tv Tavis Smiley WHUT September 30, 2010 7:00pm-7:30pm EDT
for "the new york times." george mitchell is in the area on an emergency trip aimed at rescuing peace ever since. a move prompted the latest concerns about a potential peace deals. also a conversation with james elmore. he is out with the new memoir. we are glad to have joined us. join us for a ethan bronner air and james l. roy, coming up. >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference, you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance proudly supports tavis smiley. tavis and nationwide insurance, working to improve financial literacy and the economic empowerment that comes with it. >> ♪ nationwide is on your side ♪ >> and by contributions to your pbs station from viewers like
you. thank you. [captioning made possible by kcet public television] tavis: u.s. special envoy george mitchell is on an emergency mission to rescue the latest efforts for peace in the region. i am joined from jerusalem by ethan bronner. thanks for your time, a bit too heavy on the program tonight, sir pitt >> is a pleasure to be here. tavis: let me start with the obvious, the thing that has raised this level of concern so high tonight on the scale. israel, on sunday, allowed the moratorium on jewish settlements being built in the west bank,
that allow that moratorium to expire. let's start with that. why did they let it expire, knowing they are now in the midst of peace talks and it would do exactly what it has done now, which is to ratchet up the tension? >> i can give you their explanation. the israeli view and review of this government and prime minister netanyahu is first of all, until this particular time in previous endeavors of negotiation with the palestinians, the need for a settlement freeze was never brought up, never demanded, and did not exist. in their view, one should not require the other. the second point, they would say, is that the prime minister announced last november a 10- month settlement freeze because there was so much desire for there to be a freeze in the building of settlements in the west bank, in the hope that that would spur this palestinian authority to come to talks. it took them nine months to take advantage of that. the prime minister said, i said from the beginning, this is a
onetime gesture. i don't see any reason for having to extended when this was the deal from the beginning. if the palestinian authority is going to demand an extension of it or walk out, then how serious can you possibly be about peace talks? so that is the israeli perspective. tavis: so whether one agrees orr netanyahu, you are in the region tonight. what is it doing to the notion of peace talks progressing this issue? >> it is fracturing that notion pretty seriously. i think that interestingly, the american government and european governments as well as the palestinians and other arab countries all hope and believe that prime minister netanyahu would extend the settlement freeze. when in the interest he did not, a crisis did lower over the whole situation. from the beginning, the president of the palestinian
abbas said ifhmood of bo they start building of settlements again, i am walking. he is going to consult this saturday with the palestinian liberation organization and the central committee of his movement. on monday, in cairo, there is going to be a meeting of foreign ministers of the arab league. between those three sets of meetings, in theory, he is going to come up with an answer. in theory, here and catherine ashton, the european union minister is also coming here tomorrow. i know that hillary clinton is on the phone with the prime minister nearly every day. between now and then, some kind of package might emerge, but it is hard to know what is going to be without including a slowdown
or stoppage of settlements for some period of time, which the prime minister has said he is not going to do. tavis: there is a paper in tel aviv tonight that is reporting that president obama indeed sent a letter to prime minister netanyahu offering what they term far reaching promises from the u.s. in exchange for the prime minister extending this moratorium. what do you know about that letter and what the contents of it might be? >> my understanding is that one of the main ideas in the talks has been for letters of assurance from the united states to the palestinian authority into the state of israel, which would keep them going in these talks. my understanding is that some draft of this letter exists, and that at least on the israeli side, there is not an absolute certainty that the guarantees
are what they were looking for that they are enforceable. to some extent, the question is what is it that president obama can promise prime minister netanyahu with regard to this relationship with the palestinian authority, with regard to what they will ultimately agree to in terms of security and borders and jerusalem and so on. how can the president promised those things? he can promise support, and he can also and it has also promised a great deal of military aid and shoulder to shoulder standing by israel. i am sure those things are in there. maybe it will be enough. the word at the moment is the israelis are still asking, that they are in the middle east market and they have a few more things they would like to put into their shopping cart. tavis: when you say the israelis are still asking, if one is a cynic, one would think this is all a game, all a ploy, all leveraging what they want and what they need from the u.s. in
exchange for extending the settlements, as opposed to this being a core belief that they have, based upon x, y, or z. >> i think that is a fair criticism. it is a core belief of a certain percentage of israeli society, maybe 25%, maybe 30%, some substantial non majority portion, and where prime minister netanyahu fits into the political spectrum now is a little bit of a mystery. he used to be solidly in that camp and has since becoming prime minister a year and a half ago, taken a more moderate perspective with regard to settlement building, arguing that the need for two states for israel to remain a jewish majority and democratic, it could not possibly continue to rule over four million palestinians, or whatever number
you want to count, depending on whether you want to count gaza in there or not. you are right to some extent. this is politics. a game is a little strong, as i think it is an existential struggle for both sides, but certainly as they go forward, there is a kind of horsetrading going on. tavis: i have seen poll after study after survey that suggests that the majority of the israeli people do understand and even accept that if this issue is ever going to be resolved or salt or mediated, it is going to require some kind of exchange of land. it is going to be land for peace, and most israelis in the service of regret over the years seem to understand that. if the majority of the israeli people understand and accept that, then why is this debate about extending -- pushing further into the west bank,
building more settlements into the west bank? those two points seem to be in congruent. >> that is a good question. i think we need to clear something up. the settlement building we are talking about is not extending any further into the west bank than where it is today. it is all within existing settlements, and they are mostly building within, almost from the outer edges in. on some level it is not really a contradiction. the basic view is because you have this 25% that believes deeply in settlements on the israeli side, and that percentage that believes in a two-state solution is about the same on the palestinian side. on that side there is about 20 by% that believes in violent resistance -- about 25% that believes in violent resistance to occupation. the israeli argument is, we are
going to negotiate this over the course of the coming year. we have agreed to a one-year negotiation framework. we need to talk about borders, security, jerusalem, refugees, and settlements, all in one pot, and stir it in. each one has to give something. if we build another 1000 homes, what is the difference when in the end it there will be a deal? don't make us have to pass a five or 25% and face an internal struggle of such momentous this until we have a deal. when we have a deal, we will go to the people and we will make it work. until then, why are you being so fastidious about particular building? thats the israeli perspective. tavis: to the extent that this collapsed in these talks can be avoided, what is going to be the
thing that allows the deal to be made? is it the u.s. of offeringx-y-z? is it the arab league signing off on something? >> we don't really know. we are all on tenterhooks, including the principal actors in this drama. i don't think the one knows what is going to make it work. obviously if the israelis were to somehow it agreed to an extension of -- a settlement building moratorium, we all know that would keep the palestinian stalking. so i guess there will be some kind of deal of food between now and monday which will involve a slight extension of a moratorium or a great reduction in building, or the talks will in fact end next week, and then there will be quiet negotiation for some weeks or months, and
then they will be revived under a slightly new formula. those seem to be the only two options we are facing. the difficulty of option b is that we don't know what can happen in those weeks, where there could be violence, or whether the tensions could rise and make it very difficult for the two sides to go back to the table. it is a very dramatic moment, even though it is filled with -- tavis: ethan, thanks for your time tonight and for sharing your insights. >> i was happy to be here. tavis: up next, novelist james ellroy. stay with us. i am pleased to welcome a jamesellroy back to this program. he is out now with the new
memoir. good to have you back on this program. how have you been? >> i have been good. tavis: this is quite a book, " the hilliker curse." your tenure sold. -- you are 10 years old. your mother ask you who you would rather live with, and you say my dad. what happens next? >> i get whacked across the mouth, i fall over the coffee table. blood comes out of my mouth. she is getting ready to do it again. i had read a library book, a wholesome kids' book, about
spells and witchcraft and wizards and curses. i knew, or at least i thought i knew, the power of formal malediction, and i wished my mother did. coincidentally, she was murdered three months later. this is the story of my guilt, my search for atonement. tavis: let's unpacked this now. so you are 10, you wish your mother dead, she is literally murdered three months later. what is inside your head then? what are you going through at that age, when your mother is murdered? >> there is this old joke in the 1950's. i want to find the guy who invented sex and ask him what he is working on now. [laughter] i have never strayed too far from that.
i like women, and i have been with a bunch of them, and i have a pure, pure heart. i am a christian. i am always looking for the woman, but looking for the woman will get you, as i am sure you either know or sense, in a lot of trouble. tavis: so i have heard. [laughter] >> because between you and the right woman or a lot of the wrong women. there is some significant literature on this, musical literature, television literature, film literature, but literature. tavis: how at 10 did you not crash and burn? why are you not crazy right now? >> kids are astonishingly resilient. i took refuge in books.
it was that last gasp of breed public accountability america. it was the late 1950's. i am a kid with $1.98. i always had a book to read and window to look out on. i live in a crummy pat with my dad, but two or three blocks away you have all the prep school girls in those beautiful houses. i started going nuts. i have always had a strong will to be happy and to fixate, and i just guarded thinking about -- i just started thinking about what things mean. brooder.
i like to lie around in the dark and think. tavis: many of us are on the search for the right woman. how much of that search for you had to do with just being a man and growing into adulthood versus being connected to what happened to your mother? is there a connection there? >> there is, but i cannot separate the general biological significance attributable to maleness from a traumatic influence of my mother's death. i was already a seasoned brooder and watcher and reader. from that point on, but fixated thinker. i only think about a very few things. women, chiefly, so after two marriages and numerous
relationships, i finally meet the woman near the end of writing the book. that is astonishing. tavis: are you still with this woman? >> i am. >> like call it -- why call it "the hilliker curse"? >> i was stigmatized by my mother's return to her maiden name after she dumped my dad. since i feel more like gaia hilliker than an ellorroy tavis:. did you confessed to your dad this longing that you had for your mother to be dad? >> no.
he was a lazy, promiscuous man, very good-natured, but would not crack the whip on me. i wanted to be with him because i got away with more. he did not know of any of this. he hated my mother because my mother had his number. we were both just quietly relieved. tavis: and how did the rest of the adolescents period go with you and your dad? >> he was negligent. he was never actively mean in any way. i was largely left alone to rome, look in windows, get a half baked public-school education, and read. listen to classical music, watch boxing on tv, developmentally and harbor the dreams of being a great writer.
not discourage, not encouraged. tavis: you have come back to this notion of reading in this conversation. every time i talked to, it comes through so loud and so clear. reading, reading, reading. what is our areciation or value, or lack thereof, for reading, for the written word? >> the computer is a barrage of imagery that often includes written words that have to be scrolled down. it is not the same as the act ive act of discourse in picking up a book, a book with the story line, and arc of character, and , and being alone with yourself with a lamp and chair and getting into it. it is a very active pursuits in a way that motion pictures,
television, and electronic interaction, like all these men is that kids with the attention spans of cockroaches, going around testing each other as they are walking across the street, trying to avoid being hit by cars. they have their friends right there that they can be talking to. tavis: i am told let you pretty eschew electronics. >> i have a boom box and an electronic fax machine. tavis: york coming right along, james. -- you are coming right along, james. >> i happen to one stimulation in the world. going over the edge of hollywood, there are streets
that i avoid it because there are nothing but posters for giant bloodsucker movies or white trash bounty hunter tv shows, or teenage bombed out marijuana boys on comedies, and gary's kids. tavis: you navigate your way around the city but it -- by what you do and do not want to see? >> yes. i am tenuously anchored to the world. i need to be back in that dark the end with my woman, my bust f, pitthoven on the shel bulls looking out the window. tavis: is it possible for all of us to find that woman who can except us for who we are, as we are? >> yes, and you must find her.
living in the sense of hurt -- you must find her extraordinary and the two of you must go on a mission to find the truth together interactively, clever to plecollaboratively. tas: does this make this worth it? >> yes, absolutely. tavis: you say that with supreme confidence. you went through a heck of a journey to get to this. >> the issue of men and women is defined by the fact, for you to find the woman, you have to undergo some self-inflicted tickingkickings first.
you may not enjoy it, but sooner or later, love is going to get you. tavis: who needs dr. phil? i have dr. ellroy. >> we have lacked and had some serious moments here, but it is quite a story, the life of a jamesellroy. it is told through this book now. james, this is one of those inside stories. every time on the show, it seems we end up trading something. you sent me a box of goodies and received some cashmere sweaters. what are going to trade this time? >> we both have the pin-striped suits. we will figure something out. tavis: that is our show for
tonight. catch me on the weekends on public radio international. i will see back here next time on pbs. until then, we are live in l.a.. thanks for watching, and as always, keep the faith. >> for more information on today's show, visit tavis smiley at pbs.org tavis: >> join me next time with grammy-winning singer seal. that is next time. >> all i know is his name is james, and he needs extra help with his reading. >> i am james. >> yes. >> to everyone making a difference, you help us all live better. >> nationwide insurance proudly supports tavis smiley. tavis and nationwide insurance, working to improve financial literacy and the economic empowerment that comes with it. >> ♪ nationwide is on your side ♪