I have been asked to talk about how I came to my decision to move to Tamra and the effect of the discriminate policies of the Israeli government on the Palestinian citizens of the state. So I am going to talk a bit about that but also about the general situation in the Middle East, because I think everybody is also concerned about that.
I should begin by saying that is is a long time since I have been in Germany. I am 60 years old and born in January 1949. So I am one of the first group of Jewish children to be born after the holocaust. It was a big decision for me to come here to Germany at the time when the rights to my book were being sold. There was a lot of demand from German publishers to buy and in fact the book went for a publishers` auction here in Germany and it went to the highest bidder. I am going to say things that you may find very uncomfortable, but I think it is important to speak honestly, otherwise it is a waste of my time being here.
As I said, I grew up in the shadow of the holocaust. And it very much was a major part of my life as a child. Every week we would receive the Jewish newspaper in which we would see lists of people looking for relatives and family who had been in concentration camps and ghettos. It was a very harrowing experience. My father, who was a very well-known doctor, was asked by the British government to come to Germany when they discovered the concentration camps and to work here, dealing with the sheer mass of the problem. And as a child I started to internalize what the holocaust meant for me as a Jew, too. I couldn't understand why is it that so many Germans said they did not know. And in fact, it's been a major driving force all through my life to not live a life in Israel/Palestineor or either in South Africa where I was also politically very active, where I would live a life where I would say that I did not know.
And to this day I find it very difficult to be sleeping here in Munich knowing that there is a concentration camp down the road which is the one in fact that my father was sent to upon liberation, where I am very happy to say - you might find this very difficult - where he was responsible for helping the prisoners identify their guards, and actually sending the guards to work clearing up the bodies of people with typhus, so that they would catch typhus and die.
The reason I tell you this is because this (illustrates to you how the power,) helps to illustrate why so many Jews who live in the diaspora fell under the spell a the power of the Zionist political ideology. The political ideology that was conceived by Theodor Herzl in 1895 in Basel in Switzerland and spoken about at the conference in Vienna about the founding of a Jewish state. And when you have grown up the atmosphere that I just described, the notion of a Jewish state is something like a dream. You know you heard in the introduction that I was denied my place in a British school because the Jewish quota was full. My parents were not allowed to join the country club - so I could swim - because we were Jews. And this is in Britain after the war. OK? After all the horrors of the war this was still going on in 1950s and 1960s Britain.