Silence is an occupation all its own: an occupation by the dominant and deeply flawed Israeli narrative. But refusing to see the nuance can turn any discussion into a blunt instrument. The culture of silence—maliciously encouraged by the Israeli government—is supported by many people out of fear. To be Jewish is to navigate millennia of trauma: we’ve been a diaspora nation for so long; if Israel crumbles, then the diaspora begins once again. But the occupation is going much too far, clinging to the land to such an extent that many Israelis refuse to recognize that we have stripped Palestinians of theirs—or resort to racist thinking to explain why this is justified.
Ayelet Waldman and Michael Chabon didn’t want to edit Kingdom of Olives and Ash (Harper Perennial); they felt compelled to. Confronting the Israeli Occupation of Palestine and refusing the oppressive culture of silence they witnessed in Israel—among many citizens and certainly within the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF)—will help, they believe, inch the Occupation towards an end.
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