Tuesday, September 15, 2009

SCU Magazine's Interview with Avraham Burg

Santa Clara University's Professor Farid Senzai interviews Avraham Burg, former speaker of the Knesset (i.e., Israel's Parliament/Congress). Here is the interview (Scroll down to "An interview with Avraham Burg," Santa Clara University Magazine, Fall 2009)

On "Never Again":

Among the Jewish people, there are two kinds of people who came out of Auschwitz: Those who say never again is never again for Jews; and, therefore, let’s have the biggest walls around us and the deepest shelters on top of us, and make sure that no Jew will be ever persecuted. The others—and I belong to their fav, or their body—say never again means never again to anybody around the world. I have to do my utmost to prevent the indifference to the "other", whoever he or she may be: the raped woman in Darfur, the boy in the inner city of Detroit.

On Peace in the Middle East:

Let me tell you an anecdote: There was a day I was driving my car on the eve of the Jewish New Year in Jerusalem. The air conditioner was broken, the heat impossible, the traffic jam like only in Jerusalem on the eve of the New Year—and on top of it, there was a bomb threat and the city was stuck. I was sitting with my then-7-year-old son and my 80-some-year-old father. My son was very short-tempered: He was hungry, he wanted to pee—you know the drill.

He said, “Daddy, how the hell do you want to make peace with these Arabs who bomb us at the eve of the New Year?”

I was contemplating: Should I simply silence him? Should I give him a philosophical answer? Should I just ignore it? I was sitting there angry at the traffic, angry at the weather, and then from the backseat my own father, who had escaped from Berlin in September '39—imagine, the very last second—said to my son: “I want you to listen very carefully. I felt at the time that there would never be peace between us and Germany. Whatever they did to us is a thousand times worse than what we do to the Palestinians and what the Palestinians are doing to us. Now we’re 40 years after the Holocaust. Here, peace with Germany. In your lifetime you will see peace with the Palestinians."

More on Israel here.

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