Jewish Voice for Peace – San Diego (JVP-SD)

Veterans Of Israeli Army Intelligence Unit Reveal Pattern Of War Crimes And Unlawful Practices Of IDF*

Jewish Voice for Peace, San Diego (JVP-SD) welcomes the recent public dissent from 43 veterans of Unit 8200, a prestigious Israeli army intelligence unit. In a letter to Prime Minister Netanyahu and the Israeli military chief, the Unit 8200 veterans declare “that we refuse to take part in actions against Palestinians and refuse to continue serving as tools in deepening the military control over the Occupied Territories.” The letter and accompanying reports from individual signatories detail a disturbing pattern of war crimes and other unlawful practices committed by Israeli intelligence, including the deliberate killing of innocent people and the blackmailing of Palestinians into becoming Israeli informants by threatening to expose their sexual orientations. Israeli intelligence, the veterans note, is gathered on all Palestinians in the occupied territories and “is used for political persecution and to create divisions within Palestinian society.” The letter perceptively observes that the end goal of Israeli intelligence and of Israeli military rule more broadly is not defense but the maintenance of Israel’s occupation and the corresponding subjugation of millions of Palestinians. The conclusion movingly calls “for all soldiers serving in the Intelligence Corps, present and future, along with all the citizens of Israel, to speak out against these injustices and to take action to bring them to an end.”

Not surprisingly, this collective act of conscientious objection has elicited condemnations from Israel’s military and political elite. This reaction parallels the indignant denunciations from US political and military leaders toward similar displays of moral conscience by Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning. JVP-SD insists however that the Unit 8200 veterans have expressed a vital act of moral responsibility. Just as Edward Snowden and Chelsea Manning understood that true patriotism means exposing unlawful US policies, the refuseniks of Unit 8200 understand that the only hope for advancing genuine justice and peace in Palestine-Israel is to confront rather than enable Israel’s occupation and accompanying war crimes and crimes against humanity.

Accordingly, JVP-SD encourages the San Diego community, including all local Jewish groups, to support the Unit 8200 refuseniks and insist upon an end to Israel’s occupation and systematic human rights violations as well as US underwriting of such actions.

Jewish Voice for Peace (JVP) is the only national Jewish organization that provides a voice for Jews and allies who believe that peace in the Middle East will be achieved through justice and full equality for both Palestinians and Israelis. JVP represents 140,000 members in 40 local chapters.