Tony Greenstein | 01 September 2016 | Post Views:

Jailed Repeatedly for
Refusing to Serve in Israel’s Army of Occupation

Gaoled repeatedly – they refused to kill and maim by serving in the West
Bank.  They are two young women.  Omri Baranes served 67 days in a military
gaol and Tair Kaminer will have served 170 days, 6 stints in all, by the time
she is finally discharged from the army.
Tair Kaminer and friend

Omri and Tair offered to do national service instead but they were told
that only serving in an army that protects settlers, demolishes homes and kills
Palestinians will suffice.

These are the Israelis that you won’t hear about from the Zionists who
talk of 2 states, in the abstract of course, in Britain.  The hypocrites in the Jewish Labour Movement and
Labour Friends of Israel purport to support a 2 States solution in Israel/Palestine
knowing full well that the call for 2 States, which will never be achieved, is
a smokescreen for denying equal political and civil rights now.  The role of groups like the Jewish Labour
Movement and LFI is to support the Israeli state and its role in the
region.   They are allied to the Israeli Labour
Party, a party which historically has been more racist than Netanyahu’s
Likud.  A party which supports
segregation in a Bantustan. It doesn’t even support 2 states but ‘autonomy’.
Friends accompany Tair Kaminer on January 10th to Tel Ha’Shomer military base to announce her refusal to do military service. Photo ActiveStills.
The number of Israeli Jews who genuinely support equality and peace is
miniscule, just as the number of Whites in South Africa who supported peace was
tiny.   Just 8% of Israelis identity with
the left in Israel today according to the Pew Research Centre’s  Israel’s
Religiously Divided Society
.  This is
not surprising in a settler colonial society based on ethno-religious
This is all the more reason that we should salute Israel’s true heroes
like Tair Kaminer and Omri Baranes.  
They are the Israelis that socialists in Britain should be supporting.  They are the Israeli Jews that the Labour
Party should identify with, not the racists whom the Jewish Labour Movement are
associated to.  Labour should long ago
have distanced itself from the world’s last remaining settler colonial
state.  The fact that Israel calls itself
‘Jewish’ is no excuse for racism and worse.
Baranes sat in military prison for 67 days for refusing to join the Israeli

Conscientious objector Omri Baranes. (Hila Aloni Ohayon)
After spending
67 days in military prison, Israeli conscientious objector Omri Baranes was
officially released from IDF service on Thursday. Baranes, from the city of
Rosh HaAyin in central Israel, was recognized by an IDF committee as a pacifist
and was thus released on conscientious grounds. The conscientious objectors
committee originally rejected her request, leading Baranes to refuse to serve
in the army and sit in prison.
An IDF military prison. Nir Kafri
to the IDF conscientious objectors who oppose all forms of violence or service
in any army are eligible for exemption, as opposed to those who refuse to
enlist due to their opposition to a specific army policy — such as the
occupation. These kinds of conscientious objectors usually sit for a lengthy
period in military prison and are usually released on grounds of unsuitability,
was recently the case with Tair Kaminer
, who sat in prison for around 150

“I am very happy that I finally received an exemption
from the conscientious objectors committee,

Baranes told +972. “It was a long journey
and perhaps I could have avoided it, but now that I am exempted it is all
behind me. The first step of not joining the army is over and now I will work
through different channels toward peace and equality.”
Tair Kaminer – served a record 172 days in military prison
her original declaration to the army, Baranes wrote that “bombs and weapons are not the solution to conflicts. War carries the
heavy price of victims: our soldiers are killed, as are citizens and residents
from both sides. I refuse to be part of an organization that sees things in
black and white, which views all the residents of an enemy country as potential
enemies, and thus may harm innocent people.”
Yablonko, an organizer for conscientious objector organization “Mesarvot,”
responded to Baranes’ release:

Omri Baranes’ case clearly shows the army’s twisted
worldview toward conscientious objection. Omri may be a pacifist, but the
army’s attitude toward pacifism is also twisted. There is an attempt to disconnect
conscientious objection from its political context as well as the Israeli
reality — a reality of occupation and human rights violations.

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