David Twersky, 21 April 1983
Jacobo Timerman believes that the Palestinians deserve a state of their own in the West Bank and Gaza. ‘We’re all Palestinians,’ he declares. And he also declares: ‘I have discovered in Jews a capacity for cruelty that I never believed possible … I fear that in our collective subconscious we are not perhaps repelled by the possibility of a Palestinian genocide.’ The Begin-Sharon Government is ‘reactionary’, ‘anti-democratic’, crazy. The Israelis must become Palestinians in their imagination in order to make peace with them. Based on essays which appeared in the New Yorker this summer, The Longest War has the advantage of immediacy, of intimacy. The anguish it describes, an anguish located in the first-person plural employed almost throughout, has not been tempered by time. Written in the form of a journal, The Longest War means us to feel that we are listening to a major ‘voice’, and it is perfectly true that there was little room for doubt that a new book by Timerman would attract the attention of a serious audience in the Western world.