Skip to main content

Why one Israeli campaign is calling artists 'traitors'

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and other Israeli politicians have condemned the Im Tirtzu campaign labeling Israeli artists as traitors, but the group's activities against human rights activists continue unabated.
Israeli left wing demonstrators march holding placards protesting the right wing incitement against President Reuven Rivlin and human rights activists in Tel Aviv. December 19, 2015. An ultra-nationalist Israeli group has published a video accusing the heads of four of Israel's leading human rights organisations of being foreign agents funded by Europe and supporting Palestinians "involved in terrorism". The sign reads, "That's how occupation looks like." REUTERS/Baz Ratner - RTX1ZETR

About a week ago, the far-right organization Im Tirtzu ran a billboard campaign dubbed "cultural plants" (also known as “moles in culture” or “foreign agents”), denouncing artists and intellectuals who support peace and human rights organizations. The campaign seems to have come to a very happy end. The heads of the organization have accepted “full responsibility for their erroneous post.” They even thanked those “who pointed out the mistake” to them.

The campaign had met a barrage of condemnations from across the political spectrum. Defense Minister Moshe (Bogie) Ya’alon said, “This instigating campaign does not represent the moderate right, and certainly not the Likud Party and its values.” The chairman of HaBayit HaYehudi, Education Minister Naftali Bennett, tweeted that the campaign was “embarrassing, unnecessary and humiliating.” Minister of Culture and Sport Miri Regev tweeted, “Insulting people based on their views is unacceptable.”

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 for annual access.