Josh HastenThe writer is President of the Bar-Am Public Relations Firm, and author of the recently released children’s book, “Itamar Makes Friends: A Children’s Story of Jewish Brotherhood.”
There it was, hidden on page four in the middle of my printed newspaper. The Wednesday March 16, JPost reported that “Internationally famed Israeli author and Israel Prize laureate Amos Oz sent to Marwan Barghouti, former Tanzim (Fatah) leader, a copy of his book, A Tale of Love and Darkness, with a personal dedication calling for Barghouti’s release.” The report, which originally appeared on Israel’s Channel 2 news, [and was ignored by INN, ed.]made my stomach churn.
According to the article “Oz went further, sending the jailed terrorist an Arabic translation of his novel, with a dedication in Hebrew saying “This story is our story, I hope you read it and understand us as we understand you, hoping to see you outside and in peace, yours, Amos Oz.”
Now, I don’t know if Oz sent Barghouti his gift basket before or after a small group of his fellow Fatah terrorists broke into the community of Itamar last Friday night and slaughtered five members of the same family including three children, but when he sent the package doesn’t really make a difference.
For those of you who may have forgotten in 2004, Barghouti was convicted of murdering five Israelis in a wave of terror attacks during the “Oslo War.” He was also acquitted of 33 other murders due to a “lack of evidence”, which doesn’t necessarily mean that his hands were clean in those attacks. As punishment for his crime, Barghouti was sentenced to five consecutive life terms and 40 years in prison.
So while others including Super Market chain owner Rami Levy made the headlines this week for generously giving of themselves to the young grieving Itamar orphans and their families, Oz instead decided to capture attention by coddling a mass murderer, one with just as much, if not more blood on his hands than the Itamar butchers.
“We don’t make peace with friends, but with enemies,” a friend posted on my Facebook page justifying Oz’s actions as at least somewhat ‘kosher.’ Perhaps not, but not with all enemies either. Would anyone actually suggest bring the Itamar murders to “peace” and not to “justice.” Barghouti is the same – he has murdered Jews before and should never see the light of day again, not as a civilian and certainly not as a political figure, one with whom Israel sits down to negotiate a deal.
I truly feel that Oz, and many who think and act like him have essentially hijacked the left-wing, and turned them into the “insane fringe lunatic left-wing.” Instead of courting Arab terrorists, perhaps Oz should learn from Rami Levy and use his celebrity to do some good for those who lost so much in Itamar this week. Instead of embracing a terrorist, Oz should be hugging this week’s true victims.