Germans are entitled to opinions and to the choice of whether or not to voice them. We should welcome it when they do – even regarding Israel.
- Günter Grass
This post is about the Günter Grass poem “What must be said”. If you haven’t read the poem yet, please do so before reading the rest of this post (German/English/Hebrew).
Lisa Goldman shared a NYT piece about how the poem has made more Germans speak up about Israel, sometimes even in ways that make Israeli lefties feel uncomfortable.
One commenter on Lisa’s post responded: “the creators of Holocaust should keep their mouth shut for the sake of decency”. This would, in and of itself, be a reasonable comment, except that at this point in history, the people actually behind the Holocaust are for the most part dead – a fate far more pleasant than they deserve, as it were – and this kind of comment aims simply to silence all German criticism of Israel. Oddly enough, you don’t hear it when Germans voice opinions supportive of Israeli policy. Continue reading What has to be said – and who has to say it
I find myself, for once, at loss for words. Despite growing up in what is essentially a warzone, I have had the ridiculously good fortune of never experiencing the horror of war first hand. In a thoughtful and powerful piece of writing, Chris Hedges has managed to transport a small taste, which I can only implore you to read if you haven’t yet. And you’ll want to sit down first, I think.
A Hebrew translation, along with some discussion, is available over at Idan Landau’s blog (his post alerted me to the existence of this piece. H/t.)
Meta comment: I haven’t been posting lately – these link posts don’t count – not for lack of ideas or words, but mainly because I’m spending a very big chunk of my waking hours in (academic) writing and having a hard time finding the time to properly formulate blog posts. I hope and assume that I’ll get posting again at some point soon, but no promises.
2011 started with some difficult days for Israeli democracy. Starting Saturday morning, the IDF has been scrambling to explain away the death of Jawahar Abu-Rahmah of Bil’in, who in all likelihood died as a result of IDF tear gas (and probably not hyper-rapid leukemia or the common cold.) On Monday, Ma’ariv gave us reason to believe that Netanyahu’s call for direct talks with the Palestinians on the core issues is less than honest; their sources indicate quite simply that this government is captive to its most extreme elements and unable to serve the majority. In its 2010 annual summary, the GSS (Shabak) describes the demonstrations in Sheikh Jarrah, Ni’lin, Bil’in, and Nabi Saleh, as “clashing against the security forces.” And speaking of the GSS, the High Court of Justice denied, Tuesday, a petition requesting information on how many detainees the GSS has kept from seeing an attorney (on the grounds that this would “potentially harm state security.”)
It’s been one damned thing after another. And yesterday, the Knesset managed to top it all. I spent the evening trying not to think about it, but today I can think of nothing else. Continue reading The Delegitimizers