How My Memoir Convinced the NY Post to Advocate for Israel’s Destruction

OW01-HarrisGershonSelected.inddMy recently-published memoir, What Do You Buy the Children of the Terrorist Who Tried to Kill Your Wife?, chronicles the story of my reconciliation with the family of the bomber who perpetrated the 2002 Hebrew University terror attack – an attack which injured my wife and killed the two friends with whom she was sitting.

It is the story of how, suffering from PTSD-like symptoms in the attack’s wake, I sought a meeting with the Hamas bomber upon learning that he had unprecedentedly expressed remorse to Israeli authorities upon his capture.

It was a meeting I sought not out of revenge, but out of desperation.

To some, my story is a dangerous one – that is, if you view stories of peace and reconciliation, stories that humanize both Palestinians and Jews, as existential threats to Israel’s survival. Apparently, some do. Which is why, when the New York Post recently named my memoir as a “must-read,” a blogger for The Times of Israel penned an article entitled, “Is the New York Post Supporting the End of Israel?

Within the article, I am characterized as an anti-Semite whose writing could come from “Hamas’ Editorial Team” because, apparently, any writing that critiques Israel and humanizes Palestinians is championing Israel’s destruction.

For those who view the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a zero-sum game, in which only one side can emerge victorious, my book is indeed dangerous. It’s threatening. Even terrifying. Which is why it has inspired writers like the one at TOI to levy the ‘anti-Semitism’ charge against me – a charge meant to shut down political dialogue and debate on a most important issue.

Unfortunately, when the ‘anti-Semitism’ charge is employed in this way, it means little more than this: I disagree with your politics. And this usage, which is nothing more than a scare tactic, actually dilutes what is a very real and dangerous prejudice which continues to persist globally.

In truth, it’s not so different from what the Tea Party did recently during the government shutdown. In that case, you had politicians willing to leverage damaging the United States in order to promote their extremist, unsustainable demands. It was nothing but a destructive tantrum which, in the end, cost the U.S. economy $24 billion and .5 percent GDP in projected growth.

So too are misplaced charges of anti-Semitism by American Jews who stand outside the mainstream. They are nothing more than political tantrums intended to destroy reputations and silence debate on an issue that needs to be discussed: how to peacefully resolve a conflict which must end so that each side emerges ‘victorious.’

How to bring resolution so that each people, both deserving self-determination, can live in a country of their own?

An anti-Semitic notion, no?

The Visiting Scribes series was produced by the Jewish Book Council‘s blog, The Prosen People.

Posted on November 5, 2013

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