Israel Shahak (1933-2001) was a scientist as well as an activist fighting for Palestinian civil and human rights. He strongly opposed the Israeli apartheid policies both in Israel and abroad. He has been one of the most important activists in exposed the racist ideology of the 'jewish state' that was created and has been supported by the United States for over 50 years.
He was born on April 28, 1933 in Warsaw, Poland, to an Orthodox Jewish family. He was captured with his parents by the Nazis in 1943 and imprisoned in the Poniatowo concentration camp. While he escaped with his mother soon after, his father died there. They were arrested again later that year and lived through two years at the Bergen-Belsen camp.
After the war they emigrated to Palestine, which was occupied by the established state of Israel in 1948. Shahak served briefly in the army in the mid-1950s. He received his doctorate from the Hebrew University in Jerusalem in 1961. Two years later he began his tenure there as lecturer and then professor of organic chemistry. He was voted best teacher year after year by his students, and he gained international recognition for his research into cancer treatment.
He became a political activist in 1965 when he witnessed an ultra-religious Jew who refused to allow his phone to be used on the Sabbath to call for an ambulance for a non-Jew needing medical attention in his neighborhood. Shahak inquired to the Rabbinical Court of Jerusalem, which informed him that the man had acted correctly according to the laws of the Talmud. He co-founded the Council Against House Destruction in 1968, which openly opposed the Israeli occupation of the land annexed after The Six Day War. In 1970, he became Chairman of the Israeli League of Human and Civil Rights, advocating equals rights regardless of religion or race.
Shahak opposed Yasser Arafat and the PLO, and also supported feminist liberation. He was a friend of Noam Chomsky, and Chomsky has frequently cited him in his writings and talks. He wrote a number of essays as well as his Translations from the Hebrew Press, in which he regularly translated and commented on thousands of articles written only in Hebrew, which were invaluable in helping those who don't know Hebrew to understand the truth of the situation in Israel. He wrote three books, published by the Pluto Press:
Shahak died at the age of 68 on July 2, 2001 of diabetes in Jerusalem.