Israeli rights groups alarmed by Zionist video attack

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - 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 widely-viewed 68-second video, made by a radical Zionist group Im Tirtzu, has been condemned by Israeli and international rights groups, with calls for Israel's attorney general to investigate its producers for incitement.

Its publication comes at a time of heightened tension within Israeli society, with right-wing groups accusing the government of being too soft on Palestinian violence and left-wing groups advocating more restraint.

Titled "The Foreign Agents - Revealed!", the video opens with dramatic, staged footage of a Palestinian-looking man drawing a knife on the street and moving to plunge it into a passerby.

"While we fight terror, they fight us," the narrator says in Hebrew, accompanied by English subtitles and pictures of the human rights workers. (

The clip has been viewed nearly 200,000 times on Facebook and YouTube.

Hagai El-Ad, the director of B'Tselem, a group that monitors Israel's occupation of the West Bank and East Jerusalem and one of those named in the video, described it as "disgusting".

"Let's drop these games by Im Tirtzu," he wrote on Facebook. "The voice is the voice of Im Tirtzu, the hands are those of the government."

The others mentioned were from the Public Committee Against Torture in Israel; Breaking the Silence, which collects anonymous testimony from Israeli soldiers; and the Center for the Defense of the Individual.

Sari Bashi, the director of Human Rights Watch in Israel and the Palestinian territories, described the clip as incendiary and urged those featured in it to pursue their work. "You are heroes - keep defending human rights," she wrote on Twitter.

The video accuses the groups' members of working to defend Palestinians over and above Israel, and says the Netherlands, Germany, Norway and the European Union, all of which provide funding to Israeli NGOs, are complicit.

"They live here with us and are implants," the narrator says, urging supporters to back a law being proposed by members of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's government that would restrict foreign funding to NGOs.

Israeli President Reuven Rivlin, long a member of the right, has been assailed by fringe groups who see him as too emollient.

The defence and education ministers have meanwhile called for tighter restrictions on Breaking the Silence, casting it as anti-Israeli and subversive. Soldiers frequently use the group to reveal violations carried out against Palestinians.

(Reporting by Ori Lewis; writing by Luke Baker; editing by Richard Balmforth)