News Release

Israeli Military Refuseniks

OMER GOLDMAN
JESSE BACON
Goldman is one of the “Shministim” — high school seniors who refuse to
enter the Israeli military process. She said today: “I’m proud to
refuse to serve in an army that claims to be for humanity and defense
but hurts people on a daily basis.”

She recently wrote: “I first went to prison on September 23 and
served 35 days. … By the time you read this, many of my friends will
be in prison too: in for three weeks, out for one, and then back in,
over and over, until they are 21. The reason? We refuse to do military
service for the Israeli army because of the occupation.

“I grew up with the army. My father was deputy head of Mossad and
I saw my sister, who is eight years older than me, do her military service.
As a young girl, I wanted to be a soldier. The military was such a part of
my life that I never even questioned it.” She has been profiled in the British
press. See: “Conscience of the Israeli Spymaster’s Daughter”

Also: “Father, forgive me, I will not fight for your Israel: Omer
Goldman, daughter of a former Mossad chief, tells why she prefers jail
to the military draft”

Bacon is a board member of the group Jewish Voice for Peace, which,
among other things, is launching a campaign to support the Shministim.

MICHEL WEKSLER,
Weksler said today: “I was a tank commander in the Israeli military.
I spent a month in jail because I refused to deploy to Gaza in 2002. I
felt it was my duty to refuse ‘clearly illegal’ orders (an Israeli
judicial term) and I think Israeli occupation practices are clearly
illegal. It’s noteworthy that the Israeli Supreme Court has continuously
avoided hearing a refusenik case.

“The rocket attacks from Gaza are wrong, but it’s ridiculous for
Israel to pretend as if it is the victim in this vicious cycle. Israel
has been violating international as well as Israeli law in how it is
dealing with the Palestinians in the occupied territories. These people
are in total legal limbo. They are not Israeli citizens, they don’t have
an independent state, and Israel is denying them their rights as
occupied people under the Geneva Conventions. Olmert has been trying to
cover this up recently by referring to the ‘citizens of Gaza.’ The
people being bombed in Gaza are not citizens of anything and that’s the
crux of the problem: they are stateless people and that needs to end.”

YONATAN SHAPIRA
A former captain in the Israeli Air Force Reserves, in 2003 Shapira
initiated the group of Israeli Air Force pilots who refused to
participate in attack missions on Palestinian territories. He is a
co-founder of Combatants for Peace.

He said today: “The big media is completely biased in not giving a
true picture of the situation. People need to listen, watch and read
alternative media sources. If you look at the number of people that were
killed in the last few days the numbers for the Palestinians are
enormous — over 375 people in Gaza! This is an open air prison
controlled from all sides. People in Gaza cannot go out, can’t get the
food, medicine, clean water, electricity they need and the Israeli Air
Force is bombing them and killing innocent children in this crazy
operation. The media are simply not telling this story.

“Hamas fires rockets on Israeli towns and yes, four Israelis have
been killed and these rockets can kill me and my family. But Israel’s
retaliation and collective punishment will not bring us more security,
just the opposite. The root cause of the conflict is the ongoing
occupation and the refusal of the Israeli government to negotiate with
Hamas and to agree to a complete withdrawal to 1967 borders. There’s no
real intention to solve the problem by my government unfortunately.

“I want to shout as loud as I can and ask everyone to join us in
this struggle, Palestinians and Israelis who want to stop the bloodshed.
The massacre will not stop unless people from all over the world will
wake up, join us and call for boycott, divestment and sanctions on the
Israeli government. I am saying these things as a Jew and as an Israeli
who wants to continue to live in this beautiful and sad piece of land.”

STEVEN FEUERSTEIN,
Feuerstein works with the group Refuser Solidarity Network.

For more information, contact at the Institute for Public Accuracy:
Sam Husseini, (202) 347-0020; or David Zupan, (541) 484-9167