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Meet the Press (3): The Flowers Debate
An Online Review by Anis Hamadeh, 2006
German Original
Download (PDF): "The Flowers Debate"
Content: (Update January 26, 2007)

Chapter 1:
Introduction - Interview with Fritz Edlinger - The Reproach of anti-Semitism - Reviews - Some Links
Chapter 2:
Gilad Atzmon - Shraga Elam - Israel Shamir - Reflection on Racism
Chapter 3:
"Flowers of Galilee" - Foreword (p.10-14) - Why I Support the Return of Palestinians (p.15-16) - The State of Mind (p.17-34) - The Green Rain of Yassouf (p.35-49) - Ode to Farris or The Return of the Knight (p.50-56) - Our Lady of Sorrow (p.57-60)
Chapter 4:
Olives of Aboud (p.61-63) - Joseph Revisited (p.64-69) - The City of the Moon (p.70-74) - The City of the Beloved (p.75-85) - The Invasion (p.86-89) - The Last Action Heroes (p.90-95) - Hills of Judea (p.96-98) - The Wall (p.99-106)
Chapter 5:
Galilee Flowers (p.107-113) - Mamilla Pool (p.114-123) - April is the Cruellest Month (p.124-128) - Is the Intifada over? (p.129-132) - Fiesta of St. Fermin (p.133-138) - A Yiddishe Medina (p.139-167) - On the Move (p.168-180)
Chapter 6:
Phantom of Terror (p.181-184) - Bali Halloween (p.185-187) - The Shadow of Zog (p.188-199) - The Wise Raven is Dead (p.200-203) - Sumud and Flux (p.204-214) - Conclusion
Chapter 7:
The Myth of the Violent Victory - follows

- Introduction -

(Jan. 25, 2006) In the examination and discussion of complex cases it sometimes is helpful to approach the issue in a literary way and to gradually range it in the texture of relations and emotions which are connected with it and which, in fact, constitute the root of their assessment as being complex cases. Especially in sensitive cases it is rather impossible to be objective. For a poet, subjectivity is a matter of course in both the own work and the work of others. Subjectivity is not a priori to be equated with bias, but it first and foremost means to not deny the own perceptions and parameters and to include them. This certainly is also true for journalists. Only that artists can resort to a wider range of means of expression and to alternative approaches.

Derived from this philosophy, the rubric "Meet the Press/Pressezeit" was released on Anis Online in September 2004. The first object of study was the German
Sueddeutsche Zeitung which was accompanied online for three weeks. It was followed by the newspaper Kieler Nachrichten in December 2004.1 This third part deviates from the earlier parts, because it is not about an online accompanying of a newspaper, but about a review of the controversial book "Flowers of Galilee" by Israel Shamir as well as about the reception of both book and author, in different publics. The title "Meet the Press/Pressezeit" may still appear adequate, if the term "press" is understood in its widest sense, including also the internet public. The "live" notion of the rubric will be maintained in so far as spontaneous comments and reactions will be integrated in the study. As the time span of examination will be longer this time and as interim results will be put online, this structure seems to be a realistic plan.

Background of the Flower Debate: On December 30, 2005, Fritz Edlinger, Gerenal Secretary of the Society for Austro-Arab Relations, wanted to sign the Dortmund Declaration which mainly says that Israel criticism must not be forbidden with the anti-Semitism argument. The signature was denied to him, because he was charged of being the publisher of the translation of Israel Shamir's controversial book „Flowers of Galilee“ in Austria.2

It appeared that a discussion about this case was difficult. Concerning Shamir, indeed it is necessary, also in my opinion, to take a distance from some utterances, attitudes and actions, as they go too far. Nevertheless, a demonization and total rejection bears the danger of authoritarian side effects in the exaggeration. The claim of demarcations from Evil can lead to the relativization of democratic principles. Therefore it is necessary to deal with these subjects.

Here now, after several starts, follows the flowers debate, portrayed from different angles.

>> Chapter 1


1: See www.anis-online.de/1/m/pz/001_e.htm and www.anis-online.de/1/m/pz/002_index.htm (each one also as PDF there, the Sueddeutsche also in English) (back)
2: "Dortmunder Erklaerung" (Dortmund Declaration): www.steinbergrecherche.com/dortmundererklaerung.htm - Concerning Edlinger see newspaper article (in German) in "Der Standard" Dec 21, 2005 (Publisher Edlinger distances himself from "anti-Semitic book-passages", http://derstandard.at/?url=/?id=2281609) and the statement by Fritz Edlinger from Dec. 20, 2005 concerning a Palestine event in Graz (4 pages, in German, PDF file): www.saar.at/pdf/Brief201205.pdf (back)
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