Around a dozen activists, mostly members of the AWL, made their presence felt opposite the Israeli embassy on 28 January in a picket called to show solidarity with Emelia Marcovich, the latest Israeli student refuser to be sent to jail.
Emelia is a member of the Shministim, a network of Israeli high-school students and sixth-formers who face jail rather than take part in compulsory national service in the Israeli Defence Force. Emelia is also active in solidarity campaigning between Israelis and Palestinians, working on campaigns against house demolition and the so-called separation “fence”.
AWL is particularly active on the issue of refuser solidarity because we feel it is important to dispel the myth, particularly popular on the British left and in the Palestine solidarity movement, that Israeli society is a homogenous bloc free from class or political differentiation and that all Israelis are bloodthirsty colonialists.
The courage of activists like Emelia prove that there is a movement within Israel — however currently weak and marginalised it may be — that wants to support the Palestinian struggle for independence and justice and fight for a settlement between the two peoples, Israeli and Palestinian, based on mutual respect and equal rights.
We will be continuing our support for the refusers and other radical and working-class movements in Israel/Palestine over the next few months and are planning a solidarity tour to Israel and the occupied territories to make links with such organisations.
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