Stop Silencing of Israeli Peace Activists
By Tali Shapiro at Apr 26, 2009
I just got the following news from the organization Jewish Voice for Peace:
"Let me cut down to the chase. We have just learned that a number of Israeli peace activists have had their computers confiscated, have been called for interrogations, and have only been released upon signing agreements not to contact their political friends for 30 days. We are asking you to contact the Israeli Attorney General to demand an immediate stop to this harassment.
The activists targeted are members of New Profile, a group of feminist women and men daring to suggest that Israel need not be a militarized society. They are being wrongfully accused of inciting young people--like the shministim--not to enlist in the army. The charge is not true. While New Profile does not tell youngsters not to enlist, they certainly support those who do not: pacifists, those who oppose the occupation, and others. New Profile informs them of their rights and gives them legal support when necessary. But Israel is a country that does not acknowledge the basic human right to conscientious objection.
The government's accusation against New Profile is not new. It has been out there for some time, as a source of harassment. Today's police actions tighten the screws considerably. We've seen how international pressure has helped get many shministim out of jail. Now it's time to put as much pressure so that Israeli peace activists can do their work free of intimidation.
I leave you with a note from New Profile: "These recent acts confirm what we have been contending for many years: the militarism of society in Israel harms the sacred principles of democracy, freedom of expression and freedom of political association. One who believed that until now criminal files were conjured up "only" for Arab citizens of Israel saw this morning that none of us can be certain that s/he can freely express an opinion concerning the failures of society and rule in Israel." "
You can find the full statement from New Profile here.
Government harassment of peace activists, as groups or individuals, is not new. I'm asking you- Znet members and friends- as an Israeli peace activist, to give me my voice back. If you want to help me, my friends and fellow occupation opposers, please go to the Jewish Voice for Peace petition page and sign the letter (it doesn't matter where you're from in the world- JVP is international).
Update (3/5/09): After the arrest, feminist groups got together to protest in front of the police station. It didn't take long for the police to become violent, push the crowd into the street, without bothering to stop the traffic, grab women by the hair and neck and drag elderly women into the station and detain them.
Just thought it would add sulfur into the fire if I mention that while dragging the elderly woman into the station, the 20-something year old police man has the audacity to preach to her as though she was a child: "You punched me in the back, you psycho! Tell me, are you insane?!"
The slogans before the police riot began (rhymes lost in translation):
- "Courageous feminist on her way to Neve Terze [woman's jail in Israel]"
- "I Don't shoot and don't give birth- call the cop car"
- "Scary feminist- call the police"
- "Won't kill and won't die in the service of Zionism"
- "yes yes to refusal no no to zionism"
- "Don't stand up for the siren- open up investigation"
- "We're all New Profile"
- "Call the cop car- I betray the country"
- "Attorney General- the real criminal"
- "Police state- take me to interrogation"
The slogans after the police riot began:
- "Cop! Courageous! Beating on protestors!"
- "What did I do?!"