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War of the Words: Palestinian poetry broadcast terrifies Israeli right

Israeli Ministers Miri Regev and Avigdor Liberman have attacked Army Radio over a broadcast featuring Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, even though his poetry is taught in Israeli schools.
Palestinian poet and journalist Mahmoud Darwish gestures during the Carthage Theatre Days in Tunis theatre, 06 December 2007. AFP PHOTO/ FETHI BELAID (Photo credit should read FETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images)
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Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman summoned Army Radio commander Yiron Dekel for a reprimand July 20. The station had broadcast a program on the work of Palestinian poet Mahmoud Darwish, as part of a series on formative Israeli texts. “It is obvious that this represents a failure and cannot go unchallenged,” said the defense minister’s spokesperson. He commented that this is a serious matter, as to this very day Darwish’s works add fuel to the fire of terrorism against the State of Israel.

The summoning of the commander of the military radio station for “clarification” by the defense minister led to some angry responses. Zionist Camp Knesset member Shelly Yachimovich, for example, slammed Liberman’s reaction on Facebook, calling it “a step that can only be defined as characterizing fascist regimes.” The Meretz chairman, Knesset member Ilan Gilon, argued, “In a place where poetry is silenced, people will be silenced as well.”

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