Tel Aviv Diary - December 14-18, 2012 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - December 14-18, 2012 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

December 14, 2012

We had such a wonderful time with Joy Harjo - I felt such a kinship with her, and so did my whole family. And yet she was overwhelmed by demons who haunted her on facebook. The academic boycott that she broke by speaking with us had violent results, and the people with whom she is a part villified her. Maybe they had some justification - there are certainly good reasons to hate Israel - but the treatment of her was terrible, violent, irrational, and narrow-minded.Even though many of her friends supported her because they trusted her, they supported the boycott, and didn't really agree with her travelling. No wonder she was overwhelmed the entire time she was here. No wonder she felt she had to spend as much time as possible in the camps. Nevertheless she is an amazing person and I would have loved to take her to see this country and really meet the people. We really enjoyed her, her magic, her leadership, her greatness.

Our friends at dinner told us we were wrong in disagreeing with the boycott. I said that only in dialogue can progress be made, but my friend, who doesn't believe in Zionism at all, said that I was wrong, that progress was being made by the boycott - that it was making us realize how wrong we are. Are we really past the point of dialogue? If so, it's time for all out war.

December 15, 2012

Sorry - I can't believe it. People can't be that stupid. I look at my grandchildren and think they have to have a future. And even when we disagree on many issues, I find one thing every individual I know agrees with - that war is terrible.

On another subject - I've been looking for a name for a girl - not that I have any say in the matter - But I'm beginning to understand how political the concept of naming is around here. Biblical names = religious connotations, invented names = pretentious, contemporary Hebrew names = common, Arabic names = schizophrenic.

December 16, 2012

Rochelle Owens reminded me: "You said 'there are certainly good reasons to hate Israel.' Well yeah, yeah well, there is no good reason to hate Israel if she puts the survival of her enemies above her own. But that would not serve justice.". Even I sometimes forget that this conflict isn't about race or occupation but about survival. When people talk about boycotting Israel because of apartheid or occupation it's important to remember that there are also problems of physical danger. Even though I shudder when I see that awful wall, and I hate the way it goes through neighborhoods and cuts people off from their fields, their schools, their families, I also remember how much in these pages I longed for a wall when my friends were being killed on the streets here near my house.

December 17, 2012

The nurses' strike continues, and we continue to need nurses. Ezi's PET scan today took twice as long as it usually does, and he sat around worried that the the radioactivity would wear off before he got into the machine. Me I got fed up waiting in the chilly hall near the isotope ward and went shopping in the mall. Not much to buy, though. There are all these pretend-sales - you know, "50% off second item," which makes it at best 25% off which isn't a sale. And the prices start so high. No doubt we are paying 5 times what we'd pay in NY. So it was a great relief in many ways when Ezi got out and we could go home.

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