Featured Post

Dear Sayed Kashua, you are irrelevant

You enjoyed democratic freedoms but denied them to others by silently allowing the monster next door to grow

The fault, dear Brutus, lies not in our stars, but in ourselves. Julius Caesar: Act I, scene 2

Dear Sayed;

You write in your Guardian article that you hoped to change history by writing about your life as an Arab living in Israel. You have decided there is no hope for living in peace, and I agree with you.

I thought you could bring us closer to peace, too. You have an “everyman” persona which evokes compassion in the reader.

But now I see you’re right; nothing you write will change anything.

You are irrelevant.

I don’t mean to offend, I am irrelevant, too. In the light of history, at the mercy of our leaders, we are irrelevant.

But, wait. Maybe I spoke too soon.

There is a passivity among the Arab population which is directly responsible for the violence and continuing warfare between us. When it comes to electing leaders, enabling corrupt, violent, anti-Semitic politicians, there is a disconnect between what the Palestinians say and what they allow their leaders to do. No one takes responsibility for the violence.

You saw hooligans shouting, “Death to Arabs” and that was the last straw for you. That was a disgusting and bitter sight for us all. Yet your selective memory makes your writing disingenuous. You ignored years of Arabs chanting, “Death to the Jews”. “Death to the Jews” is still in the Hamas charter, but this does not evoke a squeak from you.

We still have images of Arabs standing side by side with Hitler; Arabs massacring Jews in Hebron; Palestinians refusing to accept a Jewish state and then refusing to accept a Palestinian state!; Arafat’s thugs hijacking planes and killing old men in wheelchairs; blowing people up at airports; suicide bombers; and recently, killing whole families in their sleep. Maybe worst of all, is your failure to address the Jew-hatred encrypted in textbooks being taught to the next generation of Arab children.

Not a sound?

In 2005 when we withdrew from Gaza, we gave the Palestinian people ready-made businesses on which to build a state. They gutted and destroyed the greenhouses. They enabled Hamas to create a terrorist state on our border.

Where was your voice?

I can show you, on my side, many people who want to live in peace; who throw off their suspicions and even their wisdom for the sake of peace.

We, Israel — and we, supporters of democratic values — are in the middle of a war with terror; a war in which Hamas ties explosives to Palestinian children and forces them into battle. Hamas forces women and children to cover the fighters. In times of peace, Hamas used billions of dollars to create state-of-the-art tunnels through which they hoped to carry out state-of-the-art terrorist operations against the most vulnerable women and children.

Why do you not cry out—howl—from the deepest part of your heart?

Hamas, and the most virulent of the Islamic terrorist organizations, certainly do not value the education you received; they do not value your line of work. If they ever came to power, you’d lose your job, and, most likely, your head. They do not value the rights your wife enjoyed in Israel and will enjoy in the States.

Where are your protesters?

You: a bright light of your generation, a wonderful thinker and writer; a writer who has a way of making even difficult things palatable. You have not used one tenth of the power of your words to stand up for what is right, for basic humanity, for the children who have no voice. In the end, you enjoyed democratic freedoms but you denied them to others by silently allowing the monster next door to grow.

It’s your own passivity in the face of real evil that’s made you irrelevant and so you must go.


Go to Illinois.

You will fit right in.

You can join the ranks of the confused and bewildered from afar.

And I’ll remember that for all the gentle truths of the story you told, you entitled your movie Dancing Arabs.

My husband and I pondered your title all the way home. Why this title, I wondered, when the movie was a tender coming-of-age tale of a boy struggling to create his identity in a difficult situation?

The answer is in one scene: Saddam Hussein is shooting Scud missiles at Tel Aviv and the Arab villagers are dancing on the rooftops shouting, “Kill the Jews, Saddam! Use chemical weapons!”

Thank God, they were totally irrelevant.

About the Author
Dina Stone Herman is an American-Israeli writer and English teacher who lives in Jerusalem.