TELOSscope: The Telos Press Blog

On Herbert Marcuse's Conversation with Moshe Dayan

Zvi Tauber’s “Herbert Marcuse on the Arab-Israeli Conflict: His Conversation with Moshe Dayan” appears in Telos 158 (Spring 2012). Read the full version of the article as well as the protocol of the conversation between Marcuse and Dayan at the TELOS Online website. You can also purchase a print copy of the issue here.

Herbert Marcuse visited Israel in late December 1971. Recently I found in The Israel Defense Forces and Defense Establishment Archives (IDFA) an unpublished document concerning his visit to Israel: the protocol of his meeting (December 29, 1971) with Moshe Dayan, the then Israel’s Defense Minister and the topmost Israeli politician at the time. The document was unknown to researchers of Marcuse’s writings and political activity till now, as if the content of the meeting were defined a confidential material. In my short commentary article, I seek to understand why this meeting was never publicized by Dayan or Marcuse. I also reconstruct Dayan’s and Marcuse’s ideas and statements, that came up in their conversation, while comparing them to the well-known political views and positions of each of them. Lastly, I dedicate special discussion and analysis to three relevant themes that were mentioned in that meeting: (1) on possible negotiations between Israel and Egypt in the period between the Six Day War (June 1967) and the Yom Kippur War (October 1973); (2) on Dayan’s explicit admission, that the State of Israel was, in fact, established on Arab land, and on Marcuse’s supporting the idea of the Palestinian State, i.e., the solution of “two states for two peoples”; and (3) on historical prognoses of the politician and the philosopher—Marcuse’s fear of the outbreak of war between Egypt and Israel and his quasi-prediction of Sadat’s assassination.

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