Barnard-Columbia International Socialist Organization

September 29, 2009

Tues 9/29: Why We Refuse

Filed under: Solidarity — Barnard-Columbia ISO @ 2:35 pm

Why We Refuse: Israelis say No to the Occupation of Palestine

Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Room 405, IAB
4:30 – 6:00pm


The Jewish Voice for Peace, CODEPINK, and the Arab Student Association
at SIPA invite you to a conversation with two Refuseniks, Maya and
Netta, who refuse to serve in the Israeli army and participate in the
occupation of Palestine.  Maya and Netta illuminate the realities of
growing up in Israel and becoming conscientious objectors, and present
viable ways Americans can become more informed and proactive against
the occupation.

“At first, like many other Israeli citizens, I too could not bring
myself to confront or criticize the Israeli military’s immoral
actions. I realize that this difficulty originated from my sense of
identification with soldiers my own age, to whom I could relate. Today
it is precisely this realization that leads me to refuse to serve. I
cannot recognize the humanity of Israelis but not that of
Palestinians. It is because of my deep sense of commitment and
responsibility to the community in which I grew up that I am refusing
to contribute to this cycle of bloodshed.” ~ Maya Wind

The two speakers are part of a group called the Shministim, Israeli
high-school seniors –and prospective conscripts into the mandatory
Israeli military- who have been imprisoned for their principled
refusal to serve the Occupation of Palestinian territories.  What
these young conscientious objectors have to say about the occupation
and their personal accounts of militarization in Israeli society is of
critical importance for US audiences.

The new movement of Refuseniks is gaining worldwide attention and is
one way Israelis are objecting the policies of their government and
standing up for the rights of Palestinians.  Maya and Netta have
signed the current 2008 Shministim letter which articulates their
reasons for refusal.  Because of their principled refusal to serve in
an occupying army, youth who sign the letter face jail terms in
Israeli military prisons.

In the 2008 letter that the Shministim sent to the Israeli government,
they wrote: “…we object to Israeli ‘defense’ methods: checkpoints,
‘targeted’ killing, roads for Jews only, sieges and more, which serve
the land seizing policy, annex more occupied territories into Israel
and trample on Palestinian human rights.  These actions are perhaps a
temporary fix, but it is clear that in the long run only exacerbate
the conflict…it is impossible to harm and imprison in the name of
freedom, and thus it is impossible to be moral and serve the

This national tour is organized by:

CODEPINK: CODEPINK is a women-initiated grassroots peace and social
justice movement working to end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, stop
new wars, and redirect our resources into healthcare, education, green
jobs and other life-affirming activities. CODEPINK rejects foreign
policies based on domination and aggression, and instead calls for
policies based on diplomacy, compassion and a commitment to
international law. With an emphasis on joy and humor, CODEPINK women
and men seek to activate, amplify and inspire a community of
peacemakers through creative campaigns and a commitment to

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP): Jewish Voice for Peace is a diverse and
democratic community of activists inspired by Jewish tradition to work
together for peace, social justice, and human rights. We support the
aspirations of Israelis and Palestinians for security and
self-determination. Jewish Voice for Peace has worked with the
Shministim in the past by organizing thousands of activists to demand
their release from prison.

This event is co-sponsored by: Progressive Jewish Alliance, TURATH,
Common Ground, Columbia Coalition against the War (CCAW), Students for
a Democratic Society (SDS), International Socialist Organization
(ISO), the Columbia Palestine Forum.


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