In 1965 the Knesset debated whether or not Israel should establish diplomatic relations with the Federal Republic of Germany (West Germany). Many survivors and their children protested, as did Menahem Begin and the Herut Party (he was elected Prime Minister in 1977). Earlier in the 1950’s Begin and the Herut party had protested against taking reparations from Germany. Begin’s fiery speeches declared that “Our honor and the honor of our dead brothers and sisters will not be bought off by the murderer’s money.”
The great awakening of the Israeli public and, parenthetically, sympathy with the Holocaust victims and survivors occurred in the aftermath of the July 4, 1976 rescue mission of Israeli hostages at Uganda’s Entebbe Airport. As the public learned of the involvement of German terrorists and that their guns were used to separate Jew from gentile, and of Jewish parents seeking to protect their children, the scenes evoked identification with those men and women who marched to their death in Auschwitz, Treblinka, Belzec, and scores of other death camps in Poland and Germany, as well as Ukrainian villages where German murder squads hauled Jews from their home and marched them to a forest to dig ditches, then shot and buried them in mass graves.
So why do the Europeans, the likes of Gunther Grass hate the live Jews of Israel? Robin Shepard, the British born author of A State Beyond the Palesuggested in Ed West’s review in The Telegraph (June 14, 2010) that Europe should be berated for “dishonoring the memory of the Holocaust, for making common cause with tyranny, for lacking a moral compass, for hypocrisy, wickedness and appeasement. It is accused of succumbing to an obsession, of giving in to irrationalism and anti-intellectualism, of hatred, scorn and contempt.”
Europeans see Israel as the aggressor, and view its treatment of Palestinians as tantamount to genocide, and claim it is a “racist” state akin to apartheid South Africa, with no right to exist.
Shepard argues that Israel has the legal right to exist in accordance with the British Mandate, as agreed upon under the League of Nations, as well as UN Resolution 181, which offered both parties a two-state solution in 1947. The Palestinian-Arabs rejected the offer and attacked the Jewish state along with the Arab armies of Egypt, Jordan, Lebanon, and Syria.
The “racist” argument is based on the fact that Israel is a home to the Jewish people. But, Shepard argues: “Just as France has a right to exist as a state for French people, China for Chinese people, Egypt for Egyptian people and so on.” In fact: “Just as dozens of states define themselves as Christian or Muslim (including the 56 states of the Organization of Islamic Conference), so Israel has a right to define itself as Jewish.”
Shepard maintains that anti-Zionism is largely re-shaped anti-Semitism. And it is also the third stage of an “old European disease.” The second stage, following religious anti-Semitism, was racial anti-Semitism (practiced by the Nazis). The present-day ideological anti-Semitism, similar to what was present during the Middle Ages, gives the Jew an option to join (instead of the church) the anti-Zionist bandwagon.
Gunther Grass can be counted on to be “remorseful” over the millions of Jews he and his Nazi comrades helped murder. But like many of his fellow Europeans, Israeli Jews who are able to defend themselves against Nazi-like Arab-Palestinian murderers, and Holocaust deniers like Iran’s Ahmadinejad (who vowed to “wipe Israel off the map”), are an anathema for this delicate German poet.
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