Jean-Moïse Braitberg Discusses Israel in Le Monde
Mr. President of the State of Israel,
I am writing to you to intervene with the proper authorities to withdraw from the Yad Vashem Memorial
dedicated to the memory of Jewish victims of Nazism, the name of my grandfather, Moshe Brajtberg, who was gassed at Treblinka in 1943, and those of other members of my family who died during deportation to various Nazi camps during World War II. I ask you to honor my request, Mr. President, because what took place in Gaza, and more generally the injustices done to the Arab people of Palestine for sixty years, in my opinion disqualify Israel from being the center for the memory of the harm done to the Jews, and thus to all humanity.
You see, since my childhood, I have lived in amongst survivors of the death camps. I have seen the numbers tattooed on their arms, and I have heard the stories of torture; I have known the impossible grief and I have shared their nightmares. I was taught that these crimes must never happen again, that never again must a man, because of ethnicity or religion, despise another man or mock his Human Rights to live a safe, dignified life without barriers or without the 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 and deprivations.
You may 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 human sympathies do not vary according to the nationality of the victims.
On the other hand, 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 which 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 them hostage of a so-called moral authority which commits every day the abomination of denying justice to others.
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.