Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu has launched a scathing attack on B’Tselem rights group, labeling it a “shoddy and unhinged” organization after its president made last Friday a lengthy testimony at the UN over Israel’s settlement and occupation activities in Palestine.
In Facebook remarks on Saturday, Netanyahu said he would move to bar national service volunteers from working with B’Tselem, but the watchdog said there were no such volunteers working for it at the present time.
The angry premier wrote on Facebook that B’Tselem and Americans for Peace Now, which also took part in the UN session, had joined “the chorus of mudslinging against Israel” and had recycled the false claim that the occupation and settlements are the reason for the conflict.”
He reiterated his claim that Palestinian rejection of the Jewish state within any borders was the true cause of the ongoing conflict.
As for Israeli rights groups, the premier said “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,” he added, vowing to defend Israel from foreign pressure.
He then added that he would move to change the law of national service, undertaken by some young Israelis as an alternative to mandatory military service, in order to bar B’Tselem from the list of organizations approved for volunteer work.
The group said in response that Netanyahu’s threat would not intimidate it.
“We will not stoop down to the prime minister’s level. We will not be cowed and neither will the hundreds of thousands in Israel who oppose the occupation,” a statement by B’Tselem said. “We will continue to tell the truth: The occupation must end.”
Head of B’Tselem Hagai El-Ad on Friday addressed the UN Security Council in New York, clarifying the reality about Israel’s illegal settlement expansion policy and its occupation of Palestine.
His statement has been fully published by B’Tselem on its official website.