Reform Judaism joins our colleagues from the Union of Reform Judaism, Israel Movement for Reform Judaism and World Union for Progressive Judaism in opposing plans to make Efi Eitam the Chairperson of the Executive of Yad Vashem, the World Holocaust Remembrance Center.
Whilst Efi Eitam has served the State of Israel impressively both in the military and political arenas, we do not believe he is a suitable candidate for this very important role. His vast experience does not include expertise relevant to the Holocaust or its memory, but more importantly he has taken positions on many occasions which are the antithesis of the lessons humanity learns from the memory of the Holocaust.
Efi Eitam has made statements which the Israel Attorney General has defined as incitement to racism. He has called for attacks on civilian populations in war, the expulsion of Palestinians from the West Bank and the removal of the rights of Arab citizens of Israel to participate in the political system. These positions against democracy and the rights of all people are very relevant to the position at hand.
The Chairperson of Yad Vashem plays a vital role in keeping the memory of the Holocaust alive – both as a specific warning against the dangers of the persecution of Jews, but also as proof of the need for universal protections for human rights and against hate and injustice. Efi Eitam has a record which, unfortunately, must preclude him from taking up this role. We encourage the Prime Minister of the State of Israel to step back from appointing Mr Eitam to this role, and instead appoint a person with a record which can bring esteem to Yad Vashem and not controversy.
Yad Vashem ensures the memory of the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust lives on as a blessing. We hope the appointment to this vital role will help to keep the flame of memory burning strong for the next generation.