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Ben-Gurion University
[BGU, Sociology] Lev Grinberg, a founder of Yesh Gvul, lights a torch against the occupation, for soldiers refusing duties

Dr. Lev (Luis) Grinberg

Born: 1953, Argentina

Academic Qualifications:Ph.D. 1991, Tel Aviv University.

BGU Senior Lecturer 1996.

Department of Sociology - Anthropology- Senior Lecturer

The Hubert H. Humphrey Center for Social Research- Director



Editorial Note:
Dr. Lev (Luis) Grinberg, a Marxist sociologist from Ben Gurion University has been profiled by IAM before. Over the year, Grinberg used the legitimacy and security of hisacademic appointment, to paint Israel in the worst possible light. While mixing academics and politics in part of the neo-Marxist, critical scholarship paradigm, Grinberg's "scientific" contributions stand out for theirvitriol and malice.
The following is a case in point. He compares Israel to the dictators in Argentina, his home country, where thousands "disappeared" during the government's campaign against leftist; he accuses the Israeli government of manipulating the trauma of the Holocaust tocommit crimes against Palestinians, including the suppression of the Second Intifada. Conveniently, none of his writing, include references toPalestiniansIran, the patron ofPalestinian IslamicJihad and Hamas, and their role insabotaging the peace process. He accuses Israel of stealing water from the Palestinians, a notion that was disproved by a number of respectable experts.
Even by thelax standards of academic freedom at Ben Gurion University, Grinberg's writings are a social science travesty. Israeli tax payers deserve betterthan to support ahigh profileanti-Israeli propagandist with a meager academic record.



Torch Lighting Speech, Yesh Gvul Ceremony, April 25, 2012

I, Lev Luis Grinberg, am happy to light this torch in honor of the members of Yesh Gvul Movement, who thirty years ago dared to object to the first war ever declared as a war of choice; and in honor of thousands of reserve and regular soldiers, and the high school kids (Shministim) who have since then obeyed the dictate of their conscience and refused to take part in wars, military operations and occupation beyond the sovereign borders of the State of Israel. In their willingness to serve their country in prison, they have marked the moral and legal boundary of the State of Israel.

I grew up under a military regime in Argentina, and after I arrived in Israel I had no difficulty to identify with the Palestinian people under military rule, or to object to illegal commands and the State of Israels anti-democratic conduct. Nevertheless, I did join the IDF because I saw that there was in Israel a sincere belief in the existential threat to the Jewish people, rooted in the traumatic memory of the Holocaust. It was only later that I realized that the governments of Israel are systematically using that truama and the basic insecurity of the Jewish people to conceal illegal activities of land and water theft, and exploitation of defenseless Palestinian laborers.

The act of objection and refusal is an individuals declaration of independence, which is a prerequisite for the true independence of the collective. The conscientious objectors impressive achievement has been the de-legitimization of the war in Lebanon and the repression of the Intifada in the 1980s, which eventually led to a mutual recognition by the State of Israel and representatives of the Palestinian people. But since then, we have regressed into another round of violence, which swept the majority of the public, beginning with the repression of the second Intifada, through the second Lebanon War, Operation Cast Lead, to the planned imminent war against Iran. These are all wars of choice, which did not encounter the mass opposition they deserved. Yitzhak Rabins attempt to deliver Israel out of the mythical world in which it is entrapped, and his assertions that Not the entire world is against us, and that We did not arrive in an empty country, was brutally trampled upon in October 2000. The repression of the second Intifada has enabled the creation of a strong sense of insecurity which justifies Israels violence as if this was a war of no choice.

The memory of the Jewish people, persecuted for centuries by ultra-nationalism and racism, is being tarnished day by day by the utra-nationalism, racism and aggression of the State of Israel, which is in denial of its responsibility for its own actions. Done in the name of the Jewish people, these actions turn into the shame of the Jewish people. But there are still those who have not forgotten what it means to be a Jew: what it means to be a minority persecuted by a violent and aggressive majority. In the last thirty years, many important organizations have come into being, which spread and extend the reach of the original concept of selective conscientious objection upheld by Yesh Gvul. These include the Shministim and New Profile, Courage to Refuse and the Pilots Letter, Breaking the Silence and Combatants for Peace, womens organizations and binational organizations against the occupation and the war. I am lighting this torch in their honor as well, and in honor of the democratic state that we must build, a state grounded in the Jewish universal tenets of justice and equality for all citizens.



About Yesh Gvul

Yesh Gvul (There is a limit !) is an Israeli peace group campaigning against the occupation by backing soldiers who refuse duties of a repressive or aggressive nature. The brutal role of the Israeli army in subjugating the Palestinian population places numerous servicemen in a grave moral and political dilemma, as they are required to enforce policies they deem illegal, immoral and ultimatelyharmful to Israeli interests. The army hierarchy demands compliance, but many soldiers, whether conscripts or reservists, find that they cannot in good conscience obey the orders of their superiors.
Yesh Gvul arose in response to the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon, as growing numbers of soldiers grasped that the campaign, with its bloodshed and havoc, was an act of naked and futile aggression in which they wanted no part.
168 servicemen were jailed, some repeatedly, for refusing to serve in the campaign: the actual number of refusals was far greater, but their rising numbers deterred the army from prosecuting most of the refuseniks. The first Palestinian intifada in 1987 likewise prompted further refusals, with close on 200 jailed, though the army again backed down from jailing many of the recalcitrant soldiers, indicating that refusals were significantly more numerous. A notably high ratio of refuseniks are combat officers (ranking from sergeant to major) i.e. soldiers who have served with distinction.

From the outset, Yesh Gvul has fostered the refusal movement. Defying official intimidation including close surveillance by police and security services we counsel soldiers wrestling with the painful choice between serving policies they find abhorrent, or defying military discipline. Those who elect to refuse get our full moral and material backing, ranging from financial support for families of jailed refuseniks, to vigils at the military prisons where they were held. Whenever a refusenik is jailed, we bring his protest to the public notice, as a model for the broader peace movement, and for other soldiers in a similar dilemma.




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