Andy Blumenthal
Leadership With Heart

Remembering Amos Oz

We went to the memorial today for famous Israeli author, Amos Oz.

I love Oz’s literary works–he is a genius–even as I find myself disagreeing with some of his ideology:

Yes, I agree with his humanism and the need to have peace with the Palestinians, but also I am steadfast that Israel must remain strong in the face of the numerous threats it faces, especially after the terrible lessons of the Holocaust.

There was this beautiful cello playing in memory of Oz, and plenty of praise for his vision for peace–and this was most deserved.

However, as much as I came to honor Oz, I felt it was a dishonor to him that the memorial was in great part turned into a political discourse for leftists (even as it was stated that Oz himself separated his pens for literature and politics). It  was especially unbecoming of those who expressed disdain towards President Trump and Prime Minister Netanyahu.

In this vein, J Street’s self-righteous, peace now at any cost stance, along with the talk of “lack of courage” of our leadership and an end to the “occupation” was disheartening to say the least and fundamentally vacant of substance or truth for bringing peace to both the Jewish and the Palestinian people.

Further, while it was nice to hear Amos Oz’s daughter Fania speak about her dear father, and I truly appreciated her recognition of Israel saving millions of Jewish lives, and even her opinion voicing a two-state solution, I thought she went too far in her disdain for “Israeli Nationalism,” building in Judea and Samaria, the eventual rebuilding of the holy Temple, and even for the orthodox rabbi from Israel that she sat next to on the airplane,  all which had the familiar undertones of self-defeating and self-hating Jews.

In the end, the best part of the event was the opportunity to shake hands with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg.   I felt like I was literally touching history!  With Oz and Ginsburg, these are truly great people–one that I get to read and the other that I got to meet.

While I understand that this is a complicated issue (Middle East Peace) and that Amos Oz was a tremendous ambassador for this, I am more convinced than ever, that it will be the moderates that will help us ultimately bring peace, security, and justice without lamentations over our unqualified need and love for a strong Israel, including a physical geography that can be strategically defended, and our undeniable Biblical and historic connections to it.

(Photo Credit: Dannielle Blumenthal)

About the Author
Andy Blumenthal is a dynamic, award-winning leader who writes frequently about Jewish life, culture, and security. All opinions are his own.
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