"Oui, beaucoup.Me I spend half the year in Burgundy, off internet social media. So I understood only yesterday, being back in Paris and on again. Noticing what Ran Nahmias and others were posting on Yossi's Fb page. Without Yossi, I…"
Dear Sigal, I really love you!!! And I agree once again...with one attention to be paid: when I speak about Israel - a country I love, I feel I belong to, my people... - I know all too well I am speaking from here. This is not to stress the diaspora dimension, but to acknowledge a reality: when there were terrorist attack, they did not arrive here; here we do not have to serve in the army (less than more so as far as women are concerned); etc. etc. I always bear this in mind, with love and humility. But for this very reason, our relationship makes me stronger, and I thank you a lot for this. By the way, I agree with you: it does not matter if the nations do such a kind of dirty wars (I speak also at the level of military doctrines, which I study a little), we, Israel, should not!
Today I had a strong experience: it was the third lesson on Shoah, and I briefly introduced the problem of believing in "never again" and having had to face further genocides. So I spoke about Cambodia and Bosnia (I was teaching in both countries and them a lot), about Rwanda, Darfur, Sri Lanka...and I made it clear that the only genocide we had in Europe since 1945 was Srebrenica, the elimination of Bosnian Muslims. I also said that I find it disgusting that in the news these days, when Karadzic is due on trial, they never say that tha "innocent victims" were Muslims. Some 5-6 students started asking if we Westerners are not at risk that Muslims commit genocide against us (we here, not Israel). I answered that I was speaking of facts that already happened, not of risks and fears; that - in spite of the terrible facts of September 11, London and Madrid - up to now it is in islamo-islamic violence that people are dying every day (see the Afghanistan-Pakistani boundary); and that as far as Italy and Europe are concerned, many Muslims from Darfur or from Somalia (our former colony) are dying at our borders, because we do not accept them and send them back...not the reverse. We decided that we will continue this dicussion on Monday. After the lesson a girl, Amela, came to me, almost with tears in her eyes, and asked if she can work with me for her thesis. We went to my studio and she told me she is an Albanian Muslim, but in three years at University she never told anyone, because she is scared...Unbearable! I gave her a thesis on growing up Muslim in Italy and Europe, and she was so happy.
You know, Sigal, in spite of all real risks, I feel that if we - Jews, Israelis - are able to come out of our (maybe justified!) paranoia, we can help many others out...
Let's hope! Kol tuv, a presto, maura
Yes Sigal, I feel exactly like you. Amnòn, mon amour, who lives and works in Italy, always says that he would like to be able to make the real criticism of Israel, was it not for the fact that we have to spend so much time in dealing with false criticisms. My students this year started asking me 'why did Jews go there, where there was already a Palestinian state?' or 'why did Americans give this land to the Jews?'. A long way to go, before being able to discuss the real topics.
On Saturday I saw "Lebanon": a great film! I believe this is one way to deal with it. I'm convinced that Israel in Gaza was doing more or less what we all (Italians, Americans etc.) have been doing in Iraq, Afghanistan, etc., and I am not sure this is the right way. But often when I speak about this I meet people who do not accept to include Israel among "us all"...But I've seen that Walzer with Bashir or Lebanon are able to convince people and to make them thoughtful...that's good.
I'm happy that we are friends and hope we keep being. I'll let you know about the presentation of Georges' book. Ciao, shalom, kol tuv, maura
Dear Sigal, sorry if I answer only now, but these days are terrible, even no time for lunch...I personally like Georges' book very much: it is an attempt to explain (to Europeans, but not only perhaps) the complexities of the Israeli relationship with the Holocaust (Shoah), at all levels: the State, zionism, the renewed religious thinking celebrations and memorials, school teaching etc., both trying to avoid the victims/bullies temptation, and trying to repair the Israeli-diaspora relations after Shoah. I find it very clever and brave, and am trying my best to help him. But it is not easy: from within Jewish circles I have been asked if he is antisemite; from my colleagues, if he is politically correct towards Palestinians...He is an historian of ideas, and ideas should be considered as such, to foster dialogue...I hope the presentation will help. Today I was in Bologna, where my University gave special honours to Simone Veil, herself a survivor from Auschwitz, the first President of the European Parliament in 1979-1983. She thinks a lot about the link between Shoah and European identity. This too is important. She and my Rector were wonderful...But unfortunately there were not too many people, no young ones. And the others who spoke I don't trust too much. One of them was my Dean in 2004, when I was beaten in the Faculty after having invited an Israeli colleague (Daniel Blatman). Well, my former Dean, and my colleagues, did nothing!!!And one year later I was something depressed, and they made me forcibly taken under psychiatric care. I came out of all this mainly thank to my Israeli friends here, who on one side taught me how to pay attention to real problems, and on the other side made me strong in fighting against myself and all senses of victimization. My love for Israel passes especially through them, and through the many who - like you - do not accept the victims/bullies attitude...Toda for being like this! Be well, a presto, làjla tov, maura
Toda again, Sigal. I fully, fully, agree. Shoah requires a special thoughfulness and dialogue, which monuments and memorials cannot provide for. I'd like to continue our dialogue for you to help me better understand how this common and shared impression takes form in Israel and in Europe...In a few weeks we're going to present the Italian translation of the book of my friend Georges Bensoussan "Israel, an eternal name. The State of Israel, Zionism and the destruction of European Jews", which deals a lot with all this. I'll let you know what comes out of it. All the best, shalom, Maura
Toda, Sigal...if I've understood well, I fully share your doubts on monuments and memorials. Doubts on their impact. ANd also doubts on how much they can last, how long does it take before they loose all capacity to "transmit" something. I'm just coming back from a "march of the living" here in Rome, Italy, to remember the deportation of Jews here on October 16, 1943. The march in itself, silent and beautiful, with a lot of Jews and non Jews, of all ages, many young and also many young immigrants, Muslims and others, this march seemed to me much better than monuments. What I noticed in Ukraine is the lack of real knowledge of what was going on...that's why I posted "memory in garbage". But maybe I have not understood well enough what you meant...Let's be in touch, shavua tov, maura