by Megan Connolly*
On the Objection Front, a film by Shiri Tsur, tells the story of six men who conscientiously object participating in the “War on Settlements” between Israel and Palestine. Israel is a country whose foundations are based on security and the duty of military service, which leaves the conscientious objector with often times agonizing external opinions to deal with as well as extremely challenging obstacles to overcome. Although these men were once willing to serve in Israel’s defense, they no longer felt that it would be responsible of them to continue participating in an occupation that they felt was corrupting Israeli society as well as violating the fundamental rights of other human beings.
During interviews with these six men, the founders of the Courage to Refuse organization, we are taken through stories of their brutal experiences, reflections on the duties they were told to complete, the fallacies in Israel’s attempts to attain the “Promised Land”, and their personal problems with participating in war. Through their stories they explain why they feel that their refusal is not as much a political act as it is an advocation for human rights.
These feelings motivated the men to write a letter to the Israeli Defense Forces, called the “Combatant’s Letter”, stating that they would no longer fight beyond Israel’s borders in order to “dominate and expel an entire people”.
The “Combatant’s Letter” was met with much disapproval, resulting in jail sentences to all that were involved. Not only were the men met with disapproval by the Israeli Defense Forces, but also from some of their own families. While this letter was met with much disapproval, it also sent out a loud message for all of Israel to hear.
On the Objection Front carefully explains the dilemma that the ex-soldiers experience in wanting to serve their country but not wanting to act against their moral principles. On the Objection Front takes the viewer through a moving account of the memories that haunt the ex-soldiers, the anger of their families, the rejections they face from their own country, as well as the sense of peace that comes along with doing what they believed was the most just thing they could have done for Israel as well as Palestine.
*Megan Connolly is a Moraine Valley student, who writes a regular column, “In the LRC,” for the student newspaper The Glacier. In this column, Ms. Connolly reviews and highlights new additions to the library’s collection. This article has been reprinted with permission.