Renowned British novelist Ian McEwan accepted an Israeli literary prize in Jerusalem Sunday with harsh criticism of Jewish settlements in the West Bank, after British writers called on the author to stay home because of Israel's policies toward Palestinians.
At an acceptance ceremony for the Jerusalem Prize, McEwan praised Israel's technological and artistic advances but asked, "Where is Israel's political creativity?"
The novelist rebuked the "nihilism" of the Islamic militant Hamas, which has called for the destruction of Israel and has fired rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli towns. He also criticized Israel with the same term, saying "it is nihilism to make a long-term prison camp of the Gaza Strip."
. . . McEwan told a Jerusalem audience, including Israeli President Shimon Peres and Jerusalem Mayor Nir Barkat, that the "distinguished judges" of the jury "seem to be demanding that I mention, and I must oblige, the continued evictions and demolitions and relentless purchases of Palestinian homes in east Jerusalem."
According to reports, "the audience warmly applauded McEwan" "except for one man who booed the novelist as he delivered his speech."
Imagine if McEwan had spoken in an Arab land, and after rebuking "Israeli behavior toward Gaza" launched into a criticism of "the "nihilism of the Islamic militant Hamas, which has called for the destruction of Israel and has fired rockets from the Gaza Strip into Israeli towns."
McEwan wouldn't have heard one boo among warm applause - - he'd be dead.
That's the real difference between Israel and the rest of the Middle East.