The comparison is obviously ludicrous. And yet there it is, presented with great solemnity in the Arts and Culture [Feuilleton] section of Germany’s most prestigious daily. Of course, on Reents’s account, it is not Reents himself who is drawing the comparison, but rather Begley, who is not only American, but, as Reents takes pains to remind us, also an American Jew. This too is typical. In accusing Israel of “Nazi-like” crimes in recent years, the German media has made ample use of Jewish intellectuals and even not-so-intellectuals (like, for instance, the “hysterical housewife” Evelyn Hecht-Galinski) as apparently unimpeachable “star witnesses.” By repeating the sort of outlandish comparisons that have hitherto been the reserve of the “anti-Zionist” extreme Left and on the strength of their “Jewishness” alone, such instant authorities have served to render these comparisons socially acceptable.
It is clear from Reents’s account that Begley is destined to serve much the same sort of function. After all, what better authority to “prove” that America’s treatment of Muslims has been like Nazi Germany’s treatment of Jews than an American Jew? Thus Reents continues:
From the mouth of another author, this comparison would presumably appear too bold. Begley drew it calmly and then avowed his own origins: he has always been an Atheist, he said, but whenever and wherever the spirit of anti-Semitism stirs, he proclaims [bekenne er sich zu] his Judaism. For one is born a Jew, one cannot chose to be one like one chooses an opinion.
But all is not lost. Reents tell us that Begley is “confident that the innocent Guantánamo detainees will one day be rehabilitated like Alfred Dreyfus finally was.” At Frankfurt’s Old Opera House, he apparently pleaded, moreover, for Germany to take some of these “innocent detainees,” “whose acceptance outside of America Begley described as a desirable act of friendship.”
Thus is the circle of reality-negating absurdities closed. Bush was Hitler. Guantánamo is the product of an “American Islamophobia” analogous to the German anti-Semitism that led to Auschwitz. But America can still redeem itself by “rehabilitating” the innocent Muslims incarcerated at Guantánamo, just as France eventually rehabilitated the falsely-accused Jewish officer Alfred Dreyfus. And Germany can even help America to redeem itself, by accepting some of these innocent Muslims from Guantánamo, which would be an “act of friendship.”
Germany: the very country in which an al-Qaeda cell hatched the 9/11 plot and a country that not only has provided, but continues to provide safe haven to some of the world’s most notorious Islamic extremists. (For examples, see my previous PJM report here.)