There are days when, as a Jew and an Israeli, I just cannot bear to read the news. It’s just too awful. Yesterday was one such day.
Two headlines I read yesterday read as follows: “Germany attacks Israel settlement plan before visit” and “‘Why Israel’ film canceled after violent German leftist protest.” The first was a totally predictable leftist European claim that the peace process is being stalled because of continued building in united Jerusalem. The notion that Arab neighborhoods in eastern Jerusalem are already part of a (non-existent) Palestinian state is but one example of the fantasy that fills the heads of ultra-liberal thinkers, leaving no room for reality.
The second, however, was far more disturbing. Claude Lanzmann, a French Jewish filmmaker, made a film about how Jews found a refuge in Israel after the Shoah. The movie house in Hamburg scheduled to screen the film had to cancel it after being “threatened with violence.” Protesters ranged in age from 16 to 70, and screamed “Jewish pigs” and “faggots” at would-be moviegoers. A Hamburg radio host was struck in the face by a protester. The Left Party, which originally associated itself with the “protesters,” is the fourth-largest represented in the Bundestag, and is well-known for its anti-Israel stance. (A Left Party MP has been seen at pro-Hizbullah and Hamas rallies “where Israel was compared with Nazi Germany and the Jewish State’s right to exist was rejected.”) The report says that two police officers, called in to stop the protests, declined to do so. Whether this is because they were concerned for their safety at being outnumbered, or because they do not take seriously this sort of violence in modern-day Germany, I do not know.
The pièce de résistance? “Andreas Benl, a veteran observer of the leftist scene in Hamburg and a member of the political group Hamburger Studienbibliothek, told the Post that ‘anti-Semitic attacks are not taken seriously in Germany. Only when they become an international problem for Germany’s reputation.’” While pro-Israel blogs and an Israel-friendly alternative weekly reported the incident extensively, mainstream German media ignored it. Only three weeks after the incident did Der Spiegel Online venture to report it as news.
All I know is that when this sort of behavior in Germany hits the international press, it is Germany—not Israel—that should be compared to Nazi Germany. When my grandmother was studying in Berlin in 1929, she reported anti-Semitic incidents as small as Jews being denied participation on field trips with other students, and as large as Jewish students being thrown from the university’s second-story windows. Germans rioting over a Jewish film being screened? Police turning the other way? The press ignoring it? Sounds like the sun is setting on the Weimar Republic modern-day Germany.
Here we have not right-wing nationalists but, paradoxically, pro-terrorist left-wingers harassing Jews, creating exactly the same conditions that forced those Israelis depicted in the contested film to take refuge in Israel. Let me get this straight: It’s the bedraggled, traumatized victims of the Third Reich who sought refuge in Israel who are like the Nazis, and not the hate-mongering, violence-loving, freedom-denying, vitriol-spluttering, jack-booted goons who robbed, tortured, and terrorized them, murdered their families, and gave them nightmares for the rest of their lives. Got it!
It’s quite a gift the Germans have—to contribute the lion’s share of hatred and violence to the worst century civilization has ever known, and after suffering crushing defeat, paying reparations, and going down in history as the biggest murderers of modern times, beginning all over again a few short decades later.
So Germany, from where is your next Hitler to rise? Will you borrow another Austrian, or will you nurture one yourself this time?