30 June 2011

Ami Isseroff RIP: the heart of a real Zionist stopped

It is a sad day indeed for all those who knew and appreciated one of the most unusual and brave people in the Internet community.

When a blogger mentions someone in blogging "business", it is an accepted practice to connect the name to a link. When Ami is mentioned, it is simply impossible to choose which one of the sites Ami kept and nurtured to link. This or this or this or... And all of the sites were not just a whim or a temporary storage for something to read and forget. Ami was one of the most prolific and talented writers I have seen in my life, producing two or three new articles a day wasn't rare for him.

And when one mentions the Internet communities he created and kept alive, his correspondence with anyone who needed assistance, his readiness with advice and/or criticism, it is impossible to see how mere twenty four hours a day were enough for what he has done. Day after day, year after year, doing an impossible amount of work, without being paid, without being honored or appreciated by powers that be, fighting enemies without and within with the same fierceness and bravery that he fought his physical frailty. A demanding and exacting man, Ami was demanding of his friends and partners, but much more demanding of himself.

I had the honor of personal acquaintance with Ami. It didn't happen because of Ami's Internet activities. The company I worked for was looking for a good technical writer, and Ami answered our ad. The first appearances could be deceptive, and none more than in Ami's case. His small stature, his rumpled clothes and sometimes unclear speech (it became obvious quite soon that it's Ami's frail heart, leaving him frequently gasping for air, that is the cause) - all this was forgotten in a few minutes, and I was captivated by Ami the person. And in a short while I have started to learn from Ami how to do my job better - while being an experienced software developer, which Ami never was. I didn't know then about Ami's Zionist activities, getting wise to these only in a few years and only then getting to really appreciate the enormous work Ami performed daily.     

Ami was a real Zionist. His love of Zion wasn't qualified. He didn't live in the world built on religious fervor, nor in one full of nationalistic rhetoric. Coming from the left, he didn't hide his rejection of the (part of the) left's anti-Zionist trends and his disillusionment with their feel-good empty slogans. On the other hand, his Zionism, his love of Israel were never blind, never of the "my country, right or wrong" kind.

And, to his last moment, Ami remained a believer in peace - not in the fake peace process we lost our belief in, but real and tangible peace. I looked for a link to one of the Ami's articles and a quote to complete this post, and this will be the best and the most appropriate:

For the Zionist movement, peace has always been the only option, but it has never really been on the menu before. Peace may not be on the menu this time, either. But if we are consistent in pursuing our goal, it will be, one day.

Peace requires patience. It will be an ugly baby when it is born. It will not look anything like the utopia described in first paragraphs of this article, just as in 1948 our economy did not resemble the Israeli economy of today, and the Jewish Legion of World War I did not resemble the IDF of today.
He didn't live to see peace coming, but it was always in his heart, the big heart of a real mensch. And when peace eventually comes, it will be to some extent because of his efforts to make it real and tangible.

Rest in peace, Ami, and may your memory be blessed.


Noga said...

I am very saddened by this news. I have -- had -- great respect for his opinions, his knowledge and understanding, his scrupulous handling of the subjects he was writing about. And how heartbreaking that he should go while israel is still struggling.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Sad is what it is indeed. A great loss.

Dick Stanley said...

He was a good writer. I enjoyed reading his stuff. Will his sites (and his archives) continue online?

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Yes, I believe most of the sites will continue.

Anonymous said...

This is very sad news. Ami was the first Israeli blogger I read and his writing introduced me to the complexity and intelligence of Israeli political opinions and especially to Israelis' penchant for crossing political boundaries that are pretty much uncrossable in the US. I am deeply in his debt for the many lessons I learned from his writing.

Snoopy, do you have a link to any obituaries, in either Hebrew or English? It would be nice to know that he is remembered not just by his family (of course) and in the transient blogosphere, but also in more permanent media.

May his memory be for a blessing

David E. Sigeti

David All said...

It is really sad about Ami Isseroff's death. He was one of the most sensible bloggers I have read. Thank you Snoopy for this post and especially for linking to Ami's article about how peace will come about slowly and in steps like a baby growing up to be first a child and then a adult. I believe Ami will probe to be correct though it may take generations to find out.

SnoopyTheGoon said...

Yes, I am afraid you are right about generations.

rotem pushinsky said...

hi snoopy
thank u.
am ami's cousin
was touched

SnoopyTheGoon said...

My condolences, Rotem.

hanan said...

God pless him & u enshallah

SnoopyTheGoon said...

 Thans, and same to you, Hanan.