I debated for quite a while whether or not to share my thoughts on the organization "Breaking the Silence. While I can stand a lot, "I can't stands it no more" - so here it is:
"Breaking the Silence" is an organization that engages in nothing, but NOTHING, other than a smear campaign targeting the IDF. This smear campaign has NOTHING to do with rooting out their observed problem. Furthermore, none of their work helps the IDF (or Israel, for that matter) provide a solution.
I don't know about you, but I was always taught that if you are not a part of the answer, you are a part of the problem!
And why do I say this? For several reasons - among them are two that jump out at me:
1. We at the IDF (commanders, military advocates, military police investigators, and even spokespeople) have called on the organization several times to provide us with the means to respond to their claims - be it by providing us with drafts of their reports prior to publications, or by providing us with more, accountable details. Either of these steps would allow for thorough investigations, possibly leading to the opening of criminal investigations and legal proceedings. "Breaking the Silence" has not answered our (sometimes even public) calls.
2. The information used by "Breaking the Silence" by and large seems to derive from two sources - unverifiable hearsay or accounts from anonymous former soldiers who, sometimes, they themselves deserve to be behind bars in military prison for what they did! (That's right... I said it! And that's right, if I had the authority to, I would jail them myself!!)
Also - some things worth mentioning about the IDF:
1. Did you know that the IDF has standing orders, regulations, and an ethical code (Spirit of the IDF:http://bit.ly/RORWvx)? These not only require soldiers to act according to the law, but also to report instances when things were otherwise.
2. Did you know that the IDF also has a standing order that PROHIBITS soldiers from following illegal orders, and requires them to report it... immediately?
These two points lead me to ask why these anonymous soldiers didn't "break their silence" to the right authorities accordingly, properly, and in a timely manner.
The IDF is a military that holds itself to the highest of standards and prides itself on its ability to self-investigate through processes that are NOT subordinate to any military commander. Even the IDF Chief of the General Staff can't prevent or stop an investigation!
Furthermore, as has been communicated publicly in the past, the Military Advocate General and IDF commanders honor reports submitted by NGOs, IGOs, and other human rights organizations as a way to obtain information about instances that SHOULD be investigated.
While we don't necessarily see eye to eye on all issues with some of the organizations we are in contact with - there is one critical thing we do see eye to eye with - BEING IN CONTACT!
There is a certain level of integrity and accountability on the part of both, the IDF and the organizations who meet with us, that helps each of us do what we feel is right to help solve complex, and sometimes problematic, issues.
Certainly with the complex security situation we face in Israel, there won't necessarily always be perfection on the ground. But, in light of our critical mission to defend Israel and our nature of being a military of the people - it is imperative that we strive for it!
So while I can honor organizations that speak with us, meet with us, share information with us - I cannot say the same for "Breaking the Silence," which, as I said earlier, is not seeking to be a part of the answer. I can only be left with the understanding that they are, in fact, a part of the problem.
An article about this letter was published here in The Times of Israel.