My interview with the most famous writer in Israel Adam Israel Shamir

Cherif Ismail []
Mercredi 27 Mai 2009

The most famous writer in Israel Adam Israel Shamir
I'm happy to meet with you via the internet to present the other side of Israel - Israel Shamir - to the Arab reader in the Arab world and in Europe

Cherif Ismail : How should I present you to an Arab reader?

Israel Shamir : First of all, I am on your side, on the side of the people. Second, I am your neighbour. I live in an Arab town, in Jaffa, next to an Arab high school, my neighbours are Palestinian Arabs, I eat your yellow hummus with greenish olive oil and drink your milky arak. On Sundays I go to an Arab Palestinian Orthodox Church and take communion together with you. My elder boys, now grown up, studied in the church school together with Arab children, and my little Anton plays with your children at the seashore.
I write a lot about Palestine, because I live here, and I am familiar with it, and because I believe it is a very important place. But I also write about other places in the world and in time, because Palestine is not an island far away in the sea. We are interconnected, and our future depends on our actions today. I travel a lot, from Malaysia to California, and I write about what I see, encouraging friends and enraging foes.

Cherif Ismail: We Arabs know the Jews - for thousands of years - and we see them as every reason of absolute evil in this world and they were the causes of the collapse of some Islamic countries of old, are you agreed with me on this?

Israel Shamir : If we accept this view uncritically, we’d think that Jews are the only source of danger and will be taken in by a non-Jewish cheat. That is why one should always look at the bottom line first.
In Madame Bovary by Flaubert, a French usurer cheats Emma telling her not to worry for he is not a Jew. He indeed is not a Jew by blood and faith, but every usurer is as bad as the worst Jew, and eventually she learns of it hard way.
Nowadays there are so many non-Jews, pureblood Arabs, who betrayed their brethren and joined with imperialism and with Israel. Jews would not be able to cause so much suffering to the people of Gaza without support of the Egyptian regime. In France, Fadela Amara crossed the lines completely: she is for Israel, and for her, the Nazi persecutions of Jews are more important than suffering of non-Jews, even of her own Algerian people. Alas, many Palestinians also joined with the enemy of their people, and they work for CIA and Mossad and Shabak. So the key question, the bottom line is - submission to or rebellion against the Empire. An Arab who supports Israel and the US is as bad as the worst Jew.

One should make a clear-cut distinction between organized Jewry, a community with its specific preferences, and individual Jews who can be loyal to Jewry or loyal to the people they live amongst. No one born a Jew has to remain a Jew. Many great visiers and advisers to the kings were ex-Jews who crossed the lines and joined the people. Rashid ad-Din was one of them. In One Thousand and One Night, a defeated warlock Jew is often made to accept Islam. In our days, many Arabs who were born in Jewish families, joined the people - some within the Communist party, and some without.

A great part of the organized world Jewry is committed to support of imperialism. This part is closely connected with the US Jews and with Israel. They keep with a certain Jewish tradition of supporting the strong against the weak, supporting the Empire and imperialism against the people. In the North Africa of 19th century, their predecessors betrayed their neighbours and supported France, the colonial power. In British Iraq, they supported Brits.

But this is not the only possible line. In Iran, the Jews are obedient and loyal to the Islamic state, they support Ahmadinejad, they support Palestine, they are good neighbours to Iranian Muslims. In Russia, there are Jews loyal to Russia. They respect power. Ahmadinejad does not pussy-foot around them, Putin and Medvedev do what is good for Russia without thinking twice of the Jewish lobby, and they have obedience of their Jews.

Jews can be trouble, but so are weapons, so are horses, so are women. A horse obediently carries a skilful rider to the battle, but will kick and bite an inept one. Sword is a mortal danger to an enemy in hands of a fighter, but its feeble bearer will regret unsheathing it. The woman is a helpmate to man she loves and respects, but she will destroy a lesser man who could not make her love and respect him. Likewise, Jews could be useful, if one knows what are their strong and weak points, what is their agenda.

Cherif Ismail: Some Egyptian intellectuals said that there is no explicit clause in the peace agreement between Egypt and Israel refers to the cultural normalization between the two countries has greatly thank God - but I think that it is very important to know each other - are you agreed with me on this matter?

Israel Shamir : Yes, it is important to learn, but one should be aware that such learning can be a weapon of indoctrination, too. Jews are quite skilled in this game. For instance, Christian scholars were interested to learn from Jews of the Bible. The Jews taught them to such an extent that the scholars lapsed in their faith. Eventually they lapsed in their learning, too, for they accepted doctored by Jews doctrines for real thing. That is why the Prophet called to be cautious in relation to Jews and learning.
There should be critical learning, so the Egyptians would know what is going on in Israel but that they would also understand these developments through the modicum of learned commentary. I would not advise open direct unhindered import of culture and propaganda - this is more risky that direct import of drugs.
Cultural exchange should be used to one’s advantage, as the means of influencing people. In present situation, I do not know whether Egypt is strong enough to manage it. Sometimes, it is better to refuse exchange and interaction until better times. Likewise, Ulysses sealed his ears with wax so he would not hear the sirens’ singing.

Cherif Ismail : Did you visit any Arab state, for example Egypt is the largest Arab country in the Arab world and has a long history of war and peace with Israel?

Israel Shamir : Yes, I visited Egypt quite a few times, I was also invited some five or six years ago by the American University in Cairo, but not since then, though I’d love to come and to listen to you.

Cherif Ismail : Israel Shamir, the soldier took part in a war and you were 73 in total Diffreswar gap under the leadership of Ariel Sharon, the butcher - and now, after 36 years, Are you regretted your participation in that war?

Israel Shamir : Non, je ne regrette rien. I was a citizen and a soldier, so naturally I went to war to defend my country. Moreover, I was a young man, and young men like wars.

Cherif Ismail : Arab Jews are still oppressed in Israeli society, as well as some Jews in Russia. Are you feel pain of racism toward Sephardim?

Israel Shamir : The Oriental Jews in Israel did suffer a lot - they were de-culturised, despised and oppressed. Alas, they found comfort in insisting on their superiority over Arabs and Russians. Though by no means all of them, a huge majority of Oriental Jews is strongly Zionist, strongly Jewish, and preaches hatred to Arabs. I would like to see a block of Russians, Oriental Jews and Palestinians as these three communities together form majority of voters and all of them are oppressed. But in such a block, the native Palestinian Arabs should assume a leading role. The Palestinians should make friends with the Oriental Jews and separately with Russians - as these two communities have a strong mutual dislike. The Palestinians are not ready for it yet. Instead, they try to improve their ties with the more privileged communities of Israel, with “Jewish Left“. It is probably more pleasant but leads nowhere.

Cherif Ismail : Olmert? What does it mean for you? You wrote an article more than before about him?

Israel Shamir : Well, he is out. I doubt he will be remembered or lamented much.

Cherif Ismail : I'm sorry to say - that most of Israel's writers are unknown in the Arab street - Is this to the weakness of Arab media or what?

Israel Shamir : Israeli writers did not produce yet anything of universal importance, so it probably does not matter much.

Cherif Ismail : You wrote a lot about Israeli society from the inside, what are the things that will eliminate Israel from the inside?

Israel Shamir : Israel should be abolished, like slavery and apartheid were abolished - by equality and democracy. Instead of calling for Two States, the world including Arab nations should call for equality and democracy in Israel. This would abolish Israel, and usher new state of Palestine based on equality.

Cherif Ismail : No war no peace between Israel and the Arabs, Are the international conventions or the establishment of an independent Palestinian state will assess this peace?

Israel Shamir : Peace is not good neither bad per ce. We want victory for equality, victory for the native people of Palestine, victory for the Land, victory for Spirit. Our foes also want victory for their elitism, for the Jewish People, for their right to destroy the land and expurgate its Spirit. Peace will come after victory, theirs or ours. And in my view, establishment of an independent Palestinian state in Ramallah and Gaza is too little, too late. The Jewish state should be abolished, and then peace will come.

Cherif Ismail : I know that some Jews moderate exposure to attacks by the Zionists will you abated days of that matter?

Israel Shamir : No. I receive threats, but practically no violent attacks ilhamdulilla!

Cherif Ismail : Is the end to the dispute between you and the Jews of France on the translation of the last book and everyone knows about the fact that the French publisher to burn your book?

Israel Shamir : My last book is for sale in France, as well as the previous books. My first French publisher was convinced to burn my book; it did not help him - he was bankrupted. The second French publisher was so heavily fined that was practically bankrupted. Only now things go smoothly: the books are being published in the US and are being sold in France by a friendly organization.

Cherif Ismail : (The end of Israel) a book by Dr. Abdul Wahab Al Missiri - Do you agree with his opinion?

Israel Shamir : It is sad that he died; a great man whose views were very positive - he said (and I agree) that “the Arab-Israeli conflict could be settled in a peaceful manner if the Zionist state were to shed its identity as a functional state and became a state for all its citizens, integrating into the Middle Eastern cultural formation. He urged Palestinians to draw lessons from the South African experience, and so do I.

Cherif Ismail : What would you say to the family and lovers of the late Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish?

Israel Shamir : I greatly admire Darwish; he was a soul of Palestine, together with Edward Said. His departure is a great loss, but his poems will remain forever.

Cherif Ismail : “The Little Monkey”, that’s the name that the Israelis used to call Ahmadi Nijad in Israel, what is the purpose of such attack against him?

Israel Shamir : I have not heard this expression, but Ahmadinejad is so demonized in Israel, he is called “new hitler” and what not. This is for he is a brave and noble man who never bends his neck and his knee in his struggle against Zionism and American imperialism. Such a man will be surely vilified. Let us put it straight: if a person is glorified in Israel, he’s got to be enemy of the people. If he is vilified, he probably is a good guy.

Cherif Ismail : As the president of the French Circuit in the Arab Bloggers Union, we set, last April, an international campaign in 10 languages entitled (No for the Culture of Killing Children) and I translated the Statement of the campaign in French. It was against Israel for its participation in the International Book Fair in Toreno, Italy, were you invited to this fair or not?

Israel Shamir : Alas, I was not invited.

Cherif Ismail : In the near future, do you see any hope for the establishment of the Palestinian State or this is just a big illusion for the Palestinian Authority in Ramallah specially after refusing the division of Palestine into two States in 1948?

Israel Shamir : I doubt it will happen; but I have no hope for it, au contraire, I feel rather apprehension. Few bits of land surrounded by the Jewish state may become a string of reservations, an archipelago of labour camps, but not a real state. I do not wish Palestinians to have this sort of independence.

As for “refusing the partition”, who asked them? Palestinians and Arabs are, and were, much weaker than Jewry. Whatever Palestinians would say, the Jews would find a reason to object. If they would recognise Israel, they’d say: recognise it as a Jewish state etc.

Cherif Ismail : Naomi Ragen, the most famous novelist in Israel, she lived in Jerusalem for more than 38 years living in it longer than she stay in the United States , she is against the Arab presence in Israel and believes that Israel will remain grow day after day, what do you think about this ?

Israel Shamir : Naomi Ragen is absolutely nobody; nobody as novelist, as thinker, as politician. She is a third-rate lady-writer of trash, and her opinion is of no value.

Cherif Ismail : M.Shamir what is the name of your book coming?

Israel Shamir : My last is called Masters of Discourse, and it was translated into French as La Bataille du Discours.

At the end … If I wanted to translate one of your books from French to Arabic

Galilee Flowers was already translated and published

Any books you want that the Arab reader read specifically except GALILEE FLOWERS?

Yes, that is Le Pin et Olivier, which is my favourite book anyway! You can get it from Mme Poumier, my friend and translator in Paris, at

Mercredi 27 Mai 2009


1.Posté par sherazad le 24/12/2009 03:44 | Alerter
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salam i'm glad you made a such intervew coz i've just realised how much we need to learn and read the foes' writings and thought to understand how we should deal with the situation in palestin or other place in our arab world. look at Mr adam shamir and the way he discusses evry point to see what we luch in our struggle against the zionism and the israeli presence in palestine

2.Posté par Habakuk le 24/12/2009 10:31 | Alerter
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“Flowers of Galilee” is available on the internet. I advise everyone to read it. This is particularly beautiful. / "Fleurs de Galilée" est disponible sur internet. Je recommande à tous de le lire. C'est particulièrement beau.

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