Attorney Avigdor Feldman on refusal to serve the occupation

Bryan Atinsky bryan at
Sat Mar 15 06:29:58 PST 2003

Avigdor Feldman is an important Civil/Human Rights Lawyer in Israel. Among his other cases in the past, he defended Mordechai Vanunu and recently he acted as the advocate in a joint petition to the Israeli High Court of Justice by Director Mohammed Bakri and Indymedia Israel over the censorship of Bakri's film "Jenin Jenin". (

Wednesday evening, March 12 - the Throne of Justice Hall at the Tel-Aviv University Faculty of Law. The Association of Public Law and the Minerva Human Rights Center co-host a panel discussion on "Conscientious Objection: Legal Right or Civil Disobedience".

>From Adv. Avigdor Feldman's presentation:

... the selective refusers, the ideological refusers ... what do they refuse to do, to take part in? Twenty years ago, there was a movement of refusniks who refused to go to Lebanon. Some of them went to prison, I reperesented some of them. They opposed a war which they felt was unjust. You could call them political refusers, and you would not be very wide off the mark. The refusers of today are different, they oppose something different which was not there before, at least not in the form it is now. Let me say the word, a harsh and unpleasant word: War Crimes There is such a thing as International Law. There are rules and obligations which it imposes on an occupying power. Certain minimal obligations towards letting an occupied population enjoy a certain minimal standard of living, to maintain basic services, health, education... There was a time when Israeli rule was more or less within this framework. Always with violations, some of them serious, but the framework was discernable. Now it is totally broken, smashed, trampled upon. Not the most basic rights for the popuation. The only consideration, overriding everything else, is maintenance of the settlements, which are inherently a violation of International Law. This is what the selective refusers, the ideological law-breakers, are refusing to take part in.

And here is what they uphold: the norms of International Law, which are becoming more and more entrenched, which are this week codified in the War Crimes Tribunal which started work at the Hague. This the refusers uphold: not some strange bizarre ideology, but the norms of the International Community".

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