Sayed Kashua is immigrating to the US.
This article in the Guardian does not explain how a decision to take a sabbatical could so easily become an immigration. I'm sad to hear this for Israel's sake, but I'm sadder still for his sake. Because he does not seem to understand that he is still going to be a minority in America. Electronic Intifada is already signaling that he will be a welcome addition to their anti-Zionist arsenal. He will not be able to resist the lure and he will be marginalized and coarsened, his great talent in the service of a political cause.
In Israel he reached the heights of his profession, the admiration of the multitudes. Literary awards, his own TV show, a new Israeli film based on his novel just been released. Israeli society needs talented, successful, visible and vocal Arab-Israelis like him, to internalize the notion that Israeli Jews need not fear Arab-Israelis. The Arabophobia he points to in his article as the reason for his decision is really the last gasps of a tiny radical minority. When you are losing, you become evermore noisy and threatening. It's a law of nature. The smaller the base, the greater the fanaticism.
I wish him well. But I do not relish the thought of him becoming a tool for the pro-Palestinian crowds' propaganda. We'll see how he navigates those waters.
Russian writer Alexander Herzen once observed
"I do say...that exile, not undertaken with any definite object,, but forced upon men by the triumph of the opposing party, checks development and draws men away from the activities of life into the domain of fantasy,...Leaving their native land with concealed anger, with the continual thought of going back to it once more on the morrow, men do not move forwards but are continually thrown back upon the past...All émigrés, cut off from the living environment to which they have belonged, shut their eyes to avoid seeing bitter truths, and grow more and more acclimatized to a closed, fanatic circle consisting of inert memories and hopes that can never be realized."