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FW: Support Refuser 2012 Projects

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  • Mike Cushman
    _____ From: info@refusersolidarity.net [mailto:info@refusersolidarity.net] Sent: 30 November 2011 20:45 To: Cushman,M Subject: Support Refuser 2012 Projects
    Message 1 of 1 , Dec 1, 2011
      _____

      From: info@... [mailto:info@...]
      Sent: 30 November 2011 20:45
      To: Cushman,M
      Subject: Support Refuser 2012 Projects


      <http://www.refusersolidarity.net>

      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
      <http://www.nytimes.com/2011/11/27/opinion/sunday/israels-other-occupation.h
      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
      by check.

      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


      Yesh Gvul


      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
      soldiers

      * Blogs

      * 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
      dropped.

      * 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
      democracy.

      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'
      individual experiences.

      * 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
      2012.

      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
      http://www.newprofile.org/english.

      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.

      Ruth Hiller
      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.


      Our Mission


      * 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
      dialogue.

      * 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
      dialogue.

      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
      media attention.

      * 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
      villages.

      * 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
      there.

      * 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".

      _____


      <https://secure.groundspring.org/dn/index.php?aid=712> DonateNow


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