No sooner had the presenter of Radio National's Books & Arts Program, Michael Cathcart, featured Indian ignoramus Karan Mahajan on Monday (see yesterday's post), than he was spruiking Israeli propagandist Etgar Keret ("a virtuoso of the short story") on Tuesday (25/10)!
After listening to around half of the hour-long interview (recorded at a Perth Writers Festival session), I'm afraid I could bear no more of Keret's soft-soaping of Israel.
Cathcart: So your child was born during a terrorist attack?
Keret: This is the kind of thing that, when I go overseas, which to people sounds kind of crazy but in Israel I don't think it's the only kid who was born during a terrorist attack...
It's the old someone's-always-out-to-get-us message!
But typically, in these set pieces (in the event that one takes this kind of stuff seriously) no one, certainly neither Cathcart nor his interlocutor on this occasion, ever broaches the question why, or refers in any way to Israel's growing mountain of Palestinian corpses (almost 10,000 since September 29, 2000*).
Keret gestures vaguely in its direction ("It's experienced not only by the people in my country but it's experienced to a much stronger extent by Palestinians in the territories.") but this passes without meaningful elaboration or comment. It just is, this "situation where you have to explain to your child what the hell's going on. It's a big challenge because you don't understand yourself why things most of the time have to happen in this way."
*Sigh* WTF is this? Dopiness? Feigned ignorance? Part of the act? Seriously, would you buy a book by an Israeli who tells you he has ABSOLUTELY NO IDEA why things happen the way they do in Israel - of all places?
The old Israeli 'shoot and cry' gets trotted out a lot on these occasions. Pulls in the clueless every time:
"In the army you go through so many traumas... ethical problems that you know you can't go through it without being a little shell-shocked... "
I know what he means. I recall the recent (last month, actually) case of the poor, shell-shocked Israeli soldier who went through trauma after trauma in the "territories" (never occupied, note). First, he and his fellow ethicists had to commandeer an apartment in a Palestinian refugee (!!!) camp. Then, as if that were not traumatic enough, they had to endure near-terminal boredom on its cramped balcony while waiting for a Palestinian to venture out onto his rooftop nearby so that he could inquire of him, solicitously, 'Where do you want it?' before putting a bullet through his leg.**
"... but in Israel the army is not a luxury, and the idea of not going to the army is the same as not paying your taxes... we need the army to survive and, as somebody who's a great opposer to our current government, it's not good to leave the army in the hands of those who would happily fight the war."
OFFS, the Israeli army has been happily, gleefully fighting Indian wars ever since Jabotinsky first put the Haganah together in 1921.
BTW, you've gotta love this tick from Clive James on the cover of Keret's latest book: "One of the most important writers alive - enchantingly witty."
[*ifamericansknew.org; **See 'Where do you want it?' Israeli soldier taunts unarmed Palestinian man before shooting him, Gideon Levy, Haaretz, 15/9/16]