Ms. Patterson reiterates the whole story, as usual, including the statements made by Netanyahu and Liberman on the topic and Israel's decision to declare Grass persona non grata. She also analyzes the poem which you can read if you want to but that's not really what I care about this time around. What I care about is this:
"If a Nobel prizewinner can't express a political opinion, it's hard to see who can."The statement just hangs there, like a shirt on a clothesline, completely unsupported by any fact. I am confused as to why this is here: Who exactly has been trying to "silence" Grass? Yes we hear a non constant refrain on the Huffington Post that "any critic of Israel is muzzled by the lobby" that is never backed up by any facts, but this is a blogger that we are talking about. So what steps have happened to make it so that he "can't" express this opinion about something?
Oh wait, I see the problem. Ms. Patterson didn't like that Grass was able to express his opinion....and his critics were as well. It seems like only people on the left conflate being disagreed with by being silenced. In other words it's the classic 'freedom of speech for me but not for thee,' defense in which only Ms. Patterson's friends are allowed to speak and people who feel otherwise just have to sit there and take it.
This ridiculous argument, so very common on the Huffington Post, is then supplanted by an even more ridiculous one:
"In Israel, you're meant to be free to say what you like, but if you're not Jewish, and you criticize the policies of the Israeli government, you're likely to be called an anti-Semite. And you are, it seems, because this is what the Israeli government has just done to Günter Grass, quite likely to be banned from the country."One of the great anti-Zionist strawman, put forward in black and white for everyone to see. The only people who ever say this are those who are "critics" of Israel's "policies" already. Not even people like Bradley Burston, who actually do live in Israel and do criticize the government, really think that. Also this doesn't even make sense because Ms. Patterson seems to think that Israel is endlessly deporting non-Jews for "criticizing" (always a hilarious word when deployed by Israel haters) the government. It's a miracle that Zoabi is still in the Knesset, in that case.
Though this paragraph is quite informative: It shows that Ms. Patterson really doesn't know what she's talking about and is simply repeating what "everybody knows." In other words, what other people tell her and what gives her comfort to believe. Not what is actually true. This seems to be confirmed by one last political statement:
"But he does say that Israel has been allowed to stockpile nuclear weapons without any inspections from anyone, and that Iran, which wants to, hasn't. Which, even angry Israelis would have to admit, is true.... he's certainly right to say that the West's attitude to Israel, and its nuclear arsenal, involves an awful lot of hypocrisy."Leaving aside the remark about "angry Israelis," this is another classic pro-Iran talking point that always has the same answer: Iran signed the NPT. Israel did not. Therefore Iran is held responsible for its own declaration not to seek nuclear weapons, while Israel never made one. Is it unfair? Is it hypocritical? Maybe to someone who doesn't know about the NPT, sure. But I don't see how someone who does know would be upset at the West for treating the two countries differently. They are different. One promised not to seek nuclear weapons and is now breaking its word. The other one did not.
But that's a classic talking point of the left: both sides are wrong. That way we don't have to pick a side.
(But if we did that side would be Iran.)