Independent Media Center, Israel

Zionism and refusal
author: Henry Lowi (

Ronen uses the term "Zionism" to mean "good citizenship" and all other respectable and desirable social qualities. Some of the conscientious objectors now facing IDF court martial call themselves "the true patriots", those who stand for "the true interests of Israel".

Thus, both Ronen and the "patriotic" objectors try to appeal to a common denominator, called "Zionism" or "patriotism" or "the true interests of Israel".

Zionism, as we all know, is a colonial-settler movement that took over the homeland of the indigenous Arab Palestinian people, imported Jews (many of whom were victims of persecution, and many of whom were not), and established a state that is hostile to the people of the Arab East and is a trap for the Jewish people. That is Zionism. Like all political movements, Zionism has a left wing, and a right wing, and a center. The interest of Zionism are one thing; the interests of the Jewish youth, and workers, and soldiers are something else.

Those youth who refuse to be drafted to the IDF, and those IDF soldiers who refuse to perform certain orders, oppose one or another aspect of Zionist policy. Some are committed Zionists. Some are not.

Zionism is really a political party (or a series of political parties), and its state.

On the level of human rights, the rights of conscientious objectors should be protected by a democratic constitution. Parallel to the right of conscience, is the right of the people to bear arms, and undergo military training. This is a democratic right that undermines the need of the Zionist state to arm one section of the population and use it to oppress another.

Both aspects of democracy are inconsistent with the exclusivist-supremacist nature of the Zionist state. A choice will have to be made, between Zionism, on the one hand, and democracy, on the other.

Henry Lowi


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