Israeli authors have never been shy. They have always commented on their governments and always speak about politics in their novels. But the best-selling Israeli writers are now captives of a dangerous syndrome. One can legitimately criticize Israeli governments, their errors and deafness. But a dark malaise is now driving these authors to toe the line with the worst emotions of global public opinion.
This is the same public opinion that in essence boycotted the tragic news about a large, beautiful and caring Jewish family destroyed in a minute, when terrorists burst into their home in Itamar with one aim in mind: To murder as many Israelis as possible.
There is now a deep chasm between the pretension of the "good conscience" of these writers and the crude realism of history. This is even sander and more significant because we are not talking about writers who hate Israel or novelists who pontificate against the Jewish State from abroad, but rather, about locals.
Amos Oz and David Grossman, Israel’s most popular authors, have a track record of genuine Zionist endeavor. But Oz just got in touch with Marwan Barghouti, the Palestinian terrorist leader convicted of murdering five Israelis and planning several terrorist attacks. The Israel Prize recipient sent the Palestinian prisoner one of his books with a personal inscription wishing him a speedy release from prison: “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.”
Indeed, the gap between these authors and the guillotine threatening Israel grows larger every day. David Grossman, whose son Uri was killed in the Second Lebanon War, was the first Israeli writer to explore the psychology of the Israeli occupation after 1967. Since then, Grossman’s paradigm, simply put, was always the same: Israel must end its role of occupier and oppressor if the horror of terrorism is to end.
It seems as though Grossman’s conscience as an intellectual hasn't been shaken by the Twin Towers attack, by the 1,600 Israeli civilians killed in terror attacks, by a decade of rockets on southern Israeli cities or by Iran’s atomic death cult.
Shortly after the Gaza war, Grossman called for an independent inquiry into the conduct of the IDF, paving the way for the biased Goldstone’s report. He also urged dialogue with Hamas. When Grossman went to collect a cash prize funded by the Israeli state, he refused to shake hands with Prime Minister Ehud Olmert.
After the flotilla incident, Grossman charged that Israel behaves like “a band of pirates.” He said the blockade on Gaza was “despicable,” attacking the Israeli government “which is prepared to embitter the lives of a million innocent people in the Gaza Strip, in order to obtain the release of one imprisoned soldier.”
Indeed, the morality of Israeli writers is not longer in tune with reality and its contradictions, Israel’s security, very existence, identity and memory. These authors’ publications attract so much attention abroad because of the baleful influence they have on Israel’s reputation, as they promulgate the most vicious distortions about Israel.
When Ariel Sharon sent forces into the West Bank to defeat the terrorists, both Grossman and Oz went to help the Palestinians with their olive harvest. Their noble generosity didn’t stop Hamas from slaughtering two Jewish girls in a nearby settlement, Linoy Sarussi and Hadas Turgeman. Now, again, after a new Jewish family was destroyed in Itamar, the writers chose to send postcards and books to the terrorists. Israel deserves better bards.
Giulio Meotti, a journalist with Il Foglio, is the author of A New Shoah: The Untold Story of Israel's Victims of Terrorism