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Classical_Liberal Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 01:58 PM
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Can Israel be saved?
Can Israel be saved?
Richard Ben Cramer talks about "How Israel Lost," his exploration of how the occupation of Palestinian land has corrupted the soul of the Jewish state he loves.

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By Gary Kamiya

July 19, 2004 | Richard Ben Cramer is not afraid of sacred cows. He bulldozed one of America's icons, Joe DiMaggio, in a bestselling biography, and peeped into the stinky hopper in which the sausage of democracy is ground in his classic study of the 1988 presidential campaign, "What It Takes." With "How Israel Lost: The Four Questions," Cramer, who won a Pulitzer Prize for Middle East reporting in 1979, has taken on perhaps the most explosive, emotion-laden subject in America: Israel.

"How Israel Lost" is a mournful, passionate, hilarious lament for the endangered soul of a nation he loves. In a style that slips from the wisecracking cadences of a Miami Beach hondler to the dispassionate observations of a veteran journalist to the moral outrage of a world-weary humanist, Cramer argues that in the 20-plus years since he originally lived there, the Jewish state has suffered a cataclysmic sea-change, a blow to its spirit all the more tragic for being self-inflicted.

The cause of Israel's malaise, Cramer writes, is very simple: Its 37-year occupation of Palestinian land. The occupation, Cramer argues, is a gross and continuing injustice that has coarsened Israel's moral fiber, corrupted her politics and economy, and split Israeli Jews into bitterly opposed, self-interested tribes who have lost all sense of allegiance to anything beyond their own needs. The occupation has also had a deadly effect on Palestinians, stomping out the last embers of hope and creating a generation of sad, hardened children who know Israelis only as soldiers with guns.

"here are no lives in Israel or Palestine that have not been heated or hardened," Cramer writes. "On the Palestinian side, there are so many lives and dreams on hold ('We are under occupation -- what can we do?') that the conflict has more or less replaced life -- or cooked it to a standstill. The only consolation is that everything can be (and is) blamed on Israel. Among the Jews, the effects are harder to pinpoint -- and, to me, more insidious -- because the whole point of Israel was to create a place where Jews could live the best life -- and liveliest -- according to their values."......
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Name removed Donating Member (0 posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:10 PM
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Pillowbiter Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Jul-19-04 02:37 PM
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2. I disagree
but I will concede for the time being until Kerry is elected.

Bigger fish to fry.


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Matilda Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Thu Jul-22-04 11:37 AM
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3. Sounds like a good read.
I think he's onto something there.
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