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Jerusalem high school alumni to students: Refuse military draft

Dozens of Jerusalem’s Israel Arts and Sciences Academy alumni publish a letter calling on future graduates to refuse to serve the occupation. Orly Noy sat down to speak to one of the signatories about the legality of the letter, militarism in the educational system and the influence of former IASA student, Sayed Kashua. 

Three Israeli refuseniks. Their T-shirts read: "We See. We Hear. We Refuse,” Tel Aviv, October 16th, 2009. (Photo by Keren Manor/Activestills.org)

Three Israeli refuseniks. Their T-shirts read: “We See. We Hear. We Refuse,” Tel Aviv, October 16th, 2009. (Photo by Keren Manor/Activestills.org

Just three months ago reservists from the secretive Unit 8200 declared their refusal to serve in the army. Now a group of alumni from the Jerusalem’s Israel Arts and Sciences Academy (IASA) are calling on the school’s students to do the same and refuse to enlist. There are many similarities between the two groups: if Unit 8200 is considered to be one of the most elite units in the army, then IASA is its educational equivalent.

The school, established in 1990, was formed “to serve as a unique school for gifted and talented students from across the country.” The boarding school picks the most outstanding students from across the country in a lengthy and arduous screening process that lasts nearly a year. Those who are picked study either humanities, sciences, art or music. As opposed to the soldiers of 8200, the alumni of IASA, who were also joined by former faculty members, are doing more than simply declaring their own personal refusal – they are going one step further and calling on future graduates to refuse to enlist in the IDF. From the letter:

The Israeli military is responsible for the mundane systematic mechanisms of oppression used against Palestinians in the Occupied Territories while also taking part in the oppression and dispossession of the non-Jewish citizens of the State of Israel. The military serves as an enabler to a separation-regime based on the notion of an ethnic superiority of Jews over Palestinians; a regime which denies basic human rights, enforces separate legal systems to different populations in the West Bank, and which has institutionalized a system of ethnic-based discrimination in the ‘48 territory.

Gilad Leibovitz, 36, is a 1996 IASA graduate who signed the letter. He currently studies medicine in Italy.

How did this initiative come about?

It began during the summer by a number of alumni and quickly gained many signatures.

Can you describe the signatories in general terms? Did any Palestinians sign it? Faculty members?

There are Palestinians among the signatories. They are, of course, Palestinian alumni and citizens of Israel. It may even surprise you to hear that many Palestinians refused to sign or be part of the letter in any capacity. I assume it has to do with their workplace or their relative proximity to the Jewish population’s consensus on the issue. I also assume that most of them are afraid of being harmed by the consequences of the call.

There are also former faculty members – a literature teacher, a homeroom teacher, another alumnus from my graduating class who worked in the arts department and myself. After graduation I worked on staff as a social counselor at the boarding school. Obviously, one of the current staff members signed the letter.

Israeli activists protest outside the ministry of defense in center Tel Aviv, calling for the release of conscientious objector, Natan Blank, who is in Military Prison Number 6, May 21. 2013. Blank has been imprisoned for 150 days for refusing to serve in the Israeli army. For 10 times he arrived at the induction center and declared his refusal to serve as he is opposed to the occupation. He was immediately jailed for several weeks each time. (Photo by: Activestills.org)

Israeli activists protest outside the Ministry of Defense in central Tel Aviv, calling for the release of former conscientious objector Natan Blank. (Photo by: Activestills.org)

As opposed to previous conscientious objector letters, yours includes not only a declaration that you will refuse to serve, but also a call on graduates to refuse. This is considered a crime. Have you considered the consequences of your decision? Did you receive legal consultation?

This is a call to refuse. I think that we need to look at this question from a few different angles. First of all, it is ignorant to think that someone who has signed onto a refusal letter has not read it. I do not think that the soldiers of 8200 published their refusal letter under the premise they would simply publish their stories and that’s the end of it. The significance of every public call for refusal is that it also calls on others to take part in the act. I think that this kind of debate belongs in the world of contract law, rather as a part of a serious discussion.

As for the issue of the legality of the call, we did seek out legal consultation. Obviously there is no lawyer who prefers that this kind of call never be issued. We chose not to hide behind a cloud of ambiguity and instead decided to state the obvious.

On a fundamental level, I cannot say that I would be surprised if the state takes active steps against us. Doing so, however, would be a mark of shame for any democratic state, although perhaps most people here may no longer frown upon that. The call to break the law exists in many other situations, including among right wingers or the ultra-Orthodox community. This is a call that has existed across the world at different times, such as during the Vietnam War. Furthermore, this is a call that has characterized popular uprisings against different regimes, such as the oppression of blacks in the United States or the most totalitarian regimes of the last century. This call, or rather the lack of such an explicit call, is one of the reasons why the Western world blames Nazi Germany, without getting into comparisons. The actual call to break the law is not of the essence.

From the letter:

Oppression mechanisms are also used against Jews within Israel, particularly against Mizrachi, Ultra-Orthodox, Ethiopians, women, residents of the periphery and the poor wherever they are. The military is not the only executive power in the current political, social and economic reality, but a refusal to serve in it is a clear expression of resistance against these oppressions. Backed by the military, Israeli governments are exploiting the weakened populations for ethnic cleansing and dispossession projects across the Green Line, in the Negev and the Galilee, using them to fight the so called “demographic war”. The constant state of emergency serves the destructive neoliberal policy of the regime, which means the state’s rejection of its responsibility for its own citizens while eroding basic services such as health, welfare and education.

You call on future graduates to take a step that strays from the norm in Israeli society. Is there an underlying recognition of the privileges that students of a certain background have that will allow them to have support, should they answer the call?

I think that first and foremost, it is important that anyone who chooses to refuse knows he is not alone. He is not alone because others believe and think like him. He is not alone because we will stand together and help one another, and we will help those who choose to try and chance the discourse and the present situation, even if they live in a reality that does not allow them to even dream of doing so.

IASA is a very elitist school. Did you witness any militarism while there?

I don’t think there is a single place in Israeli society that is not strongly influenced by or is part of a militaristic discourse. The very fact that we are having this conversation is perhaps the best indication that the discourse is omnipresent. It is part of us, our culture, our ethos, our identity as a nation. There is no doubt that IASA is partner to it, and that the message of the school is not open to discussion. I think that part of it is also to raise awareness of the educational system’s indoctrination, which begins from a very young age and never ends. I think it is very sad that speaking about human rights or full equality for all citizens of Israel is seen as radical or extreme.

Is the school’s principal aware of the letter? Have you gotten responses? If not, what kind of responses are you expecting?

I know that the administration has been aware of the letter for several months. We haven’t received any responses yet. I assume that there is a fear that the school will be seen as radical left or something similar, and that this may hurt their “marketing.” But because we are not talking about a school-sanctioned letter, I am sure that the school will understand its place in the public discourse at large, and specifically among its students and alumni.

Sayed Kashua’s new movie, ‘Dancing Arabs,’ is currently being screened in theaters across the country. The movie is partially based on the difficult experiences he had at IASA. Were you aware of the difficulties that Palestinian students faced at the school? Was it spoken about?

I am sure that Palestinians face many difficult situations at the school. The school is ostensibly open to everyone, but in reality its identity is, without a doubt, Jewish-Zionist. I think that the underlying expectation is that Palestinians become assimilated. As a counselor at the boarding school I could these situations in a way that I previously couldn’t. I remember two Palestinian students who flew on the annual trip to the [Nazi] death camps in [present day] Poland. One returned draped in the Israeli flag, singing Chava Alberstein songs, while the other got up and spoke during one of the ceremonies on the trip about the understanding that Arabs in Israel have of the post-concentration camp experience. There was never a discussion of the Palestinian version of the state’s history.

I have yet to see Sayed Kashua’s new film, although I did read the book and watch his television show regularly. I think that Sayed brilliantly expresses the frustrations of that student who tries to be part of a culture that can’t really deal with that student’s identity. This leads the student to want to change his or her identity.

Did Sayed sign the letter?

No, Sayed didn’t sign it. I don’t know what his reasons were, but I personally think that it is not our place to judge. Sayed does a lot to help us understand and deal with the current situation. I am not sure that it is the job of a Palestinian to call for conscientious objection in a Jewish society, since that option is not open to him in the first place.

This article was first published on +972′s Hebrew-language sister site, Local Call. Read it in Hebrew here.

Related:
IDF’s ‘start-up nation’ reservists refuse to serve the occupation
Israeli teens tell Netanyahu: We will not take part in occupation
How can you tell that Israeli refuseniks are scaring the system?

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    COMMENTS

    1. Joel

      Okay, the brainiacs from the Jerusalem Academy shouldn’t have any problem than explaining to the rest of us just how Israel should go about ending the Occupation?

      I’d love to hear their plan.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        Joel – these are talented and gifted students drawn from across all of Israel. To dismiss them as ‘brainiacs’ says everything about your incoherent contempt for anyone who challenges your own crazy prejudices. (Wikipedia defines brainiacs as fictional, extraterrestrial, android supervillains: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brainiac_%28comics%29 – so you cannot even come up with appropriate terminology to display your contempt).

        You withdraw from occupation the same way that Britain withdrew from occupation in India, Kenya, Ireland and many other lands (including recently Afghanistan) by removing your army and handing over power to elected civilian governments of the indigenous population. You very likely find then that far better relations can be established with the people than when you imposed a military, colonial, expolitative and repressive government upon them. You also seem to misunderstand social activism – whose role is to present a vision of a just solution, not a fully worked out blueprint plan – once the vision is established it will inevitably fall to politicians to implement that vision. I guess your probably hinting that Israel lacks political leadership that is up to the task (regrettably I have to concede you have demonstrated that point for nigh on 50 years).

        Reply to Comment
    2. Bruce Gould

      The occupation will end the same way social change often happens, the same way “colored only” laws were overturned in the U.S.: when there’s enough internal resistance in Israel in conjunction with external pressures like BDS. A specific roadmap isn’t neccesary, because the powers that be will figure out the details when they see the handwriting on the wall.

      Reply to Comment
      • Tony Riley

        BDS is just racist bullshit.

        Reply to Comment
      • Joel

        No Bruce Gould. A specific road map is very necessary.

        Consider how creation of Pakistan in 1947 turned to be the crowning failure of British rule on the Asian subcontinent. Over one million people perished in population transfers and the ethnic violence sparked by the partition of British India.

        Please show us your road map, Bruce. You don’t want another partition disaster, do you?

        Reply to Comment
      • Margot Dunne

        Yes. “The mills of ‘God’ grind slowly, but they grind extremely small.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Ginger Eis

          Maggot Dunes, indeed, the Mills of G-d grinds slowly but will ultimately suck your ugly self in and reduce you to dust! While you await the end of you miserable self, here is just a FRACTION of why Israel is CANNOT be boycotted and anyone doing so does it at his/her own peril!

          http://www.timesofisrael.com/10-israeli-tech-ideas-that-changed-the-world-in-2014/

          (btw. have you gotten you latest Samsung Galaxy Note 4, the iPhone 6 plus, etc? they all have Israeli tech in them as their heart and brain).

          Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            Eis, do you realize that you are giving us a version of “Jews secretly control the world!” bug-eyed craziness? This is wacko Protocols of the Elders of Zion type stuff. “You better do as we say or we’ll shut down all your technological infrastructure and make your phones die! Hahahahah!” You cannot possibly realize how nutty and venomous you sound.

            Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          You see, Margot, the politeness with which your polite, well-mannered, apologetic self is met? Lovely isn’t it? If she will respond even to you with such savagery, you know that her professed horror at me is all false umbrage-taking.

          Reply to Comment
          • Margot Dunne

            Thank you, Brian: I really appreciate your support. This Ginger is in truth an amazing class act, a real solo performer. I look forward to her next attack with a sort of wry despair.

            Reply to Comment
    3. Ginger Eis

      Ms. Orly Noy and Mr. Gilad Leibovitz
      Facts are stubborn things, they say, and the facts will continue to stare you in the face and tell you: you are dishonest and immoral and a bearer of lies! Here are those basic cold, hard and icy facts:

      1. ALL Muslim-Arab States (incl. the ones we have “peace” Treaty with), Iran, Pakistan, etc. tell us that without the IDF, there will be no Israel and another Genocide will be a fait-accompli;

      2. Majority of Israeli Muslim-Arabs (EXcluding the Druze et. al) the PLO, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, Hezbollah, Al Qaida, ISIS/ISIL, etc. tell us that without the IDF, there will be no Israel and another Genocide will be a fait-accompli;

      3. In the light of the above, any Israeli Jew who (a) loves Israel and wants her to remain the Nation-State Of the Jewish People CANNOT at the same time (b) refuses to serve in the IDF and discourages others from serving – based on “conscience”. ‘(a)’ and ‘(b)’ are mutually exclusive. It is an “either-or-equation”!

      4. Surely, you are entitled to your own opinion re Israel as the Nation-State of the Jewish People, but you MUST be clear what THAT OPINION is and make IT in no uncertain terms KNOWN to the high school children grown-ups like YOU (Orly Noy and Gilad Leibovitz) misinform and mislead. Not doing that tantamount to sheer dishonesty (and nothing based on dishonesty and immorality ever succeeds; eventually people will see through you and you end up been a joke for the rest of your lives; you guys are already). Military service in Israel CANNOT be discussed in a vacuum, i.e. abstracted from its unique context!

      Reply to Comment
      • Brian

        I.

        “Military service in Israel CANNOT be discussed in a vacuum, i.e. abstracted from its unique context.”

        This is actually the whole point of the alumni’s and students’ refusal. By all indications they know what they are doing and are not “misled.” They are elite, highly informed, very bright people–is it not possible that they are not misinformed, that they are in fact unusually well informed? You cannot pick and choose and tailor the context, or sanitize the context as you wish. For them, the context includes the occupation. They are following your advice, when you think about it. They are refusing to discuss military service in a vacuum.

        II.

        “…those basic cold, hard and icy facts:
        …Majority of Israeli Muslim-Arabs (EXcluding the Druze et. al) the PLO, Hamas, Islamic Jihad, the PFLP, Hezbollah, Al Qaida, ISIS/ISIL, etc. tell us that without the IDF, there will be no Israel and another Genocide will be a fait-accompli…”

        Your words raise the specter, for what amounts to propaganda, that were their country truly threatened by the likes of ISIS these fine young people would not jump in and bravely defend their country and would instead stand by and advise others to refuse service in that situation. That is false. And it diverts attention from the true problem.

        Yes, this is indeed a true crisis. It is certainly not “normal” for a nation’s young people, the best and the brightest of that country no less, to behave like this. It signals something serious.

        But rather than face the true problem signaled by these elite young people you prefer to pretend that the poor dears are “confused” and led astray by eeeeevil leftists among us.

        These people do not want to leave Israel defenseless. Quite the opposite. They worry about Israel’s true defense needs. As Ze’ev Sternhell noted recently:

        “Those norms are already here, inside the Green Line, because our children and grandchildren spend most of their army service in the territories. There’s a colonial police force there, in the form of the Kfir Brigade and the Border Police, but that’s not enough. Kfir and the Border Police weren’t even sent into Gaza, because they no longer know how to engage in combat. They are no longer soldiers. The Paratroops were brought from training on the Golan Heights to search for the three kidnapped boys – not to search, actually, because it was already known that they weren’t alive, but to make the lives of the local population miserable and show them who’s boss. What goes on there constantly leaks into Israel. Democracies don’t collapse suddenly, they encounter a serious crisis. We could find ourselves in a serious crisis in which the whole shebang will go up in smoke.”

        III.

        Furthermore, it is not “a fact” that “Israeli-Muslim Arabs” can be lumped in, in a crudely propagandistic way, with ISIS. You too are entitled to your opinions but not your own “facts.”

        I don’t care what poll data you choose to cite elicited from whatever angle, the fact remains, as Professor Sternhell writes:

        “Why throw the Jewish state like mud in the face of these Israeli citizens? In fact, their behavior has been perfectly fine, considering the problems they face, with families in the West Bank and Gaza, and the pressures they are under. For my part, I don’t know of any Israeli-Arab spy ring. It’s true that they don’t sing the national anthem and don’t fly the flag and aren’t members of the World Zionist Organization, but as citizens they are fulfilling their obligations.”

        Reply to Comment
        • Yvette

          It’s a lotta work for you cuz you’re a moron! LOL!

          Reply to Comment
          • Merav

            …did ya overdose today, nitwit?? what r ya moaning about? ‘seems ur confused eh ….LOL – dumbo!!

            Reply to Comment
        • “Now, listen, you little freak, and listen carefully: I do not waste my time with a little piece of shit like you.”

          You just can’t make this stuff up! (you don’t have the trademark on this expression BTW)

          You’re sounding kind of upset and getting pretty butch about it too. Getting ready to take the gloves off and slap him around a bit? There is a simple solution to your problem, well this one problem at least. Don’t read his posts. Just don’t.

          Now for the magical incantation, what a crowd pleaser this is – Be Gone now, Imbecile! It never gets old! Ha!

          You do realize what the torah says to do with witches and soothsayers and such, no?

          Reply to Comment
          • Merav

            …there is no doubt Ginger has had a big impact on you marnie…..at least here you are doing your best trying to sound like Ginger – borrowing her expressions and mannerisms, no? an’ your canine friend stalker brYan/brIan has only eyes for Ginger, no? hmmm ….Ginger has too much power over you people an’ has influenced you quite a lot I see…//…maybe you want to become Ginger’s canine, no?

            Reply to Comment
          • Oh geez Ginger, this is now getting kind of sad. You stand out because of your histrionics, your inflammatory hate speech, your self-righteous, grandiose commando style communication, an english version of Anat Cohen. You presume yourself infallible as your beloved IDF. The only “power” you have is over your dearly beloved sock puppets known as Merav/Sluggo/Barbara/Theodore and who knows who else.

            And “Merav” – are you 12 or an adult? Grow up.

            Reply to Comment
        • Brian

          Happy Holidays to you too, Eis. You helped me see more clearly your positions. Thank you. I’m sticking with Ze’ev!!!!

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            ALL you ALWAYS accomplish is – as a result of having no mind of your own and incapable of conceiving original thoughts in said mind and making coherent arguments – copying and pasting the opinion of others and posting sexual and Nazi stuff to me, while feeling important in your empty skull. Again, Bryan/Brian, listen and listen carefully: I despise mediocrity and hate imbeciles – especially the unemployed foreign closet anti-Semites like your ugly self who obsess with Jews and Israel 24/7, while not looking for a job to support themselves. Now, get out of my sight, you little piece of shit. Be gone!

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Ginger – let me offer you my best wishes for the New Year which I hope will be a good deal happier for you than the current one. Perhaps you will learn to cope with mediocre imbeciles whose only crime is to question some of your logic. Judging from the frequency with which you comment here I suggest you are the one who obsesses 24/7 about Israel – do you have a job or does hasbara central send you your paycheck? If you want to know, I worked for decades, and am now happily enjoying a deserved retirement, preoccupied with cricket, football, golf, cooking, history, philosophy, as well as trying to keep abreast of international affairs – do I not have the same right to my opinions as you, though obviously a higher respect for truth, peace and justice.

            Reply to Comment
          • Brian

            I agree with Bryan. More later. Gotta go.

            Reply to Comment
          • Margot Dunne

            Hi Bryan: at the risk of inflaming Ginger again – well said! Must admit that Ginger has an impeccable technique, though – she uses her fanatical cyber-bullying to try to cower any opposing voice or factual argument into submission. I object to this. I want to be able to state the Palestinian case without being subjected to her jaundiced and often nonsensical raving. Evolve, Ginger – you are harming the country you so obviously love. For Heaven’s sake stop this behaviour and let’s try to talk properly about a very serious problem. And now I suppose I must gear myself for the next attack.

            Reply to Comment
        • Margot Dunne

          Thank you, Brian. Bravo.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ginger Eis

            I see, Maggot Dunes, an individual copied and pasted the opinion of others in “response” to my post and you go ecstatic? That’s interesting, no? I am sure the imbecile who are compulsively obsessed with Jews will rush to congratulate themselves upon displaying their individual ignorance, rants and rambling to gain some form of emotional satisfaction (as evidenced by you after taking in much beatings on this site) and feeling that they are fooling anyone? What a bunch of retards!

            Reply to Comment
          • Daniel

            Ginger, I think you sometimes get vicious in your attack, but your arguments are pretty solid and hard-hitting. There are a few people here seeking revenge on you and anything disguised as “rebuttal” makes them “ecstatic” as you said and it does not matter to them that nothing has in fact been “rebutted”. That is natural. Always remember that. I have said my piece.

            Reply to Comment
    4. Ginger Eis

      Viewed from another angle, the handful of individuals who refuse to serve are not just freeloaders but also the losers, not Israel!

      a. The IDF is the Ultimate Guarantor of FREEDOM in Israel – both for Jews, Christians, the Druze and other non-Jewish minorities. Those in these groups, especially the Jewish ones, who know this to be true and enjoy the FREEDOM and Security-blanket provided by the IDF and the social services and benefits provided by the State Of Israel, but at the same time refuse to serve in the IDF are disgusting, dishonest and immoral freeloaders.

      b. The IDF is also a major contributor to the Israeli economy and one of the major guarantors of Israel’s place as a World Super Power in the high tech industry. The IDF invests billions of dollars yearly in training and educating young men and women in becoming world leaders in innovation, science, technology and entrepreneurship the way no other country on earth has ever done/is doing. Those who can serve, but refuse to do so, are hurting no one but themselves – they are the ultimate losers, not Israel!

      This video clip tells you just a FRACTION of how the IDF educates young men and women and turns their brains into amazing powerhouse of innovation that lights up the world:

      https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=t20B-i-lLKo

      Reply to Comment
      • phil

        Again I ask, did you serve in the Israeli Military?

        Reply to Comment
        • Joel

          The answer is still no.
          Don’t ask me again.

          Reply to Comment
          • phil

            I asked Ginger, not you Joel

            Reply to Comment
        • Sluggo

          At least two of us answered you. Please tell us where you are going with this.

          Reply to Comment
          • Don’t care about you, already knew you talk big but do nothing. I asked Eis on a different thread and she can’t give an answer, which is fine with me, less drama. Assume then she did not do military service either. Wow, 3 for 3.

            Reply to Comment
          • Just an addendum – can’t thank you 3 enough for your refusal to serve. It’s quite a pleasant surprise. I don’t agree with anything else the 3 of you (or just one, who knows) think, say or do, but refusing to serve in the IDF was brilliant. Mazal tov!!

            Reply to Comment
          • phil

            pls read previous comment and substitute sluggo for joel

            Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        Ginger “The IDF is also a major contributor to the Israeli economy”. There are many things contributing to the Israeli economy that you should not necessarily be proud of: sex-trafficking ($2 billion per annum), crime syndicates including targeted killings (500 members arrested 2013), human trafficking, illegal gambling ($4.1 billion per annum), illegal drug trafficking ($1.95 billion per annum, US State Department), counterfeiting and piracy ($500 million per year), organ trafficking, blood diamonds ($10 billion per year), etc., etc.
        Many of these illicit activities are of course a problem for all states, so no double standards, though Israel has achieved justified notoriety in some of these areas (e.g. organ, diamond and sex trafficking). Israel has also obstructed international attempts to control some of these activities (e.g. its reluctance to sign the international Arms Trade Treaty) and its success as an arms dealer is partly based on its provision of weapons (developed in repressing the Palestinian population) aimed at suppressing civilian dissent in repressive regimes like Zimbabwe and Zambia, and of course the early expansion of military exports was based on collaboration with the Apartheid regime in South Africa, and the transfer of secret nuclear technology to that regime.
        http://www.havocscope.com/?s=israel
        http://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-blood-diamonds/8754
        http://972mag.com/why-wont-israel-sign-the-arms-trade-treaty/97529/

        Reply to Comment
    5. Bruce Gould

      American Anthropological Association endorses academic boycott of Israeli academic institutions:

      https://anthroboycott.wordpress.com/

      My understanding is that during the debate on this an anthropologist suggested that the AAA had a “Jewish problem”, which caused groans from the audience.

      Reply to Comment
    6. Richard

      The bit about oppression of Mizrahi, Ultra-Orthodox, etc. gives the game away. These are either nationalistic (Palestinian) hypocrites or pretentious navel-gazers. Their spokesman even makes a Nazi comparison and then says he’s not, like an obnoxious teenager. These aren’t serious people.

      Reply to Comment
    7. Jim Przedzienkowski

      The term ‘death camps in Poland’ is offensive and incorrect. It was the German Nazis who established the ‘death camps’ on occupied Polish soil. The camps were not Polish as implied by the comment. Please correct the error.

      Reply to Comment
      • Bryan

        The term “Israeli occupation” would therefore also be ruled out because it would imply that Israel had some right to build its illegal settlements across Palestinian soil. Would you therefore have me refer to the “Palestinian occupation”?

        Reply to Comment
        • Merav

          brIan/brYan: SAME canine with double personality disorder raging everywhere fooling himself….sick-o!

          Reply to Comment
    8. Pedro X

      What 972rag does not present:

      “In response, another group of graduates of the same academy wrote a counter-letter calling the authors of the insubordination letter “utterly irresponsible” and saying that they are “urging you to break the laws of state.”

      “Anyone who blames the IDF for all of Israel’s societal ills, and accuses the military as a body of all the violence, racism and corruption that is welling up in our country, is himself afflicted with the very ills he is trying to eradicate,”

      The principal of the school also issued a response, saying,

      “The Israel Arts and Science Academy teaches its students to contribute to the community and to take part in meaningful service. More than 97 percent of our high school students serve in the IDF and many of them go on to become officers. We are proud of each and every one of them.

      We teach our students activism and critical thinking. We have faith in our students’ ability to choose their path in accordance with their conscience and their beliefs, as long as they are at peace with the path they chose, and as long as they abide by the law.”

      Deputy Education Minister MK Avi Wortzman (Habayit Hayehudi) said:

      “Service in the IDF is what allows us to live in the State of Israel. The signatories of the letter used the school’s name to draw media attention, and that is a terrible thing to do.

      “The IDF has always been, and still is, the most moral army in the world. I urge the anonymous authors of this letter to go meet the mother living in Sderot who has to run to a bomb shelter in the middle of the night.”

      Reply to Comment
    9. Jeff

      These idiots don’t realize that without the IDF, Israel and all of its citizens would cease to exist. God bless the IDF!

      Reply to Comment
    10. Bryan

      Ginger “The IDF is also a major contributor to the Israeli economy”. There are many things contributing to the Israeli economy that you should not necessarily be proud of: sex-trafficking ($2 billion per annum), crime syndicates including targeted killings (500 members arrested 2013), human trafficking, illegal gambling ($4.1 billion per annum), illegal drug trafficking ($1.95 billion per annum, US State Department), counterfeiting and piracy ($500 million per year), organ trafficking, blood diamonds ($10 billion per year), etc., etc.
      Many of these illicit activities are of course a problem for all states, so no double standards, though Israel has achieved justified notoriety in some of these areas (e.g. organ, diamond and sex trafficking). Israel has also obstructed international attempts to control some of these activities (e.g. its refusal to sign the international Arms Trade Treaty) and its success as an arms dealer is partly based on its provision of weapons (developed in repressing the Palestinian population) aimed at suppressing civilian dissent in repressive regimes like Zimbabwe and Zambia, and of course the early expansion of military exports was based on collaboration with the Apartheid regime in South Africa, and the transfer of secret nuclear technology to that regime.
      http://www.havocscope.com/?s=israel
      http://electronicintifada.net/content/israels-blood-diamonds/8754
      http://972mag.com/why-wont-israel-sign-the-arms-trade-treaty/97529/

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      • Merav

        brIan / brYan: SAME anti-Semitic canine with double personality disorder raging everywhere, stalking Ginger an’ makin’ a fool of himself….sick-o!!

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        • Bryan

          Merav – you utterly devalue the concept of antisemitism by abusing the term. I abhor antisemitism which I see as nothing special but simply another form of racist bigotry. I made no made no reference to Jews; I merely attempted to make the point that Ginger’s defence of IDF butchery on the basis that it contributed to the Israel economy was feeble, and that there are activities which contribute to Israel’s economy (and to all economies) which are not inherently laudable.

          I understand that you are a passionate supporter of Israel and the slightest criticism of that state makes you feel deeply uncomfortable. But it is incredibly lazy of you simply to dismiss any such criticism as antisemitism rather than to address the substantive points made. The laxity of the Israeli government in addressing sexual slavery has been very well documented, including by the US State Department. The burgeoning of the Israel arms industry, in cooperation with Apartheid South Africa, has been the subject of academic study. Israel is the acknowledged world leader of the diamond trade, which has fuelled brutal war in west and southern Africa. These are simply facts, and pointing them out is not antisemitism. In fact the development of the Israeli sex-industry is clearly linked to importing Russian mafiosi with acknowledged dubious links to Judaism, who entered Israel for the economic gain not for religious freedom.

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