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July 28, 2015 / 12 Av, 5775
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Posts Tagged ‘Amos Oz’

Boycotters Call Trips to Israel ‘Apartheid-Day Propaganda Tricks’

Friday, June 12th, 2015

South African anti-Israel groups have proven their agenda that freedom belongs to anyone who agrees with them but is a sin if anyone thinks differently.

Several groups , including the Young Communist League of South Africa and the youth wing of South Africa’s ruling African National Congress party complained on Friday that the pro-Israel lobby is sponsoring trips to Israel. An e-mail from the groups stated Friday:

The Israeli lobby in South Africa is increasingly turning to old Apartheid-Day tricks to entice young South Africans and distract us from our solidarity with the Palestinian people and their progressive Israeli comrades.

The Israeli lobby is throwing free holiday propaganda trips and other gifts at young South Africans trying to undermine solidarity with the Palestinian people. One such holiday propaganda trip is planned for July 2015.

We view these holiday propaganda trips to Israel…as nothing more than ‘sanctions-busting propaganda trips.’

The statement singled out the South Africa Israel Forum, one of the organizers of trips to Israel, which it said were barred in 2012 from taking local mayors and officials to Israel.

“They now seem to be targeting students after having failed at a government level,” the groups said, obviously upset that private citizens are exposed to anyone having a different opinion.

Instead of countering with an argument, the Israeli boycotters are resorting to thought control.

A senior body of the ANC decided last December to “join the call for a cultural, academic and education boycott of Israel including travel bans for members and leaders of the ANC.”

The South African groups on Friday maintained that even a private citizen flying to Israel on a “holiday propaganda trip” is in “violation of the policies and positions of Palestinian civil society [who] call for boycott, divestment and sanctions (BDS) against Israel.”

It sounded like the old Soviet Bolsheviks or the Gestapo with a stern warning:

Participation in these holiday propaganda trips to Israel, like participation in holiday propaganda trips to Apartheid South Africa, will be viewed as the crossing of a picket line, and will be met with disciplinary action….

As students and young people we should take it upon ourselves to look for un-biased opinions in order to avoid being misled by organizations geared towards spreading Israeli propaganda.

The funniest, if not saddest, line is:

The organizers of the holiday propaganda trips to Israel try to suggest, like Apartheid South Africa apologists used to claim in the 1980s, that the issue of Palestine-Israel is complicated. We maintain that the issue is simple: Israel must end its violations of international law and oppression of the Palestinian people.

The issue is so simple because it has nothing to do with reality.

It brings to mind a story of a widely-known South African woman, now deceased, who received the Nobel Prize for Literature and was part of the anti-Israel movement.

When she wanted to visit Israel for an arts festival, her colleagues berated her and rejected her argument that “she wanted to see things for herself.” Gordimer stood her ground, visited Israel and told Israeli author and leftist Amos Oz that she wanted to meet a “real-life settler.”

Oz called on me because I live near his home in Arad.

After hearing the “settler” telling her about Jewish-owned land in Judea, Gaza and Samaria, and after hearing about the largely false claims of “Palestinian ownership,” she concluded the conversation by stating:

I must say I am confused.

The South African boycotters are cordially invited to our house in the southern Hebron Hills, but I doubt if they are brave enough to hear a different opinion.

Price Tag Hypocrisy

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

Suddenly, there is a new threat to world peace and stability. There has arisen a diabolical force, so sly, so threatening, so innately evil as to challenge the very foundations of Western Civilization.

This despicable, unspeakable force moves with the cunning of a cat, strikes with the force of the Mongol Hordes and, when the rest of the world is naively asleep, stealthily arrives to…

Spray Paint the Side of a Building!!!!!!!!…or even worse, unbelievably worse, to…

Slash Tires!!!!!!

Have we perhaps lost some perspective here, or is the hysteria about Price Tag attacks meant very much to be a straw man for a larger issue, against a more serious enemy.

First things first. I am not excusing Price Tag attacks. They are the criminal acts of hooligans.

But let’s also apply some perspective. Spraying a wall with paint is not in the same league as spraying a car with bullets. Slashing a tire does not quite equate to slashing a throat.

But to see the reactions of many on the Left there is no difference. Worse yet, those who find justification for the actions of Arabs and Palestinians feel no compunction in labeling these perpetrators “terrorists” or even, to quote Amos Oz, “ a monster that needs to be called what it is: Hebrew neo-Nazi groups.”

Wow. Isn’t that just a wee bit…extreme?

And it is that lack of perspective that is so telling, telling us more about the labeler than the labeled.

Why is there such a double standard for the actions of supposedly Jewish actors creating disgusting mischief – but mischief mind you – and the murderous or at the least violent-to-the-person acts of identified Arabs?

Why are some so quick to whip out their college sociology textbooks, citing the frustrations of living under “the Occupation” while never giving a thought to the extenuating circumstance of having your community ripped down or your neighbors assaulted?

This isn’t even moral equivalence, one of the great foolish indulgences of the politically correct crowd. That’s because there is no equivalence. The Arab marauders are oppressed and frustrated youth, or even freedom fighters, and the allegedly Jewish hooligans are “neo-Nazis.”

What’s even more fascinating is that the Jewish perpetrators have been tried and convicted before they have even identified. We don’t even know or care who they are, or why they did what they did. They are the utterly deplorable, the lowest of the low – monsters, as Oz would have it.

(By the way, if you were an astute Palestinian Arab trying to stick a finger in the Israeli eye, wouldn’t you be tempted to spray paint “tag mahir” on the side of a building? It gets a Pavlovian reaction in the Israeli media every time.)

So what is really going on here? I think there are at least few aspects to this, all related and each depressing in its own right. For one thing, the price tag perpetrators (PTPs) have become the symbol by which the Left can hate the “Settler” movement (to use the coded term that carries the negative connotation of occupiers), and also all Settlers. They are not human, literally, nor from the rabid language used to describe them, metaphorically.

The Useful Idiot of the Year, Tzipi Livni has managed to turn PTPs into a great security threat, and it is perhaps but a matter of time before Martin Indyk and John Kerry will lay the failure of recent talks on the doorstep of the PTPs.

For another, the extreme reaction to the PTPs clearly exposes the larger world view of the accusers. Ms. Livni, for example, has never uttered condemnations of the murderous actions of Arabs, yet she sees war crime material in the actions of the PTPs.

Samaria Residents Charge Amos Oz With Incitement

Monday, May 12th, 2014

A West Bank-based organization filed a police complaint charging Israeli author Amoz Oz with incitement to racism.

The complaint by the Samaria Residents Committee was filed in the West Bank settlement of Ariel two days after Oz called Israelis who carry out “price tag” attacks “Hebrew neo-Nazis,” the Times of Israel reported Sunday.

Oz made the statement Friday at an event in honor of his 75th birthday.

“‘Price tag’ and ‘hilltop youth’ are sweet, sugary nicknames, and the time has come to call this monster by its name,” he said in a speech recorded by Israel’s Channel 2. “We wanted to be like all other nations, we longed for there to be a Hebrew thief and a Hebrew prostitute — and there are Hebrew neo-Nazi groups.”

Oz is considered a candidate for a Nobel Prize in Literature.

Defending his words Sunday in an interview with Israel Radio, Oz said he made the statement in order to “shock.”

“The comparison that I made was to neo-Nazis and not to Nazis,” he said. “Nazis build incinerators and gas chambers; neo-Nazis desecrate places of worship, cemeteries, beat innocent people and write racist slogans. That is what they do in Europe, and that is what they do here.”

On Friday, hours before Oz’s speech, price tag attacks were discovered on a Jerusalem church and an Arab home in the Old City of Jerusalem, part of a recent uptick in attacks against such sites.

Price tag refers to the strategy adopted by extremist settlers and their supporters generally to exact retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions or Palestinian attacks on Jews.

Nazi Epithet Removes Amos Oz From Israeli Discourse

Sunday, May 11th, 2014

The true shame about Amos Oz’s epithet “neo-Nazi” to describe Israeli price-tag thugs is that the essence of his comments are important food for thought. But by choosing outrageous populist rhetoric over nuanced criticism, Oz essentially relegated his concerns to the wastebasket of history.

Before rejecting Oz’s comments, it is important to note that he could be an important social voice for Israelis of every stripe. His books, from My Michael to In the Land of Israel to A Tale of Love and Darkness reveal a passion for Israeli society, and for the Land of Israel, that few contemporary writers have managed to capture. Oz’s 1950s-era Jerusalem is a quiet border town where observant and secular Jews lived together as neighbors. His writing betrays a deep, emotional connection to the city, and to the Jerusalemites with whom he shared his adolescent years.

Oz’s relationship with Jewish tradition is less obvious, but a close reading of his work in Hebrew brings to mind another of Israel’s leading writers: Nobel laureate Shai Agnon. In contrast to Agnon, Oz’s work does not obviously draw on traditional sources or Jewish history. But he is clearly influenced by Agnon, and perhaps therefore by Agnon’s close relationship with Jewish sources. In short, it is simply impossible to dismiss Amos Oz as a “self-hating” Jew or Israeli.

All of which is what makes Oz’s absurd comparison of price tag vandals to European neo-Nazis so upsetting. Self-criticism is a sign of strength, not weakness, and many of Oz’s observations about the religious-Zionist world are deserving of consideration. Yes, many religious Zionist communities have failed to excise the price taggers from their midsts (public condemnations from religious Zionist leaders notwithstanding, does anyone doubt that price taggers would be awarded aliyot [Torah honors] at most synagogues in Judea and Samaria?). It is true that the price taggers enjoy a certain measure of backing, stated or implied, from rabbinic figures in Judea and Samaria and farther afield. Religious Zionist would do well to consider those facts.

Similarly, the need to denigrate Muslims or Christians in order to validate Judaism, settlement activity or our historic connection to the Land of Israel is a sad comment on the state of Torah Judaism. Is our belief in the Torah really that shaky that we feel a need to bring down other faiths, rather than rely on the validity of ours?

Our rights to and in the Land of Israel not dependent on rejecting other groups, and it does not do our community proud to be associated with pathetic grafitti. It is rightly a point of pride that Israel is a haven for religious freedom. It should go without saying that minority groups need not be made to feel subject to attack.

These criticisms are valid, or at least are important points for discussion, in our communities. Oz is correct to ask whether a Judaism that relies on insulting others is a Judaism we want to sustain.

But his use of the epithet “Nazi” effectively reduces his views to little more than the wild ranting of a hate-filled man. By equating graffiti on a mosque wall to the gas chambers for which real neo-Nazis clamor, Oz has taken himself out of the realm of legitimate social commentator. His comments are no longer astute, concerned observations about Israeli society, but rather venomous invective directed at a subset of that society that Oz has designated as “enemy.” If the settlement community are neo-Nazis, if Judea and Samaria Israelis – rather than the price tagging minority here – are the errant weed of Israeli society, it stands to reason there can be no compromise on the uprooting of their communities and of the total neutralization of their role in society.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/indepth/opinions/nazi-epithet-removes-amos-oz-from-israeli-discourse/2014/05/11/

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