Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Carlo Strenger Proves his Point (Easily)

Carlo Strenger is a psychiatrist and professor at Tel Aviv University. I've known him, a bit, for more than 25 years, and have been following his rise the whole time. I've also started reading some of his books, though I don't think I ever read one all the way through. He's far to my left politically, but in a typical Israeli way, which means his life story is more complicated than that of many of his Western counterparts, and his positions often have more subtlety than theirs.

He has somehow worked his way onto the roster of contributors to the Guardian's Comment is Free (CiF), the paper's pseudo-blog platform for online discussion, and there he tends to write columns that would better fit into the local Hebrew-language discussion. (He also writes in Haaretz, but in an interesting twist many of us are familiar with, when writing in Hebrew his positions move even further from the center as he strives to ensure he's shocking us).

His most recent contribution to CiF is a classic case of setting up the yokels. He pokes fun at the knee-jerk fundamentals of too many on the Western Left (Israel/America always wrong; People of Color always right and so on), and tries to show why such positions might be unhelpful in explaining what's really going on in Israel and by implication, in the rest of the region.

Sure enough, the Loonies pile on in large numbers to prove his thesis by castigating him for being an Israeli.

I'm actually not suggesting you waste your time reading his column nor the responses to it. I'm just documenting the malaise, and reminding myself that it's virulence doesn't abate in the slightest merely because it's been a few months already since Israel was last capturing world headlines with some imagined atrocity.


Soccer Dad said...

Did you see the responses to Joe Klein's commentary on Aluf Benn's column?

Yaacov said...