In early 2002, a group of reserve officers and soldiers in the Israel Defense Forces issued a public statement declaring that, although they were willing to serve in Israel's defense, they would no longer participate in the "War of the Settlements," which they felt aimed only to perpetuate Israel's control over the Palestinian people in the Occupied Territories. Contending that the Occupation was corrupting Israeli society, they announced their refusal to fight beyond the 1967 borders in order to "dominate, expel, starve and humiliate an entire people."
The "Combatants' Letter" sent political shock waves throughout Israel and intensified the national debate over the Occupation. ON THE OBJECTION FRONT features interviews with the six founding members of the Courage to Refuse organization, which today includes over 600 "refuseniks," who movingly recount their personal histories, their experience of brutality and torture in the Occupied Territories and at checkpoints, the often agonizing moral dilemmas that led them to their difficult decision, and how they see their refusal not so much as a political act, but as a stand for human rights and basic moral values.
In a nation that is primarily dependent on two things-its military and moral strength-the actions of these members of armored corps, paratroops, and other elite IDF units were met with harsh government response, including jail sentences, and passionate public emotions. The film shows rallies in support of the Courage to Refuse members, which are countered by right-wing protests denouncing them as traitors and cowards. The stories of the Courage to Refuse members are supplemented by interviews with their wives, parents, and other family members.
ON THE OBJECTION FRONT chronicles this explosive new controversy that goes to the very soul of contemporary Israeli society, and in-so-doing raises crucial questions - about civil disobedience; about personal ethics, morality, and patriotism - for all of us.
"Bold! The deeply personal nature of each soldier's story of their moral journey... make this by far one of the most riveting films of witness and testimony every made about the struggle of Israeli's to challenge the status quo." —Middle Eastern Studies Association Bulletin
Ecumenical Award, 2005 Berlin International Film Festival
2005 Middle Eastern Studies Association FilmFest
2005 San Francisco Jewish Film Festival
2005 Jerusalem International Film Festival
2005 Thessaloniki International Film Festival
"Highly Recommended!" —Educational Media Reviews Online
"Fascinating!" —Utne Reader
"The most powerful of the 15 Israeli films in this year's [San Francisco Jewish Film Festival]! As a testimony against injustice by men of war, it's a surprisingly peaceful film." —East Bay Express
"The sincerity of these ex-soldiers [is] impressive, and Tsur's film is compelling." —San Francisco Weekly
"Unflinching and moving!" —Time Out
"An important documentary... Through candid interviews... the films tells the story behind their life-altering decision to stand up and refuse to go back and complete their duty. It follows them and their families as they discuss the agonizing dilemma between wanting to serve their country and acting against their moral principles, the memories that haunt them, the anger of their families, the rejection they're facing, and their time in prison." —The International Herald Tribune
"Neither heavy-handed nor polemical... it acknowledges the real disagreement that exists even within the Left over the principle of refusing duty." —The Jerusalem Report
"Has resonance far beyond Israel." —Washington City Paper