In Israel, hundreds of citizens of Ethiopian descent are refusing to serve reserve duty in the Israel Defense Forces, citing racial discrimination by the Israeli government in various state agencies, including the police.
As David Sheen reported in the San Francisco Bay View, more than 300 Ethiopian Jews have made the decision to refuse any military order to report for duty, including soldiers from all Israel Defense Forces infantry brigades and specialized commando units. As long as the nation fails to respect their civil rights, these Black “refuseniks” say they will fail to respect their obligations to the state.
“So, let me get this straight: If my rights don’t exist, why should I have to do reserve duty?” asked Avishai Malson Tzaghon, an Ethiopian Israeli, in a video interview with the Bay View. “Our issue is not with the army. We are not saying that the army is the problem. It’s the state. The army is an arm of the state. We say to the state that we are starting off by no longer doing reserve duty.” Tzaghon said he also may stop fulfilling other obligations.
“As long as the policy of discrimination and exclusion and disparaging treatment towards Ethiopian émigrés does not change, don’t bother talking to us about doing reserve duty,” refusenik Jajaw Bimro said.