Gender and Militarism - New Profile/WRI seminar, August 2007, Israel

The seminar venueThe seminar venue

We would like to invite you to attend our international seminar on Gender and Militarism, which will take place on 23-26 August 2007, in Newe Shalom/ Wahat al Salaam, Israel.
Today it is becoming increasingly clear that consistent feminism cannot do without a thorough analysis of militarism and that consistent antimilitarism cannot do without a deep understanding of gender issues in both theory and practice. On the one hand, patriarchy and male dominance crucially rely on militarism, on the way militarism and war shape what is considered to be security, what is considered to be part of the public, rather than private, sphere, and on the constant dangers generated by weaponry and war. On the other hand, manipulating notions of masculinity and femininity is central in motivating people to support war in word and deed, and to take part in it. Gender awareness is also indispensable for effectively resisting war and injustice. The continued marginalisation of women in movements of conscientious objectors to military service around the world gives a living example of how important it is to foster gender awareness in ourselves as antimilitarist activists.
The Gender and Militarism Seminar will bring together activists and academics from all over the world to study the mutual connections between militarism and gender. The seminar is organised by War Resisters' International together with the Israeli feminist antimilitarist movement New Profile, and will be followed by the annual meeting of the WRI International Council. Topics to be discussed at the seminar include: Gender and the militarization of culture around the world, Willingness to serve and masculinity, Mothers for peace and mothers for war, Sexist public discourse in Israel during the 2nd Lebanon War, Militarised masculinities and femininities, Redefining and demilitarising economic priorities, The concept of security, Militarism and homophobia, Gender, sexuality and military service, Sexual harassments of women in the military, Human rights in the military and the antimilitarist response, Domestic violence after military service, Rape - weapon of war and tool of hate propaganda, Gender in nonviolence training, Gender in the refusal movement, The Palestinian feminist movement, Taking gender analysis serious in our movement work, and many others.
The seminar will also see the first presentation of WRI's upcoming worldwide anthology of women's conscientious objection.
Speakers include noted activists and several academics from Zimbabwe, South Korea, Colombia, the US, Serbia, Macedonia, Russia, and other European countries, and of course, Palestine and Israel.
The full and updated programme of the seminar is available on our website at: [Programme]
To register to the seminar, please contact us at or fill in the registration form at:  [Registration form]

Practical information

Entering Israel would be possible without a visa for citizens of EU countries, North and South America, and some other countries. A visa is required for most of Africa, the former USSR, Turkey and many countries in Eastern Europe (if you're not sure, you can check on the Foreign Affairs Ministry website, but note that some inaccuracies are possible. Checking with the nearest Israeli diplomatic mission would be best). If you need a visa to enter Israel, please contact us as soon as possible to arrange for an invitation letter to be sent to you. Note: to enter Israel you must have your passport valid for at least 180 days beyond the date of entry.

Even if you have a visa, or if you don't need one, getting through airport security might be a problem. In particular, it is advisable to make clear, if questioned, that you are not about to enter the 1967 Occupied Territories (authorities usually try to block volunteers of solidarity movements, such as the ISM, from entering the country). Printing out some details about this seminar could be a very good idea. In case of trouble - do not hesitate to call us from the airport. We will publish a phone number by which you will be able to reach us closer to the event.

NOTE: If you have ever been blocked from entering any country for political reasons, let us know about it in advance, as you would then be more likely to be blocked at entrance.

The weather in Israel in August is hot and dry. You can leave your coats and umbrellas at home. The local currency is the New Israeli Shekel (NIS, or ILS, or just Shekels = about $US0.25 , €0.19, £0.12). You're not likely to need much of it, as we will be staying in a relatively remote place.

Our venue will be the Newe Shalom School for Peace, located in Neve Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, which is a cooperative village of Jews and Palestinian Arabs of Israeli citizenship not far from Israel's main airport. The venue will be at our disposal from 22 to 30 Aug. If you need to arrive earlier or leave later -- let us know, and we will arrange for hosting. We will also be glad to help you around if you plan to combine participation in our seminar with a longer trip in the area.

Please note that we will be basically camping. There will be an option of sleeping in sleeping bags on the floor in the venue itself or camping in a nearby forest site. There is also a small hotel in Newe Shalom/Wahat al-Salam, but we will not be able to pay the cost of renting rooms there (and hotel prices in Israel in general are quite high). If you wish to order a room or a bed at the hotel nevertheless -- let us know in advance, and we will arrange an order for it. Food will be strictly vegan. Internet access will be available through wi-fi (and we will make an effort to share laptop computers when needed).

Since our venue is located in a small village, it is not readily accessible to public transport. A taxi from the nearby Ben Gurion Airport (TLV) would not cost too much (probably between 50 and 100 Shekels). But we prefer to pick people up at the airport upon arrival. Please stay in contact with us to coordinate the exact time and place of meeting.

The seminar will begin on 23 Aug., at 16:00, but if you arrive in the morning or the night before, you will be able to take part in a highly recommended critical tour, organised by veteran activist and academic Uri Davis. The tour will leave from the venue on the 23rd. at 9:00.
The language of the seminar will be English, but we will make our best to help participants who don't speak English with whispering translation.

After the end of the seminar, in the morning of 26 Aug., we will spend the afternoon and evening of that day conducting a special discussion of the Israeli Palestinian conflict, and from the 27th to the 29th of August, the WRI Council Meeting will take place.

Please feel free to write us at if you have any questions or requests.