Fast — Food for Thought

An action, 18.7. – 3.9.2010.

Mid June 2010, when I weighed 77 kilos I decided to diet. With my height of 57” various Internet sites suggested that an ideal body weight should be some­where between 55 and 72 kilos.

I am a vegan and can there­fore not sympa­thise with the popular low-carbo­hy­drate and high-protein meat diets, where not eating never­the­less remains an indul­gence because it causes grief to animals.

On the 18th of July I started fasting. Not intending this to become an ascetic exer­cise however, I decided to fast more or less only every alter­nate day, eating normally on the other days.

On my fasting days I drink:

Bottled water

Fruit juice

Assam or Earl Grey tea with soy, oat or rice, milk substitutes

Mint tea

Fruit tea

Ginger tea

Miso in hot water

Yeast extract in hot water

Caro”, grain coffee


Table of Fasting (body weight measured first thing)

18. July fasting weight: 74.4 kilos
19. July weight: 73.7 kilos
20. July fasting weight: 74.1 kilos
21. July weight: 73.4 kilos
22. July fasting weight: 73.8 kilos
23. July weight: 73.0 kilos
24. July weight: 73.4 kilos
25. July weight: 73.2 kilos
26. July holiday weight: 73.3 kilos
27. July holiday weight:
28. July holiday weight:
29. July holiday weight:
30. July holiday weight:
31. July fasting weight: 73.5 kilos
1. August weight: 72.6 kilos
2. August fasting weight: 73.2 kilos
3. August weight: 72.3 kilos
4. August weight: 72.7 kilos
5. August fasting weight: 73.3 kilos
6. August weight: 72.0 kilos
7. August fasting weight: 72.2 kilos
8. August weight: 71.8 kilos
9. August fasting weight: 72.0 kilos
10. August weight: 71.6 kilos
11. August fasting weight: 71.1 kilos
12. August weight: 71.0 kilos
13. August fasting weight: 71.2 kilos
14. August weight: 70.7 kilos
15. August fasting weight: 71.5 kilos
16. August weight: 71.0 kilos
17. August fasting weight: 70.3 kilos
18. August weight: 69.8 kilos
19. August fasting weight: 70.2 kilos
20. August weight: 70.2 kilos
21. August fasting weight: 70.4 kilos
22. August weight: 70.1 kilos
23. August fasting weight: 70.4 kilos
24. August weight: 69.6 kilos
25. August fasting weight: 69.8 kilos
26. August weight: 69.5 kilos
27. August fasting weight: 70.1 kilos
28. August weight: 69.1 kilos
29. August fasting weight: 69.7 kilos
30. August weight: 69.1 kilos
31. August fasting weight: 69.8 kilos
1. September weight: 68.9 kilos
2. September holiday weight: 69.3 kilos
3. September holiday

Whether meat is consumed or not a diet remains an indul­gence for the priv­i­leged. People fast for diverse reasons: when there is a food shortage, health or reli­gious purposes, to lose weight or as a polit­ical demon­stra­tion. This form of self-disci­pline, absten­tion and self-denial may be employed as activism.

During my fasting time I became aware of Firas Maraghy’s protest action outside the Israeli embassy in Berlin. Where my fasting is a measure against over­feeding, a symptom of late capi­talism, for the Pales­tinian Firas Maraghy a hunger strike is the only way he will gain atten­tion for his unjus­ti­fi­able situation.

Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost e.V.

(Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East)

Member Organ­i­sa­tion of the Euro­pean Jews for a Just Peace (EJJP)

Haus der Demokratie und Menschen­rechte, Greif­swalder Str. 4,

10405 Berlin. Fax: 030 396 2147 www.juedische-stimme.d… mail@juedische-stimme.…

Firas Maraghy has been on hunger strike in front of the Israeli Embassy in Berlin, for over two weeks. Mr. Maraghy is a Pales­tinian from East Jerusalem. East Jerusalem has been occu­pied since 1967 and was later annexed; Pales­tinians from East Jerusalem have freedom of move­ment but Israel does not proffer them citi­zen­ship. And now the embassy refuses to provide a Laissez Passer”, the East Jerusalem Pales­tinians’ travel docu­ment, for Mr. Maraghy’s daughter Zaynab, who was born in December 2009. This Laissez Passer” and the resul­tant regis­tra­tion would guar­antee his daughter the right to live in Jerusalem. Employees in the consulate depart­ment advised Firas Maraghy to obtain a German pass­port for his daughter, as her mother, Mr. Maraghy’s wife, is a German citizen. Israeli border control offi­cials might however, at any time refuse little Zaynab entry with a German passport.

Mr. Maraghy was further­more informed by the Israeli author­i­ties that he would lose his resi­dence permit for Jerusalem should he not return to live in Jerusalem for at least between one and a half to two years, by May 2011, at the latest. The author­i­ties there have more­over refused to register Mr. Maraghy’s marriage. If the marriage is not recorded, Mr. Maraghy’s wife would prob­ably not be able to get a resi­dence permit in Jerusalem. Under these circum­stances Mr. Maraghy has had to come to an unrea­son­able deci­sion. He has to decide between his family of origin in East Jerusalem and his family in Berlin. In order not to lose his right to live in Jerusalem, where his family has lived for more than 150 years, Mr. Maraghy would have to sepa­rate from his wife and child.

The case of Firas Maraghy is typical of the customary Israeli poli­tics thou­sands of Pales­tinians expe­ri­ence. For decades the Israeli author­i­ties have been running a poli­tics of repres­sion in the occu­pied areas and East Jerusalem. In many cases this is carried out bureau­crat­i­cally, in that Pales­tinians, who have left their homes for some time, have to prove their right to live there again by presenting count­less docu­ments — for example, receipts for taxes paid over the last twenty years. They are deprived of their right to return to Jerusalem, their Israeli health insur­ance is declared null and void etc. In Silwan, the area where Firas Maraghy was born, the Israeli author­i­ties gave a right wing group, the EL-AD organ­i­sa­tion permis­sion to carry out archae­o­log­ical exca­va­tions under Pales­tinian houses. They have been trying to rid them­selves of these by turning Silwan into an archae­o­log­ical park. Ministry of the Inte­rior offi­cials in Jerusalem, who explained to Mr. Maraghy that he has no right to live in his home­land, have them­selves possibly only lived in Israel for 15 years. They have these rights because they are Jewish and Mr. Maraghy is not. We, as Jews in Germany, descen­dants of people whose citi­zen­ship was with­drawn by the German state because they were Jewish, are ashamed that a state, which describes itself as a Jewish State”, treats people in this way.

We call on the Israeli embassy to abandon its discrim­i­na­tory poli­tics and to make use of its powers of discre­tion, by making out a Laissez Passer” for Zaynab Maraghy.

Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost, (Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East). Prof. Dr. Rolf Verleger

Exec­u­tive committee: Prof. Dr. Rolf Verleger (Vors.), Iris Hefets-Borchardt, Michal Kaiser-Livne, Bärbel Wolter­städt, Dr. Kate Katzen­stein-Leit­erer. Bank details: Account number. 1053200 at the Bank for Sozial­wirtschaft, Sort code 10020500. Recog­nised as serving the public good in 2008, by the tax author­i­ties in Berlin. A protest action, supported by Mr. Maraghy will take place in front of the Israeli embassy (Auguste-Viktoria-Str. 74 – 76, on the corner of Flins­berger Platz) on 12th August at 3.30 pm

(Trans­la­tion from German T.U.)

Tanya Ury is a member of Jüdische Stimme für gerechten Frieden in Nahost (Jewish Voice for a Just Peace in the Middle East).

Firas Maraghy, 3rd september, 2010

Press State­ment

In my press state­ment of 31st August 2010 I explained that the aim of my hunger strike, which I started on 26.07.2010, has always been to register my daughter Zaynab, who was born in December 2009, as a citizen of East Jerusalem, and to register my marriage to Wiebke Diehl, who is a German national. From the start I have been demanding the secure right for my family and myself to live in the city of my birth and that of my ances­tors. This demand is in keeping with inter­na­tional law, in partic­ular with Article 13 of the Universal Decla­ra­tion of Human Rights.

Since my last press state­ment there have been some changes. In that state­ment I offered to travel to Jerusalem for talks with Mr. Amos Arbel, Director of the Regis­tra­tion and Civil Status Depart­ment of the Ministry of the Inte­rior, accom­pa­nied by either a high-level German politi­cian or a well-known public figure. The Israeli embassy has assured me that these talks will lead to a solu­tion. I was offered a defi­nite appoint­ment for talks with Mr. Arbel, but because this was in mid September, when my health will not yet permit me to travel, it has been agreed to post­pone the meeting for a few weeks.

I am willing to travel to Jerusalem for such a meeting. Mr. Polenz, chair of the Bundestag’s Foreign Affairs Committee, has offered to accom­pany me. My heart­felt thanks go to him for nego­ti­ating between my family and the Israeli embassy.

The Israelis on their part have demanded that my daughter Zaynab must be in Jerusalem for her regis­tra­tion. I have been promised a written guar­antee that a German pass­port will not be an obstacle to her being regis­tered as a citizen of East Jerusalem, and I am only prepared to take my daughter with me if I actu­ally receive this guarantee.

I hope the inten­tion as stated by the Israelis to find an amicable solu­tion will actu­ally lead to the regis­tra­tion of my daughter and of my marriage. I never thought I would be able to change the whole polit­ical situ­a­tion; although I continue to basi­cally hold Israeli Embassies respon­sible for Pales­tinians from East Jerusalem living abroad, I am there­fore prepared to compro­mise. I will there­fore end my 41 days of hunger strike, this phase of my protest, at 5 pm on September 4th. I am doing this, trusting that the Israeli promises nego­ti­ated by high-level politi­cians will be adhered to.


2010 (18.7. – 3.9.) Fast Food for Thought, fasting action reflecting on Pales­tinian Firas Maraghy’s hunger strike in front of the Israeli embassy, Berlin (D)

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