Sunday, June 19, 2016

A. B. Yehoshua in By the Book in the New York Times

Of course, this section of the Book World is usually reserved to US authors but then again Israelis are always treated like they are super Americans.  But look at this: "Israeli literature is well known today in many places in the world. For a small Hebrew-speaking country it’s quite an accomplishment that our novels and short story collections are published in translation in many languages and Israeli authors win literary prizes abroad."  What he said is of course true.  Israeli books on all topics are instantly translated from a language spoken by the smallest number of people as world languages are concerned.  Hebrew is taught at more colleges and universities in the US than Urdu for example.  It is part of the obsessive worship of Israel in the US.  But more importantly: this is part of this unique American proclivity: to never apply critical standards in look at any aspects of Israel.  I have always said since I came to the US: you would never ever read a negative review of an Israeli book, or article, or a poem, or even a dish.  Israel never gets negative reviews in the US.  It is possible that reviewers are afraid of being called anti-Semitic if they were to express a negative opinion of a stolen Israeli dish, or of a poem or a dance group.  I can imagine of the US were to politically break with Israel at some point--as unlikely as that is--many writers here would come forward and yell: I have been wanting to say this for a long time but was not able to say it but...Amos Oz is  really not a great writer at all.  I have really exaggerated and falsified.  David Grossman is not a great writer at all, but I felt obligated to say it.  But is this favorable treatment of Israel not the second part of anti-Semitism according to Oz's definition?