Once Taboo, Germans’ Anti-Israel Whispers Grow Louder

Discussion in 'International Politics' started by Son of Govinda, Apr 13, 2012.

  1. Son of Govinda

    Son of Govinda Regular Member

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    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/13/w...germans-anti-israel-whispers-grow-louder.html

    BERLIN — To judge by the outpouring of comments from politicians and writers and from the newspaper and magazine articles in response to the Nobel laureate Günter Grass’s poem criticizing Israel’s aggressive posture toward Iran, it would appear that the public had resoundingly rejected his work.

    But even a quick dip into the comments left by readers on various Web sites reveals quite another reality.

    Mr. Grass has struck a nerve with the broader public, articulating frustrations with Israel here in Germany that are frequently expressed in private but rarely in public, where the discourse is checked by the lingering presence of the past. What might have remained at the family dinner table or the local bar a generation ago is today on full display, not only in Mr. Grass’s poem, but on Web forums and in Facebook groups.

    One word has surfaced consistently in such discussions: “keule,” which means club or cudgel. The charge of anti-Semitism aimed at Israel’s critics — and in the case of Mr. Grass, by bringing up his past as a member of the Waffen-SS — is widely viewed as a blunt instrument that silences debate, and in the process prevents Mr. Grass from making a point about the dangers of a first strike by Israel against Iran over its disputed nuclear program.

    “Every time you speak out and say something that isn’t superpolitically correct, there is a 99 percent chance that you are regarded as right wing,” said Moritz Eggert, a composer based in Munich. Mr. Eggert posted his own musical interpretation of Mr. Grass’s poem with simplified lyrics on YouTube. “Israel, I love you, but don’t attack Iran,” he sings.

    Mr. Eggert said he was trying to skewer both sides in the debate. While he said he did not like Mr. Grass’s poem, “it’s embarrassing the way the intellectuals try to paint him in the worst light possible.”

    Mr. Grass’s critics hail mostly from the cultural and political elite, while his support appears to be far more broadly based — even if Mr. Grass is not himself seen as the best spokesman for that view, given his own Nazi past.

    “The published opinions are all coming from the usual suspects,” said Claus Stephan Schlangen, one of the people behind a Facebook group formed in support of Mr. Grass’s poem. “People just don’t believe what the media is selling anymore.”

    Mr. Schlangen is helping run a Facebook page called “Support Günter Grass — What Must Be Said.” The name is based on the title of the 69-line poem, which was published in the German newspaper Süddeutsche Zeitung last week. In the poem, Mr. Grass, winner of the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1999 and the author of the famous World War II novel “The Tin Drum,” said that Israel was a threat to world peace because of its warnings that it might attack Iran over its nuclear program.

    The group’s page, which had more than 3,500 Facebook “likes” as of Thursday evening, shows a dove and Mr. Grass with his trademark pipe superimposed over the colors of the rainbow. “We say no to a war of aggression against Iran,” the text reads. Mr. Schlangen said that he and the site’s other manager policed the comments for anti-Semitic remarks, but that they just as often removed threatening language from Israel’s supporters.

    Mr. Schlangen said he understood that the condemnation of Mr. Grass was about “German sensitivities and German history,” but he argued that “our mandate is not to support Israel whatever it does, but instead to fight injustice wherever it appears, which can also be in Israel.”

    The Israeli prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, personally rebuked Mr. Grass over the poem, and the interior minister declared Mr. Grass to be unwelcome in Israel and barred him from entering the country. On Thursday, Mr. Grass, who seems to be reveling in the attention, waded back into the fray, this time in prose instead of verse, writing an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung that compared Israel to Myanmar and the former East Germany, the only other countries that have forbidden him entry.

    Sharp criticism of Israel, particularly from the left, has long been a tradition among European intellectuals, and Mr. Grass’s poem caused little stir on the Continent outside of Germany. But political and scholarly elites here have more often resisted that trend, tending to see basic support for Israel as a German responsibility, if not a necessity, after the Holocaust.

    But the public response to the furor over Mr. Grass’s poem suggests that that attitude is breaking down as World War II recedes into history. “In the populism you see surfacing on a large scale, the public is all behind Grass,” said Georg Diez, an author and journalist at the magazine Der Spiegel who has written critically of the poem.

    More than a week after the publication of “What Must Be Said,” it was still the subject of significant discussion. In the Thursday issue of the Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung newspaper, another critical commentary appeared, this time with the headline “He Is the Preacher With the Wooden Mallet.” And on Thursday night, the talk show host Maybrit Illner held yet another televised discussion, “Grass in the Pillory: Is Criticizing Israel Really Taboo?”

    Germany has come a long way since World War II in its struggle to become an ordinary country. The Berlin Wall is gone, and east and west are unified. The country recently ended conscription, which was intended to force a break with the country’s militaristic past and provide a direct link between the military and society as a whole.

    But the subject of Jews and the Holocaust remain fraught topics even today
     
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  3. Iamanidiot

    Iamanidiot Elite Member Elite Member

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    What the Germans did is not exactly charming and what they did to Jews,Roma and Russians is horrible
     
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  4. Son of Govinda

    Son of Govinda Regular Member

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    LOL Russians. They are the most immoral of all WW2 powers. Tens of millions of dead russians killed by the Kremlin itself, the systematic starvation of Ukrainians which led to 5 million deaths, of 8 million German POWs captured only 2 million survived. Over 2.5 million women were raped by the soviets in Berlin alone. Women sniper units... no principle whatsoever.
     
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  5. Son of Govinda

    Son of Govinda Regular Member

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    Holodomor - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

    ^ That happened before Hitler even came to power.
     
  6. pack leader

    pack leader Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    the red army saved the world !
    you [edited] do the crimes of soviet union
    redeem the Nazi Satan from its own crimes ???!!!!!

    may god forgive you moral relativist scum that you are :frusty:
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
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  7. pack leader

    pack leader Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    BTW : ---- self righteous Europeans that have more blood on there hands then every one else combined
    who gave them the right to preach Israel that was created to escape there irrational religious and racial hate
     
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  8. Son of Govinda

    Son of Govinda Regular Member

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    Saved the world? More like saved the [edited] of two imperial super-powers that raped the world.

    If you had any sense of decency you would see the horrible things Stalin did to Asia and Europe, instead of revering him for saving your own people.

    I'll take Hitler and a Nazi Europe over a Bolshevised world any day.
     
  9. pack leader

    pack leader Defence Professionals Defence Professionals

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    the Russians killed all that disobeyed or had the potential to disobey
    the Germans killed on mass all that did not fit into there racist dream
    both were evil but the germen expansionists were by far more sinister
     
  10. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Caution: No abusive language is allowed.
     
  11. Ray

    Ray The Chairman Defence Professionals Moderator

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    Germans do think they are super race.

    They may not show it publicly,
     
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  12. Son of Govinda

    Son of Govinda Regular Member

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    No you just choose to see the Nazi death toll as greater because it's closer to home for you. Apparently a Jewish life is just worth more huh?

    In terms of actual suffering and death inflicted the Soviet Union beats Germany over 10-fold. Even worse most of it was against ethnic Russians and Slavs.
     
  13. Son of Govinda

    Son of Govinda Regular Member

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    Germans don't. You should actually live in Germany before passing judgements. Bringing up racial theories and Nazi doctrines is completely verboten even in private German life.
     
    Last edited: Apr 13, 2012
  14. Tronic

    Tronic Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    You think you would have survived Nazi Germany any more than a Jewish chap?

    You would hold a chance surviving in Stalin's Russia, but not so in Hitler's Germany.
     
  15. Son of Govinda

    Son of Govinda Regular Member

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    "In saying this, I promise you I am quite free of all racial hatred: It is, in any case, undesirable that one race should mix with other races. Except for a few gratuitous successes, which I am prepared to admit, systematic cross-breeding has never produced good results. Its desire to remain racially pure is a proof of the vitality and good health of a race. Pride in one's own race - and that does not imply contempt for other races - is also a normal and healthy sentiment. I have never regarded the Chinese or the Japanese as being inferior to ourselves. They belong to ancient civilizations, and I admit freely that their past history is superior to our own. They have the right to be proud of their past, just as we have the right to be proud of the civilization to which we belong. Indeed, I believe the more steadfast the Chinese and the Japanese remain in their pride of race, the easier I shall find it to get on with them." - Adolf Hitler

    The idea that Hitler was a crazy racist genocidal maniac is nothing more than a Jewish myth. It's not like systematic opposition to the Jews is something unique to Hitler in history.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indische_Legion
     
    Last edited: Apr 14, 2012
  16. Tronic

    Tronic Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    That quote itself is racist, and he's actually incorrect. Mixed races are genetically superior. :)

    Anyhow, my point still stands, had you been in Hitler's Germany, you most likely would be dead.
     
  17. KS

    KS Bye bye DFI Veteran Member

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    Are you a tall fair blue eyed blonde haired Aryan...?

    If not I'm sure a Bolsheveik world is better for you.
     
  18. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    I agree completely.

    This is one of those rare occasions when I'll have to disagree with you. Given that Hitler managed to kill millions of Jews, he could have very well sent those India PoWs to those gas chambers. He did not.

    Hitler allied with the Indians and the Japanese as well.
     
  19. ejazr

    ejazr Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    Hitler allied with the Indians and the Japanese as well.

    This is partially true for Indians.

    While the Japanese were fully allied with the Germans in their expansionist project, Indians under the Azad Hind Fauj allied with the Germans and Japanese to oust the British Imperialist who had reneged on their promise after WWI to give independance and had arrested the Congress leaders in 1942 after they launched the Quit India movement and their demand that Britian promise independance in return for Indian co-operation.

    Similarly other colonised people around the world sought a temporary alliance with the Germans to remove the yoke of Imperialism in place likes Iraq, Palestine mandate under the British, Indonesia which was under the Dutch
     
  20. Tronic

    Tronic Stars and Ambassadors Stars and Ambassadors

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    pmaitra, the only reason he did not send Indian POWs to gas chambers was because he had a better use for them. The Jewish people got sent to gas chambers simply because they were Germans and not foreigners like the Indians, who could be easily used and than "contained" outside the "pure" Third Reich.

    There were even many part-Jewish part-Germanic soldiers who served in the Nazi army, simply to survive the genocide, yet even than they were labelled as "Mischlings", or "half-breeds"; and looked down upon as racially inferior people.

    Hitler thought no better of the Indians.

    Infact, Hitler supported British rule in India, and actually believed that the "racially superior" Europeans should be ruling over the "racially inferior" Indians. The POW composed Indian legion in the Nazi army was just a tool for Hitler to use against the British, nothing more.

    This is what Hitler writes in Mein Kempf:

    Had an Indo-German army marched into India through the West, it would only be to replace British rule with German, not to end colonial rule.
     
  21. pmaitra

    pmaitra Moderator Moderator

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    Ejazr

    Agreed. What I am saying is he would not have been dead if he were in Nazi Germany. Many Indians, apart from PoWs were also living there. They were not harmed.

    Tronic

    Hitler changed his mind about Indians. Moreover, Indians were still considered Indo-Aryans. If Hitler did not think any better of Indians, he would have sent them to the gas chambers. So, no, that is your assumption. There is some nice explanation given by Known_Unknown. I think he is more accurate, but that's what I think.
     

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