Israeli Intellectuals Call for End to Administrative Detention, Freedom for Samer Issawi
Last night, I had the misfortune of telling you that some of Israel’s self-styled liberal intellectual elite had published a letter to Samer Issawi on his death bed, calling for him to end his hunger strike because he should be happy for Israel to send him into exile. It also suggested that his death would cause an unseemly amount of mess for Israel and ruin their (the signatories) efforts at forging a just solution to the conflict.
Tonight, I hear from Israeli that an entirely different group of Israeli public intellectuals have published an entirely different sort of letter (English translation, Tal Nitzan). Instead of presumptuously writing to Issawi as if he somehow is the cause of his own predicament, they wrote to the Chief Jailer himself, Bibi Netanyahu. They called for an end to the oppressive policy of administrative detention under which Issawi is held, along with thousands of others.
They also call for the immediate release of Issawi himself (unlike the letter from the “gentle souls” yesterday).
I note several commenters who flailed in their attempt to justify Issawi’s rearrest by noting the alleged violent acts in which he’d participated–all the while forgetting that Israel’s release of Issawi in the Shalit exchange gave Israel no right to rearrest him.
Further, the letter notes that the hunger strike is a return to the tradition of non-violent resistance represented by Gandhi. Therefore, any Israeli like Gershon Gorenberg and others who’ve written swill, wondering where’s the “Palestinian Gandhi” should be welcoming this effort and joining their voices to this letter. I note that Gorenberg isn’t among the signatories.
Among the signers of today’s letter are novelists, poets, actors, filmmakers, journalists and other artists, including Israel Prize winners Shimon Zandbank and Nili Mirsky, Yehoshua Sobol, Nisim Calderon, Tal Nitzan, Aharon Shabtai, Alona Kimchi, Nir Baram, Akiva Eldar, Sefi Rachlevski, Einat Weizman and Dana Olmert.
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I spent an hour this morning going through the 36 names to make sure that people can use the English rendition correctly: [Everyone is welcome to use this list]
1) Prof Shimon Sandbank, Israel Prize laureate
2) Prof Nili Mirsky, Israel Prize laureate
3) Prof Nissim Calderon
4) Prof Yair Garbuz
5) Prof Moshe Ron
6) Yehoshua Sobol, playwright
7) Tal Nitzan, a poet and editor
8 ) Aharon Shabtai, poet
9) Lea Aini, author
10) Tsibi Geva, artist
11) Esty G Haim, author
12) Eli Hirsch, poet and editor
13) Alona Kimhi, author
14) Nir Baram, author
15) Maya Arad, author
16) Akiva Eldar, journalist
17) Dr Dana Amir, poet and lecturer
18) Meir Goldberg, songauthor
19) Sefi Rachlevsky, author
20) Einat Weizman, actress
21) Shimon Adaf, author
22) Dror Burstein, author and editor
23) Zepel Yeshurun, filmmaker
24) Shira Stav, poet and lecturer
25) Tali Latowicki, poet and lecturer
26) Dr Michal Ben-Naftali, Author
27) Yossi Sukari, Author
28) Saray Gutman, editor and publisher
29) Jonathan Nadav, editor and publisher
30) Liat Kaplan, poet
31) Anna Herman, poet
32) Dr Oded Wolkstein, lecturer and translator
33) Ruth Gwily, Artist
34) Dori Manor, poet and translator
35) Dr Dana Olmert, editor and lecturer
36) Nir Ratzkovsky, translator
I only received the Hebrew version. Is the English available online or in any format?
These men and women should be commended and credited for defending the Israeli intelligentsia’s honour, which had been discarded in the cess pit of colonialism by Oz, Yehoshua et al.
I’m happy to see that Aharon Shabtai, the husband of late Tanya Reinhart, is on the list. Not that I doubted he would sign such a letter.
“And when it’s all over
My dear, dear reader
On which benches will we have to sit
Those of us who shouted ‘Death to the Arabs’
And those who claimed they ‘didn’t know’ ”
Aharon Shabtai: Nostalgia (2002)
Nir Baram made a very courageous speech at the International Writers’ Festival in Jerusalemn in 2010 including:
“Under cover of the victims’ cloak that history has admittedly sewn for us Jews, we are witness to the systematic violation of the rights of non-Jews in the State of Israel and the Occupied Territories”
Since then the organizers require speakers to submit their speeches for prior review.
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Thanks Ira. Will get to this tomorrow. The Marathon bombing bumped it for today.