To the Editors:

The following appeal has been circulating for several weeks now, and is attracting growing support from men and women who don’t usually sign political statements, or any statements outside their field. In addition to academics, they include scientists, writers and artists, lawyers, and others.

The appeal originated in France among friends of Israel who felt compelled by the dangerous policies of the new Israeli government to put some pressure on that government, in order to steer it back to the spirit and letter of the Oslo agreements signed by Israel. But the original signers are well aware that it is only in the United States that really important pressure on the Israeli government can be developed.

David Ball
Professor of French and
Comparative Literature
Smith College
Northampton, Massachusetts


For a year and a half, the Israeli government has undertaken to turn into an empty shell the Oslo agreement which Israel and the PLO signed in Washington, D.C., on September 13, 1993.

Such a policy of contempt, of outright lies and provocations (through continued settlements, repeated blockade of occupied territories…), increasingly isolates Israel from other nations, affects its economic development, and seriously jeopardizes peace as well as the future of the country.

Israel cannot forever ignore the world around her. Her government cannot keep on inflicting both military occupation and economic asphyxia on the Palestinians, while trampling their national aspirations by reducing their territory to a series of bantustans. Mr. Netanyahu’s policy, far from thwarting terrorism, has only exacerbated existing antagonisms, made the country more unsafe, and increased the risks of war.

Only a firm commitment toward mutual recognition and the sharing of the land between the two peoples will enable the Zionist endeavor engaged upon a hundred years ago to retain its legitimacy. Unconditional support of the legitimacy of Israel does not imply unconditional support of the Israeli government.

We are calling upon the Diaspora and all of the friends of Israel to raise their voice to stop the systematic undermining of the peace process and to ensure that this peace process be reinstated, in accordance with the agreements which have been signed.

—May 1998

Comité pour la sauvegarde des accords d’Oslo

Nobel Laureates:

Paul Berg (medicine), Gérard Debreu (economics), Christian de Duve (medicine), Edmond H. Fisher (medicine), Pierre Gilles de Gennes (physics), François Jacob (medicine), Aaron Klug (chemistry), M.F. Perutz (chemistry), Rita Levi-Montalcini (medicine), Frederick Sanger (biochemistry);

Fields Medal (mathematics):

Sir Michael Attyah, Pierre Deligne, Laurent Schwartz;

Nobel Peace Prize:

Adolfo Perez-Esquivel;

Nobel Prize in Literature:

Nadine Gordimer, Seamus Heaney, Claude Simon;



Marc Augé, Pierre Bourdieu, Jean-Pierre Changeux, Jacques Derrida, Pierre Hassner, Stanley Hoffmann, Pierre Nora, Alan Sokal, Alain Touraine, Abraham L. Udovitch, Jean-Pierre Vernant, Paul Veyne, Pierre Vidal-Naquet, Rosana Waren, Gordon Wright;

Literature and Arts: John Ashbery, Pierre Boulez, Peter Brook, Jean-Claude Casadesus, Costa-Gavras, Jean Daniel, Jules Dassin, Juan Goytisolo, Jean Lacouture, Christian Lacroix, Yehudi Menuhin, Ariane Mnouchkine, Harold Pinter, Mordecai Richler, Susan Sontag;

Law: Robert Badinter, Richard Wright;

…and more than a thousand other signatories.

This Issue

July 16, 1998