethical concern. You welcome the intervention. When outside parties do not side with you (Europe) or even just falter in the production of worshipful palaver (the U.S. President and some Democrats) it’s the height of cynical opportunism and calumnious Jew-hating. You guys never get how hypocritical and false this rings.

            The link provides nothing exceptional. Breaking the Silence signed a funding contract to do what it says it does and sets out to do. So what? One of the fundraiser is Palestinian? So what? Some of the funders are European. So what? And Bibi’s funders include a foreign casino magnate. So what? I guarantee you that if George Soros funded a leftist free Israeli daily distributed all over the country you guys would be having conniption fits and grand mal seizures of indignation. I can just hear the outrage.

            Bottom line: Breaking The Silence is Israeli, it’s soldiers, they’re credible. Credibility is what it is. They’ve got it. The attempted smears against them don’t cut it.

            We had to chuckle here at the absurdity of the phrase “political terrorism” and then our chuckle turned into a chortle when we read Matan Peleg’s definition of it. Apparently any activity that makes right wing Israelis anxious is “terrorism.” Honestly that’s what it amounts to. Here’s the thing: you complained with reason for years and years about actual terrorism. Then when the Palestinians wise up and turn to non-violent political activity, guess what?….that too is “terrorism”!!! Everything directed against the occupation turns out to be “terrorism”! But what you do to them is never, ever “terrorism.”

            I think I’ll go have a Pepsi now and watch a film of an artillery shelling and decide how much I like each one. Coke? Shelling? Coke? Shelling? So hard to decide. It’s a matter of taste.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            DO I have evidence that a creative writer wrote testimonies that Breaking the Silence has published? Wrong question. Do you have any evidence that the testimonies weren’t the work of a creative writer? Please provide evidence that they were not.

            Lightbrown, Secretariat is controlled by Birzeit University officials. . Swedes and other Europeans supply the budget (of course). See any Swedish names? http://www.rightsecretariat.ps/aboutus/staff. As for Birzeit…Hamas just won the student elections there. Tell you something?

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            No, Bar, YOU have the wrong question and you don’t get it. Breaking the Silence is not prosecuting military commanders in court. It is publishing first hand accounts by soldiers. To do that honorably it does not need to provide any more proof than any other credible investigative journalistic agency that uses anonymous sources. Such as the New York Times or The Times of Israel. It is subject to all the challenges to its credibility those outfits are but nothing more. Its credibility does NOT hinge on revealing the names of anonymous sources or providing evidentiary proof proper to a court of law. You’re trying to turn the environment BtS works in into a law court and the standards of evidence it must meet into standards proper to testimony in open court but that is your sleight of hand. You claim that because BtS protects the soldiers’ identities that that reduces its reports’ credibility to zero but that is not true. You are free to think that but you are not free to tell others what they are compelled to think. The contest here is not legal, it is journalistic. So the proper challenge to a journalistic outfit is to either point to implausibilities and contradictions internal to the published accounts and/or to produce proof that that outfit ever made something up or published something incredible. Got proof? The problem the complainers about BtS have is that these first-hand accounts by soldiers on the ground reek of credibility and they know it and they can’t stand it. Entirely too much hay is being attempted to be made out of the fact that BtS protects soldiers’ identities. Here is what I suspect the schreiers about anonymity are really after whether they admit it or not even to themselves: they want the names of those soldiers exposed so they can be hounded and discriminated against for the rest of their lives by a vengeful public and their lives and careers ruined. So that no one dares break the silence. But they are not going to get that. They are not going to get to reduce the environment BtS operates in to a vengeful mafia state where whistleblowers are retaliated against.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bar

            Was that a long-winded way of saying that you cannot demonstrate that these “testimonies” were given by soldiers? We already know that.

            You can continue to write about how this is this or this is that, but the bottom line is that we have NO CORROBORATING evidence or testimonies from any source. None. All we have is a foreign and enemy-funded report by people who are seeking to embarrass Israel in alignment with their political views. I tip my hat to them for their outsize success, but the fact is they enjoy it only because the hatred of Jews runs so deep in so many communities and countries that it’s easy for most to believe any heinous accusation or lie against the only state with a Jewish majority.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            I think you still don’t get it. It is not incumbent on me, or any reader of the BtS report, to demonstrate that these testimonies were given by soldiers and are not created by a fiction writer. It is incumbent on all of us readers to read, absorb, weigh, evaluate, connect, consider, from a reading public’s standpoint. And to all make our own judgments about credibility. You are not going to control my thoughts or anyone else’s thoughts on that. I happen to think these reports have a ring of authenticity and credibility. You don’t — because you can’t imagine Israel ever does anything wrong? — that’s your personal business. Not mine. Your concern, I note, runs all one way, however: to disprove rather than to ask, what if this is true?

            It is up to BtS to maintain its credibility and it has done so at every step and done it well, despite the often devious efforts of many to discredit it. Including I might add the brazen twisting of a Times of Israel report right here on these pages by at least two posters.

            Now, you say that all we have is a “foreign and enemy-funded report by people who are seeking to embarrass Israel”. This is not true. We have a report written by Israeli Jews principally for Israeli Jews and there is absolutely nothing to suggest they are not operating in the utmost good faith and sobriety.

            These soldiers scandalize you. As I told Eis, it is scandalous isn’t it? IDF soldiers, good boys, honorable men, standing up and breaking the silence. Something is rotten. Folks here just disagree on what is rotten. However, like Eis, I know that when you then trot out the accusation that BtS’s credibility comes down to hordes of credulous minds twisted by mass-Jew-hatred, I know you know you’ve lost the argument and have nothing else and will say anything. These are just good Israeli soldiers and they are doing something simple snd powerful and you can’t stand it.

            One of the standard themes running through the remonstrations of the Right here is that “if a Jew thinks THAT then a Jew must be feeble-minded or sick, infected with the alien virus of ‘leftism’ which turns their minds and hearts to mush and makes them weak and ‘self-hating’, and corrupt and greedy.” Which is a kind of fascist and anti-Semitic idea. It’s the odious idea running through the settlers’ Herr Stürmer video. It’s the idea running through the appalling insinuation that BtS is basically a bunch of Jewish guys doing bad things for money supplied by evil Europeans.

            Reply to Comment
          • BigCat

            Oh, Brian….eh… “Ben”, Bar just demolished you and you start ranting your usual mumbo jumbo to find a face saving way out. Oh boy… what a shame …..

            Reply to Comment
      • Richard Lightbown

        “2. Your agreement with certain European donors REQUIRED that you provide hostile testimony from a certain number of soldiers.”

        What the hell does this mean? You have nothing to fear so why is this lacking any detail at all and what happened to the reference?

        Then we have “Anonymity is a wonderful tool for your creative writers.” And your name is? You, Mr/s Anonymous, are certainly being creative in this post. It’s full of vague allegations and, to use your word, “fluff”. There’s no substance at all and you have been unable to refute anything, absolutely NOTHING, that Avihai has written.

        Reply to Comment
          • Yeah, Right

            And in the interests of fairness, once you have read BigCat’s linked article you should also read this from someone else who was at that same seminar:
            http://www.wupr.org/2014/04/07/an-unpleasant-debate/

            Apparently BigCat’s oh-so-heartbroken (ex)IDF soldier isn’t exactly above gilding the lily.

            Reply to Comment
    5. BigCat

      “The publicized case of MK Oren Hazan (Likud), who gave a false testimony in an attempt to libel our organization, is a good example of how a testifier is discredited”.

      Actually, that is complete nonsense; not true at all. The truth is that “Breaking The Silence” actually believed MK Oren Hazan and ran with his made-up story to Chanel 10. After that, Chanel 10, NOT “Breaking the silence”, started the Investigation and discovered that it was a hoax. Here is how Times Of Israel put it:

      “An investigation by Channel 10 published Tuesday revealed that the fabricated account had been given not by Asaf Hazan, but rather by Oren Hazan, who was elected to Knesset last month on the Likud party’s 30th slot. Hazan later admitted he had provided false testimony to Breaking the Silence, but insisted that his made-up description had in fact been published.” http://www.timesofisrael.com/likud-mk-lies-to-lefty-ngo-in-attempt-to-embarrass-it/

      Reply to Comment
    6. BigCat

      “The publicized case of MK Oren Hazan (Likud), who gave a false testimony in an attempt to libel our organization, is a good example of how a testifier is discredited”.

      Actually, the above claim is complete nonsense; not true at all. The truth is that “Breaking The Silence” actually believed MK Oren Hazan and ran with his made-up story to Chanel 10. After that, Chanel 10, NOT “Breaking the silence”, started the Investigation and discovered that it was a hoax. Here is how Times Of Israel put it:

      “An investigation by Channel 10 published Tuesday revealed that the fabricated account had been given not by Asaf Hazan, but rather by Oren Hazan, who was elected to Knesset last month on the Likud party’s 30th slot. Hazan later admitted he had provided false testimony to Breaking the Silence, but insisted that his made-up description had in fact been published.”
      http://www.timesofisrael.com/likud-mk-lies-to-lefty-ngo-in-attempt-to-embarrass-it/

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        “The truth is that “Breaking The Silence” actually believed MK Oren Hazan and ran with his made-up story to Chanel 10.”

        Oh? What is your evidence for that claim? Please produce the evidence.

        The paragraphs you leave out, i.e., those before and after the paragraph you quote and link to, are as follows:

        “According to Breaking The Silence, an organization dedicated to collecting testimonies from current and former IDF soldiers about their military service in the West Bank and the Gaza Strip, a routine fact-checking procedure revealed numerous inconsistencies in an account submitted several months ago by a man calling himself Asaf Hazan, who claimed to be a reservist who fought during last summer’s 50-day war between Israel and Hamas.

        Given the problematic nature of the testimony, the NGO decided not to publish it.

        […]

        “After the exposure of the affair, MK Hazan continues with his lies and says that we published the testimony, but lo and behold he cannot prove it… this is because we never released it,” a statement on Breaking The Silence’s Hebrew Facebook page read.”

        Reply to Comment
      • Yeah, Right

        “Hazan later admitted he had provided false testimony to Breaking the Silence, but insisted that his made-up description had in fact been published”

        So the liar insists that his lies had “in fact” been “published”, and you believe him?

        In which case would you care to point us to that “publication”?

        After all, it’s been “published”, correct?
        It must be, because that liar said so. Correct?

        Reply to Comment
    7. Yeah, Right

      I know for a fact that everything Avihai Stollar says in this article is a fabrication.

      I know because Ginger Eis told me so.

      Who knows because…. she knows.

      Reply to Comment
    8. gernot hess

      thnak you avihai, we met at conference in arnoldsheim and I hope to meet again

      Reply to Comment
    9. Yes, i can appreciate these former soldiers testifying to their experience. What I have a problem with is the anonymity. I look at the entire picture. Fact: Israel will be brought to the ICC to face charges. The IDF will be brought to face charges as well. The tension is no doubt mounting. The possibility of these people seeking to protect themselves in someway has crossed my mind….Currently we are seeking the names of the Pilot’s that flew the missions over Gaza during the last massacre. One way or another we will get them..They need to be charged as well….

      Reply to Comment
      • Ginger Eis

        Why do you guys hallucinate a lot, gnashing your teeth? Gee!

        BTW

        Are you “currently seeking the names of” your fellow terrorists who tore the little body of the four years old Daniel Tragerman to pieces with an RPG?

        In case you pretend not to know whom I refer to, here is little Daniel.

        Watch. And Weep!

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RnwWAVoc2qA

        Reply to Comment
    10. Ben

      These videotapes testimonies taken by Breaking the Silence of soldiers (their voices altered, face blurred to protect identity) will put to rest any nonsense about these accounts possibly being “fiction.” It makes me realize that the extremists here claiming a few days ago that the “anonymity” renders these accounts not credible were simply engaging in a mass distraction attack–belaboring a nonissue. These reports are amazingly credible and they are damning. You have to view them to understand that. Once you hear these soldiers speak you will get it. What you’ll also realize is that these soldiers giving these testimonies are Israel’s finest.

      http://www.haaretz.com/news/diplomacy-defense/.premium-1.656177

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        And I strongly recommend you listen to Yehuda Shaul of Breaking the Silence speak:

        https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=JxHE4KrLvj0

        It’s worth the whole hour and 38 minutes. If you want the quick take home message go to minute 21:00. Watch 21:00-25:00. Israel tells itself and others it’s playing defense but it’s really playing offense. It always says it’s on the way out but it’s really always on the way in. Before 21:00 he describes BtS’s purpose: to show Israelis: “This is what we in the military really do in your name.” From 25:00 on he describes what he means by “offense.” He describes how the idea of “prevention,” for example, expands to include every offensive (in both meanings of the term) action you can think of. And the idea of “separation” and how it becomes ruthlessly limitless. And on and on. If you start watching him speak you will want to listen to the end. Watch this video! It will open your eyes. It will open your eyes to the hollowness of every argument you hear about why the occupation can’t end.

        Reply to Comment
    11. Click here to load previous comments