Blog post

“The most hated man in Israel—and perhaps the most heroic”—Johann Hari profiles Gideon Levy

Tamar Shlaim20 September 2010

Johann Hari has written an incredible and moving profile of Ha'aretz journalist and author of The Punishment of Gaza, Gideon Levy for the Independent. Covering Levy's personal history, his analysis of the contemporary situation and his journey from proud Israeli nationalist to outspoken critic of the occupation, the interview makes clear that Levy is no enemy of Israel, and asks "could Levy, in time, be seen as a Jewish prophet in the unlikely wilderness of a Jewish state, calling his people back to a moral path?"

"I want to be proud of my country," he says. "I am an Israeli patriot. I want us to do the right thing." So this requires him to point out that Palestinian violence is —in truth —much more limited than Israeli violence, and usually a reaction to it. "The first twenty years of the occupation passed quietly, and we did not lift a finger to end it. Instead, under cover of the quiet, we built the enormous, criminal settlement enterprise," where Palestinian land is seized by Jewish religious fundamentalists who claim it was given to them by God. Only then —after a long period of theft, and after their attempts at peaceful resistance were met with brutal violence—did the Palestinians become violent themselves. "What would happen if the Palestinians had not fired Qassams [the rockets shot at Southern Israel, including civilian towns]? Would Israel have lifted the economic siege? Nonsense".

Visit the Independent to read interview in full.

The profile has also been published by the Huffington Post.

Filed under: interviews