September 10, 2006
Editor’s note: See also “A German Jew speaks out against the carnage”
Evelyn Hecht-Galinski, “Sich der Kritik stellen!”
Face up to the Criticism!
Especially since I am the daughter of the former president of the Central Council of Jews in Germany Heinz Galinski, who was also a survivor of the Nazi concentration camps, I have felt it my duty to join the European Jews for a Just Peace. While we, the members of this organization, may differ widely on issues such as faith, Zionism, and nationality, we all agree on one point: the responsibility for this conflict largely rests with Israel.
There is not only ONE Israel, and I am not willing to express my solidarity with an Israel which, in the course of nearly 60 years, has failed to enter into a peaceful coexistence with its neighbors.
It is the Israeli government’s foremost duty to protect its citizens by every means available to its state-of-the-art high-tech army – but only along its own borders, and by that I mean the 1967 borders, i.e., the borders that existed prior to the June 1967 or Six Day War. What if the whole army, now illegally deployed in the Occupied Territories, were to be redeployed along Israel’s own borders to protect its citizens? It is inconceivable that the level of protection enjoyed by its population would be matched by any other state.
The number of Jews around the world protesting Israel’s policy, which for 39 years has been in constant violation of the Geneva Conventions, is growing. We are witnessing the continuing occupation; the dispossession, oppression, and daily humiliations of the Palestinians; the innumerable military assaults against a people which has neither state nor army; the targeted killings; the arbitrary land expropriations; the destruction of the infrastructure; the blowing up of houses; the uninhibited construction of fences and walls; the unimpeded building of settlements; and finally the latest war of aggression against Lebanon and Gaza. We cannot keep silent any longer.
[…] The stereotypical cycle – Israel destroys and the Europeans reconstruct, until Israel again wreaks havoc, driving the masses into poverty and leading to the economic decline of the Occupied Territories – must be broken.
As a German Jew, I feel it my duty to denounce injustice, even if it is being committed by the so-called only democracy in the Middle East. The Israeli government is not only misusing my name; it has the gall to even invoke the legacy of my murdered ancestors. The Israeli government is not ashamed to use my grandparents who perished in the concentration camps and mass graves of the Nazi regime, to justify its evil deeds in Palestine and Lebanon. The dead cannot defend themselves. But I can!
The Central Council of Jews in Germany has once again failed to stay true to its mission, acting as it does as the mouthpiece of the Israeli government and the Israeli embassy in Germany. This is unbearable, and I am by no means the only one who thinks that way; my Jewish comrades feel the same.
The reflexive dismissals of any legitimate criticism (e.g., by Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul or by former member of the Central Council’s board of directors Rolf Verleger) and, even more so, the ad hominems hurled at me by the Central Council’s Vice President Salomon Korn – he has called me a “self-hating Jew” and a “useful Court Jew” – are nothing but a club wielded in blind fury. Apparently those who wield it see no intellectual way out. If the term “Court Jew” is thrown into the debate, then it would seem to apply to the Central Council rather than to myself. The Court is not my scene; in fact, no court is.
The Central Council ought to determine its future path and first of all have an internal debate about the stance it wants to take, e.g., with regard to the criticism of Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul who merely pointed out the existence in South Lebanon of Israeli cluster bombs with a high dud-rate which are endangering children and civilians in their reconstruction efforts and which ought to be banned altogether. In addition, she called for a UN investigation, now underway, of Israel’s use of cluster bombs in Lebanon. Earlier, UN Emergency Relief Coordinator Jan Egeland had said it was shocking and immoral that 90 percent of the cluster bombs were dropped on Lebanon during the last 72 hours of the conflict.
For its own sake, the Central Council must – now or, at any rate, soon – face up to the facts and the criticism, in order to restore its credibility.
(Translation: Maren Hackmann; one incomplete sentence which would have been difficult to translate has been omitted)