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Words of the Week

“Information changes when it moves from one context to another. To cite a recurring example in the kibbutzniks’ conversations at the time: it is one thing to remark that seeing displaced Palestinians in wartime reminds you of the situation of Jews in the Holocaust—meaning that you remind yourself of the Nazis—if you are speaking in Hebrew to other shaken Jewish veterans in a bomb shelter a week or two after returning from the battlefield. Saying the same thing, as this movie does, to a sated film-festival audience at Sundance or Cannes is something else. It is one thing to say this at a time when many Israelis were gripped by elation at their victory and when the plight of the Palestinians was largely ignored both in Israel and abroad; it is quite another to do so in 2015, when Israel has become singled out as the world’s most egregious violator of human rights, if not the new incarnation of Nazism. And it is one thing to draw a comparison with the Holocaust in a booklet intended for other kibbutzniks, which is what the soldiers believed they were doing in 1967—and quite another to say this in a movie co-produced by Germans.”

Source: Matti Friedman, “Israel and the Moral Striptease,” Mosaic magazine.

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  1. Unfortunately, as the above article points out, “Careful historical work…. will be of interest only to those interested in careful history.”
    These days, living in Israel is like watching someone falling off a cliff in slow motion.
    Do I have to explain why?

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