Etgar Keret is arguably the best known Israeli writer in the world. The 46-year-old has been published in numerous U.S. publications, and he’s also read his work on This American Life. In 2010, France named him a chevalier of arts and letters.
In a new piece for the New Yorker, Keret warns freedom of speech is getting snuffed out by his homeland’s right-wing. He writes:
Four operations in Gaza, an immense number of Israeli and Palestinian hearts that have stopped beating, and we keep ending up in the same place. The only thing that actually changes is Israeli society’s tolerance for criticism. It’s become clear during this operation that the right wing has lost its patience in all matters regarding that elusive term, ‘freedom of speech.’ In the past two weeks, we’ve seen right wingers beating left wingers with clubs, Facebook messages promising to send left-wing activists to the gas chambers, and denunciations of anyone whose opinion delays the military on its way to victory.
He sees some friends even warned him from writing the New Yorker piece in the first place:
“You have a little boy,” one of my friends told me last night. “Sometimes it’s better to be smart than to be right.” I’ve never been right, and I must not be too smart, either, but I am willing to fight for my right to express my opinion with the same ferocity that the I.D.F. is now showing in Gaza. This war is not about my own personal opinion, which may be wrong or pathetic. It’s for this place where I live, and which I love.
Israel has refused a new ceasefire offer, while Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu told CNN that Hamas had in fact violated the last ceasefire.
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