‘An Improbable Friendship’ a hit piece against Israel

An Improbable Friendship by Anthony David.  © 2015 Arcade Publishing, ISBN 978-1-62872-568-1; 312 pages.

By Donald H. Harrison

Donald H. Harrison

Donald H. Harrison

SAN DIEGO – The subtitle for this work describes it as a story of “the remarkable lives of Israeli Ruth Dayan and Palestinian Raymonda Tawil and Their Forty-Year Peace Mission.”

I found it a very difficult book to read because it was saturated with anti-Israel propaganda.  Ruth Dayan’s philandering ex-husband, the late Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Dayan, is portrayed as a murdering, thieving, megalomaniac who cared nothing for the lives he destroyed, whether they be those of Arabs, his first wife Ruth, or his children.

Such heavy-handed treatment also extended to Israelis generally.  One reads of defenseless Arabs being cursed, forced at gunpoint to abandon their homes, and beaten.  If Ruth Dayan and Raymonda Tawil are on a peace mission, “peace” in their vocabulary clearly is defined as defamation of Israel and its citizens.

Whatever author Anthony David’s own politics might be, he clearly relies on the narratives of Mrs. Dayan and Mrs. Tawil – the latter better known as the mother of Suha Arafat, widow of the late Palestinian dictator Yasser Arafat.   In this volume the PLO terrorist is transformed into a soft-hearted seeker of peace.

The record of the PLO, under Arafat, blowing up buses, university cafeterias, and hijacking ships and airplanes is glossed over.  The accounts in the book seem to have little relationship to the reality the rest of us have experienced or learned.

And yet, it is interesting, if lamentable, that on the far left, at least, there does seem to be the possibility of “friendship” between Israelis and Palestinians.  All Israelis have to do, apparently, is to accuse their country of criminal acts.

On American college campuses, one imagines, similar terms are demanded of Jewish students who, in their benighted outreach for peace and justice, feel compelled to denounce alleged Israeli atrocities, whether or not they occurred, and sign on to the malicious, anti-Semitic campaign of Boycotts, Divestment and Sanctions against Israel.

If we dismiss from An Improbable Friendship all its hateful propaganda, what else emerges?  We see two women who are ambivalent about their lives and about the power structures that surround them.  Ruth Dayan, the rejected and humiliated wife who markets textiles fashioned by villagers around the world, still loves Moshe Dayan, the kibbutznik farmer boy she once knew, while apparently loathing the general and defense minister that he became.  When Dayan participated in the Camp David negotiations between Israel and Egypt, he was transformed again in his wife’s view to peacemaker.

Raymonda Tawil, a daughter of privilege, despises the Israelis whom she says stole her family’s mansions and lives of luxury, yet she admires the freedom women have in Israeli society, compared to the paternalistic subjugation they must suffer in Arab societies.

What makes this tale fascinating, despite the flaws in the women’s narratives, is that from time to time they used their friendship to communicate with and to influence leaders on both sides of the divide.  Ruth Dayan’s brother in law, for example, was Ezer Weizman, a general who became president of Israel.

Harrison is editor of San Diego Jewish World.  You may comment to [email protected], or post your comment on this website provided that it is civil and that you identify yourself by your full name and your city and state of residence.



Click here for reuse options!
Copyright 2015 San Diego Jewish World

2 Responses to “‘An Improbable Friendship’ a hit piece against Israel”

  1. Bella says:

    I just read the same book and I couldn’t agree with you less. I think the author did extensive research and presented historically accurate facts. Nothing in the book is a fabrication. The book is compelling for its raw honesty. I applaud the author for presenting both sides of the Israeli/Palestinian story. The book portrays the lives of two strong women who did their best to make the world a better place using the limited means they had. Their friendship is based on love and respect for one another. Their moving message is that peace is possible. I urge readers to form their own opinions.

    I believe it took a lot of courage for the author to write this book, which will most likely be criticized by Israelis, Palestinians, Jews, and, Muslims. I didn’t perceive it as a slam to Israel. If anything, I was left with the opinion that the subject matter is complicated. The reality is that persecuted Jews in Europe were left with few options. All people want to survive. Peace is possible.

    Bella German
    Austin, Texas


  1. […] book by an author with a rather obvious political agenda – one review of which can be found here. The written article and complimentary filmed and audio reports were the product of yet another BBC […]

Please help us defray the costs of providing this free service with your non-tax-deductible contribution in any amount

Most recent 100 posts


Follow this blog

Email address