Covering the Year
CIA & DynCorp
NUGGETS FROM THE NUTHOUSE
Terrorist as Militant
Newsweek X Bomb
Seattle to Pittsburgh
SF Labor Dispute
Israeli Youth Refuse
Underserved & Unprotected
Recession in Midwest
Obama & Immigration
HK Women Workers
New Latin America
Zaps - 12-09
NOTE: Z Magazine subscribers and sustainers have access to all Z Magazine articles here and in the archive. The latest Z Magazine articles available to everyone are listed in the Free Articles box at the top of the table of contents, and are starred in the list below. Questions? e-mail Z Magazine Online.
Hell No, They Won't Go: Israeli Youth Refuse
At 19, Maya Yechieli Wind was forced into a battle with her conscience. Last December she joined other high school seniors (Shministim in Hebrew) who have refused Israel's mandatory draft since 1970. In an open letter to the Defense Ministry, they explained: "We object to Israeli 'defense' methods: checkpoints, 'targeted' killing, roads for Jews only, sieges and more, which serve the land-seizing policy, annex more occupied territories into Israel, and trample on Palestinian human rights…. It is impossible to harm and imprison in the name of freedom; thus, it is impossible to be moral and serve the occupation."
But Shministim, and other refuseniks, have paid heavily for rebuffing Israel's army, a source of State pride since 1948. Wind spent weeks in detention and 40 days in a military prison. She was sentenced four consecutive times before being disqualified as "mentally unfit" for armed service in March 2009.
Speaking in Berkeley, California on September 16, Wind identified the turning point in her attitude towards the Occupied Territories as a conversation with a Palestinian teenager like herself. "It changed my perspective on the conflict 180 degrees," she told her audience. "It opened my eyes to the fact that Israelis can do bad things. That seems elementary, but at [the age of] 15, I had been taught our soldiers were the good guys, that everything Israel did was for self-defense.
"Everyone I knew was a soldier," said Wind, "my friends, my father. It was shocking that our soldiers could be abusive." For Wind, the only moral choice was not to serve in the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF), not an easy choice. "Israelis automatically ask a 19-year-old, 'What do you do in the army?' When I answer that question, it often provokes a heated and angry response."
Face to Face is the dialogue group for Palestinian and Israeli children that changed Wind's feelings about her Arab neighbors. Four years later, she works full time for Rabbis for Human Rights in her native Jerusalem. Recently, she and fellow Shministim Netta Mishly, 18, spent 3 weeks touring U.S. college campuses from UC Berkeley to Brown University. They spoke persuasively about the role Americans play in maintaining Israel's occupation. "We hope to empower people our age to take responsibility," say Wind and Mishly, "and to suggest ways they can work to end the occupation and promote a just peace" (see whywerefuse.org).
Wind and Mishly—photo by Thomas Good/NLN
Wind and Mishly aren't the only Shministim traveling the globe to speak against Israel's policies that flout international law. On October 6, 88 high-school graduates sent a new letter to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu announcing their refusal to serve in an occupation army. Three of them—Yuval Ophir-Auron, Omer Goldman, and Sahar Vardi—toured South Africa in October, sponsored by the South African End Conscription Campaign (ECC).
The Seniors' Letter reads: "We, the undersigned young women and men, Jews and Arabs from all parts of the country, hereby declare that we will toil against the occupation and oppression policies of the Israeli government in the occupied territories, and in the territory of the land of Israel, and therefore refuse to take part in actions related to such policies, which are carried out in our name by the Israeli Defence Force."
This year's seniors identify themselves as community activists and conscientious objectors (COs), whose refusal of military induction "stems directly from our volunteer experience, from the values we believe in." They specifically attack their country's settlement policy as "racist in principle," and the claim that Israel is "the only democracy in the Middle East." Can a government that controls the lives of millions of people who did not take part in elections be called a "democracy?" Can military rule of a civilian population be considered anything other than a dictatorship?
To Palestinian youth, the new crop of Shministim argues "there is still hope" and to Israeli youth "there is an alternative to fighting and hating." Supporting this year's seniors is the feminist group New Profile. This ten-year-old group has been so effective in spreading its pacifist message to high school refusers and potential IDF recruits that its offices were raided by police, computers confiscated, and members arrested for "inciting desertion at war."
Like the U.S. War Resisters League, Veterans for Peace, and Iraq Veterans Against the War, New Profile tries to counter IDF propaganda by explaining to young Israelis that even Israeli law recognizes pacifism as grounds for conscientious objection. In 2002, the Israeli High Court of Justice ruled that refusal to serve was legal on the grounds of unqualified pacifism, but "selective refusal," which accepts some duties and not others, was illegal. The court also ruled that refusal to serve in the territories is not conscientious objection.
In fact, according to Wind and Mishly, about 40 percent of Israelis who could serve elude the draft. Orthodox Jews and married women are exempted; others claim physical or psychological problems. How many dodge the draft because they are uncomfortable with Israel's role as "occupier" is hard to quantify. Opting out of military service is even more widespread among reservists, whose intentional avoidance of duty is called "twilight refusal."
Tali Lerner, a member of New Profile, served only a few weeks in the IDF before she quit. "I could see the army's brainwashing," she says, "treating Palestinians as nonhuman. They don't speak about killing people but about hitting targets as if [Palestinians] were cardboard. Israeli society doesn't recognize the rights of Palestinians to defend themselves and have a strong army, but it insists on its rights to the same security."
Rela Mazali, who joined New Profile at its inception in 2000, says the crackdown on dissent has been more severe since the bombing of Gaza, but that New Profile's activism is legal. "Rising numbers of young Jewish Israelis," said Mazali, "as well as the Druze minority who are also subject to conscription, find themselves unwilling to accept the Israeli dictate 'There's no other choice.' Four generations and over six decades of failed 'military solutions' have engendered a broad social movement of young people who have severe internal struggles when asked to serve in the military," she says.
Israel's 1982 war in Lebanon precipitated an anti-war movement of which a major component was thousands of soldiers (especially reserve soldiers) refusing combat duty in Lebanon. Anti-war actions continued during the First Intifada, the Second Intifada, and the Second Lebanon War of 2006. Groups opposed to Israel's policies in the Occupied Territories include There is a Limit, Courage to Refuse, Combatants for Peace, Breaking the Silence, and New Profile.
As more Israeli youth decide to enter the ranks of refuseniks rather than the IDF, war resisters in the U.S. have recognized that their struggles are connected. On August 7, 1990, 22-year-old Marine Cpl. Jeff Paterson refused to board a military plane in Hawaii heading to Saudi Arabia. He was the first active-duty military resister in the first U.S.-led attack on Iraq. Today Paterson is project director for Courage to Resist, which organizes political and legal support for war resisters. "For decades now," says Paterson, "courageous Israeli youth have been resisting service in occupied Palestine. It's exciting to see the growing GI resistance movement in the United States, not only drawing strength from this example, but now creating direct solidarity."
Solidarity between anti-war groups in Israel and the U.S. targets the link between the occupations of Palestine and Iraq and a refusal to serve based on the military's human rights abuses. Those issues will be explored—and filmed—when members of Dialogues Against Militarism (DAM) travel to Israel and Palestine in November. DAM was created by Bay-area COs, community activists, and veterans inspired by a 2008 letter in support of Shministim signed by 29 U.S. military resisters.
Former Marine Stephen Funk is a member of DAM, Courage to Resist, and serves as San Francisco chapter president of Iraq Veterans Against the War. He was also the first enlisted person to publicly denounce the current Iraq War and refuse to serve. He applied for CO status and traveled the country to speak out against the war, encouraging military personnel to examine their beliefs about the war, informing others about conscientious objection, and warning young people to think twice before enlisting. For his actions, he was sentenced to six months in military prison, demoted to Private, fined, and given a bad conduct discharge.
"The first international support I got in 2003," says Funk, "was from Israeli resisters and anti-war activists. It's natural for me to work with these groups because of the money and support our country gives to maintain Israel's occupation."
Before Funk was sentenced, he received a public letter on August 12, 2003 from Israeli Matan Kaminer, age 19, who was on trial for refusing to join the IDF. Kaminer expressed both the anger of those who stand alone and the longing for affirmation: "Stephen, people our age should be out learning, working and transforming the world. People our age should be going to parties and protests, meeting people, falling in love and arguing about what our world should look like. People our age should not be moving targets, denied their human and civil rights; they should not be military grunts, exposed to harm in mind and body, lugging around M-16s and guilty consciences; they should not be thrown behind bars for not wanting to kill and die.
"Your trial is set to begin soon. Mine has already begun so maybe I can give you a few pointers.... Look the judges in the eyes. Use every opportunity you have to explain why you stand there. They are human just like you, but they try to deny it to themselves. Don't let them. War is shit and they know it. They should let you go and they know it."
Lisa Mullenneaux's journalism has appeared in magazines and newspapers for over 20 years. She reported on the "Art of Palestinian Children" in Z, July 2009.
Z Magazine Archive
AnnouncementsLABOR - May 1 is May Day. Workers of the world will celebrate the 124th anniversary of International Worker’s Day. Born out of a call for an 8-hour workday in the United States, this day is an opportunity for all workers to show their solidarity with one another, as well as to renew the call for labor rights.
FARM CONFERENCE - The Farm Conference on Community and Sustainability will be held May 24-26 in Summertown, TN, in partnership with the Fellowship of Intentional Communities. Tour green homes, see sustainable food production, learn about solar installations, alternative education, midwifery, and more.
Contact: Douglas@thefarmcommunity.com; http://www.thefarmcommunity.com/.
PALESTINE - The Conference of the Palestinian Shatat in North American will be held June 3-5 in Vancouver. The conference will examine the future of the Palestinian liberation movement.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.palestinianconference.org/.
LABOR - The Pacific Northwest Labor History Association’s 45th annual conference will be held May 3-5, in Portland, OR. This year’s theme is Labor Under Attack: Learning from the Past and Preparing for the Future. A call for presentations, workshops and papers is currently underway.
Contact: PNLHA, 27920 68th Ave. East, Graham, WA 98338; 206-406-2604; PNLHA1@aol.com; http://www3.telus.net.
MARIJUANA - On the first Saturday of May marijuana legalization activists will hold informational and educational events, rallies and marches in over 300 cities around the world.
ECONOMICS - The Union For Radical Political Economics will hold its 39th annual conference May 9-11 in New York City.
RECLAIM THE DREAM - The 2013 Poor People’s Campaign & March from Baltimore to Washington D.C. will be May 11. Communities, schools and unions interested in participating are encouraged to contact the Baltimore People’s Assembly.
Contact: 410-500-2168; 410-218-4835; BaltimorePeoplesAssembly@gmail.com; Southern Christian Leadership Conference of Baltimore and the Baltimore Peoples Power Assembly, 2011 N. Charles St., Baltimore, MD 21218.
MOTHER’S DAY - The 17th Annual Mother’s Day Walk For Peace will be May 12th, in Dorchester, MA. The walk began in 1996 for families who had lost children to violence. The day has become a way for thousands of people to financially support the work of the Louis Brown Peace Institute.
Contact: http://www.ldbpeaceinstitute.org/; http://mothersdaywalk4peace.org/.
NATO 5 - An International Week of Solidarity with the NATO 5 has been called for May 16-21. Supports call on supporters to raise awareness of the NATO 5 and support funds for the defendants on the one-year anniversary of their preemptive arrests.
Contact: email@example.com; https://nato5support.wordpress.com.
MOUNTAINTOP - The 2013 Mountain Justice Summer Activist Training Camp will be held May 19-27 in Damascus, VA. It will be a week of workshops, field trips to view Mountain Top Removal coal mines, direct actions, and service project.
FEMINIST SCI-FI - The feminist science fiction convention WisCon 37 is scheduled for May 24-27 in Madison, WI.
Contact: WisCon, ? SF3, PO Box 1624, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.wiscon.info/.
ANARCHY FEST - A month-long Festival of Anarchy is scheduled for May in Montreal. The festival includes The Montreal Anarchist Bookfair (May 19-20).
Contact: http://www.anarchistbookfair.ca/; http://www.radicalmontreal.com/.
LABOR - The International Labor Rights Forum will present: Down the Supply Chain, Driving Corporate Accountability, on May 22 in Washington, DC. The Labor Rights Awards Ceremony and Reception will honor pioneers in supply chain worker organizing, working solidarity and international labor rights policy.
MULTICULTURE - The 26th annual National Conference on Race & Ethnicity in American Higher Education (NCORE) will take place May 28-June 1, in New Orleans.
Contact: SWCHRS, 3200 Marshall Avenue, Suite 290, Norman, OK 73072; 405-325-3694; email@example.com; www.ncore.ou.edu.
MEDIA - The 2013 Alliance for Community Media Annual Conference will be held May 29-31, in San Francisco, CA. Participants will include educators, community leaders, media professionals, journalists, nonprofit leaders, policymakers and students.
RADIO - The 38th Annual Community Radio Conference is schedule for May 29-June 1, in San Francisco, CA, with discussions and workshops.
Contact: 1101 Pennsylvania Ave. NW, Suite 600, Washington, DC 20004; 202-756-2268; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.nfcb.org/.
BRADLEY MANNING - On June 1, a rally will be held at Fort Meade in support of Bradley Manning.
BIKES - Bikes Not Bombs is holding its 24th annual Bike-A-Thon and Green Roots Festival in Boston, MA on June 3, with several bike rides scheduled, music, exhibitors and more.
Contact: Bikes Not Bombs, 284 Amory St., Jamaica Plain, MA 02130; 617-522-0222; email@example.com; www.bikesnotbombs.org.
LEFT FORUM - The 2013 Left Forum will be held June 7-9, at Pace University in New York City.
Contact: 365 Fifth Avenue, CUNY Graduated Center, ? Sociology Dept., New York, NY 10016; http://www.leftforum.org/.
VEGAN FEST - Mad City Vegan Fest will be held in Madison, WI, June 8. The annual event features food, speakers, and exhibitors.
Contact: 122 State Street, Suite 405 B, Madison, WI 53701; firstname.lastname@example.org; http://veganfest.org/.
ADC CONFERENCE - The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) holds its annual conference June 13-16, in Washington, DC, with panel discussions and workshops on civil rights, media and other topics.
Contact: 1990 M Street, Suite 610, Washington, DC, 20036; 202-244-2990; email@example.com http://convention.adc.org/.
CUBA/SOCIALISM - A Cuban-North American Dialog on Socialist Renewal and Global Capitalist Crisis will be held in Havana, Cuba, June 16-30. There will be a 5 day Seminar at University of Havana, plus visits to a cooperative, urban garden, community development project, social research centers, and educational & medical institutions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.globaljusticecenter.org/.
NETROOTS - The 8th Annual Netroots Nation conference will take place June 20-23 in San Jose, CA. The event features panels, trainings, networking, screenings, and keynotes.
Contact: 164 Robles Way, #276, Vallejo, CA 94591; email@example.com; http://www.netrootsnation.org/.
MEDIA - The 15th annual Allied Media Conference will be held June 20-23, in Detroit.
Contact: 4126 Third Street, Detroit, MI 48201; http://alliedmedia.org/.
GRASSROOTS - The United We Stand Festival will be hosted by Free & Equal, June 22 in Little Rock, Arkansas. The festival aims to reform the electoral process throughout the U.S.
SOCIALISM - The Socialism 2013 Conference is scheduled for June 27-30 in Chicago, featuring talks and panel discussions.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.socialismconference.org.
LITERACY - The National Association for Media Literacy Education (NAMLE) will hold its conference July 12-13 in Los Angeles under the heading, Intersections: Teaching and Learning Across Media.
Contact: 10 Laurel Hill Drive, Cherry Hill, NJ 08003; http://namle.net/conference/.
IWW - The North American Work People’s College will take place July 12-16 at Mesaba Co-op Park in northern Minnesota. The event will bring together Wobblies from branches across the continent to learn new skills and build One Big Union.
PEACESTOCK - On July 13th, the 11th Annual Peacestock: A Gathering for Peace, will take place at Windbeam Farm in Hager City, WI. The event is a mixture of music, speakers and community for peace. Sponsored by Veterans for Peace.
Contact: Bill Habedank, 1913 Grandview Ave., Red Wing, MN 55066; 651-388-7733; email@example.com; http://www.peacestockvfp.org.
CHILDREN’S DEFENSE - July 15-19, join clergy, seminarians, Christian educators, young adult leaders and other faith-based advocates for children at CDF Haley Farm in Clinton, Tennessee, for five days of spiritual renewal, networking, movement building workshops, and continuing education about the urgent needs of children at the 19th annual Proctor Institute for Child Advocacy Ministry.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://www.childrensdefense.org.
ACTIVIST CAMP - Youth Empowered Action (YEA) Camp will have sessions in July and August in Ben Lomond, CA; Portland, OR; Charlton, MA. YEA Camp is designed for activists 12-17 years old who want to make a difference in the world.
Contact: email@example.com; http://yeacamp.org/.
LA RAZA - The annual National Council of La Raza (NCLR) Conference is scheduled for July 18-19 in New Orleans, with workshops, presentations and panel discussions.
Contact: NCLR Headquarters Office, Raul Yzaguirre Building, 1126 16th Street, NW, Washington, DC 20036; 202-785-1670; www.nclr.org.
LABOR - The Eastern Conference For Workplace Democracy: Growing Our Cooperatives, Growing Our Communities, will be held at Drexel University in Philadelphia, PA, July 26-28.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://east.usworker.coop/.
WOMEN/LYNNE STEWART- Radical Women is asking for support letters and cards to be sent to Lynne Stewart. Stewart is a civil rights attorney and political prisoner who is currently in jail. She has breast cancer and authorities have denied her request for transfer from her Texas prison to the New York City hospital where she received medical attention during a prior bout of breast cancer. Send messages and cards to: Lynne Stewart 53504-054, Federal Medical Center Carswell, P.O. Box 27137, Fort Worth, TX 76127.
Contact: 747 Polk Street, San Francisco, CA 94109; 415-864-1278; RadicalWomenUS@gmail.com; http://lynnestewart.org/; http://www.radicalwomen.org/.
HAITI/WOMEN - Haiti’s government is considering a legal reform measure that would prohibit and punish all sexual assault, including marital rape. MADRE and the International Campaign to Stop Rape & Gender Violence in Conflict are launching a petition to raise international support for this push to address violence against women in Haiti.
Contact: 121 West 27th Street, #301, New York, NY 10001; 212-627-0444; email@example.com; http://www.madre.org.
SYRIA/MIDDLE EAST - The Middle East Children’s Alliance (MECA) is currently seeking funds to assist more than 200,000 refugees fleeing violence in Syria.
FOLK FESTIVAL - The Falcon Ridge Folk Festival will be held August 2-4, in the Berkshires, NY.
Contact: http://www.falconridgefolk.com/; firstname.lastname@example.org.
WAR RESISTERS - The War Resisters League will hold its 90th anniversary conference, Revolutionary Nonviolence: Building Bridges Across Generations and Communities, August 1-4, at Georgetown University. The event will focus on the U.S.’ long history of antimilitarism.
Contact: 339 Lafayette Street, New York, NY 10012; 212-228-0450; email@example.com; http://www.warresisters.org.
POPULAR ECONOMICS - The Center for Popular Economics is holding its 2013 Summer Institute August 4-9 at Hampshire College in Amherst, MA. No background in economics is needed for this intensive training. This year’s theme is, The Care Economy: Building a Just Economy with a Heart.
Contact: Center for Popular Economics, PO Box 785 Amherst, MA 01004; 413-545-0743; firstname.lastname@example.org; www.populareconomics.org.
VETERANS - Veterans for Peace is holding the 28th annual convention August 6-11 in Madison, WI. This year’s theme is, Power To The Peaceful.
DEMOCRACY - The Democracy Convention will take place August 7-11 in Madison, WI. The convention brings together nine conferences including topics such as media, education, defense, race, environment and others.
MEN - The 38th National Conference on Men & Masculinity: Forging Justice: Creating Safe, Equal and Accountable Communities, presented in partnership with HAVEN, will be held in Detroit, MI, August 8-10.
Contact: email@example.com; http://www.nomas.org/.
OCCUPY - An Occupy National Gathering will be held in Kalamazoo, MI, August 21-25.
Contact: firstname.lastname@example.org; http://occupynationalgathering.net/.
COMMUNITIES - The Communities Conference is a networking and learning opportunity for co-operative or communal lifestyles, with workshops, events and entertainment; scheduled for August 30-September 2 at the Twin Oaks Community in Louisa, Virginia.
LABOR DAY - The 29th annual Bread and Roses Festival, a celebration of the ethnic diversity and labor history of Lawrence, MA, will be held September 2, in honor of the 1912 Bread and Roses Strike. There will be music, dance, poetry, drama, ethnic food, historical demonstrations, walking & trolley tours.
Contact: PO Box 1137, Lawrence, MA 01842; 978-794-1655; http://www.breadandrosesheritage.org/.
OCCUPY WALL STREET - September 17 is the two-year anniversary of the Occupy Wall Street movement. Events are planned in New York City and worldwide.
TEACHERS - The 13th Annual Conference, “Teaching for Social Justice: The Politics of Pedagogy,” will be held October 12 in San Francisco, CA. The free event features workshops, resources, and free childcare.
Contact: 415-676-7844; email@example.com; http://www.t4sj.org/.
HAITI - International Action, which brings clean water and chlorinators to Haiti, seeks office space capable of housing up to six people and their office equipment.
Contact: Zach Bremer, Zbrehmer@haitiwater.org; 202-488-0735; http://www.haitiwater.org/.
MEDIA - The Union for Democratic Communications and Project Censored are sponsoring a joint conference on media democracy, media activism and social justice to be held November 1-3 at the University of San Francisco. Proposals for presentations, workshops and panels from activists and critical scholars are invited.