I am writing to you, to ask you to contact those who are authorized to do so, to remove the name of my grandfather from the memorial atYad Vashem, which is dedicated to the Jewish victims ofNational Socialism. It says “Moshe Brajtberg, gassed in 1943 in Treblinka.”
The rest of my family also perished in the various of the camps to which they were deported. I beg you. Mr. President, to do this, because that which has happened in , and in other places, and has defined the fate of the Arab peoples of Palestine for 60 years now, disqualifies – to my mind –Israel to be the center which is dedicated to remember the suffering of the Jews, and by extension, that of all of mankind.
Understand me: ever since I was a child I have lived among survivors of the death camps. I saw the numbers tattooed on their arms and heard the stories of their tortures. I experienced the unbearable mourning and shared the nightmares.
I learned that these crimes shall never again take place, that no person, ever again, shall despise another for his ethnicity or religion, and rob him of his elementary Human Rights, just as he has a right to a life lived in decent circumstances, with the hope of better things for his family.
Still, Mr. President, I have noticed that despite innumerable Resolutions of the international community, despite the obvious injustices to which the Palestinians have been heirs since 1948, despite the hopes of Oslo, and despite the repeated recognition on the part of the that Israeli Jews have the right to live in peace and security, the only answer of successive Israeli governments has been brute force, blood shed, incarceration, constant controls, colonization and expropriations.
You will tell me, Mr. President, that it is legitimate for a country to defend itself against rockets aimed at its people, or kamikazis who take many innocents with them in death. To which I will answer that my human sympathies do not ask after the nationality of the victim.
You, on the other hand, lead a nation that means to represent the Jews in their entirety, but also claim to preserve the memory of the victims of National Socialism. That is what touches me and is unbearable to me. While you write the names of my loved ones at , in the heart of Israel, the state holds the memory of my family prisoner behind the barbed wire of Zionism, in order to make them hostages of a so-called authority which – day after day – practices injustice.
So I beg you to take away the name of my grandfather from the memorial that testifies to the horrors suffered by the Jews, so that it can no longer be used to justify the horror which is visited upon the Palestinians.
Veuillez agréer, monsieur le president, l’assurance de ma respectueuse considération.
* Published in Le Monde, Paris on 28 January 2009
http://www.lemonde. fr/archives/ article/2009/ 01/28/effacez- le-nom-de- mon-grand- pere-a-yad- vashem_1147635_ 0.html
The gyrations of various administrations over the years, all of whom have put on great shows of “settling” the conflict, has done nothing but waste a great deal of newspaper ink and television time reporting peace efforts, as though the media believed what snake oil salespeople, such as Condi Rice, were selling to the public. What someone in our government should have realized by now is that Israel absolutely does not want to give up the West Bank for a Palestinian state, even though there are warnings that if a “two state solution” is not reached, the Palestinians will be forced into a state of apartheid for the rest of the century. Certainly, the Israelis have no intention of allowing the Palestinians to outvote them in Israel, which leaves South African style apartheid as the only solution.
- We have no negotiating partner.
- The Palestinians have to recognize Israel’s right to exist first before we talk to them.
- They have to end terrorism first.
- We made the Palestinians the best offer they could ever have gotten, but they turned it down.