Dozens Of Academics Oppose New Controversial Yad Vashem ChairHistorians in the News
tags: Holocaust, Jewish history, Israel, Palestine, Zionism, Yad Vashem, public history, Debora Lipstadt
Renowned Jewish historian, Deborah Lipstadt, together with nearly 160 academics, historians, museum curators, Holocaust survivors and others have signed a petition opposing the appointment of Effi Eitam as the new chairman of Yad Vashem.
Eitam is a former IDF brigadier-general and right-wing politician who has in the past made comments endorsing the forcible population transfer of Palestinians and has spoken in favor of blocking Israeli Arab participation in national politics.
He has, however, been selected by Higher Education Minister Ze’ev Elkin to fill the role of Yad Vashem chairman which will soon be vacated by incumbent, Avner Shalev.
Speaking to The Jerusalem Post, Lipstadt said Eitam’s appointment would politicize and tarnish Yad Vashem and that Israeli government ministers would bear responsibility for such consequences, should he be appointed.
In their petition, the historians, curators and Holocaust experts noted that Yad Vashem’s declared goal is “not only documentation, research and education but also prevention – of barbarity and future acts of genocide,” and that its International School for Holocaust Studies aims to combat “antisemitism racism and exclusion” within society at large.
“This urgent mission – to encourage civil society to actively watch, involve and intervene wherever racism and hatred threaten religious, ethnic or other groups and communities – is now at risk of being handed over to the outspoken right-wing extremist and historically illiterate politician Effi Eitam,” wrote the petitioners.
“We are shocked by this outrageous proposal and protest against it in the strongest possible terms. Eitam’s hateful rhetoric towards Israeli Arabs and Palestinians stands in opposition to the stated mission of Yad Vashem.
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