Support Israeli conscientious objectors

Photo essay: International day of action in solidarity with Israeli refusers in prison #refuse2occupy

Tamar Alon, Atalya Ben Abba and Tamar Ze'evi are facing repeated imprisonment for refusing to serve the Israeli occupation. On 1st December, Mesarvot (a network supporting political refusal and conscientious objectors) called an international a day of action to support them.

Outside the office of arms manufacturers Lockheed Martin, LondonOutside the office of arms manufacturers Lockheed Martin, London

Vigils took place outside arms manufacturing facilities and other locations calling on governments to stop arming the Israeli occupation rather than profiting from it. the day of action highlighted that as young people in Israel are refusing to serve the occupation, we should refuse to profit from it. Because as long as Europe trades with the Israeli weapon industry - the occupation will continue. As long as the US continue to arm Israel and buy its weapons - young Israelis will continue to be imprisoned for refusing to aim these weapons toward civilians.

Thursday is Prisoners for peace day: support those who refuse to occupy

1st December is Prisoners for Peace Day: a chance to show solidarity with those imprisoned or their work for peace. Use this list to contact those currently in jail.

During November and December, Tamar Alon, Atalya Ben Abba and Tamar Ze'evi will refuse to conscript and serve the Israeli military occupation of Palestine. So this Prisoners for Peace Day we are also organising an international day of action with Mesarvot (a network of Israeli organisations, groups and individuals who support political conscientious objectors) when we declare: THEY REFUSE to serve the occupation, WE refuse to profit from it. Vigils will take place outside arms manufacturing facilities and other locations calling on governments to stop arming the Israeli occupation rather than profiting from it. Could you arrange an action near you? Contact mesarvot.im@gmail.com, and share the Facebook event.

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Please support WRI's unique work

Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil: Activists in Israel dress as soldiers to take part in a protest, in solidarity with imprisoned conscientious objectorsHear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil: Activists in Israel dress as soldiers to take part in a protest, in solidarity with imprisoned conscientious objectorsDear friends,

My name is Taya, and I am writing from the Israeli organisation Mesarvot. We support conscientious objectors who refuse to be conscripted into the Israeli military.

I am writing to ask you to support War Resisters' International, to enable this important network to continue its unique work, building solidarity among antimilitarist activists across the world. Please consider how you can support WRI financially today.

Just under a year ago, I had the opportunity to spend a wonderful three months as an intern at the WRI office. At first, as I looked at other countries and learnt of the militarism and war happening around the world, and identified the same patterns of oppression and violence I know from Israel, I was discouraged. What impact can we possibly hope to have? But this feeling was soon replaced by excitement, at the revelation that in all of these places there are people resisting, creating alternatives, countering militarism, working alongside me, even if they are thousands of kilometres away.

International solidarity for draft refusers in Israel

In Israel, one of the main roles of the military is to maintain the occupation and military rule over millions of Palestinians. Both women and men are drafted, and the military is seen not only as crucial for maintaining Israel’s “security”, but also as making a wider contribution to society. Conscientious objectors in Israel defy political and social norms and “pay a price” for doing so. Sometimes this takes the form of a prison sentence - if they decide to outright refuse military service - and more often in the form of social criticism or isolation. The difficulties faced by conscientious objectors in Israel emphasise the importance of the ongoing international solidarity for us here in Mesarvot network.

Thanks to our links with WRI, real, tangible international solidarity has become possible. For conscientious objectors in Israel, and for the Mesarvot network who support them, this solidarity is significant; working with WRI means we are now connected with supporters all over the world. The WRI network has taken on our campaign as its own, by offering creative ideas, connections, and support, alongside a deeper understanding of what may work in each context. Connecting with WRI has helped us to link with other people and organisations who may be able to help.

Just a few examples of WRI’s support include:

  • mobilising international solidarity for the five imprisoned conscientious objectors we’ve supported so far,
  • coordinating a statement of support from other conscientious objectors in the eastern Mediterranean region,
  • running a social media campaign in support of those in prison,
  • organising activists to write personal letters to conscientious objectors in prison,
  • and helping us to organise an international day of action in solidarity with conscientious objectors and against companies arming and profiting from the occupation (for more information on how to take part in these actions, see the Prisoners for Peace day list here

These actions support and encourage local activists from small organisations, who rely on the support of WRI for the international solidarity we so need. We need to work together against war and militarism. We need WRI as activists, movements, and people who want a world free from war - and until we succeed in abolishing war, WRI needs our support too. Please give generously.

 

 

Taya Govreen-Segal

1st December: Refuse to occupy - join an international day of action

1st December: Refuse to occupy - international Day of action

Tamar Alon, Atalya Ben Abba and Tamar Ze'evi are facing imprisonment for refusing to serve the Israeli occupation. Support them by joining us on December 1st for an international day of action.

Vigils will take place outside arms manufacturing facilities and other locations calling on governments to stop arming the Israeli occupation rather than profiting from it.

As long as Europe trades with the Israeli weapon industry - the occupation will continue. As long as the US continue to arm Israel and buy its weapons - young Israelis will continue to be imprisoned for refusing to aim these weapons toward civilians.

***
THEY REFUSE to gas civilians, will the US refuse to buy Israeli teargas?
THEY REFUSE to shoot civilians, will EAST ASIA refuse to buy Israel guns?
THEY REFUSE to bomb Gaza, will we call OUR COUNTRIES to refuse to trade drones with Israel?

THEY REFUSE to serve the occupation, WE refuse to profit from it.
***

Conscientious objectors freed

On 14th July, conscientious objectors Tair Kaminer and Ruslan Kotsaba – in Ukraine and Israel respectively - were released. Journalist and draft refuser Ruslan Kotsaba was freed on appeal, after initially being charged with treason. The judge found that there was no evidence to condemn him, and ordered his immediate release from custody. In Israel, refuser Tair Kaminer was exempted from the army for 'bad behaviour'. She had spent over 150 days in prison for her refusal. CO Omri Baranes is still going through the process of being repeatedly called up, imprisoned, released and called up. Sign up to support her, and other COs, here. Refusing to kill is not a crime.

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#refuse2occupy: solidarity for imprisoned conscientious objectors in Israel

#refuse2occupy#refuse2occupyIn Israel, Omri Barnes and Tair Kaminer have been imprisoned again because they #refuse2occupy and refuse to serve the army. Tair, starting her 6th term of 45 days in prison said "As long as the violent military way holds sway, we will simply have further generations growing up with a heritage of hate, which will only make things even worse. We must stop this - now!". Omri, returning now to prison for the third time for a term of 30 days says "The military creates a circle of violence while claiming to defend the country. I believe that a person has a responsibility towards certain humanistic values, which lie beyond his/hers political and social framework, which is why I refuse to enlist." Their support group Mersavot is calling people around the world to support them, by posting your own picture a with a message to Tair and Omri and use the hashtag #refuse2occupy.

Statement of conscientious objectors from eastern Mediterranean region

Solidarity action outside the Israeli embassy in Athens for Tair Kaminer, Israeli CO currently in jailSolidarity action outside the Israeli embassy in Athens for Tair Kaminer, Israeli CO currently in jailConscientious objector groups from the eastern Mediterranean region have recently issued a statement on the ongoing military crisis in their region. Declaring their solidarity with refugees escaping from war and repression, they made a call to the international community to pursue peaceful solutions, rather than militarised ones, for the ongoing violence in the region. “The world's reaction to the current regional violence,” the statement declares, “should be building societies, assisting refugees, and mediating between fighting parties, not selling arms, bombings and providing military assistance.”

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Solidarity action for Tair Kaminer in Athens

Related peace activists: 

Amnesty International in Greece held a solidarity action for Israeli conscientious objector Tair Kaminer on 20th March 2016, when Tair was in prison for the third time.

 

Statement of conscientious objectors’ groups from eastern Mediterranean region

We are conscientious objectors from all around the eastern Mediterranean region. Our region has suffered for so long from oppression, injustice, militarisation, military occupations and wars, as well as poverty, illiteracy, hunger and lack of social infrastructure. In this difficult period, when our region seems to fall even more into the chaos of war, we raise a common voice for peace and against militarisation.

We refuse to allow this cycle of violence, initiated by oppressive states and economic interests, to continue; we refuse to be a part of it; we refuse to be enemies with people who just happen to be of a different nationality or religion; we will not be dragged into their wars and armies leading to death and destruction in the region.

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