molly hankwitz on 27 Oct 2000 23:52:17 -0000

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Subject: French Jewish Appeal Published in
Le Monde


The following text was published in the French daily Le Monde of
October 18, 2000 accompanied by the signatures of 50 French people of
Jewish origin, several of them well-known political or intellectual

Among the better-known signers: Raymond Aubrac (World War II
resistance fighter), Daniel Bensa´d (philosopher and political
activist), Miguel Benassayag (psychoanalyst of Argentinian origin),
Rony Brauman (former president of Doctors without Borders), Suzanne de
Brunhoff (economist), GisŔle Halimi (feminist activist), MichaŰl L÷wy
(sociologist and intellectual historian), Maurice Rajsfus (author of
several books on French and Mideast political history), Laurent
Schwartz (mathematician), Daniel Singer (European editor of The
Nation), Pierre Vidal-Naquet (renowned specialist of ancient Greece).

Citizens of the countries in which we live and citizens of the planet,
we do not habitually express ourselves as Jews.

We combat racism and anti-Semitism in all its forms. We condemn the
attacks on synagogues and Jewish religious schools in France which
take as their target a community as such and its places of worship. By
so doing,they internationalize the Middle-East conflict. We refuse
theinternationalization of ethnic community logics that can
translate,here in France as well as in Israel, into confrontations
between young people within a single school or a single neighborhood.

By claiming to speak in the name of all world Jewry, by appropriating
the common memory of Jewry as their own, by proclaiming themselves to
be representatives of all Jewish victims of the past, Israeli leaders
have claimed the right to speak in our name without asking our
permission. No one, however, has the monopoly of the Nazi genocide
against the Jews.Our families have had their share of deportees, fatal
victims and resistance fighters. We therefore find it intolerable that
the language of community solidarity is turned against us in the aim
of legimitizing a policy of "sacred union" between Israeli leaders of
different parties.

As the conflict has escalated, inadmissible acts of violence
have been committed by both sides. This is unfortunately the logic of any
war. However, the political responsibilities are not equally shared.
The state of Israel disposes of a territory and an army. The Palestinians
of the occupied territories and the refugee camps are condemned to living
under Israeli tutelage in a mutilated and dependent economy, in a crippled
society, in a territory divided into small fragments, cut through by
"strategic routes" and peppered with Jewish colonies.

The calculated act of provocation organized by Ariel Sharon at Haram
el-Sharif, with the agreement and support of Ehud Barak, set the
region ablaze. This was possible because the situation was already
potentially explosive as a result of the Israeli delaying tactics in
the application of the Oslo agreements and refusal to recognize a
Palestinian state whose proclamation has been repeatedly differed. It
is not surprising that these accumulated humiliations and frustrations
have led to popular revolt.

A possibly irreversible step has now been taken. The symbolic
provocation by Ariel Sharon, by accentuating the religious character
of the conflict at the expense of its political content, favors the
rise of extremist religious forces and weakens supporters of peace
and a secular Palestine and Israel. A race to disaster has begun. A
civil war within Israel between Jews and Arabs is in the offing.

Not in spite of our Jewish origins but because of them, we oppose
this suicidal logic based on identity-panic. We refuse the fatal
spiral of ethnicization and confessionalization of the conflict. We
support Judeo-Arab fraternity and call for a renewal of the peace
process, which would require enforcement of the UN resolutions, the
recognition of a Palestinian state and the right to return for
Palestinians chased from their lands. Only in this way can the
peaceful coexistence of different cultural and linguistic communities
on a single territory can become a real possibility.

Initial signers: Daniel Bensa´d, Marcel-Francis Kahn, Stanislas
Tomkiewicz,Pierre Vidal-Naquet.


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