Land of Oz

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Israeli novelist and essayist, Amos Oz, talks about his new collection of short stories: Scenes from Village Life.


Amos Oz

Comments [17]

MG from NYC

The ironic thing about the creation of a modern Israel is if you want to base it's legitimacy on "Biblical authority", fundamentalist jews believe that biblical authority for the creation of Israel has not been met as the messiah has not returned. Only until then, with a messiah present does this meet the requirements of the myth that has been used in these discussions to legitimize a modern political entity. I think the myth should be left out of the equation and not just because I and most of the world does not believe in that myth, but because it seems, despite what some rabbis say, that the myth undermines the political entity that has been created to fulfill what is plainly a secular aspiration. Having said all that, I remain as always impressed by the intellectual and cultural gifts that Israelis such as the novelist on the show bring us all and look forward to more!

Oct. 25 2011 02:08 PM
MG from NYC

The league of nations: 58 members. 96% European or European descended ruled states. Islam: a religion based on the Torah and acknowledging a Jewish prophet or Nazli, Jesus of Nazereth. Arabic .. a Semitic language spoken by a broad range of Semitic peoples throughout the middle east, including many of the jewish religion. Hebrew: unspoken in everyday language by Jews until shortly before the creation of a modern Israel and revival (it was considered blasphemous by some Jews to use it as such when it was being revived)
We don't settle international law based on Greek Myth. Neither do we begrudge the Ancient Greeks for these myths. I will leave it up to the Palestinians to school us all on their history. To un educatedly assume that they have no culture or history is wrong. Are we assuming that the increase in fertility of the Palestinians is due to Israeli largess? Many Native Americans do have their own state and despite poverty and genocide, 99% of Lakota and Hopi amongst others are right there in the home lands of their ancestors unless the force of the US Army was brought on them to remove them, They are not in Uzbekistan, Melbourne, or NYC. I just find that any Israeli that immigrates OUT of Israel undermines by that immigration in these sensitive times all claims that the homeland is absolutely necessary in its present form. Jews go to Israel and then leave it as it suits them economically. (there certainly is no political persecution in Israel, and Israel seems to be a modern, well off, and well run society ) why they leave a land and sit back from a third country and argue for maintaining it is mind boggling to a Native American who does not seek to live any where else but in the land of my ancestors no matter how I have to suffer here. I STILL cant buy these arguments. and I STILL believe that a modified Israel has a right to CONTINUE to exist in peace and prosperity for its talented and beautiful people , Thou I have my doubts about the legitimacy of its creation

Oct. 25 2011 12:56 PM
jgarbuz from Queens

To MG again

Nobody denies that there are 5.5 million Arabic speaking people living on ancient Israelite lands today, and that their status is still undetermined. But then there are millions of Kurds living in Kurdistan which has been occupied by the Arabs of Iraq, occupied by the Turks, occupied by the Syrian Arabs, etc.Why aren't the Kurds allowed to get their own state? Or the Tamils in Sri Lanka? Or the Lakota Sioux in the Dakotas? Why all this focus on this one group whose population grew 12 fold thanks to the gifts the Jews brought to the land.

Oct. 25 2011 12:29 PM
jgarbuz from Queens


Just as we don't begrudge the Greeks for their Homeric myths of the Iliad and the Odyssey, nor deny the Greeks their homeland, neither should the epics and sagas and laws and parables created written down by the Israelites and Jews be held against us in our claims to our tribal homeland. Where are the ancient "Palestinian" epics and sagas, kings and queens, laws and parables, and religion based on that land? Why is their language from Arabia? WHy is the religion of most of them from Arabia too? Other than occupation, what in their culture gives them any right to Jewish soil? On top of all that, they LOST it in battle too! And in international law, if you accept the rulings of the League of Nations.

Oct. 25 2011 12:25 PM
MG from NYC

Before I leave thou I would like to reiterate my belief that Israelis (I use Israelis as a nod to the existence of Israel and its right to continue to exist) have created something special that should not be undone or destroyed. Justice for the Palestinians is only all that needs to be added. If we speak of legitimacy as being only in terms of number of years and population, well that leaves the USA no room for sovereignty and legitimacy no?
If the native population of Palestine determine that they want an entity that reflects their aspirations and history they are entitled to that. They did not arrive by ship or airplane they were born there. For them, there was no "next year in Jerusalem", because they and the legitimate native jewish population were living in Jerusalem all along.

Oct. 25 2011 12:21 PM
MG from NYC

I feel we have left logic here.
The Bible does not legitimate any thing except those commandments that those that subscribe to it believe in. I do not believe that The bible is nothing more than a creation myth of a small group of Semitic nomads. The majority of the world and nations does not recognize the Bible as the foundation of determining statehood on this planet.
So many comparison flaws in logic that I think we will not settle this well from what I see so far.

Oct. 25 2011 11:56 AM
MG from NYC

Hi Elaine
Thanks your for enriching my knowledge of the population of Jews that remained in their home land. I am still not convinced that this constitutes any thing more than a remnant population if there were millions of jews that according to my history suffered the atrocities of European Nazi racism, whilst Jews in Palestine as far as I know had not suffered any such attempts to destroy their selves since the Romans (Europeans) and the Crusadors (more Europeans, this time in the name of a Jewish religious leader Jesus of Nazareth)
This just makes the lack of Jews present and maintaining a sovereign state in Judea an even more glaring example of virtual abandonment. Again these sufferings were cause by non Semitic peoples.Again why should this Palestinian majority and obviously native population suffer because of this tragic European history. Again, why did these populations of Jews, many of whom were extremely learned, accomplished, and successful through out history ( also do not forget the great and peaceful Jewish History and presence in Central Asia) not vested and INVESTED into this land with economic, political and defensive resources? My questions have not been answered. This is not to undermine the people that live in Palestine now as Israelis. Its just nagging questions on the legitimacy of a claim that is based on a book that states that Israelis are a "chosen people" and given a mandate by a "god" that they believe in to do what ever they like. Much like these Crusaders and Romans that you speak of who are also reviled by the native Palestinians.

Oct. 25 2011 11:40 AM
Elaine from Baltimore

Re: MG from NYC
When Jews began to immigrate to Palestine in large numbers in 1882, fewer than 250,000 Arabs lived there, and the majority of them had arrived in recent decades. Palestine was never an exclusively Arab country. No independent Arab or Palestinian state ever existed in Palestine. In 1946, Princeton University Prof. Philip Hitti testified against partition saying: "There is no such thing as 'Palestine' in history, absolutely not." In fact, Palestine is never explicitly mentioned in the Koran, rather it is called "the holy land" (al-Arad al-Muqaddash).

The representative of the Arab Higher Committee to the United Nations submitted a statement to the General Assembly in May 1947 that said "Palestine was part of the Province of Syria" and that, "politically, the Arabs of Palestine were not independent in the sense of forming a separate political entity." A few years later, Ahmed Shuqeiri, later the chairman of the PLO, told the Security Council: "It is common knowledge that Palestine is nothing but southern Syria."

Palestinian Arab nationalism is largely a post-World War I phenomenon that did not become a significant political movement until after the 1967 Six-Day War and Israel's capture of the West Bank.

Israel's international "birth certificate" was validated by the promise of the Bible; uninterrupted Jewish settlement from the time of Joshua onward; the Balfour Declaration of 1917; the League of Nations Mandate, which incorporated the Balfour Declaration; the United Nations partition resolution of 1947; Israel's admission to the UN in 1949; the recognition of Israel by most other states; and, most of all, the society created by Israel's people in decades of thriving, dynamic national existence.

Oct. 25 2011 11:30 AM
jgarbuz from Queens


You asked and interesting questions, in "How could 700,000 have grown to 12 million in poverty and despair," and "who was doing the counting." Okay the "counting was done by the British who held a census after they took over. As for how did the Arabs go from poverty and paucity to being so numerous should be obvious. The coming of the Jews and the West in general brought investments, jobs, and most important health services! My own ex-mother in law with her own two hands delivered 10,000 Bedouin babies in Soroka Hospital in Beersheba. The Jews brought hospitals, clinics, investments, electricity, plumbing, etc.

The fact is, that in Roman times Jews were roughly 3 million before the revolts. About 1 millon were killed in the major revolts against Rome. The land sank into poverty and backwardness. Under the Muslims there were never more than 600,000 AT MOST in the land, and usually a lot less. Under Jewish sovereignty, the land has come alive and prospers today like never since the time of Solomon. Under Arab rule it would sink back into poverty as it did when the Jews lost their land 1800 years ago.

Oct. 25 2011 11:28 AM
MG from NYC

Interesting how 700,000 can grow to 12 million in poverty, warfare and despair.. the real point is that they were there in the absolute majority for the past 2000 years or so, whilst the Jews were not. How many native Israelis were in Palestine at the time and who was doing the counting?
Frightened by being a minority (as Jews always were in Europe ) I don't see why too "Semitic " peoples cannot and should not find a solution.

Oct. 25 2011 11:15 AM
Elaine from Baltimore

Re: MG from NYC
I'd hardly describe the Jews wanderings through history as a process "to seek fortune all over the globe". That's quite the uninformed statement.
Jews were attacked by Rome and finally defeated in 70 CE whereby they were dispersed throughout the diaspora.

Even after the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem and the beginning of the exile, Jewish life in Palestine continued and often flourished. Large communities were reestablished in Jerusalem and Tiberias by the ninth century. In the 11th century, Jewish communities grew in Rafah, Gaza, Ashkelon, Jaffa and Caesarea.

Many Jews were massacred by the Crusaders during the 12th century, but the community rebounded in the next two centuries as large numbers of rabbis and Jewish pilgrims immigrated to Jerusalem and the Galilee. Prominent rabbis established communities in Safed, Jerusalem and elsewhere during the next 300 years. By the early 19th century-years before the birth of the modern Zionist movement-more than 10,000 Jews lived throughout what is today Israel.

As much as Jews always maintained a presence in Israel, Jerusalem and Israel was and is forever in our hearts. Three times a day we pray facing Jerusalem, once a year after the Passover seder as well as after the Yom Kippur fast, we declare "Next Year in Jerusalem".
No other nation ever had a sovereign, independent state there except the Jews.

Oct. 25 2011 11:11 AM
Amy Weiser from New Rochelle

Dear Brian,
This is what makes you such a great interviewer, you are prepared for the interview with thoughtful, pertinent questions, you don't interrupt the guest, you actively listen and you keep the conversation going. You are able to ask important questions and gather so much information that I feel I learned a lot about many different subjects related to Mr. Oz, Israel, literature and more. Thank you for another great interview.

Oct. 25 2011 11:08 AM
jgarbuz from Queens


First of all, there were only 700,000 Arabs in Palestine in 1922, versus 9 million Jews in the world, half of whom were virtually stateless and still being discriminated against or persecuted outright. So in 1922 the Council of the League of Nations gave Palestine to the Jews to resettle and reestablish a " Jewish National Home." Little was it known that within less than 90 years, the "Palestinian" Arabs would grow from 700,000 to nearly 12 MILLION today! And nearly half of that 12 million lives in Israel, Judah, Samaria and Gaza, some 5.5 million! The exponential demographic explosion of the Arab population has changed the equation. Nonetheless, Jews still barely outnumber Palestinian Arabs both in the world and in Israel, Judah, Samaria and Gaza (western Palestine) and so neither side can get rid of the other short of a miracle or a nuclear war. Israel is too rich and powerful, and the Palestinians too numerous for either side to defeat the other short of using WMDs.

Oct. 25 2011 11:01 AM
MG from NYC

TO say that both the Israelis and the Palestinians have an equal claim to land occupied by the modern jewish population does not convince me. I am of the opinion that the Torah is not a deed or proof of land claim (it is written from a biased point of view)
and if this large population had such a great attachment to this land then why was and is it still so that the majority of that population abandoned their "holy land" to seek fortune all over the globe. This battle should have been a struggle that was consistent and maintained starting over 2000 years ago. There was a wealth of capable and economically empowered Jews all throughout history in the diaspora.
But no ... Israel offered most jews nothing of much value thru out the last 2000 or so years and they more or less abandoned Judea. Never the less, and despite the atrocities promulgated by Israel and the often mindless violence of the native Palestinians, Israeli people have a wealth of brilliance and talent to contribute to the region. The human wealth that they represent should not be destroyed or undone but integrated into the region and ultimately welcomed and forged into a productive force for the good of the region as well as the world . Much as Jewish people have contributed much to the good of all the societies they have been a part of

Oct. 25 2011 10:49 AM
Elaine from Baltimore

How does Mr. Oz respond to the comment of Maen Areikat, PLO Ambassador to the United States that the future Palestinian state will not include a Jewish minority and that that it was in the best interest of both peoples to "be separated" ie. that Jews will not be welcome to live in the future Palestinian state.

Oct. 25 2011 10:43 AM
David from westchester

Your guest is great! But please, you only ask about the security of Israel. What about the security and well being of the Palestinians. There are two guilty parties here.

Oct. 25 2011 10:40 AM
Miriam H. from Teaneck, NJ

Note on pronounciation. Amos does not have long A, but it's 'ah" and Oz does have long O and not like the Wizard of Oz

Oct. 25 2011 10:32 AM

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