Compare Grass’ “Military Service” to Jeffrey Goldberg’s

9 May

Adding to the storm of slander against Günter Grass, the Bloomberg columnist Jeffrey Goldberg attacks him for supposedly writing about the “vicious sins of the Jews”.  The word “Jew” is not even in the poem and not implied there, but that doesn’t stop Bloomberg’s mudslinger.  More seriously Goldberg derides Grass for being “delusional” in his poetic claim that an Israeli first strike would “annihilate” the Iranian people.   But as this article on the Israeli website 972mag shows the threats to Iran include threats to nuke the country and if the result won’t be extermination it certainly would be catastrophic.

And what can you say about Jeffry Goldberg? You won’t see it in his Bloomberg biography, but he was a prison guard at the notorious Ketziot prison camp in the Negev during the first intifada (1987-1993).

How bad and illegal was Ketziot?  Goldberg himself wrote about it here  “Suffice it to say that the very existence of the prison violated what was then settled international law.  The prison’s location, in the unremitting desert, was a human rights violation: prisoners are supposed to be proected from the harsher elements.  Ketziot’s location also fiolated the rule that prisoners hould not be transferred to another country, the prisoners, all of whom were residents of the “West Bank and Gaza should have been jailed in the territores, and not inside Israel.  The treatmnet of children was even more troubling …”  As you might expect other accounts are even more negative.  In this 1988 article Linda Gradstein talks about how prisoners were beaten to relieve soldiers boredom..

So compare Goldberg and Grass’ military “service”.  Grass was forced into the terrible Waffen SS at the close of the war when he was 17. He says he never shot his gun and as far as I can tell no one claims he did.  He repeatedly wrote that he regrets his this time and his life and earlier when he was in the “Hitler Youth”.  He is famous for using his whole literary career to revile Nazism and all those who hid their collaboration with it (and in part got a Nobel Prize for this).

On the other hand Goldberg voluntary went over to Israel in the 1980’s to live in a Jews-only kibbutz, was drafted and was a prison guard during Israel’s brutal suppression of the first Intifada (for the most part fought by Palestinians with mass demonstrations and stones).  He was a prison guard at a  brutal and illegal prison.  He never regretted it, agonized over it or denounced it, but instead has become a vile apologist for Israeli government actions and in particular a specialist in spreading hysteria about Iranian government intentions.

It’s enough to give hypocrisy a bad name.

One Response to “Compare Grass’ “Military Service” to Jeffrey Goldberg’s”

  1. stanthestruggle May 14, 2012 at 12:05 pm #

    A Bendib cartoon about Grass is here:

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