Well, this is a little awkward.
That’s not a question.
I’m just sick of hearing about it. I think we all are, but because I’ve written about it before and worked briefly as a speechwriter for the Israeli Government, I am constantly flooded by crazy emails, letters, phone calls, and in-person conversations with people who want to give me their opinion about the conflict. People who often have no real connection to the region itself. I felt that the only way I could escape all that was to finally solve the conflict myself.
So it wasn’t about helping Israelis and Palestinians?
Yeah, yeah, that too. But mostly, I was just fatigued by the whole thing and wanted to put an end to it once and for all.
How did you go about trying to do it?
I began by speaking to people from all over the political spectrum, from the Right to the Left, both Jews and Arabs, and tried to come to terms with all the different views that are out there. I also went undercover as an Evangelical Christian, investigated an “online suicide bombing,” did paramilitary training with a Jewish militia, visited a real life castle owned by a cape-wearing self-proclaimed superhero who calls himself “Peaceman,” and hung out with a former advisor to Yasser Arafat. Oh, and I pestered the White House a lot. But they were nice about it.
Did you end up making peace in the Middle East?
Well, I don’t want to spoil the ending, so I can’t say. People will have to read the book to find out.
What did you learn during your journey?
I learned a number of things, but one of the more interesting observations I had was that no matter how outlandish the politics and behavior of the people I encountered, they all thought they were totally reasonable and that it was everyone else who was unhinged. After a while, that makes you start to doubt your own sanity.
After all, you are interviewing yourself.
Um, I hope this isn’t out of line, but would you like to get a drink sometime?
I would be delighted to. You seem like a charming young man.