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Trying to oppose Golda Meir


Clashing with Golda Meir
Uri Avnery Social activist
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Regarding the Arabs, [Golda Meir] hated the Arabs, she didn't understand the Arabs, made no attempt to understand the Arabs, she was simply anti-Arab like Ben-Gurion only worse. She was a worthy successor to Ben-Gurion despite the fact that Ben-Gurion loathed her. She and I had quarrels all the time. She detested me, I think, and this was reflected in her body language in every debate and all that. I remember there was an argument about something - I think the Israeli propaganda in the world. Every time something happens in Israel, to this day, something bad happens then a debate arises about what is wrong with our public relations: 'After all, it is completely obvious that Israel is right, always, in everything, so why does the world not understand that? Something is wrong with our explanations'. Every couple of months there is a debate in the Knesset about our propaganda. At least there was. I don't know if it's still true today. Then everyone would stand up and explain why, and when my turn came - I was the speaker before last in the ninth Knesset because there was only one faction smaller than mine and that was Maki, Moshe Sneh - and I said: 'Nothing, our propaganda is excellent, the problem is that we have nothing to explain because we do not have a message that the world can understand. Hatred of the Arabs is not a message'.  She was a compulsive smoker, she would stand at the door of the Assembly - it was forbidden to smoke in the Assembly - so she would stand at the door for hours, just listening to all the speeches and standing and smoking. Then she got up to answer and responded to the speakers one by one, one by one, to everyone. When she got to me she skipped over and went straight to whoever had spoken next. So I thought, OK, so she doesn't want to answer. But no, she finished with them all, took a break, paused dramatically, and said: 'Now I want to respond to Knesset member Uri Avnery. Uri Avnery said' etc, etc, 'but Uri Avnery does not understand, Uri Avnery does not understand that the goyim [non-Jews] hate us , and no matter what we do, they will hate us', and so on and so forth. The audience was enthralled, that was exactly what everyone thought.

לגבי הערבים, היא שנאה ערבים, לא הבינה ערבים, לא עשתה שום ניסיון להבין ערבים, היא פשוט הייתה אנטי-ערביה, כמו בן גוריון רק יותר גרוע. היא הייתה ממשיכה ראויה לבן גוריון, למרות שבן גוריון די תיעב אותה. והיו לי אתה קטטות כל הזמן. היא תיעבה אותי, אני חושב, וזה התבטא בשפת הגוף בכל ויכוח וכל זה. אני זוכר היה ויכוח על משהו, נדמה לי על ההסברה הישראלית בעולם. כל פעם שקורה משהו לישראל, עד היום, קורה משהו רע אז עולה הוויכוח מה לא בסדר בהסברה שלנו: "הלא ברור לגמרי שישראל צודקת, תמיד, בכל דבר, אז למה העולם לא מקבל את זה? זה משהו לא בסדר בהסברה שלנו". וכל כמה חודשים יש בכנסת דיון על ההסברה. היה, אני לא יודע אם זה עוד היום. ואז כולם קמו והסבירו למה, וכשהגיע תורי, אני הייתי בכנסת התשיעית הדובר לפני אחרון מפני שהייתה רק סיעה אחת יותר קטנה משלי וזה היה מק"י של משה סנה, ואני אמרתי:"שום דבר, ההסברה שלנו מצויינת, הבעייה היא שאין לנו מה להסביר, מפני שאין לנו מסר שהעולם מסוגל לקבל. שנאה לערבים זה לא מסר”. היא הייתה מעשנת כפייתית, היא הייתה עומדת בדלת של האולם של המליאה, במליאה אסור לעשן, אז היא הייתה עומדת בדלת שעות, מקשיבה בדיוק לכל הנאומים ועומדת ומעשנת. אז היא קמה לענות וענתה לדוברים אחד לאחד, אחד לאחד, לכולם. כשהיא באה אלי היא עשתה קפיצה והלכה ישר למי שבא אחרי. אז חשבתי לעצמי, או קיי, אז היא לא רוצה לענות. אבל לא, היא גמרה את כולם, עשתה הפסקה, פאוזה דרמטית, ואמרה: "ועכשיו אני רוצה לענות לחבר הכנסת אורי אבנרי. אורי אבנרי אמר", ככה וככה וככה וככה, "אבל אורי אבנרי לא מבין, אורי אבנרי לא מבין שהגויים שונאים אותנו, שמה שלא נעשה הם ישנאו אותנו", וכן הלאה וכן הלאה. והקהל היה מוקסם, זה בדיוק מה שכולם חשבו.‏

Uri Avnery (1923-2018) was an Israeli writer, journalist and founder of the Gush Shalom peace movement. As a teenager, he joined the Zionist paramilitary group, Irgun. Later, Avnery was elected to the Knesset from 1965 to 1974 and from 1979 to 1981. He was also the editor-in-chief of the weekly news magazine, 'HaOlam HaZeh' from 1950 until it closed in 1993. He famously crossed the lines during the Siege of Beirut to meet Yasser Arafat on 3 July 1982, the first time the Palestinian leader ever met with an Israeli. Avnery was the author of several books about the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, including '1948: A Soldier's Tale, the Bloody Road to Jerusalem' (2008); 'Israel's Vicious Circle' (2008); and 'My Friend, the Enemy' (1986).

Listeners: Anat Saragusti

Anat Saragusti is a film-maker, book editor and a freelance journalist and writer. She was a senior staff member at the weekly news magazine Ha'olam Hazeh, where she was prominent in covering major events in Israel. Uri Avnery was the publisher and chief editor of the Magazine, and Saragusti worked closely with him for over a decade. With the closing of Ha'olam Hazeh in 1993, Anat Saragusti joined the group that established TV Channel 2 News Company and was appointed as its reporter in Gaza. She later became the chief editor of the evening news bulletin. Concurrently, she studied law and gained a Master's degree from Tel Aviv University.

Tags: Golda Meir

Duration: 3 minutes, 30 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 11 May 2017