Tuesday, October 6, 2015

The Tunnel Vision of Geraldine Brooks 2

I was sufficiently intrigued by Geraldine Brooks' Zionist myopia to check her out more fully. For what they're worth, here are a few bits and pieces I came across:

1) Geraldine Doogue interviews Brooks on the ABC's Compass program, 27/4/08 (The interpolations are mine.):

GD: Now you converted to Judaism from Catholicism. Why so?

GB: Well, actually from nothing. I had left Catholicism behind and I'd been cruising along as a merry atheist. And I guess I have to go back to my father. One of his great fascinations and passions in life grew out of the fact that during World War II he served in what was then Palestine. And because he was a passionate socialist leftie, he was of course attracted to the idea of the Kibbutz movement. And so this was very formative for him and this was one of the things that really animated him.

[So here was a bloke who mistook the colonising - think Jewish settlements today - Jews-only kibbutz movement for socialism, and ignored what was really going on in Palestine at the time. Zionist myopia seems to run in the family.]

I remember the first time I ever paid attention to a news story in the paper was during the Six Day War because Dad cared so passionately about all these places that he'd been to. And I remember when I was about 14 or 15 I would ostentatiously haul around these dog-eared copies of The Rise & Fall of the Third Reich. I could recite Yevtushenko's Babi Yar and I started wearing a Star of David. So there was this kind of engagement, I think, with the history of the Jews that remained a kind of interest of mine.

[Obviously, Dad didn't have the wherewithal to distinguish between Judaism and political Zionist triumphalism. Hence young Geraldine's rushing around, fantasising about a second holocaust, while Israel's engaged in its second great land grab (West Bank, Gaza Strip, East Jerusalem, Golan Heights, Sinai) of the 20th century. Now here we are, 48 years on, with Israeli settlements mushrooming, and there's no evidence that I can find that she's learnt anything new on the subject. Pathetic.]

And then, when I fell in love with a Jewish man [US writer Tony Horwitz], and we were planning to be married, I just couldn't bring myself to be the end of the line for his heritage.

[OMG, is she for real?]

GD: What do you mean?

GB: Well, Judaism is passed through the maternal line - a fact that I've always found engaging for its pragmatism as well as for its feminist implications - but if I had married him and not converted then our children would not be considered Jewish.

GD: Did he care?

GB: He didn't give two hoots! (They both laugh.) But it was just something that I felt that I wanted to do because I didn't want to be another instrument in the shadow of the Shoah, of destroying a Jewish family that had made it through the sack of Jerusalem by the Romans all the way to the end of the 20th century.

[OMFG, she is for real! The Romans FFS!]

2) You'll note the reference to feminism. Brooks is big on feminism, but some, to put it mildly, aren't too impressed. Here's an extract from the Australian-Palestinian novelist Randa Abdel-Fatteh's review of Brooks' 1994 book Nine Parts of Desire: The Hidden World of Islamic Women:

"In perhaps the most astonishing display of veil fetishism in the book, Brooks reflects on her visit to Gaza, where it is as if a brutal military occupation does not exist. The reader is instead regaled with more stories about sexuality and veiling. Brooks says, 'The struggle had changed and so had Gaza. Driving from the huge military roadblock that divides the Gaza Strip from Israel, I hadn't seen a single unveiled woman.' It is astounding that Brooks, a feminist and journalist who purports to be concerned about the situation of Muslim women and human rights abuses, can only summon a comment about the veil in her assessment of her trip to Gaza. Brooks displays no interest in the impact of Israel's occupation on the lives of Palestinian women - the violation of their basic human rights, the impediments that the occupation places on their choices, freedom of movement, and their access to education and health services, as examples. What matters to the classic Orientalist is what Muslim women wear, and that any oppression they suffer must be due to Islam." (Griffith Review)

3) By their tweets ye shall know them: here's one of Brooks' from 18/6:

"Congrats. But please stop releasing balloons, which end up in the ocean killing marine life."

Now while this is a sentiment I agree with, I note that Israel's genocidal war on Gaza last year elicited not a peep/tweet from Brooks. Did she, I wonder, think about the women of Gaza she'd met in the 90s? Too busy dreaming of Davo?

Her retweeting of the following Horwitz tweet, however, is telling - of both:

"Iraq was always 3 nations and should become so again. Kurdistan already set, divide rest between Shiite and Sunni before it's full civil war." (14/6/14)

4) Horwitz, himself, is a little more forthcoming on Gaza. Here's his idea of an appropriate comment on the Gaza massacres:

"My Middle East peace plan. Text everyone to leave and pour sand over the entire region." (29/7/14).

And here's another example of his talent for smartarsery:

"Mideast progress: Miss Lebanon refers to photo-bombing contestant as Miss Israel rather than 'Miss Zionist Entity'" (20/1/15)

Needless to say, The Secret Chord was given the thumbs up in a review in Saturday's Sydney Morning Herald and should sell like the proverbial hotcakes. Alas, such is the way of the world.

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