PPI Chair Theo Bikel Grieves for Child Victims of Mideast Wars

PPI Chair Theo Bikel Grieves for Child Victims of Mideast Wars

Theo made this statement just as some of us learned of this film. 

Through all the turmoil of these last weeks and months I have been tortured by thoughts of children  – Jewish children, Palestinian children, Syrian, Iraqi children – all those who most innocently of all, and most grievously of all, are the victims of the Middle East Madness.

Rachel mebaka et baneha, Rachel mourns her children. With her I weep for the children knowing that they are all her children, our children, every one of them.
The shameful apologies trying to justify the death of Arab children with trite explanations of ‘collateral damage’ and ‘use children as shields and they will die’ fill me with anger. Yes, a Jewish child’s life if precious to me but how dare anyone suggest that another child’s life is less precious, less deserving of a future! What is most frustrating is that those who place lesser values on non-Jews are supposed stalwarts of a community that I can no longer rightfully call mine. Where is the commitment to open dialogue, the respect to hear out opposing ideas, where is the dictum that commands us to listen, to debate, to agonize with each other rather than hurl epithets of disloyalty?
People see suffering and unless it is Jewish suffering they are silent. How dare they? Many years ago, at the famous March on Washington, Rabbi Joachim Prinz declared that the crime of the century was silence, silence in the face of injustice. I say it now to my own community; Jewish silence in the face of injustice is intolerable because Jews are commanded to live by a moral code that calls such silence not only wrong but makes it a crime.
My father has been gone for many years now but he left me to be the guardian of his dream, a dream of a Zionism whose engine to fulfillment would be the socialism of the kibbutz movement. Both have now been corrupted and made irrelevant in a land that practices capitalist consumerism and allows children to go to bed hungry.  In my mind I have been offering my father apologies that his dream has been thwarted and that both he and I are left with the sadness of frustrated hope.
I am an old man now, but I know how to grieve over a boyhood dream that has gone.     
By | 2014-08-28T11:28:00-04:00 August 28th, 2014|Blog|3 Comments


  1. werner cohn August 29, 2014 at 3:31 pm - Reply

    Chaver Bikel’s anger, once again, is directed only at Jews. Has he no anger to spare for Hamas and its murderous Charter ?

  2. Barry August 29, 2014 at 6:29 pm - Reply

    I dearly loved Mr Bikel, from my early acqusition of a 7 inch piece of vinyl containing my first listen to his wonderful excerpts from Shir Hashirim. But Mr, Abbas answered Bikel’s comments today, when he put blame squarely on Hamas. I grieve for the innocents in Gaza. And in Iraq. and In syria, and in Lebanon, and in Ukraine, and in ….
    There is just to much going on and too many innocents. Please forgive me if Daniel Trigerman, Age 4, and others similarly situated get to the top of my list.

  3. Hershl Hartman August 30, 2014 at 12:16 am - Reply

    I have loved Theo as a performer since he began his illustrious career and have cherished him as a friend for the past decade.

    I wish everyone could read his anguished words unfiltered through their own ethnocentric, social/political clouded lenses.

    Honor to him who speaks his mind, his soul and the truth!

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