Thursday, August 12, 2010

Recommended reading, old and new

When I come across an online article that I like and/or find interesting, I often save a link to it under Bookmarks. Since I haven't posted any real posting for quite a while, my list of 'articles to refer to and write about' has grown very long. Many of the articles are about topics that may still be relevant but are not very interesting anymore ( e.g. Israel's absurd efforts to prevent a brilliant linguist who happens to be Jewish and anti-Zionist from entering the Westbank, or Wallander's creator who wants to punish a language for the deeds of those who speak and write that language ), but some of them appear to have a slightly longer shelf life. A number of those articles was written and published several months ago. Here is a personal selection, in random order ( only when more than one article by one author is mentioned, I ordered those articles chronologically ). From each article I quote one or more lines.

  • Carlo Strenger: "Israel will have to decide: it cannot rebrand itself as a liberal, creative and progressive country without being one. Our business sector, our artists and academics are mostly progressive, liberal and creative. But their impact on how Israel is perceived will remain negligible as long as Israel’s politicians and emissaries keep harping on victimhood and survival and as long as its policies are repressive".
  • Eldad Yaniv: "Zionists are not settlers. Zionists are not racists. Let the Zionists return to their own borders".
  • Ari Shavit (1): "Israel was established because its founders created facts on the ground with one hand and won diplomatic recognition of those facts with the other. Israel was established because its founders recognized when time is on the side of Zionism and when time is working against it. But over the last few decades, that insight into time has gotten lost, as has the wisdom of equilibrium. The illusion has sprung up that military might and economic prosperity are enough to assure our future. A dangerous dissonance has developed between visible reality and its invisible counterpart. The relative quiet that the Israel Defense Forces, the Shin Bet security service and high tech have granted us has become a toxic quiet. It has allowed us to celebrate our lives without seeing the circumstances of our lives. It has allowed us to ignore the threats that are closing in on us. The argument about time is an argument about life and death. On the eve of the Yom Kippur War, the right thought there was still time. On the eve of the intifada, the right thought there was still time. Today, too, when the threat of rocket fire and the threat of the occupation are tangible and immediate, the right thinks there is still time. But the truth is that there is no time. If we don't act in time, time will beat us".
  • Ari Shavit (2): "Obama and Netanyahu must wake up. The deal is a familiar one: determined American action vis-a-vis Iran in exchange for a determined Israeli initiative vis-a-vis Syria and Palestine. This deal can be closed only by these two leaders, who will look each other in the eye next Tuesday in the Oval Office. If they don't change their ways and learn how to work with each other, Obama and Netanyahu will bear personal responsibility for the results of the third Lebanon war".
  • Akiva Eldar (1) (on Independence Day, about the Saudi peace plan as a basis for peace negotiations, and about Israel's constant and ongoing refusal to take it seriously): "It is true that we are entitled to replace the hand extended in peace and neighborliness with a hand that digs the foundations for more outposts and more graves. After all, we are independent". Israel Harel, Haaretz' pet-settler, claims that the Saudis have never been serious about their peace-plan, that it was nothing more than a PR stunt. After all, "even Benjamin Netanyahu has adopted the formula of two states for two peoples". Yeah, right, that is why the latter is working so hard towards a one-state solution, and why he fails so miserably in convincing the whole world of his good intentions.
  • Gadi Baltiansky (about Avigdor Lieberman and his influence): "For now, his face has become the nation's face, and everyone will have to decide for themselves whether this is an ugly or an attractive face. The world sees Lieberman in us, and when Israel looks in the mirror it sees Lieberman. Perhaps Israel is losing, but Lieberman's victory is so great thus far that even if he does eventually disappear from the public stage, the Liebermans will remain".
  • Amnon Abramovich: "Israel can exist another 50 years without peace. Yet it would have trouble surviving another decade, with the occupation intact, as a Jewish nation-state that is democratic and legitimate.[...] The next disengagement would have to be wiser, more secure, and marketed differently in the region and in the world – yet it is inevitable."
  • Shlomo Avineri: "Identity is a matter of self-definition, not external definition. Just as Jews are not the ones who will determine whether the Palestinians are a people or not (there are more than a few of us who have yet to be reconciled with the existence of the Palestinian people ), Salman Masalha cannot determine whether the Jews are a people or not. It is a question of self-determination."
  • Ha'Aretz: "A government that behaves this way cannot be fixed. Israel's helm is not in good hands."

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