Another Tack: In the Land of Oz

Yigal Tumarkin’s portrait of his friend Amos Oz, entitled “Oz in a mask of Oz.”

Yigal Tumarkin’s portrait of his friend Amos Oz, entitled “Oz in a mask of Oz.”

Meretz’s grand guru Amos Oz has told us that, being “a man of words,” he carefully considers his every utterance and its possible nuances. This was his practice, the novelist attests, ahead of his recent 75th birthday gala where he berated “Hebrew neo-Nazis.”

No inadvertent slip of the tongue, it was Oz’s premeditated refinement of Prof. Yeshayahu Leibowitz’s infamous “Judeo-Nazis” denigration. That bilious barb against Israeli soldiers – also calculated and never retracted – cost Leibowitz his Israel Prize in 1993 (when then-premier Yitzhak Rabin threatened to boycott the ceremony).

But Oz doesn’t stand to lose by his provocation. Quite the contrary, the Neo-Nazi defamation can do him nothing but a whole lot of good.

If anything, it has given a major boost to his tireless campaign to at long last win the Nobel Prize for literature. Oz, already the darling of literati and glitterati in Germany – the Nazis’ original homeland – can only win hearts and minds in Israel-bashing Europe if he seems to join Europe’s crusade against his compatriots.

The more he dissociates himself from the Israeli majority and the greater the zest with which he whacks it, the more Oz appears to cleanse himself of our Jewish sins. The more assiduously he cleanses himself, the more Oz gets to bask in the ambiance of European approval. He’s generously showered with accolades from latter-day Judeophobes parading as righteous critics of villainous Israeli policies. Continue reading