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The start of This World


The world of Gershom Shocken
Uri Avnery Social activist
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As I've mentioned, I started writing in Haaretz. I wrote especially against the expulsion of Arab villagers which continued after the war. I wrote editorials against it, until one day [Gershom] Schocken told me that he didn't want one of my articles about the expulsion from some village in the Upper Galilee. I think it was the village of Achbara, near Safed. He did let me write one but no more. Why? Because! I knew Schocken. Schocken was a very strange individual. Schocken the father. He was bald from an early age. His father had been very wealthy, very important in Germany before Hitler. He owned department stores around Germany. Very rich. He sent his son Gustav to England to study at university in London at the London School of Economics. I had a friend, Medad Schiff, who also studied there. He told me that Schocken had stood out there for one reason. In England it is customary... when there is an examination there are those students who finish first and those who take a little longer. The custom was that whoever had finished quietly closed their notebook and did not get up out of consideration for others, so as not to add pressure on those who had not finished. One person got up and left. It was Gustav Schocken. So Gustav Schocken was a man who did not have one worldview, but had a thousand worldviews. That is to say, he had a view about you and a view about himself, without there being any connection between the two. He could decide that you are wonderful or he would invalidate you altogether. And once he had an opinion about something, no force on earth would budge him. How did he form these opinions? It depended who he met on the street. His brother was a general in the IDF, a rear-guard general who influenced him greatly in these things. A general or lieutenant colonel, there were no brigadier generals yet. And I realised more and more that it was not going to work between us. It was very pleasant, very nice, true respect between us, but I could not write what I wanted. [Schocken] hired me based on what I had written knowing what my opinions were! Then one day he decided, 'It's not working. I want to publish a magazine called Visage. I've formed a preparatory team and I want you to be part of the preparation'. Okay, great. He gave me a photographer, Paul Goldman, and we prepared news items in readiness for that magazine. For the very first time in Israel, we photographed a birth. We prepared a lot of stories like that. And it went on and on, but I couldn't see it really happening.


וכאמור התחלתי לכתוב ב"הארץ". כתבתי בעיקר נגד גירוש. הגירוש של הכפרים הערבים נמשך אחרי המלחמה. ואני כתבתי מאמרים ראשיים נגד, עד שיום אחד אמר לי שוקן: "לא, המאמר הזה אני לא רוצה”. על גירוש איזשהו כפר בגליל העליון. אני חושב שזה היה הכפר עכברה, ליד צפת. אחד הוא נתן לי כן לכתוב והשני לא. למה? ככה! הכרתי את שוקן. שוקן היה עוף מאוד-מאוד-מאוד מוזר. שוקן האבא. הוא היה קירח בגיל צעיר. אבא שלו היה איש מאוד עשיר-חשוב בגרמניה לפני היטלר. היה בעל חנויות כלבו ברחבי גרמניה. עשיר מאוד. שלח את בנו גוסטב לאנגליה ללמוד באוניברסיטה של לונדון. London School of Economics. היה לי חבר, מידד שיף, שגם למד שם. והוא סיפר לי ששוקן בלט שם בגלל סיבה אחת: באנגליה מקובל, אם יש בחינה, אז יש כאלה שגומרים יותר מהר ויש כאלה שגומרים יותר לאט. אז היה מנהג: מי שגומר סוגר בשקט את המחברת ולא קם. התחשבות, לא לשים לחץ על אלה שלא. אדם אחד קם ויצא. זה היה גוסטב שוקן. אז גוסטב שוקן היה אדם בלי השקפת עולם ובעל אלף השקפות עולם. זאת אומרת היה לו השקפה עליך, השקפה עליו, בלי כל קשר בין  אחד לשני. הוא יכול להחליט שאת נהדרת והוא פסול לחלוטין. ואחרי שהייתה לו דעה על משהו, שום כוח בעולם לא הזיז. איך נוצרו הדעות האלה? תלוי מי פגש אותו ברחוב. אחיו היה אלוף בצה"ל, אלוף עורפי שהשפיע עליו מאוד בדברים אלה. אלוף או סגן-אלוף, עוד לא היו תת-אלופים. ואני יותר-ויותר ראיתי שזה לא הולך בינינו. מאוד נחמד, מאוד יפה, כבוד נורא-נורא גדול, אבל לא יכולתי לכתוב מה שאני רוצה. ואתה (שוקן) קיבלת אותי לעבודה על סמך מה שכתבתי. אתה ידעת מה הדעות שלי! אז יום אחד הוא החליט "לא הולך. אני רוצה להוציא שבועון בשם 'פנים', אני מקים צוות הכנה ואני רוצה שאתה תהיה בצוות ההכנה". בסדר, נהדר. נתן לי צלם, פול גולדמן, ואנחנו הכנו כתבות מצולמות כהכנה לשבועון הזה. צילמנו - בפעם הראשונה בארץ - צילמנו לידה. והכנו המון כתבות כאלה. וזה נמשך ונמשך ונמשך, ואני לא ראיתי שזה באמת הולך להתבצע.‏

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: The London School of Economics, Visage, Haaretz, Medad Schiff, Paul Goldman, Gershom Schocken

Duration: 4 minutes, 16 seconds

Date story recorded: October 2015

Date story went live: 10 March 2017