Im Tirzu – the Fascist organisation that is spearheading the Israeli State’s attack on human rights organisations
Im Tirzu – the Fascist organisation that is spearheading the Israeli State’s attack on human rights organisations
In Israel human rights activists are considered traitors, foreign
agents and terrorist supporters
One of the signs that Israel
is on the road to becoming an authoritarian state is the fact that even the herrenvolk, Jews who are human rights supporters or anti-war activists, are attacked as
traitors, spies, foreign agents and enemies of the State. Even the liberal New Israel Fund [NIF] is considered a hostile organisation.
Im Tirtzu video targeting New Israel Fund for allegedly persecuting Israeli soldiers
One particular object of attack is George Soros, the billionaire Jewish philanthropist, who has funded the NIF and Israeli human rights organisations. The Zionist attack on Soros is no different from the attacks of anti-semites. Indeed Netanyahu joined hands with the far-Right Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban in the latter’s attack on Soros.
Yair Netanyahu’s cartoon which drew praise from neo-Nazis
Last year Netanyahu’s son, Yair, drew a cartoon of Soros which received plaudits from David Duke of the KKK and Andrew Anglin of the neo-Nazi Daily Stormer.
The Jerusalem Post quoted Zehava Gal-On, former head of Meretz as saying that ‘this won’t be the last time that neo-Nazis quote Netanyahu,” accusing him of “supporting world antisemitism” after the Foreign Ministry released a statement legitimizing criticism of Hungarian- American billionaire George Soros. William Echikson in Politico echoed this:
‘During his campaign, Orbán blamed his country’s problems on a Jewish financier, George Soros — and won, big time. After his victory, Orbán spokesman, Zoltán Kovács, said the attacks on Soros “could not possibly be anti-Semitic, since they were echoed by Netanyahu.”
Don’t let Soros have the last laugh, in a mocking echo of Hitler’s prophecy speech when he talked about having the last laugh over the Jews who had derided him
Anti-semites claiming that their support for Zionism means they can’t possibly be antisemitic has become a regular theme. When people say that anti-semites disguise or hide their anti-semitism by professing support for the Palestinians, the opposite is usually true. Most anti-semites today assert that they couldn’t possibly be anti-semitic since they support Israel and Zionism. People such as Richard Spencer, the founder of the alt-Right who declares himself a ‘White Zionist’. Viktor Orban has launched a campaign to rehabilitate Hungary’s pro-Nazi war time ruler, Admiral Horthy, who presided over the deportation of nearly 1/2 million Jews to Auschwitz. This however has not stopped Netanyahu from striking up an alliance with Orban.
Im Tirzu, is part of the far-Right scene in Israel. It is a fascist pressure group which see it as its mission to demonise Israeli
human rights organisations, cultural figures of the left and indeed any
opposition to the right-wing nationalist demagogy that passes for debate in Israel. Even the Jerusalem District Court said it was
legitimate to call Im
Tirzu a fascist group.
Im Tirzu is not a
marginal organisation. It is actively
supported by the government of Benjamin Netanyahu but not only him. The ‘opposition’ of Yesh Atid, a supposedly
centrist party under Yair Lapid and the Israeli Labour Party under its new
right-wing leader Avi Gabbay, also support the demonization of human rights
On its 10th
anniversary Netanyahu posted a video congratulating Im Tirzu on its fine work
The latest Im Tirzu video attacks the NIF which funds human rights
organisations such as Bt’selem as traitors who attack ‘our’ soldiers as they go about their thankless work murdering
Palestinians. It is the kind of
propaganda stuff you would expect of a fascist organisation for whom the
fatherland is uber alles.
You see the same adoration for the
forces of the state that existed in Nazi Germany. Im Tirzu specialises in
attacking dissident culture and even prominent left-Zionist cultural figures. The Nazi party also attacked avante garde
culture. In the words of Herman Goering,
‘when I hear the words culture, I reach
for my revolver.’
The rightwing Israeli Jewish group “Im
Tirtzu” has published an incitement video, featuring Adi Shosberger, who has recently called soldiers near the Gaza fence ‘terrrorists,’ and an activist
from ‘Machsom Watch’ (‘Checkpoint watch’) who tells an Israeli soldier
“you are a disgrace”.
The video frames these actions as a
conspiracy of the progressive New Israel Fund. New Israel Fund, a global organization based in the U.S., has
supported Machsom Watch, but it has no connection to Shosberger. “I have
no connection to the New Israel Fund,” Shosberger writes, in Hebrew.
The Im Tirtzu video satirically promotes a
video game, where one plays a soldier confronting leftist activists:
want to experience what IDF soldiers feel when they are persecuted by New
Israel Fund organizations?”, the
In the game,
the soldier confronts activists and ‘terrorists’ yelling ‘Allahu Akbar’. The narrator says:
you waiting for? Join the fight against the foreign agents.”
actual video game, the soldier can kill the Palestinians, but has to jump over
the Israeli activists.
who was protesting the manifestly illegal policy of shooting unarmed
protesters, has also been trashed by a
mainstream radio host who has publicly fantasized about her rape and murder,
calling her “stupid”, “filth” and “little bitch”.
The Israeli organization “Im Tirzu“ calls
itself “the largest grassroots Zionist movement in Israel,” but has been widely
labelled “fascist”. A Jerusalem court judge has even ruled that this is a legitimate charge.
woman reading out statement from Breaking the Silence
Its call to fight the “foreign agents” arose 2-1/2 years ago, when Im Tirtzu published a video which incited against four NGO’s: B’Tselem, the Public Committee
Against Torture in Israel, Breaking the Silence, and HaMoked: Center for the
Defense of the Individual. Staffers were personally named and framed as
“While we fight terror, they fight us,” the
coincided with the push from Justice
Minister Ayelet Shaked, herself arguably a fascist, of the “Transparency bill” nearly two years ago, which forced organizations that receive more
than half their funding from institutions abroad (including from European
governments), to disclose it prominently in official reports. The law does not
specifically refer to leftwing organizations, but applies to about 25 NGOs.
Rightwing NGOs, such as those supporting Israel’s occupation of the West Bank,
tend to rely on private donations, which the law does not cover.
The recent video is a further incitement
against those who criticize Israeli policy, and it is making a blanket
judgement of any dissent to be a national treason by “foreign agents”.
Im Tirtzu is ostensibly calling for this
treatment of “foreign agents” to be implemented in law. But the incitement
there is so virulent, that it’s not difficult to see how someone might get the
idea that they should take the law into their own hands, and ‘teach these
foreign agents a lesson’ – as an act of patriotism, of course.
One might be inclined to see this merely as a
‘game’, as the video suggests it is. But it is not a game. It is dead serious.
It’s as serious as when the mentioned mainstream radio host Shai Goldstein says
he “feels like killing that woman” (Adi Shosberger). But many Israelis don’t
seem to get this. It passes as mere ‘outrage’, justified by the notion that the
“most moral army in the world” cannot possibly be carrying out acts of terrorism,
or even acting in ways which are a “disgrace”.
Militarism is a religion in Israel, like
Zionism, and people are being sacrificed by it in many ways. Mostly, it’s
Palestinians – but it’s also those who show solidarity with them. Then you’re a
About Jonathan Ofir
Israeli musician, conductor and blogger / writer based
The right-wing group’s director tells Haaretz, however, that the public
has the right to know about cultural figures’ left-wing affiliations.
The latest Im Tirtzu campaign, which targets left-wing artists. Pictured (from left): Sha’anan Street, Amos Oz, Joshua Sobol and Gila Almagor. From the Facebook page of Im Tirtzu
The right wing Im Tirtzu group, which last month stirred controversy over
its video targeting figures from left-wing organizations as foreign “moles,” acknowledged that it had erred in a new poster that purports to expose some of
Israel’s leading cultural figures as left-wing.
The acknowledgment of the mistake with regard to the poster, in which
authors Amos Oz, David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua, actress Gila Almagor and
singer Chava Alberstein among others were labeled “moles in culture”
was posted on the organization’s Facebook page over the signature of its
director general, Matan Peleg. The poster, which was put on the group’s
Facebook page on Wednesday, disclosed what Im Tirtzu claimed was the
cultural figures’ association with left-wing groups.
Despite the admission of error, in a conversation with Haaretz, Peleg
defended the poster and said the public has the right to know about the
political activities of those featured in it. The poster prompted widespread
condemnation from politicians on the right as well as the left, including
condemnation from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Among those criticizing it were Education Minister Naftali Bennett, the
leader of the right-of-center Habayit Hayehudi party, who called the material
“embarrassing, unnecessary and humiliating.” His party colleague,
Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked added that artists identified with the left
should not be placed out of bounds. For his part, Likud Knesset member Benny
Begin called the outing of purported traitors “a longstanding ugly and
dangerous fascist trait.”
In its Facebook post on Friday, Im Tirtzu did not provide detail
regarding what it viewed as mistaken in the poster, and did not remove it from
its website or remove the list of artists and intellectuals that accompanied
it. In a separate statement, Im Tirtzu reaffirmed that it was proud of its
initial “moles” campaign directed at figures associated with Israeli
human rights groups and left-wing organizations receiving foreign government
funding, saying that the mistake that it was acknowledging only related to the
poster featuring the cultural figures.
Friday’s Facebook post over Peleg’s name contained the following
admission regarding the poster: “We
made a mistake. We put up a mistaken post on a very important and substantial
subject and therefore we need to be much more careful.” Saying that
the poster didn’t constitute a campaign and that the organization wasn’t
calling anyone a traitor, despite media allegations to that effect, the
statement in Peleg’s name added: “We
take full responsibility and promise to continue to work with great faith on
behalf of the people of Israel and the soldiers of the IDF,” the
Israel Defense Forces.
“We will continue to convey
pointed criticism of organizations that present IDF soldiers as war criminals
and against those calling for a boycott of the country. Many thanks to all
those who have supported us over the past two days and thank-you also to those
who set us straight over our mistake,” the statement added.
Later Im Tirtzu issued a clarification that the acknowledgement of the
error related only to Wednesday’s post of the poster and not the earlier
campaign “which exposed those who
harm IDF soldiers, [a campaign] over which we are proud and will continue [to publicize].”
In his conversation with Haaretz, however, Peleg defended his group’s
publication of the list of cultural figures, information that he said was
already available elsewhere on the Internet. “The major advantage of the media storm that erupted is that now many in
Israeli society know that when they say 300 cultural figures have signed a
petition of one kind or another, they know they can check it name by name, and
it’s possible that they will see some of the names on the public boards of
outside organizations,” he explained.
When asked about his group’s future direction, he replied: “The DNA of Im Tirtzu is to work
against organizations that harm IDF soldiers, and that won’t change.”
He explained that the Facebook post with the poster on cultural figures was not
removed because the group viewed the material posted on Facebook as an ongoing
feed, meaning that, with the posting of additional material, the poster appears
“If you assume responsibility,
you assume responsibility,” he said. “Now
that we have written what is mistaken in it, we will certainly leave it so
anyone who wants to form an impression will do so. We are not evading
responsibility. We wrote in the post what we view as a mistake and we are
A verdict by the Jerusalem District Court finds that
recognizing ‘certain lines of resemblance’ to fascism in the ideology or
activities of the right-wing movement can be seen as ‘truthful.’ The verdict is
a major blow to Im Tirtzu’s efforts to portray itself as a mainstream, grassroots
The extreme-right group Im Tirtzu
lost a court case against a group of leftist activists who opened a Facebook
page called “Im Tirtzu
– A Fascist Movement.” Judge Raphael Ya’akobi of the Jerusalem District
Court determined that some of Im Tirtzu’s attributes bear certain similarities
to fascism – thus allowing the activists to use both a freedom of speech
defense, as well as “spoken truth” defense.
Ya’akobi ruled against Im Tirtzu
in all claims of the lawsuit, except for a post on the group’s page which drew
similarities between Im Tirzu and Nazi ideology.
Im Tirtzu has become known over
the past several years for their attacks on left-wing academics and
organizations. Following the
Goldstone Report on 2008-09’s
Operation Cast Lead in Gaza, Im Tirtzu accused
the New Israel Fund of aiding, through the various organizations it supports,
the UN fact finding mission. A personal campaign against the head of the NIF,
Naomi Chazan, bore
anti-Semitic features [disclaimer: +972
Magazine is on the New Israel Fund’s donor-advised list].
Ad by Im Tirzu blaming the head of NIF Naomi Hazan in the creation of the Goldstone report
Three-and-a-half years ago, Im
Tirtzu filed lawsuit against the creators of the Facebook page “Im Tirtzu – a
Fascist Movement,” demanding NIS 2.6 million ($720,000 US) in compensation and
the removal of the page. During the procedures, the defendants had Professor
Zeev Sternhell, a world expert on fascism, testify on the resemblance between
Im Tirtzu’s activities and those of the
European extreme right in the first half of
the twentieth century. Sternhell himself was a victim of a pipe-bomb
attack by Jewish terrorist Ya’akov “Jack” Teitel.
Furthermore, Ya’akobi ruled that
in all cases but one, the name of the Facebook page and the specific posts that
were brought before him fall under the right to free opinion. Thus, a
slanderous motive cannot be attributed to them.
Although the court could have
stopped there, Ya’akobi also accepted the defense of “a truthful publication,”
that the critique of Im Tirtzu as part of the political debate was in the
public’s interest. In other words, the court is not stating the Im Tirtzu is a
fascist movement (or that it isn’t, for that matter), but that because there
exist “certain lines of resemblance” to fascism, calling them as such cannot be
This is a major blow to Im
Tirtzu’s attempts to position themselves as a mainstream grassroots movement.
In the past, group members threatened a lawsuit
against Wikipedia Israel for calling it “a right-wing movement” on its entry.
Im Tirtzu has been sponsored by
John Hagee’s Christians United for Israel. According to the movement’s report,
in recent years most of the support to Im Tirtzu comes from the Central Fund of
Israel, which sponsors various religious, right-wing and settler causes.
The Jerusalem court did not call
for compensation regarding the single claim in which it ruled in favor of Im
Tirtzu, since the case is likely to end up in the Supreme Court.