Sunday, February 20, 2011

Masochism At Work

We award prizes and have people spit on us:-

Renowned British novelist Ian McEwan accepted an Israeli literary prize in Jerusalem Sunday with harsh criticism of Jewish settlements in the West Bank...At an acceptance ceremony for the Jerusalem Prize, McEwan praised Israel's technological and artistic advances but asked, "Where is Israel's political creativity?"

The novelist rebuked the "nihilism" of the Islamic militant Hamas, which has called for the destruction of Israel and has fired rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli towns. He also criticized Israel with the same term, saying "it is nihilism to make a long-term prison camp of the Gaza Strip."

The Jerusalem Prize, Israel's most prestigious award for foreign writers, is awarded biannually. Other authors who have received the Jerusalem Prize include Simone de Beauvoir, Milan Kundera, Arthur Miller and Haruki Murakami.

McEwan told a Jerusalem audience, including Israeli President Shimon Peres and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, that the "distinguished judges" of the jury "seem to be demanding that I mention, and I must oblige, the continued evictions and demolitions and relentless purchases of Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem."

Except for one man who booed the novelist as he delivered his speech, the audience warmly applauded McEwan.

The Guardian adds:

...McEwan spoke of "continued evictions and relentless purchases of Palestinian homes in East Jerusalem, the process of the right of return granted to Jews but not to Arabs, the so-called facts on the ground of hardening concrete over the future, over future generations of Palestinian and Israeli children who will inherit the conflict and find it even more difficult to resolve than it is today."  He added: "A great and self-evident injustice hangs in the air."

He called for an end to settlements and encroachments on Palestinian land.

...Jerusalem, he said, was "the most intense place I have ever set foot in".

The idea of the freedom of the individual "sits a little awkwardly" with the current situation in Jerusalem, he said...He referred to the Shoah, or Holocaust, as "that industrialised cruelty which will remain always the ultimate measure of human depravity, of how far we can fall", and acknowledged "the precious tradition of the democracy of ideas in Israel".

He singled out three celebrated Israeli authors – Amos Oz, AB Yehoshua and David Grossman – as "writers who love their country, and made sacrifices for it and have been troubled by the directions it has taken". They had opposed the settlements, he said, and had become the country's "conscience, memory and above all hope".

...The author said he was donating his $10,000 (£6,155) prize to Combatants for Peace, an organisation of former Israeli soldiers and former Palestinian fighters.

JTA includes this:

McEwan on Friday joined the weekly protest in the eastern Jerusalem neighborhood of Sheikh Jarrah against Jewish residents of the predominately Palestinian neighborhood.  He marched with Israeli novelist David Grossman, a weekly participant.  “I hope that the next time that I come to Israel, there won’t be any need to demonstrate in these types of circumstances," he said during the protest.

McEwan had planned to meet with Palestinian writers during his visit, but they refused to meet with him, Reuters reported.

And we do this to ourselves again and again.  The most liberal, anti-rational literary personality possible is invited to accept an award and then criticise us.


1 comment:

Anonymous said...


because, until mashiach comes, israel must function as a democracy.

the man was invited, and as such, has every right in the world to behave like an ass.

however, as he said this..."relentless purchases of Palestinian homes", i question his intelligence, and whether he is worthy of any prize

relentless purchases???? what the hell does that mean...and when did buying property become illegal?

as to his assertion that gaza is a prison...well...that again goes to show that the man is not very intelligent, and before he gives away that 10 grand....israel should take it back and give it to some deserving high school student, who can use it for the university education.