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Olmert and Friends

Uri Avnery: Sleaze in Israeli Politics, 19 June 2008

... and attention. For him that was part of the attraction of power. One of these friends, the lawyer Uri Messer, ‘ratted’ on Olmert to the police. Messer described himself as a ‘stinker’, the Israeli equivalent of an informer. One shouldn’t squeal and Messer now tortures himself. But as he says, he is not a ‘psycho’: he’s a man who betrayed a ...

In the Knesset

Uri Avnery, 5 August 2010

... When I was first elected to the Knesset, the debates consisted mainly of recitations of the most commonplace clichés. Most of the time, the chamber was almost empty. Many MKs had no idea what they were voting for or against: they just followed the party whip. What frightened me more than anything else was the readiness of members to pass reckless laws for the sake of fleeting popularity, especially at times of mass hysteria ...

The Boss Has Gone Crazy

Uri Avnery: Bush eyes up the Middle East, 6 January 2005

... When the fruit-sellers in the market in Tel Aviv shout ‘The boss has gone crazy!’ they mean that they are selling their merchandise at ridiculously low prices. In the world’s capitals, a similar cry is now being heard, but it is not about the price of oranges. It refers to the situation now that George W. Bush has been re-elected. Bush has attacked Afghanistan ...

After Rabin

Uri Avnery: Remembering the Ultimate Sabra, 15 November 2007

... The speaker of the Knesset invited me to take part in a special session to commemorate the 12th anniversary of the assassination of Yitzhak Rabin. I debated with myself whether to accept the invitation. On the one hand, I would have liked to honour the man and the achievements of his last years. I liked him. On the other hand, I had no wish to listen to a eulogy delivered by Shimon Peres, who pretended to follow Rabin’s path but buried the Oslo agreement out of sheer cowardice ...

The Ceasefire

Uri Avnery: Calm in Gaza, 31 July 2008

... And suddenly: quiet. No Qassams. No mortar shells. The tanks are not rolling. The aircraft are not bombing. Children venture out. Inhabitants return from self-imposed exile. And the reaction in Israel? Dancing in the streets? Applause for the prime minister and the minister of defence, who at long last have come to their senses? Not at all. The nation is appalled: where, it asks, is our victorious army? The people of Sderot are angry ...

Obama on Israel

Uri Avnery: Controversy at the Aipac Conference, 3 July 2008

... After a merciless struggle, Barack Obama has defeated Hillary Clinton. And what was the first thing Obama did after his astounding victory? He made a speech at the Aipac conference that broke all records for obsequiousness to the Israel lobby. That is shocking enough. Even more shocking is the fact that nobody was shocked. It was a triumphalist conference ...

One Foot on the Moon

Uri Avnery: Israel’s Racist Laws, 25 June 2009

... Last month, the Knesset voted 47 to 34 to pass the preliminary reading of a bill that threatens imprisonment for anyone who questions Israel’s claim to be a Jewish and democratic state. The private member’s bill, proposed by Zevulun Orlev of the Jewish Home party, calls for up to one year’s imprisonment for anyone who publishes ‘a call that negates the existence of the state of Israel as a Jewish and democratic state’, if it might lead to ‘actions of hate, contempt or disloyalty against the state or the institutions of government or the courts ...

Next to Israel, not in place of it

Uri Avnery: What is to be done?, 8 March 2007

... I am an Israeli patriot, and I do not feel that I need anybody’s recognition of the right of my state to exist. If somebody is prepared to make peace with me, within borders and on conditions agreed on in negotiations, that is quite enough for me. I am prepared to leave the history, ideology and theology of the matter to the theologians, ideologues and historians ...

In The Mukatah

Uri Avnery: In Arafat’s Compound, 6 November 2003

... The most dramatic moment occurred the evening after Yom Kippur. We were sitting in the courtyard of Arafat’s Mukatah (compound): a group of Israeli peace activists and Palestinian friends. A mild wind was blowing after a hot day. We were talking about the situation (what else?) and the latest gossip on the Palestinian leadership. From time to time a senior Palestinian Authority official joined us, in between visits to the President ...

Short Cuts

Yonatan Mendel: Uri Avnery, 13 September 2018

... Uri​ (pronounced Oori, not Yuri) is a modern Hebrew name. Not a Jewish name, and definitely not diasporic, but Hebrew-Israeli: it is part of the Hebrew culture that emerged in historical Palestine at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th century. The protagonist of He Walked through the Fields, a classic novel in Zionist thought, written in 1947 by Moshe Shamir and later a play and a movie, is an Uri: a kibbutznik who serves in the Palmach and falls in love with an emigrant from Poland after the Holocaust ...
... Ali: The Muslim Response Jeremy Harding in Paris Adam Shatz: Moral Clarity Tariq Ali: Short Cuts Uri Avnery: Netanyahu at the March Glen Newey: The Right to ...

Belts Gleaming

Charles Glass: Uri Avnery, 11 June 2009

1948: A Soldier’s Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem 
by Uri Avnery, translated by Christopher Costello.
Oneworld, 398 pp., £12.99, October 2008, 978 1 85168 629 2
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Israel’s Vicious Circle 
by Uri Avnery and Sara Powell.
Pluto, 230 pp., £15, July 2008, 978 0 7453 2823 2
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... Uri Avnery’s two wartime memoirs, now collected as 1948: A Soldier’s Tale, were published in Hebrew in 1949 and 1950. In the first of them, In the Fields of the Philistines, the 25-year-old Avnery is an infantryman desperate for action; in the second, The Other Side of the Coin, he criticises his own ‘silly, rotten country’ for its conduct in the 1948 war ...

Trump’s America, Netanyahu’s Israel

Adam Shatz: Actually Existing Zionism, 9 May 2019

... aspirations – Ahad Ha’am considered himself a Zionist. So did the journalist and activist Uri Avnery, one of the fiercest critics of Israel’s wars and occupation, who died last year, aged 94. But these ‘Zionists’ do not represent actually existing Zionism. In 1948, Hannah Arendt, whose critique of territorial Zionism owed much to Ahad ...


Yonatan Mendel: Israel’s Election, 21 February 2013

... 97 and has voted in every election since 1948; in 1965 she voted for Abie Nathan and in 1969 for Uri Avnery. This time, she voted for Meretz, a liberal Zionist party. Given her record, and the fact that she opposed both Gaza wars, I felt that this wasn’t the party for her. But there is something about Israel that makes it hard for its Jewish citizens ...

Invisible Walls

Adam Shatz: Israel’s Revolutionary Left, 3 August 2006

On the Border 
by Michel Warschawski, translated by Levi Laub.
Pluto, 228 pp., £14.99, May 2005, 0 7453 2325 1
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... Matzpen as ‘the group that wants to push us back to Auschwitz’. The left-wing maverick Uri Avnery sneered at female Matzpeniks as ‘Fatah girls’ – Hebrew for ‘nigger lovers’. Matzpen’s pamphlets were burned at autos-da-fé, and its newspapers were censored. Jewish Matzpeniks were interrogated; Arab members were placed under house ...

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