- Jack & Felice Cohen-Joppa, editors
Long-time nuclear and war resister Philip Berrigan, who spoke at the April 20 demonstration in Washington, D.C., sent this open letter:
"...To be blunt, I am concerned about most of you who have maintained a grand silence. April 20th proved to me that tens of millions of Americans were ready and willing for non-cooperation, for teach-ins, rallies, and boycotts, for tax resistance, civil resistance, and plowshares, for a multitude of "No's" - refusals to run the system for the bosses and billionaires. With a general goal of national strike, to blunt the empire's warmaking, globalization, despoilation of the environment, suppression of civil liberties, of the empire's soft underbelly in the economy, that's the bedrock of the empire's lies and mass murder. Any better idea? Please share it if you have one."
Phil can be reached at Jonah House, 1301 Moreland Ave., Baltimore, MD 21216, firstname.lastname@example.org.
The Nuclear Resister invites readers to share your thoughts, responses, ideas and discussion about this and other matters regarding nonviolent resistance to nukes, militarism and the "war on terrorism" for possible publication in coming issues.
Among the many stories of military refusal coming out of Israel, one caught our attention. Four young men from the Nahal Brigade, conscripts in the Israeli army who had volunteered a "service year" working with youth before their military duty began, have refused, in the words of one, "willingly to take an active part in the violent, needless and immoral policy conducted by my government" in the occupation of Palestinian territory. The last straw, the final order refused by each in turn on April 25, was to serve as prison camp guards.
The prison in question was a recently reopened detention center populated by hundreds of detainees from the Israeli Defense Forces March-April offensive in Palestinian communities. Each of the four was instead sentenced to 28 days in a military prison. One of the men, Sgt. Alon Dror, made this statement: "I've been a combat soldier for a year and a half, I went wherever I was told, but I refuse to go along any further with Israel's occupation policy, or take responsibility for its results. I call upon any other soldier required to help in the occupation, to act like me. On top of the moral damage the occupation inflicts upon the occupier, the occupation itself - the ongoing assault on the Palestinians and their human rights - doesn't merely bring us no security, rather, it creates the next generation of terrorists, people who have nothing to lose... I am bound to oppose these actions. I'm bound to adopt disobedience towards the government; it's not just that I'm not bound by the law, I am bound, morally, to flout it... I don't see this as an act of treason; rather, it's a step aimed at saving the state, even if I must pay a personal price."
Statements from other conscripts and reservists who have refused military service in Israel, and information about their movement, can be found on the internet at www.yesh-gvul.org.