Hello Dear Blobbiters,
It’s Jesse again. Since we last spoke, Mori has returned to jail, some folks wrote some more stuff about that, and America had an election.
Let’s go in reverse order.
The election was pretty cool for progressives in America (of which I am one). Among other things, Obama won, true progressive senators won in Massachusetts (Elizabeth Warren) and Wisconsin (Tammy Baldwin), more women than ever were elected to the United States Senate, gay marriage passed in three states, and Maryland voted for the DREAM Act. In my own state of Minnesota, we rejected two constitutional amendments, one to ban gay marriage and the other designed to suppress (primarily liberal and minority) voters from exercising their rights. We won those because we organized better than the other side and that feels good. Again, it seemed like the United States is becoming less white and less homophobic. We should celebrate and recognize these achievements right now, and soon enough we should start criticizing and organizing and fighting for more. Here is how Ta-Nehisi Coates at The Atlantic described the election.
Next on the agenda, Yoav Schaefer wrote an open letter to Mori criticizing his decision to refuse service in the IDF. I wrote a response that was published in Open Zion. Also, Jacob Udell wrote a comment on the the Tablet Mag website that I wanted to re-post because I think he responds cogently and concisely to the issues at hand:
Thanks for putting this out there. I deeply disagree with how you’ve characterized Mori’s decision to refuse as implying that Israel has no right to defend itself, as well as the general impulses that 1) the occupation is somehow less than both central and systemic to the entire military system in Israel, 2) that only someone who has gone through the army has the credibility to critique Israel, 3) that the moral struggle of individual soldiers has any bearing on the moral calculus of the occupation as a structural phenomenon and 4) that the only acceptable protest is protest ‘from within’; despite that, I appreciate the way you’ve engaged Mori and am excited to see how he responds when he returns from prison.
But because Mori is unable to respond at least for another week, I thought I’d just correct one factual error that you made in your piece. You mention that Mori could have volunteered “in a hospital, working at a humanitarian organization, or teaching Israeli Arabs — as other Israeli pacifists do”, when in fact that was not an option for him at all. In order to for him to be able to do national service of that sort, Mori’s request for a Va’adat Matzpun (A Conscientious Objector Committee) would have had to have been approved. But because it was denied, despite many efforts to prove his pacifism, his choices were either prison or military service in the army as it was assigned to him.
There’s more to say on my end about what I’ve written above, but I wanted to keep it short to make sure readers would have the opportunity to understand that nuance.
All the best,
Last, Mori is back in jail as you probably understand by now. He received another ten day sentence on Sunday and we’ll see what happens next. He is back in the army tent in the North and stomping around again. There will certainly be some sort of Round 3, but we don’t know what it is yet.
Onwards and upwards.