Sharing this post by Elinor Kaminer Goldfainer, sister of Tair Kaminer (who is currently in an Israeli prison for refusing to serve in the Israeli armed forces), & translating her introduction to a letter Tair received:
There are those who say to Tair that her refusal gives Israel a bad name in the world. Even if Israel isn’t always in the right, there’s no need to come out against it so publicly. To me personally it’s clear that the opposite is true. Israel gives itself a bad name. Israeli hasbara is one of the things that anger me most. They offer students tempting stipends to join the well-greased hasbara operation – instead of acting to change the situation, they work really hard in order to conceal it.
Since Tair went into prison she has received dozens of letters of support from all over the world that make clear to me that my feeling is right. Tair’s refusal has touched so many people in the world and has given them hope with regard to the future of our country which at present seems to be turning blacker day by day. Each of these letters is moving, but I wanted to share one that is particularly moving, from a Holocaust survivor. To all those who are incensed by comparisons of all kinds, this is especially for you ([Hebrew] translation follows):
“I am an 81-year-old Holocaust survivor and I want to send you my very warmest greetings. You are among the bravest of all those Israeli citizens that still retain those deep feelings of decency and compassion that I once saw as an intrinsic feature of Judaism and people of Jewish descent and beliefs. If you and others like you can survive and encourage others to see as you do the injustices inflicted on the Palestinian people – there will be hope for the survival of your country (…) Only people such as you can begin to change these hardened attitudes. Thank you for your courage and determination, With my very best wishes from someone who knows what it is to be seen as an ‘outsider’ in one’s own country – I survived as a half-Jew in Nazi Germany…”