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Omer Goldman Quotes and Transcripts: "Father, forgive me, I will not fight for your Israel!"

“The occupation is poisoning Israel from within. It creates an aggressive people, extreme nationalism, and leaves important values such as solidarity and equality behind. That’s why taking a stand against it, as an Israeli, is crucial for both Palestinians and Israelis, as one.”—Omer Goldman

Omer Goldman has the arresting looks of a supermodel, but much more importantly, she is a superb role model for young Israeli Jews who believe in true equality and justice for everyone, including Palestinians. As a teenager, she took a defiant stand for equality and justice, went to jail for her convictions, and was published by Sojourners ("Faith in Action for Social Justice") and elsewhere on the Internet. Later on this page you can find links to her YouTube interviews and Facebook page.

I lived as best I could, and then I died.
Be careful where you step: the grave is wide.
—Michael R. Burch, "Epitaph for a Palestinian Child"

Omer Goldman has called Israel's military attacks on Gaza acts of state-sponsored terrorism and war crimes that will not obtain any of Israel's objectives. She has also accused Israel of having become a fascist country that lies and does irrational and stupid things. And she says that Israel's IDF is "exactly" like Hamas, both being terrorist organizations that bomb innocent people.

“In Israel, when you are born, you are a soldier to be … when you challenge them, they attack you personally.”—Omer Goldman

Omer Goldman Granot is the daughter of Naftali Granot, a former deputy head of Mossad, the Israeli intelligence service which is similar to the CIA. She is also a member of the Shministim, a group of young Israeli sarvanim (conscientious objectors or “refuseniks”). Most of them as 12th-graders refused to serve in Israel's occupation army after they graduated from high school. Goldman opposes Israel’s military occupation of Palestine and its racist repression of the Palestinian people. She says, by way of explanation:

“When I was growing up, I believed in war heroes and dying for a piece of land, and [giving] everything for my brothers and sisters here in the Jewish community of Israel ... But when I was really small, I always cared about human rights, and my dream when I was [around] eight was to be at Amnesty International ... I only awoke when I was about 16 or 17 [to understand] that all those things I’d been told in the education system and everywhere [in Israeli life] were questionable ... [so] maybe I should double-check things ... maybe everything was not as I thought it was.”—Omer Goldman

Omer was sentenced to a military prison for refusing to serve the Israel Defense Forces (IDF), along with her fellow high-schoolers Tamar Katz and Mia Tamarin. She has since spent a second term in prison (Israel can re-draft conscientious objectors and jail them repeatedly for the same "crime").

"In Israel, after you finish high school, you have to join the army immediately ... when it was my time to join the Israeli army, I refused, because I am against the fact that the Israeli army is occupying the Palestinian territories and the Palestinian people. I won't take part in a system that commits war crimes and crimes against humanity."—Omer Goldman

"Anyone who uses violence is wrong. But our country, which claims to be democratic, and the IDF, which is supposed to be human, [both] act exactly like Hamas, a terrorist organization. [The IDF] bombs innocent people; it's a terrorist organization, but no one calls it that. We are hurting innocent people; we are acting like a terrorist organization."—Omer Goldman

"Many young Palestinians go to jail for no reason."—Omer Goldman

"Denying the Palestinians their basic human rights puts us all in danger."—Omer Goldman

"It's against my personal beliefs."—Omer Goldman

"I knew I had to go with my heart, because I have to live with myself. I didn't want to regret for the rest of my life being a part of a system that is so wrong, and so illegal, and doing awful things."—Omer Goldman

"I went to this village in the West Bank, and the Israeli army just put a check-point in the middle of the village for no reason just to make it difficult for the people to cross and we wanted to take it off. So they start shooting at us like crazy. And I didn’t understand, like, is the army that I’ve been told all of my life is protecting me, now shooting at me? My whole idea of what they are just vanished."—Omer Goldman

When asked what she would say to her father, she replied:

"Each of us is fighting for our beliefs; I chose the non-violent way, you chose the violent way. It’s very hard for me to answer that. I wish we can get better but I’m not sure it will happen."—Omer Goldman

In her declaration of refusal she stated:

"I refuse to enlist in the Israeli military. I shall not be part of an army that needlessly implements a violent policy and violates the most basic human rights on a daily basis. Like most of my peers, I too had not dared to question the ethics of the Israeli military. But when I visited the Occupied Territories, I realized a completely different reality, a violent, oppressive, extreme reality that must be ended. I believe in service to the society I am part of, and that is precisely why I refuse to take part in the war crimes committed by my country. Violence will not bring any kind of solution, and I shall not commit violence, come what may."—Omer Goldman

She explains that the crucial moment in her metamorphosis occurred when at the age of 16, as a member of the group Combatants for Peace, she went to the Palestinian village of Shufa, where the IDF had set up an arbitrary roadblock, without any purpose except to make Palestinian life unendurable. In Shufa, Palestinians she had once considered her enemy stood beside her, while someone who was supposed to be defending her, opened fire on her.

"I often traveled to the occupied territories, and saw with my own eyes, what the Israeli army is there are things which I cannot cooperate."—Omer Goldman

Combatants for Peace is made up of former Israeli and Palestinian soldiers who have joined together to demonstrate against the injustices of the war between their people. The group heard about an arbitrary roadblock set up in the middle of the city that was blocking kids from going to school and others from carrying out their daily tasks. While the demonstrators tried to bring awareness about the unjust checkpoint, Israeli soldiers opened fire with rubber bullets and gas grenades. Omer was caught off guard. She didn’t expect the Israeli military to blindly follow orders and attack Israelis and Palestinians over a peaceful protest.

Here’s what Ed Asner said about her:

"I've been around this world for awhile, and it's pretty hard to leave me speechless. But when I learned about Omer Goldman—well, her story got me ... Her courage, and the courage of the other ‘Shministim’ in Israel is utterly humbling. And amazing. I don't use those words lightly."

Here’s what Ed Asner said about the young Israeli refuseniks:

"This new generation of young Israeli kids is standing up to the government—they call 'em "Shministim." The Shministim—all about ages 17, 18, 19 and in the 12th grade—are taking a stand. They believe in a better, more peaceful future for themselves and for Israelis and Palestinians, and they are refusing to join the Israeli army. They're in jail, holding strong against immense pressure from family, friends and the Israeli government. They need our support and they need it today."

Here’s what she has said herself ...

I first went to prison on September 23 and served 35 days. I am lucky, after two times in jail, I got a medical discharge, but I'm the only one. By the time you read this, many of my friends will be in prison too: in for three weeks, out for one, and then back in, over and over, until they are 21. The reason? We refuse to do military service for the Israeli army.

I grew up with the army. My father was deputy head of Mossad and I saw my sister, who is eight years older than me, do her military service. As a young girl, I wanted to be a soldier. The military was such a part of my life that I never even questioned it.

Earlier this year, I went to a peace demonstration in Palestine. I had always been told that the Israeli army was there to defend me, but during that demonstration Israeli soldiers opened fire on me and my friends with rubber bullets and tear-gas grenades. I was shocked and scared. I saw the truth. I saw the reality. I saw for the first time that the most dangerous thing in Palestine is the Israeli soldiers, the very people who are supposed to be on my side.

When I came back to Israel, I knew I had changed. I told my dad what had happened. He was angry that I had been over to the occupied territories and told me I had endangered my life. I have always discussed history and politics with my father but on this subject – my rejection of the military and my conscientious objecting – we can’t speak.

When I came back to Israel, I knew I had changed. And so, I have joined with a number of other young people who are refusing to serve; they call us the Shministim. On December 18th, we are holding a Day of Action in Israel, and we are determined to show Israelis and the world that there is wide support for stopping a culture of war. Will you join us? Please, just sign a
letter. That's all it takes.

Many have asked me about what it was like for me during this time. Of course I got scared while in prison. But also, it's frightening that my country is the way that it is, locking up young people who are against violence and war. And I worry that what I am doing may damage my future. It's hard to go from being a free girl who can decide things for herself — what to wear, who to see, what to eat — and then go back to having every minute of the day time-tabled.

Last time I was out of prison, I went to see my dad. We tried not to talk politics. He cares about me as his daughter, that I am suffering, but he doesn't want to hear my views. He never came to visit me in prison. I think it was too hard for him to see me in there. He is an army man.

I suppose, actually, we have similar characters. We both fight for what we believe in.

I understand from our friends at Jewish Voice for Peace that you are also someone who fights for what you believe in. Believe in me. Believe in Omer Goldman. Believe in the Shministim.

Thank you,

Omer Goldman
Tel-Aviv, Israel

Here is an explanation of when her views began to change ...

In 2006, at the beginning of the Second Lebanon War, me and my friends took a trip to Cyprus. There, outside of Israel was the first time I actually heard criticism against the Israeli army and government, and even personally of me as an Israeli girl. My first instinct was to defend what I grew up with and thought was right. Only then I saw pictures in the news I had never seen before in the Israeli media. Those pictures made me realize how little I know about the reality an hour from my home.

As that war turned into another operation in vain and no one in the Israeli government admitted that, not only did I lose my faith in the “humanity” of this army, but I started questioning the ability of the Israeli army sent by the Israeli government to defend me.

I remember sitting on the curve, smoking a cigarette after a demo in Tel Aviv calling for Israeli leadership to resign, saying to my friend “I’m not going to take part in this; this government doesn’t represent me any more, there must be another way.”

The problem with the Israeli youth is that they are not exposed to the reality from a balanced point of view. 99% of Israeli teenagers never went to the West Bank to meet Palestinians, and their first interaction with them is when they are carrying a gun and wearing the army uniform.
The fact that we visited the West Bank before we were supposed to join the army opened our eyes, and once our eyes were open we could see no other way.

When you refuse to serve your society with military service you reflect on all your friends and family, so there are many consequences when you use your democratic right to resist something you think is immoral, old friends become distant, and sometimes family show no support.

We feel that the basic understanding that real security comes from peace has been forgotten.

The occupation is poisoning Israel from within. It creates an aggressive people, extreme nationalism, and leaves important values such as solidarity and equality behind. That’s why taking a stand against it, as an Israeli, is crucial for both Palestinians and Israelis as one.

But the law itself and the two years for women or three years for men of army service are only the tip of the iceberg of a highly militaristic state.

The service does not only consist of the two or three years as a teenager, but also of reservist service – every man and women until a certain age can be called up once a year or more in times of war to either train or for active military service. This makes a state in which every parent, teacher, employer and politician not only has been a soldier in his youth, but in many cases still acts as one on the average of once a year.

The care packages for soldiers every kinder-garden child has sent on the Jewish holidays, the memorial planks at the entrance to most schools commemorating all the former students of the school who died during their military service, the compulsory one week of military training most schools take 11th graders on, and the constant presence of army personal inside schools and classrooms are only a few examples of what makes Israeli society [so] militant and obedient in a scary way.

Here is a similar viewpoint by one of the modern world's greatest philosophers:

"The tragedy of the people of Palestine is that their country was “given” by a foreign power to another people for the creation of a new state. The result was that many hundreds of thousands of innocent people were made permanently homeless. With every new conflict their numbers increased. How much longer is the world willing to endure this spectacle of wanton cruelty?" - Bertrand Russell

Here is a link to Omer Goldman's Facebook page:

You may also want to read and consider Israeli Prime Ministers who were Terrorists; they include Menachem Begin, Yitzhak Shamir, Yitzhak Rabin, Ariel Sharon and David Ben-Gurion.

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