Shame on the European Parliament...
Not surprisingly, they can't help themselves when it comes to demonizing Israel...
Andrei Sakharov was among the greatest of Russia’s communist-era dissidents. Brave, brilliant and principled he spoke truth to power against the full might of the Soviet Union’s totalitarian polity. But, like his Czech counterpart Vaclav Havel, the secret of his brilliance was that he could see further and wider than the confines of the system that oppressed him. He saw in communism a magnification of problems and deficiencies that affected the modern world generally, and that meant capitalist societies too.
Here is a sample of his writings on freedom of expression taken from his book Reflections on Progress, Peaceful Coexistence, and Intellectual Freedom:
“…intellectual freedom is essential to human society — freedom to obtain and distribute information, freedom for open-minded and unfearing debate and freedom from pressure by officialdom and prejudices. Such a trinity of freedom of thought is the only guarantee against an infection of people by mass myths, which, in the hands of treacherous hypocrites and demagogues, can be transformed into bloody dictatorship”.
With those words in mind — particularly “freedom from pressure by officialdom and prejudices”, “infection of people by mass myths” and “treacherous hypocrites and demagogues” — consider that at the behest of Greens and European United Left groupings an organisation dedicated to demonising the Israeli military, Breaking the Silence, was recently nominated for the shortlist for the European Parliament’s Sakharov Prize. According to news reports, the winner will be announced on Thursday, October 21.
But whether Breaking the Silence wins or not, the name of Andrei Sakharov and everything he stood for has now been so grossly abused by this disgraceful nomination — to be shortlisted for a prize is itself to bestow an honour on the nominee — that if it wasn’t the product of the European Parliament one would simply be speechless with disbelief.
The squalid reality of what kind of organisation Breaking the Silence really is was revealed in a masterful, and superbly written, commentary in yesterday’s Jerusalem Post by Michael Dickson, Israeli head of StandWithUs, one of the world’s most effective pro-Israel education and advocacy groups.
In that piece, Dickson said the following:“Breaking the Silence is hypocritical about its aims and even its name. If it wanted to present a true picture of the IDF, it would not blatantly omit the context of terrorism, the goals of Israel’s enemies, the deadly rocket fire from Gaza. It would not omit how the enemy hides behind Palestinian civilians and attacks Israeli civilians. It would raise awareness about the moral dilemmas the IDF faces. But instead, it omits this vital context in its reports, which often consist of anonymous, unverified testimony.
“There isn’t even any “silence” to “break.” Israel is an open and democratic society that regularly criticizes its own actions, and anyone is free to present complaints and findings to government officials and the courts”.