JERUSALEM (Jul. 10)
Jerusalem police have deferred action on charges that Michael Lerner, editor of the California-based, progressive Jewish magazine Tikkun, incited Israeli reserve soldiers to refuse duty in the West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Complaints from irate citizens were received after Tikkun held a weeklong conference here in support of Israel’s peace movement.
Participants urged withdrawal from the administered territories and favored a Palestinian state alongside Israel.
A police spokeswoman told the Jewish Telegraphic Agency that law-enforcement officials were trying to decide whether Lerner, an American citizen, violated the law.
They are seeking legal advice. But since the matter does not have high priority, it will probably be some time before the police decide one way or the other, the spokeswoman said.
In a statement issued from Tikkun headquarters in Oakland, Calif., Lerner said, “It’s no surprise that Israeli right-wingers sought to deflect attention from the substance of the discussion at the Tikkun Solidarity Conference by raising this phony charge against me.”
Lerner said refusal to serve in the West Bank or Gaza is nothing new in Israel. It has been advocated by a leading Israeli philosopher, Yeshayahu Leibowitz, and by an Israeli organization Yesh Gvul (There is a Limit).
While individual acts of refusal have been prosecuted, no one has been prosecuted for advocating refusal, Lerner pointed out.