Thursday, January 14, 2021

  • Thursday, January 14, 2021
  • Elder of Ziyon

I'm very sorry to say that Petra Marquardt-Bigman, a long time columnist for this site, has passed away.

Petra was a fearless scholar and a passionate writer. She had written for publications on the Left and the Right, from The Guardian to The Jerusalem Post, from Haaretz to Tablet. She wrote articles for The Forward that challenged that site's liberal audience.

Her Times of Israel bio probably captured her own self image best: "Petra Marquardt-Bigman is a politically homeless lapsed leftist who can’t get used to living in a time when the Nazi slogan “The Jews are our misfortune” is considered quite acceptable in its 21st century version “The Jewish state is our misfortune.” She therefore writes mostly about antisemitism, anti-Israel activism and BDS, i.e. Bigoted Double Standards. She grew up in Germany and has a Ph.D. in contemporary history."

I don't have her entire biography so I cannot write as much about her life as I would like. She wasn't Jewish but married an Israeli, and she was a proud Israeli citizen. Her husband David fought for Jerusalem in the Six Day War but he was injured, and those injuries led to his death. 

As a native German, Petra understood antisemitism and was an expert on the topic. Her articles are smart, well-argued, filled with references and effective. It was truly an honor to host her writings here. 

Petra loved Israel and she loved the Jewish people. 

Mrs. Elder and I visited Petra a couple of times at her beautiful Bat Yam apartment  with a stunning view of the Mediterranean. She was a gracious host and one of my fondest memories of Israel is sitting on her balcony, drinking tea and shmoozing while looking at the beach and the sea in the moonlight. 

I learned she had cancer in October when I noticed that she hadn't tweeted in a while and contacted her. Even though she was obviously in pain, she remained gracious and appreciative of the good in her life. She wrote to me, "I have to say that with all I’ve ever had to say about he horrors of Israel’s medical system and the hospitals, the oncology department in Tel Hashomer is amazing. What’s also amazing when you spend a lot of time in a place like Tel Hashomer is what a huge contribution American donors make. Absolutely awesome."

Petra was a wonderful author and a treasured friend. Israel has lost a peerless advocate. 

I will miss her terribly. 

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Elder of Ziyon - حـكـيـم صـهـيـون

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