Sergio Yahni is an anti-Zionist Israeli activist and writer, who used to work on the Alternative Information Centre's Hebrew-language magazine and is currently (2003) based in New York. He was a refusenik imprisoned three times during the Lebanon war.
Yahni was born in Argentina, moved to Israel in 1979, grew up in a kibbutz, and currently lives in West Jerusalem.
Sergio Yahni comments (9 October 2009):
My political involvement in solidarity with the Palestinian people started when I was a teenager. I was active against the war in Lebanon; in the beginning with Peace Now, the zionist left. Later I started to be aware of the contradictions of the zionist left that on the one hand supports the fact that Israeli men serve in the army and opposes the refuseniks because the state has to be defended; on the other hand they support peace with the Palestinians. And they do not see the aggressive character of the state of Israel. The war, and this is what made me move out of the zionist environment, that is not a collusion [ed: collision?] between two national movements, but the war in Palestine, the Israeli war against the Palestinians, and against other Arab nations it forms part of the aggressive character of zionism. Wars are initiated by the zionist movement in order to conquer more lands, and in order to impose certain order, certain imperialist order, on the Middle East.
We can say that until 2000 that the majority Israeli left was left-zionist, but after 2000 and the second intifada, there is a growth of the anti-zionist left; non-zionist and anti-zionist left. There is a growth of grassroots movements which mobilize against the colonial project of the state of Israel.Q: And you are part of this…
Yes, I am part of this movement, of course. Of course, I am active with different groups – civil groups and political groups – in order, not only to end the occupation – the occupation should be ended – but also to transform the undemocratic nature of the state of Israel; to transform it into a real democracy of one person one vote.
Q: And you are part of what solution?I don't believe in premade solutions. The solution to the conflict is not some sort of premade product; you just add water and you have it… but solutions are consequences of the struggle of the people. So, it is the way we struggle will set what type of solution we have to the conflict. But there are two elements that are necessary for any solution: One, is the right for the Palestinian people to full self-determination, and the right of the refugees to return – this is the first precondition for any solution, one-state, two-state, any solution, etc. And the other one is the transformation of the state of Israel into a democracy. The state of Israel is not a democracy, but is what sociologists call an ethnocracy.