Watch: Military indoctrination of Israeli youth “starts in kindergarten”

Last month, dozens of alumni and former staff members of an elite Jerusalem high school stated their refusal to serve in the Israeli military, and called on future graduates of the Israel Arts and Sciences Academy to reject the draft.

“Refusing to serve in the Israeli military is not an easy choice, but a moral stance against a collective mood manifested in racism and violence on every street these days,” the refusers’ letter states.

“It is a choice to withstand the pressure coming from one’s home, friends, professional environment and the media, and to not take part in the crimes done in our name.”

“The military serves as an enabler to a separation-regime based on the notion of an ethnic superiority of Jews over Palestinians,” the letter adds.

“Today, after the most recent massacre in Gaza, a horror committed in our name against nearly two million people – half of whom are children and teenagers – we choose not to remain silent,” the letter says.

One of the signers, activist and composer Amit Gilutz, was interviewed on RT by Abby Martin this week. Watch the video above.

Indoctrination

Gilutz speaks about the “significant role that the Israeli educational system has in the indoctrination of students to become obedient soldiers.”

This indoctrination, Gilutz says, “starts in kindergarten” with the presence of “uniformed teachers.”

Gilutz refers to the 2012 book Palestine in Israeli School Books, by Nurit Peled-Elhanan, which demonstrates how the Israeli educational system demonizes Palestinians.

An image published by the Israeli army Education Corps depicts a “soldier-teacher” in a classroom during the 2006 Lebanon war.

There is a “very high degree of cooperation” between the ministry of defense and the ministry of education, Gilutz says.

This includes “field trips to the occupied territories, normalizing the occupation by sending students to Hebron.”

Schools that produce the highest numbers of military recruits are given financial incentives from the government, Gilutz explains.

Given this official atmosphere, Gilutz says that the letter writers wanted to try to reach young people directly.

“Look, the education you are receiving is at best a manipulation,” he wants students to hear.

“You’re only being given the tools to rationalize reality and accept your role in it as the oppressor, as someone who is about to take an active role in the dispossession of the Palestinians and the continued ethnic cleansing of Palestine and participating in the crimes of occupation and apartheid.”

Students, Gilutz adds, are “not being given the tools to imagine something that is beyond and outside of this reality and to try to create change.”

“A country that is based on the oppression and occupation of millions of people is not a normal country,” he says, “and that needs to change urgently.”

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Please let Israel become not a perfect society, nowhere the World has but at least a real one because until now it has been an apartheid one.

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It used to be called Arab terrorism until the Shah fell, then it morphed into Islamic extremism. I once read that there existed a pipeline from Hollywood to Israel where Israelies of Arab descent were tapped as extras in anti-Arab action block busters. As an American from West Virginia-all of our 55 counties are classified as Appalachian-I can relate to this particular smear campaign. It wasn't until I was eight that I realized that my community and I were being denigrated by the TV show the Beverley Hillbillies. So I feel I bit of a kindered spirt towards those Americans of Arab descent who experience this on an ever more frequent scale. Being proactive, my family and I visited the Arab-American Museum in Dearborne over Thanksgiving. There was an exhibit which served as a crash course into the defamation heaped upon Arab-Americans. Afterwards we went down the street to Habib's for dinner. I mentioned to the waiter that there was at least one West Virginia included at the museum-retiring Congressman Nick Rahall. It was an over all good experience for my family and me. Also it seems that retired Senater James Abuerzuk SD (sic) did a good job of representing South Dakota, and sticking up for Native Americans, and others slighted by our government and popular culture. I also watched most of the Reality show All-American Muslim until it was summarily turned a sounder by the bigoted advertisers.

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Prophetic comments by 4 eminent Jews:

Senator Henry Morgenthau Sr., renowned Jewish American and former U.S. Ambassador to Turkey, 1919: "Zionism is the most stupendous fallacy in Jewish history....The very fervour of my feeling for the oppressed of every race and every land, especially for the Jews, those of my own blood and faith, to whom I am bound by every tender tie, impels me to fight with all the greater force against this scheme, which my intelligence tells me can only lead them deeper into the mire of the past, while it professes to be leading them to the heights. Zionism is... a retrogression into the blackest error, and not progress toward the light."

Asked to sign a petition supporting settlement of Jews in Palestine, Sigmund Freud declined: "I cannot...I do not think that Palestine could ever become a Jewish state....It would have seemed more sensible to me to establish a Jewish homeland on a less historically-burdened land....I can raise no sympathy at all for the misdirected piety which transforms a piece of a Herodian wall into a national relic, thereby offending the feelings of the natives." (Letter to Dr. Chaim Koffler Keren HaYassod, Vienna: 2/26/30)

Albert Einstein, 1939: “There could be no greater calamity than a permanent discord between us and the Arab people…. Let us recall that in former times no people lived in greater friendship with us than the ancestors of these Arabs.”

Lessing J. Rosenwald, president of the American Council for Judaism, 1944: “The concept of a racial state – the Hitlerian concept- is repugnant to the civilized world, as witness the fearful global war in which we are involved. . . , I urge that we do nothing to set us back on the road to the past. To project at this time the creation of a Jewish state or commonwealth is to launch a singular innovation in world affairs, which might well have incalculable consequences.”

Ali Abunimah

Ali Abunimah's picture

Co-founder of The Electronic Intifada and author of The Battle for Justice in Palestine, now out from Haymarket Books.

Also wrote One Country: A Bold-Proposal to End the Israeli-Palestinian Impasse. Opinions are mine alone.