Prof. Phyllis CheslerThe writer, a Shillman-Ginsburg Fellow at the Middle East Forum and recipient of the 2013 National Jewish Book Award, is the author of sixteen books, including Women and Madness, Woman's Inhumanity to Woman, and The New Anti-Semitism. She has written four studies about honor killing, Her latest books are An American Bride in Kabul, (Palgrave Macmillan) and Living History: On The Front Lines for Israel and the Jews.Professor Chesler may be reached at her website www.phyllis-chesler.com
For the first time ever, the New York Times had a front page story about how Hamas is brainwashing its high school students into hating Israel by having them read textbooks with false, defamatory, and one-sided narratives.
According to Fares Akram and Jodi Rudoren, “The books used by 55,000 (Palestinian) children in eighth to tenth grade do not recognize modern Israel or mention the Oslo Peace Accords.”
There is absolutely no hope for peace under such conditions.
Similarly, this past week, the first-ever international Arab Book Fair: Sharjah, took place and I am glad that it did. However, I am not thrilled by the inevitable “The Palestine Festival of Literature” program which was featured without, as they say, the “balancing” corrective of an “Israeli Festival of Literature.”
If you think about it, Israeli literature, both in terms of quantity, quality, and self-criticism, towers above “Palestinian” literature. Its’ absence is a political statement. Invariably, over the last decade, when literary festivals were held in North America, “Palestinian” and Arab literature in general—and Muslim voices-- have been featured. I welcome this—but not when Israeli literature has been banished, not when the only token Israeli voices allowed are left-wing anti-Israel voices.
While there are blessed exceptions, in general, the Arabs and Palestinians are not routinely condemning their own nations and ethnicities; this means they are supporting apartheid regimes that censor, torture, indoctrinate, persecute religious minorities and send their women to the back of the bus in burqas.
I know this because I receive the program literature and invitations and, aside from how expensive tickets are, I rarely attend since Israel is not in attendance but is, rather, under siege.
I was going to review a certain book which I will not name. Written by authors who challenge Islamist misogyny, I was almost immediately outraged and disheartened by how often the authors felt they had to repeat their mantra: they support Palestine, they are disgusted by alleged Israeli atrocities--as if this mantra will function as a magic amulet to keep them safe since they are critiquing Muslim leaders and Sharia law.
Therefore, I especially enjoyed a novel that is not yet out by Nora Gold. “Fields of Exile.” to be published by Dundurn Press. It is a gripping tale of one Canadian-Israeli woman’s encounter in Canada with the politically correct pro-Palestinian Hate Fests that are so endemic on Canadian campuses. I will be endorsing this novel of ideas, also filled with real characters, a literary sensibility, a powerful example of the near-fatal consequences of female-female indirect aggression—and more, much more.