Greg (Jerusalem Prize) Sheridan, ace foreign editor of The Australian has just returned from a tryst with his beloved. Although he's still reeling from the encounter, and the sweat has hardly dried, it so rankles when everyone else reckons she's fugly as:
"I have been spending a week in Israel, and visiting some of the Palestinian territories, under the auspices of the Australia Israel United Kingdom Leadership Dialogue*. This quite unique private organisation is the creation of Melbourne businessman Albert Dadon. Remarkably, the dialogue met Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Palestinian Prime Minister Salam Fayyad and former British prime minister Tony Blair, although those meetings were off the record. Spending time in Israel is dangerous because it is impossible to reconcile the evidence of your eyes with the accepted international narrative about Israel. In the international media, Israel is presented as a militarist, right-wing, oppressive. In fact it is the only pluralist democracy in the Middle East, the only nation where women's rights - and gay rights - are protected. It has a vibrant Left wing, a cacophonous democracy and an innovative economy." (Territorial compromise loses ground in Arab Spring, 12/1/12)
It happened last time too. Same heart-thumping elation. Same eruptions from every nook and cranny. Same nagging thought: Why can't they see her as I do?:
"I have my very own Israel problem and it is this: the Israel I know... bears no relation to the Israel I see in most of the Western media. That Israel of the Western mind (and indeed of the Arab mind) is a hateful place: right-wing, militaristic, authoritarian, indifferent to world opinion, indifferent especially to Palestinian suffering. Yet the Israel I know is mostly secular, raucously, almost wildly democratic, has a vibrant left-wing, having founded in the kibbutz movement one of the only successful experiments in socialism in human history." (Israel still looks good, warts & all, The Australian Literary Review, 6/5/09)
Poor Greg. But, hey, that's love for you!
[14/1/12:* OK, Greg was there, naturally, and Michael Danby I hear, but why is it so difficult to get a list of these junketeers? As it happens, another journalist, the Herald's Asia-Pacific editor Hamish McDonald has just outed himself: Israel struggles with threat from Iran.]