November 7th, 2017
Dear friends and supporters,
I am writing you today to update you on the political threats affecting Coalition of Women for Peace, and some specifically regarding Hamushim, CWP’s campaign resisting the Israeli military industries role in profiteering from the occupation of Palestine and in exporting arms to genocides, ethnic cleansings and war crimes. Today, right wing individuals and groups are all working to cancel an upcoming Hamushim event housed in a city bomb shelter allocated to the Negev Coexistence Forum (NCF) in Be’er Sheva and turned an Arab-Jewish cultural center promoting justice for the Naqab Bedouins.
The event, titled “The Israeli Arms Empire”, is a talk alongside Adv. Eitay Mack about the effects of the Israeli military industries, here and abroad. While NCF is not backing down and will host the event without any censorship as to spark a critical discussion on one of Israel’s most horrid industries, the local media and social media groups are all trembling at the event, and a counter-demonstration is set to take place. Headlines read that the event is anti-Israeli and is a threat to the state of Israel, and that any measure needs to be taken to prevent this event from taking place in the city.
Yesterday morning, MK Nava Boker (Likud), deputy head of Knesset, sent a letter to Be’er Sheva Mayor Rubik Danilovich asking him to do what it takes to cancel the event: “In light of the work of the organizations ‘Coalition of Women for Peace’ and ‘Hamushim’ in recent years, and in light of the title of the event, it is clear the event is not an event held for community purposes, and will be a stage for anti-Israeli and anti-Zionist propaganda. ‘Coalition of Women for Peace’ acts in recent years to harm the state of Israel in any way possible. […] ‘Hamushim’ is an organization acting to carry out a military embargo, harming innocent children, on the state of Israel , and to prevent any collaboration of the Israeli defense forces with international defense forces. The same organization also spread the blood libel that says that Israel trains on innocent Palestinians in the territories and so exports arms to the rest of the world”.
A few hours later, Danilovich sent NCF’s director Haia Noach a letter threatening legal action is case the event shall not be cancelled, this is contradiction to a ruling of the state attorney that allows and encourages freedom of speech in city properties as well. In his letter, Danilovich wrote: “From what I have learned in recent days, it seems you are about to host a discussion that will smear the name of the State of Israel, its values and public image”.
CWP has long been the target of political persecution inside Israel, targeted for speaking out against the occupation unapologetically, for supporting the Palestinian struggle for freedom, the right of return and equal rights, for supporting the Palestinian call for boycott, divestment and sanctions and for carrying out international advocacy exposing the human rights abuses of the state. Hamushim project was specifically targeted for exposing the true human prices of the military industries, the powerful corporations and industries behind the arms trade and their role in the Occupation. In the last year, over 5 of CWP’s events (including a discussion with women in Gaza and Hamushim’s major conference in June) were the target of right wing persecution and threats. This is not unique for CWP, as the Israeli anti-occupation left is facing growing dangers in speaking out and promoting human rights and justice. The political silencing is growing violent, and can be a threat to the life and work of activists working inside Israel of 1948 borders.
Coalition of Women for Peace will continue to resist the Israeli military industries, will speak out against the wrongs done for profit, and will continue to be a leading feminist voice towards bringing an end the Israeli occupation of Palestine and in support of human rights and justice for all. I, and the rest of CWP’s team, would also very much appreciate your support in this troubling times: click here to donate.
Shahaf Weisbein- Coordinator of Hamushim, Coalition of Women for Peace