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Los Angeles High School Peace Clubs Gather for Armistice Day Commemoration

What is Armistice Day? After World War I ended, nations mourned their dead and called for an end to all wars. Armistice, (a peace treaty), was signed, and bells tolled to celebrate the end of war. Thus, Nov. 11 th became Armistice Day, “a day to be dedicated to the cause of world peace and to be thereafter celebrated." In 1954, Congress decided to rebrand November 11 as Veterans Day. To this day churches in Europe still ring their bells 11 times at 11 am on the 11 th day of the 11 th month to commemorate Armistice Day- a day dedicated to peace.

 

11/11/2022 / Multiple Peace groups / Long Beach California - On Veterans Day, 2022, The Justice & Peace Committee of the South Coast Interfaith Council convened the “Reclaim Armistice Day!” event at Admiral Kidd Park in Long Beach California. The national groups that supported this event were the Veterans for Peace, and Military Families Speak Out. The regional groups supporting this half-day long activity included the Philippines - U.S. Solidarity Organization (PUSO) and the students from peace clubs that are part of the Peace Club Alliance which is located in Los Angeles County, California. The students that participated were from Cabrillo, Tracy, Fairfax, and the Port of Los Angeles (POLA) High Schools.

Culture-Jamming the War Machine

November 16, 2022 / Rivera Sun / World BEYOND War - In the drizzling rain, I yank up the military recruitment sign and throw it into the tall grasses on the side of the road. If anyone asks, I didn’t “destroy” government property. I merely relocated it. Think of me like a windstorm. A peace-loving, nonviolent windstorm countering military recruitment.

Who knows how many lives I saved with this simple action? Perhaps it saved the teens that were considering enlisting as they rode the school bus past these signs twice a day. Perhaps it will help some innocent civilians overseas who so often bear the brunt of our nation’s addiction to war. Maybe it will slow down the profiteering warmongering of military industrial complex to realize they can’t count on enlistment rates.

The military recruitment sign was one of two shoved into the sides of the main road in my rural community. The road runs straight through the middle of all six towns in our valley. Every person in our area drives down this road to fetch groceries, visit the doctor, or pick up library books. Every school child in my town goes past these military recruitment signs on their way to public school. Twice a day, coming and going, high school students see the black and yellow lettering.

God, Not Militarism: Ultra Orthodox Jews Say No to Guns and Ammo

During recent debates about the conscription of ultra-Orthodox (Haredi) Jews, haredi opponents of the draft have distributed flyers like this one decrying what they call hardakim (Haredim kalim, or “Haredim lite”) who conspire with the evil state (this time, the Jewish state of Israel, not Tsarist Russia) to snatch tender young Haredi boys and dispatch them to the army. Image courtesy of Daniel Mahla.March 23, 2014 / Joshua Tartakovsky, Ronnie Barkan / AlterNet - British Prime Minister David Cameron got more than he expected at the Israeli Knesset when he visited the country, receiving a cold shoulder from ultra-Orthodox and Palestinian legislators who share common interests, being the state’s most oppressed communities. Cameron’s visit to the Knesset took place on the same day that two controversial laws, the Conscription Law and the Governability Law, were finally approved following a prolonged legislative battle. As Prime Minister Netanyahu welcomed the guest of honour, the ultra-Orthodox parliamentarians left the plenary session in protest while their colleagues, Palestinian Members of the Knesset, refused to attend the event altogether. This was the culmination point of several months of heated protest over the Conscription Law which brought to the surface contradictions between Zionism and Judaism.

Hundreds of thousands of ultra-Orthodox Jews (Haredim) of all denominations took to the streets of Jerusalem to oppose the draft law several days before it passed. In a mass prayer, the worshippers-protesters declared their faithfulness to Torah study rather than to the military. United under a banner declaring that “the State of Israel is fighting against the Kingdom of Heaven,” they held signs stating that military draft is spiritual suicide. The event was not merely showcasing opposition to the law, but nothing short of a battle cry against the very legitimacy of a state that encroaches upon their spiritual autonomy and poses a danger to their religious liberty.

Under the slogan “Equality in the Burden,” both religious-Zionist Naftali Bennett and secular-Zionist Yair Lapid were elected and became the two largest coalition partners of a Haredi-free government. The campaign called for the forced conscription of the ultra-Orthodox and garnered wide support from the Israeli public. Unlike the purist Edah HaHaredit group which prohibits its members from partaking in, voting and receiving funds from the Zionist state, the Haredi rabbinical councils which called for the mass protest have their elected representatives at the Knesset. They all walked out of the plenum stating that Netanyahu is an enemy to their religion, yet this did not stop the Prime Minister from addressing Cameron in his welcoming speech by saying "David, welcome to the City of David and to the Jewish Knesset".

The law enforces an incrementally growing annual quota of ultra-Orthodox students to be drafted, reaching 5,200 by 2017. Religious schools that would send their students to the military will receive financial incentives but in case the goal is not met, a draft for all the ultra-Orthodox would be imposed and financial sanctions implemented. The ultra-Orthodox argue that sanctioning and criminalizing students of the Torah proves that the State of Israel cannot possibly be regarded as being Jewish. The law’s initiators, Lapid and Bennett, along with Prime Minister Netanyahu, were subsequently depicted in an animated film as they physically abuse a Haredi Jew and place him behind bars.

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