(JTA) — A right-wing Israeli group apologized for a controversial campaign calling leftist artists “foreign agents.” Matan Peleg, the director of the group Im Tirtzu, wrote last Friday on Facebook that his organization did not “sufficiently consider” the new campaign. “Dear friends, we erred,” the group wrote on its official Facebook page. “We posted a mistaken post on a topic that is very important and essential, and precisely because of that we should have been more careful.”
On Jan. 27, Im Tirtzu posted a banner on social media with the title “Foreign Agents in Culture.” Below was a list of famous artists, including Amos Oz, David Grossman, A.B. Yehoshua and Gila Almagor – who in the past have expressed support for dovish groups and parties. Im Tirtzu used the Hebrew adjective “shtulim,” which literally means “implanted.”
“There was neither a campaign nor were there any statements about ‘traitors’ that the media stuck to us and we never said. We take full responsibility and promise to continue to work with great faith for the sake of Israel and IDF soldiers,” the statement continued.
On Jan. 28, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said during a speech that he objects to labeling critics of certain policies “traitors,” in what Israeli media interpreted as a reference to Im Tirtzu’s banner, and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon denounced the “obnoxious and dangerous” move by Im Tirtzu.