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Red Rag column: Storm over Mahmoud Darwish
By: Gideon Spiro
4 August 2016 (English translation 11 August 2016)
A storm over Darwish
Defence Minister Avigdor Lieberman and Culture Minister Miri Regev, who have led the storm over Mahmoud Darwish after a show on the poet was broadcast on Army Radio’s “University on the Air” [HaUniversita HaMeshuderet] are an expression of narrow-mindedness combined with ignorance, for it seems highly unlikely that they have read his poems.
Only ignorance deeper than the sea, such as Lieberman’s, could compare the poetry of the Palestinian national poet to the writings of Hitler.
It is well known that the more powerful the creation, the more the local becomes universal. Darwish is the poet of the uprooted, expelled and refugee Palestinians. And at the same time, because of his poetical and literary prowess, he is also the poet of all the uprooted and refugees beyond the Palestinian scene. Thus can it be understood why he is also the poet of uprooted and expelled refugees from Germany like the German Jewish satirist Kurt Tucholsky and the German Jewish writer Stefan Zweig, who committed suicide in exile after they could no longer tolerate being uprooted from the landscape and culture of their homeland. He is also the poet of the refugees who are seeking asylum in Israel, whom the government is doing all it can to expel.
The War of the Mizrahim
There is a world war going on at the moment between Mizrahi Jews like Erez Biton, the new hero of Naftali Bennett, and Daniel Ben-Simon who is trying to create a bridge between French culture and his Mizrahiness. Ben-Simon does not believe in the seriousness of Biton’s report, on the exclusion of Mizrahi culture from cultural life in Israel. Biton, his friends and those who embrace him from the establishment, are trying to create a Mizrahi culture while extirpating the Arab culture from which they came.
Both Ben-Simon and Biton are partners in the Ashkenazi and Mizrahi establishment’s hostility to and persecution of Mordechai Vanunu, the most important Mizrahi Jew who has emerged in Israel since 1948. As long as that is the situation, the argument between them looks unimportant to me.
Those today who are seeking a “Mizrahi Herzl” can dig wherever they want – they will not find him. And it’s not such a great honour either.
6 August – Hiroshima Day
Seventy-one years since the dropping of the atom bomb on Hiroshima.
Remember, and do not forget: close the reactor in Dimona, dismantle Israel’s nuclear weapons in the framework of a zone free of weapons of mass destruction, before there is a nuclear holocaust; free the prisoner of conscience Mordechai Vanunu from the prison called the State of Israel.
Translated from Hebrew for Occupation Magazine by George Malent
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