Israeli far-right group labels Amos Oz 'mole'


Israeli right-wing activists have provoked outrage by presenting some of Israel's best-loved cultural figures as "moles" who are promoting foreign governments' agendas.

The Im Tirtzu organisation has created a poster in which headshots of some of the accused - including writer Amos Oz and actress Gila Almagor - are displayed over a theatre curtain, with captions branding them "moles in culture".

Im Tirtzu is engaged in a high-profile campaign against left-wing NGOs such as Breaking the Silence and the organisation that Mr Oz and Ms Almagor are involved in, B'Tselem. In a video last month, it cast the NGOs as terrorist-defenders, "foreign agents" and, because they receive European funding, "moles" of countries that donate to them. In the latest phase of its campaign, cultural figures have become "moles".

Many politicians on the Israeli right share Im Tirtzu's antipathy towards groups such as Breaking the Silence and B'Tselem, and the government is currently promoting a law that could hamper their operation. But there was virtually unanimous agreement that with its attack on cultural figures, Im Tirtzu overstepped the line.

Prominent Likud MK Benny Begin said: "The search, identification and marking of alleged traitors is an old fascist characteristic."

Condemnation even came from radical-right party Jewish Home and Charedi MKs.

Left-wing opposition leader Isaac Herzog said: "McCarthyism is staging a filthy takeover attempt." Mr Herzog's comments came two days after Im Tirtzu's founder Ronen Shoval tweeted that "in most cases, McCarthy was right".

He told the JC that Senator Joseph McCarthy's methods were "ugly" and he was not defending them, but stood by his tweet as historical fact.

Asked about the reaction to the campaign, Mr Shoval, who no longer heads Im Tirtzu, said: "Every time the right criticises the left it's McCarthyism and every time the left criticises the right it's freedom of speech. This is hypocrisy."

B'Tselem spokeswoman Sarit Michaeli said that Im Tirtzu was "trying to target the freedom of speech of people who think differently".

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