Friday, November 30, 2007
My friend David Grossman once told me that he writes about politics not so much when he feels he has something original to say but when he simply can't stand to hear the way others put things--not their arguments exactly, but the turns of phrase that determine the direction of arguments. Think of demographic problem or one-state solution, historic right or national self-determination. Think of rebuilding deterrence. You hear such phrases and you guess (and may even vaguely agree) with the drift of the argument. But you catch yourself drifting and realize that the phrases have meaning only within a world you do not recognize or want nothing to do with. If this blog does its job, it will make writing about Israel (and perhaps some other things,) that much more difficult. It will keep an ear out for published formulations that get in the way, verge on demagogy, or just rationalize surmountable fears. The launch of the Annapolis process seems the right time to get things started, though the intellectual junk associated with the “peace process” has been scattered for over forty years. A deal is easily imaginable, what with Taba, and Geneva, and other negotiations. But getting to its adoption or implementation will require that we finally exchange meaningful words. A prime example follows.
Posted by Bernard Avishai at 12:26 PM