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.

In the Nobel Committee context, the very semblance of post-Zionist enlightenment can jack up a pretentious author’s junk bonds to hot-issue stock. Hence Oz has done his Nobel quest no disservice by charging that assorted graffiti-scrawlers are scary Neo-Nazi fiends.

The progeny and/or veiled torchbearers of actual Nazis cannot but be thrilled to quote a native of the Jewish state carping about the presence therein of “Hebrew Neo-Nazis.” This surely can help facelift more than a little European ugliness and for that favor Oz will doubtless be handsomely recompensed.

To be sure, this by no means is Oz’s first inflammatory taunt. At a June 8, 1989 Peace Now rally, Oz decreed that “Gush Emunim is a messianic sect, closed-minded and cruel, a band of armed gangsters, perpetrators of crimes against humanity, sadists, pogromists and murderers who crept out of a dark corner of Judaism, from the cellars of bestiality and defilement, in order to impose their bloodthirsty mad ritual.”

The above was a mere forerunner of further invective. Oz has regularly spouted similar vitriol over the quarter of a century that separates his two mouthfuls.

And there was plenty more besides meticulously-phrased revilement. Oz, for example, visited convicted murderer Marwan Barghouti in prison and later sent him the Arabic translation of his book A Tale of Love and Darkness, replete with the following personal dedication:”This story is our story. I hope you read it and understand us better, as we attempt to understand you. Hoping to meet soon in peace and freedom…”

For those who may have forgotten, here’s a reminder of whom Oz dreams of freeing. Barghouti, one-time commander of the particularly vicious Fatah offshoot of Tanzim, is doing five life terms and another 40 years for attempted murder. He was found guilty by an Israeli civilian court on May 20, 2004 of five counts of murder, including commissioning and organizing the attack on Tel Aviv’s Seafood Market restaurant, where three guests partaking in a bachelorette party were shot to death.

Yet inexplicably Barghouti boasts numerous leftwing Israeli fans, who unstintingly advocate his release on the unsubstantiated grounds that he alone can revive the moribund peace process. In their eyes, Barghouti’s goodwill is trustworthy and irreproachable.

With eyes wide shut, our self-professed omniscients presume to exude pragmatism – although its ramifications undermine the cause of justice, first and foremost for Barghouti’s victims. Moreover, the probability is that implementing what the convict’s groupies recommend would merely liberate a dangerous antagonist, an occurrence likely to trigger new terror onslaughts of the sort Barghouti masterminded in the past.

Hadn’t the homicidal spree he unleashed in unequivocal contravention of the Oslo Accords already abundantly underscored Barghouti’s deceitfulness and thereby disqualified him as an interlocutor?

Oz never explained precisely how, in his incisive analysis, Barghouti was transformed from a killer into a peace-lover. Oz never clarified why he ignores Barghouti’s oftentimes bellicose rhetoric when it ostensibly contradicts Peace Now’s pro forma agenda. Neither has Oz expounded on what would happen if the hopes he pins on Barghouti would be violently frustrated.

But this is the crux of the matter, to say nothing of the fact that bringing terrorists to trial is no trifling task. Members of Israel’s security forces literally put their lives on the line to track down and capture terror linchpins. When Oz advocates naïve experiments to turn murderers into synthetic negotiating partners, he devalues their apprehenders’ sacrifice.

He expresses equal contempt for our judicial system – one of the most autonomous, equitable and progressive in the entire democratic world. By downplaying multiple murder convictions, Oz invalidates verdicts, delegitimizes our courts and damages Israel’s legal reputation beyond repair.

Nonetheless, perhaps that’s just the notoriety the Nobel-coveter is after. Perhaps the lure of fame and fortune tempts him to pooh-pooh the fact that Barghouti had earned his status with the blood of slain and maimed Israelis.

Zion Swirry – whose son Doron, daughter Sharon and son-in-law Yaniv were murdered by Barghouti’s henchmen – can’t lay claim to Oz’s sophistication or celebrity. But he’s not short of common sense. And so he responded to Oz’s aspersion: “No way can you compare graffiti to Nazism that extinguished six million of our people’s lives. Warmly dedicating a book to a murderer is much worse than spray-painting a slogan on a wall.”

Indeed, the vehemence which Oz and his disciples spend on the graffiti-sprayers proliferates in inverse proportion to the silence with which they greet Arab-perpetrated barbarities. In all the spates of carnage unleashed upon us during recent decades – and especially since Oslo’s gory advent – there was a marked absence of emotional outpouring and indignant denunciation from Oz and his faithful followers.

Oz might have thrown in a prudent token sentiment of displeasure about Arab butchery. Oz might have mentioned those who lost their lives or whose lives will never be the same again as a direct consequence of Arab attacks, including rock-throwing. He might have made a minimal effort to balance his sanctimonious wrath against scribblers of infantile mottos.

This observation is in no way meant to even hint at any equivalence between stupid graffiti and assaulting innocents. Graffiti can be washed off or painted over. Slaughtered victims of Arab/Muslim homicide cannot be resurrected. This indisputable detail shouldn’t prove beyond the rudimentary grasp of even an esteemed author.

Neither should it be haughtily dismissed by the left-dominated media which relishes in manufacturing Jewish “racism” and Jewish “hate-crimes” but glosses over “nationalist-motivated” Arab atrocities. Woe to the pitiable journalist who deviates from its obligatory verbal codes or fails to garnish his/her reports with de rigueur pejoratives about arch-terrorists armed with paint, chalk or spray-cans.

Their infamy is excitedly broadcast to a world eager to magnify so-called Israeli malevolence and rationalize Arab bloodlust. With colossal chutzpah the Palestinian Authority already demands that governments abroad and international organizations list the objects of Oz’s scorn as terrorists.

When we forget ambushed Jewish tots while focusing fixatedly on graffiti, we do more than distort values. We undermine our own self-preservation, please real neo-Nazis (or their more genteel parlor versions) and, most of all, we play into the hands of contemporary adherents of Nazi-collaborator and wanted war criminal Haj Amin al-Husseini. Al-Husseini’s ideological heirs aim to continue Hitler’s mission and annihilate as many Jews as they can for the crime of having been born to Jewish parents.

But the Oz in-crowd doesn’t give a hoot. It absolves Barghouti of terrorist massacres while it passionately loathes those broadly denigrated as “settlers.” Tenaciously clinging to values long ago discarded by conceited talking heads, the much-maligned settlers are physically and psychologically distant from Tel Aviv’s clubs and cafes, besides being anathema to the elite’s fashion police.

Therefore, it doesn’t matter who actually sprays graffiti. We can’t discount agent-provocateurs of the Avishai Raviv ilk and we can’t in given cases discount Arab instigators (considering how lame the Hebrew is in some inscriptions). Neither can we discount underage fools inside the hallowed Green Line, who are inspired by the press pandemonium.

The more the graffiti-daubers are decried, the more their idiocy becomes a contagious fad. The more hysterical the hullabaloo, the more kooky copycats it spawns – to the undisguised delight of Oz and cronies.

Incensed howls berating Israel’s alleged innate bigotry reverberate around the globe. The breasts of generic Israelis are beaten with exultant relish and the din of disingenuous recriminations has become earsplitting. Entire sectors of our society are jeeringly stereotyped. Blaming them is hoarsely upheld as the pluralist cause célèbre.

Meanwhile, steam is building up where Arabs hurling deadly rocks and firebombs are largely ignored by the media, where violence against Jews is tolerated, where the victims are blamed and deprecated, where dead Jews get less attention than imbecilic graffiti.

Lack of minimal mainstream understanding for those despised by the Oz cheerleading squad breeds hopelessness and hopelessness breeds alienation. When people are estranged and pushed into dark corners, they eventually break bounds.

Crazies thrive where no steam can be vented and where protest is discredited and stifled, where no sane options are left, where no course corrections are possible, where no avenue of action with a sliver of a chance to succeed is left open, where misdemeanors are inflated into major felonies, where imperious adjudicators of superior tastes consider some of their fellow citizens transparent or worthless.

At the same time, these copywriters of our conventional wisdom – Oz prominent among them – make liberal allowances for our enemies. This is why nobody appears overly flustered by ongoing and unmitigated Arab pursuance of genocide and ethnic cleansing.

Put bluntly, our opinion-molders of the Oz prototype somewhat identify with the point of view of those who viscerally hate us. In the Land of Oz, we deserve no better. In the Land of Oz, it’s probably all our fault anyway. Seen that. Been there. End of story.

6 thoughts on “Another Tack: In the Land of Oz

  1. As always a brilliant analysis of the present situation which I would more accurately describe as a continuous, living nightmare that contains no solution and has no conceivable end- at least in our lifetime, and probably not even that of our grandchildren’s lifetimes.

    The great tragedy is that not every last Jewish citizen in the State of Israel is a Saint and there are more than a few, in fact, who have committed and continue to commit some rather detestable acts that have the boomerang effect of reflecting back in quite a negative manner on the image of all Israelis and indeed all Jews worldwide.

    It is pointless to bury our heads in the sand, avert our eyes, and pretend we do not know this to be a fact.

    The story of Modern Day Israel, at least one facet, one part of that story, is a story that entails all the elements of a Greek Tragedy. By definition one of the chief ingredients in Classic Tragedy is that human beings get caught up, become trapped by forces totally beyond their ability to control those forces.

    The knee jerk reaction by the entire Arab world, in 1948, to reject outright the sensible scenario proposed by the majority of UN Members to create a “Two State” solution to allow both Jews and Arabs to have their own legally recognized nations, set the stage for endless decades of bloodshed and the senseless slaughter of innocents, some even in their cribs.

    The terrible fallout of that original 1948 rejection of a Two State solution has mired that part of the world in unending tragedy and sorrow ever since.

    And part of that tragedy is that it has spawned extremists on BOTH sides who commit acts of violence that only feed the fires of this ongoing tragedy which thus pushes any hope of ever finding a solution ever further down the road of History.

    Had the Arab world accepted the idea of a Two State solution as proposed by the UN in 1948, we would now be looking at two very successful and prosperous modern nations, living side by side in what was known in 1947-48 as British Mandate Palestine.

    In 1948 the Arab world rejected what was the only sane possible solution to achieve a lasting Peace in the Middle East, between the Arabs and the Jews and thus even a blind man with a cup and a cane can clearly see who is to blame for more than 60 years of ongoing bloodshed.

    The leaders of the Arab world in 1948 consigned generations of Arabs in what was once British Mandate Palestine, to lives of unnecessary poverty and suffering. These Arabs became the unwitting Pawns in the endless series of chess games, in actuality real wars, which the Arabs always lost, each and every time, but at great and tragic cost to both sides, every time.

    It is disingenuous not to admit that among the Arab population of the land that is presently under the control of the State of Israel, a fact that developed in the course of the Arabs attempting to destroy Israel, there are nonetheless countless ordinary Arab families who wish only to live in Peace, protect and feed their children and hope to live long enough to see a better tomorrow.

    These countless Arab families and their descendants were robbed of that chance of a better future by the so-called Leaders of the Arab world both in 1948 and continuing even until today. Sadly they were/are brainwashed by the Arab world to believe everything is the fault of the Jews when it was/is, in truth, their own Arab leaders in 1948, who consigned them to their present fate.

    But it is silly to pretend that all Arabs are motivated by evil, just as it is equally silly and dishonest to pretend that all the Jewish citizens of the State of Israel are motivated by only good and honorable intentions.

    When Jewish extremists cut down and destroy the olive groves of poor Arab families and spray moronic “Price Tag” graffiti on Arab tombstones and the walls of their houses and Mosques, it is actually all the citizens of Israel who are forced, in the end, to pay a real “price tag” for such odious acts of stupidity and cowardice. It is beside the point that there exist Arabs who also commit acts of desecration of property and far worse. Since when does one wrong make another, right??

    It is the sum of the damage done by a comparatively small number of Jewish extremists with their shortsighted “Price- Tag” attacks that give people like Amos Oz and his vast ilk of followers, ardent disciples and admirers, both in Israel and world wide, the opportunity to scream the most disgusting epithets such as the infamous slur: “Judeo-Nazis”.

    Such an ugly slur is not even worth commenting upon. It reflects a type of warped, upside down, inside out, thinking and distorted perception of the world as can only be encountered in the mind and “World of Oz”.

    To attempt to link the words “Jew” and “Nazi” together, except in the context of Victim and Victimizer, is for me, both mind boggling and mind numbing. One can offer Six Million reasons to make that statement -as if that were necessary.

    Not being a trained Psychiatrist or Psychoanalyst, I do not pretend to know or understand what goes on in the mind of a person like Amos Oz and the unfortunately massive number of human beings like him.

    Run of the mill anti-Semites, who have been on the Earth as long as the Jewish People themselves, I can somewhat understand. Their need to have an ever ready “scapegoat”, their need to make disappear, people who live by a set of ethics and morals which might prove inconvenient and/or troubling for others or a challenge or obstacle for their long term agendas.

    But when a citizen of Israel or a Jew anywhere, for that matter, worldwide, subscribes to and agrees with the use of a term such as “Judeo-Nazis”, I am taken aback. And I certainly cannot conceive of a Survivor of Buchenwald or Sobibor ascribing to the use of such a term.

    The point is that people like Amos Oz do not represent the thinking of all Jews and most likely only a small percentage of the Jews in the State of Israel and/or worldwide.

    That is why it is so very important for the government of Israel to go after, pursue, arrest and yes-incarcerate with long prison terms those who commit these so-called “Price-Tag” acts.

    Because it is these acts committed by people possessing twisted, warped, extremist mentalities, that do so very much harm to the image of Jews worldwide. Those who believe these “Price-Tag” attacks are not a major problem but only a transient nuisance deserving of at most a hard slap on the wrist, are naïve in the extreme.

    When I see a photograph of an IDF bulldozer uprooting a house built illegally on Palestinian land I am encouraged to believe that the Israeli government possesses the necessary ethical and Legal commitment to stand by the Rule of Law.

    When we allow even the smallest most seemingly insignificant injustice to befall someone is not Jewish, we are unwittingly feeding the seeds of warped thinking that flourish in the minds of people like Amos Oz and his followers.

    Israel must endeavor to make certain that no one in the State of Israel can believe for a moment they have the right to take the Law into their own hands.

    When someone cuts down a single olive tree owned by a single Palestinian farmer or engages in a so-called “Price-Tag” attack, involving spray can graffiti, all Jews everywhere are made to pay the price.

    It is indeed a price neither Jews, individually, nor the State of Israel can ill afford.

  2. Thank you Sarah for confronting and rebuffing the evil spirited Oz!
    I think it is also very appropriate that you mentioned Yeshayahu Leibowitz whose silly slogans corrupted Israeli youth and paved the way to the 1st Arab intifada.

  3. Thanks Sarah! I didn’t know much about this issue.

    Some radical leftist authors seem to have a very bizarre worldview.

  4. “Hebrew neo-Nazis”….that most obscene term is the paradigm of Ozs character.
    He and his followers are anti-Zionists and the enemies of Israel…they should finally be treated like that !

  5. As a friend so poignantly remarked :-

    “Arafat a Nobel, Obama a Nobel.
    Do we really need to ask ourselves the leanings of the Nobel committee?”

  6. Doesn’t Israel have sedition laws? Even though “Judeo-Nazis” and “Hebrew neo-Nazis” are obscene terms, they’re not actionable–they fall within the purview of free speech. However, wouldn’t visiting Marwan Barghouti in prison, and sending him an Arabic version of his book, constitute “giving aid and comfort to the enemy in time of war?” If so, isn’t there a way to imprison, or otherwise silence, Amos Oz? And what about the charge of income tax evasion? Has Oz failed to pay his taxes? If so, couldn’t he be imprisoned for that? That’s how Franklin Roosevelt silenced Father Charles Coughlin, back in 1938. Meanwhile, on one of my trips to Israel, when I expressed some pro-Israel sentiment, I was told by a young IDF soldier(from Tel Aviv), that “The IDF is for all the people!” His comment had nothing to do with what I said; but it didn’t matter–pro-Israel opinions, it seems, aren’t wanted in Tel Aviv.

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