Genia, my friend who called me a self-hating Jew, sent me this article by Ari Shavit, who writes for Ha’Aretz. I am sending this out because I agree with Shavit’s plaint that he heard no response from Peace Now or Meretz, and worse that he fears that this is an indication that leading intellectuals in the West, liberals and progressives, are having a hard time defending Israel. I do think that Gunter Grass’ poem was insensitive to the genuine fear that Israelis feel upon hearing Ahmadinejad, the president of Iran, deny the Holocaust and threaten the “Zionist entity” with destruction.
Hey there, if that doesn’t push the button of a traumatized people, I don’t know what else would. Most of all, Shavit is correct to call attention to the crisis progressives are experiencing–that it is getting difficult to defend Israel.–Lilly
Here is a shortened version of Shavit’s column:
Gunter Grass …. is saying more or less the following: … Israel’s nuclear capability is endangering world peace; the fact that my people murdered the Jews in 1942 does not justify the Jews having nuclear weapons in 2012.
…. Israel, not Iran, is the present-day aggressor in the Middle East. Not the extremist Shi’ites but the extremist Israelis are the new Nazis. The crime against humanity that must be at the center of our consciousness is not what Hitler did to the Jews but what the Jews are about to do to the Iranians. …
…. The SS soldier who became a famous humanist is ending his life exactly where he began it. As far as he’s concerned, there’s no danger in American, Russian, British, French, Chinese, Indian and Pakistani nuclear bombs. Nor is there any real danger in an Iranian nuclear bomb. What really might destroy our world are the nuclear weapons attributed to Israel. …
…. The spearhead of the European left is trying to deny Israel the deterrence on which its security is based.
…. there was no reaction at all from the Zionist left. No writer delivered a fire and brimstone speech in fluent English. No intellectual published a penetrating article in The New York Times. Meretz and Peace Now remained silent. The preachers who hasten to condemn every hallucinatory rabbi from the settlement of Yitzhar fell silent in the face of the Nobel Prize laureate’s horrifying words. While official Germany roundly condemned its leading writer, enlightened Israel lost its tongue. …
…. Grass’ profound moral failure and the Zionist left’s profound failure to respond are a bad sign. They show that the long years of occupation distort people’s minds and make them forget key concepts. They show that leading intellectuals in the West and Israel are no longer capable of defending Israel. The words said by Grass and the words not said against Grass prove that the gangrene of delegitimization is gradually spreading and devouring us.
“the gangrene of delegitimization is gradually spreading and devouring us.”
Remember that it is the actions of Israel that are the source
of the delegitimization not the words of Gunther Grass or even of Ahmadinejad.