Knesset members call to halt arms shipments to 'cruel dictatorships'

Officials from the Left and the Right came together to protest arms sales to countries that violate human rights.

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October 31, 2017 06:06
2 minute read.
MK Yehuda Glick is seen at a protest outside the Knesset, October 2017

MK Yehuda Glick is seen at a protest outside the Knesset, October 2017. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)

 
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MKs Yehudah Glick (Likud) and Tamar Zandberg (Meretz) joined dozens gathered at the Wohl Rose Garden in front of the Knesset on Monday in calling on the government to stop all exports of weapons and technology to regimes that violate human rights.

The protesters, who held signs reading “Blue and white genocide” and “Jews don’t arm evil,” focused their fight against the export of weapons from Israel to the government in Myanmar. It was recently reported that Israel has exported naval vessels to the Myanmar Navy, which has been accused of carrying out the ethnic cleansing of the Rohingya Muslim minority.

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In July 2016, Glick and Zandberg submitted a bill that intends to limit the export of weapons by granting the Foreign Ministry the power do determine whether or not a regime is violating human rights and, thus, prevent the shipment of weapons to such entities.

MK Mossi Raz (Meretz), former minister Rabbi Michael Melchior and former MK Moshe Feiglin, head of the right-wing Zehut movement, also attended the protest.

Zandberg said that while the Western World understood that the Myanmar Army was conducting war crimes and imposed a weapons export embargo on it, Israel is allowing its civilian weapons industry to sell it “more and more war machines.

“This situation is happening under the nose of the Israelis under a doubtful cover of secrecy whose only purpose is to bring money to former high-ranking ex-generals in the Israeli security system,” she said.

“It is okay to make money, but not when the cost is human lives,” she added.

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Glick highlighted the religious aspect of his objection to the export of weapons to deadly regimes.

“We have no right to this land if we do not follow our moral standards,” he said.

“When God chose Abraham, he said: ‘For I know him, that he will command his children and his household after him, and they shall keep the way of the Lord to do justice and judgment.’ God has created us in his image and chose humanity before he chose the Jewish people. Our purpose is to bring life to the world not murder,” he said.

Glick told The Jerusalem Post that when he suggested the measure last year he faced objections from various forces in the security industry.

“They have plenty of explanations why we should push this bill forward; they told me that the weapons-manufacturing industry would be harmed from such move, as would the families of the many people working in them,” he said.

“They told me that it would harm Israeli diplomatic ties. They told me that if we won’t sell them, others, like Iran, will.

“But all we are asking is to make it transparent and make the Foreign Ministry in charge of determining who is a vicious regime that we should not sell arms to.”

Feiglin told the gathering the claim that ''if we don’t sell to them, someone else will'' is the equivalent to a Pole who turned a Jew in to the Germans in World War II.

“He also thought that if he didn’t do it someone else would,” he said.

“He did it to get some bread and jam. Here, people do it for greed. What happened to our Zionism?”

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