OCCUPIED JERUSALEM: An ultra-nationalist Israeli group that has campaigned against foreign-funded NGOs broadened its assault to include left-wing artists on Thursday, accusing authors such as Amos Oz and David Grossman of disloyalty to the country.
The offensive by Im Tirtzu takes place amid deepening left-right divisions in Israel, with members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government frequently critical of the arts and advocating a more religious-nationalist agenda.
Culture Minister Miri Regev, a member of Netanyahu’s Likud party, has proposed cutting government funding for any theater or arts institution whose programs “subvert the state.” Education Minister Naftali Bennett wants to introduce a civics book in schools that critics say reinterprets history with political bias.
In posters published online and on its Facebook page, Im Tirtzu takes aim at what it calls “foreign agents in the cultural world,” accusing Israeli actors, writers, directors and other “intellectuals” of obstructing the government’s mission.
“They are members of foreign agent organizations operating with foreign government funding … against the State of Israel,” it says, naming around 100 people from the worlds of cinema, theater, publishing and television.
It published on Facebook the names of several dozen “cultural people” listed on the websites of left-leaning charities and non-governmental organisations as serving as members of their boards or public councils.
The posters follow a video campaign launched late last year in which Im Tirtzu accused the heads of several high-profile Israeli NGOs, including one focused on human rights violations by the Israeli army, of being foreign-funded “agents” bent on undermining the state.