Saturday, September 27, 2008

ze'ev sternhell

As a moderate-to-conservative Zionist, I obviously don't agree with Ze'ev Sternhell about much, but he is one of the leading scholars on fascism in the world, and he is plainly nonviolent in his personal as well as political approach. The effort to kill him, apparently by sympathizers of the right-wing settlers movement, is thus cowardly and deeply disturbing. (There is some debate exactly how hard they tried to kill him: the newspapers suggested it was a relatively weak bomb, perhaps more intimidation, although Mabat [Israeli TV news] suggested it would have killed him if he had brought it closer to his body. Perhaps I made one of my not infrequent translation errors.) Sternhell himself seemed totally unfazed, although he did suggest this might be the beginning of the end of Israeli democracy, a slight exaggeration but not by much. The saddest part: Sternhell had just returned from France where, presumably, he maintains contacts that are useful in the study of European fascism. Now he can find it right at home.

Postscript: Sternhell's biography reveals that he is a Holocaust survivor and that he served in the Golani brigade, generally regarded as among the toughest in the Israeli army. One wonders whether his assailant can make either of these claims.


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