molly hankwitz on 26 Oct 2000 05:49:33 -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 figures.

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
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

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
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
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

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


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