by Kochav Shachar, CfPeace Education Director
Over the past few weeks, huge crowds of people have demonstrated throughout Israel, denouncing the inhumane policies of Netanyahu’s government. Combatants for Peace has been at every demonstration, reminding citizens, the government and the world, that the occupation is the problem.
I demonstrate every Saturday near Balfour street, but not only because I am against corruption and Bibi Netanyahu. I am raising my voice for human rights: Palestinians’ rights, women’s rights, black people’s rights, gay rights, and so on. Together we are denouncing police brutality and all types of oppression. We must unite our struggles in order to achieve a society based on equality and justice.
At the demonstrations we raise our voices and demand a better future. But we also demonstrate in the name of those who cannot raise their voices.
I know that as a young Israeli, the occupation is my responsibility. I was born a citizen of an occupying nation. It is my responsibility to resist against it. The occupation is bad for all of us: it corrupts us with its twisting of human moral values. The policies of control and intimidation over another people reaches deeply throughout society, and ultimately corrupts us from within. It harms and hurts me personally. I know we are capable of better than that.
People from across the world must understand how critical it is for us to achieve freedom, equality and peace in this place. I wish the international community would put more pressure on my government. At the same time, we, Israelis, must ask more questions and be more critical of our leadership. If our activism is to be effective, it must not be limited to these demonstrations alone. Effective activism must also encompass the hard conversations that we have with our friends and relatives. It includes education, nonviolent action and more. I am proud to be considered a radical “leftist”, because I know how important it is for the world to hear this message.
On a personal level, I am trying to create the future that I wish to see in my society. I refuse to wait for my government to come up with a peaceful solution. We have to BE the change! I work with my Palestinian partners for peace, freedom and equality – and in doing so, I am cultivating true friendship. This is the only path that makes sense to me.
I have decided to act. Will you join me?