In a far-ranging interview, Palestinian author Raja Shehadeh relates how annoyed he is when American media read from the Zionist script and demand that he defend Hamas. He also talks about how difficult it is to maintain human relationships with Israelis when Israelis cannot confront the past of ethnic cleansing. And how the late Amos Oz patronized him…
Tag Archives: Amos Oz
Joe Biden has praised racist Israeli leaders Benjamin Netanyahu and Golda Meir on many occasions, but don’t expect Kamala Harris to score points off him for it, as she did over his fondness for southern racists. She has had a warm meeting with Netanyahu, refused to criticize Israel’s human rights record, and told the rightwing pro-Israel group AIPAC that she raised money for Israel as a girl and Israel’s story reminds her of the civil rights struggle in the U.S.
The late Israeli author Amos Oz thought that Palestinians who wanted to return to the homes their grandparents were forced to flee in Israel suffered from a disease called “Reconstritis,” as did settlers who sought a biblical transformation of the West Bank. At a Washington memorial service for the author, his daughter Fania Oz-Salzberger cited the malady in extolling Zionism as a force that saved millions of Jewish lives.
Back in 1983, a settler leader explained to the writer Amos Oz that Defense Minister Shimon Peres had allowed the settler movement to thrive in the West Bank and they only needed to get to 100,000 settlers in five years to end the possibility of a Palestinian state “for good.” So why has the US establishment ignored this truth — there will not be a two-state solution — for 30 years?
Amos Oz was a great storyteller, and the last vibrant connection to the Shoah generation. In his work, he sought to ennoble Israel’s creation by using his parents’ story of fleeing Europe to show how unsafe Jews are in the west. He was an Israeli provincial, and his death is a great blow to Zionism, which has few idealistic lights left to uphold.
The late Amos Oz’s lecture from last year, translated and analyzed by Jonathan Ofir, is a summary of his political credo: Palestinians suffer from the “illness” of “Recontritis,” the desire to return to a land that has disappeared. And Zionists must use violence to maintain their own place on that land.
Amos Oz was a refined literary craftsman, writes Hatim Kanaaneh. But he also “functioned as the literary equivalent of Shimon Peres, the Nobel Peace prize laureate who introduced nuclear weapons to the middle East. Oz used his superior skill to apologize for Israel’s aggressions and war crimes.”
Danielle Alma Ravitzki on how Amos Oz embodied the racism and contradictions of Liberal Zionist ideology: “Oz was a mirror image of the ‘Israeli left wing,’ and supported more than a few massacres committed by Israel in Gaza, and spoke in favor of apartheid soldiers. He fatuously believed in the misleading, dangerous idea of a ‘humane apartheid’, so archetypical of the liberal left ideology which adores masculinity, cherishes militarism, and idolizes white supremacy. Oz was a living example of this infamous, and insidious ideology.”
Marc Ellis on the passing of Amos Oz: “Like Wiesel, Amos Oz was a witness to the destruction and reemergence of Jewish life in the formative events of the Holocaust and the birth of the state of Israel. What they also experienced but couldn’t fathom was the formative event of Palestinian freedom as a demand on Jewish history. In missing the next question of Jewish life, while trying to deflect and demean those who did, Oz’s liberal Zionist witness became tarnished and, like Wiesel’s Holocaust consciousness, fated.”
Haider Eid reflects on Amos Oz, the Israeli writer who died at age 79: “Through his glorification of the kibbutz regardless of the fact that it is built on a stolen land belonging to native Palestinians, he became an active participant in, and defender of, the aggressive colonialist politics of his country. In his work Palestinians are (mis)reprepresnted as marginalized and passive characters, they are never active agents. Oz’s literary work was truly a fusion of literature and Israeli ideology.”
Mara Ahmed attended a lecture by Amos Oz in late April and was interested to see how the liberal Zionist icon would frame his presentation in the context of the weekly Israeli attacks on defenseless protestors in Gaza: “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.”