Menu Expand


Peretz Kidron


Additional Information

Book Details


Hundreds of Israeli soldiers, called up to take part in controversial campaigns like the 1982 invasion of Lebanon or policing duties in the Palestinian territories today, have refused orders. Many of these 'refuseniks' have faced prison sentences rather than take part in what they regard as an unjust occupation in defence of illegal Jewish settlements. In this inspirational book, Peretz Kidron, himself a refusenik, gives us the stories, experiences, viewpoints, even poetry, of these courageous conscripts who believe in their country, but not in its actions beyond its borders. We read about the cautious, even embarrassed, response of the authorities. And we see the wider implications of the philosophy of selective refusal - which is not the same thing as pacifism -- for conscientious citizens in every country where conscription still exists. Here is a real model for the peace movement in Israel and worldwide.
Peretz Kidron was born in Vienna in 1933. Months after the Nazi occupation of Austria, his family fled to Britain. On graduation from high school, he emigrated to Israel where he lived for 20 years in Zikim, a border kibbutz near the Gaza Strip, where he grew oranges, taught school, and engaged in voluntary work. A freelance journalist, broadcaster and writer, he has translated many books, including the memoirs of Yitzhak Rabin and Ezer Weizman, and a biography of David Ben Gurion. In 1976 he co-authored with the Palestinian activist, Raymonda Tawil, her memoirs My Home, My Prison. In the late sixties, he became active in the radical left and peace movement. He is a founding member of the Council for Israeli-Palestinian Peace and serves on the steering committee of the human rights watchdog Betselem. Having refused to perform military duty in the occupied Palestinian territories, he now handles international contacts for Yesh Gvul ('There is a limit [to what an army can ask of its conscripts]'). Founded at the time of the invasion of Lebanon in 1982, the group became the voice and campaigning vehicle for the so-called refuseniks -- Israeli army reservists who report for duty when summoned but refuse morally objectionable assignments (notably serving on the West Bank and Gaza).
'Our greatest admiration must go to those brave Israeli soldiers who refuse to serve beyond the 1967 borders?. These soldiers, who are Jews, take seriously the principle put forward at the Nuremberg trials in 1945-46: namely, that a soldier is not obliged to obey unjust orders - indeed, one has an obligation to disobey them.' Susan Sontag, novelist, essayist and playwright 'Resistance to crimes of state, and refusal to participate in them, has been and remains one of the most significant achievements of people of decency and courage throughout history. The Israelis who have undertaken this honorable course merit the greatest admiration and respect. Their testimonies are a memorable contribution to this noble cause.' Noam Chomsky 'This collection of statements from soldiers who joined Yesh Gvul... should give pause for thought to all those diaspora Jews who preoccupy themselves with looking for ‘balance‘ and ‘even-handedness‘ in media reporting of events in the territories, rather than facing up to the devastating moral erosion that 37 years of occupation has wreaked on Israel‘s citizen army... It was once said of people who lived near concentration camps but claimed no knowledge of what went on inside, that those who didn‘t know, didn‘t want to know. Jews who still try to defend retention of the West Bank are in a similar category.' David J. Goldberg, The Jewish Chronicle

Table of Contents

Section Title Page Action Price
Cover\r Cover
About this book i
About the editor ii
Table of contents v
List of boxes vii
Foreword by Susan Sontag xi
Introduction: Israel’s Refusenik Movement 1
Early 1970s 3
The army’s response 3
Yesh Gvul — ‘there’s a limit’ 4
Selective refusal 6
The first intifada 6
The second intifada 7
Denounced as traitors\r 7
The Early Refuseniks 11
Balance by Yitzhak Laor 11
Saying ‘no’ loudly and clearly by Ishai Menuchin 13
An artist at Ansar by Zvi Goldstein 15
Discovering the Palestinians by Mike Levine 16
In solidarity with the almond trees by Peretz Kidron\r 17
The First Intifada 23
I’m no martyr by Hanoch Livneh 23
Whatever the price by Rami Hasson 24
The problem is in Jewish society by Menahem Hefetz 26
Refusal to collaborate by Dudu Palma 27
I am an Arab Jew by Meir Amor 28
Father and son: refuseniks Carlos and Amit Levinhoff 30
Spiral of evil by Stephen Langfur 31
The limit is human life by David Ovadia 32
The privilege of saying ‘No!’ by Adi Ofir 35
Silences that cry out by Doron Vilner 39
Benighted fanaticism by Nitzan Levy 40
A typical ‘NO’ poem by Nathan Zach 41
A policy that demeans my country by Shaul Schwartz 41
The refusenik answers the writer - Mario Weinstein in correspondence with Yizhar Smilansky 42
On the festival of freedom I waive my freedom Or: What shall I tell my daughter? Dubi Hayun 45
No to ‘always at command’*Danny Zamir 46
‘You don’t have to do anything wicked’ by Daniel Padnes 50
Decent people don’t shoot children by Itamar Pitovsky 52
I owe my children at least one refusal by Dan Sagir\r 53
The Philosophy of Selective Refusal Peretz Kidron 55
What is selective refusal? 56
Moral impact of refuseniks 56
Conscripts v. career soldiers 57
The limits to obedience\r 59
The Story of Yuval and Imad 61
Imad Sabi’s letter 63
The Second Intifada 71
Letter to the editor of Koteret Rashit from Dov Barak 72
Statements by Jailed Conscripts\r 75
Those who enlist and those who don’t Uri Yaakovi 75
Militarism and racism have reached afascist level Haggai Matar 76
I am a prisoner, yet free David Haham-Herson 77
A violent and racist society Itamar Shahar 79
Vile injustice David Enoch 82
The red line Michael Sfard 83
Collaboration makes me a criminal Ro’i Kozlovsky 86
A cause which is not mine Alex Lyakas 87
An enormous ‘black flag’ Avner Kochavi 89
A letter to the commander of Battalion 719 Ehud Shem Tov 89
I killed three innocent civilians Idan Kaspari 92
The shattered dream Omry Yeshurun 95
The IDF teaches that it’s okay to molest an Arab Ishai Sgi 100
Black flag Itai Haviv 101
Three exercises in refusal Ishai Rosen-Zvi 103
Is Marwan Barghouti your uncle? Itai Ryb 107
Why am I mad at the IDF? Ron Gerlitz\r 109
Closing Statements 115
My reply to the General Yigal Bronner 115
Israel today is a prison Matan Kaminar\r 117
List of Addresses 119