Open Zion

08.03.12

David Grossman's Plea

As hawks gear up for an Israeli attack on Iran, Israeli novelist David Grossman talks back in today’s Haaretz.  He had a lot to say and called for an even more vocal opposition to Netanyahu's war cries, but his most profound plea was to and for the Israeli public:

And what about us, the Israeli people, who are suddenly mute amid the gathering gloom, who clam up in fatalistic resignation with eyes wide shut against what seems to grow more threatening every day? How will we face ourselves and our children when we are asked why we kept silent? Why we didn't take to the streets in masses to demonstrate against the possibility of another war launched by us? Why we didn't set up a single symbolic protest tent in front of the Prime Minister's Residence to warn against the potential disaster heading our way? For, as the poet Bialik said in another context, it is we who will pay the price of the blaze with our blood and marrow.

Grossman’s warning is humbling. It reminds us that getting caught up in a frenzy of fear can bring us to our knees and that silence is sometimes our worst enemy.  As we wait for the dust of Tahrir Square to settle and watch the Syrian people fight a bloody dictator, we need to think about what it really means to “pay the price of the blaze,” with a strike on Iran more than ever. 

Grossman was prophetic about the dangers of the occupation; his book The Yellow Wind captured the Palestinian frustration that fueled the first Intifada.  Lets hope he’s not prophetic when it comes to Iran, too.