CiF, Henning Mankell, and the audacity of evil

Henning Mankell is a best-selling Swedish author.  He’s also a Hamas flotilla activist who accused the Israelis who were attacked by IHH activists on board the Mavi Marmara of setting out to intentionally “commit murder”, an apologist for Palestinian suicide bombers who kill innocent Israelis, thinks the attacks by al-Qaeda on 9/11 were understandable“, and has observed that there was “no evidence of anti-Jewish feeling among the Palestinians…”

Yes, really.

Mankell also believes Israel is an Apartheid state which shouldn’t exist.  That is, as he surveys the political landscape and observes the 193 nations in the world, the only country he deems unworthy of statehood “in its current form” – meaning as the world’s only Jewish state – is Israel.

For those unaware, the EU working definition of anti-Jewish bigotry sanely includes those who hold the abhorrent view, which rejects only Jewish nationalism, as anti-Semitic.

He also just penned an essay at CiF today (Norway attacks: Anders Behring Breivik will join history’s human monsters, July 25) on Norway’s terrorist attack which, in the context of asking why Anders Behring Breivik, the 32-year-old Norwegian, killed over 90 people, cites Adolf Eichmann, “the Nazi camp commander” who, along with Hitler, “thought [Jews] should be removed from the face of the earth” – and likens Breivik’s hate to what Hannah Arendt characterized as “the banality of evil.”

No, I’m not surprised that such a radical anti-Israel activist would leverage the horrific terrorist act of one lone right-wing extremist to score political points against his enemies, but the breathtaking audacity of a public figure like Mankell, who simultaneously calls, in the name of justice, for the end of the modern Jewish state, while evoking the slaughter of six million Jews to condemn the violence of a lone terrorist, represents the nadir of moral hypocrisy.

No, a morally sane writer simply can not condemn Nazis, who murdered one out of every three Jews on the face of the earth, and wish the Jewish state’s demise, and be expected to be taken seriously.

Those who seek Israel’s destruction erodes any pretense as to their moral credibility, or any claim to upholding universal moral values.  

Mankell’s call for “the fall of [Israel]…this disgraceful Apartheid system…the only thing conceivable, because it must be”, would, for a publication truly devoted to “liberal” values in the broadest sense of the word, render him politically toxic – a dangerous reactionary with no moral standing. 

The fact that the Guardian licenses his commentary speaks volumes of their continuing betrayal of genuine progressive values.

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