They came for the Jews and I said nothing… with a gaze to the Middle East


My thoughts for December:

” […]Then they came for the Jews, and I did not speak out— Because I was not a Jew. Then they came for me—and there was no one left to speak for me.” This poem by Martin Niemöller, he wrote thinking about what happened in the 19th and 20th century in Europe. However, reflecting on Syria, Iraq, Yemen and Lybia, it would not be a false comment there either. Baghdad, Aleppo, Damascus, Sana and Benghazi all once had big Jewish populations, and now have none or almost none. Jews there were amongst the first that got expelled and pushed out, in some places violently so, marking the beginnings of an ever less tolerant and more monotone Middle East. There is no doubt in my mind, that Israel must be a safe haven for Jews, a country, with a clear Jewish history, in which many of the refugees from these places and from others now live. This, in spite of the wrongs and pain, that the reestablishment of a larger Jewish settlement caused on all sides. Because of the historical ruins on which the country stands, Israel is however morally also obligated to be mindful of its Muslim, Christian and other non-Jewish citizens and regional neighbours. Whilst that is not always easy, the spirit of #protecting and securing ethnic and religious minorities with mutual tolerance, respect and dignity is a virtue that must be spread throughout the wider region.

(This text was first published on my facebook, Daniel Zylbersztajn)

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