Friday, July 7, 2017

Wally, what's wrong with you?

A new, even relatively sane thought about JVP — Jewish Voice for Peace — occasioned by the fact that the nasty groupuscule** is demanding that Lincoln Center cease and desist from mounting "To the End of the Land" by Israeli writer David Grossman. Grossman, besides being an eminent, and as of this year, Booker Prize winning novelist, has long been an outspoken critic of Israel's occupation of the West Bank.

So what then bugs the irritable groupuscule? Well, there is the undeniable fact that Grossman is an Israeli and JVP, when it's being open about it, opposes the very existence of Israel, which it regards as no better, no more legitimate, than Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

What JVP recommends for Israel is non-existence.

But getting back to my new thought: it's this, namely that the very existence and headline-hogging, attention-grabbing activity of JVP makes it harder for Jews and others to come together to forge an effective opposition to Israeli policy toward Palestinians.

JVP is founded on such a bad premise, and draws too often on an anti-Zionism shaped and driven by underlying anti-Semitism that it's an obstacle to a sane approach. To call JVP a distraction is too mild. Taking time with and  defending against its overtures drains energy and imagination from what might come together in its absence. JVP makes opposition to Israeli policy more difficult to achieve.

I was disappointed, because I like his work, to find that Wallace Shawn is among those who thinks the Grossman play should be evicted from the Lincoln Center platform. Next time I see Wally, I'll ask, "Let's put it simply, why are you being such a schmuck? Don't you know already from the study of history that seizing on the most extreme sounding solution, though it may sound like the smartest, and most principled, is often the dumbest thing to do? Wally, why don't you know that already?"

**As per the Wiki, a groupuscule defined as, "A small political group, especially of an extremist faction."

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