Jerusalem, March 19 – Israeli parliament The Knesset held a discussion about “the Genocide in Tibet”. Speaker of The Knesset, Dalia Itzik had initially refused to hold the discussion, citing a busy schedule as an excuse but had to change the decision after the issue was raised by Rabbi Michael Malkior (Denmark’s top Rabbi).
“Because of Jewish history we have a moral duty to speak out in our direct relations with China and in the international arena.” Rabbi Malkior said.
He further stated that ‘We have a moral debt’. “I am aware of Israel’s interest in China, which is legitimate, so I am not calling for boycott and sanctions. I suggest that we will clearly and morally state what all other civilized nations have said, so we could look ourselves in the mirror”.
Talking on the issue Deputy foreign minister, Magli Wahaba said, “We see the issues in Tibet with great concern and we expressed it to the Chinese Ambassador. As Israelis, we should be the first to alert the world about such events”.
The Knesset has decided anonymously to have a special discussion in the Foreign and Security Committee.
The Chinese Embassy had sent a letter to the MPs with its distorted description of the events in Tibet. In response, IFTIP (Israeli Friends of the Tibetan People) sent a message to all the MPs about the brutal repression of the Chinese authorities on the Tibetans in Tibet.
In the wake of the discussions in the Parliament more than 200 people protested in front of the Chinese Embassy in Israel.
The protest was organized by IFTIP with the cooperation of Amnesty and Israeli Buddhist groups (Tibetans and non-Tibetans alike).
20 Tibetans who live and study in Israel went on a hunger strike from the early hours of the day till late evening. Dozens of Israelis also joined them calling on China to stop the violent crackdown on Tibetans. The protestors held banners, waved Tibetan flags and held a candlelight vigil creating “Free Tibet” with candles. A one minute silence was observed in memory of the Tibetans killed in Tibet
The protest was covered by major Israeli media channels as well as foreign press, interested by the fact that Israelis were taking a moral stand about the occupation in another country. One of Israel’s leading radio presenters also attended the protest in support.
Led by the relentless effort of press officer Ran Natanzon and President Nahi Alon, IFTIP members appeared on every possible news channel in Israel. They had to confront Israeli ‘experts’ for China, who under the cover of academic objectivity presented the Chinese view including claims that Amdo & Kham are not a part of Tibet). While this was a new phenomenon IFTIP dealt well with it.