Evil to the Core | Civil Disobedience seminar #2

This conference is the second of three conferences accompanying the exhibition “Evil to the Core.” The exhibition and conferences seek to discuss issues concerning obedience to authority, conformism, individual and social responsibility, non-compliance, and nonconformism in general, and in Israeli society in particular.

Civil disobedience, unlike criminal disobedience, does not lead to anarchy, but moral and conscientious action. Therefore, while the state can suppress criminal disobedience, it should restrain against suppressing civil disobedience.  The right to non-compliance is a natural right related to self-respect.  With this, the limit of civil disobedience is its use of violence – once it breaks out, it is transformed into criminal disobedience.  Another possible distinction is between offensive and defensive non-compliance; the first is done against laws whose violation expresses protest and insurrection against the state, the second involuntarily against laws that impair human  dignity. In any case the restriction of violence is key and is what lends legitimation to civil disobedience.

The conference will address the boundaries of non-compliance and obedience in the local context of Israel precisely in a period in which this question becomes relevant in light of a new phenomenon of military disobedience.  These phenomena, from the right side of the political map, recently made headlines and raised questions about the place of the individual and the military in a democratic society. Despite the phenomenon of refusal on the left as well, it has never managed to produce such resonance. Against this backdrop, the conference will discuss civil disobedience and insubordination.

speakers and lectures titles:

Prof. Uri HadarInsubordination and Mental Health

Prof. Uri Hadar will describe how refuseniks are being released on the basis of psychological maladjustment. A professor of Psychology at Tel Aviv University, a member of the parents’ forum of refuseniks, active in the organisation “Psycho-active. Mental Health Professionals for Human Rights “, Prof. Uri Hadar also teaches a course on the psychology of occupation.

David ReebArt Making as an Act of Civil Disobedience.

The artist, David Reeb, Dizengoff Prize winner, is featured in the current show and has been painting Israeli scenes based on media images for three decades.

Haggai MatarThe Refusnik Trial

Hagai Matar is one of the five refuseniks who refused to join the IDF and were put on trial in 2003. He and the four others were convicted and sentenced to imprisonment for up to 23 months.

Dr. Gadi Rosenberg –  Universal and Particular Principles as the Basis for Avoiding Army Reserve Duty

Dr. Rosenberg’s research distinguishes between personal objections (defectors) and ideological opponents from the right and left.

Moderator: Galit Eilat

The exhibition is a collaboration with the Association for Civil Rights in Israel and their Program for International Humanitarian Law. December 8, 2009.