Tel Aviv Diary May 19, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

Tel Aviv Diary - May 19-23, 2006 - Karen Alkalay-Gut

May 19, 2006

The main point about "Strawberry Cream and Gunpowder" is the interrelationship between the personal and political. The dance is about the power struggles in relationships and the impossibility of communication in hierarchal connections. The political basis for this is apparent in every gesture. Since this is favorite theme of mine - the idea that the most intimate elements of our lives are directly determined by the structure of our society - I connected with it. More of this later.

FOR MY ENGLISH READERS: Natfhe, in its National Conference, to be held on May 27, will consider a motion recommending boycotting Israeli academics who "DO NOT PUBLICLY DISSOCIATE THEMSELVES FROM ISRAELI POLICIES." Note that the Principle of the Universality of Science, adopted by the International Council of Science (, explicitly opposes discrimination on the grounds of nationality or political stance.

I hope you will join the struggle against this motion, which, if passed, will cause a lot of damage to all scientists, and to the cause of academic freedom.

You may wish to contact the president of Natfhe ( and convey your feelings about the motion.

I hope that all my friends who publically support free speech even when it approves terrorism will also protest this infantile proposal.

But any way there seems to be a de facto boycott.

In any case, the idea of dissociating the self from Israeli policies seems to me to be so incredibly facile I cannot imagine any intellectual considering it. And counter productive. This is a moment when we should all be pushing and helping the government to work for negotiations. This moment when negotiations are possible with Hamas, according to them, and we are all being encouraged to work towards this - this is the moment when things COULD happen. But declarations like the one Natfhe is proposing would not strengthen that possibility.

May 20, 2006

Too much work and too many papers. All right - a little time for fun. Mishmish - especially the porch in the back - is exquisite. I don't know why they don't mention the food anywhere when they talk about this place, but I pigged out on hors d'oevres. I love the intimacy of it. Today I went the opposite way and had lunch in Nona's The warm sun, the lasagna, oh, my goodness. It's going to help me prepare for the hard week ahead.

and oh, Yes, it was me on the english news last night, talking about the festival.

May 21, 2006

My mother-in-law used to be comforted by the wise political analyses of Yitzhak Ben Aharon,, who died on Friday at the age of 99. He was even older than her, she would say, and yet clear and wise and humane. He donated his body to science - something I am sure not only helps science but also the incredible overcrowding of cemeteries and consequently land in this country. EVERYBODY wants to be buried here and wait for the Messiah.

The Anti Defamation league is sending a protest to Natfhe. Why not sign it here?

If someone like Tom Paulin can make all kinds of silly and irresponsible accusations against israel that could easily be considered incitement and be tolerated in the british academy, how can anyone possibly believe that an enforced statement of political belief is in any way acceptable?The mind boggles.

Again, it is not that I agree with Israel's policies. There are some things that I cannot even begin to consider. I am already shuddering over the fact that I will have to go to Jerusalem tomorrow, and almost every street there reminds me of something else that I will never be able to tolerate, on a moral basis. But it is between me and my people, not between me and the British intellectuals.

May 22, 2006

I can't figure out why we people from Tel Aviv hate Jerusalem. There is not a single person i know there personally that i dislike, nor a particular view that i can think of that is awful. And there are many parts of jerusalem that like tel aviv seem totally ieolated from any political significance. And yet I felt exhausted there, close to collapse, hungering for home.

There are all kinds of cultural activities there - more so than tel aviv i think. (Poems on trees for example - a wonderful project that I had proposed almost 15 years ago to the city.) And people seem to be more spiritual there. And yet everyone in our group who came from tel aviv last night couldn't wait to leave. "Something about the air," someone said. "No, it's the style." said someone else. "We just don't belong here," another voice called. "You're all crazy," said a fourth voice, "it's a great city... to visit."

May 23, 2006

"Why have you stopped talking about politics," Ari wrote me today, "Haven't you seen the Amnesty Report? Don't you read the papers? Where is your old fire?" And all I can think of is a political version of the famous Aristocrats joke. Don't ask me to explain.

The terrible need for an honest and ethical environment is overwhelming - and somehow possible.

The first rule - is to make rules enforced rules - - and every time some one in higher authority gets arrested, and i register shock, Ezi points out that these people have been around forever, but only now are they being caught.,7340,L-3251244,00.html

Israel Festival - May 29, 2006 - Love Soup -

Even though I might have told you otherwise, this is a one-time event, so if you're thinking of ordering, it would be a good idea to order in advance.

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