Labour and Co-operative Member of
Parliament for Kemptown and Peacehaven

Bradford hosts: War-refusers – the other Israel

by Lloyd on 26.03.09
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On Monday 9th March about 40 Students gathered to hear Tamar Katz talk about her experiences being jailed for refusing to fight in the Israeli army. Tamar, a high school student, was drafted in to the army but told her story about how a group of school students and her joined a small but growing movement of conscientious objector in Israel.

Following massive demonstrations and a wave of student occupations against Israel’s war in Gaza, the University of Bradford Union, supported by Education not for Sale (a student anti-capitalist lobby group) joint up with other Unions and also Alliance of Workers liberty to host part of the national tour with Tamar, one of the Shministim, Israeli high school students jailed for refusing to fight in the occupied Palestinian territories.

Tamar said “I was 16 when the second war in Lebanon began and this made me re-consider the prospect of fighting in the IDF after I graduated from school. My family were “ordinary” — not political, and we did not talk about these things at home. I wanted to find out more about the political situation and to think through my ideas. I began to work for an organisation which ran educational initiatives in working-class neighbourhoods. This was my first time in a politicised environment. Through it I met many left wing people. I moved into a collective house and began to get involved with a group called New Profile (an anti-militaristic feminist organisation).

She spoke about her experience in jail, how her family reacted and the pace of change in Israeli. There was much debate about boycotts and their effectiveness and most people reported a successful event. Tamar talked about their work with other organisations such as Combatants for Peace

The Union, with the Peace Studies department is working to bring Bassam Aramin, Co-Founder of a joint Israeli-Palestinian organization, Combatants for Peace to Bradford in the next academic year. He has been accepted at the University to study a masters but needs the fund to come to the University. We will keep you updated with information and whether the University agrees to a fee waiver for Bassam.

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Labour and Co-operative Member of
Parliament for Kemptown and Peacehaven

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