Login/Sign up

World Association of International Studies

PAX, LUX ET VERITAS SINCE 1965
Post Israel Shahak Guardian Obituary
Created by John Eipper on 05/01/05 7:27 AM - israel-shahak-guardian-obituary

Previous posts in this discussion:

Post

Israel Shahak Guardian Obituary (John Eipper, USA, 05/01/05 7:27 am)

Here is an excerpt from an obituary of Israel Shahak, forwarded by Christopher Jones: "Belsen survivor who attacked Israel's treatment of Palestinians" by Elfi Pallis (The Guardian, 7/6/01).? For the full text, see http://www.guardian.co.uk/Archive/Article/0,4273,4216853,00.html

Israel Shahak, who has died aged 68 from complications caused by diabetes, was for 25 years a highly popular professor of organic chemistry at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. But during the same period, Shahak, an old-fashioned liberal, was also chairman of the Israeli League for Human and Civil Rights. As such he was accused of being an "Israel hater", was spat at in the streets, and received constant death threats.

Shahak was the youngest child of a prosperous, cultured Polish Jewish family; when, during the wartime Nazi occupation of Poland, the family was forced into the Warsaw ghetto, his father even sought out a chess tutor for his son. But soon the family was torn apart. Shahak's older brother escaped and joined the Royal Air Force, only to be shot down; Shahak's father disappeared, and the hiding of fair-haired Israel with a poor Catholic family ended when his mother could no longer pay for his keep.

In 1943 both were deported to the Bergen Belsen concentration camp. Shahak was a starving 12-year-old when he was liberated. Soon afterwards, he emigrated to what was then British Mandate Palestine. After setbacks - he was rejected as "too weedy" when he volunteered for a kibbutz - he became a model citizen. After Israeli army service in an elite regiment, he became an assistant to Ernest Bergmann, the head of Israel's Atomic Energy Commission.

Shahak underwent two major conversions in his life. Aged 13, he scientifically examined the evidence for the existence of God and found it wanting. Then, shortly after the l967 six-day war, he concluded from observation that Israel was not yet a democracy; it was treating the newly occupied Palestinians with shocking brutality.

For the next three decades, he spent all his spare time on attempts to change this. He contributed to various small leftwing papers, but when this proved to have little impact, he decided to alert journalists, academics and human rights campaigners abroad. From his small, bare West Jerusalem flat poured forth reports with titles such as Torture in Israel, and Collective Punishment in the West Bank. Based exclusively on mainstream Israeli sources, all were painstakingly translated into English. World coverage gradually improved, but Shahak never let off, he never became blasé® Watching him read out a small news item about an Israeli farmer who had set his dogs on a group of Palestinian children was to see a man in almost physical distress.

Shahak came to believe that these human rights incidents stemmed from Israel's religious interpretation of Jewish history, which led it to ignore centuries of Arab life in the country, and to disregard non-Jewish rights. Confiscation, every schoolchild was told, was "the redemption of the land" from those who did not belong there. To Shahak, this was straightforward racism, damaging both sides. It was a minority view, but after the 1982 war, when the Israeli liberal sector grew, Shahak was able to put it forward in the reputable daily Ha'aretz. After retiring in 1991, he could also turn his ideas into books.

Jewish History, Jewish Religion (Pluto Press, 1994), studied the attitudes to non-Jews held by Israel's religious establishment. Shahak also emphasised the fate decreed for Jewish heretics: death. Shortly after the book appeared, Premier Yitzhak Rabin was assassinated by an Orthodox student. Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel, (Pluto Press, 1999) written with Norton Mezvisky, looked at the growing power of rightwing orthodox groups. "A fundamentalist Jewish regime, if it came to power in Israel," Shahak warned, "would treat Israeli Jews who did not accept its tenets worse than it would treat Palestinians."

Having been urged to write his autobiography, Shahak only found time to write a superb piece on his childhood under Nazism for the New York Review of Books.
?

?Read the home page of the World Association of International Studies (WAIS) by simply double-clicking on:?? http://wais.stanford.edu/ Please inform us of any change of e-mail address.



SHARE:
Rate this post
Informational value 
Insight 
Fairness 
Reader Ratings (0)
0%
Informational value0%
Insight0%
Fairness0%

Visits: 3

Comments/Replies

Please login/register to reply or comment: Login/Sign up

Trending Now



All Forums with Published Content (41956 posts)

- Unassigned

Culture & Language

American Indians Art Awards Bestiary of Insults Books Conspiracy Theories Culture Ethics Film Food Futurology Gender Issues Humor Intellectuals Jews Language Literature Media Coverage Movies Music Newspapers Numismatics Philosophy Plagiarism Prisons Racial Issues Sports Tattoos Western Civilization World Communications

Economics

Capitalism Economics International Finance World Bank World Economy

Education

Education Hoover Institution Journal Publications Libraries Universities World Bibliography Series

History

Biographies Conspiracies Crime Decline of West German Holocaust Historical Figures History Holocausts Individuals Japanese Holocaust Leaders Learning Biographies Learning History Russian Holocaust Turkish Holocaust

Nations

Afghanistan Africa Albania Algeria Argentina Asia Australia Austria Bangladesh Belgium Belize Bolivia Brazil Canada Central America Chechnya Chile China Colombia Costa Rica Croatia Cuba Cyprus Czech Republic Denmark East Europe East Timor Ecuador Egypt El Salvador England Estonia Ethiopia Europe European Union Finland France French Guiana Germany Greece Guatemala Haiti Hungary Iceland India Indonesia Iran (Persia) Iraq Ireland Israel/Palestine Italy Japan Jordan Kenya Korea Kosovo Kuwait Kyrgyzstan Latin America Liberia Libya Mali Mexico Middle East Mongolia Morocco Namibia Nations Compared Netherlands New Zealand Nicaragua Niger Nigeria North America Norway Pacific Islands Pakistan Palestine Paraguay Peru Philippines Poland Polombia Portugal Romania Saudi Arabia Scandinavia Scotland Serbia Singapore Slovakia South Africa South America Southeast Asia Spain Sudan Sweden Switzerland Syria Thailand The Pacific Tunisia Turkey Turkmenistan UK (United Kingdom) Ukraine USA (America) USSR/Russia Uzbekistan Venezuela Vietnam West Europe Yemen Yugoslavia Zaire

Politics

Balkanization Communism Constitutions Democracy Dictators Diplomacy Floism Global Issues Hegemony Homeland Security Human Rights Immigration International Events Law Nationalism NATO Organizations Peace Politics Terrorism United Nations US Elections 2008 US Elections 2012 US Elections 2016 Violence War War Crimes Within the US

Religion

Christianity Hinduism Islam Judaism Liberation Theology Religion

Science & Technology

Alcohol Anthropology Automotives Biological Weapons Design and Architecture Drugs Energy Environment Internet Landmines Mathematics Medicine Natural Disasters Psychology Recycling Research Science and Humanities Sexuality Space Technology World Wide Web (Internet)

Travel

Geography Maps Tourism Transportation

WAIS

1-TRIBUTES TO PROFESSOR HILTON 2001 Conference on Globalizations Academic WAR Forums Ask WAIS Experts Benefactors Chairman General News Member Information Member Nomination PAIS Research News Ronald Hilton Quotes Seasonal Messages Tributes to Prof. Hilton Varia Various Topics WAIS WAIS 2006 Conference WAIS Board Members WAIS History WAIS Interviews WAIS NEWS waisworld.org launch WAR Forums on Media & Research Who's Who