Israel Defense Forces (IDF) soldiers risk their lives standing between Israel and their enemies so it is horrifying when haters of Israel target them, hurling insults and taking video in an attempt to instigate a response that can be posted on the Internet for the detriment of Israel. Now, a campaign that turns the cameras around is beating anti-Israel propagandists at their own game.
Im Tirtzu, Israel’s largest Zionist grassroots organization, launched a crowdfunding campaign aimed at protecting IDF soldiers from this kind of harassment.
The organization takes its name from an epigraph in Theodore Herzl’s book, Altneuland, which stated in Hebrew, “If you will it, it is not a fairytale.” Founded in 2006, Im Tirtzu’s mission is simple: to ensure Israel’s future.
They take the battle to the enemy in many different forums, challenging anti-Zionist groups and their propaganda intended to delegitimize Israel. Much of Im Tirzu’s energy is focused on college and university campuses, where it operates fifteen branches throughout the country and runs the largest Zionist academic extra-curricular program in Israel.
It may be difficult to understand but some of the most potent anti-Israel propaganda comes from inside the country.
“This is the enemy from within,” Eytan Meir, head of media relations for Im Tirtzu, told Breaking Israel News. “This is a very large threat, more potent than any threat from outside. People assume that any lies said about Israel by Israelis must be true. The anti-Israel movements in other countries feature anything they put out.”
On social media, Israel faces perhaps its greatest threat. Non-governmental organizations, either manned by foreigners or by Israelis funded from overseas, harass IDF soldiers while they are on duty. They film the soldiers in the hopes that they will catch them in an angry response.
Their new campaign, Aim, Click & Shoot, is designed to combat this nefarious tactic. It seeks to establish an elite squad of video commandos who will film and expose anti-Israel activists who film and harass IDF soldiers.
“A lot of these organizations operate under the guise of being humanitarian,” Meir explained. “It’s what we call the halo effect. They project an image of holiness but this only lasts if no one can see what they really do.”
— Im Tirtzu (@IMTIzionism) December 19, 2018
The IDF soldiers stationed in Hebron were especially targeted by these anti-Israel propagandists, most notably by the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel (EAPPI) funded by the European World Council of Churches. The EAPPI has been accused of being anti-Semitic. Thanks in large part to Im Tirtzu’s efforts, the group pulled its observers from Hebron in January.
“They were sending people to film the soldiers, to start provocations, so we started sending teams of people to film them,” Meir said. “We did this for several months and posted the videos on social media.”
The videos were viewed hundreds of thousands of times and widely shared.
“Ironically, when they announced their departure from Hebron, the EAPPI claimed that they could no longer operate due to the ‘harassment,” Meir said. “Of course they couldn’t operate. When we exposed the truth through our videos, no one would believe their false footage.”
One other aspect of the tactic proved even more effective.
“There is nothing these people love more than being anonymous,” Meir said. “They love to spread lies but as soon as you expose their identity and expose them as liars, they run away.”
One incident illustrated a dark side to these anti-Israel activities. In September 2017, two activists from the left-wing NGO Machsom Watch, yelled insults at Solomon Gaviriya, an Ethiopian IDF soldier guarding the front gate at Har Adar, calling him a “disgrace.” Moments after the two activists left the area, a Palestinian terrorist shot and killed Gaviriya.
People can participate in the Aim, Click & Shoot campaign on the Causematch website.