Searching reflections on the crisis in Israel and Gaza by Pulitzer Prize-winning historian of the Holocaust
Diary of a Crisis explores the past tumultuous and traumatic year in Israel-Palestine. The eminent historian Saul Friedländer began a diary of Israeli politics in January 2023 as the country was convulsed by protests against Netanyahu’s attempt to overhaul the judiciary. Hundreds of thousands took to the streets to demonstrate against this threat to democracy. But the protests said nothing about the Palestinian question – the ‘elephant in the room’, according to Friedländer, who resumed his diary on the eve of Hamas’s 7 October assault on southern Israel. Israel was facing one of the worst crises in its history, he observes, under the worst possible internal conditions.
Diary of a Crisis weaves together profound reflections on the history of the country in the life of which Friedlander was an active participant. He memorably describes how Prime Minister Golda Meir once flatly declared to him, ‘there is no Palestinian people’. For Friedländer, on the other hand, the fight for democracy is inseparable from equality of treatment for Arab and Jewish citizens and an end to Israeli domination over Palestinians in the Occupied Territories. Despite the continuing bloodshed, a two-state solution remains only the long-term answer to this most intractable of conflicts.