Op-ed: Many Europeans believe Israel is illegitimate, must be removed from Middle East Giulio Meotti
After the massacre of Jews in Toulouse, many people cried when seeing Miriam Monsonego’s little body wrapped in a white shroud. But most Europeans looked the other way, and the United Nations, EU and the chattering classes all washed their hands of the Jewish blood.
According to the polls, 70-80% of Germans support Grass. A Facebook page called “Support Günter Grass” already has thousands of “Likes.” A special Financial Times’ survey sheds more light on Grass’ popularity. Given the question “The statements by Grass are…”, only the 8% answered “dangerous” and “anti-Semitic.” Some 57% said “correct” while 27% said “worth discussing/arguable.”
The total figure of respondents who see Grass’ incitement against Israel as correct or arguable is 84%.
A similar survey about Toulouse would find the Muslim perpetrator as the real victim and the victims as the real murderers (“Jews, Zionists, murderers of Palestinian children, they got what they deserved.”)
It was a relief that many brave writers denounced Grass’ horrible blood libel, including Daniel Goldhagen, Leon de Winter and Marcel Reich-Ranicki. But the dominant feeling regarding Grass is oen of deep consensus.
Western media focused their hypocrisy on Israel’s decision to ban the writer. The Daily Telegraph ran an opinion comparing Benjamin Netanyahu to Joseph Goebbels’ burning of books, while a Los Angeles Times editorial declared that Israeli officials are like Iran’s mullahs. Salman Rushdie tweeted in favor of Grass.
Longing for ‘good old days’
German public opinion loved the poem, because Grass fanned the flames of their Jew-hatred in a very comfortable way. Who’s better than the “conscience of Germany,” the former Heinrich Himmler volunteer, the most famous anti-fascist to indict the post-Holocaust Jews?
In a 2001 Der Spiegel interview, Grass declared: “Israel doesn’t just need to clear out of the occupied areas. The appropriation of Palestinian territory and its Israeli settlements are also a criminal activity. That not only needs to be stopped - it also needs to be reversed. Otherwise there will be no peace.”
According to Grass, Israel must leave not only Hebron and Beit El; it must disengage from Haifa, Tel Aviv and Nazareth as well. How many famous columnists had declared, before the Fogel massacre, that the Palestinians had the right to attack Itamar-like towns?
Grass simply wrote what most Westerners believe. The polls must be translated, ultimately, into one overriding conclusion: Israel is illegitimate, it's the purveyor of all ills, it’s the instigator of every type of disorder, and it therefore must be disengaged from the Middle East as soon as possible.
This is not only a German phenomenon. During the second Intifada, a majority of Europeans said that Israel is “the greatest threat to world peace,” according to a European Commission survey.
To sum up, there is a German caption, “Schoene Zeiten,” taken from the photo album of Kurt Franz, Treblinka’s last commandant. It means, idiomatically, “the good old days.” Let’s be very honest and say: the Western conscience is longing for these “old good days.”