Yitzhak Laor is one of Israel's most prominent dissidents and poets, a latter-day Spinoza who helps keep alive the critical tradition within Jewish culture. In this work he fearlessly dissects the complex attitudes of Western European liberal Left intellectuals toward Israel, Zionism and the "Israeli peace camp." He argues that through a prism of famous writers like Amos Oz, David Grossman and A.B. Yehoshua, the peace camp has now adopted the European vision of "new Zionism," promoting the fierce Israeli desire to be accepted as part of the West and taking advantage of growing Islamophobia across Europe.
The backdrop to this uneasy relationship is the ever-present shadow of the Holocaust. Laor is merciless as he strips bare the hypocrisies and unarticulated fantasies that lie beneath the love-affair between "liberal Zionists" and their European supporters.
Slavoj Žižek argues in the New Statesman for a binational state in Israel & Palestine - the "simplest and most obvious solution" to the conflict.
Highlighting some disturbing instances of racism (and sexism) in Israeli society (such as the 2007 poll that showed that over half of Israeli Jews believe intermarriage is akin to "national treason"), Žižek makes the key point that:
What makes these campaigns so depressing is that they are flourishing at a time of relative calm, at least in the West Bank. Any party interested in peace should welcome the socialising of Palestinian and Jewish youth.
Yitzhak Laor's latest article for Ha'aretz takes aim at Berlusconi's anti-semitism and Italy's racism, and argues that Israel should look to Spain and Germany for a model of how to embrace heterogeneity.
Once again, Europe's pathetic clown, Silvio Berlusconi, has delivered a tasteless joke, proving how little dignity is left in Italian politics. This time, the joke involved anti-Semitic motifs and made light of Holocaust victims.
But as far as Israel's government is concerned, Berlusconi can rest easy with his orgies and his demagogic speeches. And he can always be counted on to supply the latter, as he did on Europe's Holocaust Day in 2009, when he stated: "Anti-Semitic laws [instituted under Mussolini] are still perceived as a deep wound inflicted not only on the Jewish community, but on Italy's entire society, which suddenly lost part of its history" (La Stampa, January 29, 2009 ).
Visit Ha'aretz to read the article in full.