Hannah Arendt concluded her ‘Eichmann in Jerusalem: a study in the banality of evil’ with a sigh of regret. No, she didn’t regret the verdict of death by hanging. But, she did regret that given the opportunity to break new ground in ‘crimes against humanity’ in international law, Israel failed, and not only that, acted like an ‘ordinary’ nation state.
And that is how Israel then and now has to judged as a country like any other, the holocaust notwithstanding.
Today, with right wing hawks like prime minister ‘Bibi’ Netenyahu in power, Israel’s obsession with Iran, its illegal colonisation of the Palestinian West Bank, in a version of a Zionist ‘Lebensraum’, and throwing up concrete or metal fences along its borders, makes it a danger not only to its neighbours, but a menace to its very own existence.
Throw in the 200-300 atomic weapons, a powerful and growing military industrial complex, and mischief making in the region and abroad through the use of assassination, you get the picture of how dangerous is the path the Zionist state has cut out.
And now Gunther Grass has written a poem, which appeared in the ‘Suddeutsche Zeitung’, criticising Israel’s ‘existential’ war designs on Iran. [Grass equally lambasts Iran’s nuclear programme, but that angle gets lost in the uproar over his poem.]
Grass is German, and at 17, like millions of German boys and girls, were drafted into the Nazi war machine as Hitler’s ‘Third Reich’ tottered on the brink of collapse. Is he any more guilty that Benedict XVI who was a member of the ‘Hitler Jugend’?
Grass, in his poem, called on his government, not to supply Israel with submarines, for that would only make a bad situation in the Middle East worse and aid and abet Israel in its forward plans to bomb Iran’s nuclear facilities. Thus, bring the world closer to a wider if not world war.
As a German, Grass is giving grist to the Israeli propaganda mills; in fact, they are steaming up to a fever pitch on the border line of danger, to tar and feather him as an ‘anti Semite’, which is far from the truth.
The truth is no one can criticise Israel: the Zionist state is like Caesar’s wife above suspicion, the party line sings. Wrong.
Israel, like any nation, has to be judged by its actions. It can no longer hide behind the holocaust. The Zionist state’s policies towards Iran and the Palestinians are not only a cause of great concern but equally a threat to peace.
In spite of it all, Grass has done us a service in poking his poetic finger into Israel’s deceitful puffery.