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Title: Death As A Way Of Life: Ten Years After Oslo

Title: Death As A Way Of Life: Ten Years After Oslo
Author: David Grossman
Publisher: Farrar, Strauss and Giroux, NY, 2003
 
Try to imagine that one of those many people in Britain who had lauded the Munich Accord as a great breakthrough for peace and who were certain Hitler would never violate it had decided after World War II to publish his old articles singing praises for Munich. Or imagine someone today reprinting his old Op-Eds from the late 1980’s about how the Eastern European Soviet system was here to stay.

If you can imagine such a thing, you have a pretty good picture of David Grossman’s new book. Grossman is one of the more extreme members of Israel’s Literary Left. He has published quite a few novels, and is regarded as a gifted writer of fiction. (Not by me, but then I am only an economist so what do I know about such things.) But Grossman also spends many a waking hour in turning out political agitprop and far leftist Op-Eds for the newspapers of Israel, the UK, Germany and France, including some of the worst Israel-bashing outfits.

Grossman suddenly has decided to collect some of these moldy Op-Eds and recycle them as a book. What we get are almost a score of Grossman’s silliest and worst-written Op-Eds. Even worse, these pieces have been so thoroughly belied and debunked by actual events that one would have expected anyone with a minimal sense of shame to have buried them in his
clippings box and never again make public mention of them.

We have Grossman’s early pieces singing the praises of the Oslo “peace process” and beatifying Yitzhak Rabin for his “courage” in establishing the foundations for a Palestinian state. Grossman repeatedly celebrates the fact that Arafat has abandoned his ambitions to see Israel attacked and destroyed, and clearly has renounced the so-called Palestinian “right of return.” Palestinians, insists Grossman, are downright embarrassed when they read the irredentist contents of the PLO’s “Covenant.” Embarrassed indeed.

Hardly controlling his ecstasy at the Rabin-Arafat handshake, he gushes: “I have always believed that when Israel agrees to grant this right (of self-determination) to the Palestinians, it will also win it for itself.” How inconvenient for Grossman that Israel spent the past decade granting such a “right” and got 1300 murdered Israelis in exchange, and nonstop war.

Grossman does not feel the slightest shudder when exhibiting for us all his political cluelessness. He reprints his old piece about the Palestinian boy Muhammed al-Durrah killed in a firefight started by the PLO, a piece attacking Israel and Ehud Barak neglecting to mention anywhere that it has since been learned that the boy was in fact killed by PLO fire. Grossman reprints his appeals to Palestinian writers and intellectuals – “all” of whom, he insists, seek peace with Israel (p.22) – to condemn the violence. Grossman then sighs when they never do, but fails to contemplate the possibility that these folks just might be endorsing the jihadniks and murderers. While the Left’s “concepts” turn out to have been completely wrong, one after the other, about absolutely everything in the era of the Oslo Euphoria, Grossman just
gets irritable and insists Oslo collapsed because the Left was not stubborn enough and militant enough and extreme enough.

After Grossman predicted one of the reprinted Op-Eds that Prime Minister Ehud Barak would never offer the Palestinians any land in, Barak offered the PLO virtually the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip, an immediate state, parts of pre-1967 Israel, financial tribute, and East Jerusalem with the Western Wall.

Being progressive means never having to say you are sorry.

The PLO then launched the “Al-Aqsa Intifada” in response to Barak’s offer. Naturally, Grossman sees the collapse of Camp David II as somehow all Israel’s fault.

While Grossman is possibly the most extreme among Israel’s Literary Leftists, even he dismisses out of hand any possibility of a Palestinian “right of return” to pre-1967 Israel. But that is precisely the little detail over which Ehud Barak’s insane offer at Camp David failed! Grossman never draws the conclusion that the PLO is seeking war and violence, not coexistence, and always was – in spite of its posturing when Rabin was still around. Nor does
he ever dwell on the meaning of those polls showing near-universal support among Palestinians for suicide bombings and atrocities against Jews.

Grossman, who even today “understands” why the Palestinians loathe Israel (page 7), also “understands” the PLO when it tries to smuggle in the Karin A ship of terror weapons (in another reprinted Op-Ed, p. 156), and unwaveringly believes that leftists never have to apologize for being wrong about what they say or write. There is one redeeming aspect to this pathetic little book and that is its ability to serve as an interesting personal documentation of the delusions and fantasies of the Israeli Left, which directly produced the Olso Bloodbath.

About the Author: Steven Plaut is a professor at the University of Haifa. He can be contacted at steveneplaut@yahoo.com.


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