Yisrael and Shalom,
In response to your comments on my post “Mahmoud Darwish, Zionist Poet,” if you read more carefully, you’ll see that:
a) I don’t put down the Jew, but rather express my admiration for Greenberg’s poetry;
b) I except myself from Darwish’s politics, while expressing admiration for his poetry;
c) I suggest that both poets are important figures in their national cultures, and that they need to be read and understood by the opposing nation.
Regarding the quotes you adduce, the context of the poem from the First Intifada indicates that the “land” he wants the Jews to get out of is probably the West Bank and Gaza Strip. However, even if, when writing it, in the emotional turbulence of a quite justified Palestinian uprising against Israeli oppression, he meant he wanted the Jews out of all of the Land, that doesn’t obviate the fact in his political, as opposed to poetic, statements he consistently favored compromise and coexistence. But neither his poetic outbursts nor his political opinions are relevant to the literary value of his poetry and to the importance of it being read and understood by Jews and Zionists.
Regarding the quote from Time that Yisrael cites, I have to admit that I’m surprised. After all, all three of us, as religious Zionists, belong to a movement whose credo maintains that Jewish existence should not and cannot be limited to the mundane, the physical, and the secular. Without a soul and a spirit, the Jewish people will wither. When Darwish stated, in the midst of the 1982 Israeli invasion of Lebanon and its capital, that “The Jews were great creators in the abstract. Now only their army is great,” he expressed a concern that I think all three of us share–even if we are all firm supporters of Israel’s need for a strong military and of its right to defend itself. And when he said “If the Palestinians find a homeland, they may discover the same dilemma as the Jews,” he was voicing a concern that his own people might also find themselves in danger, if placed in the same situation that the Jews are now, with their own sovereign state, of having patriotic militarism overwhelm their culture and spirit.
All the more reason why both sides should be reading each other’s poetry.
(I’d like to point out to South Jerusalem’s other readers that Yisrael Medad and Shalom Freedman have been loyal readers of my writing, despite our utterly different political outlooks [in fact, it would probably not be an exaggeration to say that Yisrael thinks that my opinions are kooky and perhaps even dangerous, just as I feel about his]. They’ve been critical, of course, but Shalom has also posted an admiring review of my book Company C on its Amazon page. I appreciate their ongoing attention.)