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Marcuse’s View of Israel is That She Lacks Eros and Civilization

January 3, 1972
See Original Daily Bulletin From This Date

Prof. Herbert Marcuae, the doyen of the American New Left, warned here that Israel’s present policies might lead to a repetition of “the very phenomena” which made Jews strive for a state of their own–isolation in a physical and mental ghetto. The 72-year-old controversial American scholar, ending a week’s stay in Israel gave his reactions in a four-page statement to a few newsmen he called in to the Van Leer Institute, a private research foundation which was his host, and in reply to questions from the reporters.

In his statement, he proposed demilitarization of the Sinai Peninsula and Gaza, complete Israeli withdrawal to the pre-Six-Day War boundaries, the internationalization of Jerusalem and then negotiations. Replying to questions, he said he agreed negotiations were essential but that the format for such talks was not important. He argued that Egyptian President Sadat was right in barring talks now because negotiations while Egyptian territory was occupied “means acquiescing to the occupation.”

Marcuse also said he favored establishment of a Palestinian state alongside Israel plus. compensation or resettlement of the Arab refugees. He said Israel had a right to exist “for persecuted Jews.” Asked about his own feeling of Jewishness, he said he identified with the idea “as long as the Jews were underdogs.” Now that they have become a people “who sit on an underdog.” he said, he found identification “more difficult.”

Asked if his opposition to Israel’s Mideast policy had changed during his visit, Marcuse replied that he found it “even more difficult” to accept the Israeli government’s “Intransigent stand” because he had found there were many more groups in Israel itself opposing that policy than he had previously been aware of. He said he had been invited to Egypt by a “left wing” newspaper and to Lebanon by “a cultural organization” and that he might accept those invitations at some future time, provided he would be permitted to speak as freely in the Arab countries as he had been in Israel. During his stay in Israel he met with Deputy Premier Yigal Allon and Defense Minister Moshe Dayan and other leading figures.

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