Some more of Guy Delisle's biases
AVC: As the book goes along, you begin to give more and more of your point of view on the Palestinian/Jewish situation. Did you come to Jerusalem with some definite opinions in mind, or was your opinion shaped by the time you lived there?In that case, his opinions were already shapen by the time he got here. My estimation is that he already decided he did not want to befriend one "righty". Curiously enough though:
GD: It was the same as with North Korea, except that before I went to North Korea, I read as many books as I could on the subject, because I knew I wouldn’t find anyone to give me information there. I was ready to go to North Korea and find whatever, maybe even find people who resist, like Cuba a long time ago. People who are very proud, and just fighting against the way things are. But after two months, I made up my mind that these people are just trying to survive, and it’s a horrible country. I wasn’t thinking much about Jerusalem and the Middle East ahead of time since I knew that once I was there for a year, same as with Burma, I would meet people. I was regularly talking with journalists who’d been there for eight years, so they knew a lot about the country. That was really interesting. Every question I had, they could answer really precisely.
Since I have to talk about politics, the biggest thing for me in the book was to give enough information that you learn something, and since most of the readers have basic knowledge of the conflict, I had to go further than that. But I didn’t want to put too much, so that it would be too serious. Because I like to have my books fun, and the reader turns the page and is enjoying himself. I don’t mind explaining a few things here and there a little bit, but not too much. Same with the religion; I wanted to explain a few things here and there, but not too much. Since I’m a left-wing guy, I guess it shows up after a while, because I was mainly meeting Israeli left-wing people—that’s what they’re called, left-wing—and we were sharing views together. I toured some really right-wing centers, but in everyday life, not so much right-wing Israeli people.
AVC: One thing that does come across, though, is the idea that in Jerusalem, or in Israel in general, there are places you can go where you can have a brief moment of unfettered freedom, like at the beach, or at a café. There’s a real contrast between those moments and the rest of the time, where there’s all this tension and people walking around with rifles.Gee, how odd. Did it ever occur to him that some of the people he speaks of at the Western Wall, as it's also called, happen to be right-wing themselves, certainly on a technical basis? But if he thinks that this is going to placate his detractors on the right, I've learned not to be taken in by that long ago.
GD: Yeah, and I wanted to show that in the book when I go with my girlfriend on the roof and we have a coffee. I mean, it’s beautiful; you have the sunset going down on the city and it’s just one small place where you can go and just relax and enjoy. And then I go to this market and you have that funny guy who calls the Shabbat and you follow all these men and ladies in black and at the sunset on Friday they go to the Wailing Wall—it’s quite moving. My drawing is limited, but I was trying to show the majesty of a religion like that. I’m not a religious person, but I really respect people who have that faith and are religious. So yeah, I wanted to show what I lack.
But now that I think of it, I wouldn't be surprised if Delisle harbored the double-standard of being ostensibly respectable of say, Hasidics and other pious Judaists on the basis that he doesn't think they're right wing. Why won't I surprised then if he supported a group as horrific as Neturei Karta and the Satmars, but not Chabad? And even then, his actual respect for Judaism is obviously questionable at best.
If anything, this interview can be seen as signaling a weird hypocritical stance Delisle's got, and he's only made himself into another of the kind of people who separate between Judaism and its honor of Israel. What a sad case he is indeed.