Hak Pak Sak

Stephen Lewis on Infrastructure, Identity, Communication, and Change

And Another Half-Step: Israel’s Conscientious Objectors

Posted by Stephen Lewis on February 16, 2009

Further to my previous entry — a gingerly first attempt at posting on matters related to the Middle East — an additional link in a series of less common perspectives and sources:

WWW.DECEMBER18TH.ORG is a site in support of young Israeli conscientious objectors jailed for refusing to serve in their country’s military, many out of objection to the occupation of the West Bank and the encirclement of Gaza.  Israel excuses ultra-orthodox religious Jews from conscription as part of political “gentlemen’s agreements” with the country’s coalition-making-and-breaking religious right.  However, Israel does not provide for exemption from military service on the grounds of individual conscience.  A short video that strings together sound bites from young Israelis sentenced to jail  for refusing military service  into a cogent statement of the cases for their conscientious-objector-ship can be viewed on David Bellel’s Knickerbocker Village, a weblog dedicated to the Lower East Side housing project of the same name.  Bellel notes in his posting that long-ago Knickerbocker Village resident Robert  Meerepool — a son of executed alleged atom bomb spies Julius and Ethel Rosenberg and an adopted son of the late activist, teacher, and song-writer Abel Meerepool (click here) — is among the sponsors of the December 18th cause.  (As a coincidental  “bonus link,” click here for an excerpt from Philip Lopate’s book “Waterfront” describing Knickerbocker Village, the tenements it replaced, the Rosenbergs, and the old-school New York communist relatives many of us remember and remain proud of.)

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