BRUCE A. SCRUTON Staff writer
SCHENECTADY On a ``tragic day for Israel,'' one of that country's best-known authors and a leader in the Israeli peace movement noted the irony in his appearance at Union College.
Amos Oz appeared Monday as part of the school's Frederick Miller Lecture Series in honor of Anwar Sadat, the Egyptian leader who was assassinated in 1981 by a fellow Arab.
Monday, Israel held funeral services for its own assassinated leader, Yitzhak Rabin, who was killed Saturday night by one of his countrymen.
``He was a great man. He was a relentless peacemaker,'' said Oz, who has published more than 16 books and 450 essays, including one Monday in The New York Times.
Oz said both Sadat and Rabin were products of the 1960s, when their thinking changed from fighting to peacemaking.
Oz, a veteran of the 1967 and 1973 wars between Israel and its Arab neighbors, said Sadat went through an ``ideological change,'' the same sort of change that Rabin went through, which he called ``a manifestation of courage.''
Oz said the peace movement in Israel is not pacifist. ``We do not mean to turn the other cheek,'' he said. ``The West Bank and Gaza are not Vietnam or Pakistan. The peace movement is the humanistic side of Zionism.''
He said he would take to the battlegrounds again, but only to fight for life and freedom. ``I will never fight again for ancestral rights, for an extra `bedroom,' for the country, for resources or national self-interest.''
He said there is ``an absolute need to make peace'' between Israel and the Palestinians, ``not for guilt and atonement, but for the sake of life itself.''