Berlin International Literature Festival promotes anti-Israel ideology
By Leslie Lebl, Connecticut, and Clemens Heni, Berlin
On September 9, the German International Literature Festival, one of most prestigious of such events, opened in Berlin. Indian author and activist Arundhati Roy gave a rousing inaugural speech. At least, it was intended to be rousing, containing as it did all the necessary elements to please an international group of literati. Although many of her examples came from India and were probably unfamiliar to her audience, Roy provided many points for sympathetic connection:
- Democracy is terrible; the countries that call themselves democracies are in fact comprised of murderous and greedy thugs and corporations, aiming to despoil and destroy the people and the earth, preferably at breakneck speed.
- The Israelis in the Gaza operation showed the way for all other murderous regimes to obliterate their opponents, by denying the media access to the battle front.
- Besides which, the Holocaust is no more or less significant than a dozen other genocidal moments in history (Roy’s history is long on the sins of Western powers, but silent on those of communist powers).
- Every thing the United States does destroys the good in the world and puts evil in its place – OK, she didn’t literally say that, but it’s certainly what she meant.
To give an idea of the flavor, Roy literally said the following: “Now, when genocide politics meets the Free Market, official recognition—or denial, or more recently, the manufacture of imaginary holocausts and genocides is a multinational business enterprise.“ In a single sentence, she manages to trivialize the Holocaust and deny the unprecedented crimes of the Shoah as well. A typical left-winger, Roy denies the core of the Holocaust: the senselessness of the destruction of European Jews. This is what sets the Nazis’ crime apart – the destruction of the Jews was the goal. Not exploitation, geo-political aims or slavery, racism etc. No. Antisemitism and the Holocaust are unique cases and Roy fails – in Berlin, the city where those unprecedented crimes were organized – to provide a logical and accurate analysis of the specifics of the Holocaust. What’s more, she also accuses Israel of committing genocide against the Palestinians. This anti-Zionist accusation is combined by Roy with anti-American, and anti-Western resentments into a noxious stew of illogical, contradictory and hateful accusations.
Roy doesn’t say what she would put in the place of all these dreadful things, but that lack probably didn’t bother her audience. The Festival is expected to attract 140 writers from 50 countries, with most likely over 30,000 visitors. This year, the program focuses on the Arab world, aiming to build a bridge between East and West. If Roy’s speech is indicative of what the building blocks of that bridge are likely to be, don’t expect peace to break out at the end of the Festival! Interesting enough what kind of speeches the mostly German cultural elite enjoys. Like many intellectuals at American universities, they are silent about the Iranian threat – while they support and most likely appreciate an anti-Semitic, anti-Israeli and anti-democratic rant by Arundhati Roy.