Gun Free Kitchen Tables: Feminist action against mass civilian armament in Jewish and Palestinian communities in Israel.
In August 2018, Israel’s Minister of Public Security announced a radical reform in gun licensing policy. Reversing over two decades in which civilian licenses were issued with relative caution, he effectively put in place a policy of mass civilian armament. Thousands of gun bearing civilians in the civil sphere, he claimed, would hugely increase protection from terrorist attacks against random civilians. In response, the sole small arms disarmament and gun control initiative in Israel’s civil society, Gun Free Kitchen Tables (GFKT), accelerated activities. Placing over 30 items in the media, GFKT activists attended and addressed three meetings of parliamentary committees, spoke at protests of both dozens and tens of thousands all over the country. GFKT stressed that the move would further escalate the already lethal flood of unregistered firearms and rampant gun violence concentrated in the towns and cities of Israel’s Palestinian citizens would. More gun violence throughout Israel, we emphasized, would disproportionately impact women at large and Palestinian women in particular. Unpacking the move as government divestment from accountability, on November 29th, GFKT filed a petition to the High Court of Justice to overturn the minister’s new policy. On the backdrop of these events my talk will outline the young, still emerging, feminist, Palestinian and Jewish gun control movement in Israel.
Rela Mazali is a writer, an independent scholar and feminist anti-militarist from Israel. Her hybrid-genre books and “essay tales” meld research and creative prose. Active since 1980 in opposing Israel’s militarization and military occupation, in 1998 she co-founded the New Profile movement to demilitarize society and state. In 2010, she co-founded the small arms disarmament and gun control project, Gun Free Kitchen Tables(GFKT), which she coordinates still. She is a co-author of GFKT’s 2017 report: Loose guns: Israeli controlled small arms in the civil sphere.
Her other recent publications include:
a multi-media essay: “Mother Lands,” on: Deirdre Donoghue, M / Other Voices, in: Shira Richter (ed.), “Messages from Israel: Violence and Female Values, Part III,” December 20, 2017;