I cannot say anything here other than to distribute the thoughts of my friend Dan Tawfik. Those of you close to the pointy end of the stick always have harder decisions to make than those of us who have the privilege and luxury of enjoying peace. I would only hope that I would have the fortitude that Dan does.
The following appeared in Haaretz:
“I am an Israeli, a Jew, an Arab, but first and foremost a Human Being
In these troubled times, we, Israelis, are expected to all unite, to choose one, clear-‐ cut identity. So I set out to find out: who am I? First, my family, those I love, the desert landscape. Second, I’m a scientist fascinated by the molecular complexity of nature. Together with colleagues from many nationalities and religions (including Arabs), I explore this complexity. Third, I love mountains, music (including Umm Kulthum), literature and food (especially hummus). I’m Jewish by religious origin and cultural heritage, Israeli by nationality, and an Arab by ethnic origin and name, Saleh Dan Taufik, a spelling that clearly “exposes” this. I have no intention what soever of giving up any of these elements, or of being put in any compartment, or category, let alone one originating from prejudice, racist views, blindly following fanatical preaching and political populism. I have a dialogue, affection, and a lot in common with many Arabs, but not with all Jews, and certainly not with those trying to impose opinions and beliefs which I do not share.
I detest the illusion of “unity”, as its lowest common denominator is hatred of Arabs in general and Israeli Arabs in particular. I denounce racism and the false concept of putting all Arabs in one basket, any one from Muhammad Deif (head of the Hamas’ military wing) to a hummus maker from Ramleh. This racism primarily serves the goals of Hamas. In the same vein, I denounce the description of all IDF soldiers as war criminals (including me, since I served in the IDF as an officer (Major Ret.), and in Gaza and the Occupied Territories). If this is unity, I proudly count myself out.
I am aware that I might receive insults and threats. Nevertheless, I absolutely refuse to hate, refuse to generalize, refuse not to lament the death of children, even if they lived next to a rocket launcher and their parents voted for Hamas – I lament their death along with the tears for our dead. I refuse to see any Muslim or Arab as my enemy, because, amongst my others identities, I am an Arab. The day when many more, here and there, will think as I do, will be a better day for us all.
Professor Dan, Salah Tawfik”
- originally posted on Wednesday, August 6th, 2014