Beautiful Dream of Israel has Become a Nightmare

As a Jewish youngster growing up in Budapest, an infant survivor of the Nazi genocide, I was for years haunted by a question resounding in my brain with such force that sometimes my head would spin: “How was it possible? How could the world have let such horrors happen?”

It was a naïve question, that of a child. I know better now: such is reality. Whether in Vietnam or Rwanda or Syria, humanity stands by either complicitly or unconsciously or helplessly, as it always does. In Gaza today we find ways of justifying the bombing of hospitals, the annihilation of families at dinner, the killing of pre-adolescents playing soccer on a beach.

In Israel-Palestine the powerful party has succeeded in painting itself as the victim, while the ones being killed and maimed become the perpetrators. “They don’t care about life,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu says, abetted by the Obamas and Harpers of this world, “we do.” Netanyahu, you who with surgical precision slaughter innocents, the young and the old, you who have cruelly blockaded Gaza for years, starving it of necessities, you who deprive Palestinians of more and more of their land, their water, their crops, their trees — you care about life?

There is no understanding Gaza out of context — Hamas rockets or unjustifiable terrorist attacks on civilians — and that context is the longest ongoing ethnic cleansing operation in the recent and present centuries, the ongoing attempt to destroy Palestinian nationhood.

The Palestinians use tunnels? So did my heroes, the poorly armed fighters of the Warsaw Ghetto. Unlike Israel, Palestinians lack Apache helicopters, guided drones, jet fighters with bombs, laser-guided artillery. Out of impotent defiance, they fire inept rockets, causing terror for innocent Israelis but rarely physical harm. With such a gross imbalance of power, there is no equivalence of culpability.

Israel wants peace? Perhaps, but as the veteran Israeli journalist Gideon Levy has pointed out, it does not want a just peace. Occupation and creeping annexation, an inhumane blockade, the destruction of olive groves, the arbitrary imprisonment of thousands, torture, daily humiliation of civilians, house demolitions: these are not policies compatible with any desire for a just peace. In Tel Aviv Gideon Levy now moves around with a bodyguard, the price of speaking the truth.

I have visited Gaza and the West Bank. I saw multi-generational Palestinian families weeping in hospitals around the bedsides of their wounded, at the graves of their dead. These are not people who do not care about life. They are like us — Canadians, Jews, like anyone: they celebrate life, family, work, education, food, peace, joy. And they are capable of hatred, they can harbour vengeance in the hearts, just like we can.

One could debate details, historical and current, back and forth. Since my days as a young Zionist and, later, as a member of Jews for a Just Peace, I have often done so. I used to believe that if people knew the facts, they would open to the truth. That, too, was naïve. This issue is far too charged with emotion. As the spiritual teacher Eckhart Tolle has pointed out, the accumulated mutual pain in the Middle East is so acute, “a significant part of the population finds itself forced to act it out in an endless cycle of perpetration and retribution.”

“People’s leaders have been misleaders, so they that are led have been confused,” in the words of the prophet Jeremiah. The voices of justice and sanity are not heeded. Netanyahu has his reasons. Harper and Obama have theirs.

And what shall we do, we ordinary people? I pray we can listen to our hearts. My heart tells me that “never again” is not a tribal slogan, that the murder of my grandparents in Auschwitz does not justify the ongoing dispossession of Palestinians, that justice, truth, peace are not tribal prerogatives. That Israel’s “right to defend itself,” unarguable in principle, does not validate mass killing.

A few days ago I met with one of my dearest friends, a comrade from Zionist days and now professor emeritus at an Israeli university. We spoke of everything but the daily savagery depicted on our TV screens. We both feared the rancour that would arise.

But, I want to say to my friend, can we not be sad together at what that beautiful old dream of Jewish redemption has come to? Can we not grieve the death of innocents? I am sad these days. Can we not at least mourn together?


This piece originally appeared as an Opinion in the Toronto Star (July 22).

  • VM
    July 30, 2014 at 1:23 AM

    Thank you, Dr. Gabor for your compassionate post on the devastation that is Israel v Palestine. I am with you, and I cannot discuss this with those who think Palestine is evil there is such a charge to the situation. Even friends who lost family to Nazi concentration camps are out for blood. This seems to be the way of the world from time immemorial. We can only pray for peace and feel the grief in our hearts collectively.

    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 1:33 PM

      I think Dr. Mate is watching a different reality. If you cared about the truth, you and Dr. Mate should watch what Bassem Eid says. He is the founder and former director of the Jerusalem-based Palestinian Human Rights Monitoring Group (PHRMG):

    • Vijay
      November 30, 2015 at 4:36 PM

      If you can’t keep land taken in war,,,, does tht mean that all our land taken by ROME must be returned to the Israelite peope ?? That would inducle the land on the other side of the Jordan river that the Bridish gave to a tribe from the southern arabian lpeninsula, as well as the Sinia because at the time of the Roman conquest it WAS OUR land !

  • Phyllis Thorpe
    July 30, 2014 at 2:22 AM

    Thank you for these deeply-felt and thought-out insights–a prayer for the people–made a profound impact on my beloved, also the grandchild of those who perished as yours did–

    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 1:35 PM

      I invite you and Dr. Mate to watch who is the people that Israel has to deal with:
      Hamas: “Kill Christians and Jews to the last one”

    • Gamzeli
      November 30, 2015 at 4:05 PM

      It is worth mentioning (re: I Tick’s coemmnt re: sympathy with the Palestinians) that when Israel gave the Sinai back to Egypt (in return for…) Israel offered to also give Egypt back the Gaza Strip, and Egypt refused it. Seems they were having some problems with terrorists coming from the Strip, and didn’t want to be saddled with it. Sympathy? We may close the crossing to Gaza on one side, but who has completely cut Gaza off on the other? Why isn’t Egypt sending truckloads of food, clothing, building materials &tc. into Gaza at least at the rate that Israel does? Why doesn’t Egypt allow the Gaza-residing Palestinians to enter Egypt for humanitarian reasons as Israel does, for instance for medical care or to attend university? Whatever the ‘common man’ in Egypt has a problem with regarding Israel, to say it is about how Israelis treat the Palestinians is foolish and ignorant.

  • Darren Gregory
    July 30, 2014 at 3:04 AM

    Thank you. Given my own, personal experiences of trauma in life, I see trauma acting out on mass today in the Middle East. Years of trauma imposition, and a people really, who are choosing, far to violently, to be ‘Idol No More’. Both sides are saying loudly, too loudly to one another, no more. We all pray for peace. And, we pray for a just peace. Justice? Such a dirty word in today’s dispensations. ‘Right’ and ‘Wrong’, misplaced statements of what I see as an unjust morality, prevail still, all over the world, it seems. I’m with you, Gabor. I no longer hold the luxury of sides in anything. My background historically is as a Metis citizen in Canada. It took so much searching, to finally make my ancestral connection to my forgotten people, tribal people, the Cree. My English ancestor, Peter Fidler, came to Canada as a surveyor and map-maker with the Hudson’s Bay company. Recent revelations of the residential school and other historical planning for genocide? Let me just say, I feel it with you. Only from a much less discussed perspective, (historically still)nthen the planned genocide of Auschwitz. We both agree as well, I suspect, that our current reservation system in Canada and the issue of imprisonment (in my view) of the people of Palestine, has a hint of Apartheid to it? Thanks, so much for this personal perspective. We pray, for peace. Be Well.

  • Roseanna
    July 30, 2014 at 3:06 AM

    Thank you for your clarity and insights! something that is sorely missing in the news about this horror.

  • Marj Penner-Poncilius
    July 30, 2014 at 3:38 AM

    This message was well written.
    How is it that we as human beings think it is alright to take someone else’s life? Is it that we want to set ourselves up as a god or is it pride or not letting go of bitterness/anger?
    Yes, it is important to grieve this loss and we can pray for those immediately affected.

    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 1:43 PM

      Before taking Dr. Mate’s opinion as real, you should watch Hamas’ Human-Shield Confession:

    • Can
      November 30, 2015 at 3:56 PM

      the answer is easy. You can’t keep terrotiry acquired through war. It doesn’t matter if it was a defensive war. Egypt wants to renew hostilities, fine. Doesn’t change anything about the legal status of the Sinai.And if the question is somehow directed at the Egyptians, as a warning to them that Israel was so charitable in returning the Sinai, and that it has lived up to its part of the bargain, so to speak, and that Israel is thumping its chest over how easily it might retake the Sinai in a war, then this is actually a more petty, foolish brush with war than the Egyptian calls to “revisit” the treaty, because it threatens Egypt’s territorial integrity, which is the most basic casus belli.All in all, a worthless retort in response to Egyptian reservations over the peace deal. No one in Egypt is going to start a war with Israel, and if they threatened one, talking about the Sinai as if it ought to be Israel’s or as if Israel welcomes war is ridiculous.Also, when they talk about canceling the peace deal with Israel in Egypt, it’s awfully clear what fuels the rhetoric. Populists, Pan-Arab nationalists and Islamists stoke fires with Israel over the Palestinian issue. Egypt has no beef with Israel, other than using it as an excuse to assert leadership in the Arab world, and that is a far less useful or relevant tool than it was in the 50s, 60s and 70s, as the Saudis–and the Egyptians themselves–have proven.In this regard, it may be useful to have some inward examination. The average Egyptian isn’t interested in an Islamic Caliphate or in using Egyptian blood and treasure to sink Israel into the sea. But sympathy with the Palestinians remains. That was one of Sadat’s token provisions in the 1979 agreements, a provision for Palestinian autonomy, which was never implemented and which is seen as remaining unimplemented in spite of Oslo, because the issue is of Palestinian self-determination is completely at a halt.

  • Maya Luque Williams
    July 30, 2014 at 3:51 AM

    thank you Dr. Gabor Matė for a voice of courage and reason that none of us want to live with this pain and a real peace for all is desirable. Thanks for not letting the flame of truth burn out in all this violence.

    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 1:45 PM

      Do you think that Arab Palestinians fight for the land?
      To give you only one example:
      Sheikh at Al-Aqsa: “Jews of Israel will be annihilated by Muslims, according to Allah’s decree”

  • Katalin
    July 30, 2014 at 4:11 AM

    What a cruel twist of fate! The erstwhile persecuted have now become the persecutors!
    Greed and the hunger for power are indeed the curse of us humans.

    Thank you for your unbiased honesty.

    • Bob
      July 18, 2015 at 7:03 PM

      I agree with you Katalin. I’m amazed at how regularly the abused become the abuser. It must be another way of avoiding our pain.

    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 1:55 PM

      If you want to know the truth, watch
      Hamas Barbaric Tactics To Blame Israel For “War Crimes” in GAZA

  • Tariq Dajani
    July 30, 2014 at 7:10 AM

    Thank you for presenting a lucid and honest perspective of this situation as you do of others, reflecting integrity and true compassion and care – unlike so many others whose emotional attachments blindly lead them to a twisted fear and hatred of others, who really are their victims and not persecutors.
    It is a sad and pathetic world that pits tribe against tribe when there is enough for all, and instead of hatred and destruction we could have love and the building of wonderful communities for all to enjoy. Today and for many days, there will be many who will mourn alongside you.

    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 1:50 PM

      This is what really Arab Palestinian leaders want:

      Watch Palestinian Preacher at Al-Aqsa Mosque Rally Calling to Restore the Caliphate, Annihilate the Jews

    • Pooja
      November 30, 2015 at 4:36 PM

      If you remember the bonigmbs in Spain of March 2004, the “Terrorists” claiming responsibility mentioned the fact that the bonigmbs were in retaliation for Muslim lands that were taken during the time of the Inquisition during Queen Isabella’s reign. They are serious about this and another writer is correct… is not a joke. If only the rest of the Western world understood what they are after.

  • Tariq Dajani
    July 30, 2014 at 7:22 AM

    May I add one last thing… please be aware that the title of this piece “Beautiful Dream of Israel has Become a Nightmare”, could only always have been construed as a nightmare to the people who were dispossessed of their homes and homeland. My father and his family were one group of such people. The creation of Israel, everything that led up to it and resulted from it could not be described as anything other than a nightmare for them. The early Zionist slogan of ‘a land without a people for a people without a land’, was a cruel lie that sought to destroy the lives of the indigenous in habitants. Their nightmare began as the dream of Israel developed for others.
    Nonetheless, the content and meaning of this piece is excellent and truly heartfelt, showing compassion for all and not just a few. Thank you.

  • Yasmin Finlay
    July 30, 2014 at 7:49 AM

    A wonderful and inspiring piece. We need more like you to speak out and expose these hidden realities.

  • Gui Mansilla
    July 30, 2014 at 12:00 PM

    Dear Dr Maté:

    Thanks for this heart felt, thoughtful, smart and love filled article about this very sad conflict. You have described the unjustifiable horror of an unjust and terribly inbalance war on a nation. Thank you for this as your credentials as an expert on healing the heart and as former Zionist who has survived the Jewis holocaust gives me hope and resources to keep engaging my smaller community and anyone who wants to hear in a conversation about peace and just regarding this conflict. With out justice peace will never be long lasting as we all know.
    I have a dream that one day we will develop a new strategy of healing that will use psychotherapeutic group based means to reach large pools of antagonistic (yet open minded and willing to work in the healing process) people from different sides of a conflict and help them heal. Every time that I think about that dream which I have advance somewhat in my thoughts and writtings I think about peace in this sacred land of Israel and in between some of the major monotheistic religions in the world. We all can dream with that peace and I believe that is still possible to achieve but not without looking at the intergenerational healing needed for that to be accomplished. Thanks again. In deep gratitude to your writtings, teachings and example of living.

    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 2:02 PM

      George Deek, Arab Christian Israeli Diplomat, tells the truth that Dr. Mate didn’t see

    • Rosa
      November 30, 2015 at 4:03 PM

      I do not know that the world really cares about isuess of territorial integrity. I do not remember great cries against Turkey invading the waters of Israel in the problem of the Mavi Marmara. Even today, Turkey want an apology – this is backwards. When Hamas shoot bombs into Sderot or Ashkelon, the only report you will read in international news is if Israel try to defend herself, and then somehow it is our fault. Would anyone dare to tell America that it needs to free Guam, Philippines and Puerto Rice, captured in the Spanish American War? Of course not. Israel is held to a different standard. I remember finishing my army service in 1977 and spending a month camping with friends in the Sinai. It is an incredible place, especially to see it just before the Pesach. While it may have been the correct thing to do to exchange it for peace at the time, it is so much a shame that we can no longer go there.However, if the Egyptian do not put Sinai back to proper control, if they allow the Hamas from Gaza or even Beduoins or Egyptians to use the Sinai to attack land or people or ship access to the Red Sea/Gulf of Eilat, then we would have to consider this an act of war and respond. Please understand that I do not want another war. In war there are no winners. But Egypt must take responsibility for their action or inaction. If they can not or will not then Israel must.

  • Annsie
    July 30, 2014 at 12:53 PM

    Thank you for that, Its nice to see such an open mind considering what you and your family have been through in the past…And this quote below seems so important considering how the main stream media are portraying what’s happening in Gaza

    “If you’re not careful, the newspapers will have you hating the people who are being oppressed, and loving the people who are doing the oppressing.”

    ― Malcolm X

  • Thelma Riggs
    July 30, 2014 at 1:39 PM

    Thank you so much Dr. Gabor. You have put into words what I have been thinking and feeling for years. I mourn the lose of lives and the loss of hope. There will never be peace among people until all people, or at least a majority, especially leaders, care more for our children than we care for Land, nationalism, and power. Thelma Riggs

    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 2:09 PM

      This Is how Arab Palestinians raise their children Video

      • Lionel
        April 20, 2018 at 7:02 PM

        You are a disgusting troll, Laura Rostom! Let people speak for themselves without interfering. You are dishonoring g our Jewish ancestors, whose suffering and fights for justice is being stomped on by uncompassionate people like you!

  • Jolynn
    July 30, 2014 at 2:09 PM

    When a people such as the Jews have been through so much pain, you would think, they would have compassion.
    Sad situation, what they are doing to the Palestinian people.

  • Marjun Blishen
    July 30, 2014 at 2:50 PM

    Thank you Dr. Mate for opening the doors for a different thinking. God have mercy on the people of Gaza.

    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 2:13 PM

      Italian journalist tells who is really destroying Gaza:
      The truth about Hamas

    • Foster
      December 8, 2015 at 11:18 AM

      In the list of specialties, I would Probably like to start at at a Family Practitioner. I belivee this will give me a better opportunity to practice my skills , and once in a while my patience and expedience. After which I would more than likely feel confident enough to tackle any other profession. I would like to build on a solid foundation of skill and knowledge before taking on challenges I’m not well equipt for. The plain fact is , after my confidence is up, I relish i the opportunity to prove my worth.

  • Tom Gilligan
    July 30, 2014 at 3:03 PM

    I am moved by your thoughts and your writing. I am aware of this conflict and the pain and suffering it is continuing to create.Out of a sense of powerlessness I have learned to block out my feelings and abdicate any sense of personal responsibility to the political leaders and whatever agenda they may following. Your words have enabled me to recognise once more the sadness that this struggle evokes for me and to respond with some measure of compassion instead of denial or anger. Thank you Gabor.

  • Shira Peck
    July 30, 2014 at 8:33 PM

    Dear Dr. Mate,
    Yes, there is accumulated pain amongst us all in the Middle East; we are in a cycle that continues to bring more pain to each side. But you have painted a distorted picture of Israel as the bad guys, while the victims are the Gazans. That isn’t exactly the case. There are the Gazans, the Palestinians , and Hamas, who hate Israel and want to kill us. One can say that this is because of the occupation, but I believe it is part of their ideology. In any case, it saddens me to hear you speak in such an anti Israeli way, comparing the tunnels that Hamas has dug to carry out terrorist attacks, with the tunnels of the Jews in Warsaw, which were used to survive. How did you become so hateful of Israel just because we are more powerful? The Hamas claims to choose Death over Life–it wasn’t something that Bibi made up…..

    • John
      August 5, 2014 at 3:00 AM

      If you see a loved one going on a psychopathic spree of mass murder, and you try to talk them out of it, is this an act of hatred?

      Hamas, firstly, was created and initially funded by Israel as a way to weaken Fatah. They have repeatedly stated that they will recognize Israel as a State when Israel recognizes Palestine.

      If it were not for the desperation of a people facing total annhilation, there would be no support for Hamas. Their ideology would be so very marginalized that they would vanish with the wind.

      Indeed, as past pogroms against the Gaza Ghetto have shown, such slaughter (disproportionately civilians) by the Israeli Occupation Forces only strengthens the support for Hamas.

      I hope one day you will learn to see people as people, rather than a label due to their ethnicity or religion.

      If speaking for the end to the wholesale slaughter of women and children who have been imprisoned and intentionally impoverished by an occupying force is “Anti-Israel”, then what is that saying about what Israel stands for?

  • Cheryl
    July 30, 2014 at 10:30 PM

    This is poignant and honest; beautifully expressed! Thank you so much for speaking the truth about this situation which is so horribly misrepresented in the media. One error in your presentation is your implication that Obama is abetting Netanyahu. This reflects a huge misunderstanding of the power of the Israel lobby over Congress and the US media. Sec Kerry has worked his ass off trying to end the occupation of Gaza as well as this current massacre of Palestinians. They deplore it. If more courageous people like you and Naomi Wolf speak out, perhaps we can free the US from subservience to the Israeli hawks. (Naomi Wolf recently wrote: Challenged below for why I am mourning genocide in Gaza. I mourn genocide in Gaza because I am the granddaughter of a family half wiped out in a holocaust and I know genocide when I see it…”

  • Marilyn
    July 31, 2014 at 4:09 AM

    Thanks Dr. Gabor. It’s so hard to believe that the people who suffer sooo much can turn around and justify the killing and suffering of another human being. I learned that some of us repeat exactly what it was done to us, and others realized that, they don’t want to hurt others the same way they were hurt. Therefore some of us learn from our experiences and others just repeat it without learning anything. Thanks for your example.

  • Marilyn
    July 31, 2014 at 4:09 AM

    Thanks Dr. Gabor. It’s so hard to believe that the people who suffer sooo much can turn around and justify the killing and suffering of another human being. I learned that some of us repeat exactly what it was done to us, and others realized that, they don’t want to hurt others the same way they were hurt. Therefore some of us learn from our experiences and others just repeat it without learning anything. Thanks for your example.

    • Necla
      November 30, 2015 at 4:05 PM

      First and foremost: the Sinai never beengold to anyone legally. It was captured by Israel in the Six Day War but never annexed or made part of Israel (except it was great to travel and tour around and camp out there and see the oil wells etc). When Israel ‘gave back’ the Sinai for a ‘peace/piss treaty (as Anwar Sadat called it in the Knesset) it was not Israel’s to give to Egypt nor Egypt’s to receive. So where does that leave us. We have learned nothing from history -past or current! The Gaza strip area is not ‘hamas land’, Sinai is ruled by Bedouin tribes/gangs who are the worst criminals -rip out body parts to sell to anyone who is willing to pay for them and then we ask re the ethics of those physicians who ‘install’ them), who blow up pipelines, who rob and steal at will etc.So where does that answer your question. We are headed to war again in our area with Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, Gaza and others occupied by hostile people who would kill each other (Syria, Libia, Egypt) at will. It will probably take a war to decide but if Egypt breaks the so called piss-treaty then where do we go and how do we do it. Pesach

  • Charlotte Friedman
    July 31, 2014 at 12:17 PM

    Dear Dr. Mate,
    Like you my parents who were originally Hungarian survived the camps. Mom especially was a Zionist and that is how Dad found her again after the camps before their departure for their dream land. I was an infant when arrived in Israel and I cannot forget the many times, we were rushed into shelters because Arabs were always doing something that required ushering us into safety. It was 1947-1958 and I learned that I am a Zionist too. A home for the Jews where they can be free….But today there is HAMAS and that change everything. Their charter reads that they want to kill ALL Jews. And so obviously they prove to not want peace but more wars. What is Israel to do??? What choices do they have to survive? What kind of neighbors are the Arabs who hate the infidel, there can be nothing Israel will do that would change that. But they must survive, and they must push back against all odds.
    I used to sing songs of “Peace on Earth” in the 1960’s… I used to believe that too will come, but as long as there is Hamas and Hezbollah, how can we have peace, and why should the Jews be sitting ducks. So while your sentiment is felt by many including myself, it is very idealistic given the situation at hand.

    • John
      August 5, 2014 at 3:05 AM

      Why does your homeland depend on the displacement of an indigenous population?

      Are Jews not safe in the United States, Canada, or even Iran?

      How can a nation formed by those that coveted the land of another, who then killed people to steal their land, all the while bearing false witness against their neighbors (denying their very existence even by saying “a land without a people), and who elevated the State as an idol before G-d himself (Who told the Jewish people to live peacefully amongst the Nations until the advent of the Mosiach) be called a “Jewish State”?

      Is this not an affront to Judaism itself?

      Is it not extremely idealistic to think that one can displace a population, and deny them any reasonable quality of life and not cause them to hate you by doing so?

  • avi hersh
    July 31, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    The German population voted the Nazis into power. Then they did not remove Hitler and his cronies when it was abundantly clear what they were up to. Their cities were bombed and millions lost their lives. Has the world not learnt from history. One can not elect a Terrorist organization to lead and then claim we did not know? that unexpected consequences of the actions of these leaders will include extreme hardship and massive injuries when an organization who has in their charter the destruction of another nation…for all the world to see. Did / does the civilian population actually believe that Hamas would protect them? would not use their homes, schools, hospitals as command and control centers for heinous attacks on civilian population in israel? did these citizens actually believe Hamas would destroy Israel? I am saddened that women and children are dying, and yes it is needlessly as Hamas has NO REGARD for anyone’s lives preferring death of their own as the only possible success since it is quite apparent that a military victory is absolutely impossible, so the more victims of collateral damage, especially kids, the happier that Hamas will be. As they have on more than one occasion taken the dead from various sites and moved them to where it best serves there own purpose, including the victims of their own revenge attacks on Gaza civilians suspected of aiding the IDF, or those that refuse to go sit on the roofs of the homes of Hamas leaders. No doubt that once Gaza is finally rid of Hamas and is a demilitarized zone, I firmly believe that Gaza will rightfully receive the support of many countries including that of Israel, which sincerely wants a vibrant and peaceful neighbor on its border.

    • ElinbjortJonsdottir
      August 1, 2014 at 11:23 PM

      Hamas extremism is not an excuse for Israelis cruelty and vise verse. You ran from Palestinians as kids and they’re kids ran from you Israeli. They had lived in that area for thousands of years, they’re ancestors planted the old olive trees. Yours people moving in to they’re territory did start this and your people have to find the solution but not with killing all and everyone not even giving them change to flee to an other country but sparring them in in this small area and then bombing and bombing. I know this is complicated bit It is not an excuse.

      • Laura Rostom
        November 24, 2015 at 5:07 PM

        If you cared about the truth, please, read ALL my responses to others and you would know what Arabs say about this issue.

  • Gabor Mate
    July 31, 2014 at 5:08 PM

    As I write, the unspeakable tragedy in Gaza continues to unfold. I thank all those who have written on this page in response to my Toronto Star article,
    as of now shared over 65,000 times on social media. Thank you for expressing your opinion on this painful subject, whether in support or disagreement.

    I cannot engage personally with all the various responses. Fortunately, virtually everything I might say on the subject is encompassed in these four YouTube interviews and talks, all by highly authoritative Jewish voices. I encourage those
    wishing to go beyond the narrow perspectives and propaganda of the mainstream media (and mainstream advocacy organizations) to view them. It would entail about 45 minutes. In these days of the internet, the truth is available to anyone who seeks it. There cannot be justification for people to say, as they may have in times past, “We didn’t know. We had no way of knowing.” Only our reluctance to face pain and to let go of identification with cherished beliefs can stand in our way.

    1. An interview with Rabbi Henry Siegman, former executive director of the American Jewish Congress and former head of the Synagogue Council of America:

    2. An interview with Israeli Professor Ilan Pappe, formerly of the U. of Haifa, now teaching in Britain, author of a number of books on Israel:

    3. A speech in the British Parliament by the Jewish MP Sir Gerald Kaufman, speaking of Gaza in 2009, I think, words equally applicable today:

    4. A recent speech on Gaza, also by Gerald Kaufman:

    Finally, to those who may have been surprised to find such a clearly political subject addressed on a web page mostly concerned with physical and mental health issues, I would say only that on this subject I feel so
    strongly that I will use any means available to me to make my voice heard.

    With respect and wishing peace to all.

    Gabor Maté

  • Chris
    July 31, 2014 at 10:34 PM

    No nation with any sense of compassion should use the power it has to beat and bully women and children in order to achieve dominence. Both sides in this are to blame and it is up to the rest of us to demand an end.

  • Sue Cunha-Cheesman
    August 1, 2014 at 3:23 AM

    Thank you for your observations and thoughts. I remember 50 years ago being proud, but today being ashamed of the bully Israel.

    • Mihail
      November 30, 2015 at 5:05 PM

      The specialist that I would love to have an oiptrtunpoy to work with is a Neonatologist. I think that it would be a blessing and a miracle to be able to work with little ones that have to rely on you during their first few weeks of life. Some infants may require extra attention and treatment for various reasons. Being able to show empathy and give support to the families during the process is essential. My daughter was six weeks premature and required extra treatment, so I can understand the feeling that parents have when they can’t leave the hospital with their little miracle. Being able to now be the one to give that support to the families and making them feel as comfortable as they can be knowing that their child is receiving the best care possible is really important to me. New parents may feel overwhelmed and may not know how to do certain things, so being able to assist in showing them how to care for their little one would be an amazing experience.The specialists that I would least want to work with would be an Emergency physician and a Proctologist. Working with an emergency physician, you would never know what you can encounter any given day. I feel that I can handle a lot with respect to blood or anything that could make a person queasy, but I don’t know how I would react if a patient came in with a severed limb or just anything that is extreme and out of the ordinary. As with a Proctologist, I don’t have an interest working with a specialist that deals with disorders of the colon, rectum, and anus. With both of these specialties, it may be because neither are areas that I would explore. I’m sure with proper training you will be more knowledgeable and see the importance and necessity of having a specialist that can provide care for patients that depend on them to make them feel better.At the end of the day though, you have to love what you do no matter which area of interest you choose.

    • Kanagu
      December 8, 2015 at 11:17 AM

      Working for an obstetrician would be a very intsreeting job. I currently work doing admissions and dispositions as well in my job and one thing I do, is take down all the information on the babies being born. Its amazing how many babies are born in just one month at the hospital, I do a minimum of 20 babies a month, and sometime the unfortunate part of documentation on babies who do not make it. Its a stressful field as well and you really have to practice empathy for those parents who have to deal with things going wrong.

  • ElinbjortJonsdottir
    August 1, 2014 at 11:05 PM

    Thank jou for this letter. I have been horrified by wat is happeningin the Palestian area. The idea that Jews of all people cold do this, knowing wat their grandparent went trough and doing the same, using the same excuse “they are dangerous to us” is it an excuse for inprisionment behind walls? To make a new Getto? Dos the old suffering of Jews give them right to rob and kill women, kids, old and young? I do not think so and I know the eye of the people of the world is opening. I believe this last act of Israel is going to hunt them for years to come. I ask with all my heart my God and they’s the one and same that this madness will end.

    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 5:14 PM

      1) Egypt also built a wall at its border with Gaza to stop terrorism but nobody cares because the only point is to blame Israel.
      2) The wall (that most of that is a wired fence) helped to reduce 95% of the terrorists attacks.
      3) Do you think that Gaza is a Getto? I wish Nazi’s gettos had this kind of live>
      Western Media Discovers ‘5-Star’ Gaza:

      Please, read my previous posts in this page.

    • Amk
      November 30, 2015 at 4:14 PM

      The letter couinntes, “It is true that the State Department allows persons born in territories whose sovereignty is disputed to choose to list their place of birth as reflecting any recognized position in the dispute. There is, however, no legitimate dispute about sovereignty over Jaffa, Tel Aviv or Haifa. These are firmly and indisputably sited within the borders of the State of Israel. No United Nations resolution, no rule of international law, so much as casts doubt that Israel is not sovereign in these places.”And yet, the AJC carefully excludes from its protest the fact that the State Dept. violates its own rule by to list Israel as the country of birth of Americans born in Jerusalem.

  • Danny
    August 4, 2014 at 3:38 AM

    Thanks you for writing pro palatine Article . I thing you forgot to mention the Israeli life routine. I thing this article is part of the danger, that underground rabbles talk the same

  • Solomon
    August 4, 2014 at 11:14 AM

    Thank you for this letter. I have been horrified by reading this . it’s just support the terror side . My parents have build Israel !!! We are in 2014 stop the terror . stop the Hamas = help to Palestine .

    • Monmon
      November 30, 2015 at 4:36 PM

      Texas. California. Both acquired in s earapte wars with Spain or Mexico. The rest of north America was taken from the native people.Go back far enough and there is no part of the Earth that was not subject to the spoils of war.The question is one of “will” not ” war.”

  • John
    August 5, 2014 at 3:39 AM

    Thank you for reminding the world that Jewish people are capable of such humanity. I know many are, but due to the vitriol coming from Israel, which (falsely) claims to be the voice of Jewish people, most of those who do have a level of humanity are frightened into silence.

    Believing and stating the rights of indigenous people to self-determination despite the colonial invaders’ wishes is not Anti-Semitism (a ludicrous allegation, the Palestinians being a Semitic people with a Semitic language, that is indicative of severe anti-Semanticism) but is a basic sense of Justice , and a sign of empathy (the lack of which is clinically called Socipathy).

    I can only hope that your voice reaches far and clenches at the heart of the Diaspora, and that they will realize that Israel is no more Jewish than Charlie Manson was a Christian. Unfortunately, I see no way that this tragedy can possibly end until the Diaspora which allows Israel its power recognizes that Israel’s actions are based on the teachings of Herzl, who blatantly stated that his depraved dream would only be possible through the creation of hatred for Jews, often where none existed prior to those who followed him rather than the Torah misled the peoples of the world.

    May we pray every day for the speedy and total and peaceful dismantlement of this Golden Calf that squats on Palestine.

  • Sophia
    August 10, 2014 at 7:37 AM

    Dear Gabor
    I love your work with addiction, but this, sadly, is an ignorant piece of writing.
    It’s interesting how you, like much of the media have ignored what is really going on in the Middle East.
    Horrific though events in Gaza have been, they were actually a sideshow to the appalling slaughter now raging across much of the Middle East as well as Libya in North Africa. Why is this not reported with such glee? Why no mention on your website. ISRAEL IS JUDGED BY DIFFERENT STANDARDS.
    Eg See:
    Also, people in Gaza are as much oppressed by radical Islam as by Israel, particularly women-
    And where do you think the millions of pounds has gone that has been thrown into Gaza over the years? Israel does not want to keep Gaza poor – terrorists do -as it keeps the population dependent on their hand outs. Hamas came to power as the PLO stole most of the aid that was given to Gaza. Blaming Israel for the poverty in Gaza is completely ignorant.
    Jewish anti-Isreal commentators are now fronting an anti-semitic movement dedicated to destruction of Israel as a state. Pieces like yours legitimise a movement to destroy the country.
    At least go to Israel and learn something about the country. I may remind you that it the only country in the Middle East that is a true democracy, that has equal rights for women and gay people, a decent welfare state etc. Surprisingly, I have not found a piece on your comments page about the appalling treatment of women all over the Middle East. Or gay people. Or poor people. ISRAEL IS JUDGED BY DIFFERENT STANDARDS.
    And lastly I do not know ANYONE in Israel who does not want peace. Or, shockingly, who does not believe that the country will be destroyed by the radical Islamic movement that is sweeping the Middle East (Israel has not caused this, it is a victim of it!). Comments like yours play a small part in that process.
    I am happy to take you to Israel, so you can see for yourself. I also beg of other Jewish people to visit Israel and to be aware that their criticisms of the country are used to legitimise often very extreme anti-semiticism.

  • Tom
    August 17, 2014 at 8:10 PM

    A suggestion to all Israel supporters. If you really want a peaceful solution, try actually listening to those who say end the illegal and immoral Gaza blockade. Like it or not, but that’s current intl. law. Just screaming “you’re an anti semite” at me because you can’t deal with factual information doesn’t help. Just the opposite. You then have zero credibility, and frankly look really foolish.

    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 5:40 PM

      The blockade is LEGAL, and it’s only for weapons. Tons and tons of goods and construction stuff get into Gaza from Israel every week.
      As an example, only in 6 months, 1,300 medical professionals from Gaza entered into Israel to take educational seminars.
      115,000 Palestinians crossed to Israel in 2014, to receive medical treatment.

      Palestinians’ Anti-Peace Campaign.
      By Arab journalist Khaled Abu Toameh

      Please, read the previous answers I posted and learn what Arabs say about this conflict.

  • Phil
    August 18, 2014 at 5:27 PM

    This is an incredible complicated situation. I might remind you that the whole crisis started when Hamas kidnapped and killed 3 innocent Israel youth. Hamas with its Muslim radical extremist view, would not have considered these boys innocent because of the Jihad. Yes some radical Israelis retaliated by killing the innocent Palestinian youth but these individuals have been caught and will be prosecuted. You won’t see the Hamas murderers prosecuted. Carte blanche in killing Jews.

    Hamas is to blame for the death of its citizens. They do not have any respect for human life. The Koran suggests that if you are killed in the cause of Allah and world Muslim domination you get a free ticket to heaven. As a mater of fact you get 72 virgins when you get there.

    This group has used financial aid that should have been used to bless the Palestinian people with schools and hospitals and homes and they have built tunnels and rockets.

    Israeli troops drop leaflet warnings to encourage the innocents away from the targets. But because the people have been brain washed into thinking they have a free ride to heaven they stay put and get blown to pieces. Hamas believes these folks go to heaven, so they allow them to die and then Hamas uses the deaths to gain sympathy from the world.

    I suggest you watch this video and enlighten yourselves to the truth about the brainwashing and hatred the Hamas and other radical Islamic groups are promoting.

    There is a prophetic utterance from the book of Genesis which says it all. It speaks of Abraham’s son Ishmael who is the Father of the middle eastern nations. ” He is like a wild donkey kicking and fighting his brother”. This battle will continue until the end of time. Get used to it. Come Jesus come. Then and only then will peace come to the region.

    • L. Geraghty
      October 11, 2014 at 8:44 AM

      The Israeli govt has admitted it was in fact not Hamas who kidnapped the 3 teens and furthermore they knew that when they nonetheless used it as a pretext to start the next round of bombing the sh** out of human beings and their homes and land.

    • Siana
      November 24, 2014 at 3:45 PM

      Excuse me? How does this even make sense to you? The crisis has been established 1920 by the Brits and has been exacerbating ever since. What about the 1948 war, do you suppose all participating nations were at immediate peace and prosperity after it?

      Do you really think there was peace and quiet before Hamas allegedly killed some kids?

      This is a very old and bitter conflict, with generations upon generations of bitterness and lies on either side. Only one of the participants has the hand to stop the conflict, and it’s Israel, the 1000 fold more powerful one of the conflict parties. Given that every bomb dropped, every person shot at either side creates many others bitter and willing to stand for their side, the only solution is going to be of reaching out a hand. I don’t see any actual evidence of Israel’s willingness to do so.

  • L. Geraghty
    October 11, 2014 at 8:42 AM

    Thank you for speaking out on this Dr. Mate. I have respected your work for awhile now and this honest approach to naming the ethnic cleansing in Gaza has increased my respect. Thank you for not remaining silent during an atrocity.

  • leona morley
    October 11, 2014 at 4:41 PM

    Thank you Dr. Gabor for your words of compassion and sanity in a world going mad.

    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 5:46 PM

      Please, Leona, if you really cared about the truth, read the answers I posted to others and you’ll see Arabs saying that what Dr. Mate is saying is not true.

  • Naima
    October 24, 2014 at 7:34 AM

    Thank you for having the courage to speak up.

  • Elle
    December 20, 2014 at 9:26 AM

    Thank you sir.

    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 5:56 PM

      Please, Elle, if you cared about the truth, see my previous responses and learn from Arabs who live in Israel.
      One more here:
      Muslim Israeli, Muhammad Zoabi:

  • Michael O'Dell
    January 9, 2015 at 3:43 AM

    We (those of us that choose to love) are all sad brother Gabor. Yet this too is cohesive.

    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 6:01 PM

      Watch Hamas executions of Palestinians in Gaza

      Jordanian opposition leader tells the truth for those who blame Israel

    • Hearther
      November 30, 2015 at 5:06 PM

      The specialist I would most like to work with is an Obstetrician. I have two chrdlien of my own and learned quickly that each birthing experience is unique and very different. I think it would be amazing to go to work every day, and never know what will happen. I also love babies! After I had my youngest child the doctor advised me not to have any more chrdlien so I feel like getting to go to work every day and see babies being born would be magical, but I would also get to go home and sleep peacefully! I am not sure how else to explain my wanting to work with an Obstetrician, but to say I have always thought it would be fascinating. Another specialist I would like to work with is Psychiatrist. I have a family history of mental illness and also addiction and have found all of my psychology classes intriguing. I am captivated by what goes into making each person who they are, and listening to every person’s story. I want to help people that are having struggles with their everyday lives find some kind of peace and happiness.I know we are supposed to pick one or two specialties we wouldn’t want to focus on, but I do not want to work under any surgical specialty. Blood does not make me squeamish but cutting into the body does not intrigue me. Cutting into another person’s skin is not on my list of top jobs I would like to do. I have great respect for neurosurgeons and cardiovascular surgeons, but it not something I want to help with.

  • James Coldsnow
    February 5, 2015 at 4:09 AM

    Thank you Dr. Mate for this insightful column. Being half Jewish i have always felt that we have a monopoly on pain. Your words allow me to reflect that maybe other people have 20 to 30% stake in the pain that we feel. I have an anger deep and feel as though i have been spinning a cycle of grief for my entire life. The anger has become a dear friend; what would i do without my comforting little buddy.



    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 6:02 PM

      James, you should see my previous responses and learn from what Arabs say (so different what Dr. Mate says).

  • Steve Hein
    April 27, 2015 at 6:31 PM

    I admire and respect you for writing this.

    Thank you.

    • Laura Rostom
      November 24, 2015 at 6:03 PM

      George Deek Arab Christian Israeli Diplomat tells the truth that Dr. Mate didn’t see:

    • Jitendra
      November 30, 2015 at 3:47 PM

      To Anonymouse I got beaten up in scoohl, just because I’m Jewish. I worked as a security guard in Canada and saw some awful things happen on the streets of Vancouver at night. The police refused to come. I made ALLIA and have been wounded in battle here, but I don’t regret it in the least. People here in ISRAEL think with their HEARTS more than any where else in the world. I love it !!!!!!

  • Laura Rostom
    November 18, 2015 at 12:42 PM

    I’m shocked with your opinion. I’ve talked with MANY Arabs (Muslims, Christians and Druze) in Israel and the West Bank and they told me the completely OPPOSITE. They say their problems’ root is in the Palestinian leaders that are liars, corrupts, that they abuse and use Palestinians.
    I didn’t tape these persons (they told me it would be a risk for them) but, if you want to know the truth, I can send you videos and articles by other Arabs speaking out against Palestinian leaders and supporting Israel. Let me know.
    Laura Rostom

  • Ben Mak
    September 23, 2017 at 4:27 PM

    Beautiful written by someone who is saving lives of addicted Canadians daily. In mainstream Press mantra Palestinians are forgotten or demonized.
    Shameless Laura Rostom who writes her frequent Zionist/rasists reply, is trying to spoil this deeply humanitarian voice.

  • Paula Coogan
    February 20, 2018 at 1:04 PM

    I personally feel the ‘ordinary people’ of the world should agree that all forms of war should cease. war should not be a solution to any problem. Palestine is in my heart. I am Irish and I feel compassion and pain and heartbreak for the Palestinian people. I love the Jewish people who usually by nature are kind and compassionate and full of wisdom. Israeli government are a cancer on the Jewish people. Greed, power, and man’s inhumanity to man is prevalent here. Peace is the only way there is no other answer. yet, man never learns this lesson. the sign of insanity, doing the same thing over and over again expecting different results. As an individual I can only let it begin with me. I make a conscious decision not to hate the Israeli’s I have decided to pray and hope that there is more love in the world than hatred but it has to begin with me.

  • Ron Barak
    July 16, 2019 at 2:55 PM

    For some reason, you make it axiomatic that the weaker side (we’ll get to that in a moment) is always right, and can do no wrong, while the stronger side can only be the aggressor.

    The Arab side had numerous occasions to have their independent state:1937, 1947, 2000-2001, 2008, to name just a few. They have always said no, as their goal is not an independent Palestinian Arab state, but the elimination of the Jewish state.

    Now for the weak/strong side: how is it that a nation of some 14 million who is faced by more than a Billion is considered the stronger one? How is a state on less than 9 million, who is surrounded by enemy states of comprised of ten of million of people is considered the stronger one?

    That the KGB in the 1960s managed to reframe the Arab-Israeli conflict in an Israeli-Palestinian one, and thus tuning the obvious Israeli David into a Goliath, is a manifestation of the prowess of the Soviet propaganda machine, and the gullibility of large portions of the Western population.

  • Sofia
    October 3, 2019 at 7:10 AM

    You just dropped a bomb

  • Lena
    October 22, 2019 at 12:58 PM

    Dear Dr. Mate, I deeply admire your work and your spiritual contribution to the human mind. But, as I have met many former Zionists, who were also great humanitarians and amazing people, one question is haunting me that I cannot get an answer to. Why did you believe that Zionism was a beautiful dream? Wasn’t it clear from the start, that: 1) A national home was planned not just for those Jews who wish to settle in Palestine, but for ALL Jews all over the world, and as such it required an enormous space, which makes impossible to fulfill in a bi-national state, 2) a purely Jewish state requires a removal (however gradual) of non-Jews from the area = ethnic cleansing? Wasn’t it clear after what Herzl said “to ensure our supremacy over an area, sufficient to satisfy our needs” and what Zionist forefathers said “Maximum land with minimum Arabs on it”? What was it that you thought Zionism was, to see it as a “beautiful dream” instead of settler-colonial project, based on ethnic cleansing, sanctioned by British colonialism in “Balfour declaration”? I am sure those who believed in Zionism imagined it in a positive way. Which way was it?

  • Dubravka
    November 20, 2019 at 12:01 PM

    Dr. Maté, I admire and respect your work very much. I read carefully both your writing and most comments.
    I still have questions that your blog post raised for me. Today I came across a presentation discussing a number of issues for which I would find your comments and views valuable (especially the ones about the pattern and unconsciousness).
    Also, I would love to hear your comments about the larger, global, picture of Judaism/ antisemitism, which spans centuries of historical development.
    Here is a brilliant and disturbing lecture by retired medieval history professor Richard Landes (Boston U), published yesterday (November 2019). I would greatly appreciate your comments:

    Thank you.

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