On the kibbutz, the word “Palestinian” was never used. Why, I asked. The answer was a troubled silence.
What enrages those who colonise and occupy, steal and oppress, vandalise and defile is the victims’ refusal to comply. And this is the tribute we all should pay the Palestinians. They refuse to comply. They go on. They wait – until they fight again. And they do so even when those governing them collaborate with their oppressors.
For Palestinians, these will be familiar stories. The question is: why are they not familiar in London and Washington, Brussels and Sydney?
In Syria, a recent liberal cause — a George Clooney cause — is bankrolled handsomely in Britain and the United States, even though the beneficiaries, the so-called rebels, are dominated by jihadist fanatics, the product of the invasion of Afghanistan and Iraq and the destruction of modern Libya.
Seventy years later, this crime is suppressed in the intellectual and political culture of the West. Or it is debatable, or merely controversial. Highly-paid journalists and eagerly accept Israeli government trips, hospitality and flattery, then are truculent in their protestations of independence. The term, “useful idiots”, was coined for them.
In 2011, I was struck by the ease with which one of Britain’s most acclaimed novelists, Ian McEwan, a man bathed in the glow of bourgeois enlightenment, accepted the Jerusalem Prize for literature in the apartheid state.
Not a single book survived with all its pages; not a single master tape from one of the best collections of Palestinian cinema. The soldiers had urinated and defecated on the floors, on desks, on embroideries and works of art. They had smeared faeces on children’s paintings and written – in shit – “Born to kill”.