Saturday, 8 January 2011

Kiefer and the Jews

Re “A German Gentile confronts Jewish history

Robert Zaller’s encomium over Anselm Kiefer’s “wailing wall” is transcendent. But to an ex-Catholic who has rejected the concept of a chosen people as tragic hubris, I can’t let my enthusiasm for Jewish achievements over the centuries obscure their genocidal activities in Palestine.

One genocide does not legitimize another. The settlements do not settle anything but ultimate Jewish self-destruction. The right wing Jew more and more resembles the Sharia Muslim. Both assume God-like powers no one deserves.

Patrick D. Hazard
Weimar, Germany
December 17, 2010

Robert Zaller replies: I have no idea what Anselm Kiefer thinks about the modern state of Israel, nor do I think that an opinion about it can be inferred from his show. My reaction to it was my own, and it certainly doesn’t preclude my criticism of Israel as a non-practicing American Jew.

Modern Israel deserves no special treatment, but it does deserve equal treatment. The fact is that no other state in the world is subject to existential threat from surrounding hostile powers. Throwing around words like “genocide,” or suggesting an equation between Nazi extermination and Israeli policies toward the West Bank and Gaza, is to me an abuse of language in a situation in which language needs to be used with the utmost scruple and exactitude.

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