"You Will Be Ashamed of Yourself"

by Clement Liebovitz

Dear Professor M Y. Amusia, I am responding to the message you sent to Max Silverman. In my case you will not be able to argue my age. I am seventy eight years old, was born in Egypt, have a Ph.d in Physics, and am a published historian.

I would like to be civil and avoid insulting you. You have made my task difficult by uttering such abominations as "arch enemies of the Jewish People", and still more "Shame on your parents who gave life such creatures as you are." I hope that when you will find yourself better informed, you will be ashamed of yourself.

Have you read the history of Jews in the world? Have you ever made a comparison between the treatment of Jews in the Arab countries and that of the Jews elsewhere? Do you know that it is the Arab invasion of Spain that allowed the Jewish communities in Spain to prosper and make great contributions to science, philosophy medicine etc.. Have you heard of Maimonides? He wrote books in Hebrew and in Arabic. He was respected by the local Arab authorities.

My own experience in Egypt demonstrated to me that the Egyptian people is as much deserving of trust and respect as the Jewish people, certainly no less. Have you lived in an Arab country, professor? Do you have an experience that matches mine?

Unless you are an absolute ignorant, you should know that, during centuries, Jews have comparatively been much better treated in Arab countries than, say, in Europe. And since that is an undeniable fact, speaking of the Arabs as "arch-enemies" is just a typical act of brainwashing that can have an effect on people who do not know history. I am prepared to bet that Max, though so much younger than you, knows his history much better than you do.

The concept of "arch enemy" is barbaric. Even the Germans are not considered archenemies of the Jews. In spite of the traditional enmity between the German people and the French people, the two live now in peace and in close cooperation.

Now, let us speak about violence. The use of violence against an occupier is sacred and legitimate. However, the use of violence against civil innocents, is terrorism which I condemn absolutely. However, we must distinguish between the primary violence of the occupier, and the secondary violence of the occupied. Stop the occupation and all the violence will be reduced to a trickle.

Do you know Professor who was Sartawi? Do you know what was the reaction of Shamir, the then Israeli prime minister, when told Sartawi had been assassinated? Interesting how much a professor can be ignorant!!

Sartawi was a moderate member of the PLO who more than once advocated friendship, and not only peace, between the Palestinian and the Israeli people. Shamir, when asked if he was saddened by the assassination of Sartawi, replied that he was glad Sartawi was assassinated. Then, in a rare display of candour, he added that he is not afraid of the Arab extremists. He is afraid of the Arab moderates. The extremists, he said, have no credibility. Nobody would ask him, Shamir, to seat with them at a negotiation table. The danger, he added, comes from the moderates.

Now, let us face realities. You and me will agree that Israel, in view of her overwhelming military superiority is secure today. But what about the long term security of Israel? Can you be certain that the US, for ever, will be an ally of Israel? Can you be sure that all Arab countries will forever, lack military power? Can you affirm that an Israel surrounded by hostile Arab countries can enjoy a longterm security?

Remember! The state of Israel had been destroyed before. The temple of Jerusalem has been destroyed before, more than once.. It does not take a Ph. d. in science to understand the elementary truth that only a peace acceptable to all parties involved, can lead to longterm security. By working for such a peace, Max is honnoring the traditional humanist Jewish spirit. You are dishonouring it. Shame on you professor

I have much more to say in response to possible objections. If you are interested, we can pursue our dialogue.

Just peace be on all of us, Jews and Arabs, Israelis and Palestinians.

Clement Leibovitz

Clement Leibovitz
#56, 3221-119 street
Edmonton, Alberta
Canada T6J 5K7

Phone: (780) 436 9883

e-mail: cleibovi@shawbiz.ca