Mr. President of the State of Israel, I am writing to you to intervene with the appropriate authorities to withdraw, from the Yad Vashem memorial dedicated to the memory of Jewish victims of Nazism, the name of my grandfather, Moshe Brajtberg, gassed at Treblinka in 1943, and those of other members of my who family died during deportation to various Nazi camps during World War II. I ask you to honor my request, Mr. Chairman, because what took place in Gaza, and more generally, the injustices to the Arab people of Palestine for sixty years, disqualifies Israel to be the center of the memory of the harm done to Jews, and thus to all humanity.
You see, since my childhood, I lived in amongst survivors of the death camps. I saw the numbers tattooed on their arms, I heard the story of torture; I knew the impossible grief and I shared their nightmares. I was taught that these crimes must never happen again, that never again must man, because of ethnicity or religion despise other man, mock his Human Rights of living a safe, dignified life, without barriers, and hope, so remote be it, of a future of peace and prosperity.
Yet Mr. President, I note that despite dozens of resolutions adopted by the international community, despite the glaring evidence of the injustices done to the Palestinian people since 1948, despite the hopes raised in Oslo, and despite the recognition of the right of Israeli Jews to live in peace and security, repeatedly reaffirmed by the Palestinian Authority, the only answers given by successive governments of your country have been violence, bloodshed, confinement, incessant controls, colonization, deprivations.
You’ll tell me Mr. President, that Israel has the right to defend itself against people launching rockets into Israel, or suicide bombers that destroy innocent Israeli lives. My response to that is that my humanism doesn’t vary according to the nationality of the victims.
Yet you, Mr. President, you lead the destiny of a country which claims not only to represent the Jews as a whole, but also the memory of those who were victims of Nazism. This is what concerns me and that I find unacceptable.
By displaying the names of my family members at the Yad Vashem Memorial, in the heart of the state of Israel, your state imprisons my family memories behind the barbed wires of zionism, and makes it hostage of a so-called moral authority which commits every day the abomination of denying justice.
So, please, remove the name of my grandfather from the shrine dedicated to cruelty against Jews so that it no longer justifies the injustice being done to the Palestinians.
Please accept, Mr. President, the assurances of my respectful consideration.
Jean-Moïse Braitberg is a French author
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