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Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Even Israel's Left feels an existential fear

David Grossman is one of Israel's best-known novelists and an extreme leftist. He is a member of Israel's Meretz party, the Left-most Jewish political party. Grossman's son Uri was killed in the Second Lebanon War three years ago one day after he criticized the government's (too little too late) ground operation in Lebanon.

While Grossman himself wishes President Obama would impose a 'peace settlement' on rape Israel, what he says in these few paragraphs explains quite well why there is no mass movement among Leftist Israelis to support Obama's initiatives here. This is from an interview with Germany's Der Spiegel.
SPIEGEL: Did you change the manuscript after his death?

Grossman: No, the main thing is not what happened to me. The main theme is the acuteness of life here in Israel. And even if a catastrophe like the death of a son does not befall you, one feels this immediate effect of political events on one's own personality. Many deny this reality, they simply ignore it. But at some point you are caught up by reality -- at the latest when your boys reach puberty, and the shadow of the army starts to fall on them. An international TV program once interviewed a young Israeli couple und asked how many children they wanted to have. The beautiful bride said immediately: "Three." And the interviewer asked: "Why three?" And she said with a smile: "So that if one of them is killed in a war or in terror we shall still have two left."

SPIEGEL: You, too, were a father of three, before your son Uri died.

Grossman: We did not have three children out of this calculation, but I must admit that this thought had crossed my mind when we started having children. The option of personal catastrophe is connected to the special fate of this country. As I fear for my children, all my life I lived with this fear of what happens if a catastrophe occurs in Israel. The question of whether we shall exist here in the future, whether we will still live here within a few decades time, prevails subconsciously in the mind of most Israelis. We are living with difficult and partly violent neighbors, most of whom don't want us here. Some of them even threaten to eradicate us. I take them very seriously.

SPIEGEL: You describe a feeling which people in Europe and the United States don't usually know.

Grossman: From the outside Israel looks like a bully-militant fist. Foreigners cannot really understand the vulnerability of people here and their lack of confidence in the fact that Israel will still exist in a few decades. I read that Germany plans the construction of its roads several decades in advance, and that sounds perfectly normal. But no sane Israeli would make such long-term plans. If I do it, I feel a kind of pain in my heart as if I violated a taboo by allowing myself quantities of future that are too great.
Yes, even the Left realizes in its heart of hearts that our struggle here is existential. They just naively believe that if they give the 'Palestinians' everything they want, the 'Palestinians' will agree to let us stay here.


At 1:01 PM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

why to complain, the maxcimalistic Fatah demands ended all "Peace" initiatives. No deal, no retreat, no "piece"-capitulation.
Whazz Bama gonna do bout it ??

At 1:01 PM, Blogger Chrysler 300M said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 6:06 PM, Blogger NormanF said...

Even a full surrender to the Palestinians would not buy Israel acceptance. Most Israeli Jews are resigned to the fact the conflict is going to drag on because the alternative is quite literally unthinkable. There is no "death wish" in Israeli society. At the beginning of the decade, there was doubt where Israel would be united enough to grow and survive. Today, its clear division and malaise exist on the other side. The Palestinians' uncompromising extremism have harmed them more than they think.


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