May 21, 2019

Why Should It Be OK To Disparage the State of Israel?

“The power of intellectuals in every society is measured in their ability to defy the government despite the heavy price they could pay. Israel was an exception for many years because its intellectuals and artists were used to being supported by government institutions.

For too long they were allowed to think they could suckle from the government’s teat while tormenting it as they wished. The logic was that the country would benefit from the youthful mischief of its cultural icons; the greater their chutzpah, the more Israel would appear democratic and open to criticism, a country espousing freedom of artistic expression.

In other words, the image of the standard Israeli intellectual or artist has been that of a child kicking a parent who is showering him with treats. The country pays for an overseas flight so he can say that Israel is a brutal apartheid country, and the audience showers him with prizes for his imaginary courage. What this tortured artist rarely says is that he doesn’t pay a price for his radicalism. In fact, he gets a bonus for it.”

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