Established in 1988, the Israeli-based non-governmental organization New Profile (NP) describes itself as “a feminist group working to de-militarize society in Israel, to end Israel’s occupation of Palestinian land conquered in 1967, to generate a life-preserving, egalitarian, humane society, and to uphold the right to freedom of conscience.”
NP’s members include women and men who seek to “initiate change in the gendered and militarized mind-sets fuelling war in Israel-Palestine and [war] with other neighboring countries; educate the public on the crucial connection between militarization, inequality and sexism; conduct interventions against the militarization of Israeli education; and uphold the right to all forms of draft resistance and conscientious objection.” NP provides legal and other support for those who refuse to serve in the Israeli army.
On September 15, 2008, Israel’s Attorney General ordered an investigation into NP for its “incitement to avoid military service.” According to media reports, “New Profile’s website tells people what to say to IDF [Israeli Defense Forces] mental health officers to create the impression that they [the NP supporters] are psychologically unfit for service.”
NP regards Israel as “a soldiers’ state” whose “militarized society” is filled with people perpetually “living as warriors.” In NP’s analysis, “[t]he hegemonic culture in Israel nurtures admiration for might and physical prowess, an aggrandizement of Jewish nationals, and a devaluation of the lives of Arab nationals.”
Asserting that Israelis are falsely “taught to believe that the[ir] country is faced by threats beyond its control,” NP says “we now realize that the words ‘national security’ have often masked calculated decisions to choose military action for the achievement of political goals.”
In its effort to transform Israel’s allegedly violent and aggressive culture, NP seeks to establish “a fundamentally changed education system, for a truly democratic civic education, teaching the practice of peace and conflict resolution, rather than training children to enlist [in the military] and accept warfare.”
Viewing the 1948 creation of Israel as a “Naqba,” or “Catastrophe,” for the Palestinian people, NP holds “Israeli Jews and the Israeli state” entirely responsible for “the ongoing war” with Arabs in the region.
NP disseminates its message through lectures, study days, and workshops ranging in size from small-scale events held in private homes, to much larger seminars and conferences.
NP supports divestment from companies based in Israel, and from corporations that do business with Israel, as “an important tool in challenging [those] involved in the Israeli occupation of Palestine.” One such company is the Caterpillar corporation, whose equipment is used by the IDF in razing the homes and strategic facilities of Palestinian terrorists.
NP is funded directly by numerous individuals and organizations, including Cord Aid, Gush Shalom, the Quakers (United Kingdom), SIVMO, and Zochrot; the last of these is a radical Israeli NGO that campaigns for the Palestinian “right of return” and seeks to “raise awareness” about “the Naqba.”
NP is an active member of the Coalition of Women for Peace (CWP), an umbrella group that also includes Machsom Watch, Women in Black, and others. Financed by the New Israel Fund, CWP “is committed to the struggle to end the occupation, to the full involvement of women in peace negotiations, [and] to an end to the excessive militarization of Israeli society.”
NP’s international partners include such organizations as Coalition to Stop the Use of Child Soldiers, the Ecumenical Accompaniment Program in Palestine and Israel, Jewish Voice for Peace, Novib (Netherlands), Oxfam (Great Britain), the Quakers (United Kingdom), the Quakers UN (Geneva), Sabeel, and the World Council of Churches.
In recent years, NP has participated in an Alternative Summer Camp (run by Zochrot) described by its sponsors as “a safe and fun place for teenagers to deal with such complex issues as the occupation, feminism, ecology, militarism and more.” One particular workshop offered at this camp focused on “the Palestinian Naqba and how the inhabitants of Arab villages were driven out of their homes in 1948.”
NP also partnered with Zochrot on Israel’s Independence Day in 2007, actively taking part in public commemorations of the “59th anniversary of the Naqba.” Moreover, NP has worked on a “Small Arms and Light Weapons” project with Amnesty International and the Israel Committee Against House Demolitions.
Portions of this profile are adapted, with permission, from the NGO Monitor article “NIF-linked ‘New Profile’ Investigated for Illegal Activity.”