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Hear no evil, see no evil, speak no evil: Activists in Israel dress as soldiers to take part in a protest, in solidarity with imprisoned conscientious objectors

Dear friends,

My name is Taya, and I am writing from the Israeli organisation Mesarvot. We support conscientious objectors who refuse to be conscripted into the Israeli military.

I am writing to ask you to support War Resisters' International, to enable this important network to continue its unique work, building solidarity among antimilitarist activists across the world. Please consider how you can support WRI financially today.

Just under a year ago, I had the opportunity to spend a wonderful three months as an intern at the WRI office. At first, as I looked at other countries and learnt of the militarism and war happening around the world, and identified the same patterns of oppression and violence I know from Israel, I was discouraged. What impact can we possibly hope to have? But this feeling was soon replaced by excitement, at the revelation that in all of these places there are people resisting, creating alternatives, countering militarism, working alongside me, even if they are thousands of kilometres away.

International solidarity for draft refusers in Israel

In Israel, one of the main roles of the military is to maintain the occupation and military rule over millions of Palestinians. Both women and men are drafted, and the military is seen not only as crucial for maintaining Israel’s “security”, but also as making a wider contribution to society. Conscientious objectors in Israel defy political and social norms and “pay a price” for doing so. Sometimes this takes the form of a prison sentence - if they decide to outright refuse military service - and more often in the form of social criticism or isolation. The difficulties faced by conscientious objectors in Israel emphasise the importance of the ongoing international solidarity for us here in Mesarvot network.

Thanks to our links with WRI, real, tangible international solidarity has become possible. For conscientious objectors in Israel, and for the Mesarvot network who support them, this solidarity is significant; working with WRI means we are now connected with supporters all over the world. The WRI network has taken on our campaign as its own, by offering creative ideas, connections, and support, alongside a deeper understanding of what may work in each context. Connecting with WRI has helped us to link with other people and organisations who may be able to help.

Just a few examples of WRI’s support include:

  • mobilising international solidarity for the five imprisoned conscientious objectors we’ve supported so far,
  • coordinating a statement of support from other conscientious objectors in the eastern Mediterranean region,
  • running a social media campaign in support of those in prison,
  • organising activists to write personal letters to conscientious objectors in prison,
  • and helping us to organise an international day of action in solidarity with conscientious objectors and against companies arming and profiting from the occupation (for more information on how to take part in these actions, see the Prisoners for Peace day list here

These actions support and encourage local activists from small organisations, who rely on the support of WRI for the international solidarity we so need. We need to work together against war and militarism. We need WRI as activists, movements, and people who want a world free from war - and until we succeed in abolishing war, WRI needs our support too. Please give generously.



Taya Govreen-Segal

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