AB Yehoshua 88.
(photo credit: )
Author A.B. Yehoshua did not hesitate to determine in a lecture he gave in Washington last week that he is a real Jew because he lives in Israel, whereas Jews living in the United States cannot lead genuinely Jewish lives.
In the arrogant and overweeningly pretentious harangue before the centennial symposium of the American Jewish Committee, Yehoshua added, "Judaism outside Israel has no future. If you do not live in Israel [...] your Jewish identity has no meaning at all."
Of course Yehoshua's American Jewish hosts, among whom were some genuine intellectuals, were thoroughly offended by Yehoshua's gall: How dare Yehoshua purport to be a better Jew than they are? Others wondered aloud if Yehoshua wasn't perhaps expressing what the majority of Israelis were thinking.
Fortunately, he was not. This is not the first time that Avraham B. Yehoshua has held forth and spouted utter nonsense in public. To be perfectly honest, I have never read any of his books. But I have followed Yehoshua's posturing - invariably in a woefully wrong, even dangerous, direction - as Israel's national conscience.
Twenty years ago, the PLO under Yasser Arafat tried to organize a sensational cruise involving a Palestinian "refugee ship" that would land on Israel's shores, a kind of poor man's repeat of the story of the Exodus. In other words, just as in 1947, a ship filled with Jewish Holocaust survivors broke through the British blockade on its way to Eretz Yisrael/Palestine, the PLO would organize a spectacle involving a ship filled with hundreds of Palestinians that would set sail and land on an Israeli beach in order to demonstrate their unwavering demand to return hundreds of thousands of Palestinian refugees to Israel - which if accepted would spell the end of the Jewish state.
NATURALLY, A number of leftist Israelis offered to assist Arafat in Tunisia after he was expelled in 1982 from Beirut and to organize the spectacle and propaganda. The Israeli authorities announced that they would not permit the ship to approach Israeli shores.
But a group of Israeli authors - in the name of humanism and universal justice, of course - enthusiastically volunteered to wait on an Israeli beach and welcome the Palestinian "refugee ship."
One of the members of that group was Avraham B. Yehoshua, who on Army Radio informed the Israeli public that he was on his way to the beach.
It was the Mossad that saved Yehoshua from that infamy. The Palestinian ship had set out from Piraeus to Cyprus on its way to pick up the refugees in Lebanon. But then, while the ship was still anchoring in Cyprus, the local media reported that Mossad agents and naval commandos had detonated a major explosion in the bottom of the ship, which caused the organizers to cancel the Palestinian plan.
Later, between books, Yehoshua once again found time to tend to the fate of the Jewish state. A.B. Yehoshua was of course among those who blindly and rapturously supported the Oslo agreements with Arafat at the time of their signing 13 years ago.
There is nothing to fear, explained Big-Mouth Yehoshua: If Arafat does not honor the agreement and renews the terror, IDF tank brigades will reoccupy the West Bank in a jiffy. So determined Field Marshal A.B. Yehoshua.
We all know what happened as a result: over 1,500 people killed in Israel, over 5,000 injured, with IDF soldiers engaged in a ceaseless war in the West Bank for the past five years to stem the terrible onslaught of terror generated by the Oslo agreements.
That is why I am not surprised at the stupidity of Yehoshua's remarks in Washington, in particular at a time when the Jewish state needs, more than ever, to shore up and strengthen its ties with American Jewry, the most important Jewish community in the world, and minimize the friction between the two Jewish communities.
THE REAL problem is not in America; it is here in Israel. Here, there are very few genuine intellectuals, only a few with intellectual pretensions that invest themselves with the title of "author" and "professor."
Many of them work for universities that live off the generous contributions made by American Jews. It is these pseudo-intellectuals that pose the greatest threat to the future of the Jewish state, even greater than the one posed by the Iranian bomb. Because most of them are not only post-Zionists - many want to do away with Israel's Jewish identity and even change its national anthem.
If A.B. Yehoshua were to write a book about this sick phenomenon, perhaps I might read it.