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IoS paperback review: How to Cure a Fanatic, By Amos Oz


This brief but resonant book collects the novelist Amos Oz's lectures on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

He offers sensible arguments for the two-state solution (which he sees as the best answer to what is effectively a "real-estate dispute") and a subtle diagnosis of political fanaticism (a preference for "feeling" over "thinking").

Throughout, Oz urges us to recognise that this is not some Manichean struggle between right and wrong, but instead a "tragedy in the most ancient and precise sense of the word: a clash between right and right". Sometimes he is so careful not to say anything that would offend either side that he ends up saying very little at all. But perhaps it is that very tact, that respect for the other, that constitutes his most eloquent response to the fanatic.