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Hating Israel By: Steven Plaut
Middle East Quarterly | Friday, June 04, 2004

Try to imagine that one of those many people in Britain who had lauded the Munich Accord as a great breakthrough for peace and who were certain Hitler would never violate it had decided to publish his old articles, singling praises for Munich - printing them after World War II. Or imagine someone republishing his old Op-Eds from the late 1980s about how the Eastern European Soviet system was here to stay, as a new book in 2003.

Well, if you can imagine such a thing, you have a pretty good picture of David Grossman's new book. Grossman is one of the more extreme members of Israel's Literary Left. He has published quite a few novels, and is regarded as a gifted writer of fiction (Not by me, but then I am only an economist so what do I know about such things). But Grossman also spends many a waking hour in turning out political agitprop and Far Leftist Op-Eds for the newspapers of Israel, the UK, Germany and France, including some of the worst Israel-bashing outfits.

Grossman suddenly has decided to collect some of these moldy Op-Eds and recycle them as this book, and Farrar, Strauss and Giroux for some incomprehensible reason thought it could make them a few bucks. What we get are almost a score of Grossman's silliest and worst written Op-Eds. Even worse, these pieces have been so thoroughly belied and debunked by actual events that one would have expected anyone with a minimal sense of shame to have buried them in his clippings box and never again make public mention of them.

We have Grossman's early pieces singing the praises of the Oslo "peace process" and beatifying Yitzhak Rabin for his "courage" in establishing the foundations for a Palestinian state. Grossman repeatedly celebrates the fact that Arafat has abandoned his ambitions to see Israel attacked and destroyed, and clearly has renounced the so-called Palestinian "right of return." Palestinians, insists Grossman, are downright embarrassed when they read the irredentist contents of the PLO's "Covenant". Embarrassed indeed.

Hardly controlling his ecstasy at the Rabin-Arafat handshake, he gushes: "I have always believed that when Israel agrees to grant this right (of self-determination) to the Palestinians, it will also win it for itself." How inconvenient for Grossman that Israel spent the past decade granting such a "right" and got 1300 murdered Israelis in exchange and nonstop war.

Grossman does not feel the slightest shudder when exhibiting for us all his political cluelessness. He reprints his old piece about the Palestinian boy Muhammed al-Durrah killed in a firefight started by the PLO, a piece attacking Israel and Ehud Barak.  He neglects to mention anywhere that it has since been learned that the boy was in fact killed by PLO fire. Grossman reprints his appeals to Palestinian writers and intellectuals, "ALL" of whom - he insists - seek peace with Israel (p.22), to condemn the violence. Grossman then sighs when they never do, but fails to contemplate the possibility that these folks just might be ENDORSING the jihadniks and murderers. While the Left's "concepts" turn out to have been completely wrong, one after the other, about absolutely everything in the era of the Oslo Euphoria, Grossman just gets irritable and insists Oslo collapsed because the Left was not stubborn enough and militant enough and extreme enough.


After predicting that Prime Minister Ehud Barak would never offer the Palestinians any land in one of the reprinted Op-Eds, Barak then offered the PLO virtually the entire West Bank and Gaza Strip, an immediate state, parts of pre-1967 Israel, financial tribute, and East Jerusalem with the Western Wall. Being progressive means never having to say you are sorry. The PLO then launches the "Al-Aqsa Intifada" in response to Barak's offer. Naturally, Grossman sees the collapse of Camp David II as somehow all Israel's fault.


Now while Grossman is possibly the most extremist among Israel's Literary Leftists, even he dismisses out of hand any possibility of any Palestinian "right of return" to pre-1967 Israel. But that is precisely the little detail over which Ehud Barak's insane offer at Camp David failed! As my teenagers would say, Like Duh. Grossman never draws the conclusion from his own rejection of the PLO's insistence on a "Right of Return" that the PLO is seeking war and violence - not coexistence - always was, in spite of its posturing when Rabin was still around.  Nor does he ever dwell on the meaning of those polls showing near-universal support among Palestinians for suicide bombings and atrocities against Jews. While throwing a couple of his pieces on the Holocaust into the volume, the only real lesson Grossman has learned from the Holocaust is how unwaveringly devoted today's Far Left must remain to their delusions.

Grossman, who even today "understands" why the Palestinians loath Israel (page 7), also "understands" the PLO when it tries to smuggle in the Karin, a ship of terror weapons (in another reprinted Op-Ed, p. 156), and unwaveringly believes that leftists never have to apologize for being wrong about just about everything they say or write. There is one redeeming aspect to this pathetic little book and that is its ability to serve as an interesting personal documentation of the delusions and fantasies of the Israeli Left, which directly produced the Olso Bloodbath.


In the only new part of the book, Grossman writes a bland preface in which he admits he is no journalist at all, and then explains how it is quite understandable that Arabs wish to follow aggressive, bellicose leaders. How embarrassing for Grossman that this was written shortly before the Iraqis took to slapping Saddam's posters with their sandals.

Steven Plaut is a professor at the Graduate School of the Business Administration at the University of Haifa and is a columnist for the Jewish Press. A collection of his commentaries on the current events in Israel can be found on his "blog" at www.stevenplaut.blogspot.com.

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