Tanya Golan

  • Israel

An anarchist, a vegan and an activist in ecological struggles refuses to take part in the Zionist army. We publish her Declaration of refusal, which includes her reasoning and her social criticism.

My name is Tanya Golan and I am 20 years old. I have decided to refuse the conscription to the IDF, and I saw a value in doing it publicly and straightforwardly.

Deciding to join or not to join the army is a political decision which everyone should be able to make on their own. I protest the law that threatens young teenagers into joining the army. I have no trust in authoritarian hierarchy. The army is a hand of the bourgeoisie, the government and weapon manufactures. There are those who profit from Israeli-Palestinian conflict and will never let go of economic control over the West Bank. These powers have created racism and division. Government spending on the IDF (which also comes from the USA) tends to grow from year to year at the expense of education, healthcare and welfare; yet there is no security – there are many threats in Israel. I presume, our fear is exploited as a distraction and prevention of profound thought.

One can not build a just society based on injustice. I refuse to take part in a racist, fascist, discriminatory and oppressive organization. I refuse to take part in an organization which, for decades, holds millions without civilian rights. On the other hand, there are people like us, with the same needs as us, who only want to live their lives. Arrests, administrative detentions, harassment by the army and Jewish settlers, wage slavery, no welfare — we cannot be safe if we give good reasons to fight us.

The army, just like school, is an institute that performs socialization. As the main objective of public school is to stitch together the society into a monolithic entity, so the main objective of the IDF is not to protect the people, but to be a melting pot (Israeli slang for the army as the institution which makes people the same) that keeps the ethos alive and makes people adore itself, while it actually protects only the hierarchy.

It is an institution with clumsy bureaucracy, sectors that deal only with each other and have no bearing on the real world, and other sectors dealing with civilian affairs. This kind of structure is educating fresh youth into a dogmatic way of thinking that perpetuates the hierarchic relationship between the oppressor and the oppressed. This part of life is the final stage in entering adulthood in this part of the earth, between the river and the sea.

I think that joining an organization should be motivated by personal desire and thought. It works, we can take as an example the Democratic Federation of Rojava, not so far away; perhaps we can learn a thing or two from them. They have no conscription laws, but, nonetheless, they have similar percentage of recruitment to the YPG and YPJ as Israel have to the IDF. If there is no desire to protect something, it probably should not be protected.

I reject the reasoning in favor of joining the army: companionship, direction in life, experience, helping the community. I choose not to sacrifice myself to two whole years of rattles, humiliation, and oppression for nothing. I will not wear military uniform, so I will not contribute to the public pressure to join the army. Refusing the conscription is not a simple thing, but neither is joining the army.

Last but not least, there is the social issue of justice. The army endangers the environment by spilling oil and sewage, getting rid of equipment by throwing it into the sea and ongoing activity which endangers the balance of flora and fauna. All of the above happens without the least amount of accountability, exactly as the army does with government spending.

Using your voice, in any situation, is great help, and I invite everyone who has a voice to use it. Plainly, bad things happen when good people do nothing.