There are some good Jews / Resistance Is Not Futile
Posted in the Chicago Forum
#1 Aug 8, 2014
Resistance Is Not Futile
By Rory Fanning, www.truth-out.org
August 8th, 2014
The numbers are small, but there are Israeli military resisters actively fighting the occupation of Palestine within the borders of Israel. These draft age teenagers face enormous pressure from their government, family and peers to perpetuate state racism and the siege of the occupied territories. Despite the pressure, these brave Israelis adhere to their conscience and stand for justice in a society that increasingly rejects it. In addition to supporting the boycott, divestment and sanctions movement, resisting the Israeli occupation of Palestine from outside Israel involves standing in solidarity with those Israelis who find the courage to say, "I refuse." It is also the responsibility of US conscientious objectors like myself, to see the struggle of Israeli military resisters as part of our own struggle against US imperialism here at home.
Udi Segal, a 19-year-old Israeli from Kibbutz Tuval in north Israel, was sent to jail last week for refusing to enlist in the Israeli military. Segal is tall and skinny, with intense, blue eyes and a long angular face. In an interview with +972 Magazine, his last before being sent to jail, he appeared composed and resolute in his decision, despite his confessed fear of his imminent jail sentence.
"We are using refusal as a tool against the occupation, to end the occupation," Segal said. He was referring to 50 other sarvanim - Hebrew for "refuseniks" - who are members of the group Breaking the Silence, that wrote a letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in early March 2014. In the letter, they expressed their collective "opposition to the military occupation of Palestinian territories," where "human rights are violated, and acts defined under international law as war-crimes are perpetuated on a daily basis." There are now over 130 signatories to the letter, according to Segal.
Segel revealed more about his decision in a prior interview, where he said he refuses to serve not only because of the Israeli occupation of Palestine, but because the military supports a nationalist and capitalist system which benefits only a few at the expense of the majority. Segel called on other "soldiers and reservists to refuse orders and not participate in the massacre."
Segal went to a mixed Jewish-Palestinian grade school and Israeli public high school. He said the transition from grade school to high school was difficult. His high school in Kibbutz Tuval has one of the highest percentages of graduates in the country who go on to enlist as combat troops in the IDF. His decision to refuse service was met with silence by his friends and harassment by his peers.
When asked how he felt about conscientiously objecting during Operation Protective Edge, Segal said, "I think that in these times, as the government and the media attempt to silence any critical voice that deviates even slightly from the belligerent mainstream, I think now, specifically, it is important not only to refuse, but to act against the occupation. Especially now when the destructive results of the occupation can be seen on TV right before our eyes."
According to +972 Magazine, when Segal reported to the draft office last week to declare his intentions, he was greeted by chants: "Go to Gaza! You're all traitors! Gaza is a cemetery! Go get f**ked in the a**!" He was also told that this was his "gay coming out party," and was called a "son of a whore," in front of his mother who was there with him. This response to Segal is revealing, particularly in light of Israel's claims that it is a "haven for the LGBTQ community."
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