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Conflicting dreams and realities: Amos Oz in Rochester

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I read Amos Oz’s A Tale of Love and Darkness back in 2009. The book was a special gift for me, from a little boy I went to school with in Brussels many years ago. I remember he lent me a copy of “The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” (a French translation of course) over a lazy summer in third or fourth grade. I never forgot that book and ended up discovering a hefty portion of Twain’s work later, in the original English, after my family moved back to Pakistan. We were both diligent students, we both loved books.

In his thirties my friend moved to Israel as a kind of lifelong commitment to the Zionist dream, something bigger than himself that provided a sense of purpose and clarity. I immigrated to the U.S. in my twenties, after I got married, and put down roots in the country’s Northeast. My friend and I had recently reconnected on social media, after some 20 odd years, and Oz’s book was what he chose to send me. Considered a magnum opus by one of Israel’s most beloved intellectuals, perhaps the book was a way for him to summate his own feelings for Israel.

The Zionist dream was very much on my mind when I went to listen to a lecture by Amos Oz in April, nine years later, in Rochester, New York, where he had been invited as the inaugural Farash Fellow for the Advancement of Jewish Humanities and Culture.

In fact, Oz’s lecture had to do with Zionism’s “conflicting dreams,” and although I had a fairly accurate idea of his politics, I was interested in how he would frame his presentation in the context of the weekly Israeli attacks on defenseless protestors in Gaza — Palestinians demanding to leave a densely populated ghetto of almost two million refugees, half of them children, in order to return home.

Oz started with Israel’s unique genesis, the only country in the world to emerge from a dream. I am skeptical of singular narratives generally, as human endeavor tends to multiply and flourish in infinite permutations, filling out all possible social molds and historical gaps, but this proclamation triggered a specific response in me. I was born in Pakistan, a country created in 1947 (not too long before the division of Palestine) to secure a separate homeland for the Muslims of the subcontinent. An ambitious dream, if ever there was one.

Oz spoke enthusiastically about the vast spectrum of Zionist dreams that included visions of reviving the good old days by creating an Eastern European shtetl in the Middle East; an Austro-Hungarian haven with red tiled roofs and good manners à la Theodor Herzl; a Marxist paradise where Stalin would be invited for a grand tour of the kibbutzim and die of happiness; a North European democracy modeled after Scandinavian countries; a semi-religious, social anarchist, loose federation of small communities; and finally some form of European colonialism.

Although many of these ideas were incongruous and contradictory, there was a common denominator, that “here in the land of our forefathers, our hopes would be fulfilled.”

I began to think of the dreams for Pakistan. There was, foremost, the poet and philosopher Muhammad Iqbal’s hope for an Islamic reconstructionism that would galvanize Muslim intellectual life; Jinnah’s vision of a modern democracy grounded in Islamic socialism with equal rights for all, Choudhary Rahmat Ali’s creative imagining of South Asian geography as a continent similar to Europe with a multitude of autonomous nations, post-partition labor movements that saw Pakistan’s future in a communist light; literary debates about Urdu which examined Indo-Muslim selfhood and what that meant for the state’s four linguistically disparate provinces; and then there was the reality of how British colonialism birthed two postcolonial states imprinted with their own peculiar nationalist synthesis.

Oz speculated about whether Israel’s founders would be disappointed by its final manifestation, but he attributed such dissonance to the nature of dreams — reality is always flawed. I am a little harder on Pakistan and colonial partitions in general. The surveying and compartmentalization of natives into religio-ethnic silos, the deliberate creation of power imbalances within those administrative categories, and the carving up of nation-states based on colonial rather than indigenous logic, injected ethnonationalism into the DNA of these newly formed postcolonial polities, irrespective of their richly storied dreams.

Oz went on to describe Israel as a typical Mediterranean country, full of argumentative, passionate people who belong in a Fellini movie, rather than a Bergman philosophical drama. Israel is like Greece or Barcelona, perhaps it could be compared to North African countries but, he threw up his arms, “I’ve never been there.” It struck me that he didn’t mention Lebanon, the most vibrant Mediterranean country right next door, with intractable historical ties to Israel. It’s in line with how Israel locates itself in Europe, both intellectually and emotionally, while remaining physically enmeshed in the East.

Returning to dreams and ideological discrepancies, Oz extolled Israel’s lack of civil war. Although it was a divided family, he said, they all had the same last name — Zionism. Could nationalist purity be articulated any better, I thought. He chided other countries for infighting, naming the American civil war as an example of such a catastrophic national failure, and took pride in that no more than 80 Jews had been killed by other Jews (the exact context wasn’t clear to me).

Once again my mind began to race. The American civil war was bloody no doubt but hardly a misguided spat between family members. It ensured the end of slavery, one of the vilest crimes in human history, described by Frederick Douglass in these powerful words:

“I have shown that slavery is wicked—wicked, in that it violates the great law of liberty, written on every human heart—wicked, in that it violates the first command of the decalogue—wicked, in that it fosters the most disgusting licentiousness—wicked, in that it mars and defaces the image of God by cruel and barbarous inflictions—wicked, in that it contravenes the laws of eternal justice, and tramples in the dust all the humane and heavenly precepts of the New Testament.”

I am also wary of ranking human families (or nations) based on the number of persons they kill within their own community (or borders) versus those they murder outside of those racial or civil frontiers. All human life is equally sacrosanct if we are to believe our own religious and/or democratic ideals and, therefore, the true test of our greatness is simply how many we don’t massacre anywhere in the world.

Against Oz’s point that the Israeli civil war continued to be verbal and “civilized,” I wanted to juxtapose the barbaric treatment of indigenous Palestinians whose dehumanization and daily regulation have reached untenable limits. Could an escalation in violence be a fair price to pay in order to end 70 years of usurpation and human rights abuses, for almost half of the people who live between the Mediterranean and the Jordan River? Or should we concern ourselves exclusively with the Jewish population in that area? What would be more civilized?

Although Amos Oz hinted at his liberal politics, he never cared to delve into any details, urging the audience to check his views online. He decided to focus on a non-controversial Israeli dream instead, the revival of the Hebrew language.

After listing the standard tropes related to Israeli ingenuity and chutzpah (high tech nation, impressive military, Nobel prizes, desert in bloom), Oz homed in on Hebrew as Israel’s greatest achievement. He spoke about the long history of Hebrew literature, how it thrived under Islamic rule (those were better times, he emphasized repeatedly), and marveled at the language’s inner flexibility as well as the linguistic twists supplied by Jewish immigrants. Although he saw Palestinians as having some fluency in Hebrew, adding to its worldwide community of speakers, he failed to mention any worthwhile absorption of Arabic words into the language.

Diversity is fertile grounds for creativity, he concluded, but he seemed to drink in Jewish diversity only – all those German, Yiddish, Persian, Arabic, Russian, and Polish-speaking immigrants who used their prayer book to communicate with one another. He failed to draw a picture of Jews, Muslims, Christians, and people of other faiths and bloodlines, mixing together in a land used to multiplicities.

He held up Jews as consummate rebels, whose anarchist gene forces them to doubt, argue, and perpetually reexamine the truth. Yet when I looked around the room, that’s hardly what I saw. Oz’s lecture was a stunning success. The space was packed to the brim. There were fans standing against the back wall, students sitting on the floor, at Oz’s feet. The youth looked up at him with admiration, mesmerized by his warmth and wisdom. Older folks held his gaze with a sort of affection, as if they all knew he was speaking the truth, and were pleased with this intimate knowledge.

There was no Q&A, making it impossible to engage those difficult questions that Amos Oz had gracefully evaded. He ended with how the “clash” between Israelis and Palestinians was not an American Western, with good guys and bad guys. It’s not violence that’s evil per se, he claimed, but rather aggression. I wasn’t sure what that meant. No one challenged or rebelled. He walked out a hero.

I was left to reflect on the bonhomie of the event – a tacit accord between the hundreds who attended and organized that we were going to fete certain unilateral achievements whilst ignoring the foundation on which they were built. Of course, the same could be said of any settler colony, the U.S. being no exception. Whenever we convene to talk about American accomplishments, it would behoove us to preface those discussions with the land theft, genocide, and slavery that underpin the meaning of Americanness. It would shift the tenor of the conversation quite a bit.

The spectacle being enacted in Israel, in real time, can be unbearably grotesque. On May 12, an Israeli wins the Eurovision Song Contest (how does that geography even compute?) and Tel Aviv explodes in riotous public festivities, which are still ongoing on May 14, when at least 60 unarmed Palestinian protestors are killed in Gaza, a narrow strip of land where they’ve been held captive since 2007. The two cities are 50 miles apart. The U.S. Embassy is moved to Jerusalem that same Monday, Israel’s day of independence, which also signifies the beginning of the Palestinian Nakba — what made the Jewish settlement of Palestine possible. Such is the intransigent twinning of opposites that binds Israel to Palestine.

What is convivial and proper, and what is not? Feel-good lectures clearly are (with their comforting cadence, smooth consistency, and easy wash down), while blood and gore are not. It’s not just the dead, it’s also those whose bodies’ sanctity has been breached. How attached we become to our eyes, our arms, our legs. What must it feel like, what adjustments must be made, to have them torn from our bodies? These are not questions for polite company.

In Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s film “Kandahar,” there is a haunting scene in which young Afghan men and boys with amputated legs, struggling with their crutches, rush to catch prosthetic limbs dropped by parachute, an ironic gift from the purveyors of war. A sky full of prosthetic limbs, a sky full of leaflets warning imprisoned Gazans to remain within their cage, the width of holes made in children’s bodies by butterfly bullets, what tear gas canisters do when they come into contact with the human face. Is it enough to tell ourselves the lie that “they brought this upon themselves and deserve everything they get”? In the end, how will we extricate ourselves from this surreal world we’ve organized? It might have become impossible already.

Mara Ahmed

Mara Ahmed is a Pakistani American activist, artist and filmmaker based in Rochester, NY. She was educated in Belgium, Pakistan and the United States. Her third documentary “A Thin Wall,” a film about the partition of India in 1947, was released in 2015. She is now working on a documentary about racism in America. Follow her on Twitter at @maraahmed

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48 Responses

  1. just on May 31, 2018, 10:46 am

    Thanks for bearing witness and informing all of us here of his presentation (sans Q&A!!!), Mara. I very much appreciate your analysis and your obvious understanding of history and present- day events. Thank goodness that you are willing to share. One has to wonder why there was no Q&A… then again, it is perhaps patently obvious as evidenced by : “No one challenged or rebelled. He walked out a hero.”

    Great reporting and wonderful writing, too.

    • Misterioso on June 1, 2018, 2:36 pm

      BREAKING News:
      “Razan al-Najjar, a 21 year-old Palestinian woman and volunteer paramedic who was providing medical aid to participants in the Great Return March, was shot and killed today near Khan Younis in Gaza by Israeli military snipers. According to the health ministry, she was wearing the white uniform of a medic when she was shot in the chest.” (Rachel Corrie Foundation For Peace and Justice, June 1/18)

      • just on June 1, 2018, 6:08 pm

        I saw that horrible/criminal news, Misterioso.

        She was beautiful inside and out.
        From Amira Hass on May 28th:

        “Along the Gaza Border, They Shoot Medics (Too), Don’t They?

        An ambulance a minute, 1,300 people shot in a day: Gaza’s Shifa Hospital faces crises that would swamp the world’s best hospitals …

        … Our brave soldiers also shoot at medical teams that approach the fence to rescue casualties. Orders are orders, even when it means firing at paramedics. As a result, the medics work in teams of six: If one is wounded, two others will carry him away for treatment and the three who remain will continue to work, praying that they won’t be hit themselves.

        On May 14, a paramedic from the Palestinian Civil Defense was killed, shot on the way to rescuing an injured protester. For around 20 minutes, his colleagues tried to reach him but failed, deterred by the heavy gunfire. The paramedic died of lung collapse. In the week of May 13-20, an additional 24 medical personnel were injured — eight by live ammunition, six by bullet shrapnel, one by a tear gas grenade and nine by exposure to tear gas. Twelve ambulances were damaged. Between March 30 and May 20, a total of 238 medical personnel were injured and 38 ambulances were damaged.

        On May 23, following a visit to a hospital and a rehabilitation center in Gaza, UN Relief and Works Agency Commissioner-General Pierre Krähenbühl highlighted the ramifications of the recent events: “I truly believe that much of the world completely underestimates the extent of the disaster in human terms that occurred in the Gaza Strip since the marches began on March 30. … As many people or even slightly more were injured during a total of seven days of protests than were injured during the full duration of the 2014 conflict. That is truly staggering. During the visits, I was also struck not only by the number of injured but also by the nature of the injuries. … The pattern of small entry wounds and large exit wounds indicates ammunition used caused severe damage to internal organs, muscle tissue and bones. Both the staff of the Gazan Ministry of Health hospitals, NGOs and UNRWA clinics are struggling to deal with extremely complex wounds and care.””

        more heartbreak @

  2. eljay on May 31, 2018, 11:41 am

    … There was no Q&A, making it impossible to engage those difficult questions that Amos Oz had gracefully evaded. He ended with how the “clash” between Israelis and Palestinians was not an American Western, with good guys and bad guys. It’s not violence that’s evil per se, he claimed, but rather aggression. I wasn’t sure what that meant. No one challenged or rebelled. He walked out a hero. …

    It’s called snake-oil, y’all
    It’s been around for a long, long time

    (with apologies to Steve Earle)

    Mr. Oz was selling it and, evidently, he had a lot of eager buyers.

  3. annie on May 31, 2018, 11:55 am

    beautiful jarring writing. thank you Mara Ahmed.

  4. fivishmail on May 31, 2018, 12:42 pm

    “defenseless protestors in Gaza” really?
    Hamas admits that most killed were its operatives armed with AK47s or explosives.
    Do you think the readers here are stupid?
    You are not the only source of information and it seems Hamas terrorists tell the truth.
    Shame on you.

    • eljay on May 31, 2018, 2:12 pm

      || fivish mail: .. it seems Hamas terrorists tell the truth. … ||

      If only Zionist terrorists could do the same.

    • Mooser on May 31, 2018, 3:37 pm

      “Hamas admits that most killed were its operatives armed with AK47s or explosives.”

      “The Palestinian ’cause’ is bougus, a creation of the KGB in 1964. Nobody with access to the truth can believe a word of what is written on this web site. Its all propaganda to support the Islamisation of the world.” “fivishmail”

      Too late, you’ve already registered and commented. Soon you will be seized by an uncontrollable compulsion to face east. Are ya ready, boots? Start walkin’

    • Keith on May 31, 2018, 4:56 pm

      FIVISHMAIL- “Hamas admits that most killed were its operatives armed with AK47s or explosives.”

      If we limit ourselves to the protesters only, only about 42 of the 120 killed were linked to Hamas, none of them armed. One has only to look at the casualty figures to see who was doing all of the killing and who was being killed and, perhaps more significantly, maimed for life by an increasingly sadistic Israeli military. The balance of forces is so asymmetrical that your comment is akin to someone shooting fish in a barrel claiming self defense because the hapless fish had teeth. Gaza is an open air prison where people cannot leave even by boat.

      “Let’s return to Bardawil. So he said that 50 of the 60 killed were Hamas members. I checked and was told that the official figure Hamas has is that from the beginning of the March of Return on March 30, 42 people linked to Hamas were among the 120 people killed: members of the movement, well-known activists, members of Hamas families.

      It seems that about 20 members of Hamas’ military wing were killed, and they were killed not near the protests but under circumstances that still must be clarified. But the rest were unarmed rank-and-file protesters. And they demonstrated because they were Gazans.” (Amira Hass)

    • Boris on June 1, 2018, 12:13 am

      Do you think the readers here are stupid?

      You must be new here…

    • Emory Riddle on June 1, 2018, 9:21 am

      Wow. Armed with AK47s were they? Explosives too? Most of them were Hamas operatives? Admitted by Hamas?

      Israel says it and you believe it.

    • Misterioso on June 1, 2018, 10:30 am


      “One mistake that was made, you’ll agree with me, was when Hamas leader Salah Bardawil went on TV and boasted about how 50 of those killed last Monday were members of Hamas.”

      “’It was a huge mistake. And it’s untrue. Some of those killed were part of Hamas, but to say that the majority were? It’s simply not true. We tried to speak with Hamas and the other parties as much as we could, asking them to step aside. They are constantly in the spotlight, this was our turn. I think that what Bardawil meant to say was that his movement’s members are willing to sacrifice themselves, he did not mean to say that there were more Hamas members at the protest, because it’s not true, and no one can claim that. His statement was meant more for the public in Gaza in order to promote his party’s image, and I do not think that he thought about the consequences of his statement and what the Israelis would do with it.’”

      • Citizen on June 1, 2018, 5:24 pm

        “His statement was meant more for the public in Gaza in order to promote his party’s image, and I do not think that he thought about the consequences of his statement and what the Israelis would do with it.’”

        Duh. With dumb Palestinians like that, they don’t need foreign enemies. I mean, it’s not like he has AIPAC supporting him….

      • MHughes976 on June 1, 2018, 5:30 pm

        I think it certain that most of the people who died in the recent horrible events agreed with Hamas about the illegitimacy of Israel and the immoral nature of the blockade. Some may have received military training from Hamas or paid money into its meagre coffers. None of this comes close to meaning that it was legitimate to kill them as if they were members of an attacking military force, since they never had and no one could have thought that they had a single weapon between them which could rationally be expected in any moment of encounter to inflict even a bruise or a scratch on a single Israeli.
        I admit that resisting civilians may sometimes, given enough time, have a lucky moment in which they do cause some damage but this does not make them into a military force or make it rational to fear them or the damage they may do, still less to claim that they are terrorising you. Moreover, the fact that someone has Hamas style ideas, or any ideas, in his head does not make it fair to blow his brains out.

      • wondering jew on June 1, 2018, 5:58 pm

        MHughes- I agree that there is an important element of brutality involved in the sniper tactic vis a vis the return marchers. But for a moment let me propose that lines in the sand between warring groups generally achieve some level of objectivity, that crossing certain lines literally lines on a map written on the land, is considered to be an act of war.
        Let me leave it like that for now.
        Your turn.

      • Maghlawatan on June 1, 2018, 6:12 pm

        Israel is occupying Gaza. Gaza is part of Eretz Israel hashlemah so there is no border.
        And the siege is illegal. As is mass slaughter of unarmed civilians. But perhaps not in Hebrew.

      • Mooser on June 1, 2018, 6:58 pm

        “that lines in the sand between warring groups generally achieve some level of objectivity, that crossing certain lines literally lines on a map written on the land”

        Oh, I see, the “lines in the sand” and the “lines on the land” is like the modus vivendi and the modus operandi!

      • Mooser on June 1, 2018, 7:09 pm

        “Israel is occupying Gaza. Gaza is part of Eretz Israel hashlemah so there is no border.
        And the siege is illegal. “

        He’s been told that at least half-a-dozen times, but he just pops another pilpul and stumbles on.

        “As is mass slaughter of unarmed civilians.”

        “Yonah” is gloating about that. He thinks he’s being clever.

      • wondering jew on June 2, 2018, 4:51 am

        I shouldn’t indulge in technicalities of war. In haaretz a top anonymous idf officer says, now is the time for a deal. does bibi agree? Will he follow this line of thought or will he see it as poison at the ballot box?

        If I was in charge instead of lieberman, (with idf officers advising me how to minimize deaths) maybe 15 people would’ve been killed. I think different attitude could have saved lives.

        But I prefer to focus on the next step.

        (How nice and fitting if gazans had been encouraged to move to the west bank since 67. but that would require a total change of mindset. So instead a minor change of mindset with bibi following idf advice accepts the possible as the goal rather than the ideal.)

      • wondering jew on June 2, 2018, 5:42 pm

        Here’s the link to the IDF (anonymous) senior official saying that now is the time for a deal.

      • annie on June 2, 2018, 8:04 pm

        what do you think is the point of this persons anonymity yonah?

      • wondering jew on June 2, 2018, 8:13 pm

        It’s part of the game. We don’t tell the politicians how to run things. But in fact that is what the advice entails. So they cannot say it openly, only anonymously.

      • oldgeezer on June 2, 2018, 9:10 pm


        Wonderful if they had moved to the west bank. To what end? Their own state with self determination? No that wasn’t going to happen. They’d be trading brutal murderous siege imposed by savages for a microscopic control of their lives due an occupation imposed by barbarians. Wouldn’t even need to be a consideration if it wasn’t for criminal actions by Israel again st civilian infrastructure (combined with ongoing crimes against humanity by racist zionists)

        Of course on the upside Israel would take over Gaza claim it as their own together with the billions of dollars of offshore gas which they are already in the process of stealing.

        That’s why zionism is evil. It’s core value is racism/bigotry. It is a mirror image of white supremacy. And it will lie,murder and steal to accomplish it’s goals.

      • RoHa on June 2, 2018, 10:46 pm

        “We don’t tell the politicians how to run things.”

        I do, but the idiots ignore me.

      • RoHa on June 2, 2018, 11:01 pm

        A deal? Yonah, a deal with Israel is not worth the time is takes to say the word. The Israelis will ignore it as soon as it is made.

      • Mooser on June 2, 2018, 11:56 pm

        ” It is a mirror image of white supremacy. “

        “Yonah” has got no worries about that. He knows what color he is ever since the Brownsville School strike.

      • Mooser on June 2, 2018, 11:59 pm

        “It’s part of the game.”

        “The game”? Gee, a few comments ago it was a war, now it’s a game.

      • echinococcus on June 3, 2018, 12:46 am


        You’re cruel. Shouldn’t have told him that. His whole life is based exclusively on such a deal with “Israel”.

      • MHughes976 on June 3, 2018, 4:25 am

        As to Yonah’s line in the sand, I agree that it’s legitimate to defend some of them in some circumstances by lethal force. Among these circumstances are the status of the line as an international boundary where permission to cross is not refused unreasonably. What we have here is not an international boundary but a perimeter used to enforce a ferocious blockade – and it seems very difficult to treat the moral authority of the line’s existence, since it has so little of that, as justification for its violent defence.
        I’m not totally despairing about deals if done with the proverbial eyes of the world firm,y upon them. Just let Israel put an idea on the table and we’ll see.

      • Mooser on June 3, 2018, 1:09 pm

        ” What we have here is not an international boundary but a perimeter used to enforce a ferocious blockade”

        “Yonah” will never acknowledge that. It would be Zioloxone to his Ziocaine.

  5. DaBakr on May 31, 2018, 11:59 pm

    I thought a few of the authors points were well argued and valid. Her mentioning of oz not explaining his idea of the violence as “different”. The inability for q&a leaving many unexplained ideas dangling. The unity of adulation described while author was describing how rebellious Israeli Jews naturally were.
    . As a beautiful story teller I like oz but always had some issues with his public persona, politics and certain hypocrisy he seems to come by
    . Interesting, non-polemic op-ed.

  6. smithgp on June 1, 2018, 8:52 am

    How adroitly Mara Ahmed has captured the slick, veiled malevolence of Ozian Zionism!

    • Citizen on June 1, 2018, 5:25 pm

      Yes she did.

    • DaBakr on June 3, 2018, 10:42 pm

      I think your reading WAY too much into authors critiques. I saw no expression of malevolence expressed by the author. Just many piercing questions.

  7. on June 1, 2018, 10:36 am

    Jewish folklore, hopes and dreams have no room for Palestinians just like German Nazi folklore, hopes and dreams had no room for Jews.

    The author points out in every instance how the Palestinians and Israel’s treatment of them are essentially ignored with a focus on the wonderfulness of Jews as a people and Israel as their rightful place on the planet. Everything the Zionists see or believe are filtered through that lens. Innocent protesters are branded terrorists, Palestinians are interlopers, Jews are indigenous, Jews are intelligent thoughtful western facing people, Palestinians are primitive islamic zealots facing Mecca, Jews value life, Palestinians are suicide bombers and use human shields, Israel’s army is moral in using white phosphorous, Palestinians throwing stones are immoral, Palestinians are racists for hating Zionists, Israeli Jews are patriots for hating African migrants and Palestinians, Jews are deserving having contributed to the betterment of the world, Palestinians are backwards contributing nothing but bloodshed, Jews have blonde hair and blue eyes, Palestinians are swarthy beasts – so the story goes.

    What will the history books say of the likes of Oz when Zionism is fully exposed and documented. His folklore, hopes and dreams will be viewed as nothing more than the racist rantings of a vile Zionist stooge who helped prolong the murderous apartheid regime of Israel.

    • Misterioso on June 1, 2018, 11:10 am


      “Jewish folklore, hopes and dreams have no room for Palestinians just like German Nazi folklore, hopes and dreams had no room for Jews.”

      Well said.

      It never ceases to amaze me that Zionists either cannot see or refuse to acknowledge the glaring similarity between Zionism and Nazism.

      • Mooser on June 1, 2018, 2:42 pm

        “It never ceases to amaze me that Zionists either cannot see or refuse to acknowledge the glaring similarity between Zionism and Nazism.”

        It’s very hard for me, too. The Nazis had at least some objective reasons to make them think they could succeed.

      • Citizen on June 1, 2018, 5:34 pm

        Why is it amazing that Truman was so little known, so feeble all the US MSM trumpeted Dewey was the winner before the final count? Funding Trump’s savior whistle stop campaign & running pro Truman op-Eds throughout NY was good as the Zionist donor dollar, eh? Nazis never had a old hat shop friend like Truman’s business buddy from the old days. He got the Zionists back in the oval office even after Truman had burned thousands of Zionist lobby letters and had refused to see the Zionists again.

      • on June 1, 2018, 7:00 pm


        I’m having a hard time escaping the similarities. it’s not profound to conclude that similarities between various racist ideologies/movements far outweigh the differences. That’s precisely why, like you, I’m often amazed at how Zionists fail to recognize this. I can only assume their lust for superiority and a fairytale prevents them from objectively considering what’s plain to see.

        To explain the similarities one would think either the Nazi German model and or the S. African apartheid model were studied and in part implemented by Zionists (different times no doubt require different approaches) or there are only so many ways you can marginalize and or cleanse the land of undesirables.

    • MHughes976 on June 1, 2018, 4:51 pm

      So true, LH, so horrible

  8. Maghlawatan on June 1, 2018, 6:15 pm

    “Oz extolled Israel’s lack of civil war. ”
    Lissa , habibi
    Not yet

    I have read a few of Oz’s books. His Israel doesn’t exist any more.
    It was destroyed by the violence unleashed in 1948 that never ever stopped

  9. Maghlawatan on June 1, 2018, 6:18 pm

    “Fellow for the Advancement of Jewish Humanities and Culture”
    There is an awful lot of work for him to do in Israel. The IDF could keep him in work for decades

  10. inbound39 on June 2, 2018, 9:21 am

    It is pretty clear Oz has little faith in his arguments when he won’t allow questions after his lecture. The content won’t stand scrutiny.

  11. Walker on June 5, 2018, 6:11 pm

    The hasbara fantasy of Israel as a multicultural democratic society is put to the lie every time someone like Oz shows up and totally conflates “Israelis” and “Israeli Jews”, as he apparently did all through the lecture.

  12. wondering jew on December 28, 2018, 5:00 pm

    I don’t know if this is the most recent Amos Oz thread or not, but he died today and rather than imposing myself in a thread of some other nature, I figured I’d find an Amos Oz thread and react here.

    I prefer AB Yehoshua as a novelist, although Oz was good, Yehoshua is great.

    His history (coming from right wing parentage and European refugees and a mother who offed herself) was rather shocking and I consider the memoir “Love and Darkness” to have left the strongest impression.

    He was not sufficiently left in recent years, predominantly concerned with broadcasting the fears of his fellow Jewish Israelis rather than suggesting ways to undo the prevailing tendencies.

    He was of the first in 67 who saw the danger of the occupation.

    Because he was Ashkenazi from Europe his sensibility is more in common with my own than AB Yehoshua’s which has a prevailing middle eastern point of view.

    Oz wrote of some nerdy type having a tough time adjusting to the kibbutz and labeling the nerd, as the Jew and the muscular kibbutzniks as the goy, he wrote, “I never believed that the goyim would welcome the jew. ”

    Between the loss of philip roth and aharon appelfeld, this has been a bad year for jewish writers.

    • Mooser on December 28, 2018, 7:44 pm

      “Yonah”, are you done? Okay then, proceed with the burial.

    • Mooser on December 28, 2018, 7:47 pm

      “Oz wrote of some nerdy type having a tough time adjusting to the kibbutz and labeling the nerd, as the Jew and the muscular kibbutzniks as the goy, he wrote, “I never believed that the goyim would welcome the jew. ”

      Say what? Out-marriage is running at 70% and Jews mix easily… oh sorry, I thought you meant the other kind of goy.

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