The right-wing Zionist group Im Tirtzu, known for its campaigns that expose anti-Zionist activity by Israeli NGOs, on Wednesday launched a new campaign accusing left-wing Israeli artists of being disloyal to the country.
The Israeli actors, writers, directors, and “intellectuals” in posters published online by Im Tirtzu are accused of acting as “foreign agents in the cultural world.”
“They are members of foreign agent organizations operating with foreign government funding…against the State of Israel,” one poster says. The campaign names about 100 people from the worlds of cinema, theater, publishing, and television, including famous Israeli authors Amos Oz and David Grossman.
“We’re sick of funding ‘artists’ who support mole organizations. This is disregard for the state of Israel and its values,” said Matan Peleg, the director of Im Tirtzu.
Critics of Im Tirtzu’s new campaign have dubbed the initiative “Israeli McCarthyism.” Although some media reports are trying to connect recent Im Tirtzu campaigns with Israeli Education Minister Naftali Bennett and Justice Minister Ayelt Shaked, both members of the Jewish Home political party, Bennett and Shaked have distanced themselves from Im Tirtzu. Shaked recently authored a controversial Israeli Knesset bill on NGO transparency. The bill’s comparison of some Israeli NGOs to “foreign agents” mirrors the language of Im Tirtzu’s NGO campaigns.
“The campaign against the artists is embarrassing, needless, and disgraceful,” Bennett wrote on Twitter.
“It does not serve any agenda and I do not think this is a proper campaign,” Shaked told Army Radio, according to Reuters.