Reform leaders call on Netanyahu to condemn ‘violent rhetoric’ against Rivlin, NGOs

Marcy Oster

(JTA) — Leaders of the Reform movement called on Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to tone down the “violent rhetoric” aimed at Israeli President Reuven Rivlin and human rights NGOs.

In a letter sent Saturday to Netanyahu, movement leaders wrote “to express our concern about the violent and personal nature of these verbal attacks and to call on you to publicly and privately use your power to change the tone of the conversation.”

The letter comes after Rivlin came under attack for participating in the Haaretz conference in New York, which also featured speakers from the controversial NGO Breaking the Silence, which brings former soldiers to talk about the Israeli military’s alleged abuse of Palestinians. It also comes in the wake of a video released by the right-wing Israeli group Im Tirtzu that called four Israeli human rights activists foreign “moles.”

The letter accused members of Netanyahu’s government of echoing the rhetoric of right-wing extremists, and said it is “essential” that Netanyahu “set the tone of civil discourse – preventing incitement and violence – regardless of any disagreements you may have with the views of the human rights NGOs. We have seen the horrors that occur when words of incitement turn to acts of violence; such incitement cannot go unchecked.”


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