FW: Support Refuser 2012 Projects
From: info@... [mailto:info@...]
Sent: 30 November 2011 20:45
Subject: Support Refuser 2012 Projects
30 November 2011
Dear friend of the Refuser Movements,
Yes, it's that time of the year. You are, no doubt, hearing from many
groups, asking for your support. We hope that you will be able to extend
some of that financial assistance to the refuser movements in Israel.
This has been a momentous year in so many ways, in the Middle East. The Arab
Spring has led to "regime change" in several countries. The people of Egypt
have shown their unwillingness to accept a replacement military regime. And
the conflict in Syria deepens, as the Arab League takes strong steps to
isolate Assad and hopefully compel him to stop attacking and killing
Syrians. The Palestinian Authority has begun its push for recognition of a
Palestinian state at the United Nations.
From the standpoint of peace between Israelis and Palestinians, the news is
not good. Israel is pushing forward with aggressive, accelerated plans for
construction of housing in many places in the West Bank. And, as the New
York Times recently reported in its "Israel's Other Occupation" article
tml?_r=1&scp=2&sq=israel&st=cse> , there is a broad, multi-faceted campaign
by the settler movement and most extreme right-wing elements in Israel to
suppress opposition to the occupation and to isolate/attack the Arab
citizens of Israel.
As is so often the case with this conflict, there is little good news to
report. On the other hand, the refuser organizations have maintained and in
some cases increased their levels of activity and impact.
We believe that the refusers remain among the most important voices and
activists inside Israel (and, increasingly, among Palestinians as well,
through Combatants for Peace). You will find detailed information from Yesh
Gvul, New Profile and Combatants for Peace about their view of the situation
and their plans for 2012.
We hope that you will continue your support of these organizations with an
end of year, tax deductible contribution. You can do so very easily with
your credit card by visiting http://www.refusersolidarity.net and clicking
on the Donate Now button. If you would like to direct your contribution to a
specific refuser group, be sure to select that group's name in the "RSN
Project" field. You will also find instructions on our website for donating
Finally, we are saddened to report the death of Peretz Kidron
<http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Peretz_Kidron> , a longtime activist in Yesh
Gvul, the oldest refuser movement in Israel. Active in the Israeli peace
movement since the late 1960s, he was a founder member of the Israeli
Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace and served on the steering committee
of the human rights group B'Tselem. He died on 6 November 2011 after a
lengthy battle against illness. We will miss him greatly.
Many thanks in advance for your support,
The RSN Board of Directors
In response to the Israeli governments' determination to expand the
occupation of Palestine and increasingly anti-democratic and aggressive
policies, Yesh Gvul is launching a new campaign in the next coming months,
aimed at Israeli soldiers and inductees:
"Where's your limit?"
The goal of the campaign is to raise awareness amongst Israeli soldiers
regarding the occupation, Israeli aggression and attacks against civilians,
and challenging them regarding their personal responsibility.
The campaign will be make extensive use of internet and social networking in
order to reach men and women who are serving in the Israeli army or whom are
now being drafted. These online tools will comprise an electronic version of
our traditional leafleting to IDF soldiers.
Campaign methods will include:
* Video clip "dialogues" with soldiers about the occupation
* Banners and ads on Israeli news websites and Facebook ads geared to
* Online facebook reactions to events in Israel and the Occupied
territories which stress our messages
In addition to the campaign Yesh Gvul's plans for the near future include:
* The third annual Yishiyahu Leibowitz Award (end of December). Yesh
Gvul has organized this prize ceremony, which honours the memory of Prof.
Leibowitz, an Israeli gadfly who warned Israelis about the dangers of the
occupation in June 167, and was an early and steadfast supporter of Yesh
Gvul and the refuser movement .The annual award is given to Israelis whose
actions personify Leibowitz's legacy.
* Continuing our legal campaign against war crimes. We are continuing
with our petition to the Israeli Supreme Court against the use of white
phosphorus munitions in civilian areas, and are now working on an action
against a former ranking officer who called on the army to kill Palestinian
militants in their beds.
Appeal from New Profile
There is good reason to be concerned for Israel. Right wing influences are
growing and and sanctioning limitations on Israel's democratic freedoms.
These limitations are regulated by the government and the Knesset, the two
representative bodies who should be responsible for preserving and promoting
democracy. During this present administration we are witness to a growing
number of officials adopting anti-democratic legislation aimed at silencing
opposition and the media. Additionally unsympathetic and accusing statements
are made against peace and human rights organizations, political
organizations, and minorities. New Profile stands with the many peace and
human rights NGOs, in protest to these present policies and the ongoing
attempts made to limit dissent and opposition.
However New Profile has already been singled out, and any of you have
readily recognized the gravity of this turn of events and written us to
express support and solidarity. We are very grateful for your support.
The bigger events are as follows:
* In 2009 - 2010 New Profile was subject to a criminal investigation
into our activities, during which many of our activists were interrogated by
the police and their personal computers, and families' computers were
confiscated. The criminal charges were found to be baseless and were
* Then New Profile was banned by direct order from Education Minister
Gideon Sa'ar from participating in events in high schools.
* In July 2011 Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman publically called
New Profile and other human rights organizations 'terrorist organizations".
Naturally New Profile refutes these allegations and continues to be
committed to non-violence, while encouraging true and open civil discourse
in Israel. Accordingly we feel that Minister Lieberman systematically leads
and provokes incitement against human rights and civil society organizations
in Israel. The attempt to slur us as 'terrorist', can only be deemed as
outrageous, emphasizing the ruling power's basic misunderstanding of
In spite these repeated allegations and accusations we continue to be
committed to our goals, questioning Israeli society's deep seeded militarism
by offering alternative educational programs for demilitarization. We
encourage rethinking conscription and give support to all refusers.
Additionally we oppose the military means Israel uses to impose sovereignty
in Palestine. In our charter we state, 'We refuse to go on raising our
children to see enlistment as a supreme and overriding value. We want a
fundamentally changed education system, for a truly democratic civic
education, teaching the practice of peace and conflict resolution, rather
than training children to enlist and accept warfare.'
This October New Profile celebrated 13 years of activism as a movement. This
in itself is a remarkable accomplishment. We aspire and rise to the
challenge of engaging with the Israeli public in spite of present day
policies. New Profile encourages new venues that allow for an open and frank
discussion, similar to what we saw evolve during in the social uprising this
summer, creating new hope for change.
New Profile continues to maintain several key projects, focusing on youth
and refusal. These projects were established as the movement developed and
continue to be the foundation for our activities with young people. The
projects are as follows:
* Youth groups: One of our oldest projects, the youth groups,
presently located in Jerusalem, Tel Aviv, Haifa, and Kiryat Shmona, provide
a safe space for high schools students to meet weekly and discuss matters of
the day including: politics, activism, gender, conscription, refusal,
ecology, globalization, and more. Each group has two facilitators who
prepare the weekly discussion.
* Refusers Counseling Network: Based on New Profile's belief that
there is a vast underground refuser movement amongst young Israelis today,
the Network provides tools for rethinking conscription. Involving a team of
active counselors nationwide, it is the Network's directive to work with
anyone and everyone who seeks information and/or support on issues regarding
refusal, discharge from the military, discharge from reserve duty, and
military classifications, (called profiles in Hebrew). The counselors work
with applicants specifically on a one-on-one basis, either in person or on
the phone, as to ensure discretion. The majority of requests for counseling
or receiving general information comes from teenagers who are considering
the option of enlisting. But others, such as conscripts who are already
serving in the army, and are resolved in terminating their military service,
or reservists seeking information on how to be released from long-term
military service, also apply for assistance. One new but growing phenomenon
is that of parents seeking advice on how to support their children's
decisions to refuse to conscript. All applicants are informed in detail of
their legal rights and options and provided with descriptions of others'
* Legal Aid Network: The network is an important component in our
refusers' support system and comprises work with several law firms, offering
solid legal consultations, and support for draft resisters and their
families. It is one of New Profile's more expensive activities and is
assigned high priority. The team, coordinates visits by lawyers to refusers
in prison, and provides preliminary consultations and interventions. This
team also maintains regular contact with the parents of imprisoned refusers.
During 2011 we established a joined supervising team for the Counseling and
Legal projects. One of the major roles of this new team is to strengthen the
connection between the two projects.
* Alternative Summer Camp: Following up on a six year long tradition,
New Profile's 7th Alternative Summer Camp for Youth took place in July at an
ecological farm in Moshav Even Sapir. Some 80 participants, all aged 15-19,
participated in the camp, making it a great success. An even greater success
was the fact that for many attendees this was a first acquaintance with this
project or with New Profile Most of the content of the summer camp was
composed of workshops given by guest speakers on various issues such as
education, the economy, the place of militarism in Israeli society and
gender and sexuality. Other subjects that were touched on were the Israeli
occupation, ecology, migrant workers and refugees and the internally
displaced Palestinians within Israel.
The participants are encouraged to develop tools for critical thinking about
society, media, politics, the environment and much more, enabling them to
become activists for social change. A winter seminar/camp is planned for
We anticipate launching our new web site by the end of the year. In the
meanwhile limited information can be on our temporary site
www.newprofile.org/english Included on the site is our new digital and
translated exhibit, which we use to show how militarization permeates all
aspects of society. The link to the exhibit is
Many of you have readily recognized the gravity of recent of events and have
written us to express support and solidarity in light of the destructive
anti-democracy policies now openly governing Israel/Palestine. We appreciate
any small or large action you can take and truly need you, now and over the
months and years to come. Your continued support is deeply meaningful.
International Network Coordinator
Appeal from Combatants for Peace
Combatants for Peace <http://wwwcfpeace.org/> is a grass-roots,
Israeli-Palestinian peace movement. It was founded in 2005 by Palestinians
and Israelis who had taken an active part in the cycle of violence, and now
work together to break it. CFP is committed to non-violence and
conscientious objection. This means that the Israeli members refuse to serve
in the Occupied Territories and the Palestinians publicly reject the armed
struggle. Our movement is based upon the belief that only when Israelis and
Palestinians join forces is it possible to break the cycle of violence,
establishing an independent Palestinian state alongside Israel. CFP's
activity brings together growing numbers of people from both sides, and
fosters the recognition that violence and the occupation are ruinous for the
future of all. CFP has won numerous awards for its work, including The Anna
Lindh Euro-Med Award for the Dialogue Between Cultures; the Livia Foundation
Conflict Resolution Award and the Peace Abbey Courage of Conscience Award.
* To help put an end to the occupation and assist the establishment of
a viable Palestinian state.
* To raise awareness and promote an understanding among both publics
regarding the hopes and suffering of the other side, and create partners for
* To educate both sides about reconciliation and non-violent struggle.
* To put political pressure on both governments to demand that they
stop the cycle of violence and the occupation and resume a constructive
Our activities and projects 2010-2012
* We stage high-profile events, such as the Israeli-Palestinian
Memorial Day Ceremony, every year in May.. This ceremony commemorates both
Israeli and Palestinian victims of violence in the belief that acknowledging
the joint pain and loss can break down walls rather than perpetuate them.
Instead of de-humanizing the other, Palestinians and Israelis mourn together
for all victims of conflict. The annual ceremony has been held every year
since 2006. The numbers grow every year, and last May, in Tel Aviv, 1,500
people attended. The event attracts a great deal of local and international
* five bi-national peace-building groups based in different areas of
the West Bank and Israel: Tel Aviv-Tulkarem; Beer Sheva-South Hebron;
Jerusalem-Ramallah; Jerusalem-Bethlehem; Tel Aviv-Nablus. A group comprises
approximately 15 Palestinians and 15 Israelis. About 600 active members fill
the broader ranks. We have thousands of supporters.
* The Tel Aviv-Tulkarem bi-national group, for example, meets
regularly in the West Bank village of Shufa. Among the Israeli cohort are
two theatre professors, who have influenced this group's use of Theatre
Workshops as an effective tool for dealing with oppression and bereavement.
Through these workshops, the group is constantly improving the personal
connections between its members. The group protests the hardships in the
Palestinian villages of the Tulkarem region and has carried out a protest
and advocacy campaign aimed at bringing electricity to Shufa.
* The Beer Sheba-Hebron group is focused on two assignments: 1)
organizing agricultural work with area Palestinian villagers: safeguarding
shepherds, digging water holes, planting, plowing and harvesting. 2)
creating the Palestinian Trail, a path connecting villages and offering a
hiking route from South to North of the West Bank. 15 Kilometers have
already been created.
* The Jerusalem-Bethlehem Group is involved in the villages Wallajeh
and Ma'asra, where we lead community rehabilitation projects, and a
non-violent struggle approach to the separation wall built around the
* The Jerusalem/Al-Quds/Ramallah group is currently engaged in a video
project of stories and testimonies.
* The Tel Aviv/Nablus group is developing its work in the village of
Yanoun, Nablus District. We started by erecting a community playground
* We initiate and participate in various public activities, such as
joint olive harvests, tree plantings, public demonstrations, tours for
Israelis in the West Bank and Jerusalem.
* We conduct public workshops, in which members of CFP meet members of
the public, adult groups, and share with them our experience and the meaning
of our work.
Impact & Assessment
In her new book titled The Israeli-Palestinian Peace Movement: Combatants
for Peace (Palgrave Macmillan, 2011) Donna Perry suggests that "Members of
the group have a mutually transformative effect upon one another and that
they jointly sustain one another in the challenging process of building
peace. Membership in the group influenced their very identity and the lens
with which they viewed the world. Participants found their involvement in
the group deeply meaningful and an important part of their lives. They felt
that they were living up to their values and doing something good for
themselves and their community".
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