It was a Friday evening ritual for me, for years: pulling up the Gush Shalom web-site to partake of Uri Avnery’s weekly offering, each one providing some unique window into Israeli life, society, culture, politics or history– and especially issues of war, peace and justice. Always well written and engaging, Avnery’s essays were the product of his truly vast knowledge and experience, which spanned the entire existence of the State of Israel, and much more. So, when his incisive articles ceased showing up a couple of weeks ago, I didn’t know what to think… Indeed, Uri Avnery– a clear-eyed truth teller practically without equal, and an activist to the end– died a few days ago in Tel Aviv at the age of 94.
His passing must be noted here for a couple of reasons: For one thing, his commentary and analysis have been important in shaping my own thinking about the region, especially the constellation of Zionist-Palestinian issues stretching back over a hundred years and still played out every day within a lopsided paradigm of Power, Control, and ongoing Dispossession. Avnery’s work had little to do with the Standard Israeli Narrative (except as critique)– far from it, nor with the messages of mainstream media generally– but for my money it consistently hewed closer to The Truth than almost any other source. Therefore, on multiple occasions over the years I’ve pointed my readers to some of Uri Avnery’s articles (or tried to, at least), for example HERE, HERE, HERE, HERE, and HERE.
If you want to know more about this rather remarkable man, there are (of course) scores of videos to be found on YouTube. One of my favorites is this one (3 min.), which has Avnery strolling the Via Dolorosa, while discussing the 1967 war and subsequent Occupation and their implications for the long-term life of Jerusalem as a shared city.
There are likewise years worth of his weekly articles archived on-line by Gush Shalom. As a sample, and if you read nothing else, try this noteworthy piece which Avnery wrote at Passover 2009. Profoundly poignant, it is the conflicted musings of an old Zionist who Continue reading