Saturday, April 28, 2012

Netanyahu takes on Grass

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu responds to the nobel laureate's criticism and outlines the real threat to world peace: "The marriage of a militant Islamic regime with nuclear weapons." - Netanyahu – "Günter Grass has hurt us profoundly"

Welt am Sonntag: In a strange reversal of history Israelis today seem to be much less critical about Germany than Germans are towards Israel. Just take the issue of Günter Grass . His poem was rejected by most of the German media, but his words seem to have resonated more widely in the German public. How do you explain that?

Netanyahu: First of all I think what Grass says is an absolute outrage. That it comes from a German Nobel laureate and not from a teenager in a Neo-Nazi party makes it all the more outrageous. And it demands a very strong response. I think what Grass has said shows a collapse of moral clarity.He has created a perfect moral inversion where the aggressor becomes the victim and the victim becomes the aggressor. Where those who try to defend themselves against the threat of annihilation become the threat to world peace. And where the firefighter and not the arsonist is the real danger.Here is a simple fact that apparently has eluded Mister Grass: Israel doesn’t seek to destroy Iran, Iran seeks to destroy Israel and openly calls for it and works for it by building atomic bombs for that expressed purpose.What do we do with such statements? In every society you have extreme statements. A society is not judged by those statements but by how the leadership responds to them. And I think the fact that there was a broad condemnation by the leaders of Germany is important and positive. I am concerned that there is an undercurrent of support for this, at best it reflects a great ignorance on the facts that I have just put forward.

Welt am Sonntag: Would you call that way of thinking Anti-Semitic, the way Grass put it in words?

Netanyahu: There is something very deep there, because it’s not the normal criticism of Israel. Of course Israel is subject to criticism. Let me say this as the prime minister of Israel: I’d like to see an hour pass by, how about a minute pass by, without some criticism being voiced against Israel, not only outside Israel but inside Israel.This is an open society, criticism is our way of life. This is not the point. But this touches on the basic reversal of the truth. And coming from someone with Grass’ stature in Germany is very upsetting, very disconcerting. Now the question is: do people accept this or not?People have to respond to this. A lot of Jews ask themselves: ,If I had been in the Holocaust, how would I have acted? What would I have done? Would I have responded? Would I have organized to save ourselves?’ Every Jew asks himself this question.

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