Im Tirtzu apologizes over ‘foreign agents in culture’ campaign

January 29, 2016  

The grassroots Zionist movement Im Tirtzu on Friday issued an apology over its campaign calling out “foreign agents” in the Israeli cultural scene.

The apology came after the campaign caused an uproar in Israel and was condemned by those in both the political left and right.

“Dear friends. We were wrong,” wrote Im Tirtzu CEO Matan Peleg in a post on the group’s Facebook page. “We posted an erroneous post on a very important and essential topic, and precisely because of that we should have been more careful. There was no ‘campaign’, nor were there statements about ‘traitors’ which the media claimed we said and we never did. We take full responsibility and promise to continue to work with great faith for the sake of Israel and the IDF soldiers.”

“We will continue to deliver sharp criticism of organizations presenting IDF soldiers as war criminals and against those who call for a boycott of the state,” added Peleg. “Thank you to everyone who supported us over the last two days, and thank you to all of those who pointed out our mistake. Only someone who doesn’t do anything is never wrong. And we are people of action. And we will not stop.”

Im Tirtzu had released a clip on Wednesday night to boost support for Culture Minister Miri Regev’s plans to make government funding for cultural endeavors conditional on loyalty to the state. The clip listed the names of dozens of artists who took part in activities on behalf of highly controversial organizations lie Breaking the Silence, and who sit on the boards of the New Israel Fund and its organizations.

Leftist MKs in the Zionist Union party attacked the campaignas has Jewish Home chairman Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelet Shaked of his party. 

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu also weighed in against the campaign on Thursday night, saying he “opposes the use of the term ‘traitor’ for those who don’t agree with me. We are a democracy with a diversity of opinions. At the same time most of the public firmly opposes Breaking the Silence which spreads libel against the country abroad.”

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

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