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March 24, 1989 - Image 34

Resource type:
Text
Publication:
The Detroit Jewish News, 1989-03-24

Disclaimer: Computer generated plain text may have errors. Read more about this.

!MEDIA MONITOR I

JUST ARRIVED... BRAND NEW STYLES!

NICOLETTI & NATUZZI

LEATHER

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Two Israeli Writers
Respond To Rushdie

ARTHUR J. MAGIDA

Special to The Jewish News

W

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ith his head still
carrying a price
courtesy of Iran's
Ayatollah Ruhollah Kho-
meini, author Salman
Rushdie is laying about as
low as one can. But L'Affaire
Rushdie still makes good
press. The Sunday New York
Times Book Review, for exam-
ple, recently asked 28
"distinguished writers" in 21

difficult struggles and you
know how rich with nuances
is your inner world and you
know every human being is
inhabited by countless
characters — so you are not
really alone. There are many
people against you and they
are motivated by hatred and
fanaticism. To want to
obliterate even one person
they must first obliterate
themselves. There are a lot of
people in Israel who sym-
pathize with your struggle
against fanaticism. I wish you
would use your light and
write."

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countries to "speak [to
Rushdie] from their common
land • — the country of
literature." -
Among the 28 were two
Israeli writers, Amos Oz and
David Grossman. Novelist Oz,
who is active in Israel's Peace
Now, wrote as if he were
speaking directly to Rushdie:
"Written words still have the
amazing power to bring out
the best and the worst of
human nature. We ought to
treat words the way we treat
nuclear energy or genetic
engineering — with courage,
caution, vision and precision.
Those who vowed to kill you
actually wish to kill our en-
tire civilization. Take good
care of yourself."
And Grossman, whose non-
fiction account of Israel's
military presence on the West
Bank, The Yellow Wind, caus-
ed a stir in Israel two years
ago, wrote to Rushdie, "I
know you feel lonely. Despite
all the expressions of sym-
pathy you are lonely and
words from others will not
comfort you. But even when
you are surrounded by fear
you still have something to
defend yourself with. As a
writer, a creator, you are us-
ed to being lonely at the most

Soviet Foreign Minister
Eduard Shevardnadze's re-
cent visit to five Middle
Eastern capitals was, accor-
ding to Fred Halliday, a pro-
fessor of international rela-
tions at the London School of
Economics, "the most impor-
tant Soviet diplomatic mis-
sion to the region since
Nikita Khruschev. flew in to
consolidate friendship with
Gamal Abdel Nasser in
1964."
Writing in The Nation,
Halliday said that Shevard-
nadze has now "established
the Soviet Union as an in-
dispensable broker in the
main regional disputes — the
Arab-Israeli conflict and the
Iran-Iraq war — and has in-
creased pressure in the Bush
Administration to produce a
coherent new U.S. policy."
Israeli-Soviet relations are
still far from normal. (The
Kremlin says it will not
reestablish formal relations
with Israel until Israel agrees
to participate in an interna-
tional peace conference and to
talk with the Palestine
Liberation Organization.) But
Halliday notes there have
been "several substantial
shifts" in relations between
the two countries. Among
these:
• The consular delegations
from each country that now
reside in Tel Aviv and Moscow
have been authorized to
engage
in
political
discussions.
• A "direct diplomatic chan-
nel" has been established bet-
ween Soviet and Israeli
Foreign ministry officials in-
dependent of the consular
missions. "Israeli government
officials," wrote Halliday,
"routinely call their Soviet
opposite numbers on the
phone."

.

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