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“A Federated State Like Switzerland is the ONLY Solution for Israel/Palestine” Yehudi Menuhin

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In 1991, Yehudi Menuhin, the world renowned virtuoso violinist, upon being awarded the prestigious Wolf Prize by the Israeli Government, addressed the Israeli Knesset in his acceptance speech:

"This wasteful governing by fear, by contempt for the basic dignities of life, this steady asphyxiation of a dependent people, should be the very last means to be adopted by those who themselves know too well the awful significance, the unforgettable suffering, of such an existence. It is unworthy of my great people, the Jews, who have striven to abide by a code of moral rectitude for some 5,000 years, who can create and achieve a society for themselves such as we see around us but can yet deny the sharing of its great qualities and benefits to those dwelling amongst them."

"We as Jews gathered together in Israel should recognize our supreme destiny to heal and help."

In the 2006 released EMI Classics music documentary film The Violin of the Century, Menuhin, looking into the camera, reminisces, "Of the Israelis. I admired them for their courage. I realized what they were trying to build against thousands of years of persecution. I didn't, I wasn't one with their attitude toward the native Arabs - they should have shared everything, everything! - and um so, but they weren't in that mood at that time - it was too early, very very tragic.

It was the Jewish Holocaust; they never spoke of the Slav Holocaust, the Gypsy Holocaust; Gypsies lost five hundred thousand people in the gas chambers.

If the Jews had acted together with all those others on a human basis and tried to find out why it is that a civilized people like the Germans could indulge in genocide - which is happening today all over the place. It's a human phenomenon. It happens - might happen to you and me - but instead of joining with the others in steadiness, they kept it on a Jewish basis and tried to make the most of it. Well, at the end of thirty years they had used up the world's sympathy.

The only solution is keep intact the territory and create a federated union, allow people to live where they were, together, apart, schools apart or together - what ever they want - with Jerusalem capital of both like Bern is the capital of German Switzerland and French Switzerland and each president is there for a year and no one knows his name - that is the only solution, otherwise there'll always be war."

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These are not the words and sentiments of an accusing President Ahmadinejad, or of a defiant Hezbollah, Hamas or other Palestinian spokesperson, but the words of a sensitive, soft spoken, understanding, internationally beloved and Israeli prize awarded musician whose very given name, Yehudi, means "the Jew" in Hebrew, his first language.

Menuhin, who died in 1999, had insisted that a single federated state "is the the only solution possible," echoed the statements of Albert Einstein, Martin Buber, Eric Fromm and so many other Jewish intellectuals and a good many orthodox rabbis who had warned against partition before it became a fact more than sixty years ago.

If Menuhin was right that a single federated state is the only possible solution, then it would seem to be just a matter of time before those who presently wield power, or those who follow them, come around to effecting its realization - strict interpretations of Zionism and U.S. foreign policy goals notwithstanding.


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Jay Janson is an archival research peoples historian activist, musician and writer; has lived and worked on all continents; articles on media published in China, Italy, UK, India and the US; now resides in NYC; First effort was a series of (more...)

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