Letter from an Israeli Leftist to Western Leftists
by Avi Rybnicki, Tel Aviv
Dear comrades from the western left (double meaning)!
These lines are not the product of a well thought intellectual analysis but of nights with very little sleep, high emotions of grief, sadness anger, frustration, helplessness and sorrow of what the next days of war will bring with. I write You because logically You ought be also in these days my partners, partners in the struggle for a better world of more freedom, justice, democracy and also – I dare to mention this word even in these days – peace.
I also write because for many years I refused to accept the conviction of my parents, survivors of Auschwitz, that in real time we Jews are on our own and there is nobody else to rely on. They were not right. The president of the United States, the President of France, the German Kanzler and others came and expressed their solidarity, part of them not only in words.
But we, the Israeli progressive people, we feel quite alone.
We can live well not relying on our government because we never did and the day a big majority of Israelis do not. Months after monts, week after week we were and are on the streets of Israel together with hundreds of thousands of other Israelis to resist the government’s intention to installate in our country an authoritarian system and we shall continue with this even with more strength. I promise!
But it is difficult for me to hear the attitude of part of the so called progressive forces in Europe and in the US as it is articulated in the last days. It did not surprise me, i know these opinions too good over the years, but nevertheless, after the bloody, brutal, murderous attack of the Hamas against Israeli civilians in the South of Israel it is more difficult to bear. This was a slaughtering in the tradition of the death cult of the Islamic state. I know, You are against this and if we wouldn’t react You would have stayed “empathetic “ with us, because You like us as victims. But You like less if we, Jews, refuse this historic role and react and defend ourselves.
Very quickly you relativize: Our victims of the massacre in the south and the suffering of Palestinian civilians in Gaza, as if unintentional but unfortunately often unavoidable damage of a military action in which civilians suffer and also lose their lives – which is not the goal – is the same as the deliberate murder of civilians, children, women, old people, kidnapping, torturing, raping, beheading. Do You have another idea how to fight the Hamas than attacking were it is and rules? Or, as a hidden agenda, do You expect us not to react, that means denying our right to defend ourselve? Do You demand this of any other country, and if not, what does this mean? That You do not recognize our right to be a sovereign country? Please, a little bit of intellectual honesty.
Very fast You are “explaining”: The attack is the result of occupation and the suffering of the Palestinian people. Do You really believe this? I don’t suppose that You are suffering from mental debility. Don’t You really know what the Hamas, the Jihad, the Hisboullah say frankly all over the years: that the problem is in the existence of a non Islamic, Jewish unity in an Islamic region and the only solution is its and our disappearance from here? If You really don’t know than only because You do not want to know. For which reason…?
We shall continue to fight for our values also in these days in Israel, what is not easy when hate ts in its zenith. But You put Yourself with this attitude in political irrelevance and weaken the democratic forces in Your countries were democracy is not guaranteed too.
In the hope for better days
Psychoanalyst, living and practicing in Tel Aviv
- german version first published on derStandard