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November 24, 1967 - Image 2

Resource type:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1967-11-24

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Purely Commentary

Challenge to DeGaulle's Israel
Position by Christian Scientist
We are greatly indebted to Prof. William Haber for a
most impresive document that may well be recorded in the
history of the current struggle for justice in behalf of
The anti-Israel position adopted by President Charles
de Gaulle of France, who is responsible for contract-break-
ing by French plane manufacturers, who has reversed
French-Israel friendship into animosity for Israel by his
administration, has aroused great resentment in France.
Newspapers, statesmen, many among the common men,
have expressed their resentment ovr the de Gaulle posi-
tion. A noted anthropoligist, a Christian, spoke his mind
in a powerful message to de Gaulle. The author of the
letter is Germaine Ribiere, who described his own status
and background in his letter. A copy of the letter was
acquired by Andre Weil of Paris, a member of the ORT
world executive committee of which Dr. Haber is the chair-
man. Dr. Haber had it translated by one of his colleagues
at the U. of M. Because the author of the statement is a
patriotic Frenchman, because his letter was not intended
to be veiled in secrecy, Dr. Haber is sharing it with us and
we, in turn, are sharing it with our readers. The Germaine
Ribier document follows in full:
Mr. President:
It may seem to you bold and pretentious for me to write
this letter; I am not a celebrity; I belong to the world of
research, I work in neurobiology and anthropology, which
is to say that nothing has inviolable rights, I think we must
always yield to the truth, and since I am a Christian I
shall add: I believe and I know—Oh, how well!--that it is
not possible to fail man without also failing God, nor to fail
God without failing mankind. It is because I believed that
in June 1940, when I was a student at the University and
you were Free France incarnate, that I said No! to the
Vichy government, and that I refused with my whole self
to go down that shameful road which the armistice led us
to. During the years after, I shared the common wretched-
ness in the capital; I was acquainted with and shared the
sufferings of the Jews, I worked with Cardinal Saliege's
little group, and thereby knew and lived through the great
shame of the concentration camps organized by Vichy to
gather together the foreign Jews then in France and hand
them over to Nazi Germany; I was in Christian Witness
along with Father Chaillet. At the Liberation, I collabo-
rated directly with Yves Farge, the commissioner of the
government for the Rhone-Alps region, and I was espe-
cially responsible for social work. You did me the honor of
greeting me there when, in the days following the libera-
tion of the region, in September 1944, you came there on a
visit. I stayed on that job until September 1945; it had
been agreed with Yves Farge that after the return of the
deportees, considering my job done, I would resign from
that position to return to Paris and finish my studies which
I had freely abandoned in order to join, to the limit of my
abilities, the fight you were then leading.
What I believed in 1940 I believe today, and the years
which have passed taught me more and more profoundly
that man could and should live or die for that and that
And now today some Frenchmen, among them the
very ones who with their comrades who died either in
combat or in the Nazi camps made Free France at your
side, are brought back, because of the Middle East crisis
and the position of the French government in that crisis,
to 30 years earlier, the time of the Czechoslovakian crisis.
Mister President, it is necessary that you should know
—and permit me to tell you—that in the face of the aban-
donment of Israel by France, the shame of Munich is again
on our faces. At first, we refused to recognize that aban-
donment; It was hard to believe it; we wondered what
political subtlety might be hidden in what, in those first
hours, you called neutrality, but we soon learned what that
neutrality was. France was Israel's supplier; the arms
embargo was decreed; in such a case, can anyone call the
embargo an action of neutrality? Surely not.
And then there was the astonishing military victory
of Israel. After the path of arms, the way of diplomacy,
the preliminaries to any peace, lay open. And on that way,
we were allowed to watch a strange spectacle: that of the
attempt to change th the victory of Israel into a war crime.
The transition was to be achieved at three levels: Israel
which had been attacked was to become an aggressor; this
was the decisive transition, the one which set the process
going and kept it moving; and the other two were in a way
corrolary: Israel the aggressor was a barbarian agressor,
which had used napalm bombs; finally, Israel the agressor,
and therefore responsible for the war, was responsible for
Arab wretchedness, which they said was, not aggravated,
but CREATED by the war itself.
And when in the UN vote, we saw France line up at
the side of those who wanted Israel condemned as an
aggressor, and then vote that condemnation herself, the
depth of our humiliation knew no limits.
Mister President, just as we said No with you in June
1940, we say No! today. Our reasons are not political, we
do not even have "reasons," we have only one reason: its
name is faithfulness; and this faithfulness has nothing sen-
timental about it, nor does it spring from any cult of idols;
it is humble, worthy, free; it is also rough; it is strong
enough and brave enough to live or to die.
And since the search for truth must be done in humil-
ity, and since this humility is, for the intelligence, simply
the acceptance of reality, on July 7 last I left for Israel
to make that search.
Mister President, I am going to tell you simply what I
saw, what I witnessed.
First of all, I did not find in Israel a warlike people;
I found a people who had waged war, had undergone it,
and who had pursued it without hatred. I saw man young
men returning from the front. I did not find them drunk
and blinded with their victory and at the risk of surprising
you, I owe it to truth to say that I found a great number

_ Distinguished French Non-Jew's Accusatory_
Message ... Indictment of Czech Communists

of them full of real compassion for the vanquished enemy,
and full of disgust for the reality of war. I found a race of
men anxious to effect a real peace with the Arabs.
I also saw the Arab crowds at Hebron, at Gaza, and
beyond. What does this Arab mob know of this war, except
its mission was to kill? They are no doubt more the victims
of leaders than guilty themselves.
Mister President, when I left for Israel, I still heard in
my ears the calls to a holy war, to hatred and to massacre
broadcasts by Radio Cairo. For you—if we are to believe
what you said—it was merely a question of unbridled
language; you will forgive me for telling you that, for those
who have the habit of hearing them, for hearts which
know how to listen, it was impossible to take lightly these
excesses of language. I wanted to try to understand and
see bow far it went, and what reality it concealed. I went
to Gaza and south of Gaza, about 25 kilometers, to Han
Youmes; there I saw in a school all the classroom mater-
ials and also lessons done by the children. Here is a prob-
lem: "There are ten Jews. If I kill seven Jews, how many
Jews are left to be killed?" The classroom walls were still
papered with children's drawings. What did I see there?
a boot slamming into a chest from which blood spurted,
and on that chest the star of David; soldiers in close ranks,
wearing the star of David, being massacred, etc. . .. and
the "Letter to our Friends," a bulletin of the Maison Saint-
Isaie (Dominicans of Jerusalem, Israel) brings as an ex-
ample one of the television programs for children of three
and up: caricatures of Jews are shown, then dolls; the
child is to hit them and each doll that falls down—one Jew
less. Another program: photos of the extermination camps
of the survivors: commentary "We will do the same to the
the inhabitants of IsraeL"
Mister President, in the face of such facts it is no
longer possible to doubt; the truth stands forth. And when
you think that such teachings were distributed by teachers
the greatest number of whom were paid by the UNRWA,
that such a program, such a conditioning for hatred went
on in the presence of representatives of the UN, whose
mission in that region was to keep watch over world
peace, you can understand, I imagine, why we are de-
nouncing this imposture and why we refuse to be accom-
plices in it.
In a world like ours, which has known the hatred and
the horror engendered by the Nazi hate, can we stand by
silent before this new wave of hatred, this neo-Nazism
threatening to flow once more over mankind? Can we
accept cooly the which has been closed forever to love and
frozen in hatred? No! a hundred times No!—and from our
refusal, there is no appeal.
And now we know, and the UN knew it before us,
that the Arab countries and Egypt especially have given
and continue to give asylum to war criminals who are
sought and asked for by various European countries. A
certain number of these are the ones who hold key posi-
tions in Cairo in the organization of propaganda directed
against Israel and Judaism throughout the world. The
report of the mission sent to Israel by the Action Com-
mittee of the Resistance permits no doubt on this matter.
I have held in my own hands a secret order of the
Jordanian army looking to the annihilation of Israeli vil-
lages and the massacre of all their inhabitants.
Mister President, such are the fruits of my inquiry;
they are bitter, they are poisonous, poisoned by a venom
which destroys man at his roots. So it is not possible for
us not to make them known to our children and to all the
children of the world, to teach them how man can let them
grow or even make them grow by denying himself, to
make them carve deeply into their intelligence and into
their hearts that it is preferable to die rather than to be
the accomplice of such a crime.
So I end this letter which I would so much have liked
not to have had to write; receive it, Mister President, as a
sign of the truest fidelity I can give you, and receive, I beg
you, my personal respects.
Paris, 28 July 1967
A De Gaulle official acknowledged receipt of the letter
and stated:
"I am asked to assure you that the President of the
Republic has taken notice of the observations and reflec-
tions you have transmitted to him."
History will judge Charles de Gaulle. In the judgment
the Germaine Ribiere statement undoubtedly will play a
great role in an indictment of a man who, in his old age,
has failed to recognize that justice must not be tampered
with. Meanwhile de Gaulle IS tampering with justice.
* * *
Another Historic Document:
Ladislav Mnacko's Protest
We are indebted to another good friend, M. S. Arnoni,
editor of The Minority of One, for the text of another signi-
ficant document. Ladislav Mnacko defied the controlling,
dictatorial forces in Czechoslovakia and went to Israel. He
emerged as a friend. He wrote a statement entitled
"Against the Policy of Eradicating a People." Upon his
return from Israel, this popular Czech writer was stripped
of his citizenship, was denied all honors and membership
in the Communist party. The Minority of One was secured
by Arnoni from Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and the
translation is from Atlas. The Mnacko declaration follows:
As a protest against the Czechoslovak government, I
have embarked on a major trip to Israel. Since it is for-
bidden to comment at all in Czechoslovakia, and because I
want to express my opinion about my government's policy,
I had to choose this unusual way.
I find it impossible to support a policy which could
have led to the eradication of a whole people, and to the
liquidation of an entire state. The Czechoslovak govern-
ment promised unconditional support to the Arab states
and their leaders, despite the fact that these same leaders
have openly proclaimed their intention to destroy the two
and a half million people of Israel. It may be argued that
these were just words, that the Arabs only talked about

By Philip


destruction. One must remember, however, that this is the
second time In this century that plans for such total de-
struction have been voiced. The first time the threat be-
came a tragic reality.
The socialist camp's avowed friendship toward the
Arab countries has puzzled me for some time now, but in
this particular circumstance, it has definitely gone too far.
I don't know whether it has been reported abroad that
the Egyptian Ambassador in Prague had the audacity to
call a press conference (during the Middle East crisis) re-
proaching the Czech newsmen for writing objectively about
the crisis and supporting IsraeL He added that this atti-
tude was quite understandable In view of the fact that "the
Czech press is infested by Jews." I regard this statement as
a personal insult. Yet this shocking incident was greeted by
total silence in Prague. Neither the government nor a
single reporter expressed indignation. I am here to express
Our policy toward Israel has been described in the
West as "satellitism," but we have gone beyond it in our
eagerness and enthusiasm. I believe that we have not yet
overcome our recent past, and the connotations of the
political trials in the Stalin era may still be with us. The
famous Slanski trial produced a wave of anti-Semitism,
which apparently has not yet died.
In the Slanski trial, named after its principal defend-
ant, Rudolf Slanski, whose real name was Saluzmann,
Czechoslovakia's President Klement Gottwald eliminated
his most powerful rival in the communist hiearcby. A num-
ber of communist functionaries, most of them of Jewish
descent, shared Slanski's fate. They were all executed on
December 3, 1952. A strong anti-Semitic campaign accom-
panied the trial, and neither the trial nor the anti-Semitism
unleashed by it have been discussed or explained in Czech-
oslovakia to this day.
There are people in our country, and I am one of
them, who feel that Czechoslovakia today is in a moral
crisis which clearly stems from the Slanski affair and its
aftermath. I think that the excessive zeal which has been
apparent in Czechoslovakia's political attitude toward the
Middle East crisis can be partially explained by this
shameful trial, which still haunts many as something mon-
strous, something far deeper than what appears on the
surface. Many of those responsible for the events of that
time are still around, and it may asuage their guilt and
provide justification for their past actions to see a new
wave of anti-Semitism erupt. Statements in our press about
Zionism and cosmopolitanism were recently as vicious as
those printed in the newspapers at the time of the Slanski
trial. The title of an article which appeared in the Czech
press lately read: "The Zionists and the Revanchists Side
by Side." This contradicts reason as well as the facts. This
trend frightens me. I don't want to be an accomplice once
again—through silence—in a new nationalist witch hunt.
I know Israel well. I spent a few months there as a
correspondent during the war of independence in 1948. At
that time we supported Israel. As a matter of fact, the
state of Israel might not have come into existence without
the cooperation of the Soviet Union, who was first to rec-
ognize it and send an ambassador there. It is ironic that
this same power has now broken off diplomatic relations
with that state.
Israel is a very small country. One can see all of It
very quickly, and its problems can be learned just as fast.
The UN force is needed there to guard the frontiers, but
wouldn't it be better perhaps to send a UN observation
team which could act as a study group and report on the
country's fantastitc achievements--a group who would see
how the desert has been turned into fertile soil. If it were
up to me I would send to laurel all the chairmen of our
agricultural cooperatives so they could learn how it is
done! But our population hears nothing about any of this.
It is only told how a nation of two and a half million was
about to destroy millions of Arabs—the vast armies of at
least seven nations. We Czechs in particular should have
known the truth. We were once, not so long ago, referred
to as a "deadly danger" and a "great threat" to a great
power. It seems that small nations have a perverse inclina-
tion to threaten large, strong nations with destruction. This
is true today of Vietnam as well as of Israel.
If I am regarded as an expert on Vietnam, I wish to
point out that it is an exaggeration. I was there, and I
have written a book about it. But in view of recent events
I decided to throw the manuscript away. . . . I cannot in
all honesty submit to the Czechoslovak public a book about
a problem in which our position is morally absolutely im-
peccable, and at the same time keep silent about our
grossly unfair policy toward Israel. I have changed the
concept of my book along the lines I have just Indicated;
that small nations who are always "aggressors," always
"guilty," always a "deadly danger" for the great powers.
I see no difference between a Nasser and a Ky: only the
standpoint of two great powers differs on these two
Since we have no diplomatic relations with Israel, my
trip there is naturally a protest, I am fully aware of the
consequences of this act, and I am prepared to face them.
But I will return to Czechoslovakia as soon as diplomatic
relations with Israel are restored; I don't know when that
will be. I know that by making this statement I have vio-
lated the provisions of our criminal law; nevertheless I
intend to return. I am not trying to make things easier
either for myself or for the responsible authorities in my
country. Let them jail me, let them try me, let them con-
vict me. It would be easier, I know, to remain in exile. But
this would be tantamount to total resignation.

As long as there are libertarians, the world is not al-
together in darkness. So long as men like Ribiere and
Mnacko speak up, as long as the Habers and the Arnoni's
are vigilant, we live in hopes that justice will not be sacri-
ficed on altars of diplomatic hypocrisy.

2—Friday, November 24, 1967


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