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Open Letter of famous Israel writer Maya Kaganskaya:
“Doesn’t Jewish poet have the right to hate those who hate us and crave our destruction?! I am accusing the Israeli establishment of political sordidness and cultural blindness.”

On October 23, 2008, in Tel Aviv, Grigori (Gershon) Trestman and Sergei Podrazhanski will be put on trial. They are under indictment for incitement on the basis of racism, fanning the flames of inter-ethnic tensions, the demonization of the Arabs etc. The accused, Grigori Trestman, is one of the most
distinguished Israeli and Jewish poets, writing today in Russian, and his poetic reputation is high and
irreproachable both in Russia and in Russian speaking Israel. As far as the case’s co-respondent is concerned, Podrazhanski is accused as the publisher (editor of the newspaper “Vesti”) of the criminally-punishable text.
The text in question is a quotation (a few ironic/parodic stanzas) from the parodic poem “Lieberman’s Paradigm.”

“And the full fruition is a nightmare: the number of Israeli Arabs has gotten to above a million, and is still rising quite a bit. Look at them – everything goes dark before your eyes! I will say with all due respect to the Jews – Arabs work hard at nights in the name of replenishing the species. An eclipse of the moon ray, a breath of death, a trace of a plague? A (female) hare, a cat, a locust does not know such passion! And no matter that some prophecy happiness for us – the road to our grave is
being paved for us every night, every night, by the womb of the Arab woman.”

This trial, ludicrous to the point of unseemliness, has a political undertone (which is the overtone as well) obvious to everyone in Israel. In the current situation, with the possibility of early elections,
and the unusually intensified issue of impending territorial/political concessions, which in the view of a
sufficiently representative number of Israelis and foreign commentators are incompatible with Israel’s life, the reigning establishment is ready to do anything to suppress possible resistance.

The widely recognized leader of that resistance is Avigdor Liberman. No one doubts that this entire shameful action is directed precisely at him. But it’s even more shameful that a poet is being used as the means of delegitimizing this political figure.

Irony is not an obstacle, indeed has never been an obstacle to the seriousness of a text. Even setting aside the fact that, in the criminally punishable stanzas, Grigori Trestman simply translates into a poetical register a well-known statement of Arafat’s (An Arab woman’s womb is more threatening to the Jews than an atomic bomb), the very posing of the question is shameful and insane: “So, Trestman as a poet and Jew doesn’t have the right to hate those who hate us and crave our destruction?”

The popular left wing figure Yosif Sarid (and not only he), when he was minister of culture and education, proposed introducing into the curriculum for Israeli schoolchildren the work of the Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, who called for the murder of Jews and the destruction of the Jewish state. The author of this letter regrets that Sarid’s desire has not so far been realized. The rising generation of Israelis should know those who hate them, instead of the childish, rosy rhetoric that’s crammed into them …
Precisely at a time when this comical case against was brought against G. Trestman for a poetic parody, a wave of Islamic anger washed across the world in response to the classic Western parody genre of the caricature. Western governments defended their culture, but the Israeli government (through its jurisdiction and at the direction of the Arab organization “Mosaua”) was prepared to show yet again its dedication to the “peace process” and make its latest sacrifice at the altar of “Israeli-Islamic brotherhood.” Apparently the Israeli government does not consider its culture to be Western.

This shameful case has been going on since 2005, and one would like to look in the face the government’s judicial adviser Meni Mazuz, on whose initiative this case was brought, and in the faces of the police officers who for more then three years concocted the case against the poet, and talk with them about poetry, freedom of creation and the right of every individual person to hatred.

There is a boundary of loyalty for Russian speaking Jews in regard to Israel. That boundary ends where a person’s honor and dignity are involved. The honor and dignity of the poet, of his readers and
admirers, indeed of free-thinking, independent citizens in general, have been dealt a blow.

And therefore: I am not asking for the defense of Grigori Trestman. I am accusing the Israeli establishment of political sordidness and cultural blindness.

From the point of view of the author of this letter, the aliah to Israel, agonizing as it is, will, after this case, turn into a mass outflow of Jews from Israel. And there will be no way to object to that.

Regardless of the court’s decision – guilty or innocent – the very fact of this judicial farce is shameful and disgraceful.

Maya Kaganskaya
The author is the recipient of a number of Israeli and international prizes.

After the Bush Administration sided with Islamists in demanding transparent elections in Pakistan and Musharaff stepped down, the nuclear country is marred with major violence. Today, Islamic terrorists blasted away the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad with dozens of casualties.
Islamists made major inroads into Pakistani army, the ostensible guarantor of the nuclear bombs’ safety.

Days ago, media complained of Yitzhar settlers ravaging a Palestinian village in revenge for a terrorist attack. Today, soldiers killed yet another Arab who tried to throw Molotoff cocktail at a house in Yitzhar.
It’s so happens that the killed terrorist was 15-year-old. His brother, also a terrorist, was killed in 2002. They have more relatives. The soldiers will get into trouble as they are not supposed to kill Arabs over merely trying to set Jewish homes on fire: such incidents happen daily and the establishment doesn’t want the Arabs killed out.

Bush Administration announced social mega-project: buying out the entire mortgage bad debt from American banks. Taxpayers will foot potentially the bills running in trillions; the first installment is $700 billion plus tax breaks. Irresponsible banks will be back in business, eager to take new risks.
The US economic crisis boosts McCain’s chances. Though his economic credentials are slight, at least he is likely to follow the Bush bailout policy. American voters can gamble on Hussein Obama in abstract matters of morality, good government, and foreign policy, but not in the mortgage issues.

The new regime won’t bring tremendously many tourists because Israel is expensive compared to other resort destinations such as Egypt and Jordan, but opens the country to Russian criminals. The previous visa regime did not impede legitimate travelers: tour operators obtained Israeli visas for their clients almost automatically.
Lieberman’s party supported the open border policy in order to curry favor with its non-Jewish voters who have many relatives in Russia. Now the police would have a full-time job expelling them for staying over the allowed term, as many undoubtedly would.
According to the Jewish law, as expounded by Maimonides, they are prohibited from entering the Jewish country even in transit, but who cares…

September 2008
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