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  • Israeli soldiers detain a wounded Palestinian protester during clashes near the Jewish settlement of Bet El, in the West Bank.

    Israeli soldiers detain a wounded Palestinian protester during clashes near the Jewish settlement of Bet El, in the West Bank. | Photo: Reuters

Published 16 December 2015

Pro-Palestinian groups critical of Israel’s occupation were labeled “foreign agents” and framed as traitors in a video by an ultra-nationalist group.

Israeli rights groups and activists slammed Zionist Israeli group Im Tirtzu on Wednesday after it released a video calling several Israeli heads of human rights organizations “foreign agents” working in favor of Palestinians and against the Israeli state and its people.

“This is an incitement video. It tries to use fear to produce politics of hate.”

Titled "The Foreign Agents - Revealed!", the video kicks off with staged footage of a Palestinian-looking man drawing a knife on the street and moving toward the camera in a stabbing position.

"While we fight terror, they fight us," the narrator says in Hebrew, accompanied by English subtitles and pictures and names of the human rights workers. The video argues that suspected Palestinian attackers it calls “terrorists” know these human rights workers.

“This video is an extreme example of hate and incitement,” B'Tselem spokesperson and Sarit Michaeli told teleSUR English. B'Tselem is an Israeli nongovernmental organization that monitors Israel's occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem.

However, Michaeli said that the issue was not the group itself but the “(Israeli) government’s incitement and smear and hate and campaign against Israelis criticizing its current policy” against Palestinians.

“(Im Tirtzu) organization is trying to appear independent but in fact is connected to the government. the prime minister can stop this and make clear public statement but we have not heard anything,” she added, saying the government is using such extremist groups to do its dirty work without being directly involved.

To date, the 68-second video has been viewed nearly 200,000 times on Facebook and YouTube.

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In addition to B'Tselem, other groups mentioned include: the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel; Breaking the Silence, which collects anonymous testimony from Israeli soldiers; and the Center for the Defense of the Individual.

Stressing that it is a clear sign of incitement and a smear campaign, rights groups said that such videos were connected to the right-wing government that wants to crack down on their work against the occupation and the Israeli state’s abuse against Palestinians.

The video comes at a time of heightened tensions between Israel and Palestinians, as clashes continue in the West Bank, East Jerusalem and the Gaza strip.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, more than 100 Palestinians have been killed and hundreds more injured since Oct.1. The clashes were sparked by successive incursions by hard-line Israeli groups in the al-Aqsa Mosque compound, the third holiest site in Islam.

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Right-wing groups are accusing the government of being too soft in the crackdown on the Palestinian “terror,” while left-wing groups in Israel are calling for restraint and point to Israeli government abuses and complicity in the clashes.

In fact, in a letter to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu last month, B’Tselem executive director, Hagai El-Ad, wrote: “Your government permits—and encourages—the transformation of police officers, and even of armed civilians, into judges and executioners.”

The video further accuses the groups and its members of working to defend Palestinians over and above Israel, and says the Netherlands, Germany, Norway and the European Union, all of which provide funding to Israeli NGOs, are complicit.

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"They live here with us and are implants," the video’s narrator says, urging supporters to back a law being proposed by members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government that would restrict foreign funding to NGOs.

“This is an incitement video. It tries to use fear to produce politics of hate,” Menuchin Ifhai, the executive director of the Public Committee Against Torture, told teleSUR English. “It is telling the public ‘Remember all those people are helping those attackers’ in order to blame us for those attacks. They put our pictures up there and say we are not real Israelis, that we are manipulated by the West.”

Ifhai added that his organization complained about it to the police.

“We contacted the general attorney with other organizations to ask for an investigation into this video,” he said.

Israeli officials, including the defense and education ministers, have been calling for tighter restrictions on Breaking the Silence, labeling it as anti-Israeli and subversive. Soldiers frequently use the group to reveal violations carried out against Palestinians.

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