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Members of Israel’s “Courage to Refuse” movement don’t have a problem with defending their country. They do have a problem with the occupation of Palestine. On Friday, October 22, at 12:30 p.m., the Goldfarb Center at Colby College and the Mid-Maine Global Forum present “The Courage to Refuse” with Dani Vos, an Israeli Refusnik, in the Page Commons Room, Cotter Union, on the Waterville campus. The event is free and open to the public.
Vos, who served more than four years in the Israeli Navy prior to joining the reserves, was an initial signer of the “Courage to Refuse” declaration in 2002. Signatories reject the killing of innocent civilians in what they consider a matter of course in the occupied territories. “What led me to the decision to refuse was […] witnessing conscious and dedicated soldiers, like myself, who cared for human rights and yet performed commands that clearly violated these principles. Good caring people perform things that they never, in their worst dreams, imagined that they will have to do,” he said. Now a doctoral candidate at Columbia University, Vos is spreading the word.
“Courage to Refuse,” a group of more than 600 members of the Israel Defense Forces, supports Israel’s defense but rejects conflict beyond the 1967 borders. Members consider themselves Zionists, contending that the occupation poses a threat to the security of Israel. “The whole power of this struggle is that it’s a struggle for Israel, not against,” Vos said. “The current direction leads to the corruption of the Zionist and Jewish ideals I grew up upon. I realized that the military activity in the Occupied Territories does not enhance the security of my country. I refuse to serve there out of love to my country, in order to save Israel.”
In refusing to fight in the occupied territories, nearly 400 have been sent to prison, according to an Israeli newspaper. “Courage to Refuse” and its founder were nominated for the 2004 Nobel Peace Prize. For more information on “Courage to Refuse,” visit www.couragetorefuse.org.