Good work, Jonathan. I could write a lot about this as I have read the report and I am mentioned in it. But let's just say a few things.
1. Collier has included some truly shocking posts , people laughing at the Holocaust victims, that sort of thing.
2. Those with such views should not be part of PSC and would be excluded, in my experience, if their views were known. In many cases Collier accepts that they are not members and have even been excluded. But he slams the movement as a whole because he has seen such a person talking to another person, or attending a public event. To see how tenuous such connections can be, see the next point.
3. My mention comes in connection with a 5 minute talk I gave to the Cardiff branch of Ignite, entitled 'Pictures from Palestine'. It was based on my Jewish background and most recent trip to Israel-Palestine. It can be found on-line and is most definitely not anti-Semitic, though equally definitely it is anti-occupation. Not that Collier has checked - or perhaps he did and found nothing he could attack. Ignite evenings are public events where 9 volunteer speakers present 20 slides in 5 minutes on a subject they are passionate about. Mine is the only talk among the many hundreds that have been presented in Cardiff over the years to address this subject; in fact, very few are about political subjects in any form.
One person who Collier has identified as anti-Semitic, possibly correctly, retweeted a tweet from Cardiff PSC publicising my talk. Collier identifies him as a regular activist from Cardiff PSC - none of the branch officers know him, nor do I. On this basis, Collier concludes that Ignite Cardiff "works closely" with Cardiff PSC and implies that both are anti-Semitic. Ignite Cardiff has had never had any contact with Cardiff PSC. Just with me about my 5 minute talk, which was my idea and remains my responsibility.
After the Six Day War a book "Siaḥ Loḥamim" (“Soldiers’ Talk”) appeared, published in English as ‘The Seventh Day'. It contained interviews with some soldiers from a few Kibbutzim, largely conducted by Avraham Shapira and Amos Oz. These interviews exposed some inhuman acts by the army which troubled the interviewees. As the book became well known, read and discussed, various government leaders including Golda Meir, praised it as showing the moral conscience of the soldiers etc. Why? Because this was a way of neutralising its impact and trying to spin the bad news to the advantage of the Zionist state.
(The recent film “Censored Voices” is based on the same interview recordings. I am well aware of the criticisms of the film, but would still recommend it).
That the Breaking the Silence organisation comes under direct attack from many in the Israeli establishment and the public, yet also some gets nuanced praise from some senior military is therefore understandable.
What is not at all acceptable is when other critics of the IDF or Zionism attack these soldiers ‘from the left’. It is absolutely a duty of any solidarity movement to try and break open the unity of the oppressive army and to encourage critical voices from within the military.
I’ve read recent complaints from people objecting to not being allowed to join BTS because they hadn’t served in combat roles! Correct, it’s an organisation for those who have. You want to support the Palestinians? There are dozens of other organisations in Israel where you can use your commendable energies and beliefs – if these people are genuine. Don’t attack soldiers who speak out, we need their stories.
In a militarised, nationalistic society like Israel (and I do know what I am writing about from the inside), it really does take courage to do this. You risk losing your friends and family by taking such a stance, never mind the attacks from those you know are your enemies.