Israel: Courageous Mass Refusal

15 04 2014         They are still teenagers, but they are already serious citizens and dare I say heroes.  In Israel 70 about-to-graduate high school students have written to the Prime Minister to declare:

“We, the undersigned, intend to refuse to serve in the army and the main reason is our opposition to the military occupation of Palestinian territories.”

Their letter accuses the Israeli army of committing human rights abuses and war crimes “on a daily basis”, including assassinations, torture, and collective punishment.

There was a movement of civil disobedience in Israel years ago before the Oslo agreement.   A Defense Minister’s son in fact refused to serve and fled to the USA where he became an American citizen banned from Israel.   But now in the age of social media it’s possible for the first time that such a movement could gain momentum and “catch on”, as has the BDS movement in some circles.

It’s a good time to be remembering Rosa Parks, Nelson Mandela, Mahatma Gandhi, Daniel Ellsberg, and Edward Snowden.