November 08, 2006

Israelis tortured?

I noticed this speech by David Grossman - an Israeli writer - on the Engage site yesterday and I didn't think much about it. They'd got it from Ha'aretz. I noticed there was one comment by Linda Grant (I'll return to that). But someone emailed me today to say that there were two letters in today's Guardian slagging Mr Grossman and so I read the whole maudlin speech. One of the letters deals with this little chunk:
Appeal to the Palestinian people.......

Look at them, just once, not through a rifle's sights and not through a road block. You will see a people no less tortured than we are. A conquered, persecuted, hopeless people. Of course, the Palestinians are also guilty of the dead end that we've reached. Of course they bear part of the blame for the failure of the peace process. But look at them for a moment in a different way, not just at their extremists, not just at those who have an alliance of mutual interest with our own extremists. Look at the great majority of this wretched nation, whose fate is bound up with ours, like it or not.
This was part of a "where did Israel go wrong" sort of article and the first letter addresses that:
Having read David Grossman's speech (What happened to my beautiful Israel, G2, November 7), I can't help but ask: what happened to my beautiful Palestine? No one will doubt the sincerity of Mr Grossman's desire to see peace between Israelis and Palestinians, especially after the tragic loss of his son in the recent Israeli attack on Lebanon. A tragic loss that echoes on a daily basis within every Palestinian home in the occupied Palestinian territories and the Gaza Strip. We all mourn and we all suffer.

But, Mr Grossman must also know that the cause of this spiral is not Hamas or the Palestinian resistance, or the suicide bombers. The cause is the illegal and inhuman occupation of Palestinian land. Israel has it in its grasp to simply abide by international law and all UN resolutions calling for an end to its occupation, and to allow the Palestinians to live in freedom and dignity. My beautiful Palestine will then join hands with his beautiful Israel to show the world what two great people can achieve, if mutual respect and value for human life are upheld. Only then, can the death of Mr Grossman's son and the sons of Palestinian mothers and fathers be honoured.
Antoine Raffoul
Raffoul Darrer Architects, London
I prefer this one though:
David Grossman refers to Palestinians as "a people no less tortured than we are". With the possible exception of the occasional supposed liberal Jewish commentator, there are of course no longer any actual tortured Jews, whether we are talking about bodies or souls. There are, however, countless Palestinians being actually tortured by the occupiers of their country.
Shihab Nuaimi
London
But the funniest comment of all wasn't in the Guardian, it was on the Engage site by Linda Grant:
And this is the man the cultural boycotters want to silence . . . There were 100,000 people in the audience, by the way.

Now what is she trying to say? Imagine, if a full blown cultural boycott was in place we may have missed a zionist likening the suffering of the Palestinians to that of the Israelis. Terrible thing!

I've said before that Engage will help the boycott movement more than hurt it.

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