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Limitations of the refuseniks

May 31, 2002 | Page 8

Dear Socialist Worker,

Mark Cooper recently wrote about the "sobering" speeches given by Israeli "refusenik" soldiers on tour in America speaking against Israel's occupation (SW, May 24). He notes that refusenik Guy Grossman's speech made no mention of the refugees of 1948. This is a fundamental problem for refuseniks.

While we can--and must--use their voices to raise awareness about the Middle East conflict, we must also clearly recognize their limitations. Many proudly serve in other capacities with the Israel Defense Forces.

The refuseniks who spoke recently at my school want a Jewish-only state. While they spoke to a packed room and raised awareness about the occupation, they also misled the audience about U.S. aid to Israel.

Endorsing the event would have sent a mixed message. Truly anti-Zionist Jews do exist, and they speak out: Eduardo Cohen, Susan Greene and Hagit Borer, to name a few.

The refuseniks are only a means to an end, not an end in themselves.

John Green, Davis, Calif.

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