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Breaking the Silence Is No Human Rights Organization – and I Should Know – Natan Sharansky (Ha’aretz via Daily Alert)

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Feb. 1, 2016

Supporters of Breaking the Silence – who accuse the IDF of committing immoral and illegal acts in the West Bank – have on several occasions likened their campaign to that of the dissidents who fought for human rights in the Soviet Union.
Unfortunately, the comparison completely ignores the distinction between dictatorship and democracy.
Soviet dissidents set out to democratize a dictatorial regime, to create the kind of representative institution with which Israel is already blessed. Because such institutions were entirely absent in the USSR, we had no choice but to rely on external forces to induce the regime to respond to our claims.
Breaking the Silence, by contrast, sets out to bypass an existing democratic government and resolve a controversial political issue by means of international pressure.
It is of course legitimate to believe that Israel’s military presence in the West Bank should be ended immediately. But it is equally legitimate to believe that such a withdrawal would be dangerous and even catastrophic for the state.
This is a political question that should be decided by Israel’s citizens through their elected representatives, not by a small group of self-appointed prophets and their chorus of foreign supporters.

  • The writer is Chairman of the Jewish Agency for Israel and a former refusenik and prisoner of conscience in the ex-USSR.
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