Én igazából ezen a ponton már megsajnáltam a DK-s és civil szervezőket. Hiszen azoknak, akik nap mint nap a Szabadság téren tüntetnek, a rendszer annyit üzen jelenleg, hogy nem léteznek. Sem ők, sem a történelmük, sem a veszteségeik, sem a fájdalmaik, sem az ügyük. És emiatt láthatólag nagyon meg vannak ijedve, nem tudják mit csinálhatnak, meddig mehetnek el, és nem tudják mi vár rájuk, csak annyit, ha feladják, saját magukat adják fel. Ezért nem tehetek mást, szolidárisnak kell lennem velük..
most hány napig lesznek Marquez idézetek?
remélem min. egy hétig, mert tök jók.
It was a gray day in Frankfurt, I was in the red light district next to the Hauptbahnhof, strolling through the little market set up on Kaiserstrasse. They were serving glühwein from little trucks; a couple of stragglers huddled over steaming glasses placed on a bar table, smoking cigarettes with fingers only just emerging from jacket cuffs. I was on my way to pick up a friend from the station, but she wasn’t due for another twenty-five minutes, so I stopped into the international bookstore, hidden under ubiquitous scaffolding, on impulse.
I was immediately drawn to book with a Yiddish title, “Machloikes,” by Michel Bergmann. It was printed in German, and I wondered if the word, meaning quarrels in Hebrew, had become integrated into the German language along with schlemazel, nosh, tachlis, and meshuggeh.
The elderly woman behind the counter watched me with sharp eyes from behind her bifocal glasses. She had a full head of curly white hair. I brought the book to her, asking if I could look inside, as it was wrapped in plastic. She unwrapped it carefully, explaining that it was the second book in a celebrated trilogy.
“Translated into English yet?” I asked.
“I don’t believe so.”
I wandered into the back where the international titles were stocked. There was a memoir by Edward Said, the author of Orientalism, titled Out of Place. I liked the title. It felt like it could easily describe my own life. I placed it on the counter, and the bookseller asked if I wanted it unwrapped so I could peruse it as well.
I shook my head no.
The bookseller looked at the memoir then, registered its author, then she looked at the book titled “Machloikes” and looked back up at me with a spark of cognition in her gray eyes.
“Sind Sie Jude?” she asked abruptly.
“Indeed,” I answered, amused at her directness, at the experience I kept having here in Germany, where my Jewishness was a firmly skewed and prepackaged marker of identity.
(In Cologne, after ordering flammküchen in a Turkish restaurant, the tattooed waiter with the blond mustache had insisted on knowing the answer to that question as well.
“I can spot it a mile away!” he had said exultantly, after I confirmed his suspicions.
“You know, you should be more careful with that question,” I had scolded him. “After all, this is Germany, and my grandparents survived the camps.”
“No, it’s not like that at all,” he had assured me nervously. “I have so many Jewish friends.”
I was reminded then of that ubiquitous disclaimer in the states – I can’t be racist because I have so many _____ friends.)
Now the bookseller scrutinized me intensely, much in the same manner as that hapless waiter.
“So tell me, what do you think about Israel?” Her face told me that she had been waiting to ask that question for a long time, and that now she had a Jew standing in her shop she could not let the opportunity to grill me pass her by.
“To be honest, I have no opinion about Israel at all,” I said to her. “I’ve never even visited.”
“That’s wonderful,” she said, clapping her hands together. “Here they always say if you criticize Israel you are anti-Semitic, but it’s not true. We are very against what Israel is doing here, we are just not allowed to say it. And yes, of course what we did during the war was the worst that mankind is capable of, but that is no excuse for Israel’s behavior. I am not an anti-Semite, I am totally capable of separating the Jews from the Israelis.”
“Clearly, you are not,” I pointed out gently, “since as soon as you ascertained that I was Jewish, you unloaded all of your feelings about Israel on me. Consider for a moment that anti-Israeli sentiment is the new anti-Semitism.”
She looked at me in horror. I paid cash for the two books, and left the shop, and as I walked to the train station I thought perhaps it was time for me to visit Israel, so that I could finally form an opinion.
As a gentile, I get the same question a lot after I tell people, that I have a degree in Jewish Studies. One of my German friends recently said to me, that she won’t ever visit Israel, as she is “too afraid that she would hate all of the Israelis afterwards”.
Well, isn’t that outright hilarious?
Although - besides acknowledging that Europe remains Europe, no matter what - we should also contemplate on the phenomenon from an another perspective. Is it clearly only this madchen’s fault that she targets the Israel question to a person, who she identifies as Jewish?
I don’t think so. The image Israel projects about itself to the general Western public is exactly that it is the state, representing all Jews. I think therefore, that as long as Israel’s political criticism remains censored within European Jewish communities, people will continue to use prejudices, and NO, I don’t think it is first and foremost because of all of them being anti-Semites.
Without raising the unnecessary question of “who was first” I think official Israel’s blunt nationalist self-representation is extremely damaging to the pluralism of Jewish self-identity.