On a hunt for something else, I came across this account  of a series of talks by the Haaretz journalist Amira Hass at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina. I’d read it when it was first published on Informed Comment last July, but had forgotten the sheer force of it so I’m sharing it now.


I am a huge admirer of Hass, the daughter of a Holocaust survivor who has chosen to live amongst Palestinians in Gaza and then the West Bank, where she invariably calls it like she sees it with her own eyes, despite the usual threats and slurs by people who mostly haven’t. Compare and contrast with the ethnically-cleansed West Bank where New York Times bureau chiefs make themselves at home in the former villa of the Palestinian Karmi family forced out in 1948.


Although she’s best known as a critic of her government,  I especially admire Hass’s willingness to grapple with the inconsonance of her own position. As Informed Comment report,


Hass said she’s aware of the “contradiction of reporting about the Occupation,” while at the same time “profiting from” that Occupation as an Israeli.


“It’s a constant contradiction in my life. It is a bitter acknowledgment of a privilege and a contradiction,” she said during one of her talks. “It is especially bitter when I talk about Gaza.”


Speaking of Gaza, here’s an excerpt about the convenient fallacies that prop up Western governments’ refusal to address Israeli behaviour there,


In practice, Gaza has become a huge, let me be blunt, concentration camp for right now 1, 800,000 people. This is not a novelty. This is not something new. This did not start, unlike what many people think, with the rise of Hamas, Hamas being elected in 2006, or Hamas taking over the security agencies and apparatus in Gaza in 2007 after the short civil war. We can almost trace it to the moment when it started, and this is the 15th of January 1991 — long before Oslo, long before Madrid, and of course long before the suicide attacks inside Israeli cities and against Israeli civilians.


And here’s the rest.