JERUSALEM (JTA) — A West Bank-based organization filed a police complaint charging Israeli author Amoz Oz with incitement to racism.
The complaint by the Samaria Residents Committee was filed in the West Bank settlement of Ariel two days after Oz called Israelis who carry out “price tag” attacks “Hebrew neo-Nazis,” the Times of Israel reported Sunday.
Oz made the statement Friday at an event in honor of his 75th birthday.
“‘Price tag’ and ‘hilltop youth’ are sweet, sugary nicknames, and the time has come to call this monster by its name,” he said in a speech recorded by Israel’s Channel 2. “We wanted to be like all other nations, we longed for there to be a Hebrew thief and a Hebrew prostitute — and there are Hebrew neo-Nazi groups.”
Oz is considered a candidate for a Nobel Prize in Literature.
Defending his words Sunday in an interview with Israel Radio, Oz said he made the statement in order to “shock.”
“The comparison that I made was to neo-Nazis and not to Nazis,” he said. “Nazis build incinerators and gas chambers; neo-Nazis desecrate places of worship, cemeteries, beat innocent people and write racist slogans. That is what they do in Europe, and that is what they do here.”
On Friday, hours before Oz’s speech, price tag attacks were discovered on a Jerusalem church and an Arab home in the Old City of Jerusalem, part of a recent uptick in attacks against such sites.
Price tag refers to the strategy adopted by extremist settlers and their supporters generally to exact retribution for settlement freezes and demolitions or Palestinian attacks on Jews.