There are many terrible aspects of the current war in the Middle east, some we see in the news every day, many we don’t. As a European I observe the international debate with apprehension. I grew up in post war Europe, I have been brought up to think of the Shoah as absolute evil and I have been programmed (by education, media, cinema and fortunately also my family) to reject antisemitism. Moreover, if I look at my cultural references I find many Jews from Bob Dylan to the Barry Sisters, from Mel Brooks to the Marx Brothers, Allen Ginsberg, Woody Allen – the list in very long (and of most of them I don’t know: it often isn’t such an interesting information). I’ve been to Israel, I met some lovely people there (who managed to stay lovely in an incredibly difficult situation) and in 202X I don’t think the state of Israel should be destroyed.
My heart bleeds when I hear European Jews say that opposing Israel’s folly of apartheid, displacement and occupation (what is happening in the West Bank is beyond belief) is being antisemitic, or worse that what happened last October has something to do with the Shoah. This is insane: the Shoah was a singularity, a unique event in recent history, so unthinkable it has become sacred – for all humanity. Using that word lightly is a crime against humanity in itself too.
But the overlap between Israel and Jewish produce another terrifying effect, so ugly it hurts me to write it: don’t you see the difference between the phrase “Look at what Israelis are doing in the West Bank” and “Look at what the Jews are doing”? Jews live next door here, they are my neighbors, my friends and colleagues. Some have been here much longer than me, since the ancient roman’s time. They are not an opinion or an insane policy, they don’t have a separate Jewish government, they have the same as mine, they are as Italian as I am or more. And frankly I would like to hear their voice louder, while what I’m hearing makes me very pessimistic: one thing the world does not need is a new wave of antisemitism. That would be a catastrophe.
PS: Do I condemn Hamas? Yes I do, but the full answer requires another post as long as this one.