Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Amos Oz, Oz, Oz, Oi! Oi! Oi! 2

A documentary about Israeli literary icon Amos Oz is coming our way. Here's The Weekend Australian's film critic Evan Williams waxing worshipful:

"Amos Oz: The Nature of Dreams is a documentary... about the Israeli writer and literary academic Amos Oz. Born in Jerusalem, Oz lived on a kibbutz as a teenager and served with the Israeli army during the Six-Day War. A secular Jew, he has something of the stature of a sage in his homeland. Among Israeli writers and intellectuals he is perhaps the staunchest advocate of a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Watching him I was struck by his candour, his evident love of plain language. Newsweek has described him as 'a kind of Zionist Orwell: a man obsessed with simple decency and determined above all to tell the truth, regardless of whom he offends'. To judge from this sensitive and always affectionate documentary, he is most likely to offend zealots on both sides. He is particularly resentful of Europeans who lecture Israel on history or morality. Europe, he reminds us, is a small continent whose wars have shed more of the world's innocent blood than those of any other continent or nation... I commend the film, not only to those interested in Israel's history and politics, but to all those troubled by fanaticism and intolerance in any of their modern guises." (Review, 1/5/10)

Don't you just love Williams' logic? Anyone not as worshipful of Oz as he, must, ipso facto, be a zealot and so hopelessly out of order. And as for bloody-handed Europeans (collectively guilty, of course!) having no right to criticise Israel, it is only William's obvious ignorance of the Palestine problem that prevents him from seeing the Zionist project for what it is - the most virulent form of European colonialism.*

So for all you zealots out there offended by Williams' shallowness and gullibility just click on the Amos Oz tag below and read my 21/8/08 post Amos Oz, Oz, Oz, Oi! Oi! Oi!

[*Here's Israeli writer (and Oz basher) Yitzhak Laor's take on Zionism and European colonialism: "It should have been through us that Europe could have redeemed itself for its colonial past. It should have been through us that Europe learned to tolerate Islam, the most prominent refusal to accept Western secularism as a way of life. Tragically, what has happened is the opposite. It is through us that Europe... intensified its hatred of Islam and the Arabs: our state - presented as the true heir of Holocaust victims, most of whom looked 'very different from modern Europeans', most of whom were mocked in the same manner that traditional Muslims are mocked today - gave way to the return of the colonial. If we peel away the belief in the eternity of Zion, an eternity that every nationalist in the world believes about his or her nationhood; if we push aside the ancient religious yearning for Zion, a yearning that never disappeared but was also never acted upon by the believers until political Zionism took over and nationalized the Jewish religion; if we forget the prayers for redemption in Zion, which are still recited daily by religious Jews in Israel, as well as in Paris or Brooklyn or Yemen, we can get at the pure logic of the tragedy: Zionism thought it would politically resolve the exile within Europe - Jews as 'Orientals inside the Occident' - not just by an Exodus, by going elsewhere, but by going to the heart of the colonial hinterland of Europe, the East, not to become part of that East but in order to become a representative of the West 'over there', far away from the exile we were subjected to 'here', inside Europe. This is how Herzl put it, in very crude words, in his programmatic book The Jewish State. After his bitter and sincere description of European hatred toward the Jews following the Dreyfus affair, a hatred he saw as incurable, he writes: 'For Europe we could constitute part of the wall of defence against Asia: we could serve as an outpost against barbarism. As a neutral state we would remain in contact with all of Europe, which would have to guarentee our existence'." (The Myths of Liberal Zionism, 2009, pp 5-7)]

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