Thursday, January 09, 2014

Huck and Jim vs. Herzl and Morris: Mark Twain on Zionism and the first aliyah

In this little-read sequel to Tom Sawyer and The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn, bourgeois Tom Sawyer sounds awfully like Herzl, Jabotinsky, Peters, and Dershowitz, in his belief that nobody who isn’t organized in a proper nation state has any right to the land. Just living on and working the land isn’t enough. Poor white Huck and poor black Jim, on the other hand, immediately identify with the Palestinian peasantry, who just want to be left alone on their farms. Jim even seems to have an intuition about Palestinian hospitality: “Ef we wuz to go ‘mongst ‘em, jist we three, en say we’s hungry, en ast ‘em for a bite to eat, why, maybe dey’s jist like yuther people. Don’t you reckon dey is? Why, DEY’D give it, I know dey would, en den—“

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