The following letter is being circulated in advance of Shimon Peres’s visit to Germany to commemorate international Holocaust Remembrance Day.
Shimon Peres Does Not Speak for Us !
We are writing this letter as Israeli citizens. Some of us are 1st, 2nd or 3rd generation Holocaust survivors, and we are all activists who are pursuing peace and justice for everyone in our troubled region. We wish to express our concern regarding Germany’s Middle East policy, which is harmful and immoral. Our appeal also regards the upcoming visit of Israeli president Shimon Peres to Germany this week.
While it is certainly justified to condemn and act against attacks on innocent Israeli civilians, it is morally unacceptable that German decision-makers consistently ignore, or even defend, Israeli attacks on innocent civilians, which inflict a much higher number of casualties, mostly in Lebanon and in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT). Furthermore, we are concerned about a climate of fear in German politics, when moderate and well-founded criticism of severe Israeli violations of human rights is treated with McCarthyite methods, such as the attacks against Heidemarie Wieczorek-Zeul and Herman Dierkes.
When President Shimon Peres lands in Berlin, an honest person should not lavish him with automatic praise, but ask, politely yet firmly, why he has been a member or a senior propagandist for Israeli governments which have used cluster munitions , flechette artillery shells and white phosphorus bombs in densely populated civilian areas in Gaza and Lebanon, have built more settlements in the OPT and have imposed separate legal systems for Israeli settlers in the OPT and their Palestinian neighbors. One can also ask him why he authorized the kidnapping and ill-treatment of an Israeli citizen in Rome (Mr. Mordechai Vanunu, September 1986), a clear violation of international law, and why it should be acceptable for one state in the Middle East to acquire nuclear weapons, a situation which necessarily brings about a dangerous arms race in this volatile region. One can ask him why he authorized, as Prime Minister in April 1996, the mass bombing of villages in Southern Lebanon, explicitly aimed at creating a wave of refugees flooding Beirut. We suspect that Mr. Peres has not learned that it is illegal to inflict lethal collective punishment on a civilian population.
Germany should obviously draw a lesson from the Holocaust, and other genocidal policies carried out by Germans. The true lesson is that everyone should stand up for universal principles of human rights. Therefore, Germany is morally obliged not only towards Jews living in Israel, but also towards Palestinian and Lebanese civilians. President Shimon Peres, who has been responsible for numerous severe human rights violations, should not be regarded as the representative of world Jewry. In fact, he does not even speak for all Israeli Jews. We call on the German government to stop ignoring or justifying severe human rights violations committed by Shimon Peres and the State of Israel, including those documented by the Goldstone Report, and to stop providing the weapons which facilitate these violations.
Adam Yishay Amorai
Prof. Rachel Giora
Dr. Roni Hammermann
Peretz Kidron (Holocaust refugee)
Felicia Langer (Right Livelihood Award (Alternative Nobel) 1990, Erich-Mühsam-
Dr. David Nir
Dr. Eyal Nir
Prof. Nurit Peled-Elhanan (Sakharov Prize for Human Rights 2001)
Fanny Michaela Reisin
Attorney Emily Schaeffer
Gideon Spiro (survivor of Pogromnacht 1938)