Netanyahu slams Israeli NGO for ‘slander’ against Israel

In a special session of a United Nations Security Council meeting, an Israeli human rights group, B’Tselem, attacked its own country’s policies as the reason it cannot reach a peace accord.

In a speech on Friday, broadcast live on the UN website, Hagai El-Ad, executive director of the leftwing NGO, presented a scathing tirade on the Jewish state: “Illegal Israeli Settlements: Obstacles to Peace and the Two-State Solution.”

The speech elicited a furious response from Israeli politiicans. Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu threatened to bar B’Tselem from the list of organizations approved for receiving National Service volunteers. Since B’Tselem was established in 1989 it has been eligible for three National Service volunteers.

Netanyahu said that Palestinian rejection of the Jewish state “in any borders whatsoever” was the true cause of the ongoing conflict. On his Facebook page, he said that B’Tselem and Americans for Peace Now, had joined the “chorus of mudslinging” against Israel and “recycled the false claim that ‘the occupation and the settlements’ are the reason for the conflict.”

“Palestinians attacked Israel for 50 years before there was a single settlement. They have continued to attack Israel from the Gaza Strip, even after we left it entirely,” Netanyahu said. “They attack us from Judea and Samaria, demanding not only those territories but a right of return to Jaffa, Acre and Haifa. What these organizations are unable to achieve in democratic elections in Israel, they try to achieve through international coercion. Israeli democracy facilitates such shoddy and unhinged organizations as B’Tselem, but the majority of the public knows the truth.”

Not surprisingly, it was the Palestinian delegation to the UN that requested the forum at which El-Ad spoke in order to focus on issues “caused by the Israeli settlement activities.” The forum was hosted by Malaysia and attended by Egypt, Senegal, Angola and Venezuela among others, as well as representatives from the Free University of Brussels and Americans for Peace Now, an organization related to the anti-Israel activist group Peace Now.

The speeches and presentations were predictably biased, critical of Israel and laden with anti-Zionist propaganda. El-Ad accused Israel of sabotaging the peace process and called on the UN to pressure Israel to end “the occupation.”

“The UN Security Council must act and the time is now,” he said.

B’Tselem, which identifies itself as a human rights group, uses Palestinian photographers and videographers to document actions by Israeli soldiers and Jewish residents in Judea and Samaria in order to accuse them of human rights abuses.

Zionist Union Knesset member Itzik Shmuli said B’Tselem’s speech was “unhelpful” and promoted the “demonization of Israel.”

Yesh Atid party chairman Yair Lapid described B’Tselem’s participation in the forum as “a declaration of divorce” from Zionism.

Israel’s Ambassador to the UN Danny Danon said B’Tselem helped to “slander and besmirch Israel’s good name” while this was clearly an attempt by the Palestinian Authority to avoid direct negotiations. He accused B’Tselem of “providing moral cover for anti-Israel activities at the UN.”

“It is unfortunate that Israeli organizations have joined the Palestinian attempts to wage diplomatic terror against Israel at the UN,” Danon said.