+972 Magazine's Stories of the Week

Directly In Your Inbox

Analysis News
Visit our Hebrew site, "Local Call" , in partnership with Just Vision.

Israelis in the U.S. mobilize against Gaza conflict

The Israeli Opposition Network is a group of Israelis who live in the United States. The members of the group have organized, during the past few months, in order to establish and promote critical and oppositional thinking from within Israel. Following the events, several members of the group formulated the following text.

Last month, we started discussing strategies for countering the policies of the Israeli government, which we believe has become increasingly dangerous for its citizens. We wanted to communicate our concerns to Americans with longstanding connections to Israel. Little did we expect the urgency of the moment.

By killing Hamas leader Ahmad Jabari on November 14, the Israeli government intentionally escalated the military struggle with Hamas. For a long time now, both sides have been using indiscriminate military measures – Hamas shooting rockets on Israeli civilians and Israel imposing different levels of siege. However, the recent assassination has made the threat of a new war immediate.

This renewed conflict has already cost civilian lives on both sides, and the death toll is constantly rising. Such casualties are a foreseeable result of war, and might have been considered inevitable if Israel was truly defending itself. But the Gaza campaign is by no means a measure of defense. It reflects a unilateralism and isolationism that is likely to deepen the insecurity of all of us for years to come.

Starting in the summer of 2011, a wave of protest put debates on social justice and civic equality at center stage. With ongoing unrest all over the country, the legitimacy of the government was called into question. As others have pointed out, generating a military crisis is a convenient way of diverting attention from civic equality. In a traditionally militarized Israel, this is truly the oldest trick in the book: “security” measures ensure that employment security or pension security are overlooked.

No less important is the fact that by escalating the conflict in Gaza, the government is generating long-term risks to life and limb. As Gershon Baskin has explained, Hamas authorities in Gaza have sometimes been willing to consider “pragmatic” measures. Destroying the minimal cooperation that existed with authorities in Gaza in the context of momentous political transitions in the Middle East is exposing Israeli citizens to irresponsible risks. In the context of the regional demand for democracy, it is likely to strengthen perceptions that Israel is an anti-democratic and anti-Muslim force, fueling immensely perilous hostility.

In the last few days, we have all taken part in actions that express solidarity with civilians under attack, both in Israel and in Gaza. Yet, as Israeli citizens in the United States, we feel we also have the role of setting off an emergency alarm. By unconditionally supporting Israel’s military escapades, Americans are inevitably tying their own fates with an ally that seems to have gone rogue.

Popular pressure from within and from without of Israel, aiming to impose a ceasefire based on recognition of the elected government, can reduce dangers that Israel’s war-mongering leadership is spawning.

-Neta Alexander, Yael Barda, Keren Dotan, Yael Even Or, Gal Katz, Nitzan Lebovic, Yoni Lebowitsch, Dotan Leshem, Itamar Mann, Liron Mor, Oded Na’aman, Naomi Safran-Hon


Before you go...

A lot of work goes into creating articles like the one you just read. And while we don’t do this for the money, even our model of non-profit, independent journalism has bills to pay.

+972 Magazine is owned by our bloggers and journalists, who are driven by passion and dedication to the causes we cover. But we still need to pay for editing, photography, translation, web design and servers, legal services, and more.

As an independent journalism outlet we aren’t beholden to any outside interests. In order to safeguard that independence voice, we are proud to count you, our readers, as our most important supporters. If each of our readers becomes a supporter of our work, +972 Magazine will remain a strong, independent, and sustainable force helping drive the discourse on Israel/Palestine in the right direction.

Support independent journalism in Israel/Palestine Donate to +972 Magazine today
View article: AAA
Share article
Print article

    * Required


    1. There is something that appears absurd. They state: both sides have been using indiscriminate military measures – Hamas shooting rockets on Israeli civilians and Israel imposing different levels of siege.. Take a moment for those qords: indiscriminate military measures. Wich side is using these indiscriminate military measures? Are they talking about some rockets, as fireworks, or they are talking about tanks, missiles radar guided, military well equipped.
      I think that this kind of movement have to dig inside his bible memory…one time there was a little boy with a sling, he fight against a big one well armored, very strong…and in the history happen that the positions can be inverted.

      Reply to Comment
      • The Trespasser

        So marvelously mindless…

        Rockets as fireworks.

        The most idiotic claim ever made.

        Just make sure you are not repeating it anywhere near makers of this fine weapons of destruction.

        Reply to Comment
          • The Trespasser

            What exactly am I supposed to see there?

            “According to one report: “the Emir of Qatar provided intelligence to the Israelis which was used in the targeted bombings of key Hamas government buildings.””

            It’s even more idiotic. Israel really has no need to rely on Emir of Qatar to gain intelligence data. And even if Israel did – how on earth would that news agency find about it? Emir told them?

            Dude, you really should to start thinking more critically. And not only about Israel.

            Reply to Comment
    2. Charles-Jerusalem

      A rocket just fell 20 mn from my home. We don’t have miklatim in the building and we don’t have reinforced rooms. We actually have nowhere to hide.
      So, I find it easy for you living in the US to re-group and bla bla about the Israeli government. Because right now, when you’ve finished to protest, you go/drive back home quietly, eat quietly and sleep quietly.
      The Israel governement, right now does not sleep. It is negociating so the next war will not happen.
      So it is easy to protest when you guys are far from home.
      I strongly advise you to just shut-up and go-on making money in the US. Because right now, us in Israel don’t care about money, we care about the present, preserving the ones we love and the future.
      If you want to have an influence on Israel, your country, you have to be there.

      Reply to Comment
      • christian canadian

        Pretty sure the whole point is that you are not becoming safer. You are increasing tensions with Palestinians and the entire middle east. Maybe youd have to take a step back from your current views to see this more clearly?

        Reply to Comment
        • JustKiddingNotReally

          Destroying Hamas’s arsenal of Fajr rockets, the main weapon at their disposal capable of hitting Jerusalem (if I’m not mistaken), doesn’t make our dear reader Charles safer? And what difference does it make that Israel is “increasing tensions” with people who are already committed to expelling Jews from Palestine? I love the – “increasing tensions” argument – probably the most fatuous and ignorant piece of rubbish repeated by Western media out of an attempt to sound “balanced”? Christian Canadian – instead of eating it up, do some critical thinking of your own.

          Reply to Comment
          • Robynne

            Destroying Hamas’ arsenal may keep Charles safer in the short term. But what about “Charlene” in Gaza? And in the long term, the arsenal will be built up again.
            What do you think of a person who encourages another person to fight with a third party?…I call them a bully and a coward. IF that is what Israel is doing by “increasing tensions” – then they are bullying and trying to get someone else to do their dirty work.

            Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          Step back where exactly?
          Any practical advice?

          Reply to Comment
        • klang

          Jews are always responsible is what you are saying. This is getting a bit old. Perhaps it is a bit of replacement theology, in that Jews are cursed and required to suffer for rejecting Jesus. Sorry you missed the Spanish Inquistion

          Reply to Comment
      • Jack

        So you support the government of Israel approach on blockade? occupation? war? on Gaza and are surprised when palestinians shoot back? Sorry but thats not logical.

        Why are you talking about a next war? Why not try to end this current war going on now?

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser

          There is one simple way to end this and all future wars – Palestinians got to stop attacking Israel.

          Until then – Israel has a right to defend herself, you know.

          Reply to Comment
      • Robynne

        Charles – I am praying for your safety.

        Reply to Comment
      • have you ever ask to yourself why don’t you sleep? Why? Do you believe that one morning one stupid group of persons have decide to launch some rocket on your home just for funny?
        I believe that you must change and put off your mask and watch what your government is doing, was doing during all these 60 years against these native. perhaps, you think, they are beast, but every beast doesn’t accept to be beaten for ever and one time, it happens, it give you back all with interests.
        But the true, we know, is in other side…

        Reply to Comment
    3. Khair

      Stay safe, Charles.

      While you stay safe, however, remember that there are people on both sides of the border. Both of which deserve a decent life with prospects for a bright future. Life is not just eating to survive, and it will never be enough for the Palestinians. While Israelis are threatened by rockets, they at least have the chance to lead a productive diverse life.

      There are people who deserve to live, and not just survive on handouts. Perhaps the enforced safety of Israelis is not only attainable by the oppression of millions of Palestinians. You sow oppression and occupation, you reap terrorism.

      Maybe it’s horrors the ancestors of the people of Israel faced that makes them rate their safety so highly, but is it worth it, as such? Is Israeli safety eventually going to be separation wall, iron domes, “mowing the lawn” every couple of years, and pits of Palestinian misery on the other side? It’s a beautiful existence, isn’t it?

      John Rawls has an experiment. Would you try it? Would you choose a side of the border to land in, if you had no ties to neither?

      I’ve lived through my share of Israeli war planes flying overhead, actually, I still do, thanks to violations of our airspace. I’ve shivered to my bones as missiles whistled through the air and buildings were leveled to the floor. I’ve cried watching massacres in our towns and I’ve seen infantry advance on our lands. But I would still choose to be on this side of the border, the one without international support. I wouldn’t want any airplane of mine bombing civilians on my conscience.

      Reply to Comment
    4. Ante Pavelic

      I applaud this group of ex-israelis who are alerting the world to the danger of zionism. I also want to express my admiration of the gathering coalition of Obama, Erdogan, Morsi, and the Qatari Emirate, who is on the verge of imposing a truce on the zionists that will grant Hamas a resounding victory

      Reply to Comment
    5. Charles-Jerusalem

      To Khair and Picotto,

      If right now, Hamas makes a press conference saying that it stops war, put its weapons away to go for a political and non violent action, the new Israeli government would for sure close a durable cease-fire that would open the door to re-building Gaza.
      But you guys live in coocoo land or lala land to be more precise. The Hamas wants one thing, killing the jewish people slowly and painfully even if it is at the price of their own civil population. They don’t even care about themselves as long as it is compliant with islamic law.
      And you guys are supporting them, it is appauling.

      Reply to Comment
      • Khair

        I never said I supported them. I support the Palestinian people, not Hamas. Targeting civilians is clearly a war crime.

        You speak of rebuilding Gaza. What is Gaza? Will you not at least recognize that there were people in the places where Israelis have settled by force? Gaza is 50% refugees. They did not land from the skies. It is one of the most populated places on earth, where the average income per person is 1483 dollars a year. What life could be built there?

        Refugee camps are all over the neighboring countries. What is the peace offered to these people? It is simply “accept what has happened to you, accept Israel as a Jewish nation.”

        My problem is that Israel ignores what has happened to the people it has displaced, as every day their land becomes smaller and settlements expand, constantly changing the borders.

        I do not live in a “lala land.” Hamas is a product, as are all the radicals in the region. Radicalism doesn’t sprout from comfortable lives. You must have been raised in fear, it must have been a core constituent of your upbringing, fear and conviction, so as to completely ignore other people, or undermine their rights to decent lives.

        And Hamas doesn’t “want to kill Jewish people slowly and painfully.” That’s not their objective, nor is it a doctrine of Islam. Be reasonable. It isn’t about religion, it’s about land. And if Hamas does want that, that is not what the Palestinians want. Although they are certainly full of rage, I doubt there’s a matter of revenge in it. It’s a matter of retrieval of rights.

        The easiest things to believe are the ones that fit our convictions. Peace.

        Reply to Comment
        • The Trespasser


          Wouldn’t it be more efficient if you’d have problem with that Palestinian Arabs until today have no own state?
          Take consideration that they’ve been offered one together with Palestinian Jews, and 2 or three times after that.

          And rejected each and every time.

          Care to explain why?

          Reply to Comment
    6. adaliaInIsrael

      Dear Khair, To be honest it seems a waste of time to even speak to most of the ignorant responders here on this site. I will however make it brief. 1. The “Palestinians” are not even a race- they are muslims who come from all of the surrounding arab nations. 2. Israel has every right to defend itself (why don’t you try living under constant missile and rocket attack, as well as suicide bombings-I have been living this first hand here in Israel while watching my own Israeli government do everything it can to minimize casualties when defending our borders. Who do you think supplies Gaza and the West bank with electricity and water not to mention millions of dollars of aide for food and supplies-as does the UN, the US, and many other countries).

      Reply to Comment
    7. john O.

      I salute your initiative . Only arrogant people will call the uprising of the oppressed and cornered ,terrorists who do not enjoy the support of the population. Hamas does and they are freedom fighters not unlike the fighters of Masada, the french”resistance” or the uprising of the Warsaw ghetto. Stop the occupation ,settlements blockades and start reversing course . It will take time but start.

      Reply to Comment
    8. Click here to load previous comments

The stories that matter.
The missing context.
All in one weekly email.

Subscribe to +972's newsletter