Blunt Talk

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Article/book #: 3528
Title: Blunt Talk
By: Uri Avnery   Richard Swift  
Published in: New Internationalist, issue 348
Date of issue: August 2002



I meet Uri Avnery in his modest Tel Aviv apartment. He is dressed completely in black – a man of presence and intellect. He says he is almost 80 – exactly five years older than Arafat and Sharon who are the same age. He doesn’t need much prompting to let you know what he thinks. Avnery has seen them come and seen them go. He was here in the beginning – fought with the Irgun to create the state of Israel back in the 1940s. ‘You can’t tell me about terrorism, I was a terrorist.’ He has been a leading national journalist and a member of the Knesset. Today he is the senior statesman of the Israeli peace movement. He helped pull together the Gush Shalom (Peace Bloc) and is its best-known spokesperson. Gush recently helped organize a huge demonstration (60,000 to 100,000 people) to oppose the occupation. He refers to himself these days as a post-Zionist. When it was hardly possible to admit the existence of Palestinians he was recommending a two-state solution. He was one of the first Israelis to meet with representatives of the Palestinian Liberation Organization when it was illegal. He knows personally all of the major players of Israeli politics (and on the Palestinian side too) and is more than blunt in his opinions about them. The current Foreign Minister, Shimon Peres, he refers to as a ‘completely worthless person’. The former Prime Minister, Benyamin Netanyahu, he dismisses as a crook: ‘I am not afraid of crooks. I am afraid of men like Sharon.’

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