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Too close a shave for justice


People and Politics / Too close a shave for justice

Submitted by Palestine Human Rights Campaign

By Akiva Eldar

A petition by a new group calling itself the "Forum of Holocaust survivors and descendants to halt the deterioration of Israeli humanism" is cautiously maneuvering between the murder of the yeshiva students in Otniel and Holocaust denial in the Arab world, between the horrors of the occupation and the stories of abuse of Palestinians by soldiers and settlers.

"Palestinian terror is a despicable crime," says the petition by Zvi Gil, the forum coordinator, and journalist Raoul Teitelbaum, immediately following that obvious statement with "we cannot clear our conscience in light of the mass, arbitrary destruction of civilians' homes, uprooted olive trees, and orchards shaved to the ground. We cannot accept the extensive disruptions of daily life and abuse, for its own sake or not, at the checkpoints."

Since the petition first began making the rounds on December 15, dozens of Holocaust survivors and descendants have been adding their names daily. They agree that "Israeli society is descending into a quagmire of violence, brutality, disrespect for human rights, and contempt for human life." They agree that "domination of another people against its will contradicts the lessons of the Holocaust, morally, humanely, and politically."

Among those who have signed are Prof. Hannah Jablonsky from Ben-Gurion University of the Negev, one of the world's leading researchers in the field of Holocaust survivors, and Aryeh Barnea, principal of Gymnasia Herzliya and the founder of Lapid, a movement of Holocaust researchers.

Gil says that authors Savyon Liebricht and Miriam Akiva have signed, as have actors Gila Almagor and Shmuel Atzmon. Nava Semel, Ofra Gelbert-Avni, Benny Handel, Dr. Gad Kenar, and Dr. Yehudith Feuer have all joined the call, "based on the ruthless lessons of life we have experienced," for Israel to liberate itself from the occupation.

All refer to the Holocaust as "an element in Israeli identity" and warn the conflict with the Palestinians is not only turning Israel into a place where it is dangerous to live, but making Jewish communities worldwide insecure.

The petition organizers asked in the past for a meeting with then-chief of staff Shaul Mofaz, explain their views. They never received an answer.

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