|On the one side: An enlightened Israel, modern, secular, liberal and democratic, living in peace and partnership with Palestine as an integral part of the region. On the other side: a fanatical Israel, religious, fascist, cut off from the region and civilized humanity, a people that "dwells alone and shall not be reckoned among the nations" (Numbers, 23:9), where "the sword will devour for ever" (2 Samuel 2:26).|
THE GERMAN name Sternhell means bright as the stars. The name fits: the positions of Professor Ze'ev Sternhell indeed stand out sharply against the darkness of the sky. He warns against Israeli fascism. This week, Israeli fascists laid a pipe-bomb at the entrance of his apartment and he was lightly injured.
The choice of victim seems surprising at first. But the perpetrators knew what they were doing.
They did not attack the activists who demonstrate every week against the Separation Wall in Bil'in and Na'alin. They did not attack the leftists who mobilize every year - this year, too - to help the Palestinians pick their olives near the most dangerous settlements. They did not attack the "Women in Black" who demonstrate every Friday, or the women of "Machsom Watch", who keep an eye on events at the army checkpoints. They attacked a person whose entire activity is in the academic field.
The struggles on the ground are essential. But their main purpose is to influence public opinion. That is the main battlefield, and there the man of letters has an important part to play.
|As a child, I witnessed the rise of Nazism in Germany. As a child, Sternhell saw it in Poland, when, after the death of his father, he lost his mother and sister in the Holocaust.|
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