Thursday, June 3, 2010

Margaret Atwood on Israel's Shadow

The Shadow over Israel
Margaret Atwood, in Haaretz: ... The Shadow is not the Palestinians. The Shadow is Israel's treatment of the Palestinians, linked with Israel's own fears. The worse the Palestinians are treated in the name of those fears, the bigger the Shadow grows. and then the fears grow with them; and the justifications for the treatment multiply.

The attempts to shut down criticism are ominous, as is the language being used. Once you start calling other people by vermin names such as 'vipers,' you imply their extermination... Studies have shown that ordinary people can be led to commit horrors if told they'll be acting in self-defense, for 'victory,' or to benefit mankind...

The concept of Israel as a humane and democratic state is in serious trouble... Time is running out. Opinion in Israel may be hardening, but in the United States things are moving in the opposite direction. Campus activity is increasing; many young Jewish Americans don't want Israel speaking for them. America, snarled in two chaotic wars and facing increasing international anger over Palestine, may well be starting to see Israel not as an asset but as a liability.

Then there are people like me... Having strayed into the Middle-eastern neighbourhood with a mind as open as it could be without being totally vacant, I've come out altered... And am I a tool of terrorists for saying this? I think not.
Image source here.