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WATCH: Two conscientious objectors sent to military prison

Kaplan served two years in the army before deciding to refuse. The two are expected to serve additional prison terms.

Text by Haggai Matar
Video by Israel Social TV

Two conscientious objectors, Yaron Kaplan and Ido Ramon, were sentenced to 30 and 10 days in prison, respectively, for their refusal to serve in the Israeli army.

For Kaplan, it is his first imprisonment. Until now he served as a conscripted soldier and decided to refuse to complete the final year of his service.

During a protest at the Tel Aviv induction base last week, Kaplan explained that he feels obligated to refuse as a way of outstretching a hand of peace to his Palestinian partners in the struggle for peace and security for both peoples in this land.

For Ramon it is his second imprisonment. He previously declared that he would not serve in the army, “which describes itself as ‘the most moral army in the world’ but rules over millions of people under occupation, violating their most basic rights.”

The two are expected to be jailed again after their release.

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    1. Pedro X

      It is ironic that the Head of Peace Now Yariv Oppenheimer is one of the soldiers on reserve duty in the outpost of Mavo Dotan in the Shomron area. He was offered a different role, but chose to serve with his combat infantry corps company. So as much as Peace Now monitors and condemns Israeli communities in Judea and Samaria, its leader recognizes the need to serve and protect Jewish communities in Judea and Samaria and root out Palestinian terrorists. Even he sees a need for the Israeli presence in the West Bank.

      I wonder if the hard leftists at 972mag get the irony of Yariv Oppenheimer doing reserve duty with a combat military unit in a West Bank outpost settlement in Judea and Samaria.

      Reply to Comment
    2. Pedro X

      Has it escaped the notice of 972mag that Yariv Oppenheimer, the leader of peace now, is serving in a reserve combat military unit in the outpost of in Mavo Dotan in the Shomron area? He appears to be a conscientious server and protector of the Jewish people in Judea and Samaria.

      Reply to Comment
      • Ben

        I bet it didn’t escape their notice at all. How about it Pedro X? Can Yariv Oppenheimer count on you?:

        “It’s my civilian duty. I want to believe that when the day comes that the order is not to guard settlements, but to vacate settlements, then my friends on the right would do the same,” Oppenheimer said.

        Reply to Comment
        • Pedro X

          Dani Dayan Chairman of the Yesha Council from 2007 – 2013 was asked by the host of a BBC debate if the State of Israel demanded that Maale Shomron in which he lived was ordered to be evacuated and given up in a peace deal, would he leave. Dayan said that he would pack up and leave and obey the decision of the Jewish state. He said that the vast majority of citizens in Judea and Samaria would do the same if ordered to leave from their community for the sake of peace.

          When Israel gave up its communities in the Sinai and Gaza, withdrew its military and civilians. In 2005 under Ariel Sharon’s instructions Israel evacuated 25 communities in Judea and Samaria. However, it has long been recognized that the major settlement blocks and settlements will remain as part of the Israeli state. Jews living in Jerusalem beyond the green line are not leaving their capital city.

          Yariv Oppenheimer has himself recognized that the major settlement blocks and Jerusalem neighborhoods will remain part of Israel. He knows and accepts that most Israelis in Jerusalem, Judea and Samaria will not be evacuated.

          Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            But most Israelis in Ariel, Ma’aleh Adumim, Efrat and such places will need to be evacuated. If people are serious.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Yea? And what would we be given in return?

            Maybe recognition of Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people?

            And hundreds of thousands of “returning” of descendants of Palestinian Arab refugees to Israel proper?

            No compensation to 1 million Jewish refugees who were kicked out of Arab countries?

            What a great deal that would be for us. At least according to the Bens of this world.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            Stolen goods are stolen goods. That is a basic principle you always seem to lose sight of.

            Reply to Comment
          • New Relic

            @Ben, which communities in Israel do you consider not-stolen?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            This is a very simple black and white cartoon world according to Benny.

            We “stole land” from a people who minded their own business and would not harm a fly. Nice story Benny…

            The reality is different though. There was a time, before 1967, when those places which Benny claims we stole were in the hands of his darling Palestinians. But did they live in peace and respected our rights to live in peace? Nah! Their Fedayeen terrorists infiltrated Israel and carried on what they have been doing for the last 100 years. They murdered Israeli men, women and children indiscriminately because they said that none of us belong here.

            But according to Ben, we need to return to those borders and everything will be fine. Anyone surprised about why we don’t believe Ben? Anyone surprised why we think that Ben and his cohorts are part of the enemy camp who would love to see nothing more than see us being harmed?

            No, Benny, in the real world aggressors have to pay a price for their aggression. Our more secure borders is the price. It might also be handy for you to remember that what was never a sovereign Palestinian Arab state, only armistice lines, cannot be considered to be stolen.

            You must might also remember the history of man-kind. There has never been a war after which the defeated aggressors did not suffer consequences. For instance, after WW2, both Germany and Japan’s borders were clipped. So were Hungary’s borders. And nobody is yelping about it today. And who did that? The allies did that. Including the great Western democracies.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            And what is even more galling is that the Bennys of this world want us to return to less secure borders in return for NOTHING!!!

            Not even as much as a formal declaration by their darling Palestinian Arabs that they NOW accept and recognize the Jewish nation state.

            And it even gets worse than that. They want us to agree to accept hundreds of thousands of descendants of refugees in order to be able to destroy us from within. While at the same time they ignore the 1 million Jewish refugees who were kicked out from Arab countries with nothing but the shirts on their backs and whose properties and assets were confiscated by those Arab States.

            That’s the kind of “justice” which the Bennies of this world clamor for. It is called injustice!

            Reply to Comment
          • Ben

            No. You get almost everything either wrong or half right. But I’m used to that. I’m not at all surprised you feel that way since your Israeli entitlement and arrogance is boundless since you’ve been coddled by the USA for so many years. A child that does wrong but is constantly told by its parent that it is right and everybody else is wrong grows up to be a very problematic adult to say the least. ‘Nuf said. You won’t convince me. I won’t convince you. Others can read.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            What did I get wrong or half right, Benny? Certainly not the Fedayeen. Here, educate yourself a bit…

            http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fedayeen

            “Palestinian fedayeen are militants or guerrillas of a nationalist orientation from among the Palestinian people. The fedayeen made efforts to infiltrate territory in Israel in order to strike targets in the aftermath of the 1948 Arab–Israeli War. Members of these groups were largely based within the refugee communities living in the Gaza Strip (then controlled by Egypt) and the West Bank (then controlled by Jordan) or in neighboring Lebanon and Syria.”

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Or did I get wrong the fact that Abbas will not sign a peace deal not involving the return of large numbers of descendants of Palestinian Arab refugees? Hardly. Read what Condi Rice said about it in her memoirs…

            http://www.newsweek.com/condoleezza-rice-memoir-peace-process-anguish-68179

            “The next day I went to see Abbas and asked to see him in the little dining room adjacent to his office. I sketched out the details of Olmert’s proposal and told him how the prime minister wanted to proceed. Abbas started negotiating immediately. “I can’t tell four million Palestinians that only five thousand of them can go home,” he said.”

            Obviously I did not get that wrong either, did I?

            So what is left? Abbas’s refusal to Recognize Israel as the nation state of the Jewish people? Surely even Benny would not deny that fact?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Oh yeah, maybe Benny disputes my account of Jewish refugees from Arab countries. If so, he might want to read the information on the following site…

            http://www.justiceforjews.com/main_facts.html

            I am sure he isn’t really interested in doing that because in his limited world, only Arab victimhood needs to be talked about. But normal people tend to be a bit more balanced. They should go to that site and gain some perspective.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Notice how non specific Benny is. He says…

            “No. You get almost everything either wrong or half right”

            That is a very easy thing to do. Just to dismiss what the other guy says in spite of evidence.

            Oh well, let normal people judge for themselves and decide who is telling the truth and who is misrepresenting history.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            Whenever some nutters say “No we didn’t steal it, God gave it to us” you can take it for granted that they are thieves. Don’t just take my word for it – as someone who regularly frequents this site you will be familiar with the nonsense issuing from Richard the Demented and Baruch the Insane.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            How can you steal something from someone who is not an owner? At best, just a claimant. Bug just because one claims, it does not make it theirs.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            “Official statistics show that Jews privately and collectively owned 1,393,531 dunams (1,393.53 km2), or 5.23% of Palestine’s total in 1945… Estimates of the total volume of land that Jews had purchased by 15 May 1948 are complicated … According to Avneri, Jews held 1,850,000 dunams (1,850 km2) of land in 1947, or 6.94% of the total. Stein gives the estimate of 2,000,000 dunams (2,000 km2) as of May 1948, or 7.51% of the total. The rest has come from the expulsion of the Palestinians during the Naqba (“You were absent from your house when I barricaded you out so now I am claiming it”) or the various strategies adopted under the illegal occupation (e.g. “Someone has will cut you off from your farmland by building an illegal wall” or “we will create quarantine zones around our illegal settlements” or “you have been prevented from cultivating your land so now its state land, not held in trust for when we permit two states, but to be used to extend illegal settlements” or “we have had to confiscate this land for necessary military purposes, but unfortunately someone has now built an illegal settlement here, fully protected by the IDF, and connected to water, electricity and roads by the colonial government of Israel”). See: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mandatory_Palestine#Land_ownership

            Pedro do you have a single honest bone in your body?

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Another misleading, simplistic, distorted one sided diatribe by Bryan. Here read this for a bit of reality check…

            http://www.wordfromjerusalem.com/wp-content/uploads/2008/11/the-case-for-israel-appendix2.pdf

            I said “misleading” because our Bryan mentioned that Jews owned only about 5% of the land by 1948. So what was he trying to do by quoting such a statistic which happens to be true? He was trying to imply that the rest of the land, 95% of it, was Arab owned.

            Nothing is further from the truth. In 1948, The Palestinian Arabs owned a bit more privately owned land than we did (see my link) but nowhere near 95% of the land. Most of the rest of the land was state owned crown land. And it has not been an Arab state for about 1300 years prior to that. As I said, prior to that it was part of the Ottoman Empire and subsequently part of the British empire.

            That’s the type of simplistic, distorted propaganda which Bryan and his ilk engage in. They try to imply that 95% of the land was privately owned Arab land. That is the reason why we need Hasbarah – EXPLANATION!

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            “Another misleading, simplistic, distorted one sided diatribe by Bryan.” Well if you can find such words to describe my point of view I am absolutely lost for words to describe yours. The Palestinians might have owned a bit more land than we did says Gustav but there were huge areas of state land – nonsense, absolute twaddle. Data prepared on land ownership for the UN Ad Hoc Committee on Palestine shows that in 1945 significant amounts of state land existed only in Beersheba district, in the midst of the Negev Dessert. In all 16 districts of Mandate Palestine, Arabs owned significantly more land than Jews, often many times greater, and in 9 districts they owned more than half the land and up to 99% of it. The figures are (Arabs first, Jews second, the remaining being state land):
            Haifa 42%, 35%
            Acre 87%, 3%
            Beisan 44%, 34%
            Nazareth 52%, 28%
            Safad 68%, 18%
            Tiberius 51%, 38%
            Jaffa 47%, 39%
            Ramle 77%, 14%
            Jenin 84%, virtually none
            Nablus 87%, virtually none
            Tulkarm 78%, 17%
            Hebron, 96%, virtually none
            Jerusalem 84%, 2%
            Ramallah 99%, virtually none
            Beersheba 15%, virtually none
            Gaza 75%, 4%
            Perhaps these figures might demonstrate the absolutely essential role of the Nahkba in the foundation of Israel, since unless massive Arab populations could be expelled and their lands expropriated then Jewish land would only ever be a few small islands in a sea of Arab cultivation. When you say “most of the rest of the land was state land” (apart from a small amount of Jewish land, and a slightly larger amount of Palestinian land) then you are quite simply misinforming everyone and you are being exceedingly parsimonious with the truth. It must be a terribly disheartening and difficult role you play as the apologist of criminals but I hope, like Alan Dershowitz, you find pecuniary (or other) compensations for ignoring your conscience and selling out to truth and justice. (Source: http://domino.un.org/maps/m0094.jpg)

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            We don’t need to refer to God to claim our ancestral homeland.

            You might want to remember that the last time Palestine was part of an Arab empire (they were no less colonising invaders than any of the other invaders) it was 1300 years ago. After that it was part of the Ottoman empire. Then part of the British empire. So to claim crown lands as part of the Arab state is just a claim. We have just as much right to make the same claim. No amount of screaming and balagan gives your claims greater weight than our claim. You remind me of children throwing tantrums.

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            The Ottoman’s may have ruled the land but they did not confiscate it from its existing owners and import their own settlers. The British may have been granted a Mandate by the League of Nations, but this was merely to provide “administrative advice and assistance” to communities that “have reached a stage of development where their existence as independent nations can be provisionally recognised”. The British did not expel the existing owners of land and import their own settlers. But whatever had happened before is irrelevant because in 1945 the states of the world decided on the illegality of acquiring territory by conquest, and even Israel initially accepted this stance with a senior legal adviser to the PM, Theodor Meron, clearly stating that it would be illegal to build Jewish settlements in the occupied Palestinian territories, arguing “that civilian settlement in the administered territories contravenes the explicit provisions of the Fourth Geneva Convention.”. See: http://infowars.net/articles/may2007/260507memo.htm

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Yes, Bryan, the Ottomans were angels. And as usual, you missed the point of what I said entirely and descended into your favorite pass time, propaganda and Israel bashing…

            Now let me repeat my point again.

            The Arabs were just another invader who took over Palestine.

            You wanna call us invaders for taking back a portion of our ancestral homeland by buying lands or settling on vacant crown lands from the mid 1800s onwards? Then call us too invaders and put up with our invasion too as you so readily seem to get over the Arab invasion of the 6th century.

            As for the settlements which we built after the 1967 war of aggression by the Arabs, you have to put up with that too, for the reasons which I stated in my earlier posts on this thread. You have not brought up a single reason why that was immoral, other than your one sided emotionsl blackmail which lets Palestinian Arabs off the hook for their irredentist , intransigent and aggressive behavior against us for the last 100 years.

            You say it is a different world now? That unlike after WW2 we have no right to change boundaries? Well, you are wrong on that on so many accounts that I don’t even know where to begin. But let me mention two points to start…

            1. It isn’t a different world at all. It is still the world in which weakness gets punished mercilessly. You don’t believe me? Just ask the Rwandans, the Bosnians, the victims of the Khmer Rouge and ISIS. So we won’t weaken ourselves by going back to the vulnerable 1967 boundaries.

            2. I used the term “boundaries” because the so called 1967 borders were not even borders! They were the 1948 armistice lines. You do know what that means, don’t ya, Bryan? It means that they were arbitrary lines where the fighting stopped. In fact, at the insistence of the Arabs, there is a clause in the armistice agreement which says that those lines are not to be final borders. But now you want to pretend that they are?

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            You have deliberately ignored my point again Pedro. Whatever the Arabs or Ottomans did hundreds of years ago is utterly irrelevant since there was at the time no established body of international law which now condemns the acquisition of territory by conquest. Israel is a member of the UN and therefore is bound by article 2, paragraph 4, of the United Nations Charter which states that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

            Your two points made in contradiction of this are frankly pathetic. The fact that horrible atrocities occurred in Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia etc can in no way justify similar atrocities in the OPT. The fact that the 1948 armistice lines are to some extent provisional means merely that they could be amended by mutual agreement, not that Israel has carte blanche to expand beyond those borders. The armistice with Jordan was signed on April 3rd 1949, whilst Israel, in joining the UN on May 11th 1949, was implicitly accepting the borders as they were, and the territorial integrity of Jordan (which joined the UN in 1955) unless the borders were to be modified by mutual agreement, which they have not sought to do.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “You have deliberately ignored my point again Pedro.”

            Pedro? Whatever…. You know that isn’t me. But call me whatever you like, Benny, Brian, or whatever YOUR name IS.

            And about ignoring your point, you are joking of course, NO? You have ignored everyone of MY points. Address my points and I might pay attention to your red herrings too. Oh never mind, I’ll address your nonsense anyway…

            “Whatever the Arabs or Ottomans did hundreds of years ago is utterly irrelevant”

            Nothing in history is irrelevant. You are trying to get us to give up OUR ancestral homeland on the basis that in those days it wasn’t illegal to invade lands and colonize those lands. You may be right about that legalistically but not morally. And that makes it right for us to claim back our STOLEN land particularly since we did not set out to kick anyone out by force. We set out to live along side them as neighbors.

            “since there was at the time no established body of international law which now condemns the acquisition of territory by conquest.”

            There has always been a moral law against invading foreign lands and taking over. But not according to people like you, unless the “invaders” are Jewish. Then of course, according to you, even buying lands or settling on empty crown lands is illegal.

            “Israel is a member of the UN and therefore is bound by article 2, paragraph 4, of the United Nations Charter which states that “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.”

            First of all, Israel was the one who was attacked by Jordan in 1967. We had the right to defend ourselves and even to go on the offensive.

            As for the UN charter, UN resolution 242 says that borders are to be secure borders. Moreover, you ignored my point about the 1967 boundaries. Those were NOT, I repeat, NOT, borders but armistice lines.

            “Your two points made in contradiction of this are frankly pathetic.”

            Really? Care to explain why? Of course you won’t because it is easier to just dismiss my two points by decree (your decree). Well, Bryan, dear, that just doesn’t wash. Only cowards like you debate that way. Normal debaters give logical counter arguments.

            “The fact that horrible atrocities occurred in Bosnia, Rwanda, Cambodia etc can in no way justify similar atrocities in the OPT.”

            No they can’t. But again you misrepresented the point which I made. My point was that contrary to your claim, this is not a new world. The weak still get slaughtered. That is why we are not willing to weaken ourselves by returning to the more vulnerable 1967 boundaries.

            “The fact that the 1948 armistice lines are to some extent provisional means merely that they could be amended by mutual agreement, not that Israel has carte blanche to expand beyond those borders.”

            Fair enough. That is why the settlements were not formally annexed. But since the Arabs have resisted signing any peace deal for many years, means that we have security concerns in the meanwhile.

            “The armistice with Jordan was signed on April 3rd 1949, whilst Israel, in joining the UN on May 11th 1949, was implicitly accepting the borders as they were,”

            That is a lie. Once the Arabs rejected the proposed borders of UN resolution 181, we too adopted the attitude of the Arabs and said that everything is up for grabs. You can’t have one rule for the Arabs and another rule for us. Unless of course you want to accept the charge that you operate on double standards?

            “and the territorial integrity of Jordan (which joined the UN in 1955) unless the borders were to be modified by mutual agreement, which they have not sought to do.”

            No but we did. And it was in line with the signed armistice agreement as well as with UN resolution 242.

            So there are two possibilities. If we come to a mutual agreement, then there will be recognized and secure (more so) borders which both sides will be obliged to respect.

            If the Arabs won’t agree to borders other than the 1967 boundaries, then either the status quo will continue or at some point we may relent. My bet is that we won’t relent because in view of the 100 years of aggression which we faced from our neighbors, we cannot afford to accept the insecure 1967 boundaries as borders.

            One last point….

            We certainly won’t relent if they give us NOTHING in return (read recognition of the Jewish nation state) and if they insist on the “return” of hundreds of thousands of descendants of their refugees while the claims of Jewish refugees from Arab countries are ignored (my last point is another point which you have been studiously ignoring, Bryan. Care to tell us why? … Is it too hard for you?).

            Reply to Comment
    3. Baladi Akka 1948

      Thanks God that these Israelis do exist, they are so important in order not to forget that the Hasbara crew here in the comment section does not represent all Israelis.

      Reply to Comment
      • Gustav

        The word “HASBARAH” is a Hebrew word. It means “EXPLANATION”.

        That is what I am doing here. I am an Israeli who counteracts the constant one sided, simplistic and distorted misinformation being peddled on this site, by providing facts and explaining what happened in history. If that makes me part of the Hasbarah crew, then so be it. I am proud of it.

        Reply to Comment
        • Baladi Akka 1948

          Thank you, I know what hasbara means. No wonder you’re proud of being a hasbaratnik (or hasbarista if you prefer …), who the hell wouldn’t be …. Personally, I mostly skip the Hasbara crew’s comments
          “People without a brain trying to explain”

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            No Balladi, we are not the ones without a brain. You are the ones without brains if you think that we will let your simplistic distorted one sided stories go unchallenged.

            Oh, and you obviously DO read what we say. Otherwise we would not be having this interchange. Would we now?

            Reply to Comment
        • Bryan

          If only you were explaining, Gustav, rather than justifying, excusing, condoning, obfuscating, white-washing, misleading, distorting, contradicting etc., etc. The one-sided view of history you claim to be counter-acting is not half as unprincipled and lacking in empathy and humanity as the version you are peddling.

          Your critics here are broadly united in accepting that the Holocaust was a terrible tragedy, (though not one that Palestinians had any responsibility for), that Jews have historically experienced periods of insecurity, prejudice and racism, (though that chapter of history is closed and Africans and Moslems are the victims of equivalent hate campaigns), that the creation of Israel was an understandable (though not necessarily just) response to that history, that Jews have historically had some connection with the land, (though also with many other lands), that Jews born and raised within the land have a right to live in peace and security within the pre-1967 “borders”, that suicide bombing is not morally justified, and that the whole world would welcome an Israel that paid more than lip-service to your “Declaration of Independence”.

          But nowhere in your numerous rants have you shown the slightest compassion for Palestinian victims of violence, nor any recognition that Palestinians share equally in your humanity, nor have a right to self-determination in a land in which they have lived for countless generations. All we get is the smug complacency of the occupier who has might on his side, and is terrified of the least concession lest your numerous “enemies” exploit this as a sign of weakness.

          So please start explaining, rather than defending the indefensible. The occupation is the problem, stupid.

          Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Sigh…

            Read what I said above and refute it if you can.

            The fact that you are not even trying, tells the whole story.

            Hint: I did not utter a single word about the Holocaust but you are pretending that I did. That is what they call a red herring. Grow up Bryan and for once in your life try and be honest.

            Reply to Comment
          • weindeb

            Bryan, you have said it all most succinctly. Methinks, perhaps, Gustav should change his name to Gastav. There is such a thing as a sine qua non, and in the case of Zionists and Israel, this without-which-nothing is simply that the land occupied and belonging to another people has been taken and that these people’s lives in their own land are daily curtailed and in numerous instances obliterated in a highly racist, indeed apartheid society. Possibly the greatest ultimate tragedy of hasbara in its many configurations is that those who spout it often come to believe it while wallowing in smug justification, to the complete detriment of their souls, their human decency, such hasbara both enabling and urging them to commit acts inhumane and lawless. Occasionally I feel that Gustav and ilk protest far too much so that perhaps their doing so is a shrill cover-up to ease whatever might remain of their consciences. Probably a stretch, but maybe worth a try.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            Sigh….

            I’ll tell you what I DID say. I said that in order to resolve a war of aggression, the aggressor too needs to bring something to the table. They too need to compromise, not just make demands.

            Did I say, demands? Of course I said it. The Palestinian Arabs demand that….

            1. We go back to the 1967 boundaries (the 1948 armistice lines).

            2. They demand that we let hundreds of thousands of descendants of refugees to settle in Israel proper.

            3. That we offer monetary compensation to up to 4 million Palestinian refugees who are in fact mostly descendants of refugees.

            And in return they offer what? They offer nothing.

            1. The Jewish refugees from Arab countries are to be forgotten and they are to get nothing.

            2. We won’t even get a simple reversal of their old policy of opposition to a Jewish nation state which was the reason why they were shedding our blood for 100 years.

            So according to Ben, Bryan, Balladi and Weindeb, that is justice. And they feel self righteous.

            Fortunately, they are not the norm in the Western world. More and more normal ordinary people are waking up to these extremists in the Western world as they see the extreme behavior of many in the Arab world. I know. I know because I travel a lot as part of my job and I talk to ordinary people. We are not there yet. But a backlash is coming.

            Reply to Comment
          • Ricky Rocket

            Bryan, how do you reconcile the fiction you wrote with the fact that European nations are engaged in a struggle to protect their Jewish communities from predominately Muslim aggression?

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            I did not write a fiction – I expressed an honest opinion, since I was focussing on subjective matters of one-sidedness, not giving a factual exposition. It is you that is writing fiction in saying that “European nations are engaged in a struggle to protect their Jewish communities from predominately Muslim aggression”. All governments (including the Israeli occupation regime) have a duty to protect their citizens, especially minority communities. There is absolutely no evidence that Jewish communities are any more vulnerable to attack than GLTB, coloured or immigrant communities, or even peaceful spectators attending football matches. There is no escalating violence against Jews in Europe, in fact the very opposite if we were to reflect over the last several decades, but it is hardly surprising if spikes in the number of incidents regularly coincide with Israel mowing the lawn in Gaza, with its countless numbers of slaughtered children.

            Reply to Comment
          • Gustav

            “There is no escalating violence against Jews in Europe, in fact the very opposite if were to reflect over the last several decades, but it is hardly surprising if spikes in the number of incidents regularly coincide with Israel mowing the lawn in Gaza, with its countless number of slaughtered children.”

            Ooh, such sentiments from a holier than thou sanctimonious hypocrite.

            What our Bryan said effectively said in the above paragraph is that he fully understands, and supports, antisemitic “incidents” against Europe’s Jews because of Israeli actions in Gaza.

            Presumably then, he would understand and support “incidents” against Arabs in Euorope because of what ISIS does to Europeans and Christians in the Middle East?

            One doubts it very much. He would say, that Eoropean Arabs cannot and should not be held responsible for what other Arabs do.

            But with Jews, it is somehow different for Bryan, “…hardly surprising…” He says!

            Reply to Comment
          • Bryan

            “What our Bryan said effectively said in the above paragraph is that he fully understands, and supports, antisemitic “incidents” against Europe’s Jews because of Israeli actions in Gaza.” Thanks for EXPLAINING what I said, but again you distort as you always do. I said “it is hardly surprising if spikes in the number of incidents regularly coincide with Israel mowing the lawn in Gaza”; I most certainly did not say I supported or approved or condoned them, and for you to deliberately misconstrue my remarks is typical of your deceptive and utterly unprincipled approach. I unconditionally condemn all attacks on innocent civilians, and I hope you do to, especially the hundreds of children and the scores of entire families recently wiped out in Gaza.

            I cannot understand why you chose to apostrophize my reference to “incidents” since even the pro-Israel analysis of the “rising tide of European anti-Semitism” makes clear that most of the incidents are merely verbal (including graffiti) rather than physical attacks on Jews or their property, so I think “incidents” is the best way to encapsulate the phenomena.

            And why do I say it is hardly surprising that incidents coincide with Israeli actions coincide with Israeli attacks? I will offer two reasons and challenge you to refute either of them. (1) Israel encourages an association of ordinary Jews with Zionism and Judaism via its ideology that Israel is the state of the Jewish people and that all Jews have a moral obligation not just to support Israel in general but even when it behaves unjustly, cruelly and brutally, and Zionists have been the major inciters of Islamophobia. It is thus hardly surprising when immigrants from the Moslem world mistakenly vent their anger over the massacres of Gazans by Israel in incidents directed against European Jews. Mistaken, misguided, to be utterly condemned, but hardly surprising. (2) Though there are thankfully increasing numbers of diaspora Jews in Europe and America (like Sir Gerald Kaufman for instance) who have never been afraid of standing up and condemning Israeli crimes, it is a sad fact that many leading Jewish organizations bring intolerable pressure to bear in support of Israeli crimes, creating a very unfortunate impression that international Jewry is complicit in Israel’s abuses. Let me offer just two (out of a possible hundreds) examples. Intense Zionist lobbying forced Charles Freeman to withdraw from a position he had been offered to chair the US National Intelligence Council (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_W._Freeman,_Jr.#National_Intelligence_Council_appointment_controversy) and when William Hague denounced Israel’s 2006 attack on Lebanon as “disproportionate” intense Zionist lobbying extracted a promise from PM David Cameron that such criticism would never again be made. (http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/middleeast/israel/9740044/The-cowardice-at-the-heart-of-our-relationship-with-Israel.html)

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          • Gustav

            Oh yes you did Bryan. Don’t try to wiggle out of it. You excused violence against Jews in Europe. You tried to say that the spikes in violence are understandable (“hardly surpriseng…”, you said).

            If you were honest. You would simply say sorry and say you didn’t mean to convey that impression. But instead of doing that you try to wiggle out what you said. Oh and you WOULD admit that violence against Jews IS trending up in Europe.

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          • Gustav

            Pathetic, just pathetic…

            Bryan in his above post justifies attacks by Muslims and Arabs against Jews while at the same time he is denying that he justifies those attacks.

            All one needs to do is read his post. He brings up every conceivable reason to justify the unjustifiable. While his kind scream blue murder and accuse others of Islamophobia when Ordinary Europeans are beginning to react the same way against European Arabs because of ISIS atrocities.

            Bryan’s double standard is mind boggling…

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          • Gustav

            Bryan’s so called “two reasons” in his above post are nothing but justifications for attacks against Jews in Europe.

            If I would try to use similar logic for supporting attacks against Arabs in Europe, (while pretending not to support attacks) by bringing up what ISIS does, he would call me a racist Islamophobe.

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          • Bryan

            My two reasons for explaining (not justifying) violence against Jews in Europe can be summed up as (1) Israel encourages the world to believe that Judaism is synonymous with Zionism and (2) Jewish organisations in Europe (though not the average Jew) tend to ardently back Israel and to defend its transgressions. You argue that “If I would try to use similar logic for supporting attacks against Arabs in Europe, he would call me a racist Islamophobe.” Now that would work only if you point me to state actors (rather than misguided individuals) who were actively encouraging ISIS atrocities or actually arguing that Islam and its delinquent offspring ISIS were synonymous, or if you could point me to powerful pro-Arab or pro-Moslem groups in Europe that were backing ISIS and its transgressions. Can you provide me with evidence please, otherwise we will assume you are again (deliberately) missing the point.

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          • Bryan

            Gustav you have either a severe comprehension problem or an inability to honestly respond. To say something is “hardly surprising” is very different from approving it or justifying it. Let’s take a couple of examples completely unrelated to Palestine. (1) There was comment recently on this site about 40% of Americans believing that mankind was very recently created by God. Now I think this is a horribly unscientific and utterly absurd notion, truly damaging to a rational understanding of the universe and mankind’s role within it but I can understand why this view persists, because (a) Americans receive a poor level of scientific education, and are not generally taught to think for themselves and to read widely and critically, and (b) powerful, money-making groups within Christian fundamentalism have a strongly vested interest in misleading Americans by presenting utterly false views of the world. (2) In Western (all?) societies the very wealthiest have become increasingly wealthy over recent years, and many members of the broader society believe this is not a problem. Now I believe that such disparities of wealth and income are indefensible and deeply damaging to human society, but I can understand why they persist and why there is no massive popular protest about the immorality of the system, because (a) Western citizens are seldom presented with impartial data on the level of inequality, and are taught that economic matters are regulated by the invisible hand of the God of Capital and that it is impossible for ordinary citizens to change such a state of affairs which is simply an immutable given and (b) very powerful groups within society have a vested interest in this and use their influence in the media and in academia and in social and political organisations to maintain this social and economic stratification.

            To return to your point of argument, I utterly condemn violence against civilians, and unreserved condemn the (relatively limited) violence occurring against Jewish citizens in Europe but I can understand how this can happen because (a) many people falsely believe that Judaism and Zionism are synonymous and that all Jews back Israel and the atrocities of the Israeli state (b) powerful groups supporting Israel attempt to silence all hostile criticism, to reinforce the equation that Zionism + Judaism and Judaism = support for Israel, and to attack not only Palestinians but the wider Arab and Moslem worlds. You may guess that I see a pattern existing at the root of many of our ideological conflicts, where the ignorance, false consciousness and failure to understand reality of ordinary people, is intimately linked to the vested interests of very powerful groups that strongly influence public discourse on these matters. I understand this situation but I do not justify it.

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          • Gustav

            No Bryan, if you would “utterly condemn” violence against civilians (or to stick to our discussion, random indiscriminate violence against European Jews), then you would just condemn it and leave it at that, not try to minimize it and explain it away.

            You would treat such violence the same way that you people treat random indiscriminate violence against European Arabs. You call it Islamophobia and racism. You don’t start making up a list of excuses for it, nor do you pretend that there is no real problem by minimizing incidents against your pets.

            So Bryan, to sum up, my problem with your attitude is that it smacks of double standard and hypocrisy.

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          • Ricky Rocket

            Bryan, this is not Momdoweiss where you can make up your own bullshit.
            France is dedicating $107 Million to the fight against anti-Semitism. Your attempts to pretend that this is not a problem are astonishing.

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    4. Ben

      These fine, young Israeli men refusing, their mothers, their supporters all seem like very sane, level headed, serious, intelligent people. They are the canaries in the coal mine. The air is bad. They are also very strong, brave people, doing something exceedingly difficult. The Gustavs and their ilk can try all they want, as is their habit, to impugn the motives of those such as Bruce and me here, but they can’t so easily impugn and suppress these brave Israelis. They are there, they are sending an important message–something is badly wrong in the land or they wouldn’t be there–and they’re not going away.

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      • Pedro X

        Yet neither Yariv Oppenheimer nor other Israelis are listening to these objectors. Something is wrong and it is called Palestinian rejectionism of peace. The problem is for one hundred years Palestinian Arabs have chosen violence and terrorism as their arbitrator who has continually ruled against them. As Benny Morris stated the Palestinians think they can make Jews extinct. Palestinians think that they can turn Israel into another Arab state. This is why Benny Morris, who was a conscientious objector who refused to serve in the West Bank in the 1980s, says he would now serve there because of Palestinian terrorism.

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        • Ben

          Benny Morris is an interesting and revealing case.

          http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Benny_Morris
          Commenting on the post-2000 reversal of position by Morris, Shlomo Ben-Ami, the ex-Minister for Foreign Affairs for Israel, wrote that Morris’ more recent “thesis about the birth of the Palestine refugee problem being not by design but by the natural logic and evolution of war is not always sustained by the very evidence he himself provides: ‘cultured officers … had turned into base murderers and this not in the heat of battle … but out of a system of expulsion and destruction; the less Arabs remained, the better; this principle is the political motor for the expulsions and atrocities’ [quoting from Morris’ major 2004 work: ‘The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem Revisited’]”.[14]

          Finkelstein describes this enigma as: “Thus, as already mentioned, the scholarly consensus is that Palestinians were ethnically cleansed in 1948. Israel’s leading historian on the topic, Benny Morris, although having done more than anyone else to clarify exactly what happened, nonetheless concludes that, morally, it was a good thing—just as, in his view, the “annihilation” of Native Americans was a good thing—that, legally, Palestinians have no right to return to their homes, and that, politically, Israel’s big error in 1948 was that it hadn’t “carried out a large expulsion and cleansed the whole country—the whole Land of Israel, as far as the Jordan” of Palestinians.”[15]:5

          Israeli historian Avi Shlaim, expands on Morris’ ‘conversion’:

          “His 1988 book, The Birth of the Palestinian Refugee Problem, 1947-1949, drove a coach and horses through the claim that the Palestinians left Palestine of their own accord or on orders from their leaders. With a great wealth of recently declassified material, he analysed the role that Israel played in precipitating the Palestinian exodus. … The hallmark of his approach was to stick as closely as possible to the documentary evidence, to record rather than to evaluate. While his findings were original and arresting, he upheld the highest standards of historical scholarship, and he wrote with almost clinical detachment. … The message, pithily summed up in a long interview that Benny gave to Yediot Aharonot about his highly publicised conversion, is that “the Arabs are responsible”. Where no evidence is available to sustain the argument of Arab intransigence, Benny makes it up by drawing on his fertile imagination. … His post-conversion interpretation of history is old history with a vengeance. It is indistinguishable from the propaganda of the victors.”[16]

          Ari Sharit, senior correspondent at Haaretz, commented on Morris’ justification for the expulsion of the Arabs in 1948 by contrasting (the more recent) “citizen” Morris with (the earlier) “historian” Morris, and noting that, at times “citizen Morris and historian Morris worked as though there is no connection between them, as though one was trying to save what the other insists on eradicating.”[17]

          Morris has also been criticised by Norman Finkelstein[35][36] and Nur Masalha.[37] They argue that Morris’s conclusions have a pro-Israeli bias, in that:

          Morris did not fully acknowledge that his work rests largely on selectively released Israeli documentation, while the most sensitive documents remain closed to researchers.
          Morris treated the evidence in the Israeli documents in an uncritical way, and did not take into account that they are, at times, apologetics.
          Morris minimized the number of expulsions: Finkelstein asserts that in the table in which Morris summarizes causes of abandonment, village by village, many cases of “military assault on settlement (M)” should have been “expulsions (E)”.
          Morris’s conclusions were skewed with respect to the evidence he himself presents, and when the conclusions are harsh for the Israelis he tended to give them a less incriminating spin.
          Both Finkelstein and Masalha prefer the conclusion that there was a transfer

          Michael Palumbo, author of The Palestinian Catastrophe: The 1948 Expulsion of a People from Their Homeland,[44] reviewing the first edition of Morris’s book on Palestinian refugees, criticizes Morris’s decision, which Palumbo thinks characteristic of Israeli revisionist historians generally, to rely mainly on official, ‘carefully screened’ Israeli sources, especially for radio transcripts of Arab broadcasts, while disregarding unofficial Israeli sources such as BBC and CIA transcripts, many of which point to a policy of expulsion.[45]He says Morris failed to supplement his work in Israeli archives, many still classified, by U.N., American, and British archival sources that Palumbo considers objective on such issues as IDF atrocities,[46] as well as oral testimonies of Palestinians and Israelis, which can be reliable if their substance can be independently verified.[47] Palumbo says:

          Morris’ regard for documentation is indeed commendable, were it not for his tendency to choose sources which support his views, while avoiding those document collections which contain information inconsistent with his principal arguments. His decision not to use the testimony of Israeli veterans is unfortunate, since some of them have spoken candidly about Israeli atrocities and expulsion of civilians at Deir Yassin, Lydda–Ramle and Jaffa.[48]

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          • Gustav

            Ben quoting Benny Morris: “System of expulsion and destruction…”

            Another bit of misleading pro Palestinian Arab propaganda. OurBen uses selective quoting in order to give the impression that the Palestinian Jews had a policy of doing to thePalestinian Arabs openly boasted about what they intended to do with the Jews…

            What our Benny forgot to quote were statements like these by Benny Morris…

            “There was no Zionist ‘plan’ or blanket policy of evicting the Arab population, or of ‘ethnic cleansing'” and “the demonisation of Israel is largely based on lies—much as the demonisation of the Jews during the past 2,000 years has been based on lies. And there is a connection between the two.”[10]”

            http://www.beyondimages.info/b211.html

            Our Benny too is a reason why people like me feel obliged to post in these types of publications to debunk the dedicated professional propagandists like our inimitable Benny!

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          • Ben

            Just get out of the occupied territories and share Jerusalem and your demons will take flight. It’s all doable. Israel is fully capable of doing this safely. But Israel has to want to. No reply needed. Thanks.

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          • Gustav

            My demons, Benny? You gotta be joking. I, have good reasons for commenting on these pages. I am here to counteract the propaganda, and simplistic, one sided distortions of people like you against my people and my country.

            But why are you here, Benny? You are supposedly an American? What demons are YOU trying to excorcise by being here? Hasn’t America got any social problems which need to be solved? Why isn’t a holier than thou sanctimonious person like you busy trying to solve your own problems instead of preaching to us day in day out, seven days a week?

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        • Ben

          Yariv Oppenheimer is definitely listening to them. Very closely. Everyone does what they can according to their own conscience and in their own way. I highly respect both Oppenheimer and these refusers, Yaron Kaplan and Ido Ramon. Benny Morris is a special case and very revealing in his conversion, complete with move from objective historian to propagandist.

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    5. Ricky Rocket

      @weindeb, the best that the intl community will be comfortable with is giving the Palestinians a demilitarized principality. And that is of they are able to build stable institutions. I agree with this.

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