THE CENTER FOR NON-VIOLENT ACTION
P.O.Box 31603, Jerusalem 91603
October 4, 2004
Dr. Gene Sharp: Proposed Disengagement Plan Law may drive people to use violent methods
In response to a query from the Jerusalem Center for Non-violent Action, Dr. Gene Sharp, renowned strategist of nonviolent activity, author of classic literature on the subject and resident at the Albert Einstein Institute, Dr. Sharp claimed that “Such an extreme law against explicitly nonviolent opposition may well produce consequences not desired by the government. These may drive people who prefer to use nonviolent methods instead to use violent methods”.
The question that was directed to Dr. Sharp by Yisrael Medad, Director of the Center for Nonviolent Action, was based on the proposed disengagement legislation and read “Is there any comparable country which has a law on its books that is draconian as the proposed law”.
Dr. Sharp’s full response was :-
”Thank you for your inquiry. I do not know if any other country has a law in force that includes the measures that the proposed Israeli law has. However, I am sure that comparable activities of resisters have sometimes been punished in equally severe ways, without a law.
Such an extreme law against explicitly nonviolent opposition may well produce consequences not desired by the government. These may drive people who prefer to use nonviolent methods instead to use violent methods. You may be interested in my chapter "Civil Disobedience in a Democracy" in my 1980 book /Social Power and Political Freedom, /(Porter Sargent Publishers).
Best wishes, Gene Sharp
The Jerusalem Center for Non-violent Action is a registered Amuta (58-025-299-7) founded in October 1994 for the purposes of researching the chronicles of strategies of non-violent action and its needs, to arouse public debate and discussion concerning non-violent action, to encourage general consciousness regarding non-violent action in publications, workshops and dialogue.
The Center’s Chairman is Yisrael Medad and its Secretary is Eve Harow.