War of words: Defeating the distortion of the IDF

My Truth, a group of volunteer IDF reserve soldiers who came together around half-a-year ago to combat the delegitimization of the army conducted by the radical leftist NGO Breaking the Silence, is gearing up to release a report on what actually goes on in the IDF.

One of the main directors of the group, Emanuel Miller, spoke with Arutz Sheva on Wednesday about the new crowdfunding campaign launched in recent days to realize the group's testimony project.

He describes the project as "a formal, comprehensive report, written in Hebrew and English, backed up with video clips, of statements from reserve soldiers about their experiences in the army. With the help of our volunteers, and together with you, we can make the project a reality and help show the real face of the IDF."

Donations to the project can be given here. With 40 days to go as of Wednesday, it is at 39% of its goal of 80,000 shekels (just over $20,100).

After making aliyah in 2005, Miller volunteered to serve in the IDF in 2007, where he functioned as a tank driver in the 401st armored brigade.

"My service was boring and drudgerous, at a checkpoint where nothing much happened," he recalls while speaking with Arutz Sheva.

Miller noted that the My Truth initiative "all started in May 2015, when Breaking the Silence's report on Operation Protective Edge came out. Its title purported to describe: 'this is how we fought in Gaza,' but it in reality it was a highly biased report; a collection of half-truths and unverifiable stories which were shrouded under the cloak of anonymity."

"The report's introduction describes how Israel allegedly acted improperly, but gives zero context, making it sound as if Israel willfully sends soldiers to Gaza for no reason, rather than making clear that dozens of terror tunnels were revealed, that three teenagers had been kidnapped and murdered, or that Hamas had been stockpiling thousands upon thousands of rockets for the express purpose of shooting at Israeli civilians," he added.

In the leftist report, Miller noted that the terms "terrorism," "Hamas," "jihad" and "rockets" only come up rarely, and when they do it isn't to describe the threats and war crimes conducted against Israel.

As for "human shield," the term doesn't even appear once in the report, despite the widely documented use of human shields by Hamas in the war, and its open calls for civilians to act as human shields on local TV.

"How can you talk about how Israeli soldiers fought in Gaza without at least mentioning that Hamas routinely uses human shields, rendering normal warfare almost impossible?," Miller posed.

Setting the record straight

While this was not the first time Breaking the Silence had been "telling its distorted version of events unopposed," the report on Operation Protective Edge crossed a new line.

In response, My Truth co-founder Avihai Shorshan took to Facebook to tell just a few stories "showing the extraordinary lengths the IDF goes to in order to prevent civilians being hurt, in order to balance out the lies," recalled Miller.

"At the end of his post, he added the hashtag #My_Truth. The post went viral, receiving thousands of likes, shares and comments, and spawned copycat posts from other combat soldiers who shared their own stories; the kind that Breaking the Silence totally neglect to tell. Shorshan received considerable Israeli media exposure, a Facebook page was created and in the space of about half a year we've reached over 23,000 'likes.'"

Miller is in charge of the English Facebook of My Truth, and in the space of just three months he reports having gained over 5,000 followers.

Heads of the My Truth group Iris Cohenian, via My Truth's Facebook page

Currently, the group is gearing up to release a report of its own, "collecting testimonies from soldiers who can describe first-hand the measures the IDF has in place to prevent innocent people from being hurt, how it regularly calls of strikes against legitimate terror targets for fear of collateral damage, and how Hamas, knowing this, deliberately exploits our humanity and cynically takes advantage of our insistence on operating in line with international law."

"For too long people have been telling lies and distortions about the IDF, and we decided that the best way to fight back is to collect these stories, and compile a comprehensive formal report detailing how the IDF really operates," he said.

Once the report is completed, My Truth intends to distribute it "to parliamentarians in Israel and around the world, to the UN and the EU, we'll take it to the media and we'll release it online as a free resource."

"Overwhelming positive responses"

In addition to the planned report, My Truth chairman Matan Katzman has spoken at a European Parliament session to set things straight regarding IDF actions in Gaza in 2014.

The group, under CEO Shachar Liran-Hanan, has also begun lecturing at pre-military academies, universities and other forums throughout Israel.

How has the My Truth campaign been received?

"The responses have been overwhelming and positive," said Miller. "We've got so much popular support because basically the whole country has served in the army, and they know how committed the IDF is to human rights, and how we face evil enemies who think nothing of murdering babies and the elderly."

"Breaking the Silence's activists like to portray themselves as having the courage to talk about things nobody else is willing to, but that's nonsense. Israelis can't keep their mouths shut! We argue all the time, we talk endlessly about peace and war, and we know full well that the army isn't perfect."

"The simple fact is that the Israeli public have had enough of hearing lies, distortions, and anonymous testimonies which can't be checked. My Truth is providing reserve soldiers the opportunity to show what really goes in the IDF and set the record straight," he concluded.

Source: http://www.israelnationalnews.com/News/News.aspx/207106

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