Understanding Gunter Grass in His Continental Context

By Jeffrey Goldberg

D.G. Myers:

"(P)eople can get away with anti-Semitism these days only by passing it off as anti-Zionism. Since Israel is the political expression of Jewish peoplehood, however, to call into question its right to exist is either to wish the Jews powerless to defend themselves again or to deny they are a people. The first may seem less vicious than the second, but for an ex-SS soldier like G√ľnter Grass, the dream of Jewish powerlessness is deeply embedded in a history of exterminating destruction. And in either case, Grass is an articulate literary spokesman for a new European anti-Semitism that pretends it is merely anti-Zionism, although there is not a pinch of salt's difference between the two.

And speaking of European anti-Semitism, here is Walter Russell Mead on the Hate That Just Won't Go Away:

If a gang of white American thugs attacked African-Americans, and defended their action on the ground that they were protesting Robert Mugabe's seizure of white-owned farms in Zimbabwe, the world would laugh at their foolishness even as it condemned their bigotry. This isn't quite how it works when goons around the world attack Jews and Jewish buildings and defend themselves by saying that they are angered by things the Israeli government has done. Efforts are made to 'understand' the perpetrators even as their actions are condemned. Somehow these events are seen as justifying, even requiring tough diplomatic measures against Israel -- rather than demanding aggressive programs of civic education aimed at confronting the psychology of hate.

This article available online at:

http://www.theatlantic.com/international/archive/2012/04/understanding-gunter-grass-in-his-continental-context/255956/