File spoon-archives/postcolonial.archive/postcolonial_2001/postcolonial.0107, message 20

Date: Thu, 5 Jul 2001 16:42:25 -0600 (MDT)
Subject: ADC Mourns Death of Israel Shahak 

ADC Press Release:
ADC Mourns Death of Israel Shahak

Washington, DC, July 5 -- The American-Arab Anti-Discrimination
Committee (ADC) mourns the death of  Israeli chemist and human rights
activist Israel Shahak, who passed away on Monday night in Jerusalem at
the age of 68.  ADC Chief Operating Officer Ziad Asali said "Israel
Shahak was an extraordinary voice of moral courage and fearless honesty,
who never shirked from confronting his fellow Israelis with the truth
about their oppression of the Palestinians.  He was a tireless champion
of human rights and equality for all Palestinians and Israelis."

Israel Shahak was born on April 28, 1933 in Warsaw, Poland.  In 1943-5,
Shahak and his parents were imprisoned by the Nazis in the Poniatowo and
Bergen-Belsen concentration camps.  The 12 year old Shahak and his
mother emigrated to Palestine after the liberation of the camps in
1945.  In the 1960s, while working as Professor of Chemistry at Hebrew
University, Shahak became one of Israel's leading voices of dissent.  In
1970 he was elected chairman of the Israeli Human and Civil Rights
League, and spent the next three decades strongly advocating equality
and civil rights.  In the 1990s, Shahak emerged as one of the strongest
critics of the Oslo "peace process," which he denounced as a fraud and a
vehicle for making the Israeli occupation more efficient.

Shahak gained a wide international audience through his regular
"Translations from the Hebrew Press," which gave the non-Hebrew speaking
world a unique glimpse into the extreme and racist rhetoric about Arabs,
Palestinians and Jewish supremacy that characterizes much of
"mainstream" discourse in Israel.  The translations also clarified
Israeli strategic thinking and policy goals in a manner that directly
contradicted official "hasbara" (propaganda) which presented Israel as a
besieged state struggling only for peace and survival.  Shahak's
writings continuously exposed and denounced Israel as an expansionist,
chauvinist and racist state bent on the domination of the surrounding
Arab peoples, especially the Palestinians.  His recent books, including
Open Secrets: Israeli  Nuclear and Foreign Policies (Pluto Press, 1997),
Jewish History, Jewish Religion: The Weight of Three Thousand Years
(Pluto Press, 1997) and Jewish Fundamentalism in Israel (Pluto Press,
1999), provide an invaluable insight into Israeli discourse and policy.

Shahak explained that "After 1967, when I ceased being just a scientist
and became a political being, my first reason was that after 1967 the
Israeli aim was to dominate is the Middle East, which every rational
human being knows is impossible.  My second reason was that there must
be a Palestinian state."  Edward Said observed "As someone who  spoke
and wrote about Palestine, I could not have done what I did without
Shahak's papers and of course his example as a seeker after truth,
knowledge, and justice.  It is as simple as that, and I therefore owe
him a gigantic debt of gratitude."

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   / /\ \   | |  | | | |      Tel: (202) 244-2990, Fax: (202) 244-3196
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