How to Cure a Fanatic

Amos Oz
  • Review
By – October 18, 2011
how to cure a fanat­ic (the author chose to use low­er­case let­ters) is com­posed of two lec­tures tweaked into essays and an inter­view with the author con­duct­ed by an edi­tor from Prince­ton Uni­ver­si­ty Press, pub­lish­er of this slim work. It may be small, but in true Amos Oz style, this book packs a wallop. 

In the first essay, titled between right and right, Oz presents a the­sis that is dif­fi­cult, essen­tial and unpop­u­lar. He lays out a real­i­ty that few peo­ple are will­ing to accept. Oz main­tains that both Israelis and Pales­tini­ans have sig­nif­i­cant and com­pelling his­to­ries, that both Israelis and Pales­tini­ans have proofs and rea­sons to inhab­it the same plot of land. 

The sec­ond essay car­ries the book’s title. In how to cure a fanat­ic Oz describes exact­ly how some­body becomes a fanat­ic. He does this by using his own expe­ri­ence and the expe­ri­ences of Proffy, a char­ac­ter in his nov­el enti­tled Pan­ther in the Base­ment. 

The inter­view the most impor­tant sec­tion of this small work, chal­lenges the author. The inter­view­er serves as a crit­i­cal read­er and asks Oz to con­sid­er the changes that have tak­en place since Israel’s with­draw­al from Gaza and, if nec­es­sary, to adjust his critique. 

To say that Amos Oz is a gift­ed writer and social crit­ic is to under­state the obvi­ous. Whether the read­er agrees with Amos Oz or not, one must admire his style, his thought and his humor. 

Mic­ah D. Halpern is a colum­nist and a social and polit­i­cal com­men­ta­tor. He is the author of What You Need To Know About: Ter­ror, and main­tains The Mic­ah Report at www​.mic​ah​halpern​.com.

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